Join me at Empty Spools…

I am teaching a 5-day Independent Study class, March 19-24, during Session III of the Empty Spools Seminar. Empty Spools Seminars are held at Asilomar, a wonderful facility on the Monterey Peninsula. There are a variety of classes taught during each session.

In my independent study class you are free to work on anything, not just appliqué. Your project can be art or traditional, hand or machine sewn, pieced or appliquéd. Draft a new quilt from scratch or work from a pattern. I am there to help you with any questions or problems you might have. Click here and here to see what students did in my 2016 and 2015 Independent Study classes.

This is one of my favorite classes. The room is always happy and full of energy. Asilomar is one of the prettiest places on the planet. There are still some openings in this year’s class and I encourage you to join me :-). Click here to go to Empty Spools.

Independent Study Class - 2016

Independent Study Class – 2016

Quilt Market 2016, update #1…

I spent one full day at Quilt Market in Houston. I spent a little more than an hour looking at all of the quilts (which was not nearly long enough), I signed books in the C&T booth, and then I walked all of the 26 aisles looking for wonderful new things for the web site. It was full but exciting day!

The quilts in the show, and in the special exhibits, were phenomenal. Honestly it was hard to take it all in in the short time I had. I did stop to take photos of a few of the quilts that spoke to me. I was drawn to quilts featuring portraits and people in particular.

I only took photos where permitted. The quilts below are followed by the information from the artists.

portraitnoir-chuckclosetwo

Portrait Noir by Trish Morris-Plise (quilted by Sandra Bruce) and Chuck Close Two by Sandra Bruce

Portrait Noir by Trish Morris-Plise, quilt by Sandra Bruce

Portrait Noir by Trish Morris-Plise, quilt by Sandra Bruce

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Portrait Noir by Trish Morris-Plise, quilt by Sandra Bruce

Detail of Portrait Noir by Trish Morris-Plise, quilt by Sandra Bruce

Chuck Close Two by Sandra Bruce

Chuck Close Two by Sandra Bruce

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Chuck Close Two by Sandra Bruce

Detail of Chuck Close Two by Sandra Bruce

Claire, below, was hanging in the judged show.

Claire by Sandra Bruce

Claire by Sandra Bruce

claire-2

The Blood Remembers by Sandy Curran

The Blood Remembers by Sandy Curran

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I’ve seen the next quilt before and I still love it!

Detail of Rollin' Hell For Leather by Peggy Hanson

Detail of Rollin’ Hell For Leather by Peggy Hanson

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Winter Memories by Chieko Shiraishi

Winter Memories by Chieko Shiraishi

Detail of Winter Memories by Chieko Shiraishi

Detail of Winter Memories by Chieko Shiraishi

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I’ll post more images from the show tomorrow.

A quilter lives here!

Kim J. saw the “tea mailbox” in one of my recent posts and thought “maybe she would like to see mine”. Yes! I do want to see it and so do you!

mailbox-1

Kim says:

This was a collaboration with my husband.  He built the box, I drew the quilt blocks, painted/stenciled the roof and he did the painting.

Here’s the back:

mailbox2

My own mailbox obviously needs an upgrade :-).

Kauai Road, off the wall…

Here it is, with the fabric cut and the overlay in place. The power lines are an important part of the design that will be added nearly at the end of the stitching.

KauaiRoad-09

I’m going to sew all the shapes together by hand, mostly in an applique-ish sort of say. I took off all of the shapes that sit on top of the ‘background’.

KauaiRoad-10

Next, I took it off of my design wall and almost had a disaster. Each shape had multiple pins sticking directly into the wall. I held the bottom of the muslin base layer and slowly pulled the whole thing off the wall. I’ve done this before and the pins held everything in place. This time, some pieces fell off or shifted. It happened so fast I couldn’t even swear at it :-).

I managed to get it on my dining room table, with all of the pieces back where I think they went. That took a little while. Next time I’ll pin much more securely before I take it off the wall.

KauaiRoad-14

You might be wondering why I didn’t just glue the shapes in place. I don’t like glue, that’s why. I may change my mind at some point but for now, no glue for me.

Basting took a while but that’s OK. This project is not about speed, it’s more of a journey.

KauaiRoad-12

Hand sewing this is going to take a while. I’ll post updates as it comes along.

In other news: Steve and I are with Celia and Jeff, in Munich! Watch Instragram and Facebook for news from our trip. I’ll share my best photos on the blog when I get home :-).

Kauai Road…

Having the line drawing of the palm trees and telephone poles helps a lot. All through this process, I could see how they would fill up the foreground. The sky, mountains, and bushes on the sides of the road are really background.

Once the mountains were in place, I went back to the road and began cutting fabric for the bushes and trees, but it was slow going. I then turned my attention to the sky, which is mostly cloudy. (It is, in fact, very often cloudy in this spot on Kauai.)

Kauai Road 5

Finding the right fabrics for the sky was hard!!!—so I went back to the greenery :-).

Kauai Road 6

There is a car in my photo, but it’s isn’t red. It needs to be red!

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After getting a lot of the foreground trees and poles cut, I went back to the sky. It was still hard, but I stuck with it. I did have to go buy some fat quarters which was a surprise. It’s getting closer to being ready to take off the wall!

 

Kauai Road, continued…

Kauai Road

Working with only a rough sketch and no pattern shapes is very different for me. In my applique life, I have drawn patterns that many of you have sewn. The pieces are specific, and numbered. You trace around the templates to make a shape that fits the pattern.

I have also worked in the manner of Ruth McDowell, where I started with a photo and generated a pattern on freezer paper. In this kind of quilt, you may hunt for the right fabric for a shape, but you have a pattern for that shape.

CoffeeCup

As I work on Kauai Road, I’m thinking about so many things at once: What color do I need? What fabric do I have? What size or shape should each piece be? And on and on…A person can only make so many decisions before her brain has had enough. Even though this is fun, it’s a challenge. So why am I working this way?

I want to construct Kauai Road more in the manner of Edrica Huws. I have mentioned her work before, on this blog post. There’s not much documentation on her sewing methods, but in looking at her work I surmised that she was not strictly bound by a drawing, and that she cut shapes more or less intuitively, by hand, with scissors.

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I am learning new things as I work this way, and it’s invigorating!

Figuring it out…

When designing a quilt from a photo, you have to figure out where to start. I opened my photo in Photoshop and cropped in to focus attention on the part of the photo that I liked best.

KauaiRoad-01-Cropped

I usually work in Adobe Illustrator where I can make layers and trace over a photo to make a pattern. But there’s a cool filter in Photoshop called Find Edges. I used it to generate this almost-drawing:

KauaiRoad-01-Edges

I am not going to fuse or glue this quilt. The pieces will be pinned, then basted on a light fabric base. I projected the image onto a 60″ x 60″ piece of thin, prewashed, white muslin on my design wall. I used a soft pencil to draw a stylized version of the image onto the fabric.

I decided to work loosely, cutting fabric to fill in the different areas without making templates or pattern pieces. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the drawing needed to be on an overlay so that I could still see it as I added fabric to the wall. I cut a great big piece of upholstery vinyl, pinned it over the muslin, and traced the lines with a regular Sharpie marker—the kind that comes to a blunt point.

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I’m not aiming for photo realism here. Instead, I’m working in a looser, slightly more impressionistic fashion. It is both scary and fun!