Friday, November 30, 2012

Mona Lisa!

I keep finding things in my photo archives of the Houston Quilt Festival that I want to share with you.
In one of the exhibits there was an inverted likeness of the Mona Lisa created from spools of thread.
If you will recall, I posted images (twice, I think!) of the "Mondrian" likeness behind the front desk of the Hilton in the Fashion District, NYC.  This is similar, but with a twist:  when the viewer gazes at the image through the lens it is suddenly right-side-up and properly oriented to the original.
Check it out:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Kick Off Your Heels!

Let me introduce a fantastic, fun(draising) event:  Kick Off Your Heels!  I hope you will join me in submitting a fabulous, custom-decorated set of heels for consideration in this juried event.

Are you aware that more women die each year in the US from cardiovascular disease than all cancers combined?!  Sue Bleiweiss and Jamie Fingal put together a project to help raise awareness of that horrifying statistic.  The goal is to raise $5,000 for The Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles,California: they not only treat women, but also educate and do major research for this disease as it pertains to women.  Katie Couric talked to Barbra  Streisand about the heart center and you can watch excerpts from that interview here.
So how are we going to do achieve our goal? We’ll do it through an online sale of high heel shoes that have been transformed into works of art!   We’ve already created a few pairs of shoes to inspire the art communityand you can see those here.  Here are the heels I’ve created for this project that will be available for purchase in May of 2013:
These stilettos are called,
"Women Fly When Men Aren't Looking"

Please stop by the Kick Off Your Heels blog for more images of artists' shoe-tastic creations.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Quilted Yurt: A Smash Hit at Festival

Greetings!  I'm STILL trying to sort out photos from the Houston Quilt Festival.  I have been looking forward to posting photos of the amazing quilted yurt, submitted by Linzi Upton, of Aberdeenshire, United Kingdom.  As you can imagine, this was a very unusual and fun installation in the Tactile Architecture exhibit at festival.  Check it out:

To learn more about Linzi and her yurt, please stop by her blog.

To learn more about the general history of yurts, hit the link.

To see some images of another textile yurt, this one built by my oldest daughter follow the links!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

My Thanksgiving Gratitude List

My late sister, Priscilla (standing) and I, on our grandfather Tucker's tire swing.
Circa 1963 (ages 16 & 9).

My daughter @ age 14
My two other daughters, fall 2004

I read Meg Cox' blog post about Thanksgiving and at the end she had what she calls a "gratitude list".
I liked the idea of it.  I became the surviving member of my family-of-origin after my mother's death in 2003.  The experience of losing my last 2 family members in such close succession made for some interesting contemplation.  I quit watching 24-hour news channels, spent more time in my garden in quiet contemplation.  I think of my mother each and every day as I walk down the long hallway into my studio, and thank her for giving me back the gift of time to make art.

So, after reading Meg's list, I decided to begin my own:

The love of a good, kind man
Three loving, healthy, beautiful daughters
My own good health
An amazing, loving, family-in-law
A home
A happy family (and this includes my dog)
Wonderful, supportive friendships
Food security
A good education and the ability to continue learning
Time to read them
A studio and supplies to make art, and the time and ability to create it
My garden
The capacity for great joy
An appreciation for the natural world
Clean, wonderful linen sheets
Art that satisfies and intrigues
Kindnesses from strangers
The insight not to take any of it for granted

Of course there is so much more.  This is the all-encompassing version of it.

So, dear reader, what is on your own gratitude list?  Please let me hear from you.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Year Of Art: Another Fundraising Event for FFAC

I am proud to be a Sponsor of Inspiration Month for the "A Year of Art"
fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.  On February 12 and 13, 2013,
everyone who donates to the ACS through Fiberart For A Cause will be entered
in the Inspiration Month drawing now valued at more than $1000.

There will be ONE winner of the entire Inspiration Month prize package drawn
from those who donate to enter and those who bid on the eleven featured
artworks.  Wouldn't you like to receive more than 20 boxes in the mail full
of fiber and mixed media books, specialty fabrics, beads, stencils, DVDs,
Inspiration Packs, and so much more?  More details here:

As always, 100% of donations will be made directly to the American Cancer
Society through Fiberart For A Cause.  We have already donated over

Monday, November 19, 2012

Please Join Me Today On Blog Radio!

I will be a guest on "Quilting Radio",  Pat Sloan's blog radio program for American Patchwork & Quilting!
Please tune on on November 19th between 4:00 and 5:00 EST.  
Here is the link to the site:

If you are unable to tune in, Pat assures me that the program will be archived shortly thereafter.
Hope you can stop by!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Join Me on November 19th!

I will be a guest on "Quilting Radio",  Pat Sloan's blog radio program for American Patchwork & Quilting!
Please tune on on November 19th between 4:00 and 5:00 EST.  
Here is the link to the site:

If you are unable to tune in, Pat assures me that the program will be archived shortly thereafter.
Hope you can stop by!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Why Lint?

Superior thread does more to educate quilt makers and sewists than any other 
company in the marketplace.  The following is an excerpt from their monthly
newsletter.  Please take a minute to read this valuable info about the cause 
of "lint".  Then stop by Superior and check out their amazing products!

Lint is the accumulation of cotton fibers.  It can come from 
thread, fabric, and batting.  The easiest way to determine 
the source of the lint is to compare the color of the lint 
to the color of the thread, fabric, and batting.
If you get a lot of thread-related lint when sewing, there 
are three main causes.

1. Low or medium quality thread.  The majority of threads on the market are low 
or medium quality.  Most companies think it just costs too much to make a high 
quality thread so they target the low-price market, which, unfortunately, is 
much larger than the high quality market.  A label may state 'long staple cotton' 
but if steps are not implemented during processing to produce a quality thread, 
the result will be poor. A high quality cotton thread should not produce much lint. 
Solutions to the next two causes will only work if the thread is high quality. 
(We can't fix bad.) 

2. If the lint buildup is at the needle, the needle
 may be too small or not the best needle style.  
Topstitch needle has a double-size eye that 
provides a larger area for thread to pass 
through, resulting in much less stress on the 
thread. Professionals and educators most often recommend Topstitch 
needles for piecing, quilting, embroidering, crafting, clothing construction,
 and nearly every sewing application. The only exception is when sewing 
on a knit fabric, a ballpoint needle is preferred. Other than that, the Topstitch 
needle for everything. Choose the needle size based on the thread size. 

3. If the lint buildup is in the tension area or in the bobbin area, the tension
 is too tight and is stressing or rubbing the thread.  This is an easy fix 
by loosening the top and/or bobbin tensions. Learning to adjust tensionis 
the most liberating thing in the sewing world.  It takes control away from
 the machine and returns it to you.

Don't believe the labels  The best way to distinguish thread quality is not by
 the label, but by using the product. There is more to a product than the fiber
 type. Processing techniques add as much or more to the finished product 
quality as does the raw material. Following is a list of processing terms which 
affect the quality of cotton thread. 

Mercerized  Today, nearly all cotton thread is mercerized. If a label only 
says mercerized cotton, it is probably because there is nothing else to brag 
about (such as long staple or extra-long staple). Mercerizing is a process 
of treating cotton thread with a solution, causing the fibers to swell. This 
process allows the dye to better penetrate the fibers, thereby increasing the 
luster. Labels can include a limited amount of information and stating 
that the cotton is mercerized is not important because most cotton thread is 
automatically mercerized. 

Staple  The length of the raw material fiber. The longer the staple, the stronger
 the thread. If there is no mention of the staple length, assume it is a regular 
(or short) staple thread. If it is long staple or extra long staple, it will state that fact.

Gassed  Gassing refers to passing a cotton thread at high speed through a flame, 
burning off the excess fuzz in order to create a higher sheen. Most labels will not 
include this information. 

Glazed  Glazing involves heating the thread and then coating it with waxes, 
starches, and other chemicals. Glazing results in a glossy thread with a hard
 finish. Glazed thread is stiffer than unglazed thread and has a wire-like look 
and feel.  Glazed cotton thread is not recommend for machine work because 
the glaze rubs off and gums up the machine. Although often not labeled 
as such, glazed cottons are recommended only for hand quilting. 

Silk-finish This is not a silk-wrapped cotton. This is a nice sounding term for 
gassed cotton. See above. 

Polished Another term for gassed cotton and occasionally for mercerized cotton.

Egyptian Cotton  Egypt grows less than 1% of the world's cotton so it is obvious
 that all that "Egyptian" cotton in thread, sheets, clothing, and towels cannot be 
possible.  Labels mislead. Some outright lie. As far as I can determine, we 
are the only company that can honestly say our cotton threads (King Tut 
andMasterPieceare 100% Egyptian-grown extra-long staple, gassed, 
mercerized cotton. We buy our cotton from Egypt.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Quilt Alliance Auction Is Underway!

Our annual fundraising auction of quilts on eBay is underway!
Please stop by and place a bid!
Here are the dates for each auction week.
Auction Week 1: Monday, Nov. 12 – Monday, Nov. 19 2012
Auction Week 2: Monday, Nov. 19 – Monday, Nov. 26 2012
Auction Week 3: Monday, Nov. 26 – Monday, Dec. 3 2012
Auction Week 4: Monday, Dec. 3 – Monday, Dec. 10 2012

This is my house-shaped quilt, similar in size to the auction quilts on eBay.
This quilt was auctioned off at the Quilter's Take Manhattan event in September.
Meg Cox is the new owner!

"Home Is Where Your Story Begins"
First Place Winner & previous Grand Prize winner!
This quilt is one of so many wonderful choices to bid on!
Check them out on eBay!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Stay Tuned....

I was so happy to finally meet Pat Sloan in person during Quilt Market!  Pat and I had been exchanging a few emails prior to being in Houston, but prior to that I had been quite enamored with her Pinterest boards!
Pat was interested in talking to me about "Exquisite Journey", the collaborative group quilt that was the brainchild of Frances Holliday Alford.  The quilt has 6 panels made by myself, Frances, Michele Muska, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, Hoodie Crescent, and Kathy York.

a detail of my panel

Pat and I sat down during Quilt Market and recorded a segment to be aired on her wonderful blog radio program sometime in November.  I'll be sure to post the date once I find out!  I hope you will tune in and listen.  Do stop by and listen to her previous shows, which you can easily access on the site.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Spoonology: Have You Got What It Takes??

One of our quirky, yet highly sophisticated, traditions during dinners at the Houston Quilt Festival is Spoonology.  Check it out:
Lyric Kinard demonstrates that she can balance while looking at the spoon.

Frances Holliday Alford is able to laugh and balance at the same time.

Susie Monday can balance glasses and a spoon!
Judy Coates Perez can't keep a straight face with Ms. Napkinhead (aka Frances) nearby.

Indigo Perez  demonstrates her unique style of Spoonology.

Jamie, Norman, and myself at our last dinner @ 8 at Spencer's.

Finally, I want to talk about Norman.  Norman has been our delightful waiter every single year since the Hilton America's opened.  Norman tolerates our antics at the table, our weird & extravagant table decor, and more.  We will miss his gentle demeanor, ever-present smile, and his lovely Jamaican accent.  Because Spencer's is being closed and replaced with a different, non-Hilton restaurant in this space, Norman will be transferred to banquets.  I guess we are going to have to throw a damn banquet next year so we can still see Norman.  Let the planning begin!

Open Studios: Monoprinting

My friend and fellow Quilt Alliance board-member, Michele Muska, of Simplicity Creative Group, sent me this photo, taken while I was demonstrating gelatin-plate monoprinting in the Craftsy Open Studios.
I made a fine mess and had a lot of fun!