Friday, July 31, 2015

Blue Boy in Progress

While watching Father Brown last night on the local PBS station, I pinned three more blocks together, and cut the last set of strips into squares.

But the sewing will have to wait because I am on my way to AQS Syracuse to see my quilt, The Black Box, and Julie's See Rock City on display.

If you go to the show, take a picture of yourself with my quilt (and Julie's too) and send them to me! And if you are there on Saturday when I am looking around, and you see me, please come over and say hello!

Suzanne, I'm glad you loved it, thanks for writing!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

TV watching

It's no secret that I have a TV in my sewing studio. It's not that I'm a TV addict, I just like the company. I sew while I "watch."  Mostly I listen.

 I've cut the blocks for 11 of the 12 Blue Boy rail fence blocks and while watching Dr Blake Mysteries on PBS last night, I pinned three blocks together.

And when the show was over, I sewed them up.

I absolutely adore this one.

so now I have six blocks sewn up.

I am dancing the happy dance of joy on this one!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Chicken in the Sun

 It's nice to have a rack to hang my quilts so I can photograph them.  I hung my chicken quilt, Too Much Chicken the other day and my neighbor said, "Gee Lynne, I love your new garage door."

Too funny.

It was almost totally overcast, but I think the photo came out pretty well.

I can't quite decide if I want to try submitting it to an AQS show, and whether it would fit in the "Modern" category where they put the "improvisationally pieced" quilts. I'm pretty sure making a quilt without a preconceived plan, no patterns, no templates and no paper-piecing qualifies.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Blue Boy Rail Fence

A colleague of mine and his wife are expecting a baby boy in the fall. I'm making a baby quilt.

It will be a rail fence in blues. All these fabrics came from my stash.

I've cut all the strips, cut the curves and sewn them together.

Here are the first three blocks.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Does This Look Familiar?

Pop Quiz. No prizes for correct answers. Just some fun.

Does this look familiar?

Yes, it's my attempt to match the colors in my favorite quilt ever. (I had a D'oh moment on Saturday when I realized the solid REDS at QT were around the corner from the oranges. Oops.) For you Kona nerds, the red is LIPSTICK, the teal is JADE, the blue violet is BRIGHT PERIWINKLE, the green is GRASS GREEN and the binding is DARK VIOLET.

Here's the original*.

You all know how I like to push ideas around. So how does this next one look?
 This is made with blenders. Practically simple (Not!)

Would you like to try another?
This one is mostly batiks. I'm trying to push this around a bit more than the other one, but still keep the basic feeling of the original. So how much farther can I go with this?  How about one more?

Actually the limits of how far I can are dependent upon how far afield I am willing to shop for fabrics and the bottom of my checkbook.

So, big question, am I gonna make all four?

Um, yeah, but the last three won't be very big. I really haven't decided how big any of these are going to be yet. I have to start drawing and then I'll know.

*The original, btw is... made in wool, 78" x 78", circa 1900, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The maker is unknown. I found it in the book Sunshine and Shadow, the Amish and their Quilts by Phyllis Haders, Universe Books, 1976.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Rail Fence Class

I like to have everything set up before my students arrive to any class I teach.

Edela, working on a layout.

Sharon, rearranging her pieces.

Barb, with her first finished block.

Sharon, with her finished blocks. Most students made three blocks.  We had a great time.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Rail Fences

I collected the Rail Fence quilt I gifted my nephew, Lightning in the Night Sky, from his house last night so I could show my students on Saturday at Quilted Threads in Henniker NH. 

There's still room in the class if you'd like to join us. It will be a lot of fun.

The Lightning quilt uses Left and Right blocks, but this quilt, the one I call Picnic Table,
is made from blocks that are all the same. Either way, this is an easy quilt to make and is a lot of fun.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

My Stash

A few posts ago somebody made a comment about my stash. So here, without any fussing or cleaning up, are photos of all the fabric I have.

 Most of my stash lives in this bookcase. The little scrap bins hold all my little scraps (anything bigger than 2" square that I don't have to fold lives in the accessory bins.) Everything is stored by color.

Underneath my ironing table are "Shoebox bins" where I store long strips and larger cut pieces, also organized by color. On the floor you can see bins of BOB, WOW and selvages.  ALL my plastic bins are from The Container Store. They stack neatly on top of each other and are otherwise wonderful.

This is stuff I bought in Maine and have not put away yet. I wash ALL my fabric before I use it. Then I iron it, fold it and put it away.

Some of these stacks of fabrics are stacked for an idea I have. Some are just there because I was thinking of something, pulled the fabric, and haven't put it back yet.  I work for a living, so I have a lot of other stuff to do. Cleaning in the studio isn't always a high priority. Right now I consider the studio pretty clean.

There's always one table that has a pile of stuff on it. This is mine.

I like to keep the top of my ironing table clear, but that doesn't always happen. Here I've got the fabrics for the Amish project, the tumblers and the solids bin. You can also see a bit of my inspiration wall.

That's all, folks!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wrapped Wednesday

There's nothing like an action shot of a quilt in use to show how it is loved and appreciated.

Even if there's not much "action."

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Happy Birthday!

It's my birthday today, and I'm celebrating with cake. It's the Tiger Cake from Food52. I didn't add black pepper. Instead I added the grated rind of an orange, a bit of Grand Marnier and to the chocolate batter I added instant espresso powder and cinnamon with a touch of cayenne pepper.

Yes, I am having a slice of this cake for breakfast.  I'll bring the rest to work to share with my coworkers.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Mighty Jungle

When I sent a stack of my "dud" letters to Julie a few years ago, Julie was surprised at how big they were.

Oh well. I couldn't see the point in making a letter so small as to be bulky and awkward to handle. So I made my letters bigger.  This J is about 8 inches or so tall.

This is the J for Valerie's Kona Nerd challenge. I had to make one of Kona's color words out of Kona fabric.  I found a jelly roll of Kona solids in my stash, so I used that. I don't have any other solids.

The problem was the background. No one strip was big enough, but the jelly roll had so many wonderful tones, using multiple color strips was the only answer.

The other problem was one strip was not big enough for all the letters in the word JUNGLE, and the fabric I thought I would use was the wrong color.  Again, the answer was to use many colors, which is generally the way I like to make my letters anyway.

It was a big risk, and there was always the chance it would fall flat, but hey, you never know till you try, and like I always say, "It's only fabric, it isn't gold."

 Here is the finished word panel, and I sure hope Valerie likes it, because I am thrilled.  So how big is it?

It's 36" wide by 9.5" tall.

OH! A little bird told me it is Valerie's birthday today!!  Happy Birthday Valerie!!!

You know the best part? My birthday is tomorrow. Gee Valerie, I knew we were connected somehow!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

In The Jungle

I am most definitely NOT a Kona nerd. In fact I am not even a solids fan, but I found a Jelly Roll of Kona solids in my stash.  I didn't know what I would do with them until my pal Valerie asked this question...

"Since you are the letter master is there any chance you've got a few Kona scraps kicking around in that bin and want to play along?  Love to have a block from my mentor if you've got the energy to make one."

Well, heck, I don't need much motivation to make a word out of fabric.

Except that the play along involved making a word out of Kona solids, and it couldn't just be ANY word, it has to be one of Kona's 303 color names. So I had to find a list of the names (easy, just go to the Kona website) and then find a matching color in my tiny solid stash.

I found a color - JUNGLE, no problem. But what to do about a background, since I don't have a lot of anything that is big enough for a background. (Letters don't take much fabric, but the background takes a lot.)

As usual, the little grey cells provided me with an answer.

Nobody said the background had to be ONE fabric!!!

Do you approve, dear Valerie?

Of course you do. (Heh.)

Friday, July 17, 2015

A Very Good Day!

The other day I got a voicemail from the company that manages our servers and workstations. "I've got good news for you, Lynne.  Call me back."

So I called back. "You know that survey we send you when we close a ticket? The one that asks if we did a good job?" Jack asked me.

"Yeah..." I'm thinking about how many of those I fill out.

"Did you ever notice that at the bottom it says if you fill it out you could win an iPad?"

"Uh, I guess..."

"Well you won an iPad. We did the drawing today and pulled your name. You'll get an email, but we're ordering it today."

At that point I was squeaking, and I could hear my coworkers, "Lynne, are you OK??"

"...Yes, you won an iPad Air 2..." Jack was saying.

More squeaking from me.

I don't know when it will arrive, or what color it will be (gee, I hope it isn't BLACK), or anything else, but oh holy hell, what fun!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

I Am a Painter at Heart

The CEO of my company thinks I make quilts, but forgets I am an Artist at heart. He keeps telling me that when I retire I'm going to make quilts, which I find hilarious.


Because he's never asked. That's his assumption based on what he knows. He's wrong.

What I truly love, almost more than anything else, is pushing paint around with a brush. Oil paint. The kind that takes a half hour to set up, and a half hour to clean up, and demands its own ventilated space. Which I stopped doing because I didn't have the space, and I had an inquisitive cat who kept walking across my palette. You think I'm joking?

That was Gizzy, the cat who came before.

Anyway, the painting at the top of this post is an unfinished one of mine from probably 25 years ago.  Why post it now?

Because I have to remind myself sometimes, that at heart, I am an Artist first, quilter second. I don't draw because I have arthritis in my hand, but I really can draw. And just because I don't have the time or the space or the ventilation, I don't paint, but it doesn't mean I don't know how. I'm pretty good at that too. Knowing how to draw and how to paint really helps me in my quiltmaking, and not just in the ways you think (knowing color and value, etc.).

It's knowing when it's not working, when it needs to be scrapped and begun again. Or ripped out and redone. It's NOT working when it's not working and THINKING about what's WRONG and how to make it RIGHT. It's being PERSISTENT, and STUBBORN and not being afraid of what anybody else thinks. It's knowing when it's GOOD and to LEAVE IT ALONE and not overwork it (the top of the chair), and when it's beyond work, like the left side of the towel.

My problem in the painting above, since I know you are wondering, is that at the time I couldn't decide what it was. I was trying to paint using two techniques that didn't really go together - alla prima painting (all at once) and glazing (layers of thin transparent colors to build up a rich tone.) I'll leave you to figure out which parts are which, and which areas "work" and which don't. Parts of the painting are really terrific, the others, not so much.

It hangs in my living room because I like it, despite its faults.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Call Me Crazy...

Call me crazy, but I adore that Amish quilt that's on the screen on my computer, (you can see another photo here...) and I finally gave in and decided to make a mini version to have and to hold. I tried matching the colors on the computer, and obviously the orange that came with the others is too yellow. The quilt really needs RED, but I have red in my stash, so I think I'll be all set. 

Unlike my pal Valerie Levy, I am NOT a Kona acolyte, and have precious few solids. Solids do not sing to me. Instead, they generally groan. I find them flat and boring.

Yeah, I know. They work best when you have hundreds from which to choose, and I do not have the patience for hundreds. Don't bother correcting me, or cajoling me, or trying to convince me. I ain't going there.

I don't know how big my version of this quilt will be (certainly under 40" square) and I sure as hell don't know where I'll hang it, but this quilt has spoken to me for years and finally I am going to have one I can look at without having to remember which book it's in.

The original is in wool and is quilted in black thread, and I'll have mine quilted in black thread too.

I think.

Haven't got there yet.

Isn't life fun?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Tumbler Reboot

I wasn't happy with the tumblers. The colors are one note in terms of value - not too light, and not too dark. It's a charming color combination, and would be very pleasing if I continued, but for me it doesn't have enough verve or pizzazz.

I wasn't quite sure what it needed. If I can't identify the problem, I can't find a solution. Long experience has told me that if I don't know where I'm going, I stop working.  But that doesn't mean I stop thinking. I also keep my eyes and ears open. You never know when inspiration will strike.

While visiting Kathy in Belfast Maine, I saw two paintings by Linda Packard, a local artist.

These paintings reminded me that I needed a full range of values. My tumblers had a lot of middle values, but not enough light lights, and certainly not enough darks or intense colors.

So once I got home from Maine, I pulled some more fabrics, and I think these will help solve my problem.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

BW Crayons to AQS Chattanooga

Woo Hoo!  My quilt, Black & White Crayons, has been accepted into AQS Chattanooga, and will be on display there September 16 - 19, 2015.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Cock-eyed Rail Fence

I really like playing with the extreme thick and thin elements of the Rail Fence block when the curve is a bit more pronounced.

I want to show my students there are options.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Preparing for Class

I'll be teaching the free-form Rail Fence class at Quilted Threads in Henniker NH on Saturday July 25, so I have been preparing the class and my samples.

My nephew has agreed to lend me his quilt to show my students but my sister said, "GOOD LUCK getting it away from him. He sleeps in it EVERY NIGHT."

 This is my nephew's quilt.

This is my Rail Fence quilt.

It's an easy quilt to make, and it's fun. There's room left in the class. I hope to see you there!