Saturday, April 20, 2013

Keeping the Connection - FAB Collage

Keeping the Connection

This FAB Collage started a little differently then usual. I created the focal point in Photoshop as a digital collage.  I giggled when I put the ship on the gal's head - used as a hat.  That got me thinking about my ancestors who immigrated to the US from Europe in big ships. They would throw balls of string off the bow to keep the connection with their family on the docks for as long as possible. That led me to using yarn "couched down" to repeat the sentiment.  I also found bug fabric that needed to be included. This made me think of the gypsy moths that "hitchhiked" to the new world with the cargo that was in the holds. Not every new visitor was welcomed!

Friday, April 19, 2013


This is a bittersweet quilt for me.  My Mom was failing and I realized that the next "phase" of our lives together would be me sitting quietly in her room while she faded away.  

I remember I ran back to my house, drafted the 60 degree triangle and cut wedges from a Artfabrik hand-dye from Melody Johnson and Laura Wasilowski and brought them back down to Mom's (she lived 4 doors down) and began to hand piece them in Mom's room.  

You can see the fabric drifted from blue to green to yellow to orange to red.  Each color I paired with bright and happy fabrics just to fill my eyes with pleasure.  

I think its true - quilting can save lives!

Thursday, April 18, 2013


I go to Quilting By the Lake for 2 weeks at the end of July. It is near Syracuse and they offer many interesting teachers.  It is a gift I give myself every year and what a gift! I get to concentrate on my work for 2 solid weeks without interruption. OK, I admit, a little wine is imbibed, and a few "field trips" for inspiration, but you can find me in the classroom from nine to nine, seriously working most of the time.

One year at Show and Tell, I got up on stage and showed this piece. World famous quilter, Margaret Miller, bought this piece from me right off the stage - somehow it called to her. Wow - what a compliment that was!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


One year my 2 "buds" from QBL (Quilting by the Lake) and I set ourselves a challenge, we bought a scrap pack from Cherrywood fabrics and had to use some of each piece in a quilt.  This is what I came up with.  My "Honey" is a freelance illustrator and I just couldn't find the right drawing of an osprey so I asked him to draw one for me.  HAH - in a matter of 10 minutes he gave me this drawing. Duh - why haven't I been using him as a resource all along!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Some of my "Dear Jane" blocks - up close and personal

Yesterday I mentioned that my "Dear Jane" quilt taught me so much.  What do I mean?  You can see in these blocks that I picked fabrics that had a motif that I liked and fussy cut the fabric to get just the perfect piece I needed.  Imagine, the windmill was 1/2 " across!  My fabric ended up looking like Swiss cheese! 

Then I had to had to find the supporting fabrics - just the right ones that would show off the composition and not compete, but complement the rest of the block. 

My pile of blocks kept building.  I made each one carefully and patiently.  Since I was not copying Jane's original layout, I trusted that I would be able to make it work with the values and colors that I had spontaneously chosen.  

Plus, I learned quite a bit about geometry because I had to be careful where the grain was, so the finished quilt wouldn't ripple.

I still LOVE this quilt!  

Monday, April 15, 2013

Drifting Jane - My "Dear Jane" Quilt

This quilt taught me so much!  

In 1863 - right at the end of the civil war, Jane Stickle made an amazing quilt out of dress remnants.  There is a whole world out there of women who have used her quilt as an inspiration for their own versions.  Here is mine.  Each block is finished at 4-1/2" (that's the size of a coaster!) and has countless pieces - can you spell tiny!

Each block was a mini composition.  After I finished the piece blocks I put them in a value-drifting pattern. I couldn't stop there, so I learned how to hand applique.  I was not a slave to her patterns. Once I became confident I designed a few of my own.  

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Quilt - Temple

This quilt is a collage of fabrics, many of my own surface design experiments. As I recall I got stuck in the design and turned it upside down and that put me back on the right track.  

I read a great book that helped me learn how to make collages.  It is by Robin Williams (no not the actor) and its called The Non Designer's Design Book. I would recommend it highly. It is actually for type, but the universal principles were laid out simply and my light bulb went on.  The one principle that really stuck to me was "ALIGNMENT".  Rather than just slapping something on willy-nilly, line it up with something! Simple and very effective.