Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Collections Challenge Quilts part one

I am hosting the Quiltart online challenge. (see my challenge HERE!) As a result of our lively discussion about all the interesting stuff we collect, we were to make a quilt  showcasing our collections.  The following quilts are made by Quiltart members. My quilt will go up in tomorrow's blogpost. The artists with blogs invite you to visit them via the links provided.  Enjoy!
"She collects collectibles down by the Seashore" 16"X 16"
This cute quilt was made by Maria Shew who collects, are you ready??
Micky Mouse items, English bulldogs, seashells, Barbie, Flamingos, Pandora jewelry, pigs,. pincushions and skeletons! They are all represented in this small but mighty quilt. Click on the image to see it in detail. Note the plane's banner that says, Collectors convention!!

yarngoddess's blog link CLICK HERE!
This paper pieced frog, made by by Diane Ferguson represents an extensive and long time frog collection . She dyed the fabrics and has more details on her lively and fun to read blog, click on the link under her picture to read all about it.
       "Rich and Rustic" 12" X 15" by  Kris Bishop       

  You really must click this image to see the details on Kris Bishop's quilt made from silk and bottle caps.  For details visit her blog    CLICK HERE!.     She says:
  " I have many collections,  but I chose to make my quilt including some of my bottle cap collection.
    My quilt is titled  "Rich & Rustic" because it is made with all raw, luscious colored silk fabrics,  Swarovski crystals and bottle caps.  It is  machine pieced and quilted. I am doing a series of quilts using bottle caps and found objects"

Make sure you click on this picture to the right to see Ann's quilt.  The detail is outstanding. She says:
 " Attached is a picture of my quilt, it was done to show collections but it has embellishments from my collections.  It is 24" long by 17" and is called Space Garden. It has buttons, lace and jewelry all of which I collect"
Ann Kovalchick
Front Royal VA

The next three were made by Charlotte Noll

Memories Stick
27w x 43h
Quilt Pin Collection created for Pin Peddlers 25th Anniversary Every Pin Tells a Story Challenge at the 2011 International Quilt Market and Festival in Houston.

 Mosaic Shell Collections
24w x 30h
2011 Broward Quilt Expo Shell Challenge inspired me to make a collection of mosaic fabric shells.
Some beige and some bright stored neatly in a perfect display box.
Raw silk used for box background.
Machine appliqued and quilted with silk thread.

Piece of the Pie
"I wanted to showcase Broward Quilt Expo and Coral Springs Quilt Guild Challenge ribbons I've designed and embroidered in the last several years.A Piece of the Pie came to mind with a color wheel of fabrics and ribbons.
Each piece of pie has different fabrics from my stash."
Machine pieced, quilted and embellished with ribbons.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

scraps of teal

7.5 inches, unfinished block

A decision has been made! Not the best at decision making, but I love the idea of the Rainbow Scrap color challenge going on at
 so scrappy click here!

This month it's teal, and I made four blocks right out of the scrap bins! Something from nothing! Here they are on the design wall next to the scrappy leaves I haven't finished yet.
The block was designed by two women in my quilt guild to be this year's President's gift quilt. All members are making the same block and signing them. They saw something like it in a catalog so if you know the original maker, I will add in their name.
I loved  the modern feel, so I decided it would make a good color challenge quilt. I have made four teal and four pink blocks, and since I entered late into the challenge, I have to do some in blue.

I think there will be black strips between the blocks but that decision will wait for the end of the year when I put them all together! All those yummy colors in one quilt, whee! 
My but quilt making is exciting, isn't it??

Friday, March 28, 2014

Collections Quilt, binding-borders

Cool Collections partial view

 I quilted this yesterday and y'all, the seam ripper was involved.
I was so tired of problems by the time I quit for the day. Ever have days like that? It started with choosing the wrong couching trim around the pictures. Rip. Then, in using the couching foot instead of the walking foot, because I was, er, couching while quilting,  the pictures skewed on the quilt. The couched thread stayed right in the middle like it's supposed to, the foot however pushed the three layers askew. I noticed right after all nine were done.
I was not ripping them all out.

 In my stash was a remnant of this wavy rick-rack like fabric, in perfect colors for my kitschy fifties quilt. I fussy cut two long pieces for an extra wide binding that became like a little border. Loved it.
Sewed them carefully on both long sides. Trimmed to a half inch from sewing line, hand stitched them to the back of the quilt. Then I noticed you could barely see the lime one.
HA! I got out my trusty prisma-color pencils and colored in with an aqua along the edges of the lime which shaded and defined it

When binding, I usually make one long piece and miter at corners, unless I want to fussy cut like this one. Note, I did not do a double fold binding as I was yardage challenged and it's a wall quilt. This means I will have to fold over an edge on the back before sewing it to the backing fabric.
So, onward to these bindings:
I left the excess batting/backing on the edges, measured from the center to make sure the binding fabric was level (my seam ripper was tired)  and placed the cross cut binding along the top and bottom.Pin. Stick myself.
As I place the fabric along the edge I fold it around the two finished bindings, see it held down with the ruler just for your viewing pleasure, to the right.
Sew the quarter inch seam catching that folded bit at the beginning firmly around the finished edge.
I wanted the binding/border to be a half inch so I placed the ruler along the seam line at the half inch and trimmed away the excess. Flip the binding fabric over the seam, then press. Starting and finishing edges are already turned to leave it finished at the corners.
Continue as usual, pull binding to the back, turn under the long edge (mitering the back corners) and whipstitch to backing as usual. The thing is, I was able to fussy cut each edge this way, and it looks great.

I say I'm finished quilting but I need to add something in the wavy turquoise double needle quilted area. I tried five little circles along the bottom there, but it doesn't excite me, and doesn't add enough texture. Do you all have suggestions? I am also deciding where to add embellishments, like the flamingo pin and some cow earrings to the black area between the photos. More is better right? As a famous quilter, David Walker said to me, Excess is never enough.
The finished quilt will go up tomorrow, geegaws added, all done up and shiny!
 I will post pics and links to the other "quiltart" challenge quilts on April first. LeeAnna

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

experiment with hand made stencils

Well, I tried.
I thought I wanted the title, Cool Collections on my quilt.  I have put words on many quilts in the past but wanted to try something new. I chose the Storybook font, printed out the words to scale on paper. Then traced it on freezer paper and cut out the letters. Ironed the f.p. to fabric and painted  with Seta Shimmer paint using a smooth sponge.
The paint went on a dream but the turquoise didn't show enough, the black showed but isn't exciting. Even with quilting it's going to look cheesy.
You never know til you try...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

collections quilt: decisions, decisions

a few cows in repose

 I am working on my Quiltart  challenge quilt, "Cool Collections"
Among other things I collect Cows, Flamingos, Poodles and Betty Boops. 
I started with a brainstorming session where I sketched out 12 really cool ideas, but couldn't get excited about making them. What's that all about??
I like to try something different with each challenge, and the computer is still a black hole of scary to me, so that's where I started. I set up a portrait studio and walked around the house pulling my collection  items to see how they would look grouped together. This was the first step. It was a creative exercise itself, the arrangement of items, which items to use and what to group together, how to lay them out. I grouped like items, and mixed items. Took many pictures.  Fun!

 With the digital pictures chosen, which was  a challenge in itself as I have a hard time making decisions, I arranged them in powerpoint, and printed them onto fabric. The instructions said to let set for a minute, then submerge in water. I seemed to lose some color after this step as some ink washed off. I was not told to iron. I ended up painting on the image with textile paints to liven them up.

Placing fusible on the back of the photos, I cut out individuals, of which there are nine as that is what fit on the three sheets of printed treasures I had, and finally decided to use one of my pretty black swirly fabrics to fuse them to.  Then I had to  decide how to place them in the line-up.
I won't even bore you with all of them but just know, if you ever think a person just "knows" what to do, it's not that easy.
This is a small mountain of rejected fabric for just the border around the black and photo center.

The turquoise fabric won the race to be the first border and my collection of  fabrics the next border, and also chose the binding.
Now it's just work. Construct, quilt, bind, embellish. The hard work of decision making is over!

By the way, when I wanted to include cow, flamingo, Betty Boop and poodle fabrics, I shopped in my stash and THAT was a big decision as I love all my silly fabrics. I know some artists only use their hand dyes, and I like to use my hand dyes when I'm being sophisticated and artsy and all that.
 But y'all, I loves my silly prints! It's a collage!
 A collage of Kitsch!
In the words of Michael Kors, it looks "Becky-Home-ecky" with colored rick rack and that cluttered feel.
 Pretty much sums up my vast collection of items around the house! I have made quilts in the past with each of these on them but none with ALL of them on them. Til now.
Did I mention this is due in a week? Which brings me to my Fred Babb poster hanging next to the cutting table in the studio:

Deadlines... Friends or Foes?

Neither, just a stimulant.

If you need me, I'll be in the studio. Crazed.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Talk about slow stitching...

I love a hexie! L O V E
When I spied these 1/4 inch papers I knew what the finished piece would look like, and I'm on my way!

I am linking to slow stitching Sunday linky party
 Find the list here!  with this s-l-o-w worked piece.

I made a tiny flower unit to applique on to a block for a friend of mine, and it's just so wee and cute.
I'm basting them just inside the fabric not around the little paper template you see there. I am actually pulling out the paper as it's surrounded. 

 Lessons learned:
* smaller takes longer
* now I can't throw away any scrap 1 inch or larger
* bright colors sing, no matter the size
* lime green is a neutral (well, I knew that already)
* some projects are just going to take a while

I'll always have a hand project available!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What to do (#3)? Paper piecing fun

 Continuing the discussion of what to sew when you want to sew but don't know what to sew.
I love paper-piecing, or foundation piecing.

That being said,  when I don't know what I want to sew, I like to make something repetitive and without too many decisions to be made. I like to take out my bag of tiny scraps and just piece them into something tiny but exciting and orderly.
I have some printed patterns of log cabins and other  blocks ready to make when the mood strikes me.

 Today I pulled out the pineapple log cabin 4 inch block and used the tiny blue and green scraps already scattered on the table. It was fun easy and although working small takes longer than working with big pieces, it was fairly fast to make. Look how cute & orderly with 1/4 inch logs.  I don't know where I got the block pattern and had two copies. I made them and then wanted a third. Couldn't find the original so I used my Sew Precise software to print one that looked almost identical and made it. They were fun to make!

 Here is one block, and,  a "friend"
 I was feeling good by now, and decided to pull out a little kit bought at a local quilt shop. Paper piecing, how hard could it be? A little 5 inch finished block of an owl and tree.

It came with the folded star of fabrics 9 inch square, enough to make two blocks.

Two blocks unless you have been driven insane making the first one. OY! 
It looks fairly innocent here but it was not a joy to make. 27 tiny odd angles to figure out, and  rip out.
Shards of printed paper patterns cut into wee little one inch sections to be pieced then put back together. Why it almost undid the happy feelings from doing the pineapple blocks!

The kit is cute and enticing. The bad news and the good  news: They are a pain in the patoot...and I bought several  kits!
um, yea!

The owl will get button eyes, and turn into something useful.  I don't know what yet. I need to get over my frustration before that happens.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mary's dream house, another goodbye

Mary's Dream House 8" X  10"

 My friend Mary, one of my first friends in Maryland, is moving out West. This quilt is for her.I know we'll keep in touch via email and blog-waves. I think we'll meet up at the Houston quilt show. I hope we'll go out to see her new home.
Mary and I have shared, among other things, a love of improvisational sewing. I need to envision a person/mood/landscape/etc  when I work in the abstract.

The little message next to the daisy says "Enjoy the Journey" Most of the embellishments came from the scrap book section of a store.

This brings me to today's post on what to do when you don't know what to do, but you want to sew.
Piecing odd bits. Don't fret, appliquers your day is coming!

This time I pulled out two bags of tiny scraps, blues and greens. The color may not be true in these pictures but all the pieces grew from these tiny bits of leftover fabrics.  I took odd shapes, and sewed the next fabric to it, and sew on until I began to see shape developing.

It sounds woo-woo but if I think of the person while making it, it grows into something that will mean something to them. If I think of magnolias, it grows into something that looks like magnolias.
Some people like to make fabric that can be cut into shapes later. I enjoy doing that too, especially diamonds. Long before they thought of doing in in Sochi.
There is a benefit in this mindless sewing, the kind I am showing you today. It allows your mind to roam, and that is fertile ground for creativity. It allows you to use even little pieces of fabric. Doing abstracts allows your imagination to see images without the pressure of trying to design a recognizable image. It allows you to dream...
I hope this week you will try this method of meditative sewing and share with me what you made or learned. As with any experiment, you may learn you don't like doing it, or one thing may lead to another and a discovery is made. Most of all, have fun with your fabric.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Notes on a quilt show

My husband and I made our yearly trek to the quilt show in Lancaster yesterday. This has become a ritual where we find someone to let Cole out-and-in-and-out-and-in while we take a moment to travel a day together.This was all the more special because he left the dissertation prison office and dedicated the entire day to my enjoyment. He is like that. He might not know a perfect gift to buy for an occasion but he knows how to give the gift of connection.
  We  had a cumulative drive time of 4 hours listening to the book on CD we are "reading". I'm so glad we can find books that entertain both of us for long car rides. In fact, as we rounded a corner at the show we both said, "that's the character from our book!" What  fun!
We visit the show, go to local fabric stores holding sales and eat the Friday Fish Fry at Cracker Barrel. Drew never had to resort to pulling out his Engineering book as I was pretty darn quick at the shops.

This was the AQS quilt show, which used to be the Quilters Heritage quilt show, which I miss a lot.The other show allowed you to enter quilts, made up to five years before. Most quilt shows now require you to have made a quilt within two years which means most quilts won't be seen.
To enter a quilt you have to hurry! You must  juggle entry deadlines, the year it was  made, show dates and transit time, exhibit time, not overlap said times, pay a lot of entry fee/insurance/postage money and hire a secretary and accountant to handle your details (just kidding but almost). You must choose between shows to enter. If your quilt doesn't get in, you've missed getting in to another show because you had to choose.
It's a lot of details for a person who just wants to make art and have it seen. Someone with my personality type: Time-Challenged-disorganized-non-computer-savvy-last-minute-earnestly-trying-type-A.

some crystals, fabric and jewelry cleaner purchases

This show is on three floors. I saw, shopped, and bought an odd assortment of items. A tunic, fabric, crystals and, of course, the vintage poodle pin-cushion.

 As you might know I collect pin cushions see some here: CLICK HERE FOR A FEW

   This brings me to a question, why do we take pictures of people's quilts at shows?
I take a picture, download it, and most likely never look at it again. But there is something in us that wants to capture that quilt to have. It feels like we get to take it home with us! Of course, the rest of you probably do something useful with your pictures.

 I have seen people at shows looking at my quilts hanging there. They laugh and say, that's so me! They take a picture!  I took some pictures of quilts yesterday too. I like to take pictures of techniques that interest me. My husband likes quilts that are blue. That sounds simplistic, he also cares about content so if it's a water piece and blue, even better!

There is also a small annoyance to me while looking at quilts. (Says to self)  "Hmm, looks like the quilt I have been home making for years, in that technique I "invented", or that concept I thought of, or the style I have been doing..."
Apparently there is a  cloud of group-think going on, and we are all home coming up with similar ideas, and some of us are faster than others at getting the stupid digital entries done on time and getting the details handled and suddenly it might seem like the slower person is copying an idea.
I overheard some people looking at the quilts and saying it makes them feel like they will never make anything that good. Whoa! This is not the goal! See my post on comparing your work to others here  CLICK HERE.

A goal of seeing quilts and visiting vendors who provide us with machines and fabric and notions, is to be stimulated to go home and make something. Hopefully something from our heart, something special, something you love. It doesn't need so much quilting that it resembles a tapestry. It doesn't have to have 5678.5 crystals or hexagons, not that there's anything wrong with that.
 We should be excited to make something that is fun and expresses who we are.

Here's to making stuff!
And here's hoping next time I better handle the entry details so mine hangs there too! 

Thursday, March 13, 2014


"Remember"     6" X 6"

This wee quilt was made to send to my friend Nancy who lost both her parents this year. Her loss effected me not only because her mother was an inspiration to me, but because her loss connects us.

Her mother taught me by example how to age gracefully, with beauty and humor, with strong beliefs and a world interest, and she always made me feel like she really saw who I was. That was a gift.

Nancy is a long time friend, who lives down South still. We worked and played together until I married and moved North. Distance is only a small problem though as each time we get a card, or see each other it's as if no time has passed. That is another gift.
Her loss reminded me of the precious woman who used to watch me as a child. She always made me feel important, smart, loved and safe. She was generous, and pious, and unassumingly humble in the best way. I miss her every day, but carry the fact that I was loved by her in my heart. She made a lasting contribution to my growth as a person and who I am today is due in large part to her. I called her Tatee, and no one knew where that came from.
I do. She used to say, "ta-ta" for thank you when she handed me anything. She became my thank you person. And that was a gift.

A quilt is so much better than a card, isn't it?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

animated poodle video

Cole last summer, not the star of this video

so touching, so funny this animated video just to entertain you.
I am sorry I don't know how to embed vimeo's   but here is the link, click away!

you are going to love this if you love dogs


What to do when you don't know what to do? # 1

Okay, so you want to sew, you want to make something, you just can't put your finger on what to make.

I often feel at loose ends after finishing a big project, meeting a deadline, or after a period of time not sewing for whatever reason.  How does one get started again?? Let's talk about it in this new series. I'd like to start with piecing and later discuss easy applique techniques to do in the times when you want to just sew.

There are always fall back options, such as digging out a pattern, actually opening a book of techniques to try, or finishing a UFO (un-finished object). But...

There are times when I don't want to make the next great quilt, I just want to sew.
 I still want to be original, and put myself into the process, but don't want to make too many choices. I just want to see color next to color, and see shapes develop.

 I turn to my  scraps.
The odd little pieces are already random in shape, and have color variations within a range. I will take the smallest throw away pieces, and piece them together like a puzzle, growing into usable fabric. Then I cut shapes from this to use later. I will show examples of this next time.

Or I decide I want the feel of a snowbank, or the feel of water, so I piece them with this in mind and they grow into something resembling a snow bank, or water. Examples of this coming up later as well.

 This is the moment just to let go, and sew.

So on week one, consider playing with squares

I have made many a quilt,  using these little 2 inch squares. When I have bits of leftover fabrics I often go ahead and cut 2 inch squares for use later and store them in this box.  I use them like dabs of color/paint. Arrange them on a design wall, just play with them, put them up, and move them around until you have created something like a background, or a landscape or a ball, or in one of my cases a flamingo standing in water. The concept is to play without worry.

You could sew these together with a white square between for a very soothing pattern. You can place the color randomly or organize it into growing areas of blended sections to create a background.

Whatever you do, I hope you just arrange  them quickly and sew together into a new piece of fabric. This should be an exercise of short duration, to keep you in the play side of your brain.
This is a tutorial on how I sew the squares together into a background or scene. Click HERE to see it!

I call mindless pieceing Medicinal Sewing because it lowers blood pressure and increases happy endorphins.
I hope you share with me your ideas for this kind of play and as always enjoy creativity.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Speedy two inch square tutorial

Pattern is from quiltdoodledesigns
Does this count for a post on use of the color teal?
Just for fun, I decided to do the block of the month at quiltdoodledesigns. I love a scrap, the blocks are easy and fairly fast and I get to dig thru the scrap bins. Winning! The above two blocks are Feb. and March. The layout of her quilt will make it easy for me to quilt it in rows to save my sanity  back.
They will be highly embellished I'm sure.
 I'll tell you how I do these kinds of watercolor style quilts. I design them on my portable design wall. The pattern is given in my workshop, the wall is two sided, folds to 24X36, opens to 48X 36 free standing with both sides available to use at once.

I take it over to the sewing table so I keep the squares in order.
 I flip each second vertical row square over it's next door neighbor in the first row, right sides together but oriented just like they were on my board.  Then chain piece them, pair by pair, leaving them all connected by threads in the long row.

After sewing that row, I add the next row.
I place the top pair face up on the sewing table, take the top square of the next row flip it right side down on this pair and sew that seam.

Chain piece adding the next one down each time, don't cut the chain.

Starting at the top again, do the same process with the fourth square flipped right sides together over  the top trio, to make a chain of foursies:

After you have done this all the way over, the piece is now like a flag, horizontal rows sewn,  and connected to the row beneath. No way to mix it up now!
I press each row in opposite directions to make sewing the rows nest together well.

Sew your rows together, and the piece is made.
This is a fast method to make backgrounds of lots of fabrics, or scenes like this pattern calls for.

Hope this is clear, and you enjoy it. I am linking to the super scrappy March link party, HERE! where lots of people are digging into their teal scraps for March and sharing their cool block patterns.

Hope this is teal enough.... the roof is teal as well as some of the scraps. One day I will figure out how to set up a video camera to make all this much easier!
BTW, If you are interested in learning how to make my design wall, I'll come to your guild!


Friday, March 7, 2014

Black Poodle Cafe

Black Poodle Cafe  12"X 12" (c) LAPaylor

 This is my interpretation of Toulouse-Lautrec  for my challenge group STAT, see other quilts           CLICK HERE

I finished it early as I have several big deadlines looming. I am not satisfied with it, and considered what I would have to do to tweak it and overnight made an executive decision to-- LALAMO
Live and Learn and Move On!

(Click on picture to enlarge)
this pile of stuff went into it
It started in a very promising way. Although I don't like the art of Toulouse-Lautrec, I do like the style of the twenties and posters advertising bars. I chose a font and words to print on fabric. I thought it would be a fine size for the small piece, as words take center stage on his posters. Well, to do that, I would have had to applique individual letters or inked it over the background. As I realized AFTER it was finished.
The scale is off, and I'd basically have to remake the whole thing to correct it all, and to be honest I have too many projects in the queue to do this. I'll share what went into it:

 These pink embossed satin and black brocade shot through with gold threads were left over from another quilt I'll share later. (It is shown in my Idea lectures) I love these slippery fraying fabrics for their impact in person and deco design.

the skirt four different lace pieces. The poodle is quilted in swirls with sparkly mylar blue thread.  The nose and eye are beads and the tail is peeking thru.

The table cloth is green corduroy the table legs palm tree buttons given me by friends.
So the main problem with this piece is the advert section of words. I really should have cut out each letter separately and appliqued them on, which I have done so I didn't want to do it this time. Did I mention the whole thing is 12 inches square?
Small for me.
I thought about removing and reprinting the sign, argh! But then the poodle would be in the center anyway and that would have to be removed too.

So my friends, I share a not so perfect offering to the artist. His work is busy, mine is busy. His work is dark and a bit depressing, mine is happy and energetic. Art is made to suit the person. I'm moving on...

for more poodle art visit the STAT page CLICK HERE