Friday, December 28, 2012

Energy Pathway Stitch Detail

Machine Quilting Detail
Here is a detail from my Energy Pathway piece. I am highlighting here the machine quilting stitching I used, and in particular, the background stitching. I did a meander/fill pattern on the right and on the left I did a more orderly vertical line pattern. This pattern occurred to me in the middle of quilting the piece and I wasn't sure at the time if it would be a good idea or not. As it turns out, I really like the juxtaposition of these patterns against each other and plan to use this again on other quilts.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Serendipity Trade - Nature's Energy Drink

Natures Energy Drink
The fall Serendipity Group trade was sent last month and this is my piece that was sent to Mia Bloom. Our theme was "Energy Pathways". I struggled with this theme for a while, but I love to incorporate birds in my pieces, and decided to find a way to link birds to energy.

Here we have a hummingbird getting energy by sipping nectar from a flower that got its energy from the sun. That seems like a pathway to me.

I drew the bird and flowers/leaves from some photos and sketches I had. I these flowers grow alongside the North Umpqua River and I have done several sketches of them over the years. My sketch book came in handy here as a reference.

Detail of head and flower
I had a piece of hand dyed fabric that was striated and looked very "watercolory (new word). I decided to leave this fabric showing through the light value areas of the shapes and paint the medium and dark values. I used Tsukeniko inks for this.

I added eyelash yarn to the bottom and a couple of edges to ground it and give it an interesting frame.

Then I had to name the piece to link it back to the Energy Pathway theme, and "Nature's Energy Drink" seemed like a good way to do that.

That's about it for now. I will show a couple more details in an upcoming post, but in the meantime, thanks for stopping by my blog!

Monday, December 10, 2012


Here is a photo of some delphiniums and their leaves. One of my current projects is a delphinium fiber art piece for Artistic Expressions. The delphinium piece will be in an exhibit that travels to several Mancuso venues beginning next year. It is a great opportunity and one that I am very excited about. I love being a part of Artistic Expressions!

That makes three projects I am working on right now! It's a juggling act!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Boulders Landscape

I've been to the Boulders Resort in Carefree Arizona a few times for my hubby's birthday. He likes to golf and I go to the spa. It is a beautiful place, full of wildlife, desert landscaping, and southwestern architecture.

I always try to do at least one sketch while I am there from somewhere on the grounds. I often do one from the balcony of the room I am staying in, but sometimes I will ride in the cart with the hubby and do sketches of the golf course area. This is a watercolor painting of one part of the golf course. It is based on my sketches and photographs of the locale.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Class with Judith Baker Montano

While in Houston I took a free form embroidery class with Judith Baker Montano. It was a fun experience and I learned some creative ways to add detail to landscape pieces. The photo to the left shows the sampler made based upon her instruction in the class. She uses all sorts of threads, laces, fabrics, etc to depict a part of the landscape. The tree trunk is actually a bunch of different threads twisted around and stitched down. I look forward to putting some of this use soon on one of my art quilts! 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Holiday Season Background

Since we're going into the Holidays, I decided to dress my blog in Holiday colors. It's quite a strong color, so I'm sure I will be ready for a change come January 1, 2013!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Working on the Town

Lithologic Landscape Town
I have started adding the town to the lithologic landscape piece I am working on. I embroidered the names and building framing features to each building. After that was done I stitched each building to a piece of wool to give it some loft. These have not been stitched down yet, and are just pinned in place, but they'll be stitched down soon.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Photos from Houston

I am just back from a trip to the Houston International Quilt Festival. I had a lot of fun there with a few friends, and came back very inspired to create more. They had a large, diverse display of some of the best quilts from all over the world. I was looking at pieces I don't think I would be able to see anywhere else. There is a lot of very impressive work going on out there.

I also spent some quality time with about 400 vendors and took a free form embroidery class with Judith Baker Montano. It was all good.

To the left you see me by my Black and White Desert piece that was in Houston. Below you see photos of three pieces in the show that I thought were outstanding.

If you ever want to know what your "style" is, just take a look at what you photograph:

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Susie Staebell's Halloween Quilt
As you can see from the photo, it is always a bad idea to drink and then get on that broomstick! So take a tip from this witch and find a designated flier to take you home. Thanks to my friend Susie Staebell for letting me show her Halloween Quilt on this post.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Subsurface Strata

Subsurface Strata
Here is a progress report on my Lithologic Landscape.  I layed a neutral fabric over my enlarged drawing and penciled in some guildlines showing where major features start and stop.

I wanted to start with the subsurface section, and use that as a basis for fabric selection for the rest of the piece. This area is going to be a cross-section of the earth's subsurface, below the surface activities that I will add later.  I think this area will be the most dramatic and wanted to try to get it set from the start. It may be hard to visualize this as looking like a cross-section, but it should shape up as I go along.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Enlarged Drawing

Here is the drawing for the lithologic landscape project blown up to "life-size" proportions. The fill size is 2.5 feet by 4 feet. Enlarging the drawing makes it easy to cut out freezer paper pattern pieces, as well as positioning the fabric onto the background. I can lay my background fabric over the enlargement and see where each piece goes.

I have color coded the lithology cross-section area to designate things like sand, silty-sand, clay, bedrock, contamination, etc. I plan to use the same fabric for each distinct lithologic type. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Some of my art quilts on display at UCI

I have the good fortune to be able to display some of my art quilts at the UCI Engineering Dept. on a rotating basis. This photo shows a variation on a traditional quilt that I made (shown on the left wall) and two small still life art quilt pieces on the far wall. Thanks to my friend Susie for the opportunity to display my work there!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fabric Selections for Lithologic Landscape

 Here are my fabrics from my stash that I plan to use in my lithologic landscape project. These fabrics mirror the colors in the "plan" shown in my previous post.
And here they are all stacked vertically in a box. I can see them easily this way and there is less of a mess. And less time spent looking for the fabric that slipped off the table trying to escape!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Color Plan for Lithologic Landscape

color plan
This is my color plan for the lithologic landscape project. I create one of these for each art quilt to use as a guild when selecting fabrics. I tape this to a wall in my studio and refer to it throughout the project. I usually do a few draft color plans before arriving at the "final" one that I will use for a project.

Once I have my final color plan, I open up my stash and pull out a variety of fabrics in each of the colors. Then I fold them and put them in a box vertically so I can see each fabric. Having them in a box makes it easy to move the fabric out of the way when I have to use the table for something else, and easy to see my choices when working on the project. 

When an idea occurs to me, I write a note on the color plan and cross it off after I have done it. It helps me keep track of the little inspirations you get along the way.

Monday, October 15, 2012

My current project

Lately I've been working on a commission to create a lithologic landscape for a person working in the environmental regulatory field. They want the piece to depict surface activities that have the potential to affect water quality, and to show the subsurface strata (lithology). This is my sketch of the piece, and I've tried to include many activities that someone in the business of protecting groundwater quality deals with. These include farming, service stations, dry cleaners, oil storage, and plain old surface run-off. I have groundwater monitoring wells and some leaks that have seeped into the subsurface. I spent 20 years as an environmental consultant, so these things are all near and dear to me. I will post updates of this project as it progresses. It is a fun project to work on!
Lithologic Landscape Sketch

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Gerbera Daisy Watercolor

It is so much nicer now that the hot weather is behind us (I hope!). I find it harder to work on anything when it's' hot and humid. But now that fall is here, I'm feeling the motivation to get back at it!

This is a watercolor painting that I finished a few months ago. I haven't been doing as much painting lately because I've been spending time on fiber arts more. I am hoping to make a fiber art piece based on this painting one of these days. In the meantime I'm teaching a beading work shop, and working on a landscape commission project. And appreciating better weather!

Gerbera Daisy Watercolor


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Beading Embellishment Class

beading sampler
I will be teaching another class on adding beads to quilts as an embellishment on October 6th, from 1:30 - 5:00 pm. The class will be taught at Flying Geese Fabrics in Tustin.

The class will focus on teaching different ways that you can use beads on a quilt or fabric project. The goal is to have you take home a sampler with different beading styles so that you can use it as a reference and idea source in the future.

The beading styles that will be taught include: stars, flowers, bunting, bow ties, dangles, clusters, draping, and fencing.  The photo shows a sampler with these styles on it that you can make, or at least start, during the class.

If you are interested in signing up for this class you can contact me and I will send you the information:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Kelso Visitor Center Sign

This is a close up of the sign on the Kelso Visitor Center Building on my Route 66 piece. The actual building at the Mojave National Preserve was formerly owned by Union Pacific, and their sign on the building remains there. I wanted to make the sign reasonably close to the actual sign, but with some changes to make the colors fit with the rest of the piece.

I drew the sign on paper the size that I needed it to be, and then traced the sign on white prepared for dyeing  fabric. I used Tsukineko Inks to color in the sign. I then turned the edges under and stitched it to a piece of maroon wool. I cut the wool out to the shape of the sign and stitched it to the building.

The wool backing gives the sign some loft and makes it more prominent on the building. I have used this technique on small flags and other signs on quilts and like the effect of it. You can use felt in place of wool as a backer and save some money.

Think about using this on other features in an art quilt that you want to stand off the background a bit, such as leaves? flowers?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Mojave National Preserve Details

I uploaded a detailed photo of the building area and hills on my Mojave National Preserve Quilt. I wanted a larger photo to show some of the quilting stitches that I used on the hills. I got the ideas for these stitches from Leah Day's website, Day Style Designs. She has 365 quilting stitches on the website, and it is a great reference for ideas for machine quilting. The stitches are categorized by type. I have used this site several times to get ideas for stitches.

The link to the site is

Check it out!

Mojave National Preserve Background Stitches

Detail showing background stitching

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fabric Painting at Teresa Shippy's

 This is fabric that was painted at one of Teresa Shippy's workshops last week.  Teresa owns a bunch of tin tiles that she uses for making painted "impressions" on fabric. You lay the wet fabric on the tile and then apply paint using  a couple of different techniques. I applied the rust orange color using Setacolor paints, and then flicked on some yellow paint after the first layer was dry.

 The photo below is a close up to show the imprint on the fabric a little better, I hope.

I intend to stitch around these impressions to enhance the design, and then see if there is anything else I need to do to it. Perhaps some beading???? Anyway, it was a fun class and I encourage to take one some time. I am going to try to do this each year.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Tortoise Shell Fabric

silk fabric
The photo below shows one of the tortoises in my Route 66 Mojave National Preserve piece. As you know, a tortoise's shell has polygon shapes in it. I wanted to depict that aspect of the tortoise shell, and thought I would probably do that with thread painting. But I had a piece of silk fabric (to the right) that had raised cross-stitching in it.  I had previously painted some of this fabric using Setacolor paints and put it in my stash. I came across it when I was pulling fabrics for this quilt and put it in the pile for "consideration".  

Below you see some of this painted fabric that is left over after making this quilt. I painted it in different areas with different colors. The pink/purple/yellow areas happened to turn out perfectly for my color scheme, and made for an interesting tortoise shell fabric. No thread painting required!
painted silk fabric

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Desert Tortoises in Route 66 Mojave National Preserve

Today's post addresses the very important matter of  how to incorporate tortoises in an art quilt!

tortoise models

photo shoot
There is more than one way to include tortoises in your work, but I will tell you how I do it. The first thing you need to do is hire a couple of tortoise models. I did extensive interviewing and finally decided to hire these two. I chose them because I found their poses to be very naturalistic, they had extensive experience as tortoises, and their wages were cheap - broccoli and romaine lettuce.

tortoise depiction

photo shoot

tortoise depiction
Then comes the photo shoot. They did not respond well to a giant fan blowing at them, so I turned that off and just let them do their own thing. Before long they forgot I was there and I was able to capture some natural looking poses.

Above you can see the photo and to the left you can see the fabric depiction of this pose. I traced the turtle in the photo, enlarged it to my desired size, then traced and cut out freezer paper "patterns" of the various tortoise parts. These were then placed on the selected fabric and cut out. 

Here is the second pose. Notice the raised left foreleg, capturing actual movement of a tortoise!

And here is the depiction of pose number 2 in the art quilt.

Note - No tortoises were injured in the making of this art quilt.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Route 66 - Mojave National Preserve

Mojave National Preserve, along Historic Route 66
Kelly Gallegher-Abbott and Patt Blair are co-curating a traveling exhibit featuring quilts based on Historic Route 66 locations. Each quilt in the exhibit  depicts a location along Route 66, which goes from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California. I understand it is a wonderful exhibit.

The feature I chose on Route 66 is the Mojave National Preserve, and my quilt depicting this location is shown to the left. I included the Kelso Depot Visitor Center, local mountain ranges, some creosote and Joshua Trees, a hare and of course desert tortoises.

I am happy to say this piece was accepted into the traveling exhibit. It was just at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Festival. I am not sure of its next stop, but I will put that information in this blog once I know it. I will also be including some information on my construction techniques and detail from the quilt in upcoming posts.

Monday, August 13, 2012

IKEA carries fabric - who knew?

Well, maybe you knew, but I didn't. I was just perusing my new IKEA catalog and came across fabric on page 180. It is a combination of fabrics for pillows and making throws as far as I can tell. A lot of it is 100% cotton. They have 59" widths and charge between $5.99 per yard and $9.99 per yard. This may be perfect for use in art quilts??? Or, on a back???? They even have a sewing machine for sale!

I'll have to make a trip there to see what this is all about!

Monday, August 6, 2012

ebb and flow full view 
 I belong to an art quilt exchange group called Serendipity. Once a quarter we send a small piece to someone else in the group and receive one in the mail from another member of the group.
ebb and flow detail
This quarter's Serendipity group theme was "Ebb and Flow". I have included shorebirds in one of my previous art quilts and decided to use them again in this 12" x 12" piece.

I dyed the background fabric using Setacolor paints, and painted the birds using Tsukeniko Inks. Then some machine quilting, beading and rickrack trim.

The view to the left is a  close up showing the beading. I put beads at the base of each bird. The rickrack is a lavender color and it is very subtle. I put it on the lower left and upper right corners. It is just one of those details that you see when you are close to it.

This was sent to Linda Friedman. You can check out her work at Linda's Art Quilts.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Long Beach International Quilt Festival starts this Friday, July 27th at the Long Beach Convention Center. It runs through Sunday, July 29th. It is a wonderful show with many beautiful quilt exhibits and vendors.
 The "Black and White Desert" Art Quilt I have been showing on this blog will be part of a Quilts on the Wall exhibit debuting at the Long Beach show. The exhibit is called "Black and White with a Twist", and features 27 pieces using a primarily black and white palette. It is a dramatic looking collection and I hope you have a chance to see it. The postcard front and back for the exhibit are shown here.

I will be at the show working the Quilts on the Wall table on Friday from 10 - 12, and the SAQA table from 2- 4 that same day. If you are there please stop by and say hello. I would love to see you.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Black and White Desert Final

Here is a detail showing some of the quilting stitches and beading on the Black and White desert quilt. And my little road runner, of course.

Here is a detail of one of the foreground plants. You can see some of the stitching and the rick rack I added for more variation.

And here is the end product. It will be at the Long Beach International Quilt Festival this weekend. Look for the Quilts on the Wall "Black and White with a Twist" exhibit. I will be there quite a bit, so stop by and say "hello"!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Black and White Foreground Features

 Here are some more photos of the Black and White Desert piece when it was in progress.

These are the barrel cacti that I made from white corduroy. I have used a Frixion pen to mark the quilting stitching lines I will put in. I put a thin piece of batt behind the cacti to make them less see through and add some depth.
Here are the other cacti/plants during construction:

For this plant I placed black and white striped fabric over a solid white background piece. It gave the
 variation that I was looking for.
This is another cactus plant. I made it using a variety of prints layered together. These pieces were secured to the background with free motion quilting stitches. Going around each of these pieces was certainly not easy. I had to keep checking for areas that I had missed since they overlapped each other.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Showing Variation with Black and White

 I'm still writing about how I made my Black and White Desert piece. I show the "value" plan on the left next to the original sketch. As I said previously, I will use different black and white prints to give value change, and solids with different textures and sheens to give more variation.  This is important when your color palette is so limited.

Below is the background of the piece. The sky was made from a silky white fabric and the large hills in the back are black velvet. The velvet does a great job giving weight and the feeling of a large massive hill in the background.

All the prints are black and white cottons. The large dark hill on the right front is a heavy upholstery fabric with a lot of texture. This gives more interest when you are looking at the piece closely. The small black area closest to the front is a black silky fabric.   Not shown here are the barrel cacti that I put on the front. For those I used white corduroy. Quilting is not just about cotton prints anymore!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Black and White with a Twist


 This is a photo of an art quilt I made for the  Quilts on the Wall "Black and White with a Twist" exhibit for the Long Beach International Quilt Festival in July. The exhibit required the use of 90% black and white fabrics with 10% of another color.
I am proud to say it has been juried into the Long Beach exhibit. It is shown here hanging against my black back drop.  

I started this piece by making a sketch and then enlarging it to the finished size.  The full size drawing is used to make pattern pieces for the elements in the art quilt.

The photo above shows the value/color plan used for the quilt. Since the colors were primarily black and white it really is more of a texture plan. I used a variety of different black and white prints as well as different types of solid fabrics to give variation to the background. My next entry will show more of the background fabrics and steps used to create this piece.