Saturday, February 27, 2010


Someone once told me that Coulomb (that's the way it's SUPPOSED to be spelled, but it was anglicized when they moved to Canada) meant pigeon or dove. Not being to fond of pigeons naturally I chose to think of the latter.

I used the shape of a dove for the following 3 play pieces.

Trapuntoed dove with feathers quilted using holographic metallic Sliver thread.

Curved pieced dove using gradations of value

Line drawing of a dove using complementary colors.
My favorite is the last one. Which one is your favorite?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Third Attempt, Final Results

I showed the quilt top to the new art quit group that I mentioned yesterday and asked for suggestions since it didn't seem quite finished to me. Sue suggested that it needed some sort of diagonal across it and suggested a sheer. Aha! I went through my box of sheers trying this and that. none of the ones I expected to work did, but I found this black tulle with gold sparkles that did the trick.

I quilted it in place, no other fusible or anything holding it down, and it seems to be happy with that. I know that I'm happy with the final results of this experiment.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Art Quilt Group, Toad #1

Several people attending Sherrie Smith's Wednesday class at Bits and Pieces have agreed to start an art quilt exploration group. We met last week for the first time and hammered out a few rules. Mostly we decided we're a pretty free-and-easy group. Come if you can, skip a project if you feel like it, small quick projects, one week turn around to keep the momentum going, etc.

So far there are 6 of us, but I'm hoping more may wish to join in as they see what we do. If any of you out in cyberspace would like to play along, you're welcome to join us. If you do, send me pictures and I'll post them to this blog.

I had a long list of possibilities for challenges that I presented to the group and others had some great ideas as well. We decided to randomly select one and it happened to be a 3-part challenge.

First week's challenge: make a simple sketch. Using fabric, interpret the sketch 3 different ways. A small "quilt" is due for the next 3 weeks of class, one per week. We also randomly decided that the quilts should fit inside a 12" square.

Here's my sketch: a toad. (Okay, not the most elegant of subjects, but I love the idea of different interpretations of the texture of his skin.)

And here is the first interpretation. I have to admit that this one was not too much of a stretch for me. I've done trapunto many times before and I outlined him using free motion zigzag, which I've done once or twice before. The leaf background quilting pattern is new though.

I don't know why, but I was totally excited to find the dotty batik I used to bind it since it reminds me of frog spawn. I've never seen toad spawn, but somehow I imagine it's similar.
Now on to next week's reinterpretation of the sketch. Something toadily different! (haha, I couldn't resist.) And this one is something I've never tried before. Let's hope it works!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Third Attempt

Here's my third attempt using the same flower drawing. This time I went with fused raw edge applique.
I created the flower first then auditioned various backgrounds. I couldn't find anything perfect. Everything was too busy or the wrong color until I found this hand dyed linen. It was good, but too bland so out came my Stewart Gill paints (yellow, ochre and olive) and some Stewart Gill rubber stamps (lovely because they're twice as deep as normal stamps and made for stamping on fabric). Now it has more interest without overpowering the flower.
But this one is not done yet. More to come.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Quilting Practice

I just couldn't resist finishing the experimental blocks I made in Sherrie Smith's class. I wasn't that pleased with them and they certainly were not a usable size so I used it as a quilting practice sampler. On each area I practiced different quilting stitches, including my very first feathers made without drawing them out and following the lines. I'm quite pleased with them. I think there are more feathers in my future!


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Second Attempt

For my second try at using the picture I traced it onto a batik using a water soluble pen.

Then I sandwiched it and stitched the entire design in black thread. Using Stewart Gill paints I carefully painted each area, blending colors to show depth and new growth.

Here is the result. I'm much happier with this one, but I want to explore more possibilities using this design so I'm not done yet.

Friday, February 19, 2010

First Attempt

I took the drawing and transferred it to Solvy. Then I placed a dark red sheer, covered by a black tulle under the Solvy drawing and hooped it. I stitched the entire outline of the flower area using wash-away thread. Then I trimmed away the excess red fabric and repeated the process with a green sheer, stitching around the leaves and stem outlines.
After all the excess red and green fabrics were trimmed away I added another layer of black tulle underneath it all. I hooped it again and stitched the entire design using a black thread. Then I trimmed away the excess Solvy and rinsed it.

The experiment was less-than-successful IMO for two reasons. A few holes were snipped in the black tulle and they show up far too much for my liking. Also I didn't think the results were very pretty for all the labor involved. The sheers were somewhat shiny and pretty in different lights, but this was lost when the black tulle covered them.

But the basic idea was to recreate a drawing in several different techniques so on to the next attempt.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Art Quilts

Now that we are settled in our new home it's time to get back to my experimentation with art quilts. After seeing some friends' feathers made in long arm classes at Road to California I decided it's high time I learned how to make feathers.

I drafted this flower then filled in areas with feathers. Watch for further developments.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Updated Website

Check it out! Holly Knott has updated my website with new workshops and new jackets in the gallery. Thanks Holly, it looks terrific!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I thought I'd see if I could get a picture from inside our house of the view we see from our kitchen table. Success! If you look closely there's a post to the left of the bird feeder. (I've asked Pierre to straighten the feeder out, but he hasn't gotten around to it yet; it listed in the last rain storm.) On that post is a critter of some sort. Maybe a ground squirrel? He sat there as still as could be for the longest time trying to figure out if he could get to the bird feeder. No luck.


Monday, February 15, 2010

New Butterfly

One of the very special things about our new house is all the monarch butterflies. The former owners planted milkweed to attract them. We can usually find a few caterpillars munching away on their leaves.

This weekend we saw our first newly metamorphosed butterfly. His (her?) wings are still somewhat curled and they looked so velvety.

I took a few photos and thought I'd share them with you.

Happy Presidents Day!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Odds and Ends

The first lesson in Sherrie Smith's class this spring was a paper pieced teapot. I missed the class, but since I love paper foundation piecing I had to make one. Note: don't try to use a striped fabric when it is NOT the first fabric on a paper foundation piecing project. It took a lot of finagling to get them straight.

Here is another of the UFOs I unearthed while setting up my new studio. It was going to be a jacket back, but I decided it wasn't worth the time and effort if took for the new technique. I've trimmed it down some, but it's still wider at the bottom. I'm thinking a tote bag unless someone else has a marvelous idea.
The colors are quite similar to the last UFO I showed. I was hoping to figure out a way to use them together, but it seems like the styles are too disparate.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Quick Project

Here's a quick project I tried. It's from a book by Lorraine Torrence (?). I made 6 blocks all the same (paper foundation piecing). Then trimmed various parts off of each one. I can't say that I'm in love with it, but it was an interesting experiment. We played around with them in class and it was very interesting to see how many different looks you could get just by turning and rearranging the blocks. Sometimes it's good to just play :-)


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Student Work

One of the hardest things about teaching a class, especially away from home, is not seeing the finished projects. I get so excited, seeing new color combinations and interpretations, I want to see the finished product.

And occasionally a kind student will take pity on me and send a picture. This purse was made by Evelyn in my class last Saturday. Isn't it wonderful!

Thanks Evelyn. You've made me proud!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Frog Jacket

I call this jacket my frog jacket because it has over 100 frogs on it. Its official title is "Someday My Prints Will Come because I used some fabric that I printed on my computer. I printed it without benefit of Bubble Jet Set or pretreated fabric about 15 years ago and it's still fine. No idea why. Maybe ink was better back then?

I started the jacket in a Jean Dunn class (fabulous teacher in the Monterey area). My initial concept was to use any and all greens having heard that "all greens go together".
A closeup of the computer printed fabric and a few of the frogs.


Monday, February 08, 2010

Curvy Bias Class

Saturday I drove up to Riverside in the pouring rain. I saw 5 accidents on the way up. Most were only fender benders, but one involved a car on its roof. (I also saw a few people driving like we were on a racetrack that were endangering the rest of us.)

Fortunately I learned to drive in Maine so the slippery conditions were nothing new to me and I arrived safely and on time.

It was well worth the trip! The ASG ladies were lots of fun and there are going to be some fabulous totebags and jackets produced. I hope they will remember to send me photos so that I can post them here for you to see.


Friday, February 05, 2010

Help Please

I made this piece in a Vicky Pignatelli class. It is unfinished and I'm open to suggestions on what I should do with it. Options I've considered:
  • chuck it and consider it a lesson learned, but I don't need to make anything out of it (this goes against my nature)
  • make it into a pillow (I have a bazillion pillows and it really doesn't go with anything)
  • make more blocks and make a quilt out of it (I like it, but is it really worth all that effort?)
  • make a jacket out of it (I don't think it really lends itself to a jacket. Too much of a large square to work well.)

Any further ideas or thoughts would be much appreciated.


Thursday, February 04, 2010

My Studio

It's certainly not clean, but it's probably better than it will be for awhile so here are current pictures of my new studio space.

I have a problem with filling flat spaces with stuff I've made, don't want to throw out, but haven't found a use for yet. Instead I have devised a "detritus wall" to keep it visible, accessible, but off the flat surfaces. Some of it is jewelry that I plan to use as inspiration for new jackets. Other pieces are left from classes I've taken or experiments I've made.

My sweet husband came up with this clever way to store my fabric. The racks roll around so I can move them as needed. It sure beats crawling under various beds in search of that perfect fabric!
I'm embarrassed to say that it took 3 of these racks to store my fabrics. I'm hoping to pare that down some, but there always seems to be some wonderful new fabric calling my name.

My design wall, built by Pierre.

The view of my studio from the top of the stairs.

And finally, my sewing space. I wanted it to be near the stairs so I'm not looking at a wall.
You may have noticed that there are 2 windows in my south facing studio so I keep the shades drawn at all times to avoid sun damage. There are 2 skylights also with similar shades. They are translucent enough to let some light in without any direct sunlight. Not a perfect solution, but better than feeling like a mushroom!
That's all for now. As I work I'm sure I'll find other things that need tweaking, but all-in-all I'm very happy with my new studio :-)

Monday, February 01, 2010

House Photos Outside

Now that you've seen a bit of the interior of the new house I thought I'd show you some photos of the exterior. The gardens that came with the house are amazing. Here is the front walkway, plus a glimpse of the view. The house faces south so we get gorgeous sunrises and sunsets to enjoy from the many picture windows.

Another walkway near the side of the house. I hope to add some herbs to the garden on the left since it is near the kitchen.

The shed AKA Pierre's Place. He gets to keep all his toys, oops I mean tools, out there. I toyed with the idea of turning it into a guest house, but he needs his space, too :-)

The front porch. Do all those rockers mean I'm getting old? I love the fact that the floor of the porch is made of a composite that won't ever rot.

And a few pictures of late winter here in southern California. There are literally thousands of bulbs planed on the property.

Iris are one of my favorite flowers.

And naturally we have roses.
We are still planning on an open house, but haven't set a date yet. Parking will be an issue since we only have space for 4 cars and we own 4 cars, but hardy souls can park on the street below and hike up. I walk it 8 times every morning for exercise so you can, too, LOL.