Primal Green: Art Quilts at SFPL

Primal Green Postcard
Primal Green Postcard

Primal Green is a show of environmental art quilts at the Main Branch of the San Francisco Public Library.

The Wallace Stegner Environmental Center is one of the special collections at the Main Branch and, after a year of work with the Library, CQFA has over 20 quilts hanging. The quilts all have an environmental theme. The show will hang until July 31. Hope you can stop by and see it. Check the library’s website for hours.

CQFA Retreat – FOTY 2010

My retreat project, as you know from all of my preparations, was the Fabric of the Year quilt for 2010. I had high hopes that I would get the whole thing pieced. I enjoy doing the colorwork at the retreat, because I can get a lot of different opinions and I like knowing what other people see. Also, I feel like I have more space to spread out.

FOTY Start
FOTY Start

Above is the way I started the FOTY on Friday afternoon.

FOTY 2010 Right Corner detail
FOTY 2010 Right Corner detail

Above is the dark corner. Again, I was trying for the a colorwash kind of look across the quilt from right to left.

FOTY 2010 - more of the dark corner
FOTY 2010 – more of the dark corner

As I laid out the piece, it was interesting to see, visually, the amount of darks and colors.

FOTY 2010 - Dark Corner washing towards Red
FOTY 2010 – Dark Corner washing towards Red

This was the first layout. You can see a bit of the red next to the purple. Eventually, I took all the red off of the design board and put blue next to the purple. I did a backwards ROY G BIV working from right to left, though if you look at it when it is finished, the ROY G BIV will read correctly (see below).

FOTY 2010 - Whole Piece in Progress
FOTY 2010 – Whole Piece in Progress

Above, you can see that I have changed out the red for the blue in the center and put the red on the left edge. Most of the diamonds I have to work with for this project are blue. The design wall was not large enough for me to put up all of the patches, so the reds and pinks only got a representative sampling to begin with. As I worked through Friday afternoon and evening, then Saturday, I came to the realization that this piece was going to take longer than I thought. Putting it together was a lot more of an intellectual exercise than I expected. Part of the reason, I think, was that I wanted to put it together in chunks, which made the spaces created by the sewn seam allowances end up in strange places.

FOTY 2010 - Center detail
FOTY 2010 – Center detail

Those seam allowance spaces became unexpectedly large as I sewed, which turned out to make keeping track of where pieces went really difficult.

FOTY 2010 - Blue detail
FOTY 2010 – Blue detail

One challenge was the different amounts of colors I had. Another challenge was that the fabrics mostly did not consist of only one color. I tried to block out all but the background or dominant color in my mind in order to place the patches, it wasn’t always possible.

FOTY 2010 - Blues washing to Yellow
FOTY 2010 – Blues washing to Yellow

Above, which is the upper left hand section,  is the least formed part of the quilt, and still, in the photo above, in quite a bit in flux.

FOTY 2010 - Putting the Piece Together
FOTY 2010 – Putting the Piece Together

In some ways putting the piece together got easier as I sewed larger chunks together. In other ways, it got to be more of a problem, because the spaces, as I mentioned, between the chunks got larger.

FOTY 2010 - Moving Across from Right to Left
FOTY 2010 – Moving Across from Right to Left

The bottom left corner was really my big problem. I don’t know what happened, but something happened early on and I still haven’t completely resolved the problem in that corner. I am working through it, but as I don’t seem to have a photo of the whole piece after I moved the red, it is proving to be a challenge.  I am having to lay out that corner again as I go along. Lots of unsewing is required.

FOTY 2010 - Top Right, Middle
FOTY 2010 – Top Right, Middle

Are you bored yet?

The top right and middle were ok and I was able to sew some large chunks together.

FOTY 2010 - Bottom Right
FOTY 2010 – Bottom Right

No matter what I did with that bottom right corner, there still seemed to be large missing chunks of patchwork. Sigh. At this point, in addition to taking big deep breaths, I realized I wasn’t going to get the piece finished. Not what I wanted to face, but I wanted to do a good job and that was the reality.

It was a bit liberating to admit that, because I felt like I could look at the piece and didn’t have to rush straight to sewing.

FOTY 2010 - Moving to Pink
FOTY 2010 – Moving to Pink

I was able to put a few pinks up as the seam allowances shrank the whole piece, leaving more space. I had faint hope that some miracle would occur and I would finish the piecing.

FOTY 2010 - Adding the Reds
FOTY 2010 – Adding the Reds

I was also able to add some of the reds that didn’t fit when I started.

FOTY 2010 - details of placement
FOTY 2010 – details of placement

The large seam allowances seemed to keep moving as well.

FOTY 2010 - Good Behavior
FOTY 2010 – Good Behavior

This was the well behaved part of the quilt right before I took the whole thing down so I could go home.

FOTY 2010 - Orange and Yellow
FOTY 2010 – Orange and Yellow

IYellows and oranges were ignored, for the most part.

FOTY 2010 - Virginia's Picture
FOTY 2010 – Virginia’s Picture

Virginia took this picture while she was visiting. It is really helpful to see what other people see in my pieces.

FOTY 2010 back at home
FOTY 2010 back at home

Julie helped me roll up the piece in the flannel of the portable design wall so I could bring it home and set it up again. My plan is to chip away at the rest of the layout and piecing. Not finishing puts me behind in my mind’s quiltmaking schedule, but I am sure there is a reason that I didn’t finish. I certainly didn’t expect the intellectual piecing challenge of this project. I am sure it is good for me.

CQFA Quilt Retreat

The CQFA Quilt Retreat was this past weekend. Dolores did a great job organizing it. We went to a new place and it was wonderful. There was a bakery nearby which baked gluten free pastries in addition to regular pastries. That was a really nice treat!

My Creative Mess
My Creative Mess

Above is my workspace, which I shared with Julie. You can see FOTY 2010 in progress. Sonja and Debbie were in the back. The share table is in the middle.

Terri, Dolores & Sue's Workspaces
Terri, Dolores & Sue's Workspaces

Sue set up in a corner and made a whole Moon over the Mountain quilt while Terri worked on a Ricky Tims style quilt.

East Side of Room
East Side of Room

It never ceases to amaze me how much of a mess I can make when given the opportunity. My workspace is right at the bottom of the photo. I worked hard over the weekend, so it must be ok. Dolores was in the far corner with Maureen and Robin at the table between Dolores and mine.

Bron & Virginia
Bron & Virginia

Bron and Virginia couldn’t stay and work with us for the weekend, but they did come for the group dinner on Saturday. I love this picture. It shows what lovely people they both are.

Julie's Tumbler
Julie's Tumbler

At the same time I cut the FOTY patches all year, I have also been cutting Tumbler patches for Julie. I think she mentioned liking that shape and I took it upon myself to cut patches for her. I don’t remember exactly how it all came about, but it sounds like something I would do.

It was fun to see the same fabrics that I was working with on my project. Julie worked on sewing rows of her Tumbler quilt together. She is making it for her bed. At one point she laid it on the floor and we laid down on top of it to test and see if the size was large enough. No cameras were available to catch that moment. I was hoping she would sew all the rows on, but she got tired of it after awhile and worked on some different projects.

Another View of Julie's Tumbler
Another View of Julie's Tumbler

We declined to have Julie crawl on top of table or chair to show the whole piece. It is quite large and above is a different view.

Nancy's Needle felting
Nancy's Needle felting

Nancy was making a needle felted scarf. I don’t know if she finished, because I don’t know that much about needle felting. I really liked the design she was working on.

Birthday Gifts
Birthday Gifts

Julie also gave me some birthday gifts! We spent a happy hour looking through the two books and talking about the craziness of some of the piecing. She gave me a really nice card, too. 😉

CQFA ATCs

Diane
Diane
Trudi
Trudi

Saturday was the ATC swap at CQFA. I didn’t really like to make ATCS when the group first started swapping, but lately I have found the creative outlet to be a good one. I really enjoyed making my swap ATCs (lower right picture) this time and may make more of them. I found that I could make something unusual in a small format and not have to make try the idea in a large quilt piece. People really seemed to like them as well. I received a lot of nice comments. Diane’s (upper left) are more of her silk painting and I see intention in these ATCs. I didn’t ask her if she painted the pieces specifically for ATCs or if they were leftovers or what. I really like them and hope she makes more like this. Trudi hadn’t been to the meeting in awhile, so hers were snapped up quickly.

Reva
Reva
Virginia
Virginia

The environmental theme that is pervading the group (because of the show) is very evident in Reva and Virginia’s pieces. I have been enamoured with leaves lately and it is very interesting to me to see how many different ways people can depict them. I didn’t ask Virginia if she painted her leaves, but they look painted.

Bron
Bron
Jaye
Jaye

One of the things I love about Bron’s ATCs is that she does something different each time. I was disappointed that I didn’t get an ATC paper doll last time and was hoping that she would make more, but, alas, it was not to be. She did the lovely green abstract that look at bit like leaves. Mine (right), as usual, were nearly impossible to photograph. I made an extra so I could keep one for myself.

My trades-Nov. 2010
My trades-Nov. 2010

Above are the ones for which I swapped, except mine, which I just kept. They will look great in my collection.

CQFA Fabric Prize

ATC Fabric Prize
ATC Fabric Prize

Here are the fabrics donated by the FABULOUS Birch Fabrics/FabricWorm for the CQFA ATC Raffle prize. I was so pleased that Cynthia agreed to donate a prize and even more pleased when I saw the grouping.

I didn’t know what to suggest she send, so the black and whites will be perfect for such an artsy group. I wouldn’t like to presume to know the colors that everyone likes. Black and whites will go with any other fabrics that people enjoy.

People really came through and we collected at least 30 ATCs, as well as a few postcards, for the show. I was so pleased.

This drawing, which I thought would be the highlight, turned into a minor detail at the meeting. The meeting was completely action packed. Nancy moved things along. We did get to do regular show and tell, which I always enjoy. C&T Publishing Marketing Manager, Lisa Fulmer, came and brought a bunch of prizes as well. It was a wonderful meeting and I was so pleased to see new faces and so pleased that everyone stepped up to support the show.

CQFA Saturday

The past weekend seems like a zillion years ago. I have been across the country and back for work, had so many meetings, I had to arrange for my mom to attend one of them since I can’t be in two places at once. I know some of you think I can and I hope I haven’t shattered your illusions.

Frances, of the Off Kilter Quilt, talked about the first week of school and how exhausted she was. Our Young Man has been in school since August 25 and I feel like I live there, in addition to my work and quilt life. There isn’t enough of me to go around. Bleah.

CQFA is usually a great break with wonderful women, fabulous show and tell inspiration and, lately, great workshops. We are organizing a quilt show (~March 5-July 7, 2011) and I am the instigator of this endeavor, so how I feel is ALL MY FAULT. I started it. This is a professional event with a curatorial staff, professional signage, artists reception and symposium to go with the show. We spent a good portion of the meeting talking about the various committees, names for the show, copyright, lawyers and all other ephemera associated with a quilt show. I am thankful that everyone is interested and I am not alone in the organization, but the whole presentation sucked what little life there was left in me out.

The meeting didn’t give me the boost that it normally does and it wasn’t because of the show organization. It was me and the crazy schedule I had last weekend: CQFA, soccer, dinner, various school related functions. It was too much and I couldn’t get out of any of it.

My great sadness of CQFA was that the awesome Sonja was signed up to give a class and I had to leave part way through it. 🙁 She had me get out my kid watercolors and paint, which was fun and may have broken some barrier I had about using those watercolors. They are Crayola watercolors for kids, so I should have no hang ups, but I do.

I signed up for Carla Sonheim’s Drawing Silliness class (not sure of the exact name) and was pleased to find out that Sonja signed up for it as well. Perhaps I am not a complete lunatic.

We traded ATCs and mine were the last men standing. I have to admit that I liked the process when I did it at A Work of Heart, but they weren’t very successful in general. Oh well, not every piece can be a masterpiece. I have photos of the others, but I haven’t done anything with them yet, so look for a post on them later.

ATCs and CQFA

The CQFA meeting was Saturday. We had two new people and that was GREAT. The whole meeting, actually, was great. There was LOTS of laughter. People who came late said that they could hear the laughter out in the parking lot. I need to attend more meetings where everyone is laughing.

As usual, show and tell was excellent. Everyone is really churning out the work and being inspired by each other. It was great. I showed Passionate Purple, the Chocolate Box and FOTY 2009. I also showed some books, talked about the Dale Fleming class and traded ATCs.

My ATCs
My ATCs

ATCs

People did really nice work for this round of ATCs. I was really pleased with the ATCs I chose. My score were the pears! I love them all though.

Nancy
Nancy
Bron
Bron

Bron used FabMo fabrics for her ATCs. She is on the board and finds all the good stuff there!

Maureen
Maureen

Maureen has a new blog, Flies in a Cathedral. She only promises to post once a week. I look forward to hearing about the flies.

Debbie
Debbie
Amy
Amy

I wasn’t fortunate enough to get one of Amy’s cards, but I loved the texture.

Julie
Julie
Diane
Diane

Diane is a very accomplished silk painter. When I saw those pears I knew I had to have them. I wasn’t the first person to choose either, so I feel very lucky to get that card.

My ATCs were really fun to make. I haven’t had much fun making them in the past. I am working on a series of ATCs and I may have to rethink that as it seems like a chore — until this go ’round.

QA Article by Cindi Huss, Apr/May 2010
QA Article by Cindi Huss, Apr/May 2010

I was reading Quilting Arts magazine last Thursday night and saw a picture of a leaf in an article about wool felting or something I wasn’t interested in. The article was by Cindi Huss I was interested in the image and the technique.

April ATCs in Progress
April ATCs in Progress

From what I could see in the picture, the author stitched zigzag lines three times with different threads. I did that in the picture above. One of the great things about my machine is that it has a very precise stitch. I can stitch over the same line and the needle will land in the same hole. That wasn’t what I wanted to for this. I wanted the zigzag to be a bit messy. I wanted the colors to blend. I had to readjust the needle to get it out of sync with the previous line of stitching.

Because of the Dale Fleming class, I was no longer hampered by changing the foot. I know it sounds silly, but sometimes taking off the foot holder is just too much of a hassle. I think I am over it now. I put on the darning/free motion foot and created the circles. I drew them lightly with a white pencil first so I had something to follow. I also slowed down the machine and that helped make the stitches show. After doing all of the circles. I went over some of them with two different colors of thread. Using Aurifil means that the stitched area does not get too bulky.

My idea was to make one piece and then cut it up. I had planned to try this technique in paper, but was inspired by the QA picture that I decided to go for it. I did make the background larger, but if I do this again, I would make it even larger and the ATCs were a bit small this time.

April ATCs cut
April ATCs cut

I have never made one piece and cut it up. I didn’t think people would like the right and left bottoms, but those were the first to go, actually. After cutting, I took apart a necklace Lil Sissy brought me from the Carribean and used the hearts for embellishment.

April ATCs finished
April ATCs finished

Here is the piece (minus the middle) embellished and finished and ready to be distributed. I was really pleased that they were so popular this time.

ATC Follow-up

The CQFA meeting last Saturday went really well. We laughed a lot. Nancy, one of the members, is on a quest to improve her art. She took a long course (certificate program??) in Seattle that ended last year and is diligent. When she comes to the meeting she brings works that are very different from what the rest of bring. She often has interesting construction problems that make us think outside of the box. We were helping give her ideas about what she could use as a form and that led to extreme silliness as many great ideas were generated.

Everyone looked at the two Lark Books I received last Friday thoroughly and Terri said that she thinks Lark sold at least 10 copies by sending me those books. 😉

Maureen’s ATC exchange was a raging success. I showed mine last week in the Saturday post. I liked them, but they didn’t seem to be that popular. People made wonderful pieces, so perhaps it was just hard to choose.

March ATCs
March ATCs
The ATCS I Received
The ATCS I Received

Below are the others that members brought. The lower left is one of Sonja’s. Originally I picked a different one, but when I saw the chair, I switched!

Maureen's
Maureen's

I didn’t get one of Maureen’s. I did get one of hers last time that I keep where I can see it all the time.

Bron's
Bron's

Bron’s have a very New Zealand look to them. She doesn’t do a lot of fiber, so I was glad I chose one of hers.

Caroline's
Caroline's

Caroline’s jacket was in these same colors. I think she works in them a lot.

Dolores'
Dolores'

I was also sorry not to get one of Dolores’. She did a great quilt at the retreat in January and I admire her dedication to her work. How do you like that one curved corner? Clever, don’t you think?

Sonja's
Sonja's

Sonja’s are very subtle this time.

Diane's
Diane's
Robin's
Robin's
Sue's
Sue's

I think this is the first time that Sue has participated. I didn’t get one of hers either. The flowers really attracted me.

Debbie's
Debbie's

Debbie hasn’t been to a meeting in a long time, so I was pleased to see that she brought ATCs. I was also pleased to see that she used her signature style on them.

More on the Quilt Retreat

I have a lot of talented colleagues who also attended the quilt retreat. I realized, after I got home, that the pictures I thought I took only were taken in my head. Sigh.

Dolores 2010 #1
Dolores 2010 #1

Dolores, for whom I made the pencil roll, is really making progress in her work. She takes classes deliberately from well respected quiltmakers and works through the techniques and makes it her own. For the past several years, she has worked in neutrals. This year she decided that she was going to add color back into the equation. This piece is from a photograph (right) and some techniques she learned in a class with Caryl Bryer Fallert. Dolores reworked the photo on her computer and then blew up the pattern, transferred it to freezer paper and used Fallert’s method of piecing to create the top.

Sonja, a new CQFAer was working with FabMo fabrics and just playing. She did a fabulous wave piece that I was really sorry not to have taken a picture of.

Sue and I are kindred spirits in that we both like to make quick projects in between our larger quilt projects. She worked on totes, scarves AND basted two quilts!

FabMo also has wallpaper -high end wallpaper – and Jan has been experimenting with folded boxes and bags using pieces of the free wallpaper. They are fabulous. She is also working on a piece based on the view of Nebraska from a plane. She worked on embellishing the circles she was making. Jan was sitting next to me and we talked about color, because she is finding her piece too dull. We discussed colors that would fit with her nature theme.

Julie's Hearts
Julie's Hearts

Julie bought a pack of Moda turnovers and is making a fun and sweet Valentine’s Day quilt. She is trying to limit her need to cut and this was a great way to do it.

Julie's Hearts #1
Julie's Hearts #1

Here is Julie’s quilt before she started on the appliquéd hearts.

Julie's Heart Art
Julie's Heart Art

Above shows her machine applique’ pieces waiting for their turn under the needle as well as the tools that are required for excellent quilting (glasses, rulers and coffee!). 😉

Illuminated Manuscript Heart
Illuminated Manuscript Heart

I thought that the above block looked like one of the illustrations in an illuminated manuscript.

Good Color Combo Heart
Good Color Combo Heart

This is a nice color combination. I am not sure the computer intermediation shows the subtlety, but it s great.

Skull Heart
Skull Heart

We talked a lot about this block, because of the skull. It is the block that shows that relationships can be icky and rocky sometimes. Fun fabric, though.

Maureen tried the pencil roll pattern and came up with a nice piece using some of her hand dyes and some FabMo fabric.

Terri worked on getting some tops put together. One was an exchange top that included some really nice batiks.

Debbie was trying to finish her daughter’s college quilt. She was using some very jewel-y turquoise, purples and other blues. It was very rich looking.

Kathy is a member’s daughter. We haven’t seen any of her work before this weekend. It turns out that she does wonderful handwork. She is working on this Piece O’Cake design, do it mostly by hand. I like the color choices she made. They are a bit muted, but not murky.

Kathy's Piece O'Cake
Kathy's Piece O'Cake

She didn’t like the scallop border that came with the pattern, so she designed this leaf border on her own.

Kathy's Leaf Border
Kathy's Leaf Border

CQFA Retreat 2010

FOTY Top Complete
FOTY Top Complete

This past weekend was our annual CQFA retreat by the beach. I spent the weekend working on the FOTY 2009. I also relaxed a little even though I spent a lot of time hard at hard sewing. My body is rebelling a bit from sitting so much and standing so much.

Last few FOTY blocks
Last few FOTY blocks

First, I found the last few FOTY blocks on my design wall before I left and I wanted to post a picture of them. I didn’t think I would use the one with the earthy brown (middle row, middle block) on the front, but I ended up using it.

FOTY 2009 in progress
FOTY 2009 in progress

I really worked hard on the piece. As with last year’s piece, there is a lot of sewing and pressing. The process, after I figured out the size and laid the blocks out was to sew two Zanzibar blocks together, press, put back on the design wall, sew two Zanzibar blocks together, press, put back on the design wall and then repeat that process 133 times. Once I sewed sets of blocks together, then I sewed two sets of two blocks together to make a set of four. I did that approximately 67 times. Since I wasn’t in my own workroom I had to walk around my table, past another table and into the corner to get to the iron. The distance was inconvenient, but also good, because it forced me to stretch my body. Putting the top together was a lot of rote sewing, but it was the perfect project for the retreat.

I did a few things differently this year. One was to count up the blocks and try to make a plan as to how I would lay them out before I arrived at the retreat location and was standing in front of my design wall.  I knew I had 225 blocks, so I thought I would lay them out in a 15×15 format. What I didn’t take into the consideration was the size of the portable design wall. If I placed 15 blocks down, 3 of them were on the floor. I didn’t want to work with blocks on the floor even though I could have. It is hard to photograph the in progress piece. It is easy to forget some of the blocks, etc. I reconfigured the layout and ended up with, I believe, 12 down and 19 across. I prefer a rectangular layout anyway so it worked out. I needed another block, however, so the earthy brown one ended up on the front. In the grand scheme, it doesn’t scream brown out of the quilt.

Color Sorting
Color Sorting

I also sorted the blocks. Last year, I think I just put them up in general areas on the design wall and then I had to move them around a lot. This time I sorted the fabrics on the table, put them in Roy G. Biv + white and black order and then put them up on the design wall. This strategy was a lot easier. I didn’t have move such large groups of blocks over and over. I had to move some groups, but the whole process was much easier. Below is a progression of how the piece evolved as I worked on the color:

#1 Blocks on the design wall
#1 Blocks on the design wall
#2 Blocks on the design wall
#2 Blocks on the design wall
#3 Blocks on the design wall
#3 Blocks on the design wall
#4 Blocks on the design wall
#4 Blocks on the design wall

Another thing I did differently this year was ask some of the other retreaters if any blocks stood out to them in an “I am out of place in this quilt” kind of way. Many of the CQFAers are really skilled designers, others are skilled colorists. All of them have something wonderful to offer if I remember to ask and listen.

I was looking at FOTY 2008 last week and found that there were some rectangles I really should have moved. It is by no means a horrible quilt, but I should have played with the layout a bit more. Asking for help was a great strategy, because people mostly liked the color work I did and I got lots of kudos, but some of the blocks jumped out at them. Funnily enough the blocks they noticed, for the most part, did not jump out at me. Almost exclusively, these were blocks that were hard to place – multi-color fabrics, conversationals, light backgrounds almost completely covered by various colors, etc. The CQFA group is great, because they helped me place the problematic blocks to their best advantage. In this way, I also learned.

FOTY 2009 Upper left corner
FOTY 2009 Upper left corner
FOTY 2009 Lower left corner
FOTY 2009 Lower left corner
FOTY 2009 Upper right corner
FOTY 2009 Upper right corner
FOTY 2009 Lower right corner
FOTY 2009 Lower right corner

I spent a good portion of the retreat sewing the quilt top together. Open house at school was today, so I had to leave the retreat early and only got some straps for my next Anna Maria Horner Multi-tasker tote done. I really wanted to stay, but am glad I was able to have a chat with various teachers at school as well. There is always so much to do!

ATC Day at CQFA

Creative Prompt ATCs #1
Creative Prompt ATCs #1

The CQFA met at Always Quilting yesterday. The Always Quilting strip club was also meeting and somehow the space issue got mixed up so we crammed into one of their small rooms to do business, show and tell and swap ATCs. A few of us got in some project work also.

I am working on a deck of creative prompt cards using playing card blanks as the base. I decided that the ATC swap in CQFA would be another way of creating more prompt cards and expanding the Creative Prompt Project. The cards to the left are the ones I created for this month’s swap. They are ok. I did stitch words on them for the prompt and the words don’t stand out very well, which is disappointing. I should have used yellow thread to make the words stand out better. I will try and create more contrast next time.

In some ways this format is too small for me. In other ways, it is a good size, because it allows me to finish something and use up some scraps. I have been using scraps for all of the ATCs I have made so far. I am struggling with creating successful designs give the format and parameters. I am okay with not being as successful as I would have liked with this groupsince I only committed a little time to the project. I want to look at it as a learning experience. I have an ATC book, so I will look in there to get some ideas.

Maureen did a good job organizing the swap. She changed the guidelines a little this time. What I realized, after the change, is that I need to make my two sets of cards using different designs. Some people ended up with two of my cards. Since I used the same design for all they received duplicates. That is disappointing for them. I don’t know if it is better to do multiples of the same or if I should make each one different or somewhere in between? I’ll try something a little different next time.

ATC Back with Label
ATC Back with Label

One of the CQFA members made a little label for her pillows and bags. I saw it when she showed her oilcloth bags and pillows at the last meeting. Something sparked in my mind. I haven’t been putting any labels or anything on my tote bags. I thought this would be a great solution.

Making the labels had been on my mental to do list for awhile, but it was just this week that I was actually able to sit and do it. I used the table function in Word, bu any word processor will do. I inserted the picture, wrote the text, played with the spacing as well as the font size and tested it on a regular sheet of paper before I printed it on a sheet of paper backed fabric. I am pretty pleased with the way it came out.

One of the things that the grid (from the table) did was give me a cutting line. Since the 9K is in the shop again, I had to play around with where the zigzag stitched on the Jem.

The picture is a .jpg of my Avatar. I originally made it on Elouai.com. Their Avatar maker has some fun options as well as the ability to save as a .jpg file.

I think this mini-label will be a good option for bags and pillows and other little items that I seem to be working on at the moment. It might also work for small quilts where I don’t really want to take up half the back with a regular quilt type label a la the Pamela Allen quilts. I’ll have to see.

My new ATCs
My new ATCs

These are my new ATCs. I was really enamoured and inspired by the various techniques that people used. I especially liked the lower right (#3). Maureen made that and there is a wire on top of the red netting that says create! It is another creative prompt! I had to have it and was thrilled that it was available when it was my turn to pick.

CQFAers ATCs Group #1
CQFAers ATCs Group #1

A new person, Sonja, came to the meeting today. Her ATCs were fabulous. She made the ones with the sun and clouds. I really wanted a piece of the sun, but got a piece of the clouds with which I am happy. Dolores’ cards are on the top with the leaves. I’ll have to get one of those baseball card binders to keep all of these ATCs in.

CQFAers ATC Group #2
CQFAers ATC Group #2

Maureen’s ATCs are in the above picture underneath mine. I love the one with squares on the left, but it didn’t come home with me.

CQFAers ATC Group #3
CQFAers ATC Group #3

In the group above are ATCs made my JulieZS (top), Linda (left) and the famous, much loved writer Terri Thayer made some, which are pictured on the bottom right. One thing that I liked about Julie’s and Linda’s ATCs was that they both cut up pieces of projects that weren’t working and made them into successful ATCs.  Terri is playing with stamps and embellishments in this group as well as the ones she brought to the last meeting.

CQFA ATCS Round 2
CQFA ATCS Round 2

Above is the second group of ATCs for round 2 swapping.

I never wanted to collect ATCs. I am finding that I do enjoy seeing different techniques which people are using.

As an aside, someone directed me to Teesha Moore for art retreats. Her opening page looks like ATCs

ATCs at CQFA

First ATCs
First ATCs

While you were sipping your cappucinos this morning, I was finishing the edges of my very first ATCs – Artist Trading Cards – and dashing off to meet with my fellow CQFAers.

Maureen had suggested that we do a swap of ATCs. In the spirit of the Creative Prompt project, I decided that making them would be good for my creativity. And it was! I did them when I came home from work on Tuesday after one of the most grueling work days I think I have ever had. Immersing myself in some fiber took my mind off of the lunatics downtown. I didn’t have much brainpower and, thus, didn’t overthink the design. All of the fabrics came out of my scrap basket. I wasn’t sure what to use for the center so I used two layers of Pellon Stitch and Tear, which I use for stabilizing machine applique’. The ATCs felt right in terms of stiffness and I didn’t have any problems with sewing through the 4 layers. It all seemed to work just fine.

ATC backs
ATC backs

The ATCs are 2.5×3.5″ inches and I know that there are a zillion sources for instructions all over the web. Typical of me, I didn’t look at any of them. 😉

Sometimes I just need to do the work. I figured they were small enough and I could toss them if I didn’t like them.

I grabbed more fabric out of my scrap basket for the backs. The red dots and the Denyse Schmidt flowers are my favorites. One of my criteria was that I had to be able to write on the back, so my favorites weren’t ideal. The other plainer fabrics were better. I tried to use the stitch lettering that I used to use for labels on these ATCs, but my machine is starting to act up 🙁 and I couldn’t get it to work.

MPL's ATCs
MPL's ATCs

Maureen’s ATCs include the car in the group. Maureen is a quiltmaker I really admire, because she is constantly trying new things.

Her ATCs were a revelation, because they were all different! Mine are sort of different, but really the same. Maureen created different designs on each card. WOW! Not sure why I didn’t think of that, but perhaps I will do something similar next time.

Terri let me know that Diane and Nancy’s ATCs were mixed in with Maureen’s. I didn’t pay close enough attention to know whose are whose. Sorry ladies!

I thought I would make more of the same for next time, but after doing the swap, I think people will be looking for something new and exciting.

Terri's work
Terri's work

Terri is a mystery writer who incorporates quilts and quiltmaking into her stories. If you haven’t read Ocean Waves, Old Maid’s Puzzle, or Wild Goose Chase, get yourself to the Library or bookstore! Her ATCs had a mystery theme and were business card size. Terri used the business card sized advertisements as the backing! Clever!

In addition to paper and fabric, Terri also added 3D ribbon and rubber stamping to her cards. I have rubber stamps! Perhaps I will drag them out for the next round.

LC's Work
LC's Work

Linda‘s ATCs look marbled to me. She is a talented machine quilter. She produces lots of small works frequently by participating in such challenges as the Fast Friday Challenge. She has recently been doing succulents, which she says are too dark for her tastes. Most of her work is very bright – lime green, fuschia, bright blue, etc as Linda uses lots of hand dyes.

Linda talks about her ATCs on a blog post from a few days ago. It looks like she made a big piece and then cut it up. Another great idea!

Bron's ATCs
Bron's ATCs

I haven’t seen very much of Bron’s work and was really excited when she laid out her ATCs. Bron’s raven piece and her stamp piece both caught my eye. I couldn’t stop staring at them during the entire swap. I am not sure why. I guess Amy over at the Creative Mom podcast is on my mind both because of the ATCs and because of the birds.

Bron also chose to make different designs. Her media varied quite a lot as well. She used fabric, paint, paper, beads and different ephemera such as stamps.  I picked up the stamp card from Bron’s offerings.

Bron's Stamp ATC
Bron's Stamp ATC

The colors drew me to this piece. They were really vibrant and attractive. I am like a bee in spring, I guess. 😉 I really liked the textures on this card as well as the airmail stamps.

VS works
VS works

Virginia is a quiltmaker I really admire. She has a quiet presence that smolders. When she finishes a quilt or a set of placemats or something, they set the room on fire: excellent stitching, perfect corners, wonderful fabrics and a great design. I really wish she lived closer as I would try to spend more time learning with her.

Virginia did photo transfer with fabric, paper and stitching. I wasn’t as excited about them because of the black and white. I did love the stitching around the edge.

Diane brought some as well and somehow I missed photographing them. Perhaps next time.

While I am not particularly interested in ATCs, I found this to be a good exercise. Not so much in what I made, but in seeing what everyone else made and getting inspired by their work. I may have a chance to try out some of these ideas as Maureen suggested that he group make this activity a regular part of the meeting. Hhmm…

Quilting By the Sea #2

The second CQFA Retreat was the weekend of January 25, 2009 (read about the first retreat here). What a great weekend for sewing. You have already seen my completed top, FOTY 2008, but I thought I would share some of the highlights of the trip and other people’s projects with you. I highly recommend going on a weekend retreat once in a while, especially if you normally don’t get several hours of uninterrupted time to do your sewing.


On Saturday, I went out for a walk and to get some food and saw this flower, which I thought might make a nice sketch or a “Big Idea” for a quilt.


Terri, a talented writer whose books you should go out and buy right now, is also a talented quiltmaker. Above is her Kaleidoscope project. Since I had recently completed the Eye Spy top, I gave her some unsolicited advice on putting the top together. One of the things that I enjoy about the retreat is that I like seeing what people are making. Terri uses a very different color palette than I do, but it was great to see how she worked on the hexagons.

CQFA has a free fabric connection. Julie went and got some free fabric and made the above couch throw out of it. I love the cabbage rose feel that this top has, mostly because it is not too sickly sweet.

I didn’t crop the photo above, because I wanted you to see the set up. Julie and I were working at the table on the left side of the photo. You can see FOTY 2008 on my portable design wall in the background. Dolores was working on the right. We had nice big tables to work on.

Dolores, the organizer, had a goal of getting to know everyone better. Last year people did introductions and everyone talked about how they got into quiltmaking. This year she asked everyone to talk about what inspires them. Above is a picture of everyone gathering around one person’s work.

Debbie talked about taking a summer course at Cabrillo College with Richard Elliott. The class was called something like Frankenstein Fabric and they learned to manipulate fabric in new and interesting ways. The fabric above has been manipulated so that it has little puffs all over it.

The fabric has a high polyester content. Debbie does really interesting things with fiber and is very involved with SAQA.

All in all, the weekend was a big success. I certainly got a lot done and was pleased to be able to spend some extra time with Julie.

Longarm Demo


I went to the CQFA Meeting yesterday, which was held at Always Quilting in San Mateo. One of the reasons we went there was to get a demo of their longarm quilting machine and find out about learning to use it. I took the above video at the demo.

I tried out the machine as well and found it very easy to drive. Kit, one of the shop owners, had already loaded the machine with fabric for us to work on. She gave us a lecture on preparing the quilt for the machine and how their program of learning to load and use the machine worked. I thought she was a good lecturer and gave many good hints for preparing a quilt to be longarm quilted.

I have worked with a longarm quilter for awhile and know how she wants things prepared. I was surprised to hear that Always Quilting likes things a little differently done.

After the demo, we went to the back room, had lunch, worked on projects (see later post for pics of my work) and had our regular meeting.

I ended up signing up to take their their longarm quilting training in January. Their policy is to take the training and then you are allowed to rent the machine. I don’t expect that I will quilt all of my quilts myself, but I think it will be good to quilt some of them myself, and perhaps, less expensive. In any case, education is always a good thing.

All in all it was a fun day.