Unreal

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Unreal is the only word to describe my experience at Quilting in the Garden at the Alden Lane Nursery in Livermore! More than I could ever have imagined. I have attended Quilting in the Garden, so I knew it was a well attended quilt show. But the personal experience was so much more than my observation.

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My Kantha blanket (number 128) at the entrance display.

Thursday morning I dropped off about forty of my quilts. Cyndee Carvalho is the coordinator of Quilting in the Garden, and she is quite an artist herself. She had looked at all my quilts online, and created a backdrop and a vision for how the quilts would be displayed.

I arrived early Friday morning to teach, so I had plenty of time to go and check out my quilt display in the greenhouse. Cyndee had grouped my quilts so well, and added parasols and the HAND DYED clothespin circles to enhance the circles that I love to use in my quilts. The backdrop was painted in a color to enhance my quilts!

This is what I saw coming through the front door of the greenhouse.

 

 

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Saturday I arrived bright and early. I loved getting there early. It gave me plenty of time to prepare myself and be relaxed before people started arriving. There were so many people! At one point on Saturday morning, I looked up, and the entire room was just FILLED with people! Cyndee came by a few minutes later and said that 250 people per hour were coming through the nursery’s front entrance!

Here are some more pictures of the display wall.

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And then many of the quilts were hung at various heights from bamboo stakes (perfect for a nursery display!) I wanted people to be able to see the stitching up close, and was so happy that all the quilts were at the perfect level.

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So many people came, and spent time looking closely at the quilts and the stitching and the wording. Many read the descriptive tags that I had written for each one. So many people commented that they enjoyed the message, and that the entire room had a calming effect on them. I loved chatting with the people about my process and inspirations for the quilts.

This was the perfect place to display the Hallelujah! quilt. The filtered sun came through those windows and it glowed.

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You can see the corner of the table that they put there for me. I had some of my very small quilt samples on the table as well as a few small quilts for sale, and some of the embroidery kits that I assemble for my class. And, I had some room to sit and stitch too!

The other Kantha blanket and The Fire Quilt.

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By Saturday morning, they had artistically placed lots of plants around the greenhouse.

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Since this was at a nursery, and my garden has been greatly influenced by this nursery, I brought my two garden quilts and had a bunch of 8X10 photos made of my garden. Cyndee displayed all the photos I brought, and that was so fun to share with the gardeners who came through the exhibit.

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The first Housetop quilt:

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His Kingdom Will Never End was displayed to the right of the entrance door.

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I know that this will probably be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. To be able to share so many of my quilts at one time, and to be able to interact with the people who are viewing them–it was…unreal!

Since this is an outdoor show, all the quilts have to be raised each morning and taken down each night! They have an army of volunteers to hold the quilts as they are raised by a pulley into the air!

Early in the morning:

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I had a number of inquiries about teaching, and so maybe I will be teaching my Quilted Embroidery a little bit more in the future. I haven’t talked about my Friday class experience. I will just say that there were 23 students, and it seemed that they enjoyed the class. I provided a blank quilt sandwich, and 3 pieces of hand dyed fabric, as well as 20 colors of thread. I was happy to see that many of them had their own ideas, and made designs other than my favorite circles! I had lots of sample mini quilts and ideas for them to see. And then they were off to create their own quilt. During the day I demo’d the various stitches for small groups to see. One of these days maybe I’ll remember to take pictures at my class.

 

 

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What’s Happening!

Well, sorry I haven’t written for a while. My excuse is that I did not enjoy sitting at my desk with my knee dangling. And, I got distracted with other things 🙂

In just a few weeks I will be teaching Quilted Embroidery at Quilting in the Garden at Alden Lane Nursery. And, I am the guest artist, so I will have an exhibit of my quilts in their beautiful greenhouse! I was so excited when I talked to Cyndee and found that my class was full. So I have been busy putting kits together, and then going through my quilts organizing which ones I want to take for the exhibit. Checking to see if I need to make sleeves for any of them (yes, I do 😦 ). And then working on trying to finish up some smaller pieces.

Here’s what I finished this weekend:

Pink is Pink:

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Close-ups:

I experimented with different fabrics and threads in this piece.

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The circle is wool. Some of the thread is silk, the rest is perle cotton.

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I tried fabric weaving in a couple of the blocks.

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My Guide:

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The verse  says, “He is my God forever and ever and He will guide me until I die.”

Close-ups:

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This was a little experimental piece I started a LONG time ago. It was just from a doodle in my journal. And then I got tired of it/started new projects/forgot about it/took it out and was uninspired to finish it… And then I decided it was too pretty to leave it unfinished.

I hope if you’re in the area you will come to Quilting in the Garden! Its a wonderful show in a beautiful garden, and there are some great classes offered along with the show.

Good News

While I was at Empty Spools, I got an email that two of my quilts had been accepted into the Sacred Threads exhibit! I was very excited. But when I read which two had been accepted (I entered four,) I was surprised, and then a little sad. My Hallelujah! quilt, that I worked on for so long last year, was not one of the two accepted. And then, of course, I started to doubt myself. Its just a stupid quilt with a lot of words on it. It has no artistic merit.

Fortunately, I had the quilt with me, and so I rolled it out on the bed, and thought, I still like it! Who knows why some quilts are accepted, and others are not. I am glad about the two that were accepted, as they have rather limited possibilities, as fas as exhibition goes.

The Fire Quilt was accepted:

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“On a Wednesday in September 2015, the Butte Fire roared through our mountain community. Homes were destroyed, and many, including myself, were evacuated. Extremely dry conditions made it difficult to contain. After a few days, I came home to ash-filled air. The fire was still not contained, but my house was safe. On Sunday, I made my way to church. The church was closer to the fire, and the building was smoky. But the church was filled, and several families whose houses had burned to the ground were there. We worshipped together, culminating with the Doxology. It was such a moving experience, I wanted to commemorate it with a quilt.”

Close-up:

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And “His Kingdom Will Never End” was accepted:

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“The inspiration for this quilt came out of my frustration with some of my fellow Christians, who seem to forget that His kingdom will never end, and think that its up to them to “fight” to keep it going. Other people choose to ignore God and His kingdom. It does not matter. All around the world, His kingdom continues to appear and grow. HIS KINGDOM WILL NEVER END.”

Close-up:

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Some more good news! Do you remember when I entered a few of my quilts in Quilting in the Garden, held in September at one of my favorite nurseries?

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Well, when I picked up the quilts, the woman that coordinates the show told me how much she enjoyed my embroidered quilt, and asked if I ever taught. Now, I don’t want to teach all the time, but Alden Lane Nursery is one of my favorite places to visit, and I also have really enjoyed taking classes there. They do a quality job of coordinating the class, and it is a beautiful location, of course.

 

So, long story short, I am going to teach there in September, on the Friday before the quilt show. And, I am to be a guest artist, and will have a display of my quilts in their greenhouse. I am so excited about this. Its hard to think about anything besides embroidery on quilts…. which is one reason why I don’t want to teach all the time. There’s not enough time left for artistic endeavor. I was glad to read Judy Martin‘s thoughts on this. I felt validated in my thinking. But teaching once or twice a year is energizing. It challenges me to go one step further, thinking “what if?”

If you have been thinking about trying quilted embroidery, I hope you will join me at Alden Lane Nursery on Friday, September 22!

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One Stitch at a Time

One stitch at a time–that’s all I seem capable of these days. But when you think about it, that’s all any of us are capable of, right? Whether by machine and very fast, or by hand and very slow, we have to take one stitch at a time. And isn’t that exactly what we love about our work with textiles, whatever they may be. The very fact that we can take one stitch at a time, and eventually end up with a masterpiece, if we will just continue on, is a miracle!

Lately, I’ve been taking one stitch at a time on my rug. I made a macaw in flight!

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I made an owl.

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I put him in front of a moon.

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And then one day, the rug was finished. (In case you’re interested, I am still going to “tweak” that sunset section behind the elephants.)

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Only, two friends (and myself) agreed that the rug needed a border. I found these wools, dyed a deep green/brown with a hint of burgundy, and they seem like they will work well. One thing about a border, I can work faster in a straight line! I will add the words “He holds all creation together” at the top, and the scripture reference “Colossians 1:15-20 at the bottom. The lettering will be done in that golden/apricot color that is the same color as the cross in the background.

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In the evenings, I’ve been obsessively stitching away on this little piece. It became my travel project for the time I spent teaching in San Luis Obispo. I mentioned to one of the workshop attendees that I didn’t know what I was going to do with it. And she picked out a piece of fabric from my stash and mentioned using it as a background/frame. And now I know what I will do with it.

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Oh, teaching–I thoroughly enjoyed my time teaching in SLO. The women in the workshop were delightful, and they seemed to enjoy learning and working on the projects that I taught. Is more teaching in my future? We will see, we will see 🙂

Close-ups:

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The Trouble with Teaching

The trouble with teaching is that it takes a lot of brain power to prepare for it. At least that’s how it is for me. I can’t really think about starting a NEW. IMPORTANT. PROJECT. when I am thinking about teaching. All I can think about is “oh, I could share this,” or “wouldn’t that be great to have a sample of that to share.” And you can see, those are not bad thoughts. I just won’t be starting one of the big projects I have in my mind until after this teaching gig is done.

In the meantime, I wanted to have as many examples as possible to share with the class. I had a LOT of unfinished samples…ahem…have I mentioned I don’t like binding quilts?

In fact, I had five small pieces that needed to be finished. So one by one, I set out to get that done. I also didn’t have any handwork for my evenings, so finishing these substituted for that for a few days.

This is the “header” for the “what they said” series. It has a facing instead of a binding. This is my favorite method to face quilts now. 

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You’ve seen this before. Its not finished (I’m planning to bead it) but I wanted to take it to share with the class. So now it has a binding on it.

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And a binding on this little wonky piece, just to keep it contained. Oh, you’ll notice that I hand-stitched the binding to the front. Usually I machine sew my binding down. But I always say I think its weird that quilters do all of that beautiful hand-work on a binding, and hide it on the back.

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And this piece has been hanging around FOREVER, with unfinished edges. That was partly because I just didn’t know what to do with it. It was stitched almost to the very edge, and I didn’t want to cover up any stitching with a stupid old binding. I thought about zig-zagging the edge. And then it came to me–just do that by hand! It took quite a while. But I think it is the perfect edge for this little piece.

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Close-up. Hint: if you do this, it goes a lot quicker with #5 perle cotton 🙂

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And then I had this hexagon piece. I just didn’t know WHAT to do with it. I thought about mounting it on a board. I thought about putting it on top of another quilt (which is what I did.) But how to finish all those dang edges… I just didn’t want to fool with binding it. I was pretty sure it would not be my best work, trying to turn all those corners. So because I had “zig-zagged” the previous piece by hand, I thought, hey, that might work! I literally took 5 stitches, and said, no way am I going to go around this whole piece by hand. So then I decided to try zig-zagging by machine. I auditioned several green fabrics, and in the end, this beautiful piece won out. I placed the hexagon, which was already a complete quilt sandwich, on top of the piece, got it just where I wanted it, and pinned it carefully in place, on a flat surface. First, I straight stitched about 1/8″ from the edge, all around the piece. I thought zig zagging might distort it. Then I started zig-zagging. Three colors of thread, and three rounds of small zig zag later, it was firmly in place. Then I could cut out the back of the foundation fabric. Made a sandwich, and quilted it simply. It came out just the way I envisioned. Oh, and side-note. I thought I would just quilt it on my Janome, since I had a big quilt under the Juki. I had to stop three times in the first five minutes for stupid things, so I switched over to the Juki. Ahhhhh… much better 🙂

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Close-up:

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As I mentioned, I didn’t have any piece to work on in the evening. This was driving me nuts. I also have seen quite a few things lately that have little tiny pieces of fabric sewn together. I got this book. Her work fascinates me. So finally, after all these little quilts were finished, I decided one night to just make a sandwich out of some leftover muslin and batting that was laying around in the studio.I brought the sandwich, my bag of Cherrywood little scraps, and four or five “neutral” fabrics out to my comfy chair. I was somehow going to sew patches on top of this. As soon as I sat down, I knew I didn’t want to have muslin showing through on the front. So I set about hand piecing little bits of fabric together. Yesterday I got tired of hand-piecing, so I put the rest of it together by machine. And now I have a fun little piece to stitch on in the evening.

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So you can see, there are more good than bad things about teaching! I am looking forward to this assignment.

A New Exhibit at the Museum

One of my quilts was accepted into the SAQA exhibit “Inspirations II!” The exhibition will be held at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. Here’s information about when and where.

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At the same time, there will be a special exhibition of Kaffe Fassett quilts along with the antique quilts that inspired them. What a great time to check out this wonderful museum.

This week I have been putting together kits for the Kantha stitching class that I am teaching next month. I decided to see what I could create with just the materials I supplied for the kit–a quilt sandwich, 3 colors of hand-dyed fabric, and 20 colors of thread. Very fun!

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Yep, there was plenty of thread and fabric included in each kit! I still have some thread, and about half of the hand dyed fabric left over.

I’m Teaching!

Next month I will be doing an evening lecture and trunk show at the San Luis Obispo Quilters, on Monday, May 9. Tuesday, May 10, I will be doing a workshop on Kantha stitching, and Wednesday, May 11, will be a workshop on Improv Patching and Piecing. I am excited to have the opportunity to share the way I love to work with other quilters. If you are interested in attending any of these events, Click here to go to their website. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, there is an email address.

Here is an example of the improve patching and piecing, with some kantha stitching in the circles:

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And a close-up of kantha stitching:

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I am always careful to clarify that my stitching is “kantha inspired.” I know what kantha stitching is, and I can tell you how to do it, but what I do is a little different than traditional kantha.

Look at this! I think I mentioned being intrigued by this artist’s needle weaving. Well, I tried it out. Its a bit painstaking, but it was also fun to do as a former weaver. Seeing how the colors interact when they are woven is what I like the best. This is just a small piece, maybe 9″X 11″.

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Close-up:

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