Thursday, October 29, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Creative Process: The Zig and The Zag

It’s appliqué time!

A quilt show judge once commented on one of my entries that my satin stitch wasn’t dense enough. The irony of that critique lies in the fact that I wasn’t trying to create a satin stitch – I prefer the method of appliqué that quilt artists Jane Sassaman and Sue Nickels refer to as an open or flat zigzag stitch. The stitch length is slightly longer than that of a satin stitch (I use a setting of 0.5 on my Bernina artista© 185), and it allows the fabric color to show through the thread. The line of stitching has a softer edge, and the thread and fabric appear to co-exist nicely, regardless of their contrast to each other. It’s simply a matter of preference; satin stitching is lovely and gives a different appearance than what I choose for my work.

So here’s a sample of my flat zigzag appliqué; I vary the stitch width from 3.5 (along the straight-aways) to 2.0 (tapering to the points). I’ve used Madeira and Sulky 40-weight rayon threads in the needle and 50-weight or 60-weight polyester in the bobbin to reduce the bulk on the back side of the work.

I pull the thread ends to the back, tie them off, and weave them into the stitching. I learned the hard way that, if I omit this step, those threads have a nasty way of shadowing through to the front side, as if I’d scattered colored vermicelli all over the quilt – not a pretty sight . . .

A reminder: please check my last post – there’s still time to enter the latest Blog Give-Away! And thank you for following me – I appreciate the support!


Monday, October 19, 2009

It's Give-Away Time!

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year . . .”

Yes, retailers are starting to remind us that that special season is almost here, the season when we begin to celebrate, as Dave Barry says, such time-honored traditions as trying to find a parking space at the mall. So, to begin the festivities, I thought I’d offer a Give-Away!

You could win the set of 5 note cards shown above. Pictured on the front of each matte-finish card is a photo of a quilt from my Ornamental series; the inside of the card is blank, and each comes with its own envelope. You can wrap them up and give them to a quilt-lover on your gift list, or you can keep them for your very own (no one needs to know . . .). If you’d like the chance to win all five, just leave a comment on this post or at by Friday, October 30, and my team of assistants (consisting of my husband, Fran) will pick two names in a random drawing. Please be sure to leave an e-mail address so I can contact you if you’re one of the winners.

And, in case your name isn’t chosen and you like these cards enough to purchase them, you can find them for sale on my website OR at the Second Annual Holiday and Gift Extravaganza at the Broadway Art Center in Albany. The details are at right in the Upcoming Shows section.

Good luck, and thanks in advance for joining in!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My Entry: Bloggers' Quilt Festival

It’s an oldie, but a goodie: this is “Dizzy,” and some of you may remember seeing this quilt in a previous blog post. This art quilt especially tickles me because it was born out of frustration with a different design that simply was not working for me. I had pieces all cut out and sewn, and no matter what I did with them, they just wouldn’t play well together. So I sent some of them home (to the Orphaned basket) and went back to the drawing board, and “Dizzy” finally emerged.

The quilt is paper-pieced and appliquéd, with free-motion and guided machine quilting; I used 12-weight Aurifil cottons, Sulky 40-weight rayons, and metallic threads in the quilting. At a recent exhibit, a gentleman stopped to tell me that he thought this quilt should be “illegal” because it mesmerized him as he looked at it. I took that as a compliment, although I’m not quite certain if he meant it that way.

Enjoy the Festival, and, thank you, Amy, for providing all of us an opportunity to view each other’s work!


Monday, October 5, 2009

"To Bead or Not To Bead . . ."

. . . that is the question.” When it comes to embellishing an art quilt, I feel that beads are like prunes: Are four enough? Are six too many? I don't seem to know where to begin and when to stop.

Lately, I've been engaging in an audition of the various sizes and colors of beads in my collection, pinning or taping them to the quilt top (as in the photo above) and trying to decide if they enhance the composition or if they're simply a gaudy distraction.

At this point, I am usually reminded of the line from the movie “Sabrina” (do rent the Harrison Ford/Julia Ormond version – it's my favorite), where the title character says to the obscenely wealthy Linus Larrabee, “You know, Linus, more isn't always better; sometimes, it's just more.”

So I ask you, dear readers, for your thoughts and suggestions. How do you bead? How much is too much? And where, if at all, would you add beads to the composition pictured above? I'm ready for your ideas!



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