Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What a week so far…

Once again I find myself packing…this time we head to northern MI for a quick visit with hubby’s side of family, a quick day trip to Saugatuck, MI and then onward to Harbor Springs to celebrate another wedding. ;-) and get to see my grand-daughter Charlotte and her parents.  One great thing is Northern Mi is quite beautiful and from what we’re hearing the weather might even be a little cool?  So my art work will be put on the side burner again….I still have hopes of dyeing some 20 yards of fabric before the warm weather leaves VA. Thankfully Sept usually brings us some warm temps still so I am crossing my fingers to dye in warmth versus cold. We did manage to get the hand me down computer cabinet up to my loft area,  but the rest of the de-junking and movement of book shelves and placement of design boards will have to wait.

I managed to sew together one of the designs I put on my design boards before I headed to MI mid-August . I did complete it  without over-analyzing which was my goal?  I have to keep reminding myself this is a learning process, go with the flow… It was amazing how much easier I found it to sew/piece then while under the deadline pressure during my two week classes at QBL.  I enjoyed the process, it’s becoming so much easier… the piece is 31 x 38 inches.  I’ve added it to my “to quilt” pile ;-) lol  Then I have the “cut up and redo” black and white piece still waiting for me to complete as soon as we return from 0ur MI retreat.

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So everyone have a nice labor day weekend… a sign of yet another summer season passed…. “Oh and know anyone interested in an Oak desk set-up? “ I need to get it set up (has two other pieces, a hutch and corner)  photographed and on Craig's list…..lol oh well……when we return….


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Once again I’ve been lax in posting…yup been busy! ;-)

So as mentioned I took a quick trip up north to visit with my folks and to attend a wedding celebration. Sadly while IP1040552 was in flight to Detroit my mom was being transported to the hospital,  we later learned she had pneumonia. This part of trip made me feel bad since mom had booked her schedule with a week full of lunch dates, MGM gambling ;-) lol and  other outings since I would be around keeping my dad company……well sometimes the universe has other plans in store….lol  So she spent Sunday to Weds in the hospital while dad and I hung out together at the senior apartments.  I have to admit  living in the senior apartments all week gave me many thoughts RE: Bill and my future. ;-)  We also went through a tornado storm drill, and sadly thanks to the bad storm I lost a few more trees at my MI residence, yet all the family were  thankfully safe.


So Friday my hubby Bill flew in to join me for the wedding Saturday but SURPRISE on Friday evening we were treated to a lovely surprise dinner at the DAC . www.thedac.com/  Most will recognize DAC as the ‘Detroit Athletic Club’  the dinner was a belated birthday celebration for me, our hosts were my son Brian and his wife Heather.  It was quite a treat for me since I do not think I have been to the DAC  in some 20 years.  The club building is such an architectural delight and they have quite an art collection so it was a perfect surprise. ;-)  Wish I could have snuck photos but my son would have killed me!!  Cell phones are  not allowed so that made it difficult to sneak photos ;-)  Bill and I had a lovely weekend before we headed back home to VA  Monday.  We actually got to spend some quality time with my son and wife…. ;-) during our weekend since Heather (our 3rd year resident) had the weekend off.  The Bride and Groom of the wedding we attended were MI States grads so their Spartan showed up to celebrate;  here is my husband and Heather’s dad (UofM grads) giving him a hard time. ;-) we had a great time at the beautiful wedding, ( great date nights for us oldies. ;-) lol.

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So Bill and I have been home in Va this week,  I’m retired and enjoying the fact that I AM NOT starting back to the classroom this week for the new year as some of my buddies.  My husband though has been very busy at work.   I have P1040598tried to regroup at home this week and refocus on the quilt designs I had on my various design boards waiting to be pieced together.  I also am re-doing my loft area and studio slowly but surely. P1040600  I have a nice hand me down from my daughter, a  smaller computer cabinet,  so we intend to remove my oak desk set up and consolidate my computer area so when we eventually move to our next home I’ll be ready. ;-) It’s extremely hard for a 35 year art teacher to throw away or de-junk art supplies!  “One never knows when one might use them in one’s creative endeavors?” ;-)  In the coming weeks I intend to sort through my many boxes and books and try to donate some to  high school art teacher buds or Craig’s list,? EBay? or ? so here I go… Wish me luck…

Monday, August 16, 2010

Life is interesting sometimes?

So I made it to Detroit MI but to welcoming news I could have lived without! my son greeted me with news that as he drove to pick me up from Metro Airport, my daughter-in-law Dr.Heather was taking my mother via ambulance to the hospital! We are so lucky to have a doctor in the family AND that she was NOT on duty!!!! turned out my mother was having trouble breathing for a couple days...(of course she did not share this info with family) She has pneumonia....I feel sad for her for many reasons..the main reason she had her calendar booked to get out and have some FUN since I was going to be here visiting with them and I was going to be keeping my dad busy :-))) well sadly she will miss her lunches, bingo and MGM this week but we are happy to report we Expect her to recover quickly or so we hope. I am so fortunate to have wonderful nieces and for my son and daughter-in-law that stepped in quickly for us. I am also thankful for the time I am having this week to visit with my dad.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

It's been a busy day!

I've been packing today for a quick trip up north to MI for a visit with my folks.  I leave tomorrow morning EARLY! ;-(  My hubby will join me in MI next Friday so we can attend a friends son's wedding celebration.  

So much to do and yet so little time!  I have so much sewing being left behind in VA ;-(  YET...... I have learned one should never question their many blessings! ;-)  I also get to see my youngest son Brian and his wife Heather while in MI,  they have booked us for a evening to have a belated celebration for my birthday ;-) WHAT FUN!!!
For my art this week I have packed some PFD fabric along with thread in my suitcase so I can possibly work on some Shibori while I'm sitting & visiting with my dad while my mom gallivants around town.  I intend to dye the fabric when I return home along with some other 20 yds of PFD fabric I've ordered from Lisa Call that should arrive while I'm up north.
I have my IPAD loaded with photos to share AND hope to spend some quiet time each night to explore more of the IPAD's capabilities. ;-) I'm loving the IPAD.
All in all I intend to have a grand week and intend to do some posting too! ta ta.......enjoy!!!!!

So let’s finish up my report on QBL….

Okay so I’d better complete my posting about QBL 2010 my second week  with Nancy Crow  before it slips my mind ;-)  Let’s see now….. I explained we made fabrics from Tues till Weds afternoon but not sure I made it clear that when we cut our strips they were not to be straight but very curvy..in fact some of us  nicknamed them wormy… and though the strips were cut very curvy and did not match at all….. we sewed them as together as one which of course if you sew or quilt you’re probably thinking  but hmmmmm how would they lie straight? Well they didn’t!  It was one of those do as I ask and trust me moments…. ;-)  Well on Weds afternoon Nancy gave us the steps to the final exercise and we proceeded to chop the strips across the puckering,  then took the strip to the ironing board and let it press out as it pleased…. Viola! (sic?)  So we ended up with some very interesting Wonky Strips!  We then proceeded to create our final composition using these wonderful, wonky, curving, strips…. now if you recall I mentioned I had NEVER sewn anything with curves before….  I have to admit it all worked out, (I now know how to attach two curves) and  I have a semi completed piece.  Meaning we just did not have enough minutes in the week to complete our pieces by Friday afternoon. At the Friday evening show and tell quite a few of us just pinned (I taped mine) together to show off .  I will decide exactly how I want to complete the piece in the quiet calmness of my own workroom.  It’s on the list to be completed ;-)))) which means it will be finished, because again I feel it’s the only way one will learn. So hope you enjoy my photos.
Remember the wk two black and white composition I cut up? Well it is patiently waiting on my one design wall to see if I come up with a composition I deem fit to sew together?  It also will be completed………. honestly……in fact here’s one possibility? Think I’ll sleep on it……P1040544

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Okay so back to week two of QBL 2010

So now where did I leave off? …I know I’ve posted about our second exercise (mine was large green and dark blue piece, began as 4ftx4ft..ended up 38’’x43”when it was sewn together.)  We were to complete a little matching piece “that was veryP1040540 busy” in that same exercise but I never  got that piece completed and Nancy assigned the next exercise bright  and early Tues morning ;-)  So I decided it could wait but here it is waiting on the sewing table for me to complete. ;-) It’s going to have to be really small because this  is all I have left of my two fabrics, so this assignment took a complete two yards minimum. BUT Do know I intend to complete the assignment. How else would one learn? ;-)
Okay so now onto to our next exercise #3. We started working with long strip pieces to create curvilinear fabrics using solids, plaids, stripes and prints. So I did not have many so called plaids or  busy little prints so I took a lot of leeway when choosing my plaids, stripes and prints. Another item of interest possibly? I had never sewn curves so I was in for a whole bunch of learning ;-))))  ha-ha.
Our fabrics were to be due by Weds morning but late Tues. Nancy rescinded the deadline time, we got to extend our fabric making till later in the day Weds. Then she presented our final exercise assignment of the week, meaning an exercise that we were going to use our wonderful fabrics in. So here are some of the fabrics I created. P1040222 Tomorrow's post will explain how I used my fabrics. But I’m going to end this posting by admitting….Monday of my second week with Nancy Crow during QBL I began somehow stressing myself or needlessly fighting with my creative side. I struggled with the first exercise (meaning the black and white design.) I got it together in time and originally had a decent composition but in my hurry to piece the work I somehow  made some changes by mistake and hated the composition after it was sewn together. I just never felt it was a successful composition sooooooooooo today I cut it up…it was either cut it up or get way too friendly with my  seam ripper soooooo I intend to re-do the black and white exercise …Wish me luck!So here is my black and white piece all cut up with no place to go! ;-)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

So spontaneous it will be!

Okay so Nancy teaches us to try to create fabrics and then cut em up and design spontaneous, without a plan (meaning in my case no pre-sketching which I've always been used to in my past. Think, sketch ideas or thoughts, analyze designs and then usually procrastinate! ;-) Yup that's me!
So tonight (though I am semi procrastinating on posting more about my second week of classes during QBL 2010)  I decided to grab some strips of  fabric I made Oct. 2009 while at The Barn, cut them up into shapes and lines and then spontaneously create a design to be sewn together as wall quilt.
So here is my design board and the strips(pieces) were on the floor as I worked spontaneously.
 So here is my design so far. Now the question is:  Will I? Can I?  force myself to accept this spontaneous creation and sew the pieces together how I've placed them  or  will I fall back on my old habits of over-analyzing and then become stuck?
I guess you will have to stay in touch for the answer......... ;-))) Only time will tell.... ;-)
gotta love black and white photos
hmmmmm maybe not too bad?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Yay I completed the piece

So got the second exercise piece of week two with Nancy Crow class sewn together....The ending size is 38 inches wide and 43 inches high. And YES I like the piece. It is amazing how the finished pieces can shrink from design board to completed pieced quilt top. When I designed the piece on the design board it was 4ft by 4 ft.......so lost hmmm 10 inches width wise and 5 inches of the height. Very interesting...... ;-) at least to me;-) {smile} now back to sewing......

Exercise #2 Week 2

Saturday, August 7, 2010

So let's talk a little process while I continue posting about QBL 2010

So I'm trying to think in terms of showing my process, [ I have always felt I included loads of process in my past postings] yet now that I took "The Pledge" here goes.....
During my second week of QBL Nancy had us begin with a black and white exercise and then quickly we continued on with an exercise that was to be two high contrast colors one being a dark and one being a light.
Next we made our fabrics. Here are/were mine:
The next step was: We were to cut our fabrics into units of line and shape and create a successful composition that was Abstract and Asymmetrical. Here are some photos of my work in progress.

shapes pinned on design wall during process

Final design I decided on

So I ran out of time and did not get my piece sewn together before Nancy introduced new design exercise to complete. One thing I have learned from my classes w/Nancy is a camera is quite handy not only to see our designs in black and white, but to print out the design before you begin constructing or sewing the final units together. I continue my post with photos that hopefully explain what I mean. I began sewing the piece together today.....thank goodness for the printed photo to guide me and keep me straight.
design on my flannel portable design wall
photo on my sewing table for while I construct
So back to work I go.....will post photo of completed piece as soon as construction is complete.

Okay so now back to my QBL 2010 report

So back to my postings of QBL 2010  (This past week I've been busy visiting with my 11 month old grand-daughter and 3.5 yr old grandson and their mommy but they've now gone home to PA and I hope to play catch up around VA before I'm off again! Retirement is great yet busy! lol.)
As I already have mentioned I took two weeks of classes with Nancy Crow this year during QBL.
I cannot express how much I have learned about construction through my classes with Nancy.
Remember I am really a beginner seamstress so though I might not be able to claim I am a beginner quilter anymore since I am now going on my 5th year of quilting?(though I DO CONSIDER myself still a beginner)  I never learned how to sew as a youngster nor was I given much time to experience a sewing machine, so though I have in the past been able to piece some of my ideas together it has not always by the proper 1/4 seam, iron, etc. etc. I MUST share it becomes so much easier when you start to understand some basics of sewing. ;-) lol and much more enjoyable.
So during my first week as I've already shared we began the week learning of figure/ground and completed a black and white exercise design.  My completed piece is actually up in Maine being dyed in indigo by one of my roommates, she dyed hers, it looked so interesting AND she volunteered to dye my piece so YAY!  I plan to quilt my piece in gray threads ;-))) I am anxious to have it returned and get to quilt it to see how the gray thread quilting might make it pop. ;-)

So now onto my fabrics I made for our final design exercise piece during week one.
So after spending a couple days creating new fabrics we were given the Design Exercise. ;-) and then we got busy..Very Busy!!! I really wanted to experiment with the line/shape/figure/ground process so I made the decision to cut lots of lines to include in my design...of course this meant more sewing for me.....lol
I'll include a few photos of my piece as it evolved.

Trying out fabrics

Creating composition

It's getting close to completed design

Final sewn design. (41" wide - 58" tall)

Completed by Susan Selden (roommate)
So end of week one and onward to week two. I would post more of my classmates work but it was discussed over and over not to share other work unless permission is given so with permission here are two of my buddies final designs..Susan was one of my suite mates and Kathleen was a class buddy. Check out more about Kathleen on her blog:

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

So let's continue....

 I'm going to try to post tonight via the IPAD and hopefully tomorrow will add photos from my main computer...hopefully this works?
so now back to more about my two weeks of classes with Nancy Crow from QBL 2010.
Let's see now? My first class was called Strip making I & II. So as the tittle suggests Nancy instructed us in making strips using fabric selvage to selvage. The strips were referee to as figure or ground, dependent on their widths. I now realize you might correlate that with foreground and background? We also discussed how certain colors can make the figures recede or appear forward. For the beginning exercise though we used only black and white fabric. After completing new fabrics sewn by strips we choose we would then cut the fabric up and re-organize the strips into our designs to be sewn together as a final design or project. I will post photos tomorrow of my various fabrics and the completed quilt exercise piece done of black and white.

we had to make our fabrics using strips of black and white selvage to selvage

my sewing area...tucked neatly under a set of stairs

final first piece first week, black & white exercise

So here are my photos added.. was almost panik time thought my jpg files were lost....thankfully found...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, August 1, 2010

QBL was amazing!

Well I am back! If you had forgotten, I was away for two weeks attending QBL (Quilting by the Lake).
The accommodations are dormitories, my suite of 4 had roommates from Maine, NY City and sadly I've forgotten where the other roommate was from? ;-(   We arrived on the beginning Sunday for an opening dinner and a keynote speech by Nancy Crow. (My teacher to-be ;-)  It was quite nice to return to the suite and discover that all 4 of us suite-mates were taking Nancy Crow for at least one week. ;-))  Two of us (myself being one) were actually signed up for two weeks of Nancy Crow.  I WISH you could have seen people's faces when my roommate and I would state that we were taking two weeks with Nancy ;-)) most people felt sorry lol or thought we were crazy?[Recap: One of the roomies dropped out the first day of wk one class, switched to another class she felt she would click better in.] We other 3 LOVED our class!
Now to give more info: If you have ever taken a class from Nancy you know that she expects or hmmm maybe I will use the word demands the best you can give her. Nancy has a respect for the art of quilting through piecing and expects you try to follow certain standards in your work. Actually the norm though in quilting world. 1/4 inch seams, iron seams after joining, etc.
When you take a class with Nancy you end up sewing from early morning to late evening, leaves little time for partying ;-))) I will state I knew what to expect and was NOT disappointed in anyway during my two week experience. Here's a teaser of things I created...
Two quilt tops completed during QLB now hanging in my studio
More on my two week class to follow tomorrow...... ;-)))) I'm tired....... and happy to be home in VA for a while I hope.