Saturday, May 30, 2009

Melinda Bula Class

Quilt Maker Melinda Bula came and spoke to my new quilt guild, The Nite Owls, on Thursday evening. Today I attended a workshop with her. I enjoyed it very much. She is a very good teacher and is very generous with her knowledge. She is very funny too.

If you have a chance to take a class with her, I highly recommend it!

This is the quilt that the pattern for the class was based on. It is raw edge fused and highly quilted with thread painting.

This is my Friend Jeanne who took the class with me. We had a very good time. She has been a great Friend and introduced me to my new quilt guild. Next Saturday, she is coming to my house for a play day in my new studio. I am going to teach her about Crazy Quilting. Part of my recruiting to Crazy Quilting plan!

Friday, May 29, 2009

"Cat's and Geisha" Crazy Quilt

Since my move to California, I have been unpacking some of my older pieces. I decided to post some pictures of them on my blog. The pictures are not the best as I haven't figured out the best way to photograph them yet but hopefully you can see them well enough.

This is my "Cat's and Geisha" beaded Crazy Quilt that I finished in 2001.

I sat on my sofa each night after my day job and worked on it. I would usually do one seam each evening. I got a kink in my back from sitting sideways and had to go to the Doctor. That is when I decided that I needed a recliner and an Ott Light! By the way, I still can't find where I packed that bulb so it wouldn't get broken in the move. It is in that safe place that I lost!

After I finished this, I posted it on a picture site on the Internet. Pokey Bolton had just started Quilting Arts Magazine and she contacted me after seeing the photos. She asked if I could send some close up scans to put into an upcoming Bead issue she was working on. Of course I was overjoyed to do that. They are in Volume One, Issue Three of Quilting Arts magazine in an article by Robin Atkins. If you have that issue, check it out.

All my embellishment is done with Seed, Bugle, and Delica Beads plus a couple of larger beads.

I hand pieced this quilt and used many pieces of vintage Kimono. I also used hand-dyed silk and velvet. The Geisha pictures came from antique trade cards that I scanned and printed on silk. The cats were computer clip-art printed on silk.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sarsaparilla Crazy Quilt - A Learning Experience

Yesterday, I took some photos of some of my past projects and thought I would post some of them. Keep coming back in the next few days and I will have other photos posted.

This is a whole cloth CQ that I finished back in 2004. I submitted it to the 2004 Houston Quilt Show and it was accepted. I was very excited! It was a learning experience in many ways. If I ever submit another CQ, I will use another color of border fabric than black as they hang the quilts on black fabric and the border kind of disappeared into it.

It is hand pieced and I tried to use different stitch combination on each seam so that there were no two alike. That was quite a challenge.

I used several things as inspiration for the stitches. Some were taken from antique quilts, pamphlets and books, some are from Dorothy Bond's book, some are from Carole Samples CQ Stitches book, and several I designed. Many of my designs were inspired from Nature. Fish, birds, flowers, bugs, etc.

I had a note pad that I kept with me and I would sketch out stitch combinations. I used a chalk pencil (not wax - very important!) and a small ruler to temporaroily draw the stitches on the seams as I worked them. The chalk will brush or wear off. A wax pencil may not come off.

The pictures were scans of antique trade cards that I printed onto silk. Some of the fabrics were hand dyed by my Friend Sue Miller and some by me.

I wish the photos were better. I would have scanned the quilt but MS Vista in it's great upgrade (Sarcastic), doesn't support my legal size, perfectly good, HP flatbed scanner.

This is what I learned from the experience of making this CQ.

I started my embroidery on one side and moved across the quilt. I noticed that over time, my stitching got a little better. I went back and re-did some of the areas from the beginning as they were not as good as the stitches at the end. If I were to do this again, I would spread the stitches out as I worked so that wouldn't show. If you want to improve your stitching, try a stitch challenge quilt like this!

As far as fabric choice goes, I would not use polyester again. I found that the constant handling of the quilt while stitching would snag and wear the polyester. Some areas I had to, kind of, shave the fabric. I now prefer cotton, silk, rayon and other natural fabrics.

I had trouble with some ribbons not wearing well either. The ribbons that had the long threads on the back side snagged sometimes and I would have to clip the threads. I found that if you want to have a CQ that will stand the test of time, use the best quality materials that you can or just think about how well the materials will wear over time and with handling.

I have trouble with rough hands so I got to the point that I used mostly pearl cotton thread and cotton floss. I used some silk and I snagged some of it and had to redo it in cotton.

Along with not using black border fabric, the judge's comments from the Houston Quilt Show said that I needed to put some quilting in the border. I have gotten that comment on a couple different pieces. Ah, those sane quilt judges! I think of those antique CQ's that have velvet border fabric. No quilting there!

Yard Birds

Here are some pictures I took of some of our hummingbirds. This is a Costa's.

The bird on the right is a Black Chin and I think the one on the left is an Anna's but I am not sure. I could have types of hummingbirds that I haven't recognized yet.

This is definitely a Anna's. They have such a pretty red head.

These are 3 baby "Say's Phoebes" that sat on our chair and squawked for food and the Mother would fly up and while hovering in front of them, give them bugs. That is her flying away.

I am such a bird nut. Moving to California has given me more new bird sightings.

Monday, May 25, 2009


I think this is a family of Hooded Orioles. The hummingbirds get upset with them but they don't seem to care much. Here is the female.

Here is the male.

And I think this is their male youngster.

I have seen an Oriole feeder that attaches to a jelly jar that I want to get. They really love grape jelly.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Our First Month in California

The first month we were in California, we stayed in corporate housing in an apartment. We were on the second floor and had a great view off our balcony that overlooked a PGA golf course. This was in February. We had a hummingbird feeder and had Anna's Hummingbirds coming right away. Back in Missouri, Ruby Throat Hummingbirds don't arrive until the middle of May so this was a real treat for us.

We had a pair of Hawks that patrolled the golf course everyday. There was quite a lot of wildlife. One night, a coyote barked under our window and woke us up.

One day, I was looking out the door on our deck and saw that one of the Hawks had taken a full grown rabbit and was standing next to the cart path on the golf course happily eating his kill. The rabbit was as big as he was!

Later in the day, a Turkey Vulture showed up and finished off the remains.

At our new house, we have 3 hummingbird feeders and sometimes, that doesn't seem to be enough. We have several Hooded Orioles that compete with the Hummingbirds. We also have a thistle feeder that the Finches empty in 2 days. It might be an understatement to say that we love watching birds.