Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Modern Aesthetic of the Gee's Bend Quilts

I've been thinking a lot about how much the Modern Quilt aesthetic reminds me of the Gee's Bend Quilts.  I was fortunate to see the original  Gee's Bend exhibition in Boston at the Museum of Fine Art and it floored me.
Here are some images I took at the Gee's Bend exhibition:

If you are unfamiliar with the Gee's Bend quilts and the history of quiltmaking by these women, I encourage you to find a copy of the exhibition catalog.  The beauty of these quilts, especially because of their utilitarian function, is simply gorgeous.  Be sure to follow the quiltmaking link, above, and scroll down to see the short video of the women as they sing and work on a quilt.  I hope to visit someday.
As an interesting comparison, please take a look at the wonderful photos taken by Luana Rubin, of, to see many of the juried quilts of QuiltCon.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


As QuiltCon weekend winds down I wanted to share a few images with you about the event.   And, what an event it has been!  My hat is off to the board, as well as all the many volunteers, all of whom worked tirelessly to make this inaugural event go so smoothly and be so much fun!
If you have attended one of the other quilt shows, namely the International Quilt Festival in Houston, I can tell you that this event was much smaller.  Still, it was very well done, with a stunning selection of juried quilts, as well as an extensive collection of Denyse Schmidt's quilts, on display.  
The many workshops were filled to capacity, and the lecture schedule included a wide selection of speakers, from fabric designers, to leaders in the modern movement, and more.  Meg Cox, president of the board of directors for the Quilt Alliance, spoke on Saturday about the history of quilts, and demonstrated how the Quilt Index can be a valuable tool for anyone interested in searching for information about quilts or a particular vintage or style of quilt.  Heather Grant gave a fantastic lecture about the history of the Modern Quilt Movement, as well as what it "means" to those who are part of it, and what differentiates this style from traditional or contemporary art quilts.  
So many great vendors!  I'm so thankful that I was able to shop at Hyggeligt, from London, Ontario, to purchase some more Oakschott fabric, my new(est) obsession.  Oh my.  

Seen on the bathroom wall of a juice bar in Austin..

My quilt, "Fifty Shades of Groovy", juried into the
Improvisational-pieced group

Meeting up with friends:  Frances Holliday Alford

Victoria Findlay Wolfe poses by her gorgeous quilt.
Best. Of. Show.
Congratulations, dear friend!  Wowzer is right!!

My daughter gets bitten by the "bug".
Here, she tries out the HandiQuilter Avante longarm machine.

We pose together in the Michael Miller booth.
It was so much FUN to hang out with her at QuiltCon.

80's Dance Party!  We had a blast, people.

Here I am posing with a few of the "Tamales", the San Antonio Mod Guild.
I love these women!
L-R:  Danielle Wilkes (fabulous longarm quilter), myself, Allison Chambers,
Sara Elliott, Erin Schlosser.

and here is the "money shot" of the weekend:
As a group of us met in the lobby bar for a late dinner at the Hilton, 
we were introduced to some Boobology.  I could not have gotten this picture 
more perfectly.  Frances does not look amused, but she was!
Please, someone, can you tell me where this woman's nipples are hidden?  Please?

Monday, February 18, 2013

On/Off Fred Road Studio Tour & A Peek At The New Art Cloth Studio Digs

This weekend was the 6th annual On/Off Fred Road Studio Tour.  Each year the tour seems to pick up momentum with more studios participating and more visitors to the tour.  Since Art Cloth Studios is about to move into its new location it seemed like a great opportunity to open the space and meet some of the neighbors!  Although the new wet studio is unfinished (but close!) it was a fun weekend with great weather so a lot of people came to check it out.
New screened porch just outside the kitchen door

Friends greet one another (new wet studio in background)
The kitchen (completely remodeled)

From the kitchen, the copy-area
This room has a flexible use.  Miki Rodriguez 
chats with a visitor.  The door to her left is a dining and/or media area.

The main room has a flexible use.  Three design panels grace one wall.
This room has been used for critique sessions, meetings, and more.
The new wet studio, still under construction.
Much more to come!

This is the area to the right of the doorway (above)

The large area will house the print table(s).
Design walls run the length of the far wall.

One of the best things about hanging out this weekend was the opportunity to meet so many of the neighbors, who have watched the transformation of the house and new studio building.  Jane Dunnewold has envisioned a lovely space to make art, and it has come to fruition!  My husband dropped by Sunday afternoon and really enjoyed seeing how different it looks at this stage compared to early in the restoration.  He commented that it seems like a great "woman cave".   I think it is a great "artist cave", if you will.  The big question is:  who is going to make the first smudge in that new space?  Not me, I hope!  Or should I say, "Oh me, me, ME"!

Once the kinks are worked out in the new spaces the class schedule will go live.  Stay tuned:  It is going to be great!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Coming Soon: Get A Clue Blog Hop!

I admit it:  I am, and always will be, a Nancy Drew geek.  I credit this young reader series for my lifelong love of reading.  My daughter and I downloaded one of the earliest ND books and listened to it as an audio book, read by actress Laura Linney, last spring while we were on a long road trip.  It was really fun to revisit this series.  Now I get to do it again!
You may know about the newly launched line of Moda fabrics called "Get A Clue With Nancy Drew".  
Well, in honor of the fabric line, we are having a blog hop!
organized by Sew We Quilt

I am excited to be part of this!  My project and post will be on March 13th.  Please check the Sew We Quilt site for info.  I hope you will stop by on March 13th and check it out.  

Here is a quick little peek at my label as I was stitching it....

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Year Of Art Fundraiser Begins Tomorrow!

Please don’t forget that tomorrow kicks off the 2013 fiber fundraiser to fight cancer,
“A Year of Art,” opening at 10 a.m. Central.
There are two ways you can participate:
1.  Donate any amount and be entered in a drawing with one grand prize worth
more than $1550 (which includes voice coaching from me!)
2.  Bid on eleven artworks donated by Pamela Allen, Pokey Bolton, Linda Colsh,
Jane Davila, Vivika DeNegre, Jane Dunnewold, Jamie Fingal, Laura Wasilowski,
Yvonne Porcella, Karen Stiehl Osborn, and Virginia Spiegel  (who has organized t
his amazing fund-raiser)
The goal is $8000 in just 8 hours.  In the past over $220,000 has been donated to
the American Cancer Society to fight cancer.  With your help, that total will surely
grow to nearly $230,000 on February 12 and 13.
Good art, good cause.  It doesn’t get any better than that!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sew Excited!

QuiltCon is around the corner, and I'm sew excited to share that my quilt, "Fifty Shades of Groovy", has been juried into the Improvisational category.  I hope to see some of you in Austin!  Please drop me a line and let me know if you will be there!  I would truly love to meet some of folks who follow the blog.
dimensions 87.5 x 63.5

longarm quilted by Danielle Wilkes

And, drumroll, please.........I'll be teaching a workshop entitled "Fifty Shades of Groovy" this fall at the International Quilt Festival in Houston!  This workshop will incorporate your own layer cake or set of pre-cut squares.  You can bring a pre-cut stack or make your own.  We will use a jellyroll of neutrals and other pre-cut neutrals to create our quilt tops.  This will be fun!  I hope you can join me.  Class sign up will begin in August.  Check the Quilts, Inc. website frequently for more info!

I will also be teaching a fun and fabulous class with my partner-in-crime, Jamie Fingal!  We will offer
"Painting With A Twist & Shout", which I can tell you is a rollicking fun workshop!  More info about this crazy-fun workshop will be on the Dinner At Eight blog shortly.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Obsession With Stacked, Cut Wood

What is it about a stack of cut wood that inspires me?  I just love the shapes, all the patterns of rings in the wood, and how the pieces nestle into each other.  It is a visual feast!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Tex Measurement Standard

The Tex system (most likely derived the word textile) was created 
as a new standard of consistent thread measurement and intended
 to replace all other methods of measurement of threads.  It hasn’t 
quite achieved that goal because quilters love the weight standard 
and the number standard (for example, 40 wt. or #50) and embroiderers 
are used to the denier standard (120d/2). Because the International 
Organization for Standardization (IOS) has adopted the Tex system, 

it will probably continue to gain in popularity so it would be advantageous 

to understand it.

Tex is an accurate measurement and is considered a direct numbering 

system, meaning the higher the Tex number, the heavier the thread.  
On the other hand, the weight system, most popular in the U.S., is not a 
direct numbering system because the larger the number (30 wt., 40 wt., 
50. wt., 60 wt.), the finer the thread.  That can be confusing.

The Tex standard uses 1,000 meters of thread per gram as the starting

 point. This means if 1,000 meters of thread weighs one gram, it is Tex 1. 
If 1,000 meters of thread weighs 25 grams, it is Tex 25.

Although this appears to be a very accurate measurement, it is necessary 

to remember that 1,000 meters of cotton will not weigh the same as 
1,000 meters of like-diameter polyester.  Therefore, when comparing thread 
sizes based on the Tex or any other standard of measure, for exact accuracy, 
compare cotton to cotton, poly to poly, and silk to silk.

We use the Tex measurement on some of our newer threads and on all 

our industrial (apparel and upholstery) threads.
Fine Tex Threads . . . . . . Tex 9 to Tex 20
Medium Tex Threads . . .  Tex 21 to Tex 45
Heavy Tex Threads . . . . . Tex 45 and higher

Please click here or on the link below for the list of most of our threads, 

grouped by use, showing the Tex measurement for each.

Tex Measurement Chart, Listed by Thread Type 

This information is shared with permission from the Superior Threads website.
Please stop by the site for additional thread info!