Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Comfort Composite

Our own favorite fan and winner of "Most Helpful Husband" award, Randy Schormann, has done it again!  Composed a lovely composite of our Comfort quilts.  He even added a "place marker" for Janet, in the lower right corner.  As usual, Randy had demonstrated what a true graphic artist he is in how he has chosen to arrange the quilts.  Take a minute to study it.   You can immediately see how almost every row of quilts has something that ties the quilts together.  Truly, Randy is amazing!
I will wait to make postcards of this one, in case Janet does eventually come up with a comfort quilt.  Meanwhile, I realize I've not yet made a Green postcard, so I'll do that soon and query all of you Mavens to see if you want me to order one or some for you!
Another great theme and wonderful results this time.  My mind is already awhirl, thinking about Strong, and I do believe I had a brainstorm this morning for a potential design.  Congratulations to all of you for a wonderful batch of "comforting" quilts!

This composite is "new and revised."  After Carol posted her completed quilt, Randy substituted the completed quilt photo for the other one!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Judy S.- Snowy Day Comfort

My comfort quilt comes from the wonderful times I spent looking out at the sunset on a snowy day. Snow makes me smile. When the land is blanketed in a fresh layer of snow there is peace, beauty, and I am happy inside. I love seeing sunlight shine on the snow and make all the crystals sparkle. It is magical. I’ve been fortunate to have experienced these special times in the mountains and valleys. 
Snow means no school, hot chocolate, a fire in the fireplace, fresh homemade donuts, going outside and coming back inside with snow in our boots and ice on our mittens. To hear the hiss of the wet mittens on the furnace and smell the wool is comfort to me. It was always a great family time and a time when we pulled together to get a job done like when the cows went the wrong way and my sister and I ran to get ahead of them to turn them around. When we got back to the truck we had ice on our eyebrows, eyelashes, and anywhere else moisture could freeze quickly. Amazing.

I painted this piece and then quilted the trees with a dark purple thread and all the rest is quilted using an ecru color.
Kathy's:  "Comfort, Comfort O My People"

So many thoughts came to mind with the topic of Comfort.   I was in  Rome, Italy for 10 days in Sept. - Oct. with 50 other people from our church, and one of my first thoughts of comfort was of shoes... slippers...sandals... anything to keep my poor tired aching feet comfortable.  

And then, of course, the gathering of many of the MMs (and 20,000+ other quilters) at the incredible International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX just a couple of weeks ago.  (Really needed comfortable shoes for that event !)

And then another thought:  "Southern Comfort !"  With a splash of tonic, or as my mother would have preferred... with a slight amount of Grenadine :-D

And then... "Comfort Foods."   Our Southern Hospitality is filled with Comfort Foods that delight the palate and sooth the soul.   Soul Food....  What do I turn to for Comfort ?   Family, of course, and friends.   

Above all, I turn to God.   And for me, some of the closest times I have with God are with His music. I've been a church musician since way back in the 7th grade (a long time ago !) and have been privileged to present His beautiful music in various church services for over 40 years.   And so, I chose a beautiful, soul-ful hymn based on Isaiah 40:1-8 that was written in the 1500's; translated in the 1800's and is as important now as it was centuries ago.  "Comfort, Comfort O My People."

Using TAP (Transfer Artist Paper) developed by Lesley Riley, I printed the lyrics for "Comfort, Comfort..." onto a TAP image transfer sheet and then transferred the image to my background fabric.  The fabric is filled with music notations (treble and bass clefs, etc.)  I free-motion quilted the quilt, and outlined the treble clefs to give them some prominence.  (Actually, it was my husband, Greg, who suggested outlining the treble clefs !  Isn't it great to have the husbands come up with such wonderful ideas !)  Binding and the hanging sleeve (with my label) were next.   The last step was to stitch the cross onto the left side of the quilt.   I used my Bernina couching foot and Madeira monofilament thread to apply the heavy copper metallic thread.  (Basically, this is the same process as I described in our "Green" quilts in September).   The backing fabric is filled with music notations, and I know you can't see it in the pictures, but the hymn that's printed on that fab is "Amazing Grace" !   How sweet the sound !

Peace and blessings to all ....    Kathy

Sara's Comfort Quilt

This quilt speaks to the theme of Comfort on several levels. I spent a good deal of time reflecting on what I find comforting. One of the first things that comes to mind is keeping my hands busy. Quilting has been my method of calming myself for 20 years. It also occurred to me that quilts offer comfort to others and the touch of a loved one is a major comforter that reminds us that we are not facing life alone. I never throw away my scraps and rummaging through them is a comforting trip through many memories.

These thoughts swirled around during the last 2 months. I attended a guild lecture by Alice Kolb in which she described the meaning behind crazy quilts. I found her out of print book on the subject and decided to make a crazy quilt using her techniques rather than the stitch and flip method that I've used previously (I'm still trying to explore different ways to create a quilt) in this case I brought order to a little bit of my scrap and life chaos. Digging through my scraps I found a little log cabin piece leftover from one of my early quilts, a heart log cabin quilt I created for my daughter. She dragged it all over and I remember being upset when I actually had to repair it. After my daughter's death I kept that quilt near and dear to me. The quilt also has scraps from a family portrait quilt that I made for my dad and also pieces from one of the more recent things that I made ( an Eiffel Tower zip travel bag). Two of the class that I took at IQF this year involved quilting a quilt and then painting in the quilted area so that technique  to be included too. (The classes were with Lisa Walton and Anna Buzzalino ). Since crazy quilts often carry embroidered messages, I added one from a calendar my cousin gave me after my daughter's death- "she who laughs lasts", a message that I have taken to heart whenever I find my stress meter starting to overload. I had my husband take a snapshot of my hands and I traced them in my IPad during an IQF presentation about IPad apps taught by Susie Monday 

JW's: "Connoiseurs of Comfort"

This 'cat comfort' photo collage was inspired by a quote from British author and Yorkshire Dales country veterinarian ~ James Herriot.
(1916-1995 aka: James Alfred ‘Alf’ Wight)
     “Cats are the connoisseurs of comfort.”    

My daughters cat ‘Oscar’ debuts in the collage’s upper right-hand corner.  She begged the question, “How can this possibly be comfortable?”  You will wonder the same when you view the outrageous poses cats visually define as their Comfort Zone.  I cannot help but smile.

Hours of computer manipulation and photo cropping helped me achieve the look I sought.  Unfortunately I can’t share how it happened because note taking proved fruitless.  I hope I can repeat my printing process for reverse images and text in future efforts! 

Transferring the Image:  Ink Jet printing on Crafter’s Images™ Photo Fabric™ 100% Silk Habotai (purple package) is fine if you desire a more fluid image but does not display sharp photo clarity.  Further image definition is literally washed away in the cold water rinse to remove excess printer ink.  Photo Fabric™  does allow you to print without reversing your images, which is why I chose it first.   This sheer fabric  requires spray basting or light fusible for easier handling prior to quilting.
(apologies for the blurred photo - my camera needs replacing)
Top transfer is on a T-Shirt Transfer sheet.  Bottom left transfer is on Silk Habotai.  Bottom right is a paper print out for comparison.

My second attempt on Avery Personal Creations™ T-Shirt Transfer Sheets for Ink Jet Printers (teal package) required flipping the image (and text) separately before printing. The results were beautiful and no rinsing is required.  This transfer product has a somewhat glossy sheen when dry ironed to cotton or cotton/poly blend fabric but can be dulled down according to enclosed directions.  It does have a slight plastic feel which is ideal for washable items.  Note: I did not trim the 1/4” white border around my collage before transferring to fabric.

Construction: Fusible Pellon was ironed to the backside of the quilt top.  Quilt basting spray was applied to the wrong side of the backing fabric and then hand pressed to the back of the Pellon before a light iron pressing.

Finishing Details:  Machine straight stitched with white quilting thread and smoke colored mono filament in the bobbin around each photo.  I use my machines Even Feed foot and a 75/11 quilting needle.  After straight stitching just inside the 12” square quilt edge, I trimmed the quilt to size before machine button hole stitching the eyelash yarn edging.  I twisted 3 colors together and secured with clear mono filament top thread.  Scrabble game tiles were sanded on the backside before gluing to the quilt surface with E6000® multipurpose adhesive.  (I recommend buying in small size because it thickens over time once opened.)

Cat fabric had to go on the back of course with a label I made several years ago that seemed just right for this  occasion.  Notice the cat/comfort correlation.  This will most likely become a Friends of Pets silent auction item.

This was my first quilt project produced in my newly remodeled quilt studio.  Check out photos of the makeover on my WedeWorks blog.

Janet - Invisible Quilt

I know this was my word this round but unfortunately was unable to make a quilt.  I won't bore you with the details but I am sure all of you have had times in your life when it feels like the bottom fell out and everything hits you at once.  We've been going through that at our house the last few months and just when you think it can't get worse, it does.  I will catch up when I can and in the meantime I will enjoy all the beautiful quilts.

Barbara's Comfort--Chocolate and Lavender

I have to say what a wonderful but too short time we had in Houston!!

My Comfort Quilt idea came from an event at Visions Art Museum called Sip Savor and Stroll.  We were asked to make a quilt that had to do with chocolate.  The sponsor of the event, Chi Chocolate, makes the most wonderful tiny chocolates with flavors and my favorite is the lavender and chocolate.  While making the quilt for this auction, we got the next Mavens word Comfort.  I decided right away that dark chocolate is my comfort and I had many strips of lavender and brown fabrics to use in the Rayna Gillman technique that I learned at Empty Spools Seminars this year.  If you look closely, the shiny strips are from a Ghirardelli Premium baking chips bag.  My auction quilt sold to a friend and now I have my 12 x 12 to keep me comforted.

I did some hand stitching in the strips that look like melting chocolate with Laura Wasilowski's perle cotton in the color way she calls Burnt Marshmallows (bought in Houston).  I will do a facing on the edges.

Carol's Comfort Quilt - The Scarlet Geranium

In the Language of Flowers the one flower that represents Comfort is the Scarlet Geranium.

So I wanted to base my 12 X 12 on a seed packet. This is as far as I got when I ran into problems and ended up with a pinched nerve in my shoulder. I will add an new photo to my post when I do finish it, which I am hoping will be next week.

In the meantime, I found a nice photo of the geranium and enlarged it, then drew it onto some white fabric. I used Inktense Pencils and Dye-Na-Flow inks to create this really nice (in my opinion) depiction of the geranium. I even like the "cloud" effect on the flowers, though didn't intend to have that there. :)

That's all I can add for today.

Tricia Lake House Comfort

Shortly after Comfort was listed as our next theme, my family went up to The Northeast Kingdom in Vermont where my husbands family have a summer house.  The house is right on Lake Willouhby.  It was a beautiful fall foliage trip.  Every time we visit my daughters have to have the classic summer lunch of "oodles of noodles" soup and a grilled chesse.  After fixing the lunch and putting it on the table my daughter took a picture of the lunch with the mountains in the background.  I thought that is it- my daughter's comfort.

In starting the quilt I decided I had to make the noodles.  I bought wiggly yarn but it needed to be dyed a little darker.  I tea dyed the yarn for a different amounts of time using Alice's vanilla caramel tea from the goodie bag.  I thought it would give a nice caramel color.  I then used fabric stiffener to have the noodles hold their texture.
Next the grilled cheese.- How to make that?  I tea dyed an old sponge, cut it in half and then used a brown marker to darken the sponge.  The sponge had the texture of grilled bread.

Now onto the quilt. I created the background , sky, mountains, lake and the deck and quilted it.

 Now for the interior- I purchased window screen to create the sliding screen door that we look thru.  I sewed the screen on top of the background.  I used fusible web to make the bowl of soup with silk dupioni for the broth.  I sewed the noodles onto the bowl and hot glued the grilled cheese.  I used shiva paint sticks to create the shading on the bowl.  I definitely need more experience with the shiva paints.  What a fun theme.


I picked STRONG because of this past year in Boston.  Boston embraced the "B STRONG" motto to help heal our city.  The Red Sox team used every game to help the wounded and our community to heal.  I also think the word strong can have different meanings for everyone.  I look forward to seeing everyone's interpretation.


Alice's Comfort Quilt: My Yellow Reading Chair

Take one comfortable easy chair, a mug of tea, a good book, and a quilted throw to cuddle under.  That spells comfort for me, and I’ve needed much comforting for the past 21 months.  After a day of quilting, you can find me around 4:00 PM in this yellow chair in our living room.

To construct the chair, I took a photo of it, posterized it on Photoshop, traced the printed image onto freezer paper for a template, and then cut it out from a pale yellow batik.  I added the details and shadows with Fabric Fun Pastel Dye Sticks by Pentel*. I made a mini “quilt” from fabric printed with squares to place on one of the arms of the chair. I tried trapunto for the first time to make the chair look as comfy as it is.

For the mug I chose a print from my blue and white collection that best mimicked my Spode mugs.  I scanned the fabric, reduced the image on Photoshop, and printed it onto white fabric, and then sketched onto the white fabric the inside of the mug and its handle.

For the stack of books, I took a photograph of a little ceramic box that sits beside my reading chair.  I re-sized the photo and printed it onto some freezer-paper-backed fabric.  I confess that for some reason, portraying the  books was the biggest challenge for me in this quilt!  I tried several ways to handle the books, but each had problems.   The next to last method was to take a photo of a book written by my aunt. This photo printed onto fabric looked great, but it somehow didn’t work in the composition.   

All elements of the quilt were fused and then appliquéd to the red background, which I had first free-motion quilted in a random pattern before adding any appliqués.  Because of the trapunto, I included Timtex between the batting and backing of this quilt, to give it more stability.  The mini quilt is simply tacked on, also for dimensionality. 

The quilt’s backing is a commercial book print that I love. I fused onto the back the image of my aunt’s book and I also included a little mock mini quilt that turned out to be too big to work on the front. I bound the 12x12 quilt by fusing on strips of the red background batik.

*the product whose name I was trying to remember in Houston, when discussing my other chair quilt—“Vincent’s Chair”!
I tried, rather unsuccessfully, to capture the dimensionality of the chair
and the mini quilt in this close-up. Too, I wanted to show my rather inexpert
free-motion quilting, which done with red thread on the
red background thankfully doesn't show up very much
in the image of the entire quilt!

The back of my Yellow Chair quilt.  The name of my aunt's (Martha Cheavens) book is SPUN BY AN ANGEL,
set in the Mexico of her childhood (my father's parents were missionaries),
and it recounts the story of the death of one of the sisters.  The little boy in the book
is based on my father.  Needless to say, I treasure this now out-of-print book.

Linda's Comfort in the Arts

    "Comfort" is a pleasurable topic to contemplate.  The arts comfort me as on a Sunday morning when I sit down to play certain arrangements on the piano, pick up my ukulele after a long day on the computer before going to bed, or draw and paint at the kitchen table. I am relaxed and transported by the arts. But even more so, I have wings when I get to dance.

     In art school as at my Journal Quilt Connection, I was given the topic of "shoes." I picked out tap shoes, stuffed some shiny fabric wings I had sewn and glued them to the heels. My tap shoes would again be the reference for this month's journal or art quilt. However, the creation of this "comfort" quilt for Material Mavens was totally UNcomfortable.

      I chose the background and back fabrics spontaneously. I found a shiny black fabric from which I free-hand cut patent leather tap shoes. Problem. The black fabric cannot be sewn easily. I secured the shoes with a hot glue gun after stitching the silver "stage" to the background, batting and backing. I pulled the backing over the quilt edges to bind them, a bit prematurely. I cut down the old wings from art school and glued them to the shoes, but the heat from the glue gun removed some of the color from the wings. No matter. I glued on beads for some glitz, trim, or taps. I wanted to stitch in free-motion my dance routine: One, two, three, four, five, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, One, Kick-Hop, Two, Kick-Hop. Repeat. However, my sewing machine didn't like my writing with stretchy invisible thread, so I quit after a bungled line. Instead, I cut free-form notes out of the shiny black no-sew fabric and glued them down. I felt I should wrap the entire piece in pink tulle, sew it to the binding edge and pink it near the seam. Then I believed I should layer more beads over the seam. I put beads on the front and back.

     The quilt has sweet comforting memories encased. However, during a work crisis, I accidentally deleted this blurb on "comfort" which I had just written and had to rewrite it.   Time for COMFORT!

Carolyn's Comfort: At Peace With Nature



When I thought about the theme, comfort, several things came to mind.  The comfort I find with my husband, family and friends, the comfort of a touch, the comfort that comes from sharing a cup of coffee with a friend.  I decided that for this theme, I would combine the places where I find comfort - a walk by the lake and the discovery of an unusual bloom.  I love my backyard garden which includes colorful flowers and a bubbling fountain.  So I chose to make a quilt with a wonderful joyful flower and running water across the bottom.

I design my quilts in a free style, cutting them out as I go without patterns. I fused the fabrics for raw-edge appliqué using Wonder Under.  The background is left over hand-painted fabric from Sky Dyes.  The stems are rotary cut with a serrated blade to give motion and movement.  The leaves and binding are Shot Cottons.  The flowers, buds and water are various batik fabrics.  Each leaf is hand embroidered with machine stitching added around each border.  The center of the flower contains 5 pieces of fabric fused on top of one another.  The solid yellow was machine stitched with Poly Neon embroidery thread, and the multi-color orange flower petals were free motion quilted and outlined with Aurifil thread.  The moss at the top of the water was created using Wild Heather's hand-dyed silk organza.  The buds were accented with various colors of colored fabric pencils.  The quilt was attached to Timtex prior to machine quilting, then backed with a solid fabric and
finished with a solid Shot Cotton binding.

Nedra's Comfort - Log Landing Road

"There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort."   

Jane Austen

One of my first thoughts when the new theme was revealed was of Southern Comfort liquor.  How much of that did I consume in my younger years?!!??  But I can’t say that it gave me much “comfort” – in fact it often gave me discomfort in my college days!  My home provides me great comfort - family, mementos, pictures, quilts and quilting are centered there.  These compose my nest where I am most comfortable.    I was inspired by the plantation label of a Southern Comfort bottle but added my home and tweaked the design to portray my new Southern Home Sweet Home. 

Using a black and white copy of a picture of the house, I drew a pattern on my background fabric and embroidered the piece with embroidery thread.  Black beads and shading with a fabric pen were used to complete the scene.  A black bias strip of fabric encircles the home and trees.  Hand quilting was done in the background in a grid design.  The piece is gallery wrapped on a frame my husband constructed.  

Andrea's ( Cold ) Comfort

No Bowl Required

Hand-dyed and hand-painted cotton, organza, screened, stencil,
 Gelli Plate monotype, stencil and fused

Comfort = food = pizza & ice cream?  No.  Just ice cream!  These were my first thoughts when I heard the theme for our November reveal.  Once I decided that I would focus on ice cream I began to think about my personal history and realized that it probably began with Howard Johnson's and their "28 Famous Flavors".  I "inherited" a collection of matchbook covers that I used as my inspiration to screen the tone-on-tone design on the background.  The original Simple Simon logo was designed by John Eagles Alcott.  My color choice of turquoise blue and orange is another way of paying tribute to this iconic American business.
On the way to my studio one day I happened to look at a wall which is covered with framed art and memorabilia and saw the crayon drawing of a cow that I made as a first grader.  I then thought what fun it would be to incorporate my cow image on the carton of my imaginary ice cream container.  So "Udder-ly Delicious" brand of ice cream was "born"!  Once the carton was constructed and positioned on top of the background saw that there was too much negative space at the top.  I did not want anything that would overpower the container ( and very special cow! ), so came up with "need I say more?" which I screened onto organza for it's transparency, and then fused.  The orange swirly design on the container is a Gelli Plate monotype ghost print using a stencil that I just bought from a vendor at The International Quilt Festival in Houston. 

Close up

 First grade cow drawing inspiration

Howard Johnson's matchbook cover collection

Lois' Comfort

Comfort is laying in a Hammock           

I had this machine applique piece well under way before the show in Houston, so when I got home I wanted to incorporate many  of the ideas that swirled around in my head for this piece.  But it was too far along to really do that, so you will have to wait till the next challenge for that to happen. My sweet sixteen purchased at the show came two days ago, so my dream of doing thread painting has become a reality.   I did add the shading under the hammock with information gained in my dyeing class, and the use of metallic threads in the shadow area as well from a collage class in Houston.

I lived in Aruba from 2002 to 2007, and while I was there I did a series of paintings of hammocks.
Hammocks were everywhere in Aruba, and before living there I never realized how comfortable and comforting laying in one with the island breezes kissing your skin could be. I loved looking at them, being in one on a lazy day,looking at them in the stores in a myriad of colors and styles and watching the children there use them, as children here use a swing set. So comfort for me is that visual memory of being on Aruba under a palm tree, and just being happy in that glorious brightly colored hammock with the fringe!!!!

Rita's Comfort

Rita’s Comfort
What brings me comfort?  My family is the core of my comfort. My family is Randy, my husband of 52 years, son Daniel and wife, Ocea, daughter Lisa and husband Clayton, and our new precious 3 month old grandson, Ethan Daniel.
 My church, St. Paul’s Episcopal brings me comfort.  The idea of beauty and order brings comfort.  I recently read a quote from William Morris (1834 – 1896) “If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it:  Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” I am already anticipating the 2014 spring crop of blue bonnets and the comfort they will bring.
So for this challenge I chose to do a representation of another of nature’s beauty, a tiger lily.  And flowers, of course, are often given to bring comfort to the recipient.  Flowers have a special language that can say, “I truly love you”; “I am thinking of you”; “I am so happy for you.”
The technique used for my 12 x 12 was inspired by the book Bold and Beautiful, Artful Quilts from just one Fabric, by Judi Dains. Judi suggests choosing a batik fabric with large splashes of color, placing it on your design wall and then standing back to get a good perspective. Look for the flowers (or butterflies or vases or leaves) that pop out in the fabric.  This fabric reminded me of tiger lilies that my Mother planted as I was growing up, a memory that brings comfort.
After locating the tiger lilies, I marked the outside boundaries for this composition and placed the fabric under transparent plastic.  Using a marker, the flower outlines were sketched onto the plastic looking at photographs of tiger lilies as a guide.  (Judi does this right on the fabric.  I decided that was NOT a good idea for my skill set).    Pleased with the drawing, I placed the plastic on the light box, fabric on top, and traced the drawing on to the fabric using a black permanent fabric marker.
The next step is to outline the drawing with thread.  I layered the fabric and a piece of batting and stitched on each drawn line.  I used a decorative stitch on the sewing machine that goes back and forth multiple times for maximum definition.  The feathers were done on the longarm machine.  Judi then uses inks to further define the drawings. Instead I used a set of permanent fabric markers (Tulip) that were fun to use and did much the same thing as inks. They are transparent and let the shadings of the fabric shine through. A bit of glitz was added using a gold Artist’s Paintstik on the feathers.  The final steps were to embroider the stamens using black perle cotton and to attach black seed beads for the spots on the petals of the tiger lilies.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Material Mavens in Houston!

Eleven of the Material Mavens had a great gathering on Friday evening during the Festival.  We ate dinner together and then moved to the Hilton lobby for a show and tell.

Above, from left to right are Alice, Lois, Rita, Judy S., Nedra, Sara, Carolyn, Andrea, Tricia, Kathy, and Barbara.

Mavens--don't forget that Friday is our Reveal Day for the Comfort Quilt!  Looking forward to seeing everyone's little quilt.

We missed the four who couldn't make the trip to Houston:  Janet, Judy W., Carol, and Linda.  Maybe 2014?