Sunday, October 27, 2019

The "Tale" Composite

As I enjoy the art of quilting, I’m fascinated by two things: How many memories are woven into each quilt and why don’t we more often use that fabric to tell those tales.   As I travel to the art shows with Rita, I still wonder, why isn’t the ART of quilting more recognized as truly ART, and the creator[s] more celebrated as truly ARTISTS?

TALE, another round of memories. I decided this composite begged for a different layout, call it a scatter-gram, if you will. One quilt took me down a path I didn’t expect, but it turned out to be a tale. Andrea’s shoes didn’t make any sense at first glance. Then I read the narrative and saw the universal sign of, “Thou shalt not!” and burst out laughing. It even tickled me that “THE RITZ” had “loaner shoes.” I agree with their decision, the shoes they had on were made for walking – out. 

Kathy’s tail of a whale [or should it be whale of a tale] made a good mid-point [read that as focal point.]  Gail, I’m not a cat fancier, but your pets just seem to be sitting on top, keeping an eye on all the tales to be told, of ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties – and Tale [actually a Scottish Prayer] to be told. 

To complete the “circle” Nedra, Carolyn and Alice found the true meaning of, “A Tale to be told.” Each of those squares would make a page in a story book, if someone would just wrap the rest of the story around it.  I never knew any of my grandparents very well so I don’t know what I missed of the old tales. We [and all the family] read and tell stories to our 6-year-old grandson constantly. He now reads the World Book Encyclopedia on his own.
What a wonderful treasure of memories woven into these 6 small quilts.

Thank you, one and all.
The tiny spider is simply because it is Halloween month and I thought you might need a grin.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Andrea's Tale Quilt

No Entry: The Tale of Three Sisters

12" x 12" 
Hand dyed cotton, stenciled and hand painted commercial cotton.

My friend and her two sisters were spending the day together in London, enjoying each others' company.  This was the first time in twelve years that all three were in the same country at the same time.  As they neared The Ritz Hotel they decided to stop in for a "proper afternoon tea".  When attempting to enter the restaurant they were stopped and told that they could not be seated as they were wearing "inappropriate footwear"!  Seems the hotel has a "no trainers" policy in any of their restaurants.  In all fairness to The Ritz, the sisters were offered to borrow appropriate footwear in order to be served, but they declined and decided to find their tea elsewhere.  Before they parted for the day, they took a photo to document their "inappropriate footwear".  This quilt is based on that photo:

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Kathy's "Whale of a Tail" Tale !

OH BOY !     I had a blast with this MM Challenge  :-D

Many of you know I spent 35+ years in Anchorage, Alaska before relocating to Texas 10 years ago.

In Alaska, we were constantly exposed to and aware of the Culture of the "Native Alaskans" that include Eskimo, Tlingit, Haida, Inupiat, and other regional Native Peoples.  

Other well known "peoples" who now inhabit the Great State of Alaska include a very strong presence by the U.S. Military, the United States Government, Explorers, Seekers of Gold, and, of course, all those who are involved in Alaska's other major economic resource often referred to as "Black Gold"  OR  "BIG OIL"  !

Getting back to the Native Culture, of particular interest to me was the Tribal Art associated with the Native Tribes.   Wherever you'd look …  in the Museums, in the buildings that house the Federal, State, and Local Governments, in the Schools, and of course in every gift / tourist shop (!)  you'd be immersed in "Native Art" that's completely saturated with images from Nature.   These images pay homage to the Animal "mascot" for each of the tribes.  [It actually took me quite a while to figure this out !]

When our challenge word "TALE" was presented to us, I reflected back on the Alaska Native Tribal Culture, and chose a "Whale."    More specifically, I chose to present my interpretation of a " 'Whale's Tail' Tale."  

This Challenge Quilt is 11" x 14" and is made of cotton fabrics, and tulle.   The Whale's Tail is appliqued onto the background sea and sky fabrics.   The "Free Motion" quilting represents the gorgeous Alaska sky at sunset, and the ever-moving ocean.    As this Whale dives back into the very deep, and frigidly cold Arctic waters, he churns that water;  his 'splashes' are illuminated by the brilliant sunset that's reflected by the small beads representing water bubbles.

  [YES....  I  MISS  ALASKA !  ]


Nedra's Tale - The Tale of Peter Cottontail

When I was a little girl this was one of my favorite books.  I loved looking at the pictures and was always concerned for Peter - the hazards in the garden were quite scary as was Mr. McGregor!!!  I could relate to Peter's antics - wanting to sneak in to eat the fresh vegetables!!  My family had a garden and I did the very same thing with carrots and tomatoes!!  Our garden wasn't so threatening thank goodness!

My goal was to depict some of the pictures in the book in a very playful style.  I had seen some machine quilted work done with black thread machine stitching which gave that feel so I used that technique.  I drew most of the objects myself and used fusible for those.  The cabbage and radishes are fussy cut from commercial fabrics and fused.   Decorative stitches were used for the vegetables in the garden and there is some machine stitching to suggest bushes to border the garden.

This was quite fun to work on though stressful.   We just returned to Savannah for the winter a week ago and I've had to unpack, clean, settle in AND finish this.  I don't work well under pressure and would have liked more time to tweak it.  It's done and I'm pleased with the whimsy of the piece but would work on the garden more.  The rows are a bit wonky and it came out bigger than I envisioned - I wanted a more subtle background.  C'est la vie!!!

Carolyn: Granny's Tale

We made a trip to North Carolina to visit my maternal grandmother when our children were 12 and 6.  A bent-over but jovial farm wife, Granny loved to tell jokes and tales. We took a tape recorder to record her talking to our girls in her colloquial mountain speech.  The girls asked her about school and this is what she said:  

“I grew up in the Appalachian foothills with two sisters and one younger brother.  We were short of money, but we were happy.  We had a one-room schoolhouse right next door to the church house with just one teacher. We walked barefoot along a little path through the forest to get there, and toted our lunch in a tin pail.  Sometimes I didn’t want to go because the woods were dark and I was scart.  I only went through 3rd grade.” 

My quilt is a tribute to my Granny.  I drew a pattern for the path, grass and woods, and created the background with cotton, silk and hand dyed fabrics from Frieda Anderson and Mickey Lawler. The quilting was done with Ricky Tims Studio Colors thread, which has a nice sheen. The flowers are hand-embroidered with Laura Wasilowski’s hand-dyed thread using her whimsical ideas. I found a picture in a coloring book of a little girl in a bonnet, and used that image to create the barefoot little girl.  When all was finished, I added a tiny bow to her apron that I made with hand-dyed yarn purchased years ago in Houston, along with her small tin pail. I’m sure my Granny never had such fine school clothes, but for my quilt, I wanted her to have only the best!

Alice's TALE Quilt: Who's That Nibbling at My House?

I loved fairy tales as a child.  My favorite tale was Rapunzel, but Hansel and Gretel was a close second.   As a mother, however, I felt uneasy reading this story aloud to my children.  A father who takes his children into the forest and deliberately loses them?  A witch who puts Hansel in a cage and feeds him until he’s plump enough to eat?  This is the stuff of nightmares!  I wonder why the story fascinated me so much as a little girl?  Perhaps it was because the children are so resourceful: Hansel drops bread crumbs, hoping to use them to lead him and Gretel back home, for example. (Too bad the birds ate them.)  And Gretel saves her brother and herself by shoving the witch into her own oven!  I’m told that psychologists explain why children love these sometimes-gruesome fairy tales because in them often children are strong and victorious.  Think of Jack defeating the giant in the Beanstalk story.  So many examples!

I decided to depict this story for my TALE quilt.  I have collected small pieces of wool fabric over the years, and I’m surprised that this is the first time I’ve used them for a MM quilt.  The witch’s cottage was made of gingerbread, so the brown wool was perfect for it.  I depicted Hansel and Gretel as a gingerbread girl and boy.  I had some Christmas fabric that included the peppermint candies used that to decorate the roof and form the stepping stones leading to the house, as well as the candy canes that adorn the door.  Dark blue wool worked well for the background.  I attached the various elements with embroidery floss.  This embroidery was actually the only “quilting” on the quilt.

I also used the candy Christmas fabric for the back of the quilt, and I had some candy-striped fabric that I used for the binding.  TALE was my theme word, and I had the most fun ever making this quilt!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Tale Challenge —A Tale of Two Kitties By Gail Bradney

My 2 kitties constantly keep me amused.  They insert themselves into my sewing, reading, and sleeping.  They are great company and the perfect foil for this challenge.  I just grabbed fabric and thread without much thought, working intuitively.  It was fun.  I love being a Material Maven and look forward to seeing some of you in Houston next month.  

Friday, August 2, 2019

The Tear Composite

Did you remember, the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee ended in an 8-way tie? All 8 finalist could not be stumped and were declared winners and each were awarded the $50,000 prize. When I saw this round’s Material Maven’s challenge word, my immediate reaction was, “May I hear it used in a sentence please?”  Seven Maven quilters stepped up to the challenge and stitched “teer” [sic] and “tare” [sic] in creative and unique ways – again. I hope you tried to determine how the composite layout made any kind of sense before you read these next sentences. Fact is, even after Alice [basking in cool Michigan instead of down here in 100-degree Waco temperatures] posts these notes, I may change MY perspective.
Here goes:
Only 7 quilts, actually two distinct themes, “teer” as in water from your eye in sadness or in happiness, and “tare” as in, “Opps, ripped my britches, again.”
Top row: Carolyn and Kathy chose to illustrate both uses of the word.  Carolyn touched the point beautifully, tears for those torn. Kathy, you can almost reach out and touch a falling “teer” drop.
Second row:Both Judy and Alice chose to “tare” their fabrics. The jean patch did give me a grin. A young lady [teenager] colleague I work with, wears those jeans that, 50 years ago we would have been embarrassed to wear. Today they sell for a premium price – with patches. Alice, clever way to use your scraps from a current project in Michigan, without the benefit of the fabrics in Waco in your stash.
Third row: Nedra, you made me – almost – shed a happy “teer.” We take our grandson to the zoo and he loves to feed the giraffe. I know how important it is for us to make sure the species are protected, in zoos. But I also wonder how the animals feel. Andrea, I wonder how many of us are wondering what that e-mail said 😊. Your quilt is so vivid I can just see someone chasing that shopping cart down a hill, in the rain, and in today’s world, no one trying to help. Tricia. Great job turning a photo into fabric.
Job well done – all.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Judy S.- Tear Memories

Remember your favorite blue jeans getting a tear in it? Or just wearing out? In the 60’s and 70’s the way to repair them was by darning them on the sewing machine. I hated the ugly look of darning, but my daughter-in-law and a friend of hers had me darn some clothing items and they were thrilled. They were just so excited that they could wear their favorite item again. Hmm. Different perspective on the same thing.

Another way we repaired our clothes was by putting a premade patch over the hole. I found the little castle in my sewing room collection of odds and ends. 

We also used a lot of trim. When the pants got too short we would let out the hem and cover the worn edge with trim. If we needed to lengthen them more than that, we would add more trim to the bottom edge of the pants. Tada! We could wear them for the rest of the school year. I remember being surprised that even my cousins who were guys would have added trim to the bottom of their pants. It was the era of bell bottoms and hippies.

The most time consuming way of covering unsightly holes, tears, or stains was to hand embroider on them. Put some fabric on the back to cover the hole and embroider some cute design on your jeans.

I added sashiko to my piece because it fascinates me. I only learned about it through the quilt world, but it is an old technique that helped the poor in Asian countries save their clothing. Without a way to get more fabric to make a new garment or purchase a new one they would put fabric over the hole and stitch it in place. They did a lot more stitching than I did, but it gives you a look at another way to repair clothing.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Alice's Tear Quilt: A Torn Fabric Collage

This is late, I know, but perhaps a few others will come in late too!  I started to call this quilt “Michigan Memories.”  The fabrics in the collage are scraps from a queen-sized quilt I made for our new summer home—an apartment in our Michigan family’s new home, which was finished last September.  This is the first summer we’ve spent three months here and away from Waco.

I had zero ideas for this quilt, but then Andrea suggested a torn fabric collage, using the few fabrics I happened to have here.  (I am really missing my big stash!)  I had such a busy weekend with many baseball games to attend that I had no time to act on Andrea’s great idea.  Then yesterday was packed, too, so I just about gave up on the idea of making a quilt this time.

BUT…several others I am expecting haven’t yet been posted, so I thought that today I’d give it a try.  I tore some of the scraps into strips, applied Wonder Under fusible on the back of the strips and then laid them out on a piece of batting.  When all were arranged to my satisfaction, I fused them down, then trimmed to the 12X12 size.  I used a blue and yellow quilt block from a Guild project, one I wasn’t crazy about ,for the backing.  Top-stitching the strips down sufficed for the quilting.  I used the same fabric for the binding that I used for the queen quilt, my favorite fabric, actually, that also appears in the collage. 

Maybe you’d like to see the queen quilt that provided these scraps, so I’ll post a photo of it here, as well as a few others.

The queen-sized quilt in our bedroom.  I used a myriad of blue
and yellow fabrics, some of which I purchased in the
South of France when we were on a riverboat cruise!

Our bedroom opens through French doors into a wonderful
sun porch!

Here is a block from the quilt that uses that navy fabric that was my favorite.
It was a wonderful border print that I also used later in a lap quilt that
we use in our Waco living room.  A Kalamazoo machine quilter,
one whom I've used many times to quilt
for me, quilted both of these quilts for me.  She said to me that she and the
others in her store had never seen many of the fabrics I used in these two quilts.
When I explained that many came from France, she then
understood why those were totally new to her!

For those who thought my quilt looked like a shelf of books,
here's how I actually constructed this quilt.  Now that I see it here,
perhaps this way is best????