Sunday, November 25, 2012

New samples for winter classes

It was a very busy week!  I didn't get any photos at our meeting last Monday because of poor lighting, but next month should be a different story.  That's our holiday potluck dinner, where we'll exchange fabric postcards (this year we're adding a distinctive Portland spin on the cards: Put a bird on it!) AND unveil our Letters challenge quilts.  And it will be at Deb's, where the lighting is much better.

Last week's stormy weather was good for keeping me at home, working on the samples for the three new classes I'm teaching this winter at Greenbaum's Quilted Forest (Salem OR).  In fact, I turned them in just one day late, and that was because I kept adding tiny details to my fabric collage (Hello Mr. Sun) to create more definition.  That project is for my Serendipity Quilts class from the book by the same title (Susan Carlson, author).

"Hello Mr. Sun" class sample.
I still see areas that beg for more detail, but I had to stop and get this guy delivered!  That's okay; I'll use it in class at a teachable moment -- an opportunity to show the impact made by the tiniest of details.
Eye detail of "Hello Mr. Sun."
Detail of lips on "Hello Mr. Sun."
My sewing machine was so sweet and compliant as I did the free-motion quilting on Mr. Sun.  I used rayon threads for the soft gleam they impart (light gold for the sun and a medium blue for the background). 

My next duo of samples is for the Zen Quilts class, and is based on the concept of Zentangles, a type of doodling I've played around with for the past 5 years. I just now clicked on that link and visited their website for the first time in quite awhile, and I am WOWed by its popularity.  There are even yahoo groups set up for sharing the tangles that people have come up with!  (tangle is the term for a specific doodle design).
"Zen Quilts # 2 & 3"
 My third new class is the one I'm most excited about.  For me, surface design on fabric is all about making discoveries, and I love sharing those techniques.  When you combine fiber reactive dyes with a soy wax resist, you get batik!  To make my sample for this easy batik class, I simply cut some of the pieces I've made and stitched them together: 
Samples for my soy wax batik class.
With Thanksgiving behind us and my class samples finished, I'm ready to concentrate on pulling together all my ideas for our Letters challenge and choosing a starting place. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A busy Sunday

Tomorrow night's our monthly Fiberexplorations meeting, but I just received word that we need to change the meeting location.  On such short notice, I offered to host it, and just sent out an email telling everyone.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everyone checks their email and sends an RSVP so I don't have to track them down by phone.

The downside to hosting is that I've been living as if the entire downstairs was my studio, and some cleaning is definitely in order.  (That means less time to sew today, when I'd planned on working on the samples for my 3 new classes.)  On the other hand, I can share my work-in-progress from the 5-day Rosalie Dace workshop in early October.  It's still pinned to the design wall (though partially stitched!) and would've been too cumbersome to take to the original meeting location.
Work in progress from 2012 Rosalie Dace class.
One day last month, the Salem Art Group got together for a "play day" at Nancy Eng's studio.  She does the most beautiful encaustic work (and is very generous in sharing her supplies!)  Here's the encaustic piece I made:

"Relent" (mixed media encaustic).

"Relent," detail.
 Though I'm still a novice when it comes to encaustics, I love it.  The smell of the warm wax, the tactile appeal of the finished surface, and compared to quilt-making, the almost-instant gratification! I've been considering ways to incorporate encaustic wax with textiles, and at least for the current Fiberexplorations challenge, Letters, I've found one way:

A "waxed" letter."

 I haven't decided how to use my waxed letter in this challenge, but I did leave a blank, unwaxed tab at the top of it (on the left) so it can be stitched onto fabric.  It sits on the table, beckoning and encouraging me to finish the class samples and get to work on this challenge!

There's one more thing I want to share, circa 2006 (?).  I taught a series of mystery quilts and this was one of them.  I rarely finished any; I just worked through all the steps on each so I'd be prepared to teach them.  This one was found with one row sewn in upside down, but it had already been "unstitched" and only needed to be sewn in again.  Presto -- a new quilt top!   (I was always partial to the geometric designs that relied on strong contrast in order for the design to pop.)
A "building block" mystery quilt (in need of a good pressing).

Please leave a comment, even if it's just to say hi, and come back again soon.  I promise to take photos at tomorrow night's meeting!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

This one's for Torrie!

Last Mon. afternoon, Deb, Kathleen, and I drove to Sisters and spent the night at Torrie's (our member who's recently relocated there).  We dubbed it "the PJ Party," but in reality it was a meeting to prepare for our presentation the next day to the Mountain Meadows Quilt Guild in Sunriver, OR. Over wine and cheese, we discussed the next day's plan and sorted through the 50-some quilts we'd be showing.

After the fact -- some of my quilts that were shown at the presentation. 
I should stop here and make a confession:  Yes, I've neglected this blog for 2 months and feel guilty about it.  I missed the writing, yet (obviously) not enough to break out of the rut I'd found myself in.  I  left my camera at home and missed out on some prime photo op's (like the one at Sunriver!), and let some stories pass by unrecorded. 

But all it took to get me back here were a few words from Torrie, spoken over dinner at her house that night.  She missed my blog posts!  It seems that while I thought no one was listening, she kept checking in to see if I'd posted anything new.  So this one's for you, Torrie!

Photographed through the filter of my rain-streaked window last month.
Our hour-long presentation in Sunriver came off without a hitch.  (Deb had laryngitis -- honestly! -- so her speaking part was very limited.)  We described the beginnings of Fiberexplorations and the positive impact it's had on each of us, as well as stories about our quilt challenges and exhibiting our work in public, and the opportunities that have come our way as a result.  It was gratifying to see so much of our work in one place, but even moreso to receive the compliments of the guild members after the presentation, as they came up for a closer look at our quilts.

I hope there will be more opportunities like this, where we get to visit other groups to share our stories and our work.  Oh, and more PJ parties, too!
Rain-soaked leaves gathered today (to be preserved).