Thursday, September 30, 2010


13 X 17.5

Quilting is one of my weak areas so I chose a subject where I could experiment with a variety of threads and practice bobbin drawing and free motion quilting. Colors aren't as vibrant in the photo. Will try to get a better photo tomorrow when the light might be better.

Comments and critiques are welcome.



Taking into serious consideration the critiquing of these works, I decided to do what I could with my coleus today to see if I couldn't get a little more ' Chiaroscuro' happening. Auditioning AGAIN in Photoshop I can see a bigger difference compared to the one below.... it is now faced, and having done that, I agree...I sure would appreciate any comments on this one, if you have the time...

Fall is here, the sun is lower and striking the coleus at a different angle. This is an 11:00 am. sun...

I struggle with contrast... and the word, together with the links that directed us to work, seemed to me that some part should be quite light, so I hope I have achieved this. I used 16 different fabrics, including 2 dupioni silk, I loved the fraying for the center coloration of the main leaf. I used 10 different threads for the thread-painting. It measure 15 x 13..... but I may crop it to a 12 x 12.
[click on the photo for a larger view]

I think I will put a 3/16" binding on it. I thought of facing it, but because it is so bold, it seems, to me.. to need a sense of confinement..... your thoughts?

I encourage any and all comments.

Portrait of Aubrey

I've been doing a lot of work with portraits this past year. I am finding it to be both a challenge and lots of fun.

This portrait is of my granddaughter, Aubrey. My daughter takes Aubrey and her sister Hannah to the beach each year to take photographs for their Christmas cards. This picture was taken by her at sunset and the light was coming in was coming in very low to her right.

I used a filter in Photoshop Elements to get the abstract look and chose a gradation of four fabrics to achieve the lighting. I would appreciate any comments on the piece.
Marilyn in SC

Colorado Sky

I had never heard of Chiaroscure before so I hope this is the right idea. I used a friend's photograph (with his permission, his Flickr name is Carfull53) as my guide. I'm adding his photo here as well.

I used reverse applique for the yellow/red part of the sky and the mountains in the foreground are black velvet that I went over with my embellisher hoping to give it some texture.


We live in northern Michigan on a small lake, in the woods. The lake is very quiet and home to loons, herons, otters and all sorts of fun critters. I love to kayak around the lake and at the north end there is a large bed of white waterlilies that I paddle through. In the late afternoon that side of the lake is in deep shadow and the lilies glow. Its a very peaceful place and I have wanted to capture that feeling. This challenge came along at just the right time.

In reality the lily pads are thicker but I wanted the more water to show.

I pieced the background with batiks and hand-dyes in blues and brown and stitched the background before adding the composition. The lilies and lily-pads are fused then free-motion stitched. I used a variety of white and white-on-white for the individual lily leaves. The lilies have yellow thread-painted stamens that don't show up well in the photo.

This piece is 14" x 20" and on stretcher bars. I use a staple gun and then cover the back of the frame with muslin and attach eye bolts and wire. I like this finish for small works.

October 3: I took some detail shots of the lilypads using just my camera's flash instead of my photo setup lights. The detail comes through better, I think.

Kathie from Charlevoix


When this challenge was announced I was attending meetings in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. My husband and I then took the long way home so we could make our annual outing to Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone during the time of elk mating. While this might sound kinky to some, I assure you it is a rare chance to witness wild animal behaviour at its most dramatic. The big bull elk are ferocious in defense of their harems; bugling and fighting non-stop. As a visitor it is your responsibility to respect the space needed by the animals by staying a safe distance away, both for their safety and yours. I have a new camera with a good telephoto lens and I was able to take a photo of the alpha bull as he stood in the sunlight during a rare moment of calm.
When I got home I drew the image as I saw it on paper and then proceeded to turn it into a fabric composition. It is not quilted and I am not sure it ever will be. I really enjoyed this process and I feel I learned a lot from this exercise but I am not particularly happy with the final result. I think the antlers were successful but then I perhaps got too detailed with the bottom half of the animal. I do like my original drawing and I may work on it further, including enlarging it a little more, to make an entirely new piece in the future. This piece is 16" high and 13" wide.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Five o'clock shadow

This is a picture I took of a curbside gardens shadow on the cement in the late afternoon. I pieced the cement with linen and stiched all the lines for accent. The shadow is organza all cut as one piece. I used shiva sticks for accent. The leaves are green batiks and the little flowers are thread painted on. I had quite a quandry as to whether or not to do more quilting but decided I needed to leave it as flat as possible to accentuate the idea of a flat shadow. I love comments and suggestions. Thank you Cynthia for a thought provoking challenge.
Pat Havey

challenge 49 - Birch Trees by Veronica Von Zwehl

This is my quilt for the 49th Challenge. It measures 24" x 35". We had bad weather this past weekend so I had a lot of time to work on it!
It is a whole cloth quilt. I painted white Kona cotton with black fabric paint. I used the paint straight for the black background and thinned it with a mixture of NoFlow and Textile medium to get the shadings on the trees. I used those to thin the paint because water made the paint bleed too much. I stitched the quilt with black thread.

I'm happy with the results. However, I'm kind of disappointed in myself for reverting back to trees as a subject matter instead of exploring new subject matter.
Please give me some input - if you would like. This is my first challenge with the group.
Veronica Von Zwehl

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

the parachute quilt

Here is my attempt:


I had an old picture taken by my Dad in the Pacific during World War II, showing a number of parachutes hanging up in a hanger. This was my inspiration. I crazy pieced my background on top of batting using the sewing machine. Then I chose a number of dark blue fabrics, one muted gold, and 2 gold fabrics. I hand sewed them onto the background. I added strips of fabric at the bottom of each element to suggest the lines. I pillow cased a facing to the piece. I thought I would bead the piece, using navy and a few crystal beads on the dark fabric, and gold ones on the gold fabric, but when I finished the piece I kind of liked it as it is.
I couldn't get the quilt picture in the post, so I will put it in the next one. Can't you tell I'm a newbie? Rosemary in St. Louis

New Moon by Cynthia Ann Morgan

Here's the result of my playing with chiaroscuro. I was stuck for a composition idea so started with an abstract using curves...just to get started. It got cropped and morphed into this odd little landscape, which I sort of like. The mountains are patchwork using hand dyed fabrics and I've added a few stars twinkling with swarowski crystals.

As suggested, I added some shadowing to the mountains with tulle....I didn't get a clear photo, but you can see the effect (which I think is an improvement)


Monday, September 27, 2010

Challenge 49-Chiara..whatever!

Even if I can't pronounce chiaroscuro, it was great trying to come up with a project to fit. This one is fused and finished only with stitching--no extra surface design techniques. The photo shows a little lighter than it seemed as I was making it. The size is about 8 x 10, satin stitched edges and if it has to have a title it would be Forsythia 1.

I love critiques and suggestions, but this time I really would like to know if you think I actually did what the challenge asked.

Kathy Schmidt-Quirks Ltd

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Total Eclipse

I'm back in the swing of things. I loved the idea of this challenge and have been working a lot with light and shadow.
"Total Eclipse" is a whole cloth piece. I masked out the lower circle with freezer paper and then used luminescent paint and dry brushed the flares in white and copper. If you enlarge the picture, you'll see that its quiled in flame stitch at the top and concentric circles inside the "sun."
Simple. Dramatic.

And for 2 of my recent pieces that use the same concept:
"New Growth" is using Colleen Wise's Emerald City pattern. All fabrics are my hand dyes.

And my current favorite, the Labyrinth of St. Omar. This one took months and I'm so happy with it. It will be featured in American Quilter (probably early 2011) with my other labyrinth quilts. Again, all my hand dyed fabric. This was built from a graph paper model, and starting at the center, each row was individually cut, pieced and attached.

Great topic, Cynthia! Thanks for keeping us all rolling along! Comments, of course, are welcome!

Challenge 49

This is my first attempt at Chiaroscuro.  The design was drawn on Lutrador, then painted with fabric paints, and a black marker.  A mottled black batik was used in the background, with the light source concentrated in the  front.
Shading was added with dye sticks, thread, and black and white netting.  The black netting, which adds texture and softens the edges, shows in the photo. The light and texture of the white netting is visible in the foreground of the original piece, but blends in the photo.  The piece is 9" x 9 1/2".  I look forward to your comments.  LindaMac

Challenge 49 - Dragonfly at Sunset

I've posted my piece Dragonfly at Sunset. The finished size is 10 1/2 inches by 6 1/2 inches.

I played with the lightening in the background rather than the object. The dragonfly is beaded. The cattails are made out of polar fleece. I found the vertical lines fun to use for the landscape rather than the horizontal lines I usually use.

Small fun happy piece.

In Sunny Seattle

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Challenge 49: Chiaroscuro

Challenge 49: Chiaroscuro

September 2010 due: October 2

Host: Cynthia Ann Morgan

Chiaroscuro literally means clear-obscure or light-dark. It refers to the use of strong contrast or unusual lighting to create a strong dramatic effect in art.

Chiaroscuro is pronounced: Key + Arrow + Skew + Row

Some examples from the Old Masters, including Caravaggio and Rembrandt

And some contemporary artists

Now for the Challenge…

· Create a small art quilt using the strong contrasts of Chiaroscuro

· Depict light in some way – either a directional light source, a glow or illumination

· Choose landscape, figurative, nature, still life, stylized or abstract

· Make it dramatic!

· Remember to have fun with it

Example Quilts using Chiaroscuro - look at the confetti series

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Raven Quilt

This is my quilt for the #48 challenge using metal.
My family likes ravens and their antics. I imagined a raven collecting shiny metal things to decorate its nest (made of fabric "sticks"). I added a yellow water bottle because many years ago a raven stole my son's water bottle at a picnic area.
Anne in Walnut, CA

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pewter Pitcher

This is a depiction of a pewter wine pitcher that was a wedding present to me and my husband 37 years ago. The pitcher and the marriage have endured a few bumps and bruises along the way. However, we are still going strong. How is that for optimism? The hand appliqued grapes and the hand background quilting are my excuse for completing the challenge very late. Thanks for a great challenge.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Black and Gold Blooms

Here is the updated post... I finished, and thanks so much for those who gave input!

The first photos of each piece are not great (color and focus- color is still not perfect, but close), but show what started with. I was a bit distracted last week with beautiful weather for sunprinting, and played with lots of black paint (and a little color, too). I wanted to use one of the sunprints with some gold metallic ribbon and sheer fabric that I had.

The first piece above is the one I had planned to make, but by mistake I grabbed the wrong sunprint and ended up with the lower one with the more delicate foliage and flowers. The first one is nearly as I saw it in my mind... I added more stitching in the angelina butterfly upper right- with gold metallic and some black thread. I also hand stitched the ribbon down so it wasn't so "poofy", but not flat to the piece. The flower centers are halves of snap closures for necklaces, the letters on the side are aged gold looking metal charms (the red dots in the before pic are pin heads).
This is the piece I started with... I grabbed the narrower, more delicate sunprint by mistake and didn't realize what I had done until I was quilting with the gold metallic thread. I was going to just do the one piece, but the original one kept wanting to be done, and I had enough of the gold sheer for a second one. The lower piece has a in a narrower ribbon to go with the finer detail of the sunprint. The ribbon on this one is also lightly hand stitched into place. I added the letters for DREAM along the side because I feel the sunprint has a bit of a dreamy look to it. Since I had a sparkly butterfly in the first piece, I kept thinking about adding one to this one, but the angelina was too much. I pulled out my bead collection and used gold tone metallic butterfly beads- two tiny ones and one small one.

Thanks again for the input, it really helped me to follow my original idea to the finish. I guess I am falling back to my floral design roots... Just pretty bunches of flowers tied with ribbons.... Even though the colors are not what I have used most of the time in the past, I feel pretty great about getting not only one, but 2 pieces done for this challenge. Both are about 12" high.

Now to see if I can get myself working on some of the challenges I have missed out on..... :)

Monday, September 06, 2010

Copper/Brass Quilt and Copper Stand

I haven't been very productive lately, but here's a little quilt I made as part of a series several years ago, using copper mesh and brass mesh, along with copper rivets and copper beads.

I also made the stand, using 1/4 inch copper plumbing tubing.

Can you tell I love copper?

Marilyn Foulke
Louisville, KY


Lace, 10" x 10"

I am not sure where I got the idea for making lace the metal, I know it seems incongruous. In real life, there is a lot of shimmer and shine.

This started as a plain piece of army green fabric; really ugly. The different colors in the background were made with fabric paints on stamps, rubbing fabric crayons over lace, and imprinting a piece of lace by painting it then using it for a print. That is the true black pattern on the right side.

I painted the added lace with metallic paints. I also painted through some lace to make a lacy gold pattern. The blue is actually Setacolor opaque , Shimmer Jet Black. Not sure why it is blue, but I think that was a bit of luck for me. I also used that paint for the word, "Lace".

A fishy tale

When I read the challenge I was tossing up between foil and some knitted copper tubing that I had. The copper won, and it had always suggested fish scales to me, hence the mermaid. For these challenges I always have to use only what I already have at home. Luckily I had the sea fabric, and some nice grey batik for the rock. The border foliage is fussy cut from a print I have had for 10 years. The edge treatment is satin stitch with banana fibre couched over the top.
She does have a rather Aloha Barbie character, but let's face it, she probably doesn't have a philosophy degree! When I was researching mermaids I read that if you look in a mermaid's mirror you see your true self. The mirror is angelina fused on with black misty fuse. The hair is stitched with copper metallic madeira black jewel.

Size is 16 by 23

Sunday, September 05, 2010


It took quite a while for an idea to gel for this challenge. I often tell students to just doodle, drawing whatever comes to mind. This one was intriguing and felt like creations were springing forth like pollen or seed pods. My quilt measures 9"x9" and was a good size to work out this design. The metal thingies are 1/4" lock washers, whatever that is! They were hanging from a peg at Home Depot and just begged to come home with me.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Coiled Dragon

The Coiled Dragon likes music and does very intricate dances.

I cut a stencil of the dragon shape and screened a "cracked" design over the opening to make the patterning with metallic paint. The dragon details have been further painted and stitched with metallic thread. The floor has red holographic stitching. The edges also have coiled springy bits added.

And somehow I forgot optimistic all together! unless one needs optimism to face communicating with the dragon all together.

Sunrise Seagull

21 1/2" x 16 1/2"

10/18 - Finished! I added quilting lines to the beach to follow the water line, a little bit to the trees, and got it firmly mounted on foam core which helped smooth it all out!
Sunrise always seems a time of optimism, if you are awake enough to enjoy it! I picked up the material for the tree fairly recently, not sure what I would use it for, but the copper fits this theme, especially since I made the sunrise reflection from other coppery fabrics. I layered fabrics for the sea and sky, with the top full layer being a sparkle organza. The organza puckered as I sewed the seagull on, but in a way, that seems to enhance the image. The pink lines are scraps of tulle to add a sunrise color.

The biggest impediment to posting this sooner was that after I had quilted the lower portion, I found one of the seagull reflection's wings had folded, so I had to undo the quilting to straighten it!

Thanks, Sandy, for a neat challenge! Comments and suggestions welcome.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Autumn Shimmer

19” X 28”

This is a combination of Challenge #47 (Trees) and #48. The Technique New to Me is a faced binding. My Least Favorite Color is blue so I mixed some blue Dye-na Flow with Lumiere Pearl White. I know, not a true blue but feel it works well with the other fall colors. For the Metal part of the challenge, I used metallic paint, thread, and sheers. The Unusual Material/Texture was covering pipe cleaners with free motion stitching to make the trunk and limbs and the use of sheers for the ground. Both were also firsts for me in quilt making. The Optimistic portion would be saving the silk, plaid yo-yo’s that I received in a grab bag in the mid to late 90’s thinking someday they may come in handy. Someday arrived and they look so much better painted!

Thanks Tobi and Sandy for such fun challenges. Comments and critiques are appreciated.

In the beginning

In the beginning I learned how to sew on a treadle machine at my grandmothers house. Since that time it seems most of the really meaningful things in my life have started with a machine that looks like this. When I started my career as a costumer I- worked on an ol industrial machine thaqt looked like a converted treadle. That was in the beginning - - - The machine in the photo is a treadle my son gave me many years ago.

All the metalic threads radiate out to the many aspects of my life from the machine. I have used metalic thread, paint, fabric, and of coourse the machine is metalic colors. It measures 22/16. The edges are finished with metalic gold braid and are all uneven

I highlighted the machine around the edge of the dark fabrics with gold lumier paint and bumped up the other highlights on the machine. - Thanks again for the help!
Pat Havey

Printed Circuit Board Study #1

This piece is an attempt to create what I hope is an obvious representation of a printed circuit board. It started with a black resist over which I applied emerald green Jaquard Dyna Flow paint, To indicate solder spots I used a gold leafing pen. The red 'resistors' are simple fabric beads. If you are curious about why they are placed where they are, it is because there were some really big blobs of resist under them. Wire goes through the fabric beads, but does not show in the photo. In the corners and a couple of other spots there are small holes created with a stitch on my machine which do not show up well because of my choice of thread color. The border is some old commercially printed fabric that represents technology components.

For me, a lot of the fun of the challenges is the thinking that precedes the work. (Often way too grand and unrealistic). I started off envisioning a great work about 'conflict minerals and conflict metal', perhaps even using some actual PCB's. I took time to 1) explore where I could find some discarded ones, the dump, 2) explore what are the environments impacted by 'conflict metals', some are rain forests, 3) consider ways that one could represent the PCB on fabric, screen printing, stencils, free hand drawing/painting and dyeing, applique, using actual metals. Considered what I could try out in the time I had available, considered whether this whole of idea of statement pieces about 'conflict minerals' could have legs and even become the basis for a series. (I share this because I wonder if I am the only one who goes off on these flights of imagination about the possibilities of making big statements with our work or am I just one intense woman of a certain age.)

Of course the reality of what can be accomplished in the time allowed combined with the existing skills I have came crashing in. Then I remembered that the challenge was for the piece to be adventurous and optimistic. So I optimistically tried to use a new technique in cheerful colors. Am very happy that I did it and am grateful to Sandy for this terrific challenge.

Leaf Me Alone

This was really fun!!!! For unusual things, I used window screen, copper mesh, lycra fabric and some glittzy stuff plus foil. Believe me when I say "he just happened". I was aiming for a moon and tree with copper leaves. well, Mr Leafy appeared and took over the whole thing.

It was very fun but now I have to clean my studio from dragging out all of my metal treasures and toys etc.

I enjoy your comments.


Sea Ranch. CA

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Let the Sunshine In

I was beginning to think I would have to pass on this one because I couldn't think of an idea. I wasted all of Friday trying to think of something.

Saturday morning I looked up and noticed a metal sun that had been given to me and that set off a spark.

The metal I used was the sunflower, bottle caps are holding the yo-yo flowers, a gold chain is the fence wire and metallic thread was used for the leaves veins and outline and also to top stitch the binding.

It is 24" x 20-3/4"

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Luck O' The Irish

When I first read this challenge this image popped into my mind and I have been unable to even consider anything else...LOL

The pot is copper metallic lame, stitched with copper holo thread and has a handle of heavy copper wire. The handles 'anchor' is also metal beads . The 'gold' coins are metal as are the gold leaf 'nuggets'. The rainbow is various sheers.

I can't think of anything more optimistic than a pot of gold at the end of your rainbow :-)

The quilt measures 20" x 23" at the widest points.

Really fun challenge Sandy...thanks for a terrific climax to year four!

Comments and critiques welcomed and greatly appreciated


Challenge 48 - Daybreak

I'm posted my piece Daybreak - well really - Daybreak2.

I choose the color pallet of daybreak since a new day is always optimistic. My first piece I did a lovely strata - but when I went to embellish it with metal - nothing was working - I couldn't do metallic thread or washers or what not. I usually only add embellishments if the needs it - if it can stand alone then I don't do it.

So I look some leftover pieces of the first quilt - whipped them together to make like music. Then I figured out how to make music notes with cooper wiring. Perfect example of how establishments make the quilt. Finished size is 16 x 8 inches.

In Sunny Seattle