Monday, March 21, 2011

Quick Update

Spent the day working on Mermaids. It took quite a while to cut the backing and batting for this one. It is pretty big and I like to have a good 6 inches all around as an extra safety net to offset take-up with the quilting. It is quite a challenge also to figure which pieces go down under others.

I still do not have my sky fabric in hand. I actually called the company today but only got a message machine. Something's got to be up as they sent it Priority Mail and it was 8 days ago that I received a confirmation email. The sky fabric is key to getting things really going. It is the backing for the top two thirds of the quilt. I only have one night shift this week and Friday is a day off. Hopefully I'll get the fabric tomorrow and I will be working a couple of hours each night I work day shift.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

An Adventure

OK, so I wasn't planning this, I just read one of my e-mails from SAQA about a regional meeting at the NE Quilt Museum....and I had the day off. I hadn't been able to catch the opening of the quilt show, "No Holds Barred," and I wanted to take a look at all the wonderful quilts. It takes a good hour and a half to get there on the highway, so I intended to make a day of it.
I expected the museum to be open by 9am. The SAQA meeting was to begin at 10am. I got there 45 minutes early. So I walked around a bit in downtown Lowell. The museum is right across the street from a locomotive museum. They refurbished this baby and it's a permanent "sculpture" set by a stream and next to the old rails.
It boggles my mind that someone actually thought to build something as complex as an engine to pull cars full of people and products. And here I am playing with my computer and stitching together pieces of fabric. The museum opened at 10 and I settled in to the meeting upstairs. Met some wonderful people and got inspired by their work. It seems that the MA/RI region needs to expand a bit in Little Rhodie. I think that would be a really good thing. There was one other woman in attendance from RI, Allison from Barrington. Perhaps the two of us can get our heads together and get something moving here. We aren't the only two art quilters in RI I'm sure. The quilts, as always, were amazing and ever inspiring! There is a lot of talent in this corner of New England.

After the meeting I tagged along with a group for lunch. The food was delicious but of course, the conversation is what made the afternoon so much fun. Thanks to all who made me feel so included on my first excursion into the world of SAQA, Valarie and her lovely family, Celeste, Valerie, Michele, Judy and Judy. It was such a fun day.
And when I got home, lo and behold, packages with yummy fabrics, a Quilting Arts magazine, the backing fabric I have been waiting for, (but no sky yet), added to my museum acquisitions of a few fat quarters and some info on upcoming shows and quilt festivals. What a lovely day. Tomorrow, after work, I look forward to hitting my machine in a big way!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


This is one part of quilting that I really don't like. Washing and ironing all the fabrics before cutting. Since I am a bit stuck waiting until my backing and sky fabrics get here in the mail, I decided to get a head start on the washing. Above are the mermaid colors going into one wash, and below are all the wave colors getting washed together. One thing that is good is that if any of them release a bit of dye, being batiks no one will ever know.
I have reworked the cartoon twice since last night. I am really happy with the movements of the water now. They were a bit forced before. I can tell you that the drawing itself is of two mermaids swimming within a large, breaking wave. There is a lot of movement and depth. I hope I can pull it off with the colors I choose. My brain gets so ahead of my hands though. I can already see how it will be finished, the quilting, the beading, the contrasts and the many intricate patterns on the fabrics. One of my "things" is to use very busy fabrics, next to each other with the colors playing off each other. I am just loving some of my fabrics for this one. In the picture on top, I will be using a piece I bought over 5 years ago. It's the one with the seashells on it, and I will be using it for the tail of one of the mermaids. In the second picture, some of my favorites are the navy blue with the coral on it and there is a piece hiding a bit on the far right which is very intricately drawn with dots and teardrops. The later is a piece I recently found on line at Hancock's with a whole grouping of other "friends." I could literally spend a fortune on batik fabric.

Well, I need to put the first wash into the dryer now and get the second load going. A woman's work is never done!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mermaids Begins

While I will be talking much about how this is going, these are the only pictures you will see of Mermaids until it is done and I know whether or not it is accepted in a show. I was just perusing my latest Fiberarts magazine when I found a call to entry for a show in Lowell, MA whose theme is the sea. Hmmmm........ I would have until June 15 to finish this one and get them an entry. I'm going to try, anyway. Above are my choices for lights, medium and dark tones for the water.
Violets, yellows and greens comprise the spectrum for the mermaids themselves.
...and here it all is sitting on my work table. I'm only missing one key piece. My sky. I just can't seem to find just the right mix of pale blue, pink, yellow, peach and gray. Still searching all my fabric haunts for that one key piece.

The cartoon was completed for this one a while ago, but I am tweeking some of the lines. I need for it to seem very fluid and not stiff at all. The size is so large that I need to put it sideways on my table and it's width exceeds the width of my work wall by about 18". Nevertheless, I am very excited about this being a challenge to finish in time for a show. We'll see how it goes. I am still hand stitching the wolf at night. Once he is done I will have to shift gears to "Mermaids" almost all of my spare time to get it done. Wish me luck!

As a post script to this post, I have found a wonderful backing fabric, 108" wide and I think I have found my sky. Thanks to Hancock's of Padukah and Seawatch Fabrics! I'll be watching my mailbox for the next few days.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Millions of pins!

Finally got some time in the studio. Pinning the beast was a beast! Some areas like the spiky neck hair was impossible to turn the muslin underneath, so I ended up cutting it away. I need to be careful with the satin stitching that it is tight enough to cover any white threads showing from the muslin.
Not only was the beast a beast, but the tree had it's issues too. It took a long time to get the pieces fitting into each other properly. The tree is now ironed down to the background up to the area where it starts branching out.
My next step is to hand baste all around the wolf so that he stays put when I start to stitch. I need to buy more safety pins to assure that the backing does not slip when I start stitching. I'll be stitching him in very soon!