Saturday, December 24, 2011

Peace and Joy

Christmas Eve, and the lights of the season shine out, bringing hope of peace, joy, and love.  From my house to yours, holiday wishes for everything good, and a bright and happy New Year!

Oliver did NOT like the cat Santa hat, so his expression is less than pleased, but he is a very happy boy with all the holiday activity, packages to unwrap, food to explore, house to clean, acorns from under the couch for fabulous kitty hockey.  I finally got a coffeemaker, his first ever, and he has been stalking its gurgling sound on the counter as I run plain water through it.  He is entranced.  It's the little things that give delight.

May your holidays be filled with "the little things."

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Quilt Journeys: Three Quilters

The new exhibit featuring work of three quilters is now open at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY.  My quilts are part of this exhibit that shows the journey we all take as we travel through this grand adventure of quiltmaking, shown above.   It will run through March 13, 2012.

When I was invited to participate in this exhibit, although so honored, I was very reluctant to show my early work.  Then I decided the entire point was to allow the viewer to see up close the beginnings, the flickers of inspiration along the way, the development of techniques and skills, which allowed art and ideas to be expressed in cloth by the final quilts that are shown. 

It is a huge honor to have my work showcased at the National Quilt Museum, and I hope many of you can see this exhibit and be inspired in your own quilting journeys, by my work and the quilts of two other quilters.

Included are some of my very first quilts, done mostly with a walking foot and invisible thread.  My early free motion work is there, and the beginnings of the kind of quilting I love to do now show up in all the quilts, but the techniques and machine skills definitely improve as the quilts progress. 

"Through a Glass, Darkly:  An American Memory" is in the exhibit, my NQA Masterpiece quilt, and probably my favorite quilt.  It is a log cabin design, and I made it to work in color exploration, and it showcases my original free motion quilting designs as well.  I never tire of this quilt, and I hope you enjoy seeing it in person.  Below, after winning a Master Award at Houston, 2001.

Other smaller wall quilts are there, "Sixteen Baskets of Mud," "Rabbit in Green," "Mourning Too Soon" from the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. 

October Morning, 2000
Detail, below

"October Morning" was the last quilt I made with trapunto, cotton batt, and invisible thread, many original designs and some stencil designs still, and with a tiny amount of applique (broderie perse) in the center, that I had to do as the quilt needed it.  It is a Delectable Mountains traditional pattern.

Please read about the exhibit on the website of the National Quilt Museum, to get all the details.  The other two quilters are Doreen Speckmann (also from Wisconsin) and Dorris McManis, and I know you will enjoy their quilts as well. 

I've been busy fussing with my quilting with Sparkle thread.  It is going well, but I SO definitely prefer quilting with #100 silk!  Soon the designs will be finished and my background work will be so relaxing, because it will be back to my #60 Sharp needle and #100 silk thread, smooth curves, no crunchy sound as the needle backtracks over stitches (eek), and faster quilting, definitely.  However, it does look pretty nice. 

One night I was having shredding issues, and switched to a new Jersey needle from a different pack and all was well. 

Oliver has sneaked in twice to bite the thread as it comes off the spool while I am quilting.  I did not see him.  He goes behind the cabinet, jumps up on my right, and before I know it, either wet thread is coming through or the thread is chewed in half, the needle breaks, I scream, cat runs off, door is firmly closed. 

Two nights ago a small spring fell out of the machine but I am forging on as it doesn't affect much except the presser foot lever.  It's now a bit wobbly and limp.  Onward!

Oliver has been banished from my room.  How he opened the door twice I do not know.  He is a clever boy.

Relax a bit during this hectic time of year.  For me, that is an hour or so of quilting in my room, door closed, lights on, music playing.  It does wonders for you.

If you learn anything at all from my exhibit at the museum it is that I did keep quilting, and yes, my work did get better!
Happy Holidays,