Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Call Back and New Challenge Fabric

I went to the hospital today for my ultrasound. Over the years I have had to do this more than once. I have had a lump removed which gave me a large scar on my right breast and an aspiration on the left which left a small round scar as a reminder.  I wasn't worried until the tech jumped up and bolted from the room saying "I'll get the doctor to look at the images" and did not return for more than 15 minutes. The one time I don't bring a book and my only entertainment is a two year old Style magazine that made me sneeze. When she walked back into the room and announced that the doctor wanted to talk with me, I'll admit I got a little scared. Left alone for another 5 minutes alone, I must have looked scared too because when the doctor walked in he immediately said, "It's okay," and then he introduced himself. (I'm good with names but for the life of me, I could not tell you his.) The cyst in my right breast had grown "considerably" but "nothing to worry about." Relief! Rejoice!

It seems fitting to announce the next challenge since my friend Judy and her wonderful sense of humor kept popping into my head today at the hospital. You see Judy had brain cancer. She put up a good but short fight. I am thankful that she went peacefully. Something I wish for us all. She had always wanted to divide up her stash amongst her friends but never got the opportunity so her poor husband Ken got the responsibility. While he had lived nearly 35 years with a quiltmaker, he readily admitted that he "should have paid closer attention." Most of the friends were easy to find fabrics for since after their names were colors like purple, blue or green. I was more of an challenge since Judy had written that the fabrics for me be "wild, fun, and interesting." The two fabrics I share here are the same. They are just in different colorways. I've been tempted to donate them more than once and always at the last minute would pull them from the donation bag. At different times, I have thought of them as "ugly" to "interesting." They seem so fitting now for the next fabric challenge. They were manufactured by Robert Kaufman. I have no idea when. I don't recall ever seeing them. So this is for Judy and embracing all the good news life can bring you.

We will keep on making free-form, free spirited quilts for this challenge but in any way that you see fits the theme. You won't get to pick the colorway either. I'm going to let that be a surprise. I don't have as much of these fabrics as I did the 1950s fabric so this will be limited to the first 12 people to respond. Postage has gone up so I will also only be sending 1/4 yard.  Let the fun begin!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pencil Roll and the Land of What Was I Thinking?

I find myself in the land of "what was I thinking" more and more. I've been having sinus problems and a call back for my mammogram (ultrasound on Tuesday) so I've been distracted. I decided to work on something that I thought would be mindless and get a couple of gifts off my Christmas list. These pencil rolls are for my great-nieces whom I adore. Of course I had to purchase the cool metallic pencils, not thinking about how difficult it would be to find matching fabric. It wasn't really all that difficult, just time consuming. However, I successfully did it without shopping! I do love my stash. I want a set of the metallic pencils now too!

It takes courage to step out of our comfort zones and open ourselves to opportunities. I decided to start my own group based on women and social issues. The group's name is "Crossing the Line: Artists at Work" (CLAW). I am really excited and cannot wait to see the quilts! I am limiting the group to 20 members and there are only a couple of openings. I am asking for a real commitment.  If you are interested, please contact me and I'll send you the information on our first exhibition which is titled Women Who Break All the Rules.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Foto/Fiber 2012 was a success! More than $7,500 was raised! Congratulations to all who participated. I cannot wait to receive my photograph.  A non-fiber patron purchased photographs at the last minute and Virginia Spiegel asked me if I had a small piece of art I could send him as a BONUS. As I dug through my small quilts, I couldn't find anything that I thought appropriate for a guy so I made a small "pod" piece (approx. 7" by 7") because I loved my large "Pod" quilt so much (promise to share as soon as I get a good photo). I sure hope he likes it!

I continue to be blown away by the people who joined in on my vintage fabric challenge.  Be sure to check out both Sherrie Spangler's chocolate bunny quilt (great use of vintage fabric and makes me smile every time I think about it) and Vivian Helena's wonderful quilt. I love how she used black in her quilt. Wish I had thought of that!

Laissez les bons temps rouler! (Lots of thoughts of Louisiana and missing it today.) Let the good times roll!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bold Over! Quilt and 1950 Challenge Fabric Quilts

 Here is the finished Bold Over! batik quilt (29" (w) by 16" (h)). Not my favorite quilt and one that I don't think I ever felt.  I think I was distracted by thinking about indigo. I am happy that it is finished and I am sure I will be able to find it a good home.
I am thrilled that the 1950 challenge fabric quilts continue to inspire. You can give your help/opinion on Janice Paine Dawes' quilt by visiting her blog. Vivian Helena Aumond-Capone is making progress which you can see on her blog. You don't want to miss Kathryn Schmidt's blog and how she is adding green organza to her quilt. I hope that those of you who worried that all the quilts would look alike will now agree that each is unique and is truly an expression of the makers. I can't wait to see the final quilts! And I am counting the days (13) until the next challenge begins!

This is also the final day for Foto/Fiber and the price has dropped to $50.00. Stop by for all the details here:  http://www.virginiaspiegel.com/FotoFiber2012Directions.html

Your help in reaching the goal of $7000 to add to the $215,000 that has already been donated to the American Cancer Society is greatly appreciated. I'm trying not to be bummed that no one has taken me up on my BONUSES.  Please consider supporting this effort! I did!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Quilts in the Attic

Today is the official publication date of my book, Quilts in the Attic: Uncovering the Hidden Stories of the Quilts We Love, which is funny because it has already sold more than 1,000 copies. The publisher says this is "great!" You can purchase an autographed copy from me or purchase it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The book is not just about "old" quilts.  I have always been passionate about showing people that quilts are much bigger than you think. I want the book to have surprises and most of the stories have details that have never been known.

In the official press release, I wrote:

"For generations, quilts have preserved history and furthered artistic expression. They have changed lives.  Quilts in the Attic showcases 30 stories of great quilt discoveries, including masterpiece quilts, great finds and family heirlooms. The chapters reflect on various topics, ranging from Jewish life in the 1850s and a slave named Rinah, to the Sears National Quilt Contest in 1933, to a twelfth-century castle in France, to the 1800s in England and “Joe the Quilter,” to a society of women who vowed never to marry.  Though the makers of the quilts probably did not set out to touch our feelings, longings and lives, there is something universal in their experience. The stories shared are both heartwarming and awe-inspiring."

One of the things that I really love about this book is the surprise that you get when you open the book and see that each essay has its own colored paper. Wish I could take credit for this, but I can't. It was a wonderful discovery for me when I received my advance copy.

The size is often a surprise to people it's just a little more than 5" by 7" by 1". There's not cover jacket to mess with either.

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing things that were cut from the book or things that there simply wasn't room to share. I hope this will inspire you to want to read the stories and give you even more understanding of just how great quilts and their makers can be!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day and Foto/Fiber

Happy Valentine's Day! I had really hoped to have this sweet quilt done by this Valentine's Day, however, it didn't happen. Maybe by next year. February 14 was originally a Roman feast day celebrating the beginning of the mating season of birds (hence the association with love).

I must admit that I am in a little bit of a panic. My sewing machine is acting up. It has developed a clunking noise and occasionally turns itself off. I cannot image myself at this point in time without a machine. I tried oiling it. No luck. Think I will try denial just a little longer. Isn't that a river in Egypt?

Don't forget that Foto/Fiber begins tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Central.  The goal is to add $7,000 to the $215,000 already donated to the American Cancer Society. There are 4 ways to win with this fundraiser - one of which is that 100% of the funds are donated directly to the American Cancer Society through Fiberart For A Cause. The other three are detailed on Virginia Spiegel's blog. If you want a jump on how things will work tomorrow, please check out http://www.virginiaspiegel.com/FotoFiber2012Directions.html. I still can't decide which photo I want! How about you?

Here is another on of my donated BONUSES. These are two pieces of Georgian silk (country not state) that are 9" by 36". Georgia was on the Silk Road and once produced wonderful silk. You will be amazed at the hand. Unfortunately, they no longer produce any silk. I purchased this silk in the open air market in Tbilisi (capital of Georgia). The employees were paid in silk at the closing of the production sites and sold to make money for their families. I never purchased any all white silk because I knew how rare and important it was to the batik artists in Georgia. I'm also including an embroider bracelet made by nuns to support their efforts to help unwed mothers (young girls) and run a hospice for the poor. Of course, it will all be in a box like the one I shared yesterday.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Feeling Blue and Foto/Fiber

Here is my first indigo quilt which I have titled "Feeling Blue." This one was created completely out of scraps. I colored the appliqued circles with a fabric marker because they were much too white and bright. It is 22" (w) by 19.5" (h). This certainly boosted my confidence and I think it shows in my second indigo quilt which I will share tomorrow.

Exciting news on the challenge fabric front! Bonnie J. Smith has posted her finished challenge on her blog. It makes me chuckle every time I think about it. You don't want to miss seeing it. And Denise Frank has started her quilt! You can check out how she is manipulating the fabric. I'm so excited!

Count down to Foto/Fiber has begun! On Wednesday, you have the opportunity to own a great photograph by Virginia A. Spiegel, Karen Stiehl Osborn, and/or Cynthia Wenslow AND raise money for the American Cancer Society. You can preview the photographs by going to http://www.virginiaspiegel.com/FotoFiber2012PHOTOS1.html. In addition, you will receive a BONUS donated by 35 artists including me! Please join me in supporting this worthwhile event!

Here is one of my BONUSES. The silk was made during the time of the Soviet Union and I purchased it in the open air market in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. I am including a photograph of the women I purchased it from, one of my ATCs called "Memories of Kyrgyzstan" and three Kyrgyz postage stamps printed on fabric. And of course, I couldn't resist making a box to put it all in even though it's only suppose to fit in an envelope.

Now it's back to the studio for me!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Another Finished Quilt

I have hesitated sharing this quilt because I haven't come up with a title yet. It's 30" (w) by 19" (h). I like both the discharge block and the applique block in this quilt. Can't wait to share my indigo quilts and the one I worked on this weekend which has the working title "Pods." I cannot believe how much has evolved since beginning with the challenge fabric! Speaking of the challenge, I heard from Gail Pierce and she's began and having fun.Do check out her blog. Any suggestions for a title for this piece would be appreciated.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Windows Quilt

Here is my quilt made with the small saved discharge pieces. Boy am I happy I kept them. They always said "windows" to me but I could never quite figure out what to do until playing with Rayna Gillman's book, Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts. The quilt is 32" (w) by 19-1/2" (h).  It invokes strong feelings and memories of Georgia (country not state) for me. I am loving the quilts I am making!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Challenge Fabric Quilt Finished!

When I started this challenge/new adventure I didn't have any expectations in mind. It was simply an adventure in exploration and wanting to share this experience with others.. Personally, it started me on a path and boy am I enjoying it.  I promise to share more. Here is my quilt which was actually completed on January 29. It is 47"(w) by 25" (h). What I cannot believe is that I have completed five additional quilts since then and have three more in the works! I canot wait to see what others have done.

I never thought that having challenges would end up being something that I would host but so many people have asked and I actually found today so more fabric. This one is not vintage but I also think it could be fun. So I will be revealing the new challenge on March 1st when this challenge is suppose to be finished. Life is good! The day got away from me so tomorrow I promise to reveal my Bonuses for the Foto/Fiber American Cancer Society fundraiser.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"Seeing Red" ATC

I cannot remember the last time that I have been so intensely focused and creative. It has been nearly seven weeks! I have completed five quilts, made two Christmas gifts and 16 Valentines. It's been an incredible high so I was so surprised that when I signed up for "Red," the theme for this month's Arts in the Cards exchange, that I had so much trouble. I attempted two different ideas and was not satisfied with either. Last night the idea of using my experience to create my ATC popped into my head and so "Seeing Red" was born. I used Prisma colored pencils so each one is a little different. Hope the group is pleased. They are all so incredibly talented.

Now it is back to quilting for me. My studio calls! Tomorrow I promise to share my completed challenge quilt and my Bonuses for the Foto/Fiber, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society which begins on the 15th.

Speaking of the challenge, here is the list of participates again:

1. Rayna Gillman
2. Kristin McNamara Freeman
3. Janice Paine Dawes
4. Sherrie Spangler
5. Marti Porterfield
6. Denise Frank
7. Carol Esch
8. Mary Ann Mauney
9. Martha Ginn
10. Vivian Helena Aumond-Capone

13.  Del Thomas 
15. Louise Baldel
18. Barbara J. Beardsley

I also want to publicly thank Sherrie Spangler and Carol Esch for their kindness. It was unexpected and touched me deeply. Thank you!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Featured Artist for Foto/Fiber

I am honored to be the Featured Bonus Artist on Virginia Spiegel's blog. If you are interested in what my studio looks like and learn a little more about me, please check it out. Enjoy!

I have been so busy making indigo quilts! Promise to share soon!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Foto/Fiber Bonus

I spent yesterday playing with my friend Barbara. It was so much fun and so needed! We planned out the gifts we are going to make for birthday gifts and Christmas. I am so excited! This could be the year we actually get out gifts done early!

One of the things I did was made boxes and I finally got Barbara hooked on them too! This box and the contents are another one of my Bonuses for Foto/Fiber, Virginia Spiegel's fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, which begins February 15. The paper on the box is rice paper from Korea and the silk inside is also from Korea. There are four pieces that are a 1/4 yard and the light pink is just a piece (11" x 13") with a cool floral emblem.