Sunday, May 25, 2014

SEFA 12x12 show awards Lois a People Choice ribbon

The Atlanta Southeast Fiber Alliance has a yearly 12x12 show.  The show allows any form of fiber art as long as it is 12x12 or smaller, including weaving, quilting, collage, silk painting, thread painting etc.  I have been inspired by the Maven's successes and decided to enter this piece into their show. It is the first time I have ever entered a show.  My piece received a ribbon for People's Choice.  As you know I have been thread painting since November, and this is one of my first pieces.  So I am thrilled that other's liked it. Alice encouraged me to post this, so I put in a photo of the piece and a small part of how it was displayed with some of the other 80 pieces that were entered. This piece has thread painting, raw silk applique, hand painting with inks and is quilted with flannel and is applied to a piece of raw canvas. It is so nice to be part of this group, and I want you all to know that you inspire me to stretch beyond my studio and your friendship and support is truly appreciated.
Dartboard by Lois Schlowsky

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Spring Composite!

Here are our Spring quilts in a composite that, as usual, Randy has composed for us.  As always, a huge thanks from all of us to Randy.  And a big round of applause!  This one looks particularly good, I think!  I always find that it is fascinating to know Randy's rationale and logic for how he arranges our quilts.  And so I will quote him here:

"Top row is pink and plants.
Second row is kinda sorta structures or structure related. The hanging quilt was a nice touch from Tricia.
The third row – middle – “spring”, makes sense without the description – the left and right is open to the eye of the beholder.
Fourth row just makes you grin.
Last row – I wanted to make this poster one big “jack-in-the-box” because of the really big grin it gave me – so the road to the grin will have to suffice."

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Judy S.- Spring Water and Flowers

The first thing that came to mind was a spring bringing fresh water to the surface. I chose the background fabric to give it a sunset feel and I wanted to put the spring in the woods, but I didn’t want to cover up the pretty fabric. Instead of worrying about the right perspective I just put in branches of flowers which of course mean spring has arrived. 
I used organza for the water flowing down between the rocks.
This is a close up that shows the rocks on the left and the flowers not quilted. I thought you might like to see how different they look before quilting.
I used the zig-zag stitch to free-motion quilt the flowers.
Here is the back of the quilt. I used lavender thread so that it would show up, but wouldn't be harsh.

Barbara's quilt--Looks Like Spring to Me!

I made this quilt in the Reyna Gillman technique and was sharing it with quilt critique group friends.  I was complaining that I didn't have an idea for my Spring challenge quilt when someone said "This looks like spring to me!"  Well I love when that happens!  I machine quilted in the ditch to stabilize the piece and did some hand embroidery with Perle Cotton in a few strategic places.

Sorry this is late in the day, but, it's still the 15th and I've been watching the news of the fires here in San Diego.  Nothing close to me but it's been scary with the heat and the strong winds!

Carolyn's Spring: Lady Bird's Legacy

Spring in Texas means fields and fields of wildflowers, thanks to the work of Lady Bird Johnson.  Back in the 1960’s, she pushed the nation’s first legislation through Congress to beautify our highways, parks and public areas.  Seeds of wildflowers – bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, black-eyed Susan, blanket flower and phlox - were sown all across Texas.  Today a drive on Texas highways each Spring is a glorious sight to see.  My quilt is a nod to the legacy this special woman left behind for all to enjoy. When I made this quilt, I had just returned from the hill country and a drive through miles and miles of incredibly beautiful bluebonnets.

The background is a scrap of a Sky Dyes fabric.  The hills, grass and road are fabric by Cherrywood.  All are attached with Wonder Under. Raw-edge appliqué was used for the over-sized bluebonnets cut out from left-over bluebonnet fabric, greenery and flowers mimicking Indian paintbrush.  All were hand- embroidered along with the  bluebonnets scattered over the hills.  Machine quilting finished the piece.  

Tricia's Spring Quilt

 When I thought of Spring my daughter said "you always cant wait until its warm enough to hang the sheets out to dry. " When I bring the sheets in they smell so delicious!  There are woods behnd our house.   We always have a rope tied between two trees.  About a month ago I took a class called "Creating with Cool Stuff" from Linda Schmidt, Fiber Artist thru my guild.  She had several techniques which I thought would be perfect for my quilt.  I started with puff paint to create my trees. I painted the trees on muslin, let them dry and then painted them brown and black for the bark.  Once they are dried you use a heat gun to make them puff.  I then cut them away from the muslin.

 Next came the leaves.  Linda showed us how to use a heat gun on Lutadur sheets.  The heat created holes in the Lutradur.  I painted the sheets with greens and yellows to create a spring leaf color.  Once the paint is dried you iron the lutadur to steam a seam lite so it can be adhered to the quilt.  After ironing onto steam a seam you pull it apart to look like the leaves.

Once the trees were finished I created the background.  I decided I didn't want to have a sheet hanging from the clothes line.  I thought I should make a miniature quilt which I have never done before.  I paper pieced the quilt.  I also needed to make clothes pins.  I cut balsa-wood into the shape of a clothes pin.  Spring was a fun project.  I was glad to be able to use a few new techniques I had just learned.

Sara's Spring Quilt

I really enjoyed thinking about the word Spring - I thought of springs going "boing" in all directions, clock springs and a battle of tug of war between winter and summer. Another group I am in had a challenge word of "tradition" and I started thinking of my family Spring traditions and the thoughts really rolled in. I settled on my husband's passion for Peeps - only the ones shaped like chicks. That gives us the pre and post Easter tradition of hunting for and buying the hugest collection of Peeps we can assemble. This year we had a fabulous multi-colored collection which included the watermelon Peeps that are green on the outside and pink in the middle. My sweetheart's favorites are the yellow ones - he claims they taste better. I won't eat Peeps so I take his word for it. (By May he says he is permanently done with Peeps but he seems to forget that by the next year).

The two of us had fun with this. I've challenged myself to try to techniques with each challenge in addition to meeting the challenge criteria. I thought I would try thread embellishing a manipulated photo. Husband and I unwrapped many boxes of Peeps and arranged them in colorful combinations while I took pictures.Playing with your "food" can be fun.  My color printer did not want to cooperate and I did not want to wait or to send the image for printing so I tried a different approach. I took the image that was enlarged and printed on 11 by 17 paper up to my studio. The color balance on my print out was terrible so I ignored the colors and used a technique I learned from Esterita Austin for monoprinting with Mistifuse. I layerd a piece of parchment over my image and painted the image onto the parchment with Golden Acrylic paint. After it dried I created a "sandwich" of plain parchment (for table protection), painted parchment, dried paint side up, Mistifuse, really cheap synthetic organza (mine was a polyester, Esterita said she uses nylon bridal wrap but the poly I found was cheaper than the nylon I found) and then another layer of protective parchment paper. I then used an iron to transfer the paint to the organza via the layer of fusible (I believe it was on a synthetic setting). It is really cool to pull the paper off and see the paint transferred to the fabric - seems magical.

I then trimmed the organza some and fused it to a piece of cotton sateen damask, a sample given to me by a friend who owns a fine linen shop. I added free motion black outline stitching to enhance the design and also some stitching for the little peep eyes. I then trimmed away all the organza outside of my stitching. I layered the top with batting and backing and quilted the little guys rather heavily and finished off the quilt using a facing. I may go in and add more stitching to the background now.

Your theme for what I  believe is the last round this year is Friendship.
Jane Hartfield

Jane Hartfield's Spring Quilt

The word spring automatically brings to mind the season. It is a promise of rebirth, renewal, and the end of the cold winter. Although I usually say fall is my favorite season, spring is very close. I love the flowers and the green leaves and grass and the promise of sweet fruit.
That being said, I have been working with deconstructed screen printing with thickened dyes. This process is slow with considerable waiting time, but the results are very interesting. I am sure I will be doing more of this in the future.
After my screen prints batched and dried, I decided to fill in the white spaces with Tsukineko inks and Setacolor Shimmer paints. That created a piece that I was ready to quilt. So…it became a whole cloth quilt. I finished the edges with hand dyed silk ribbon.

I hope you enjoy the colors of spring.

Nedra's Spring--Robin Red Breast is Here!

Ah spring.  How I longed for it to arrive when I lived in New England.    I used to dream of azaleas, clover, bridal wreath and tulips in March as in my memories of spring in Louisiana.  But alas, winter seemed to go on endlessly with brown lawns and leafless trees.  How I would rejoice when the first blades of green grass and tender buds would start to grow.  And then they would appear.  Robins – the quintessential harbinger of spring!!!!

I used  a collage-like technique to create the bird.  I drew a sketch of the robin on stabilizer and filled in the design with cut pieces of fabric which I fused and stitched into place.  I then did machine quilting to emphasize the beak, eye, and  feathers with shading.

Using craft foam, I made a stamp of bird’s feet and created a pattern on the background fabric and then stitched the robin into place.  The feet, worm, grass and spring were  fused.  A yo-yo and button dot the I.

It is machine quilted using a “spring” shaped design and the tracks of the feet were stitched for emphasis and contrast. 

Spring by Lois

When I started thinking about spring, two things came to mind.  Planting flowers with my Nona, and making potholders with her on a little loom and the stretchy ring things.  So that was my inspiration for this little quilt. I cut out silk scraps with rough edges in the size and shape of those fabric rings. Then I went through my stash and started layering fabrics on the canvas square and cutting out parts so the canvas would show through it, I continued the layering and cutting until I had enough area canvas so I could stitch paint my child like flowers and leaves to look like a doodle.  Then I started stiching larger flowers on the fabric and cutting out parts of them as well and adding some paint and even more fabric until it had a really rough edged, thick look, like a child cuts paper and glues pieces on top of pieces. I finished it with even more thread painting.  Then I took my silk scraps and made my border by crumpling them and roughly stitching on top of the scraps in an irregular way. With many thread changes for color, and actually pulling out the fibers of the rough silk to create a fuzzy rough raw look. I made the piece look like a potholder, not quite square or perfect with a bit of rounded corners. I hope this doesn't cause Randy a problem, but you can crop it if you need to Randy!!!!  All in all a fun quilt to do without much planning, just a lot of good memories and a sewing machine leading me on. Hope you all liked the theme!

Andrea's Spring--Oh Spring, Where Art Thou?

Cotton, Organza, Screed Prints, Gelli Plate prints, Fused

When I began this quilt I feared that our winter would never end, so just thinking about spring and working with spring colors made me smile.

Originally I was not going to use flowers as my focal point, however that changed after viewing a YouTube video showing how to achieve a painterly-effect monotype print with a Gelli Plate by painting an image on the plate with brushes.  I usually use a brayer to roll the paint evenly on the plate.  I started by experimenting with printing a very loose tulip design on paper which I was pleased with so then tried printing on fabric.  As I really wanted the green background, also printed with the Gelli Plate, to be a prominent element, printed more tulips on white organza, which allowed the background to show though.

After printing tulips that I was happy with, began to think about other images that represent spring to me.  The screen print on the lower left corner was taken from a favorite photo of a thatched roof cottage that I took in England in April 1983, which is screened on green organza.

I am very pleased with the outcome of this quilt as it does achieve what I had envisioned: the greens and flowers of early spring. 

organza on top of plate before printing

Carol's Spring

In New Hampshire spring is means maple sugar time. We still had snow when the word went out and I puzzled that one for a little while, but maple sugaring was in full swing. If you have never had maple syrup - you just don't know what you are missing. It takes a long time to make and a lot of love/labor go into the making, but it is well worth it.

I used my new machine for most of the quilt. Fused fabric into a scene, placed the sugar house, then proceeded to zig-zag and sew all kinds of branches, etc. This piece really took off!
It has been accepted in the League of NH Craftsmen's Fair at Mt. Sunapee this summer in Living With Craft, which is a juried sale venue. Let's hope it goes to a good home!

Janet's Spring Quilt--Spring on the Farm


I was lucky enough growing up to get to spend a lot of time on my grandmother's farm where she raised black Angus cattle. I gave them names and pretended I did not know where they were going when the truck took them away and it came back empty. I did notice one thing and the next time you pass a field of cows you look. There is always one cow standing in the corner alone with its backside to the other cows looking ashamed. I think I have this all figured out as you can see by my quilt. I think there is a lot of partying going on at night which could explain the lethargic attitude by the rest of the herd in the daytime. I did notice one thing when I was done, each cow seemed to take on the personality traits of my four sisters and that would be me flat on my back, not usually drunk, just flat on my back. And yes, this is what cows look like at night. This quilt if for my son Justin who turns 33 this week and still rolls down the window and moos at cows. I blame his father.

Rita's Spring Quilt--The Future Site of Waco

Legend has it that Waco, TX, was built on land that was first occupied by the Huaco (also known by many other spellings) Indians and they made their home here because of the big spring on the Brazos River that provided abundant fresh water. They were also known to live in permanent lodges of thatch and poles and were considered to be fine artisans in flint and bone and stone. By the early 1830s the Huaco Indians were almost gone. When our challenge word was presented I wanted to remember this part of our history in my SPRING.

In constructing this, first the background was made and quilted and then the appliqués were completed.  Two years ago I took a class at the International Quilt Festival on thread painting, taught by Nancy Prince.  The steps are detailed in her book, Thread Painting with Style, published by AQS.  Each of the thread painted appliqués was created separately and then attached to the quilt.  To do these a sandwich of heavy weight soluble stabilizer, two layers of tulle, and a top layer of light weight soluble stabilizer, on which the design is drawn in a fine tip permanent marker, is made.  The amazing thing about thread painting is that only two stitches are used, a straight stitch and a zig-zag stitch.  The stabilizer and tulle sandwich must be placed in a hoop that will fit under the free motion foot of the machine and the basic rule is to run the machine fast and move the hoop slowly.  The feed dogs must be lowered as well.

After the stitching is complete, cut out the appliqué approximately one eighth inch from the stitching and soak in water until the stabilizer has completely dissolved.  After the stabilizer has dissolved, the appliqué will be edged in tulle.  Using a hot stencil cutter, simply melt the tulle away.  This also serves to seal the edges of the appliqué.  The appliqué is amazingly soft and supple.  The Indian, his lodge and the vegetation are all thread painted.  The rocks are broderie perse appliqué, cut from a commercial fabric and fused into place. All appliqués were attached with a small zig-zag stitch using invisible thread.

[Note:  Rita's quilt and narrative were posted by Alice since she was going to be out to town on today's Reveal Day; she sent them to me via email before she departed.]

Alice's Spring Quilt--Raggedy Ann in a Box

I wasn’t even thinking about this current theme when I went into a toy store looking for a baby shower gift.  Suddenly I spied the Jack in the Boxes. Ah ha!  A toy that depends on a spring for it to work! I was delighted to see that instead of a clown popping out, one was a princess and the other was a teddy bear.  (I’ve never cared for clowns!)

I decided to depict Raggedy Ann springing from the box.  My mother made me Ann and Andy dolls one Christmas.  They were some of my favorite childhood gifts. I loved the books on which the dolls are based and read them all.  (I know, I know—my love of books comes up again!) Then some 30 years later, I made our youngest daughter Susan giant Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls.

My own dolls are tattered and torn, missing shoe-button eyes and lower legs!  But Susan’s are still in good shape, and “live” on the day bed in the “grandchildren’s room.”  So with my own pitiful torn-up dolls and these other two, I had plenty of models and came up with a sketch I liked.

I decided to use commercial printed fabrics, rather than the batiks I so often use.  The background is a harlequin-patterned green I used in making one of my great-nephews a quilt.  Ann’s clothes are bits and pieces from my stash that I first prepared with Wonder-Under.  I traced the various elements of my sketch onto the fabrics, using a light-box. After all were cut out, I fused each section onto the green fabric.

I followed the design of the fabric in machine quilting, and I secured the edges of the appliques with a tiny zig-zag stitch.  I thought the yarn hair would be hard, but many handy sites on the Internet helped me out with that.

The dolls from the 1940s and the ones from the 1970s are portrayed in photos on the back of the quilt.

Kathy's Spring: "It All Started with THE GOWN"

"It all Started with the Gown"
Sometimes the biggest challenge for me is narrowing down the ideas that come flying into my head when we get our Challenge word.  "Spring" can mean so many things, and one of my first thoughts was an interpretation of "Time" as in the mainSPRING of a watch or time piece.  I'd even selected fabrics that would have perfectly conveyed that idea.  (They're still sitting on my Studio table !)

And then I saw "The Gown."    At a teeny-tiny "estate sale" we just happened upon, I wandered through the old house, in and out of all the rooms... just kind of looking around.  And there...hanging on an old wire hangar was simply, the most beautiful Gown I've ever seen.  Made of pure silk with pink silk ribbons, it embodied the purest thoughts of early love, romance, marriage, and the longevity of a tried and true relationship.   The silk is old; judging from some of the framed pictures in the house, I'd guess the gown was made in the 1930's.  The silk was cut on the bias; it hangs beautifully on that old wire hangar; and I can imagine how gorgeous it looked on the tall, slender woman who first wore it....perhaps on her wedding night.  Many of the lace pieces were sewn on by hand; there are tiny bust-line darts that give shape to the bodice; the pink silk ribbons tie at the waist line giving the entire piece just a bit more shape.   Simply put, it is an exquisite piece.
the beautiful gown!
Made of silk, the Gown is soft, demure, romantic; simple, luxurious in its own way.  It made me think of a wedding.  Weddings... flowers... bouquets.  And my random thoughts worked their way into the beautiful "Spring" quilt shown below.

Using a brand new package of stencils from Amy Butler (one of my favorite designers !) I selected a stencil that reminded me of a Spring Wedding Bouquet and stenciled the motif onto silk organza.  I used a combination of Jacquard textile paint and Lumiere metallic / pearlescent textile paint to give the motif a luminous quality.   I then made a basic quilt "sandwich" using water-mark taffeta for the top / 100% cotton batting / and pink cotton fabric printed with sentimental words like family, love, comfort, harmony, celebrate, etc. for the backing.   I free-motion quilted that basic quilt using Madeira 30 wt. variegated rayon thread and Madeira clear monofilament thread in my bobbin.    
After quilting that basic quilt, I 'fused' the stenciled silk organza to the quilt using a new-to-me product called Ultraviolet Misty Fuse that I learned about at the Int'l Quilt Festival in Houston last November.  It was amazing !   The Misty Fuse actually merged the silk organza to the the small quilt and they became as one unit.  I then free motion quilted around the stenciled motif; prepared and attached the binding and hanging sleeve.

This was one of the most enjoyable MM pieces I've worked on, and I attribute its success to that soft, simple, beautiful Gown that was so inspirational.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Janet's Strong Quilt -- My Dad's Hat

A few months after my father passed away all of the family gathered at my stepmother's home to go through my dad's things. It was a good day and painful at the same time. We laughed and we cried and at the end of the day we went our separate ways. I came home with my dad's beloved Stetson hat and put it away in a closet.  It was simply too painful for me to deal with it. 

When I took it out of the box to take a picture for the quilt I was surprised to see a card in the box. It contained an expression of love from my stepmother to my dad, hidden under the hat form in the box. My dad was of the generation that did not express feelings easily. He was born in Oklahoma in 1913 and had survived the drought, the dust bowl, the crash of 1929, the Depression, World War 1, World War ll, Korea. I never knew a time when he did not have at least two and sometimes three jobs to support our big family, but he never complained. He was not demonstrative, but we knew he loved us.  The only time I saw him cry was when my mother died. He was left with four girls to raise, a baby, a seven year old, a fourteen year old and a seventeen year old. My childhood ended that day, for there was always work to do. I had to become a mother myself to understand the strength it took for my dad just to get through the day. He was left with huge medical and funeral debts that took him years to pay off. He had to leave us home alone to raise ourselves.  He worried all day that something bad would happen while he was gone. 

I have had a hard time writing this because I was the last one to see him. We had gone to Oklahoma City for Easter and I got up at 5:00 A.M. to beat the traffic. He was sitting in his recliner in the dark, something he did when he was worried or did not feel well. I said my goodbyes and drove the six hours home only to get a phone call from my sister saying he had gone to the emergency room after we left and had passed away. I wish I had not rushed so much to leave, I wish he had told me he was sick, I wish, I wish........the list is endless. One last thing, on the brim of the hat you will see a dark smudge. My dad always removed his hat when speaking to a lady and when he was indoors. I made the quilt out of simple plaid material.  He loved plaid and his hat.  This is a quilt for a simple man who was very much loved.

[I was happy to post this for Janet, given her current difficulty with typing!]

Janet's Comfort Quilt -- Chicken Soup

As you all know by know I have a dilemma that I will have to struggle with for probably the rest of this year. It dawned on me that I have a box of experiments and quilt squares that I did not want to make a quilt out of that I could make good use of, solving the sewing problem. I did not get to make a quilt for my own word Comfort and I had the perfect quilt square in the discard box, chicken soup. It hit me when I was having a bowl after my trip to the hospital last week. Doctor's have found that it can actually have some benefit, whether it is the ingredients or it is psychological who knows and who cares. When I'm sick I want chicken soup and Vicks Vapo Rub. I'm not sure it does anything but that is what grandma always did and somehow it makes me feel better!

[Note from Alice:  Janet sent this to me for me to post, because of her inability to use her left arm and hand--thus typing is hard for her!]