Monday, December 12, 2011

The Crow quilt is evolving...

This is the Crows quilt with the appliques sewn through the backgrounds and cotton batting.

At this point I have added the backing fabric so the quilting of the backgrounds goes through all three layers.  Each block has a different quilting design.  This is a study in variations of quilting patterns as they relate to my subject matter. All the crows have beaded eyes using  "iris" colored glass beads.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Life gets in the way

I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. On August 28th, a tree fell on our carport destroying it. That set off a chain of events.  We had a visit from the tree surgeons to chop down the offending 60' maple tree and an ailing 60' walnut tree across the driveway. We ordered the new carport.  That company abandoned us, with no communication for 6 weeks when, lo and behold, they called and said they wanted to install on October 31st.  They never showed up, but they called at 8:30 at night, promising to install the carport on the next day.  At 8 AM they worked like a well choreographed dance for 1 1/2 hours and they got paid and they left.  Meanwhile, we had some renovations in the kitchen and bath that took three weeks.  Then I got shingles, from the stress of the mess, I think.  The medication made me dizzy and forgetful.  I finished the meds, and the house is getting back to order.

I am starting to plan the next few patterns which will be small.  I am playing around with crows in applique, and fuzzy cats in felting on cotton fabrics (just to see if can be done successfully) and it is time for a new cat pattern.  People keep asking for donkeys...I'll start to do the research and see if I like donkeys.

This fall, the Sheep Wannabees went on tour with World Quilt, a group of Mancuso shows, because it won a blue ribbon for Best Hand Workmanship.  I am beginning to see that being judged at a quilt show does not reward cleverness when it comes to quilt design.  What is being awarded the top ribbons is craftsmanship.  That means that the judges are looking for how well the stitches are formed and if the binding corners are square, things like that.  Winning a ribbon has everything to do with the competition.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Foxes and Chickens

My newest pattern is out.  I chose the subject because I have friends who adore foxes.  I've even seen one in my yard.  I guess he didn't like it here since I only saw him once in the seven years we've been living here in Southeastern Pennsylvania.  Click on the photo to see a larger image. This quilt is 35" x 32".  Yours made from this pattern could be a different size or shape depending on how you combine the blocks.
Foxes are beautiful animals but they have mean streaks.  I read when they get into a chicken coop, they kill all the chickens.  I guess killing is a sport to them.  My cat does the same thing, one mouse at a time.

This quilt is raw edge stitched and has hand embroidery in the backgrounds where I drew flowers and trees. In my quilt,  the chickens are on the outside, creating tension.

 I tried to keep the hand embroidered flowers in scale with the foxes.  It is amazing how many you can draw with pearl cotton embroidery thread if you break down the flowers you see in your yard into French knots, satin stitch, straight stitch, chain stitch, and Feather stitch.  These are all basic stitches.

The border quilting is based on the noxious plant, the Poke weed.  The berries become purple when they are ripe and the birds love them.

This fox is thread painted to get the texture of his fur.

The backgrounds of the blocks were machine quilted on my home sewing machine.
This chicken portrait cornerstone was raw edge stitched.  Each color is on top of the main color (black and white for this chicken).  Everything is fused together before the raw edge stitched was done.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Felted apliques bag

Look at what I just made this week.  The sheep faces are appliques that have been felted with curly and combed wool fibers.  I used menswear wool fabrics and orange pearl cotton for the feather stitching, and wool batting from Fairfield.

People are always amazed at the detail that can be achieved with felting.  It is so easy to shade to get dimension, by adding a little bit of gray to the color you are working with.  The gray needs to be mixed in your hands (push and pulling it to mix colors in your fingers).  The sheeps face patterns are part of the Crazy Sheep pattern.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Foxes... a new pattern in the making

I am playing with foxes now and I can't decide if I like wool felted fox best or cotton machine appliqued fox.  On the cotton example I thread painted the fur.  With the felted example, I mixes the gray and orange fiber before felting in the tail.  Both examples need white added to their faces and bellies.  This is the beginning of a new pattern for Critter Pattern Works.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

More Sheep...more details

I am trying to figure a way to explain how I get from one critter to a whole quilt.  How do the blocks fit together without any pre-planning?  I make appliques for the critters and felt them with a Clover Felting tool, CL8901, which is similar in shape to a pen, with three needles.  I also use a single needle to do detail work.  Next I fill in the ground that the critters are walking on, with felting and then embroidered the flowers and trees.  Some of the flowers and leaves are becoming more 3-D.  I felted leaves in tiny heart shapes and flowers in little circles with bead centers. I have no idea where I am going with this, but I need a smaller piece than my two previous quilts, either to enter into shows, or to hang in our booth while the larger quilts are exhibited at shows.  Of course, I can't do the same thing twice, so this quilt I am working on is going to be pushing the envelope even further.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Sheep Wannabees is a winner!

My newest quilt just won a blue ribbon for Best Embellishment in the innovative category at The Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton VA.  The competition was fierce.  I am honored that my quilt got the prize.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Weird stuff that is available on the web...

I was stumped when my source of Lincoln Longhair fibers didn't respond to my emails for more.  I sent a postcard to her today. I don't have her phone number.  My DH suggested doing a search for that fiber on the web.  I found two more people who responded to my quiries and were willing to work with me.  I stumbled onto a site that sold YAK! fiber, so I bought some.  I got an email that it is in the mail already.  There is a yak on the Wannabees on the lower left side.

Then I answered one lady from OR and I am sending her a check for Gotland sheep fibers, which she said were curly like the Lincoln but easier to felt. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

I figured it out.

I was looking at the program for Road to CA show and realized that I entered into the wrong catagory.  There were three times as many enteries in Art Quilt category than in the category I entered Crazy Sheep into last year.  If I had entered the Sheep Wannabees into the category "other",  it would have been in the show. The learning curve for doing new things like entering into the shows, is sometimes steep. I wonder what would happen if I entered the quilt into the show for 2012 in the "other" category.  Would it would get hung?  Would it win a ribbon?

Since I didn't get my Sheep Wannabees hung in Road to CA,  I entered it into Oklahoma City and it won a blue ribbon  for "hand",  as opposed to the ribbon for "machine".  It didn't win any money and apparently came close (one vote short) to winning viewers choice and $250. 

We shipped the Wannabees from OKC to Road.  The box arrived at our hotel, (thanks to FedEx, it came as expected) on the first day at Road, so today it will be hung in our booth at Road.  We sold five CDs of the pattern for the Wannabees even without the quilt hanging in our booth.  Blind faith from our followers!