Tuesday, July 31, 2012

You Can Find Inspiration, Even In A Deli

Ideas for quilts can come from many places.  I went out to lunch the other day with my husband to a local deli and was mesmerized by the fabric on the benches.  During the entire meal I kept thinking about what a fun quilt this would be to create.

I have been further exploring dupioni silk this summer and decided to use it for this project.For piecing the silk needs to be stabilized.  I like to do this with either a woven or tricot fusible interfacing.  The interfacing needs to be applied with a damp press cloth.

For fusible applique, some fraying of the silk occurs when using the interfacing. 
 Because the dupioni is so coarsely woven, some fraying will always occur,
 but using only fusible web lessens the amount of fraying.

This is the piece on my design wall before I stitched it and added the circles.  
 I had doubts about the design and thought about putting it away. 
 But I decided to keep going.
The blanket stitching and the many colored circles made a huge difference.
I used a rayon thread to do the blanket stitching.
I handstiitched the circles down and quilted a swirl inside it.

I am still working on a name for it.  I was watching the Tour de France while I was quilting it.  Stitching around the circles, made me think about when the cyclists split and  ride around the roundabouts.  It also made me think about how the cyclists ride behind each other in the slipstream for decreased wind resistance. But I'm not enthralled with using those ideas for names.

Any ideas?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Happy Birthday

We got together for my new DIL's birthday. 
 She loves to cook.  I mean serious kind of cooking
.This was one of the gifts that her new husband (aka my son) gave her.
Can you guess what it is?

It's a truffle.

He said it was quite a production to buy it.

Loren made a Baked Alaska for dessert.  It was gorgeous.

She even brought her own "weapon".

This is what it looked like on the inside, with 2 flavors of  sorbet,
vanilla ice cream and a layer of confetti cake.A great dessert for the summer.

Happy Birthday Loren!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Afterglow

There's a big smile on my face!

I had a great time co-hosting Creative Mojo,
even though someone may have had too many pineapple martinis.
(Here's the link if you want to listen:http://bit.ly/OdC73Y )

Last time I visited his "recording studio" aka his office, his books were arranged by topic.  I think Mr. Mark has had too much time on his hands and he re-arranged them by spine color:

It's very eyecatching but Mark admits he can't find what he's looking for.

And don't believe everything you read (VBG)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wednesday's Wanderings #32 - Creative Mojo with Mark Lipinski

Today I am co-hosting Creative Mojo with Mark Lipinski. 
 I've done it once before, and I can't wait to do it again.

It is an internet radio show broadcast through the computer on the toginet network at 3PM EST.

But if you can't listen to it live, you can listen to it any time you would like by going to:
 You can also download it as a podcast via itunes to listen any time that you want.

I will be at Mark's house and the equipment is in his office.  I'm not sure who the guests will be, but I know they will somehow be involved in the creative arts. They will be on air via the telephone.
Mark is a great guy to hang out with.  Although some people have told me that he can be outrageous, he has always been a gentleman with me - uplifting and joyous.

I have been playing with silk this week, so I used a small piece of it to make the base of the microphone.

I hand stitched "on the air" with rayon thread.

My WW block complete with Mark's signature.
So if you are near your computer at 3PM EST, tune in
and maybe you can be one of the callers that we talk to.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Way To A Man's Heart

We all know that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. 
The way to a quilter's heart???


My friend who's in the tablecloth business was doing some cleaning out.  She called me to see if I wanted any of the remnants that she was going to throw out. Throw Out??? No way!
Of course I had to share the loot with my buddies, The Quiltinis.
 Can't wait to see what they make.

And a quick thank you to the York Quilters' Guild in York, PA.  I spoke there last night and these were the loveliest ladies.  I though for sure I lost them when it started thundering and pouring, but they hung in there with me.  Thank you to Rita and the rest of the gang.  It was a pleasure.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wednesday's Wanderings #31 - Torah Covers

I have been spending the week working on a commission for my local synagogue, Temple Sholom.  It's for 2 torah covers for the Jewish High Holidays, that start with Rosh Hashanah and end with Yom Kippur.  Traditionally these white, plainish covers are put on the torahs for these most sacred days. 

 In our synagogue they adorn the torahs for about 3 weeks.  They are put away for the rest of the year.
I often have a little chuckle because without fail this is the scenario:

1.A few weeks before the covers are needed, the synagogue search begins to find them, especially if someone new is involved in trying to find where those covers were put at the end of the High Holidays the year before.

2.Then the question is  how to clean them.  (Remember they are white and are handled more than usual  by many different people during the services.)

3. It would be so nice to have new covers because most of them have been around a long time.   They are not a high priority in terms of expenditures.  Maybe next year.

4.  The covers are put away and forgotten.

5.  See step #1.

So I am excited and honored to be a part of this tradition.  I sat with the clergy and we designed the covers together.  Even though they are predominately white, they do not have to be plain.  They loved my pomegranate themed torah cover and wanted pomegranates to be visible in the background.

This week I designed, auditioned and practiced the quilting for the background of the design. It's interesting that the discussion these past few blog posts have been about contrast.  My goal for the background quilting was for it to be subtle, but I still wanted it to be visible.

The fabric is dupioni silk, an elegant and rich fabric.  The thread is a variegated gold rayon.

Here is my work in progress:

My initial sketch

I used Solvy, a water soluble transparent film as my quilting guide.  I traced my drawing onto the solvy with a thin tip marker that was similar in color to my thread. The film tears off pretty easily. Silk dupioni does not like water.  It loses its sheen and lovely texture if it gets wet.  I used the clear film and the similarly colored marker so if  any of the film remained behind, it wouldn't be readily visible.

I layered my backing, low loft batting, silk and Solvey and secured them with a few pins.

And free motion quilted it.  It's a little hard to see the transparent film.

The pomegranate
Finished sample, aka Wednesday Wandering

Monday, July 16, 2012

Some Eye Candy

Quilt Alliance

The Quilt Alliance, founded in 1993,  is an organization whose mission is to preserve the American quilt heritage.It is a labor of love, especially for those individuals who gather the information to record. I  participated in one of their projects, called Quilters' Save Our Stories or QSOS.  I was interviewed in 2006 about my quilt "Leaving Us" that was part of a traveling exhibit, Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. My interview and many others are now preserved  in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

 This year the Quilt Alliance held a contest with the theme:"Home Is Where The Quilt Is". Each participant could interpret the them as they saw fit but the quilt had to have a given house shape measuring 15" wide x 19 1/2" tall. 

This contest was right up my alley.  I really planned on participating, but.... you know.  The deadline was June 2012.  But, the next best thing to participating is viewing all of the winners who were just announced and the other entries.  They are just fabulous.  I got permission to share a bunch of the photos here.  But I have to tell you that the photos are courtesy of the Quilt Alliance and the design copyright for each quilt is maintained by the individual artist.

There were 119 entries.  I'm sharing some of my favorites here. 
You can see the rest of them here:  See more quilts  The exciting news is that you can own one of these.  They will be auctioned off in November to raise funds for the  Quilt Alliance. Check the link for more info.

"A Place To Grow"
Ellen Kane

"A Quilter Lives Here"
Lashonne Abel

"Bird House"
Pamela Allen

"Chickadees At Home"
Cynthia St. Charles

"Dare to Live Your Dreams"
Lynn Dell Swapp    

"Home Is Where Your Story Begins"
Jamie Fingal

"Quilting in the City House"
Karen Bennick    

"Quilting Makes My Heart Blossom"
Margarita Korioth    

 "When Life Gives You Scraps"
JoAnn Hoffman

And yippeee - Martingale is sending me 2, yes 2, Ruby Beholders, so there are 2 winners:

Upstate Lisa
and Hillbilly Tonya


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Color vs Value Give-Away



I have received a bunch of e-mails  and comments about my stitchery coffee cups.  I have often struggled with contrast and lots of you told me you have the same issue. It brought back a memory of a saying that another quilter told me once.  I don't remember who it was and I don't think she invented it, but this is the saying:

"Value does all the work, but color gets the credit."

 Lots of you also gave me suggestions about how to avoid the low contrast - can't see the difference problem.  And it is all about value.

Other then using a design wall, one of the most popular suggestions was the use of a red tinted viewer. I checked around and the one that is the most commercially available is the Ruby Beholder. It was \made for value comparison.

It's made of plastic and That Patchwork Place markets and sells it.  You can find it here:
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it is sold by my publisher, so I thought I would ask them for 1 to give away.


Now this is what happened when I used this gadget with my blocks.  The value of the threads in my original block was just too similar to the background fabric.  In the Do-over block, the values are different enough that  most of the thread shows up.

I'd like to share this tool.  You'll have fun with it. It will minimize those value mistakes.  Become a follower, if you are not one already, and leave a comment letting me know either your solution to value or how you would use the Ruby Beholder.  I'll pick a winner on Monday, July 16th.
 (Make sure there is an e-mail address in your comment and you are not  no-reply blogger.)

And if you missed the free pattern for the coffee cup, click HERE.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Mulligan

For those of you that don't have a golfer in your life, a mulligan is a do-over.
Here's my do-over

I received some great tips to getting good contrast:

1.  Kelly of www.pinkadotquilts.blogspot.com told me since she has been using one of those red see-thru plastic viewers she has had very few contrast issues.

2. Judy and Norma recommended using a design wall and stepping back frequently.

3.  Cornwoman suggested sticking with a more solid looking background.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wednesday's Wanderings #29 & #30 - Slow Down and Smell the Coffee

Slow down and smell the coffee.

That's what I decided to do this week.
1.  I've made time to meet with some non-quilting friends for coffee. 
2.  I'm trying to learn to like to drink coffee, starting with it in the iced form,
so that I can meet my friends for a cup.
3.  Hand stitching slows me down and lowers my blood pressure.

I have an admission to make.  I often have issues with contrast.  It has happened again with this block.  The choice of the polka dot background, although potentially interesting, detracts from the hand stitching.  It is a lesson that I learn over and over, but I keep experimenting because sometimes  I end up with something fun and exciting. 
So I did take a "mulligan" (as my golfing friend has taught me) and redo this block. 
If you'd like to try it, here's the pattern I designed.