Thursday, April 30, 2009

I don't buy patterns. It's a simple fact. I make patterns so why would I buy them. So when I tell you that I BOUGHT a pattern at the Chicago show that ought to tell you how great these patterns are. Check them out! No affiliation, yada, yada...

Remember the in-process jacket, Pathways? Light teal with curving roads of free-motion quilting painted in turquoise, pink, white and purple? No one spoke up and said it was worth saving so I threw it out. Simple as that. I've moved on and have 5 jackets currently in various stages of process.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rhap Group Update

Yesterday was the bimonthly meeting of the Rhap Group (so named because our first project is from Ricky Tims' Rhapsody book) so I thought I'd give you an update on our progress. Unlike the Frayed Edges (a group in Maine that I have long envied) we don't do fancy meals (or anything to eat for that matter), just get together for a couple of hours and work through some of the books we've purchased, but not used yet.

I didn't get there until near the end because I had a dentist appointment (new crown, argh!) and this is what I found. They were busily planning their next project which is to start at the next meeting. What's going on? I'm the only one to finish the last project (although Jan's is currently on the long arm). I realize not everyone is a completionist (although I specifically selected these people because they get a lot done), but why would they begin planning something new when they're not done yet? The group is at least in part meant to encourage us to follow through and finish!

Oh well, I won't change anyone so I went with the flow. The next project is a no-brainer from a woven quilt book (the name escapes me at the moment) and they are all excited about starting. It doesn't appeal to me (I bought the book, read it through and decided to pass until someone selected it for the Rhap Group), but I'll do something smallish to participate. Obviously I won't be doing any of the projects in the book (I hate to read directions!), but will use it as a jumping off point for something all my own. Stay tuned.

This is Patty's Rhap quilt so far. She has it all sewn together (all those curved seams!) except the corners. I kinda like it as is, sans the odd 2 pieces, but it's not mine to play with. It's going to be gorgeous!

And this is Jerre's. Now she actually has a lot more than that, but she's at the stage where she double buttonhole stitches all the applique pieces in place prior to assembly. In her defense, I believe hers will be the largest finished piece, whereas mine, a jacket, the smallest.

On a more somber note, the swine flu approaches. There are several cases in San Diego, some within 10 miles of my home. As a person that has never had a strong immune system (I had every childhood disease known to man except polio, small pox (thanks to vaccines) and whooping cough) this one really worries me, especially when you hear about the respiratory problems. I've had asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia often enough to dread the possibilities. I have a hard time even being around someone else with those problems as I can feel it in my own chest. Thank goodness I have no travel plans until late July so I don't have to worry about helping spread it or cancellations. Keep you fingers crossed.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Completionist

You've all done it. Taken a hand's on class, workshop, guild presentation, etc. and come away with one block, sample, piece of art, etc. Then what do you do with it? It goes right into the UFO pile because it was such a cool idea so you know you'll finish it. Eventually. But right now you're working on _______ (fill in the blank).

Last Wednesday I went to Sherrie's class at Bits and Pieces. For those of you who don't know, Sherrie took over my old class there, but is not offering it through Palomar. It's a great class and a really nice group of people. Anyway I hadn't been there the week before since I was preparing for my fashion show for the Kaleidoscope Quilt Guild followed by my trip to Chicago so I didn't know we were supposed to bring anything. My tablemate, Jerre kindly lent me the required supplies: a piece of muslin and some crayons.

I colored the flower basket (this is so not me, but it was fun coloring!) and brought it home. Now what? I try to keep UFOs to a minimum and I know what a procrastinator I can be so I decide what the piece's purpose is right away. Will it be "something" or should I toss it as a fun lesson learned, nothing more is needed? This one said I should quilt it so I did in a couple of hours and ta-da! A wallhanging. (And yes I'm currently working on 6 other projects, but this one is done!)
Th picture above shows the actual colors.

And I tried to darken the contrast on this one so you could see the quilting better. I did some fairly small stippling, but as I moved out I felt it needed borders, which I had not added.
I thought about adding some, but it was silly to spend the time sorting through my stash to find the right something, just for a quickie piece like this. I didn't have the original crayons so I couldn't make my own so that option was out.
So I opted to make a pseudo border by stitching a rectangle around the piece, followed by another 1/4" away, then continuing with the stippling. Instant border and very elegant. I really like the way it came out and I can assure you it's prettier in person.

I'm a completionist still and no longer a procrastinator. Which are you?

Monday, April 27, 2009

I was hoping to post a picture of my latest piece, but it's not quite done. Perhaps tomorrow.

My latest project is a rather mind-dulling wall quilt for the second bathroom. The bathroom holds my daughter's collection of rubber duckies so I' making a rubber duckie quilt. I've drafted the little darlings and fused them to a pieced background (it's okay to fuse; it's only a bathroom wallquilt!), but I'm stuck at how to secure them. Should I satin stitch, buttonhole stitch or freemotion over the raw edges? Darned if I can figure it out.

I've also been organizing, cleaning up and making lists. I'm a big fan of list making and especially love crossing things off. I currently have 5 jackets in progress as well as the aforementioned wall quilt so a list is very useful.

And I've started back at the gym after a month off. It was torture, but I feel better mentally after going. I'm watching what I eat, too, which isn't any fun, but necessary every now and then if I want my 84 jackets to continue to fit. (All right only 79 of them actually fit me, but who's quibbling.) I actually need to clear a few out. If anyone has an experience selling things on Ebay would you please email me privately?

Time to knock a few more things off my list, including blogging,

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Another failure? I have been making so many jackets lately that I suppose it's time for another one not to work out as envisioned. I have about 6 hours into this one so far and I'm not terribly pleased.

I did my prep work. These are the paint samples to see which paint I would prefer on the fabric.

And this is my test piece to see how much paint to load on the brush and to check the colors again.

As for the results, here is the back of the jacket. I like the colors, but it just isn't how I pictured it. (Also I have a blob of pink paint that went outside the lines, argh!) It's not laying well because of the intense quilting in some areas and none in others. This is okay to leave areas unquilted on a jacket in many cases, but apparently not such a great idea when the space is entirely enclosed (or mostly enclosed) by heavy quilting.
I've tried ironing it, but you can still see the pulled areas if you look closely.
So the question is what do I do? Options:
  • finish as is and use as an object lesson (who knows, maybe it will hang out better than it lays flat on the wall) OR
  • toss it (I haven't spent that much time on it and I have plenty of other things to keep me occupied) OR
  • moderately quilt the empty spaces and hope that helps it to lay flat (but what appealed to me about the idea was the contrast between the heavily textured quilted areas and the smooth background areas) OR
  • trim each area out and applique it onto another surface (the flannel quilted beneath it might show through and is it really worth all that effort?).

What would you do?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Upcoming Class

I will be teaching how to make this jacket at Bits and Pieces in Escondido on Sunday, July 12 from 10-5. The cost is $40. The jacket is made with Angelina fibers using a machine reverse applique technique.
I hope you can make it!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

What's in a Name?

I'm working on multi-sizing my jacket patterns and I need to think up something to differentiate between the 3 patterns I've developed. I don't want to call them #1, #2, #3, etc. and I want to leave it open for more patterns. I'm debating between the following:
  • fun and funky word names such as Balderdash, Boondoggle, Abracadabra, etc. OR
  • words with a symbol theme such as Asterisk, Ampersand, Parenthesis, etc. OR
  • just words that appeal to me such as Ambiance, Apropos, Betwixt, etc. OR
  • what about a music theme such as Ballad, Boogie Woogie, Adagio, Arpeggio, Aria, etc.

See? Too many choices! Anyone like a particular idea? I looked up names for winds, but there weren't enough that were pronounceable, etc. These are the words I liked just going through my speller for A and B so I know there will be lots more to choose from.

Thanks for your help.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Final Runway Show

From the 2008 Bernina Fashion Show, Rendezvous, photos by Kim Coffman. Photos courtesy of Bernina and Quilts, Inc.It's the end of an era. One of the main reasons I went to Chicago was to see the final Bernina Fashion Show on the runway for the last time. The pieces will be at Long Beach, but only for the static display and some informal modeling.

The model wearing my ensemble in Chicago did a great job, even though the coat was a tad small on her. She took it off and showed the dress beneath it much better than it was shown in Houston. Seeing the Bernina Fashion Show at a luncheon is by far the best way to see the show. The tables are much closer to the runway than where you get to sit at Houston, even for the designers. Naturally this let me see the various ensembles even better and was a great treat.

I'm very sad that there will be no more shows. We were told it's just too expensive to insure and ship the ensembles. I guess the economic downturn is affecting everything, but it seems to me that wearable art is on the upswing because of the economic downturn as well as with a little help from Project Runway. (Speaking of Project Runway I assume that you've heard by now that season 6 will be on Lifetime starting August 20!) People are making more things instead of purchasing them.

Karey Bresenhan said they were going to come up with something new to highlight what we wearable artists do, but I haven't heard anything yet. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Shibori Class

While in Chicago I took a half day class on shibori with Glennis Dolce. It was fun and amazingly easy! Here is a gorgeous piece of shibori style ribbon I received in my kit. In case you can't tell from the photo the valleys are green while the hills are purple. The pleats are heat set into it so I stretched it out so you could appreciate it more. Glennis has a website so check it out And she's not too far away for me, in Long Beach! We used a variety of silks from silk organza, to silk broadcloth and the dyes we used are called Colorhue. They're nontoxic and don't need setting. What could be easier?! I bought some for home experimentation from Ginny Eckley's booth.

This piece involved stitching horizontal rows with strong thread starting with a knot on each row. Once all rows were stitched we gathered them up and tied them off. I dipped mine in purple dye, but it looks blue violet.

In this piece we stitched an enclosed area (I was trying for a leaf shape) then gathered the fabric up and wrapped the rest of the piece with the remaining thread. I purposely didn't wrap tightly because I didn't want much white. This piece was dipped in green on one end and red on the other, then I used an eyedropper to put yellow between the two.

This piece is silk organza that I folded into quarters then pole wrapped around a drum stick :-) It reminds me of a peacock feather.

This piece was folded in half then stitched along the fold, wrapping the thread over the fold each time. I dipped it in the "blue" which looked teal by the time I used it and the pumpkin on the other side with an eye dropper of yellow in between.

This was a piece of bias cut silk that I accordion folded into quarters then twisted tightly. Again using an eyedropper I added various colors.

This piece surprised me by looking like a flower. First I dyed the entire piece yellow. Then I folded the silk in half the long way then into triangles like you fold an American flag. I clamped a plastic disk on each side then dipped the corners into a variety of colors (pink, red and green).

This is my favorite piece. I folded it the same as the above piece except I started with multiple accordion folds the long way. It came out much smaller so I clamped a dime to each side. I used some worn out black dye along with pink and yellow.
I can't wait to try some more pieces then incorporate them into a jacket. This was easy and fun and I recommend you all take the class if you get a chance!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Back From Chicago

I'm back! I went to the Spring International Quilt Festival in Chicago and had a great time. This was my first quilt show all alone (I didn't know a single person there with the exception of a few vendors who were much too busy to spend time with me) and it went very well. I think I ate one meal alone the whole time and I met some wonderful people (hi Mary, Susan, Terrie, Mary Ann, Jan, Jane, Mary Sue, Maggie and Linda!)

There were fabulous quilts and great vendors (again I did serious damage to my pocketbook at Stewart Gill, but boy are those paints fabulous!). It was very crowded on Friday and somewhat crowded on Saturday, but the rest of the time was wonderful.

I took one class on Shibori and went to 3 samplers classes. I'll talk more about the shibori class when I've had time to take pictures of my pieces. The sampler classes were fun although it's not for the hard of hearing. The noise level is very high and you really have to strain to hear some of them. It's not their fault, just the nature of the set-up with everyone so close together.

Hand's down my favorite demo was Maggie Weiss. She did Pop Art Quilt Blocks and I almost didn't go to that one as I thought it was another block assembly lesson and those don't particularly interest me. Actually she showed how to use Thermofax screens and it was so cool! I can't wait to get some made and try it myself! Her talk was very logical and organized, too, unlike some of the others. In their defense it's really hard when you have to give the same talk 12 times in a row with no bell or anything letting them know when to begin again. Anyway, check out Maggie's website I'm hoping to talk someone in my area into getting her as a speaker!

On a non-quilt related note, my daughter, Elisia, called in the middle of the night last night and said her throat was so sore she could barely breathe. She had been to the college clinic and they said she had tonsillitis and merely gave her a spray to numb the area. She ended up in the emergency room and they didn't even bother with a test it was so obviously strep. She's on bed rest for the next few days and is hopefully recovering now.

One more thing before I close (sorry this is so long...) Christine asked what pattern I used on Arabesque. I have my own patterns which I've developed to fit me over the past years. I'm currently in the process of multi-sizing them and hope to have them available by next year, Keep your fingers crossed and I'll let you know here when they're available.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I finally finished my jacket from the "Rhap Group". The others are not pleased with me because I finished first, but I didn't have any real quilting to do (one of the benefits of wearables over quilts).

Thanks to Linda Barnhart who made some name suggestions. As soon as I read her list of words I immediately knew I wanted to name this jacket Arabesque.

As I mentioned before this jacket was inspired by Ricky Tims' book Rhapsody Quilts. Instead of working square I elongated the design for a jacket. It was fun and a real challenge to take someone elses work and make it my own.

The front (I think my mannequin had a bit too much to drink; she seems to be listing ;-)

The back (my favorite view)
The side
And a closeup

Just in time for the fashion show tomorrow night! I have one more jacket in the partially completed phase and then it's time to start drafting some new ideas. Maybe I'll make a quilt next, just for fun!

Trunk Show

I will be presenting a trunk show of 42 jackets and coats Wednesday night, April 15, for Kaleidoscope Quilt Guild in Lemon Grove. They meet at the Lemon Grove Masonic Center at 2590 Main Street, Lemon Grove, CA. The meeting begins at 6:30 and I start around 7:30.

I have several never-before-seen jackets in the show. Hope to see you there!


Friday, April 10, 2009

Thickened Dye Painting

I tried to do some thickened dye painting earlier in the week. When I washed out the first two pieces they came out very pale. I assumed it was the age of the dyes, but decided to let the remaining pieces "batch" for a few more days just to see what would happen. I needed the space yesterday to paint a lining so I rinsed them out. Amazingly enough the colors were strong! Not exactly fabulous work, but I can see using them as a base for some printing, stamping, etc. As you can tell in this piece I was working with similar colors from leaf green to aqua, turquoise, bright blue and blue violet. I just laid them out next to each other hoping they'd blend. Still too much white showing for my taste and the blue violet was quite red. Hmmm...
These are different aquas and turquoises with the blue violet between them.
On this piece I put a bunch of puddles of thickened dyes on one side of a piece of fabric (the left obviously), then folded the other side on top. Once plastic had been placed on top of it I pressed them firmly together. Not quite mirror images, but interesting.
This piece was wet first then the dyes laid out in trails. They blend outwards nicely. I like this piece, even though I have a dyer's dislike of white showing through.
This one involved patches of all the colors I used. I like the feeling of depth it evokes.
My interest in thickened dye painting has been renewed and I will do more when I have time. Right now I'm up to my elbows in packing for Chicago, preparing a fashion show presentation for Wednesday night, grading my new jacket patterns and working on a new idea! Does life get any better than this?!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Painted Lining

I have to admit that when I get close to finishing something I want to rush and get it done. Finishing work and all that fussiness is not my favorite part of the process, but I love having new things so I forge ahead!

The stitching on my Rhapsody jacket is all done and it's ready for assembly, BUT my latest craze is stencilling the polyester linings of my jackets. I couldn't find an appropriate stencil and I SHOULD have made another one from freezer paper as I did for the outside of the jacket, but I was too impatient. Instead I grabbed some gorgeous Diane Ericson eucalyptus stencils and had at it. Done!
I apologize for the appalling bad photos, but satin-y polyester is hard to photograph. Take my word for it that it looks better in person :-)
I even left a space at the neck on the back for the label. Wow, I even impressed myself this time!
P.S. Seriously now, someone must be able to come up with a better title than Rhap jacket...

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Escondido Fashion Week Recycled Show

The fashion show last night was amazing. The theme was recycling and the ensembles were made from items as varied as plastic shopping bags, aluminum foil, shower curtains, paper of various types and old umbrellas.

It was a lot of fun to watch each outfit come down the runway and try to figure out what it was made from. A friend of mine had a dress made from a horse's feedsack! Too much fun! I totally agreed with the winner, a really cute dress and bloomers made from punctured beach balls leftover from a children's museum.

That said, the show wasn't anything like what I put on for a show. I talk about each ensemble, how I made it, where I got my inspirations, problems and solutions, etc. There was no narration at the recycled show, just music, nor was there a program that I received (okay, I was in the cheap seats, but I had a great view!) so I could only guess what the outfits were recycling.

Another difference is that each ensemble came down a runway at the show (much too quickly for my liking) and then left. In my show the models stand up front as I talk, then circulate through the audience so they get a really good view.

Oh, and I answer questions. They asked for questions last night, but not until it was almost over and how do you describe unnamed dresses to even ask the question?

It was great fun, just totally different from my show. I don't think I'll be changing anything, but it was certainly fun to attend. I highly recommend it for next year if you're in the area. I even have an idea for a dress for next year. If I start saving now I might have enough to make a dress by next April!


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Odds and Ends

It's probably hard to believe, but despite the fact that I often narrate fashion shows of my own jackets I've never been to a real live honest-to-goodness runway style fashion show. Well I'm going to one tonight and I can't wait! Detailed report tomorrow :-)

As for a progress report on the Rhap jacket quilting I have both sleeves and both fronts quilted. Just the back to go. Of course that's the biggest part, but I hope to finish it tomorrow or Thursday. How are you feeling about the name Rhap Jacket? I'm not enamored of it so if anyone else has any great ideas...

And finally... I finished a jacket today, stencilled lining, label, photos and everything! I absolutely love love love this jacket! Unfortunately I have big plans for this jacket so no pictures here. If you really want to see it I will have it in my fashion show April 15 in Lemon Grove...


Monday, April 06, 2009

Rhap Quilting and Dyeing

Someone asked how long it will take me to quilt my Rhap jacket. Well, that depends on when I get started! I've been putting it off since it is such fussy work. I have to be at the top of my game to quilt on something that will show so much. I've decided on the gold quilting thread and hope to start today. Normally I could quilt the entire thing in 2-3 hours, but since I will be going slowly (something I don't do very well, I'm a real speed freak) and carefully I suspect it will take me a week or so. I plan on doing just a little at a time so I don't get careless.

Yesterday I finally got around to playing with some dye thickener I purchased. Unfortunately my dyes are quite old and the colors are quite washed out. I absolutely hate the first 2 pieces and will be overdyeing them. The rest are still batching, but I'm afraid they will be similar. Oh well, live and learn! I don't mind dyeing, but I just don't seem to get around to it much. I think its been almost a year since I've dyed anything. Right now I plan on using up the PFD fabric and the dyes I have and then considering if I want to purchase more or not.

I'm off to quilt on Rhap. Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Elisia has returned to college. We had a great week, if not terribly creative. We watched a lot of tv shows we had recorded, went shopping and spent beaucoup bucks, went out to lunch and dinner a few times and saw Aliens vs. Monsters at the movie theater.

I enjoy watching tv so much more when I watch with her because we can talk about how stupid something is or cry together (all right, I'm bawling and she's slightly tearing up). Even if I've already seen the show I enjoy watching it again with her. Silly, huh? Of course while we're watching we're not just doing nothing. I'm enjoying some hand piecing on my next multi-year jacket project. Elisia found some old crayons from when she was a kidlet and enjoyed coloring so much I printed a few pictures on fabric and gave her free rein with my Tsukineko inks. Who knows... they might just end up in an art quilt someday!

Shopping was much more fun when I instituted a new rule: after I buy her something I don't get her anything else until I buy something. It made it much more fun for me :-) I got fun new sneakers, a Swatch watch, new jeans, etc.

If you're thinking about Aliens vs. Monsters I don't recommend it without the 3-D. Elisia and I both get motion sick so we opted for the tame non-3-D version and it wasn't that good. I'm guessing the raves are because of the 3-D or Imax (or both) effects.

Today I have lots of sewing to do and maybe a little dyeing and discharging, too. I hope to jump right back into creativity!