David Taylor in Canmore
February 06, 2012
Good morning from snowy Calgary,
We woke up to flurries today, although we can't complain because we had a gorgeous weekend. So much so that I spent part of both afternoons sitting outside in the sun! Incredible for the middle of February.
On Friday after work, Bev and I drove to Canmore for David Taylor's lecture. He's in town for a 2 and a 3-day workshop. David resides in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. His talk was light and had us all laughing when he talked about his love of fabric, and his shopping sprees. He also talked about how he loves to fondle the fabric, and just look at it on the shelves. The photo of one of his shelving units was incredible, as all the pieces of fabric were folded exactly in the same manner, and were all stacked in precise order. I am not sure I would ever show a photo of my fabric closet, where fabric is all over, with little bits and pieces stuck here and there.
David's quilt Sally at the Window won him an award at IQA in Houston, and pretty much launched his career as an art quilter.
Here are a few photos of three of the four quilts he brought to show. The first ones are from "Marmalade's first snow":
This piece is stunning. You need to see it up close and personal to really get the full impact of it. It is not a large piece, it's 47" x 35" but the detail on it is stunning. Enjoy the photos:
See the latch just above Marmalade's left ear? It is made up of 8 different pieces of fabric!
He quilts with variegated thread; he uses both King Tut and Sulky Blendables, and uses the same thread in the bobbin. Below is a photo of the back of the quilt, so you can see the detail of the quilting. He uses a dark backing, so the back of his quilts look like a separate work of art!
And a detail of the wood:
This is another detail of one of his pieces, called Hidden Treasures:
And a detail:
And another one called "The Sentinel of Santorini":
And a detail of the cat:
And here's a photo of David, after the lecture, while he was talking to some of the people admiring his quilts:
All in all, a very enjoyable evening. The first time I came across David's name was in Houston, when he won a major prize at IQA for his quilt Sally at the Window. I stood in front of that quilt for a long time, trying to figure out how it was constructed. When I heard the story on Friday, I understood then why the quilt won: it's all fabric, no paint, no embellishments of any kind. Every window pane has been constructed individually, and every frame has mitered corners. Each frame is constructed of three separate pieces of fabric, about 1/8" wide, and all needle turned. That gives you an idea of the complexity of his quilts.
In hindsight, I regret not signing up for his workshop. Although I don't really hand applique, it would have been nice to see how he works and how he makes up the patterns, starting from a photograph. He's going to be travelling quite a bit over the next couple of years, so maybe I'll catch up with him somewhere else at some point in time. You can visit his website at: www.davidtaylorquilts.com
I hope you've enjoyed the photos. And yes, as you can see, practice does make perfect. So ... keep quilting.
February 2012 FMQ Challenge Tutorial with Diane Gaudynski
February 02, 2012
The new February tutorial with Diane Gaudynski is out as of yesterday, and it's fabulous. If you still haven't joined the challenge, I urge you to do so. It's fun. And the best part is that it gets you quilting and practicing. And yes, you will get better at it.
Here's SewCalGal's website: http://sewcalgal.blogspot.com/
Diane's tutorial focuses on simple feathers.
Doesn't it look fabulous? Also, look at the piece of fabric she used to make her sample on. It's probably a piece of purple silk dupioni.
I always tell people to practice on pretty fabric. There's something to be said for the feeling it gives you to have a piece of pretty fabric under the needle. And it doesn't matter if you don't have much practice. Your sample does not have to be perfect. Practice and repetition will make you perfect. So don't just make one feather sample, make a few. And then modify the pattern or change the curve and make a few more. Don't forget to practice on paper before you switch to fabric. It helps you get a better idea of what you need to focus on and the path to take when you go to do it on the sewing machine. And when you practice on paper, don't lift the pen or pencil off the paper. Keep it moving as if you were actually using the sewing machine. That gets your hands, eyes and brain trained for doing a continuous line without breaks. If you need to break somewhere in your drawing, you'll need to do the same when you are actually sewing the design.
And if you do join the challenge, send me a photo of your finished sample. I'd love to see it. In the meantime, enjoy the day and above all, keep quilting.
Quilting Challenge for January
January 31, 2012
As you may know, I joined the Quilting Challenge organized by SewCalGal, so as per instructions and directions, I'm posting the photos of my practice piece for this month, Frances Moore's leaf pattern and variation:
I hope you can see enough detail. The other photo I had to upload is too heavy and it won't let me do it. But I believe you can see that it has the original leaf and the one with the swirl. It was a fun design to try. It is quilted on a tan colored silk dupioni and I used a cherry red rayon thread from Superior on top and a similar color Deco-Bob by Wonderfil thread in the bobbin. The only thing I need to do is bind the 12" x 12" sample. One down ... eleven more to go! And if you still haven't, I encourage you to join the challenge. There is still time to do it.
Once I sit down at the sewing machine, especially when it is prepared for quilting, I take the opportunity to try new designs or make a few more samples. I am teaching a machine quilting class in a couple of weeks, and we are going to be focusing on more advanced designs. The afternoon will be devoted to feathers. And because feathers are one of my favorite designs to quilt, I made a new small sample. Again, it finished at approximately 12" x 12" (it started larger, but with all the close quilting, it shrunk).
It is once again quilted on tan silk dupioni with the cherry colored thread by Superior. You can see that it adds a pinker tone to the quilt which goes to show that the thread color that you choose is important. If I had chosen a similar tan color to quilt it with, the design would be harder to see. You will be able to see texture still, but it wouldn't be as noticeable. So that's something to consider when you are thinking about quilting a quilt. Do you use similar color thread, a contrasting, variegated? When you are trying to decide, the best thing to do is make small samples with different threads, and see which one gives you the effect that you are looking for. Consider quilting part or the whole of the same design you'll use on the quilt, so you'll get the advantage of practicing the design before using it in the final project, and seeing exactly what the thread will do to the design. Consider also, when thinking about thread, that for patterns that need to be double-stitched (like feathers), if you use a variegated thread, the double-stitching will show more, as chances are that the double stitching won't be with the same area of color than the original stitching (hope you understand what I am trying to say).
Another consideration when choosing thread: for tighter designs like the one above, choose a thinner thread and use smaller stitches. For larger and more spread out designs, choose a thicker thread and a larger stitch.
Back to my piece. The only thing I marked was the spine, and that was quilted first, double stitching to get back to the beginning. The spine gives you the basis for where the feathers will be placed. Then I quilted the feathers, one side first; because you need to get back to the beginning again to quilt the other side of the feather, I echoed along the feathers down to get back to the starting point. You can see the echo line really close to the feathers. The echo line is about 1/8" apart. Then I quilted the other side of the first spine, and continued until the entire feather was quilted before working on the background.
The background consists of three different stitches: a very tiny and tight stipple stitch, bouncing bananas in one corner, and a small sample of scallops on the right hand side, along an extension of a feather. See the detail below:
In this detailed photo you can see the a close-up of the feathers, and the tight stippling and bouncing bananas on the left-hand corner.
To give you an idea, because people always ask "how long did it take you to quilt that?" being so tiny, this piece took me close to four hours to quilt. The background is a bit tedious because it was just the one design. That is why I chose to vary the designs in small areas, to break the monotony.
As I mentioned above, I used Deco-Bob thread in the bobbin. Deco-Bob is a thread by Wonderfil. It is 80-weight, which means that it is very fine, so when you wind it on the bobbin, a lot of it fits in. I was able to quilt both samples without having to change the bobbin, and I still had more than half a bobbin left.
That same weekend, I started working on another sample from a DVD by Sharon Schamber. I still have to quilt the outer border, so that's the plan for Saturday this weekend. I'll post photos of it when I'm done. But what I wanted to tell you is that I managed to do all the quilting on the inside of that small sample (about 14" square for the center part) with that one bobbin of thread. Which to me, is priceless!
And with that, I'm going to leave you to practice, practice, practice. I hope you'll join the challenge. Let me know if you do. I will work on February this coming weekend hopefully.
Thanks for reading. Keep quilting. Remember that your work will get better with practice.
Goals and such ...
January 27, 2012
I can't believe that January is almost over. Where did the days go? It seems that it was only yesterday that we all got together to celebrate Christmas! You've all heard about the time flies when you are having fun. I wonder if it works the same when you are not having that much fun?
With February almost here, one of the tasks we have at work is to write down our goals for 2012. This is a major issue, as at the end of the year you get rated on how well you did and whether you accomplished them or not. Of course there are ways to do that so you can keep track of progress and such. These goals go hand in hand with the 2012 company plan and objective. All the talk and meetings about goal setting made me think about my goals for this 2012 year and what I want to accomplish on the artistic side of my life. At work it is somewhat simpler, as my goals are tied up to my boss', and my team's and I have goals of things to accomplish daily. When it comes to my life, then it's not as simple. I've learned that goals need to be "SMART", which means:
- Measurable (quantity, quality, time)
- Results Focused (aligned, relevant)
- Time Bound (have a completion date)
Once all that is said and done, I go back to what I want to accomplish, and more importantly, what I feel I NEED to accomplish (and it involves more than to say 1 new quilt, or clean my studio). For quite a few years now, I've stopped writing New Year's resolutions, because at the end of the year it was frustrating to realize that the weight had stayed on, the fabric kept piling up, and the books remained unread. Instead, now, because I am a somewhat list kind of girl, I keep a mental list. More forgiving? I am not sure. But, my list went from having resolutions to having goals. Hopefully attainable and most certainly measurable.
One of my goals for the beginning of 2012 was to set up my studio to teach at home. That is well on its way to be a completed goal and effort. The tables and chairs are up, ironing boards with irons, the design walls is ready to be hung, the books are on shelves and the supplies put away. Even the coffee pot is waiting patiently for its time to brew. So I am quite pleased about that one. Almost one done, a few more to go.
Goal number 2 is to put together a list of classes to tempt students to make the trip home. One of the advantages of offering classes in my studio is that I have all the supplies handy and ready, so I can offer a course that includes everything the students are going to need to finish the project. The other side of that is that although the classes are going to be more expensive in some respects, you won't need to go out and spend a lot of money purchasing supplies that you are not sure you'd like to use again. How many of us have gone out and spent hundreds of dollars purchasing supplies for a class, only to discover that the technique doesn't really suit us, and that we don't want to ever do it again? And the supplies sit on shelves, and the paints dry up. So, that's goal number 2: classes will be offered in fabric dyeing; screen printing; texturing fabric with paintstiks, foiling, how to use Inktense pencils, machine quilting, feather quilting, New York Beauties, etc.
That list is coming up, so keep an eye out. My biggest issue right now is with figuring out a way to take payment. My concern is that people may not show up if they have to pay the day of the class, and I'll end up preparing 8-10 kits and 2 people will show up, which is a lot of time and expense spent. So I'm troubleshooting that one right now. Let me know if you have some experience with this or ideas to make it work simply.
In the meantime, I came across this today, which started me thinking about those goals of mine, and what they mean:
And if you ask me, I wholeheartedly agree with this. It takes an awful amount of work to reach your goals. But if they are your goals, all that work should be worthwhile. And because my goals in this case are all about what I want and need to do, all the better.
I will leave you with this for now. Almost time for me to go home. I an going to finish a small silk sampler that I started last week, and then I'll post some photos. I did complete part 1 of the machine quilting challenge I signed up for, so I need to photograph and post the photo. I'll post one here too so you can see it. I worked in on a piece of brown silk dupioni and quilted it with cherry red thread. All I need is to bind the 12" x 12" sample.
That's all for today. I hope it doesn't take me almost a month to blog again. I'll keep you posted on studio progress and class list. In the meantime, do keep quilting and send me a comment or two if you have any classes you'd like to see included in the list. I require 4 people to run a class, so get your friends together and you can have a private lesson.
Best wishes for 2012
January 02, 2012
Welcome to the 2nd day of 2012. I'd like to wish everyone a happy, and creative 2012.
Beginnings are all about hope, and the beginning of this year is no different. We take stock of the previous year and in doing so, in my case, I give thanks for my children, my family and my friends and my quilting passion. New Year is also about new resolutions, and although I am not much of a list maker, I keep a continuous list in my head of all the things I'd like to accomplish.
2011 was a very good year from an artistic point of view: I travelled twice to Cleveland to tape segments for Quilting Arts TV with Series 900 coming up; I taped my first very own workshop DVD which is out and available for purchase; I had articles published in several publications, mainly Quilting Arts, Quilting Arts Gifts, and Quilt Scene, and had a fabulous trip to Brazil and Argentina where I had a chance to teach classes and make new friends. All in all ... I can't complain.
I have some plans for 2012. The most important one is to finish the classroom downstairs, so I can teach at home. With that in mind, I'd been doing quite a bit of planning, and are right now putting the last few touches on a list of classes, some of which will be on surface design, low water immersion dyeing, screen printing, New York Beauties, Machine Quilting and Fabric Painting. So, with that in mind, keep an eye out as I'll post the list of classes and dates in the next few weeks.
I hope that 2012 will prove to be a great year for everyone. I encourage you to try a new technique, a new pattern; read a new book, buy a piece of fabric you'd never thought you'd buy and incorporate it into your next project. Expand your horizons, and let your dreams fly.
Keep in touch, as I appreciate your comments. In the meantime, keep quilting.