Sunday, July 29, 2012


I've mentioned before how much I like my portable design wall.   One day last week, I decided to set  it up in the bedroom and lay out the blocks I've been piecing.  Fun!  I spent a lovely afternoon moving things around and arranging fabrics so there weren't random clumps of one color or similar prints lined up next to each other.

And then I got interrupted.  So what else is new.  And that night, because it was a rather warm summer night, I clicked the ceiling fan onto "high," and rolled over and went to sleep.

Yep, this is what I found in the morning. 


Friday, July 27, 2012

"Rituals" book available on Blurb!

An exchange between friends. A handshake. A kiss before bedtime. The artist at work.  A sun salutation. The wave before boarding the school bus. A song, a word, a meditation. A habit, a custom.  The traditional toast at a gathering. A rite of passage. The sacred moments of the ordinary.  Rituals:  What are yours?
A collection of 42 Art Quilts 

 International Quilt Festival, Long Beach, CA  - July 26-29, 2012
sponsored by Moore's Sewing Centers

If, like me, you can't get to the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach to see the "Rituals" quilt exhibit by the Dinner at Eight artists (including me!), you might be pleased to know that you can order a book with all 42 quilts in the exhibit. 

The book includes photos of all 42 quilts as well as information about each of the artists.  The artists include Susan Brubaker Knapp, Natalya Aikens, Jane LaFazio, Kathy York, Terry Grant, Jane Davila, Deborah Boschert, and more.  It's a lovely book and the quilts are very inspirational.  And it's fun to see how each artist responded to the theme "rituals."  

You can order your book HERE, directly from Blurb.

book designed by Loris Bogue

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Long Beach Longing

Oh, how I wish I could be at the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach, which starts this Thursday.  (It starts on July 26 at 5pm and runs through Sunday, July 29 at the Long Beach convention center.)  Earlier in the spring, I'd planned to go, but life circumstances got in the way and I will be experiencing the festival vicariously through friends and bloggers who post pictures and tales about it.

If you are going, be sure to see the Twelve by Twelve exhibit, which will feature all 288 quilts from the original theme series and the Colorplay series.  Terry Grant, Gerrie Congdon, and Karen Rips will be at the festival so you might get to encounter 3/12s in person!  Also, Del Thomas who has been our 12x12 angel and benefactor -- and who has made our exhibiting the quilts at Houston and Long Beach possible -- will be there.  If you see Del, be sure to introduce yourself and thank her for all she does to support art quilters! 

And be sure to see the Dinner at Eight exhibit "Rituals."  My piece "Swirl, Sniff, Sip" will be there along with 41 other quilts from artists including Jane LaFazio, Judy Coates Perez, Terry Grant, Deborah Boschert, Karen Rips, Susan Brubaker Knapp, Sarah Ann Smith and more.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Against the Grain

Hudson - Against The Grain from Dropbear on Vimeo.

A great song, lots of pencils, and wonderful animation. Happy Monday!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Electric Quilt to the Rescue

It felt so good to resolve one UFO problem that I decided to tackle another today, maybe related to a leftover 4th of July mood.  See the blocks up there?  I starting cutting the pieces back in May of 2007, according to this blog entry.  Yikes.  I know I sewed the blocks at one of the ranch retreats, and put them up on a wall and decided I liked them better on point than straight.  I remember that I was unsure how to set the blocks, and after input from all my retreat buddies, I came up with a brilliant solution which I scribbled on a sheet of paper and tucked away because it required different fabric than I had.  You can guess what happened next, right?  By the time I got home and found time to look at this project again, I had no clue what the scribbles meant.  No clue whatsoever.

Which explains why it has been sitting in my closet from 2007 until now.

(By the way, in case you want to know, this block is called Dolly Madison's Star.  I used a pattern designed by Becky Goldsmith called "Dotty Stars."  Hers was all done with bright polka dots.  You can find the pattern online and free here.  )

After putting it up on the wall and testing out some big fabric pieces (you can see above I tried a light and a dark blue option) I returned to my original (vague) idea that those corner triangles need to be pieced.  Here is when my Electric Quilt software comes in VERY handy.  It's ideal for testing out design options and color choices without a whole lot of drawing on graph paper.

I started by drafting the basic block I'd already sewn, so I could set up the center field I already have.
 And then I started playing, experimenting with different blocks and color options. 

It's not hard to get carried away trying lots of options.  It's so easy to just drop color into squares to see how things look.  Fortunately, I remembered that the goal is to come up with something I will actually SEW.  At the moment, the one below is the one I think I like best,  or maybe the one in the middle above... both have enough piecing to look detailed but not too complicated to take away from the center blocks, either.  It's really just nine patches so the sewing should be easy.. 

Of course, I could just try a few more designs.... I just had another idea that I think I need to try out. Who knows where this will go?

Friday, July 13, 2012


We revealed our newest challenge quilts yesterday over at the Twelve by Twelve blog.  Our challenge theme (and boy, was it a challenge!) was "Mythology."  Click on over to see what everyone did, and to read the story behind my challenge response, "Shape-Shifting."

Friday, July 06, 2012

Interested in a class with Carol Soderlund?

This is Carol Soderlund, who is undoubtedly one of the best fiber arts teachers I've ever had.  She is well known for her thorough and clear classes on fabric dying, teaching often at Nancy Crow's barn and at the Pro-Chem dye facility.  You can read a great interview with Carol here.)I just adore her, and I've been eagerly looking forward to taking her "True Colors" class in Southern California at the end of July.

Unfortuately, life has gotten complicated and family matters have required that I cancel.  But Carol's classes usually fill fast and spots in them are eagerly sought.  So I thought I'd mention the opening here, in case any of you might want to take my place!   The class begins on the Tuesday following the Long Beach Quilt Festival (which runs Thursday through Sunday), so if you're going to be at the Long Beach show, staying on for Carol's class works beautifully!

If you are interested, please email me!

So here are the details:

When:  Tuesday, July 31 -  Saturday, August 4, 2012 (class runs 9am to 4:30 pm each day)
Where:  The Quilters Studio, Newbury Park, California

Course:  True Colors: Developing a Personal Palette 
       It is not necessary to have previous dying experience.  You can see Carol's slide show of student work from previous True Colors classes here.  And here's an excerpt from Carol's description of the class:

This class will help you choose the pure color that will suit you in developing your own personal palette. This class will focus on
* developing skill in intuitive color mixing, based on primarily on training the eye
* an understanding of the relationship between colors
* understanding warm and cool contrasts
* choosing your personal palette of pure reds, yellow, and blues, from which all hues can be mixed
* how to dye saturated, brilliant colors, and avoid mud when you choose to
* how to create interesting complex neutrals (Bring on the mud puddles!)
* how to shade from value to value and hue to hue

Students will dye up from 8 to 30 yards of cotton (depending on whether one-yard cuts or fat quarter cuts are chosen) using low water immersion techniques. On the first day, we will develop concepts through lecture and discussion, and do some exercises to get familiar with the pure hues. On the days following, we will dye yardage using low water immersion techniques, resulting in both solid-colored and multi-colored cloth and explore the possibilities of layering color to enrich the palette, both through overdyeing and through numerous printmaking techniques.

You can see a slideshow of some student work from the True Colors class here.  (Oh dear, seeing it makes me feel so sad that I have to miss it.)  

But if you're interested, do email me!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

To my American friends, I hope you are having a glorious holiday with family, friends, and food!  Here's what I'm making for the fireworks-watching party at Miss C's riding barn tonight:

Berry Sparkle Cake, courtesy of The Pioneer Woman.  It's basically an angel food cake filled with a berry-gelatin mixture, then frosted with whipped cream and decorated with more berries.  You can see the step by step instructions here.  Thanks, Ree, for the easy and fun idea!

To friends in other parts of the world, I hope you're having a good summery week!