Saturday, March 31, 2007

Rough Stuff: Storm

17 3/4" x 47 1/2" Made entirely from upholstery fabrics (1997)

I had been collecting small pieces of upholstery fabrics for a long time. Some of them came together in this quilt. They seemed to dictate to me where and how to use them. The clouds utilize both front and back of the fabric. It was machine appliqued and quilted. The mountains had two threads through the needle--first time of me to do this. It was also my first landscape.

This quilt belongs to my daughter and her husband in Georgia. I didn't have a photo. I called her this p.m. and asked her to do some quick photography. The pics are from her.

I still like the quilt!

Red Hat Birthday

As a newbie to the artsy-side of quilting, there were too many different materials that I've never used before, so picking something was the challenge for me. That being said, the new materials that I used on this postcard, was seed beeds, & fun fur. I had glued a few jewels to some work, but had never tried to bead before. I know that you aren't supposed to see the center of the beads, & you can see some of them on my card, but just doing it gave me great satisfaction. At least I'm not afraid of it anymore. Also I had never couched fibers before. The fun fur was difficult to control at first, but I did get the hang of it. Best of all, this card will be going to a friend of mine for her birthday this month. She is a red-hatter! If anyone has any visual links on beginner beading they could share with me, I would be so grateful. Thanks for such an open challenge. Now to back-track on the ones I've missed.
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Phone Jones

This is my first time posting to the blog. I am a little skiddish about posting my work. So, here it is.  This piece was a bit difficult for me in that a lot of my work is monochrome where I am most comfortable. With this piece having a lot of color, I struggled with what colors to quilt it with. I ended up quilting it with monofiliment and black cotton thread. I felt like I "cheated" because I couldn't decide what to use. I have a lot of different kinds of decorative threads and really have never used them. The threads never seem to "fit" the pieces I make. I took this photo at the Denver International Airport a couple of weeks ago. I was attracted to the colors and the ice the bottles were in mixed with the light that was coming up from the bottom. I took the photo quickly with my phone while in line and couldn't get the composition I wanted right away. When I got home I cropped the photo until I was satisfied. I use Bubble Jet Set to prepare my fabric and then used my HP inkjet printer to print on my fabric. I increase the ink volume and color saturation in order to preserve the richness of the photo. I know that this quilt does not really meet the requirements of the challenge. This challenge was hard for me because I regularly use many different fabrics in my quilting. I have a background in theatre costuming and my fabric stash is mostly silks, velvet, wool, weird fabrics, stretch fabric etc. I also have a lot of quilting cottons. I use them all so it was a challenge to find something I hadn't used in a long time. The vinyl was what I finally came up with and I like the way it sets off the black of the bottle tops. I tried to think of ways to incorporate the vinyl into the actual photo. When I realized what I could have done it was too late because I had already quilted the piece to death and couldn't go back. What I would have done was done reverse applique for the tops of the bottles using the black vinyl. Anyway, this is my piece what is and what it could have been! -- Becky p.s. for those who don't know me I thought I would introduce myself, My name is Becky Kaufman. I live in Seattle, WA. I have been art quilting for only a couple years and love every minute of it. I was introduced to this group by Lisa who posts to this blog regularly. I really appreciate her introducing me to this because I am actually making the art I want to be doing. My background is in theatrical tailoring. I have worked on Broadway, and in many of the regional theatres in most major cities, Chicago, NY, MA, WA, ME, CT, IN (and Alabama which was for 3 months and I don't count!). I own my own business which is now in its tenth year . I am not working at the moment but will be the Costume Shop manager for the theatre in town for the next couple of months starting next week (wish me luck!) Not related to my art exactly- I have 2 children, 1 husband, 1 cat, 2 cars, and 6 sewing machines(not including the ones I own at work).

Silk Roads #1&2 by Brenda Jennings

"Silk Roads" #1&2 (working titles; naming quilts is very difficult for me). The silk is vintage kimono that I purchased some time ago, took apart and overdyed about a year ago using the Jacquard silk dyes. I picked a few out of the bunch; fused wonder under to the backs and then sliced shapes up with a rotary cutter.

On #1, (bottom photo) the pieces are fused right to the batting; quilted with silk thread, and then I couched yarn over that and to edge the piece. On #2, the pieces are fused to a black cotton backing, and quilted with rayon threads. I haven't finished the edge on this one yet because I'm not sure how I want to yet. The silks weren't too bad to work with except you really need to like what you're quilting, because it really shows up! (and I don't like the quilting on the first one LOL).

The photos are a little deceiving; the floral/leaf images in the silk fabrics are much more subtle in person. I am also having some difficulties with fusibles lately; they just don't seem to adhere for me as well as they used to. Anyone else having that same problem?

This has been another fun challenge, and they are really helping me a lot! I welcome any comments/critiques.


This is my entry for this month's challenge. I began with a variety of different fabrics from sheers to faux suade, drapery material to shimmery copper I don't know what it even is! I fused a lightweight interfacing to most of them, and then was able to treat them like regular fabrics.

The quilt is fairly large: 34 x 34 inches. I quilted it with a lot of different designs, as shown in the close up. You can see a picture of my original palate of fabrics and the blocks in progress on my blog if you are interested: This was so much fun. Recently I have discovered that I can use non-traditional fabrics and the quilt police won't come get me!
--Elizabeth in NM

Friday, March 30, 2007

Marble Venetian Tile quilt

This is my first attempt of piecing using dye magnets/color catchers. There are some beautifully colored ones in my collection, and I knew I had to use them for this challenge. They sew beautfully and I really enjoyed making this small top. I used the pattern from Kaffe Fasset's book Glorious Quilts. The quilt size is about 12 1/2" x 21". I haven't quilted it yet, and I could use some suggestions as to how to finish it. Just the piecing was great fun!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Untitled by Linda Cline

14 x 9; Hand dyed cotton, painted Wonder Under, cheese cloth, spun thread clippings.

I gave in and made time to play this afternoon.

I had some cheesecloth laying about that I had painted in a strange dark purple color that I didn’t care for much. I painted it in spots with some brighter blue paint. Dry cheesecloth doesn't seem to paint well with a foam brush, it wants to cling to the brush instead. Damp cheesecloth is much easier to paint. I used some puff paint quite by accident which worked out quite nicely. It made the threads on the cloth appear thicker in those places. I also painted some Wonder Under in shades of red, orange and purple. I worked with no particular images in mind, only did what the materials seemed to need.

I did some tests with the Wonder Under to see if it matters which side up looks best (doesn’t seem to matter), and if it looked better on dark or light fabric. On dark fabric the colors looked dull, and the less painted areas dulled the color of the base fabric. So I chose a hand dyed yellow base fabric and added torn strips of the painted Wonder Under. And then I learned that if just ironed Wonder Under falls back on itself it sticks to itself and becomes distressed looking when you pull it apart.

I thought about waves washing up on a shore when I put the cheese cloth. Not expecting to create realistic waves, just so I could make interesting organic looking shapes.

A while ago I had spun some of the clipped threads I had collected with a drop spindle. This project seemed the perfect place to put it.

I was thinking I might add the strip of watercolor paper I had painted, but it didn’t seem to belong in this piece. I think I will put a facing instead of binding this, and I may add some beads. This was completely different that what I usually do, and I had some serious fun this afternoon.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


17 1/2"h x 22" w

Fabric that I've never used before -- my thoughts went immediately to a small collection of fabric samples, probably Korean imports, slinky with metallic patterns. I used some silver ironing board type fabric (see how good I am with fabric types?!) as a base, then realized that in order to make the fireworks look bright, I had to cut out the navy-colored sky material behind the swirly firework pieces. The firework pieces and the ones going up to the fireworks are very very thin and were hard to handle. I also used holographic metallic thread in my edging.

Not to hide behind technicalities, but this was a hard piece to photograph!

If I were to do anything further with this, I might add some fabric paint to tone down the stitching around the firework pieces.

Wisteria Window

It took a while to figure out how to do this! This is the edited version.

Top picture is original- next one is the new version- Thanks for the comment, Linda! I had thought about adding some brown yarn in the beginning, but your comment kicked me enough to try- I like it better! I also added more "moss."
Here it is- my first post to the blog. Wisteria Window- it is 11"x14". I have had stone walls and windows floating around in my head for a while now. I have spent hours studying pictures of different stone walls, buildings, and windows of all kind (?I don't plan out or study for quilts, do I?). Moss added itself to the mix just about the time this challenge came out. Now I was checking out moss formations on stone walls. I decided to let things come out in a small version, to see what happens.

I usually only use cotton fabrics, mostly my own painted or sunprinted ones. This is the first piece I have done in a long while with none of my painted fabric in it. I picked up a box of silk kimono scraps with 3 bottles of Colorhue dyes at Houston, last fall. I also have 4 yards of silk I purchased 4 years previous- untouched. Time to try silk! I decided some of the scraps could resemble stones, and dyed some of the scraps a kind of muddy, mossy green color. I also ended up with a tiny piece of silk batting from a little class I took to learn about the dyes, that colored nicely. I backed the silk pieces with Wonder Under, or Liquid Thread, fusible, and cut up the fabrics and fused them onto a batting base. The biggest problem I had, was telling which side of the silk had the WU on it- I stuck quite a few pieces to the parchment I used while ironing, just peeled them off, turned them over, and put them back on. The liquid fusible gets chalky, so it showed up well.

The window is a piece of shiny, opalescent, synthetic fused to the batting. I used wax pastels to add color to the batting before fusing the window over it. It looked too blue, so I scribbled over the window with black pastel to tone it down. After I built the stone wall around the window (I did use some cottons too), I framed the window with a brown cotton print. The batting worked great for texture- I pulled apart the fibers, and also shredded some yarns, for moss. I trapped these under a pale green tulle that I backed with Wonder Under. The vine is a neat, funky green yarn I had, and used the liquid fusible to hold it in place till quilting, as well as trapping some of it with some of the tulle.

To add more color, I used a small bit of a purple-blue batik for the wisteria flowers, and cut most of those tiny leaves from a 2" square piece of silk I dyed (am I nuts?). I did have to add a few cotton leaves. Free motion quilting adds tendrils, small stems, and some more texture to the stone wall. I did notice the needle didn't go through the silk like my usual cottons.

Here is a detail shot- showing a couple pieces of neat pieces of silk that had rectangular designs stitched onto them.
Maybe those yards of silk will find themselves painted or dyed, and in some new work. This is probably a beginning for a new series. There are still stone walls, windows, and moss floating around in my brain. I even ended up piecing a stained glass window for a WIP, before I could get this quilted. (Too much trouble to change thread- the machine had black in it), so now I have a window to build another wall around.
I'll be posting progress on that in my blog. andrusgardensquilts.vox.comAny and all comments welcome.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Sew Much Fun

16" x 15"

I Love This Challenge--It's hard to find fabric that I haven't tried but I did find some tyvek and cheese cloth in my stash. I had never used either of those before. I did try some new techniques. One of the things I found in my stash was a marbeling kit that Iwanted to try but never seemed to get to it. This seemed like a good opportunity to do it. Although I didn't use any of the other material that I dyed for this project I did use the cheese cloth which came out very light and didn't take the dye well at all. Italso fell apart and frayed -- which, as it turned out, was a good thing. I painted the tyvek and made beads. The steps and techniques I used were: Painted the background and covered it with organza. Couched the pink beads and used them for the quilting.The blue piece at the top and the flower at the top right corner was my one attempt at needle felting. (I broke all the needles doing it) The other "flowers" are scrunched up cheese cloth with beads I made from drinking straws in the center. The leaves were painted fusible web sprinkled with glitter. I tied my tyvek beads on the bottom with gold thread.


Well I almost didn't do this - I'm going out of town tomorrow - so it's not technically done - needs a binding - suggestions?

I used a striped upholstery fabric - I've used a bit of it before. That was actually the hardest part of the challenge since I wasn't allowed - own self imposed rules - to use any new fabric so all stash.

I went to my comfort zone as a tree trunk. I let the curves be dictated from the fabric. Quilted with fine lines to match the upholstery fabric.

Overall I like the colors but it kind of lacks something. . any suggestions? Finished size 13x29

In Sunny Seattle

Burned Out

I've worked with organzas and transparent fabrics before, but I've never used a heat gun with them. I spray basted circles of fabric on a base, stitched/quilted them in place with a large spiral, then took the heat gun to the finished work. The raw edges curled up and feel like plastic. Some of the fabrics melted better than others. The edges are currently unfinished and I'd like some ideas on what might work best on this highly textured (and very stiff in places) piece. Other comments also welcomed. -Marilyn

Sunday, March 25, 2007


This challenge was so much fun! It gave me the kick in the pants I needed to try some new to me techniques, and using foil, which I had never tried before. I followed a lesson from Workshop on the Web. The base is a dark burgundy velvet to which I fused gold holographic foil. Then I added a print chiffon on part of it and distressed it with a heat gun. The leaf motif is made by drawing a simple outline on tissue paper, then free motion outline it onto a piece of felt (only I didn't have any felt, so used warm and natural). I then stitched over the outline with a very tight, wide satin stitch, and cut the whole design out very close to the stitching. Then I stitched it to the base, and free motion quilted concentric circles inside the leaf with metalic thread.

As always, I welcome any comments and advice, as well as any ideas for a title???

As usual, The expert advice from Linda was dead on! I did bobbin stitching with Razzledazzle in a much darker color. I also used a Shiva Paintstick to tint the foil in the leaf to tie it in better.
Did this accomplish it Linda?
Thanks again Linda

Friday, March 23, 2007

Challenge #7 ~ Makers Choice

Challenge # 7

Due Saturday, March 31, 2007
Hostess - Gena Flatley
Theme - Maker's Choice
Design Element- A type of fabric you are not used to working with!

Choose a type of fabric/fiber you have not worked with before. If you are used to working in cottons, use some velvet, silk, satin, lace, leather, suede, corduroy, denim, painted fusibles, painted coffee filters, dryer get the idea.

The field is wide open to choose any material/fabric that is new-to-you in order to give you the opportunity to move a bit further from the center of your comfort zone. This may be more of a technique challenge than previous ones. That is OK because techniques are extremely important in how we interpret our ideas in fiber and art in general.

The amount of the new-to-you fabric/fiber is up to you. use a little or use a lot. But use enough to give yourself a good taste of stretching beyond comfort and give yourself an idea of how different fibers react and represent themselves in a fiber piece. A measurable suggestion might be at least 25 - 30 % of the total fabric used. At any rate, it should be enough to be obvious to viewers and to make it a good learning experience for you.

You may use any techniques, mediums etc. desired in addition to the new-to-you fiber.

Design may be realistic, representational or abstract.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Orange Blossom Special

This is the 15 minute background that I have created for the challenge. I'm not sure where I'm going with this one yet, but I'm setting a time limit of no more than 3 hrs of actual sewing.

Challenge 6

The Sea of We

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Green Grow the Rushes, Oh!

Being well supplied with green fabrics, many of them suitable for foliage, I chose the Celtic song "Green Grow the Rushes, Oh!" to illustrate. This is actually one of the most quilt-like pictures I've done, since I have not mounted it on foam core like most of them. I used raw edge applique, varying the stitch patterns for different elements. I used Angelina fiber for the clouds, and it turned out more gold than white, but since the sky isn't blue, gold clouds seemed acceptable! I picked up a dark green piece of upholstery remnant for the binding -- very much surprising the saleswoman cutting the piece, people usually don't buy just half a yard!

It's easy being green

I chose this song title, It's not Easy Being Green because it's the only one that sort of fit with my piece! The subject matter doesn't fit go with "it's not easy", so I changed the title to be It's easy being green. This piece is 10 x 12", wholecloth hand dyed fabric, and based on a scene from a Mayan temple wall and their carved relief jade pieces. It doesn't photograph well, but here it is!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Pink Houses

14 1/8"w x 16"l

The song Pink Houses spoke to me. (I should have listened more closely.) The finished quilt reminds me (except for the color) of small high mountain houses (huts) and storage buildings that are used by farmers in the summer when tending their herds in Switzerland.

This was a miserable quilt for me to do. As some of you know, I announced that I was tossing it. Got talked into continuing. This is a testament to how many problems a person can overcome in arriving at a finish point.
1) My pinks didn't want to play nicely together.
2) Some of my threads were quarrelsome---one of them got tossed in the "round file" when I finished its section.
3) I think my worst problem was finding a suitable background. That is what my problem was in the first place. I am now happy with what I did.
4) I changed tensions on my machine more for this quilt than any other one piece I've ever done.
5) In the very first section quilted, I quilted two or three stitches into the corner of my little cutting board that was on the machine extension table. It had slid under the quilt---and there was quite a noise associated with it. I'm not sure if the cutting board or the machine was screaming. However, it did not break the needle!

Can anyone top that?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Itsy bitsy teeny weeny

This is a postcard, just a tiny exercise for the monochromatic challenge. Instead of using the color in the song title as the main color, I used the yellow polka dot bikini as the accent color, 10% or less of the total area.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Rhapsody in Blue

My piece is Rhapsody in Blue - I was working a background and it transformed itself into this. I didn't add what I had intended to add since I felt it kind of stood on it's own.

Measures about 22x25 inches.

Lisa - in Seattle

Its Not Easy Being Green

This is my entry for Challenge #6. It is quilt #2 in a series of leaf quilts. It measures 12 x 9 inches. The first one that I made was all in shades of blues and greens, and I wondered what it would look like with a pop of red. So this challenge was the perfect excuse to try. I am going to play around with this idea a little more in some series quilts.
Any comments are welcome. Thanks for looking, Elizabeth in NM

Tangled Up in Blue- Bob Dylan

The left side is cut off a bit because I had to scan this in due to a broken camera . My second entry to this challenge. This one is all blue except for the couple who are done in black satin, and the little flowers in the border which are white.
When I hear this song and read the lyrics, I feel it is about a couple that keep trying to get together but something keeps them apart, they become tangled up in blue...that is why I have several blue strips across and around them and the one going right down the middle, blocking what might have been the kiss that finally allowed them to get together. I used various cotton fabrics, satins, thin blue ribbon, and across the man is a piece of dark blue velvet.
The couple is outlined in a zigzag stitch with blue variegated thread.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Allons Danser - South of I-10

Cotton fabrics with thread painting.
The shading looks more purple on the picture than it does in real life. Of course, that might be a function of me working on it at 4:00 in the morning, too.
South of I-10
Sonny Landreth
Woke up in Mississippi in '51
Migrated next door became a native step-son
Grew up on the rhythm of Clifton and Cleveland
And the Red Hot Louisiana Band.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Red Roses for a Blue Lady

I finished the lady today. The reason: the entire area is closed due to a wild blizzard which is to continue through tomorrow. I didn't have to teach so had the entire day to work on her. She didn't turn out as I'd hoped but at least I tried a couple of different things that I've not tried before and I learned from them. I tried to give highlights to her face using light and dark fabrics. I have too much contrast in some areas and not enough in others. Then I tried thread painting over this. So areas worked and some didn't. Suggestions???

Thanks! Jan

Lady in Red

Here is my Lady In Red. I had fun with this challenge and it shows me that I need additional work in the "value" area, which I have known for some time. I like how her dress came out, but am disappointed over the lack of definition between the walls and the floor. Initially there was not enough value difference between the woman and the background, so to solve that problem, I added a layer of sheer to the background (walls, ceiling and floor). Unfortunately, that made the floor sort of fade into the walls and not have enough definition of it's own. This has been a great exercise for me and one I will revisit again because using the monochromatics forces me to concentrate on area of weakness for me. Comments are always welcome. Thanks for any feedback.

It's Not Easy Being Green

(from Kermit the Frog)
11 3/4" X 9 1/4"

I took some artistic license and stretched the green all the way from chartreuse to turquoise, then the accent color, orange, drifted from nearly red to yellow (the eye, below), plus the black and white to cover the extreme value on both ends. So in the end, I know the quilt is not truly monocromatic with a single accent color, but I really wanted that frog to have his turquoise belly and red-orange eye.

It was a challenge to find the right greens in my stash. Then consider that the label fabric (photo below) was actually from my stash, and you'll have some idea of how I'm lacking when it comes to useful fabrics. If I want to continue in this style, I now have a better idea of what to buy when I'm fabric shopping.

I'm still learning how to assemble these. I had similar problems with the threads quilt last month: the fusible pieces not quite lining up/fitting exactly like in the pattern, how much/little overlap to include, etc. I'm learning though, and will work it out one of these days.
The quilting/appliqué was done in one step with smoke invisible thread, and a small bit of black. The sparkle in the eye is a hot-fix crystal.

I'm not sure how I got away from my black and white prints. I used to put them in every quilt I made. You're sure to see more of them in my work in the months to come.