Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Introducing "Quilting: The New Classics"! Woo Hoo! Let's hop!

All quilters draw inspiration from the past. But how do today's artisans put their personal stamp on classic patterns? Twenty influential quilters from across the stylistic spectrum present their unique creative vision of timeless designs. Each pattern, Double Wedding Ring, Crazy Quilt, Dresden Plate, Bear Paw, Log Cabin, Nine Patch, Hexagon, Yo-Yo, Flying Geese, and Rail Fence, comes with step-by-step instructions for two adaptations, one traditional, the other modern.
The book also includes a history of each pattern, images of heirloom or museum-quality quilts for inspiration, easy-to-use templates and essential quilting techniques.

Forwards by Meg Cox and Janneken Smucker.

I was thrilled and honored when my dear friend, Michele Muska, invited me to contribute to her book, "Quilting:  The New Classics".  I began my journey as a quilt maker in the early 80's, inspired by the work of a nurse-colleague.  My paternal grandmother, Maude Tucker, was the town seamstress and a quilt maker of considerable talent.  Participating in this book as a contributing artist makes me feel like my grandmother would be proud of me.

I love many things about the style of this book.  First, the paper feels so great!  I think we are weirdly tactile creatures, us artists.  The paper quality is exceptional.  I love that the book has folds on the front and back cover which makes it easy to place-hold a page.

The matte finish is wonderful and so is the photography and layout.  Each quilt "style" is represented by a traditional interpretation as well as a modern translation, and they are featured side-by-side in the book.  I have never seen this done before and I love it.

Since I adore hexagon quilts of any size and shape it was great to be asked to create a 'modern' version of this classic shape.   As much as I love paper piecing hexagons I wanted to see if I could construct them in a different way.
First, I constructed a long section of strip-pieced fabrics.

After drawing and cutting several graduated sizes of hexagons from paper, I used these to cut my hexagons using a 1/4 inch seam allowance around the paper shapes.  I cut two in each size, front and back.

Placing the right sides together, I stitched the front and back of each hexagon together leaving one side of each open (in order to turn the shape right-side-out).

Before turning, the corners need to be trimmed close to the seam to allow a crisp point.

After turning the hexagon right-side-out, I turned the raw edge opening in so it could be pressed into place, then stitched it closed.

After the hexagon is stitched it was placed onto the quilt top surface and stitched into place all around the perimeter.  

Just for fun, and because I am slightly nuts, I added four octagons for a little visual confusion.
I like the result!  Hexi and Octi go out for a date!

I continue to have an intense love affair with all shades of gray.  Fifty?  Why limit oneself to so few?!

(Side-note:  I was just in a class with a woman who told me she loved this shade of Kona gray so much that, if this color of fabric were a man, she would marry him.)  I sort of understand.
Apparently the book also functions as a hat.
Here is Michele, posing with our fellow Quilt Alliance board member, Mark Lipinski.

There is so much great stuff in this book, and you could WIN one by leaving a comment!  I will be doing a drawing to give away a copy of this gorgeous book from those who have written me a note here.   You must comment by November 1st to be eligible for the drawing.
Please use the following link to order your own copy of this gorgeous book:

Stop by all these amazing artists for more inspiration:
Oct. 20th Michele Muska http://www.lolarae.com/blog.html
Oct. 21st Leslie Jenison  http://leslietuckerjenison.blogspot.com
Oct. 22nd Janneken Smucker   http://www.janneken.org/category/blog/
Oct. 23rd Valerie Bothell http://pinkbunnykansas.blogspot.com
Oct. 24th Kaari Meng www.frenchgeneral.blogspot.com
Oct. 25th Elisa Sims Albury : www.stitchoutsidetheditch.com
Oct. 26th Heather Jones www.oliveandollie.com
Oct. 27th Victoria Findlay Wolfe http://www.bumblebeansinc.blogspot.com
Oct. 28th Amy Smart http://www.diaryofaquilter.com
Oct. 29th Jackie Kunkel http://cvquiltworks.com/blogs/blog\
Oct. 30th Pat Sloan http://blog.patsloan.com/
Oct. 31st Shelly Pagliai  http://prairiemoonquilts.com/?page_id=62
Nov. 1st Allie Aller www.alliesinstitches.blogspot.com
Nov. 2nd Kristin Omdahl www.styledbykristin.com
Nov. 3rd Pat Sloan 4:00pm eastern time http://toginet.com/shows/americanpatchworkandquiltingradio
“The Voice of Quilting” American Patchwork and Quilting radio show 

Also, stay tuned for some great inspiration and ideas from some of our contributors’ newsletters and social media platforms!
Meg Cox with Quilt Journalist Tells All
New York times Best Selling Author Marie BostwickMegan Frock of Downtown Housewife
And more from Marci Elmer Warren, Linda Pumphrey, Bonnie Bus and Darlene Zimmerman!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Italy, Part Two...Chianti

We ventured into Chianti twice during this trip.  Thanks to Jeannie, who had done extensive research before we traveled, we were able to have a wonderful day at Casamonti to have brunch and visit the home of the Cinta Senese, or Tuscan Pig.  These pigs were nearly extinct by the late 80's.  The owners of Casamonti formed a Consortium to bring it back from the brink.  The raise the animals for the typical Tuscan products that include salami, finocchiona, fresh sausage, seasoned pork loin, salt bacon, capocollo, cured lard, and the famous prosciutto and also grow grapes and olives.  We sampled all their products and I even ordered some to be shipped home.  Here are some images:

Anna Rita, the co-owner of the vineyard, talks to us about their wines and how to read the labels.

After lunch she walked us down to her kitchen garden.

She encouraged us to pick some vegetables!

Look at these gorgeous heirloom tomatoes.  
They were delicious!

One of their pigs.

And a piglet.

Chianti was simply breathtaking.

The colors of the grapes and the leaves, just beginning to turn red.

We took our beautiful vegetables, including squash blossoms, home to 
cook for dinner that evening.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

I've been traveling.....

Viva Italia!  I really love to travel and Italy is one of my favorite places to visit.  There is something about it that speaks to me on the deepest level.  The land, the people, the food.  There is a simplicity and earthiness that I adore.
Early this year my artist friend, Jeannie Moore, started talking about her desire to find a house in the country to rent for an extended period of time.  It sounded so great.  They had family and friends coming for a portion of their stay, and there was a week at the end that was "open".  My husband and I joined them for the final week of their stay in a house near the town of Orentano, in Tuscany.
I have only visited in summer months, so being there in the fall was pretty great.  Here are a few images from our time there.

Look!  On our flight over, "Tim's Vermeer" was one of the featured documentaries!

Tim is trying to sort out the wireless internet in our house.

The grounds were gorgeous and we could leave the doors open and let the sun come in.

I love these small roadside shrines...

and the beautiful old stone walls.

and the soft, bright colors and narrow alleyways.

Jeannie walks along a lovely stone fence.

The Duomo, Florence, Italy

Clotheslines on the sides of buildings.

Beautiful vegetables at the market....


visiting vineyards where the grapes were still on the vines.

I'm not the only person who photographs her food!

walking through the old city of Lucca

Those Italians think of everything!

A frescoed ceiling in a church in Lucca

a small market

friends or sisters

my guy!

Jeannie and I both love to cook.  One of the joys of this trip was to have lunch out and then go to the market and cook our evening meal at home.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

It's All About Mary Beth Shaw today!

Surprise!  In honor of the original Stencil Girl, Mary Beth Shaw, we are having a fun little hop showcasing a technique that can be found in her new book, "Flavor for Mixed Media".
You can find her book here.

I have been obsessed with the Liquitex acrylic spray paints so the section called "Spray It Again, Sam" really appealed to me.  

For this little project I took a look at MJ's last book, "Flavor for Mixed Media" and decided to combine the use of spray paint with a layering technique and some hand-stitching using some small left-over pieces of cloth.
I opted to use Maria McGuire's beautiful Doodle It Layered Petals Stencil, first by lightly misting acrylic paint over the canvas with the stencil in place as a resist, then flipping the paint-covered stencil over and, with a brayer, adding the positive image of the stencil.  Two for the price of one!
You can find this stencil here.

If there wasn't adequate paint on the stencil I moved it over a piece of parchment, sprayed, and 
then brayered it on the surface of the canvas.

I was fortunate to have this small piece of brown embroidered silk left over from another project.
It seems perfect as a layer for my project.

FIrst, I stitched the silk in place with my Bernina 750 QE.

Next, using a variety of neutral colored embroidery threads I
embellished the small construction with french knots and other assorted stitches.

I wanted to illuminate some of the elements of the stencil without covering the marks up completely.
Another bit of good fortune:  I have this gorgeous piece of Hoffman batik,
which has all the colors of my canvas, silk, and even the subtle variations of color in my threads.
I plan to stitch the canvas into place and create a small throw pillow with my beautiful cloth

Please be sure to stop by all the participating artists in this hop.
Thanks for stopping by!
Be sure to leave a comment here, and all the participating blogs, to be eligible for our daily drawing as well as the Grand Prize:  a copy of Mary Beth's book and a package of stencils chosen from ALL the comments left for the week of the hop!

Here is the hop list.  Be advised that the Friday participants won't go live until, well, Friday!  I am including them here for your convenience.
Mary Nasser

Michael Trent

Julie Kellogg

Friday:  StencilGirl Talk