Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sandra Leichner's New Book, and Oliver Bites Back

Oliver fell asleep admiring the beautiful quilt on the cover of Sandra Leichner's new book, just released from AQS, Hand Applique with Embroidery.  He gave his "paw of approval" but was so tired from torpedo-ing around the house today that he fell asleep before a photo could capture the actual reading process.  Believe me, he is smart enough to enjoy a good book!

Sandi just received the Fairfield Master Award for Contemporary Artistry, a $5000 prize at the International Quilt Festival, Houston, for her cover quilt, Tea With Miss D. 

If you are lucky enough to have seen it at Houston Market or Festival or when it was in the juried AQS show at Paducah in April you will know the incredible artistry and skill it took to create such a quilt.  Yet, it is delightful, makes you smile, and somehow her technical expertise looks effortless.  It doesn't get in the way of the quilt's beauty, but makes it all happen.  
Go to and click on the winners' list to see her quilt, or to her website 

Although I will never be an appliquer, I did enjoy this book.  If you want to refine your techniques or learn applique and embroidery, find out how to get the perfection Sandi achieves,  how she embroiders all that detail, picks the fabrics, layers them for the best overall effect, then you need this book. 

I liked the charts with organized information about threads, needles, anything technical.  You don't have to search through text to find what you want to know.

The photos are great, the colors stunning, and you will drool over her quilts throughout the book.  Yes, there are patterns, and there are projects.  You will learn to do this and have small, complete-able projects when finished with various techniques she explains, step by step. 

I love the little bit in the book for each area called "Why is this important?"  It's great to have the respect of an author who tells you the why of it, really a good addition to the book's format. 

All her applique and embroidery is by hand, and it is exquisitely done.  Quilting?  Done on a home machine (Bernina 730), free motion, original marked designs and lovely freehand fills.  The combination of well executed artistic quilting and hand applique is a true winner.

Which quilt of Sandi's do I like the best?  I have seen Sandi's quilts from her first one entered at Houston in 2001, and through the years since then.  Their richness and detail, their art, will stay with you always.   Tea With Miss D will always have a special place in my heart though.

I like that she respects the art of machine quilting enough to use it to complete her hand artistry. 

Meanwhile, browsing the internet looking for info on Houston and wishing I were there, my computer suddenly died again.  Oh no! 

Two days earlier my husband's new laptop had a power cord failure and he had to get a new cord.  I had him check it for teeth marks.  Yes, there were teeth marks.  Mine too had teeth marks. 

Oliver strikes again!  We are so relieved he didn't get hurt but have to find ways to hide the cords from him.  He likes the thin cable from the computer to the adapter part, the kind my sewing machine has to the foot control, but that he hasn't yet discovered.

I used a light rubbing of Tabasco sauce on the tv cable that comes out of the wall, and one bite of that stopped him in his tracks.  His expression was hilarious.

I got a new generic power cord for my laptop, no waiting for Mr. Sony to send me one this time, and will get a new battery this week too.  I plan on using it on battery in waking hours, charging it overnight with the new cord in a closed room.  We have a mixing bowl over husband's cord on the kitchen island.  So far it is working, Oliver can't move it.  It's heavy English pottery.

Below, the photo of what I did to protect the cord.  They do have cord covers available to buy that are infused with citrus, but the reviews said they had a horrible insecticide odor, so I crossed those off my list.

Instead, I got drinking straws that were a special thank you gift from Ami Simms (don't ask why), cut them in half lengthwise, and slipped them over the cable, taped them together and closed.  Then I wrapped a twill tape around the whole thing and turned it into the Mummy Cord.  It is working!  He isn't even interested!  I do put it away when I am not around or am sleeping, and eventually with the new battery can keep the cord out of his life completely.

Hope you are enjoying fall, no snow yet in Wisconsin.  Cold, yes.  I am washing and sorting some lovely Moda fabrics received from Hancock's of Paducah for the new Pilgrim/Roy Challenge, "Twenty Great Quilts for Twenty Great Years," to celebrate the upcoming 20th Anniversary of the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY.    I get to add two fabrics of my own, and am busy designing a small wall quilt using all of them, and plan on trying out some of my new quilting techniques.  I have learned to do a deadline project right away.....just in case.  These quilts will be auctioned live at the AQS show in '12, and will tour in '11 so you can see them.

Keep quilting, your work gets better every day.


Michele said...

I am a new blogger and I want to thank you for your inspirational machine quilting! I love that you quilt on a home machine. I took a class from Harriet Hargrave in February and I was encouraged by the techniques and tips that she gave us. She talked about your wonderful quilting and I'm so glad I discovered your blog.

Diane Gaudynski said...

Thanks Michelle! I always liked the idea of doing machine quilting well, so that it takes a quilt top to the next level. Glad you are enjoying it too.

Erin in MI said...

That is so funny what you did with the straws!! If I tried that, I would probably be attracting the attention of my young cat - he loooves straws! We had snow here yesterday in MI, but nothing stuck, so I'm ok with it :)

Diane Gaudynski said...

Erin, I did the straw thing when he was napping in another room. Otherwise it would have been endlessly interesting, a challenge for him! I covered them because I thought he'd like to bite straws too, and could easily get those teeth thru to the cable. How smart does one need to be to outwit a one-year-old cat??? Sigh.

Jocelyn said...

Oh my Oliver has been busy! We had a puppy that chewed through my Bernina cord, and thank goodness the power strip was not on! Sandra's book looks lovely, and although I am not an appliquer either, I do admire such beautiful work.


Diane Gaudynski said...

Jocelyn, I am off right this minute to disconnect my foot controls and tuck them away. While he is sleeping. He has never paid them any interest, but I'd best check them for teeth marks too. My power strip is ON too, yikes.

kathy said...

Diane, I have a cat just like that! She chews any thin cord, and especially loves thread. I'm constantly finding my filled bobbins in the other room if I leave them out. We've had to get creative with our cords, too. A few of them are taped to the wall or baseboards with packing tape. I like your straw idea. Were you able to find a home for the stray cat the other day?

Diane Gaudynski said...

Kathy, maybe they are related! This is my first cat (he is my 7th) who so loves to chew cords, and eat threads. He will pull a thread from clothing or anything just to eat it. He finds them on the floor and starts chowing down. But food? Nope, just thread. Although he ate a lettuce leaf last night, and seemed to love it.

You can imagine his delight that he ended up in the home of a quilter! I have to try and watch him all the time. The taping down of cords sounds good too, but our house is filled with cords from electronic stuff. I'm hoping it's a passing fancy for him, but I fear it will be a problem for a long time.

No, so far no home for that handsome cat.

Featheronawire Sally Bramald said...

Isn't it funny, if it's our own cat doing the damage we don't even have to forgive them for it. Just find a way round the problem. You could make fabric scrunchies (of course in fabric to match the décor), to cover the cables.
Mine like to destroy the carpets in doorways...

Brita said...

Please, everyone, be very careful to cover every bit of thread or string when you have a kitty. My son's cat (S.P.O.T.) got hold of some string, and because cats' tongues don't allow them to "reverse swallow" (unless they're gacking a hairball), she swallowed and swallowed and swallowed. When she became listless and sick, they took her to a vet, who operated on her to get the string out of her intestinal tract. Because it was so long, she had to cut in several places. Awful. Not to mention the surgery cost many $$$. So please, please, please, cover every bit of thread! I put my machine cover on the machine whenever I'm not sewing, even if I leave the room for a few minutes, and even when I turn away from the machine for a little while, I plop my quilting gloves over the thread. OK, off my soapbox now.

Thanks, Diane, for the neat blog! I took classes with you in Paducah a couple of years ago, and it got me going fearlessly on the machine quilting track.

Diane Gaudynski said...

Bluzbrod, thanks for the serious warning about this. From the first day Oliver lived with us I have had to be so careful and vigilant, and I was off my game due to elderly cats not interested in thread or anything quilting/sewing related. Now I watch out for stray pins, threads, anything in that room, and trailed from that room (threads even on my clothes) that he will want to eat. It's hard, as he is so crafty and clever, but I do realize it is a very serious problem with pets.

And sometimes I have to close the door and keep him out while I work.

Sandy said...

Tho I am a follower, I don't always comment..I have your book on FMG - "Quilt Savvy" ....and you too tell us needle/thread etc which is a stumbling block for so many of us- everyone I know refers to your book as the "bible" LOL...I love your blog entries, and have just rec'd Sandy's book too- what a delight ;) Sandy