Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Free Folk Art Sampler Pattern

To celebrate the publication of "Willoway" in Fons & Porter's magazine, Love of Quilting (see previous post) and it's soon to be visit to the PA National Quilt Extravaganza, I am offering a free folk art pattern. I used to offer this as a class when I taught at The Country Quilt Shop in Montgomeryville, PA.
I have a split personality. I love contemporary art quilts and I also love primitive folk art. This is clearly my primitive side. Click on the photo either here or in the sidebar for the directions and pattern.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

My Folk Art Farm

I am so excited and thrilled that my quilt, "Willoway - A Folk Art Farm" is in the current issue of Fons & Porter's magazine - For The love of Quilting. It is in a feature titled Art of Quilting - American Farms. The quilt was inspired by the stone houses doting the landscape near where I live in Pennsylvania.

After stitching the landscape, I added the houses and then the pond. All of the applique up to this point was done by turning under the edges and topstitching it down. The rest of the applique is fused, raw edge. The weeping willow tree branches and leaves were done with hand embroidery. The leaves on the other trees are 3-dimensional and attached by machine stitching down the middle of the leaf. The cows' tails were done with hand embroidery as were the sunflowers and the vegetable garden. The 2 black dogs were our family pets that are no longer with us. The top and bottom borders are machine pieced. The entire quilt was machine quilted.

"Willoway" and another quilt of my mine - "A Shrine For Planet Earth" will be at the PA Mancuso Show, Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza, which starts Sept 17th. They have moved from Harrisburg to a new location, closer to Philly. Yippeeee. I will be there on Thursday, white gloving for my quilt guild and then seeing the show and shopping (of course). I'd love to meet you if you're planning on attending.

I have a pattern for a primitive sampler along the lines of "Willoway"that I designed while I was teaching in our local quilt shop. I am working on trying to figure out how to offer it as a free down loadable pattern on this blog. Check back in a few days and hopefully it will be here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sawdust Art


Last March my husband and I travelled to Puebla, Mexico.  The reason for the trip was to see the buildings covered with Talavera tile and to visit the authorized factories.  It was an amazing trip.  Since neither my husband nor I speak Spanish, we hired a guide through our hotel.  To visit another factory, we had the good fortune of being hooked up with the daughter of a friend of a friend of a friend of a business acquaintance.  Her name is Kenya. 

She picked me up after she was done with work one day.  At 27 years old,

she still lives at home, because she is not married.  She is a lawyer and has a boyfriend.  She was just adorable  and we really hit it off.  I think we got along so well because she is the same age as my kids. She shared so much with me about the Mexican Culture and was a wonderful translator at the Uriarte Talavera factory.

Yesterday she sent me an e-mail with these wonderful photos from her cell phone showing the streets covered with painted saw dust for a religious celebration called The Charity’s Virgin.  I don’t really know what the holiday is exactly about, but I am always so amazed by their culture and traditions and their folk art.DSC01401 DSC01366-1


Saturday, August 8, 2009

It’s A Dog’s Life

When I first started blogging, I swore my posts would be limited to only quilting.  I have tried to stick with that commitment, but I find that harder and harder to do.  And actually my BFF (best friend forever) does become an intricate part of my quilting most days.  Her name is Bailey and she’s a cockapoo.  The result of a cockapoo-cockapoo breeding done by a local family.  


I have 2 sons that are in their twenties.  Growing up, they each had their own black lab – Duke and Comet.  I am a firm believer that a child should have a dog growing up – if possible,  Those dogs were bonded to those boys.  The summers up at our  mountain home played such an intricate part in our boys’ lives.  blog-dogs Duke spent forever jumping into the lake chasing sticks and Comet would stand on the dock wanting to jump in, but so hesitant.  We would pretend that she was saying “oh no I don’t want to get my hair wet!”.  Eventually she would go in the lake.  They both would jump in the lake and swim to follow our sons when they went out in the paddle boat, climb in and shake.  If ever you have been near a dog when they were wet and decided to shake, you can just imagine the squeals.

This is a block that I made for a memory quilt for one of my boys.  It really depicts the dogs’ personalities.


We hoped that the dogs would live long enough to see our boys go to college.  And they did.  Duke almost made it to 16 years old, which is very old for a black lab.  Even though Comet was 2 years younger, she died one month later.  She died from heart failure, but we say she died from a broken heart – never having known life without her companion. 

The loss of these 2 pets was so heartbreaking for me.  It’s not that they didn’t have a good life.  They had a wonderful life full of love and devotion.  To me, it was the end of an era.  It closed the door on the chapter of my sons’ childhood.    My husband thought , now we are truly free and can travel wherever we want and whenever we want and not have to worry about putting the dogs in the kennel.

The first time that we went to the mountains and I had to pack away their beds and toys, I just couldn’t hold it together.  Life was so lonely without them.  No one to greet you when entering the house.  No barking, no cuddling.  I knew that I could not live without a dog.  My husband was so supportive and said go for it.  I knew I wanted a little dog.  Fifteen years from now, I knew that I would not be able to pick up and carry a sick dog when “that” time came.  My sons said “Mom – don’t you get one of those froo froo little dogs.” 

But why should I listen to those boys?  I wanted the cutest little dog that I could find and one that didn’t shed .  I spent many, many years cleaning up black dog fur.  When things got bad, I called them tumbleweeds.

Thus, the adoption of Bailey.  My life has been transformed.  I call her my  empty nest dog.  We treat her like she is a black lab and she acts like one.  She is always by my side and walks  5 miles with our gang of walkers each morning. She lays staring at the door while I am gone and greets me as if she hasn’t seen me in years! She has been with us for 1 year now and she has stolen my heart.  The black labs were the boys’ dogs, but Bailey is all mine.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Good-Bye QBL

Home at last after 5 days in Syracuse. The ride home was excruciatingly long thanks to road work on Rte 81 north of Scranton. We spent an extra 2 hours and 20 minutes sitting in traffic. But my friend Christine gets an A+ for doing her job. She talked and talked and talked for over 6 hours to help keep me awake during the drive. What a woman!
My class with Bob Adams focused on the stitch. One of our exercises was to stitch with different colors of thread on different colors of fabric. It is really a great reference piece, because sometimes it is really surprising how the thread looks. Sometimes you want the thread to show or recede or calm down a fabric. I know I will get a lot of use from this sampler. I have already. I started working on a piece using silk dupioni. Choosing different colors of thread, rather than matching was part of my experiment. The piece is still in progress. The next step is to put some words on it. I will post a photo as soon as I finish.

Having time to reflect upon the experience of spending 5 days in a creative environment with over 100 very talented women, I have many thoughts. Bob's work is achieved through discharging and sometimes painting and overdyeing. Often inspired by manhole covers, he then heavily stitches through the top, batting and backing. Bob was a totally focused teacher and is really an anomaly in a female dominated field. He set a wonderful tone in the classroom. It was relaxed, friendly, sharing and I felt there was encouragement by teacher and students alike. At the end, I really feel like I made a roomful of new friends. One of my friends from home was in a class that was not very friendly at all. There was no chemistry among the students and everyone was so very serious.

Talking of sharing, here is a great tip that Carole from Pennington, NJ shared with all of us. If she has a fabric that she is not ready to cut into (see the photo on the right), she will make a photocopy of it. The she will cut the photocopy into pieces and audition it in a piece (see the photo below). She says she will do it with hand-dyed or other special fabric. I think this is a great idea.What a great way to play and experiment.
So enough about QBL. It's time to put all of this creative energy to work. Back into the studio.