Saturday, January 19, 2019

ACTOR HONORED

 Actor R. Lee Ermey, former Marine Corp drill instructor and famous for his role in the movie Full Metal Jacket was laid to rest Jan. 18, 2019, with full military honors.  He passed away April 15, 2018 at age 74 from complications of pneumonia.
It's not often - well NEVER - that a famous actor takes the time to make a fan feel welcome.  He was in the Asheville area taping one of his television shows when we spotted him at 12 Bones Restaurant.  Of course we didn't want to intrude but I gave him a 'thumbs up' and he immediately said...'get over here'....next thing you know we were chatting away like old friends.  Fame never changed this American hero.

R. LEE ERMEY & MARY STORI @ 12 Bones - Asheville, NC  - June 2009

Thursday, January 17, 2019

WINTER MORNING

The sun was barely up over our Eastern mountain ridge as we headed out for our daily 'forced march' (otherwise known as a walk).  Here, where no road is flat or straight.....it's not your normal stroll!
 But, whatever you call it.....one can't escape the beauty of Western North Carolina....specifically our area of Upper Crabtree. 
The overnight moisture has left trees and bushes glistening....harder to see when it's not fully light yet....but stunning none the less.

By the time we got back home.....blue sky was visible....and a bank of light fog started drifting up from the valley below...like a sheer curtain closing.
This movement of fog happens from time to time and is fascintating to watch.
We weren't the only ones out taking pictures....my neighbor snapped this shot of our house and the mountain ridge to the North and West.  No wonder folks choose to live here.....the fog will burn off quickly.  Our expected high temperature will be in the mid 50's today.  Bliss.......

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

CAROLINA HURRICANE QUILT PROJECT

I met Carole (an area quilter and blogger) last spring and have been following her always inspiring posts ever since.  This is one talented lady who has a big, giving heart.

She's involved with the Carolina Hurricane Quilt Project whose mission is to create bed size quilts for the huge number of victims of "Florence" & "Michael on the North Carolina coast.  Please take the time to visit Carole's blog where all the info you need to help support this good cause can be found.

Though I no longer enjoy making traditional patchwork quilts, as you can see.....I decorate with them. 
So, the cutting begins for a full size Hurricane Project quilt.  Because bed size quilts are too much of a struggle for me to quilt on my standard home machine, I'm comforted by  knowing that generous long arm quilters have stepped up to quilt these donations!
 I've decided upon a scrappy blue string quilt.....a perfect project to tackle during the upcoming PTA (Professional Textile Artists) retreat. As is my habit, I pre-cut my fabrics at home.....allowing for carefree stitching during the distraction of fun antics in our sewing room.
My two test blocks.......hoping this will prove to be a handsome (more masculine) quilt by the use of the stripe focal fabric and narrow red sashing strips.  Consider donating a quilt, won't you??

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

MOUNTAIN ART QUILTERS - SAQA CHAPTER

There's no doubt, if you are an art quilter....the Asheville area is the place to be.  This is just  taste of the Show and Tell presented at the Mountain Art Quilters first meeting of the year.  Being a member of this talented, generous, inspiring offshoot of SAQA is such a privilege.

Though I'm still learning to get everyone's names correct.....I'll do my best to identify the makers....
 Susan Webb Lee has been having fun making one-of-a-kind table runners....her talent of mixing patterns and shapes is evident. (see below as well)

 Who wouldn't want to receive this quilt as a birthday present?  Lynn made it for her niece who lives in Portland......a PERFECT Oregon quilt!!
 Julie was working on finishing a vintage quilt for a customer whose desire was to have quilts from a family member completed.  Though you can't see it, she was patiently adding a binding to the zig-zag shape border.
 Got a floating frame?  Well.....it inspirated a colorful piece to display in it.
 Shirley did some improv piecing, mounted it on a canvas wrapped frame to fit  in her frame.
 I swooned over Agatha's quilt......she expertly combined numerous ethnic fabrics into such a lovely composition.
 I admire the restraint given to the machine quilting....just perfect!!
 Look what a treasure one can achieve with Dyna-flow and a silk scarf blank.  The touches of gold accenting the blues work beautifully.
 Fourth in her series of dawn/dust wall quilts is nearly finished......love the use of the earthy batiks with touches of reds/yellows in the lower section.
 Kathie challenged herself to piece a quilt top in one day.......using stash fabrics that she wondered why she purchased.  Well......if this is what she can do in such a short time......it's no wonder she did so well creating the piece below.
 Here she made an abstract narrow wall quilt featuring a water fall with subtle trees and foliage in the background, all masked with organza to help provide a feeling of mystery.
I could have easily snatched these two pieces from her hands......I would NEVER had thought of adding those touches of orange to the blue free form patchwork....very successfully done!!

We will be having an exhibit of our work in the Asheville area in mid. March - April......more info to come in regard to location, exact dates and time.

Monday, January 14, 2019

PTA - JANUARY MEETING

Our Professional Textile Artists group (also known as PTA) started off the year with good weather & nearly everyone in attendance at Lynn's house in Flat Rock.
 Three busy members where knitting away as we did our show and tell.......see photo above and below.  We are all dedicated 'doers' so it's not surprising to see hands that aren't idle. 

 Show and Tell was so inspiring and full of plenty of laughs and problem solving. NOT all quilt related....there are at 5 of us with coping with spousal health issues.  We decided we will pool our resources and find a nice home for them together with a caretaker!!  You can imagine how this theme got embellished with so much good humor, but of course no serious thought of following through.

Georgia Bonesteel has begun her annual planning for a project her students will make at an annual retreat she does with Charlotte Warr Anderson in Montana. Photo less than understandable, however the plan is to replicate a nearby ranger station (right side which will be quilt's top) a fence below that with a patchwork vista.  Several of us in the group have been national instructors and it reminded us how much time & planning went into all the workshops we taught.
 Judy shared two applique pieces she made years ago that were sold.  The owner is downsizing and can't use them any more and generously sent them to Judy.  Isn't that thoughtful!?!  Sometimes it's wonderful to see ones' past work with fresh eyes.
 Connie wins the prize for the number of pieces she brought.  I 'think' this top was one of the kits our Asheville Quilt guild makes up for members to complete after which they are then turned over to a number of charities.

 Connie (on the left) is an AQS certified appraiser....who better to have stumbled across this top at a garage sale.  It's a vintage hand pieced elongated hexie pattern.
 She also found this antique beauty......aren't the color and pattern just smashing?!?

 Even with all the conversation, lunch, beverages, show and tell etc. we all took the time to admire the view from Lynn's large living room windows.  You can barely see a slice of her driveway....yes that's it....far down below.....thank goodness we car pooled.  I almost had to close my eyes as Cathy, our competent driver, got us up to Lynn's house via her very steep long driveway.
Certainly worth the trip!!

As usual, fun and inspiration was had by all......

Friday, January 11, 2019

ASIAN HARMONY

After way too much decision making time, trying to formulate a straight line quilting motif.....I forged ahead.
Rather than vertical or horizontal lines, or even uniform diagonal grid quilting lines, I chose an uneven diagonal orientation. This approach took extra time because I used blue painters tape as my guide for each line.  Assuring they would remain straight as I stitched.  

After being a bit dubious at first, I warmed to the design as it helped to lead the eye around the quilt much better than I expected, yet keeping the general uncluttered theme of this Japanese/Asian style piece.

 ASIAN HARMONY -  39" x 39"
Cotton fabrics & machine stitching.

Visit these fine blogs to get inspired by other artists weekly accomplishments:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

WHEN SIMPLE TURNS DIFFICULT

January is moving right along, and with that thought in mind....our 11th annual PTA (Professional Textile Artists) retreat in early March is right around the corner.

It's not a sew-in where I can manage any project that is more than super mindless and even with that, I always cut all my patches ahead of time to control the mistakes!  Believe me with all the chatter, 'lookie' what others are doing, constant food and coffee breaks, impromptu dancing or exercising led by Georgia Bonesteel, it's a frolicking atmosphere.

At our very first retreat, Kate, Judy, and I decided to make i-spy quilts as baby gifts.  We pooled all our likely conversation fabrics to increase the variety for each maker.  It's now 11 years later and we still share that fabric box which is constantly being used and added to.  As years past, we chose other projects and shared fabrics but never to the point of a traveling fabric box!

In the last couple of years we each did our own thing, but many times the patterns were similar.  So....this year Kate suggested this simple layout....yeah....thought I - 4 strips per block.  I can do that!

Well....being the A type organized person I am....I decided to start preparing now.  I selected my fabrics (first mistake) and stitched a few sample blocks.  It was then that I realized the Japanese style 'directional' fabrics I selected would require way too much planning and thought under retreat conditions.  If using non-directional fabrics each block could be pieced identically with no regard to placement of the 'colored' fabrics because the orientation could easily be changed.

I hope you are following this explanation of my dilemma.  If not it will become clear as I continue this saga. I aborted the idea of making a big quilt for retreat.  Instead I set about making a smaller wall hanging....which allowed me to pre-cut and position every patch on my design wall.

There seems to be a theme of late in regard to how I construct patchwork quilts....its' a tad worrisome that I'm having such difficulties multi-tasking, but my work arounds help to avoid confusion for me. This is supposed to be fun, right?!?

Come back as I now struggle with how the heck to quilt this thing....I have lots of ideas that could be achieved hand quilting.....which isn't practical for a piece that will be sold.  AND since my skills are pretty much limited to straight line quilting on the machine.....so far I'm stuck.  Part of the problem is that I'm not thrilled with the piece and simply want it done....fast!  Hoping in the end, it will still be of interest to a buyer.  Okay...see you soon.......

Saturday, January 5, 2019

FIBER JUNKIES - Part Two - JAN. MEETING

Denny was our show and tell hero for the first meeting of 2019......making us wonder if she ever sleeps!?

 Denny made this handy travel iron caddy pad using a pattern by Sisters' Common Thread available at connectingthreads.com.  Not only does it allow you to never get stuck trying to transport a hot iron, it does it in such a clever and stylish manner. 
 It's a great way to use up some of your experimental surface design fabric you've been wondering what to do with!
Place an iron in the center, fold in the sides, and secure with the aid of an elastic cord and large button.
 Of course we told Denny this would make really nice gifts as well!  Hint....
 This is the final roundup of Denny's marathon 2018 year of creating about a dozen (I think) large patchwork and appliqué quilts.  It's been said a thousand times when view photos of quilts....."it's so much better in person."  And of course each and every one is.  Do take a moment to enlarge the photos and you'll get a glimmer at how skillfully she created them.  Beautifully constructed with perfect pattern & color distribution.




This group never fails to inspire and encourage personal growth.

Friday, January 4, 2019

FIBER JUNKIES - JAN. 2019 MEETING

For our first meeting in 2019 we concentrated on increasing our personal silk screen inventories by creating our own.  We call these "Denny's silk screens" as an homage to her creative method of fast and easy screen making.

The supplies are readily available, here's our stock pile of inexpensive plastic window screens where the screening and gaskets have already been removed.
The process is simple.  Begin with a new inexpensive plastic screen, remove the rubber gasket (spline) that holds the screening in place.  Save the screening for other uses....(as a mesh on a quilt, or for mono printing, or ???)
 Cut a piece of organza or sheer fabric slightly larger than the frame.
 Carefully push the gasket back into the channel, keeping the fabric as taut as possible as you work your way around the frame.
 You may or may not have a little extra when you reach the starting point. 

Use a screen roller tool to firmly secure the gasket/spline, making sure the fabric is as tight as possible. This very inexpensive item (blue tool above screen) is available at any hardware store. 
Next you need to protect the edges of the screen from the dyes/paints that would inevitably collect there as well as helping to better secure the screen from slipping out of its track.  

Start by cutting a small piece of duct tape, cut that in half, nearly to the top and position in each corner as shown. To better identify the owner of the screen, we each used different colors of duct tape.
Run duct tape from the outside edge of the frame onto the screening, do all four sides.  Flip the screen over and repeat.  We like to run an extra piece of duct tape along the edge of what will be the top of the screen which acts as the 'well' where the dye or paint is initially introduced to the screen.  It can be placed as deep into the screen as you wish, we place ours about 1+ inches lower than the inside frame of the screen...increasing that taped section to measure about 3+ inches (outside frame edge to screen)

 My two finished frames......having different sizes is helpful when printing.
Though time was getting short, we each made a temporary screen by cutting a design into iron on clear vinyl, adhering it to sheer fabric and adding duct tape to the edges.  It's a handy way to create a 'one-off' design.  My goal is to eventually screen print this 'shadow motif' of family members at a beach.
 We will be making more next month....and I'll provide better details, but here's an overview of the process:    1.  select a design as I did above 2. trace to the paper side of iron on clear vinyl 3. cut out, either as a mask or stencil. My small 'shadow' design was poorly chosen given the long narrow pieces that kept sticking to themselves.  
I had a heck of a time arranging it on the slippery sheer.  Eventually I pinned the sheer to the surface of a padded ironing board cover. But I still spent way too much time trying to get the cut out flimsy stencil to lay flat and secure.  But once it was, the design was covered with parchment paper and heated with a warm iron to permanently bond the vinyl and sheer together.
 All that was left to do was trim the edges evenly and cover with pieces of duct tape.
 
Kate wisely remembered to use the colored markers she brought to outline and scribble on the vinyl side before cutting out her shape. Adding color is so helpful when it comes to arranging the cut out stencil onto the sheer.  Note to self - next time don't be in such a hurry...remember to color the vinyl!!!

If you aren't a regular subscriber to this blog, you can do that now by using the link on the side bar......that way you'll never miss any advetnures of the Fiber Junkies!

Here are other links to check out today:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, Sarah's Whoop, Whoop Friday.