Monday, September 17, 2012

The first quilt I ever designed and made...

Was this little wall hanging I did for my late mother-in-law, Juta.  Tom and I had just started dating in 1993, and, while I'd known both Tom and his mother since I was a little girl, I hadn't seen either one of them for years.  In visiting her at her home in Chicago, I learned she loved her garden, and the color pink.  Meanwhile, I was just learning about quilting and reading everything ever published about the subject. 
So--when I saw a flip-and-sew technique in a magazine and saw it could be applied to creating flower shapes, I tried it to make this roses quilted wallhanging.  It was given to Juta for Christmas. 



I used the flip-and-sew method for the roses, and raw-edge applique for the stems and leaves.  I guess, even though I'd taken numerous art classes in my life, I didn't yet have an eye for value.  The stems and leaves are pretty muddled.  I also had no idea about doing a binding or a hanging sleeve.  My techniques for those were pretty primitve.  But, at the time, I thought it was kind of cool. 
She never hung it up. 
(BTW--I can't for the life of me figure out how to flip this photo so that's it's upright.  Grrrr....)


Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

Colin's Leaves

My friend Colin lives in Chicago, and a while ago he  took a picture of three leaves on the hood of his purple car and posted it on Facebook.  Having a particular Fast Friday Fabric Challenge in mind, I asked if I could use his photo as inspiration for an art quilt.  The challenge called for making a quilt using high contrast, which the photo had.  He said OK!  I wanted to make the quilt shiny in some way to reflect the car surface, so I pondered on it for a while.  Months, really...

Recently--another friend of mine, Lynne, who is a seamstress, gave me a chunk of the most gorgeous purple raw silk...perfect for Colin's Leaves!   Then, while cleaning out my closet, I decided to retire an old blouse of mine as it was probably 10 years old and had frayed cuffs.  It's ivory silk--perfect for Colin's Leaves! So I took it apart and saved the pieces.  With these two fabrics, I got the feeling the universe was telling me to finally make the quilt! 

So I used the two silks and quilted the back ground with black and silver metallic threads.   The leaves were marked with a silver paint pen and quilted in silver as well. 
I like it.  It's the first pure art piece I've done in a while.   Thanks, Colin! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year's Day Mystery Quilt

Planet Patchwork ( does an online mystery quilt every year on New Year's Day, along with other days of the year, where participants can choose their fabric , follow instructions that are posted each hour and end up with a fun quilt top. I've done this a couple of times with mixed results. The first one, called Sno Business, I loved and The Hubs uses it all the time. The next one I disliked and took it apart right away.

This one is called Chips and Strips. It's very fun and I like it! This is a crappy picture, but when I finish this I'll take more. I already know how this will be quilted (geomterically along the zig zags) and I know it'll be used.

Naaaahhhh it's not art...but it's fun!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My word for 2012

Two years ago, I joined the Quiltart mailing list, and there was a discussion about choosing a "word of the year." My first word was "Freedom." I was having a hard time dealing with a lot of things in my family life and I wanted freedom from my negativity about my situation. I even wrote out the word and stuck it on my wall.

Last year, I chose another word, but I never wrote it down, nor did I blog about it. So, days later, I completely forgot it, and have not been able to remember it since.

Well--the Christmas celebrations are over, and a new year is coming soon. I've been thinking about a new word for the coming year. I wrote about my search on the QA list, ending with the phrase "it'll be a brand new year with fresh hope", which paraphrases something that Mrs. Griswald said to Clark on their drive to California in the movie, "National Lampoon's Vacation."

One of my fellow artists pointed out that my new word sounds like..."hope!" So there it is, then. "HOPE" is my word for 2012. Thanks, Diane!

Hope is the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. It is an expectation and a longing; it is to look forward with confidence.

There is hope that I will complete a good number of old projects and UFOs this year.

There is hope that I will do at least half of the Fast Friday Fabric Challenges. There is one challenge each month--last year I didn't complete any of them! I'll shoot for six this coming year.

There is great hope, because I've made it a true goal, that my studio will finally be painted and organized by the end of January--a goal with which The Hubs will help.

There is also hope that I can concentrate on new work with limited distractions.

I'm looking forward to 2012; it'll be a much better year than 2011. I'll be sure to write my word down on a slip of paper so I don't forget it.

Addendum: I recently visited a blog by a fellow Quilt Art poster: Terry Grant in Portland, OR ( and she makes little banners for her yearly words. I decided to do the same thing. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Another attempt at organization...

Lately on the Quiltart email list ( there has been a discussion about re-organizing sewing studios and spaces. Which made me think of my own studio space.
Since I haven't been doing too much in the studio lately--it's become as though a tornado has blown through. How does that work? I'm not in there, so it gets messy??
Well--I know that I'd run in there, quickly do a project and run out without cleaning or straightening up or putting things away. That's what happens when you're the Queen of Procrastination and you're always rushing to finish something. And now--in the throes of making Christmas gifts and decorations and such--this is not the time to clean either.

So I promised myself that, in January when all the holiday stuff is done and gifts are given and deadlines are met, I would reorganize the place. I need to empty out the studio, have the ceiling fixed, paint the whole room, clean out the closet and rearrange things so it's much more manageable and efficient.
(Ahahahahahaha.....sigh. I have said this to myself about a dozen times since we moved here--there are still boxes and totes waiting to be unpacked...But--it'll be a brand new year with fresh hope. )

Well, this is before:

My room is our spare bedroom with lot s of windows--one in a charming dormer--with a good sized closet. I can't get to the closet right now--too much stuff in front of the door. I have a sewing table and another desk at which I make my jewelry, a tall table that is my cutting table and my ironing board. Most of my fabric is kept in plastic bins in "kits", meaning they're projects for which I have fabric and an idea or pattern.
The biggest bugaboo is how to store batting and pillow forms. They take up a lot of room...

Anyway--that's my beginning. Tune in to see the end. (The end of clutter, that is....!)
Oh--I am sorry. I'm watching "The New Girl" with Zoey Deschanel while I write this, and I was compelled to say something kinda dorkey.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oh ok....

Well--it's been almost 19 months since my last post. Did you miss me? Nah--I know.
Since my last post, a number of things have happened in my life, and I've allowed them to derail my artistic efforts. That's right--I've ALLOWED myself to be distracted and divert my attention away from making art--indeed--even sewing or quilting anything! I haven't been in my studio, save for making a few pairs of earrings or to iron table linens, for months!!
A few things have been significant: The birth of my first grandchild, Lukas Brian! The death of my father, Benedikts (here they are together last year.) My mother-in-law, Juta also died earlier this year. The growth of our business (good news!) The deterioration of the condition of my back, despite an attempt at physical therapy this summer.
All these events and conditions have served to frustrate and distract.
The family issues have come to close, with the resolution of estates and probates, so I can put that behind me. Our computer business is humming along nicely with the addition of new employees and some new management software, so all is well there. My back...well it's still a pain in the arse, but with more PT and some weight loss, I can live with it.
I also kind of dropped out of the Milwaukee Art Quilter's Group. I love the concept of all these great fiber artists getting together to do group challenges and show their work--but the deadlines for the challenges and show were killing me. And this is driving me crazy!
On one hand, I like having deadlines--they force me to have a bit of discipline in finishing some art. On the other hand--they've becoming quite stressful for me, so I've just let them go by without making anything!
(I did make a commitment to finish one challenge so that it can be shown with all the others at the Wisconsin Quilt Museum this coming winter--I will definitely finish that!)
Anyway--this goes back YEARS! I have started and not finished probably dozens (DOZENS!) of projects. Is it that I have no discipline? Am I afraid of finishing for some reason? Are the things I make not good enough? Am I just nuts?
I just don't know.
What I do know is that I better do SOMETHING or I really will go nuts. I have a need, as all artists do, to express myself through fabric, painting, something. Many years ago, I read "The Artist's Way" and did alot of the exercises to bring out the artist in me. I don't remember a lot of it, but I do recall that our art ebbs and flows. There are times when you are filling your vessel, and times when you are pouring it out.
I've been filling my vessel for a couple years now, and I am ready to let it flow out. With some self-discipline and some serious studio time, I can make art. I can.
Meanwhile--here are just a couple pics I've taken over the last 18 months to inspire some art in me: