Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bookmarks and Sketchbook

This morning before my grandson Mikia had to go home, we made some bookmarks. He misplaced the last one I made for him, so this time we stitched some of my fiber layered art left over from previous projects to patterned scrapbooking card stock. They are awesome. And Mikia went home with 2 bookmarks that he stitched on the machine by himself. Great job for a 9 yr old.
I also filled in 5 pages in my new sketchbook. Now it's marred and I don't have to be afraid of filling it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Last Fiber Journals before the New Year

Christmas is finished for this year, and here a couple of pictures of the last 2 journals I put together. The lovely orange one was given to a great friend that is a non-quilter/crafter. She immigrated to the US from Germany when she was in her early 20's. She is a great friend and so deserving of this.

The fab purple is a sketchbook....FOR ME!
I'm planning on defacing the inside starting today with some of my scribbles
and other notes that are in other odd journal books.

Doesn't it feel sinful to mar the pristine pages? I have the pristine phobia, and today I'm going to try and break through it, once and for all!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Had a great day with a couple of friends that came over for a couple hours. One was quilting on my longarm and the other made a journal cover. Of course if I make some fiber art, it's like eating chips....I can't eat just one. So here are four that I made today along with the orange journal I made a couple of days ago.
Tomorrow, I have to finish a customer quilt that is 2/3rds quilted.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Journal Covers

Last week I had 3 friends over for a little fun time. We made layered fabric for journal covers. They were made using batiks, snippets, and solvy.

Here are instructions for the journal covers.

1. 5 x 6 piece of orange batik
2. put on a few snippets of contrasting fabric
3. couple of thin strips of organza, fun fur yarn, and fish tail mylar
4. add a little angelina
5. place a piece of solvy on top and pin
6. stitch circles all over in a complimentary thread
7. Dissolve solvy in a tub of water, blot, and iron dry between wash cloths
8. Hand embellish with beads, and jewejry findings
9. Place face down on table and trace the cover of a small journal
10. Trim and apply tacky fabric glue to the journal, place collage on journal
11. press collage to journal and work it till it stays in place.

This was a very fun project and I'm going to take time to make more for Christmas presents.

I'm going to Duluth MN tomorrow (90 mls), and will be going to the Michaels store. Of course there will be some Christmas shopping taking place.

Quilting with Grand Kids

This past weekend I was fortunate to have my grandson Mikia over for the whole weekend. This doesn't happen very often and the last time was mid summer. Mikia is 9 and in 4th grade. He asked to make a small quilt for his little brother who is about 1 yr old. I cut 5 inch blocks for him and pinned while he sewed blocks and borders. After he was finished, and had more than enough
sewing time, I machine quilted the top as he played video games. The prints were fun and funky and the pattern was easy enough to go quickly so he wasn't bored to quickly. I'm proud of him for sticking with this until it was finished.
This was his first quilt. Good job guy!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

First Rejection

Wow. I got my first show rejection today, ever....from a quilt show. My first reaction was a deep intake of breath and then I thought, why not me for a show rejection. I'm grossly over due for one let a lone two at one time. I tend to make quilts that need to be entered in a category that is generally plum full of many entries. Too many entries to allow for everyone being able to compete. I've entered shows that allow 50 entries in an art quilt category because they have the space to show them, but what you may not realise is there may have been 200 or 400 people that tried to get in also. That makes for quite a few people for every show that get "the letter".

So the thoughts that go thru my mind are, is it too dark, too dull, too bright, too much contrast, too much junk on it, not enough junk on it, did they see something I missed? And I've gotta say, you can go nuts trying to figure this out. I say DON'T SWEAT IT! It could be anything or nothing. You can't get an answer for this so let it go and enter another show or ten shows. Not every show is the right show for a quilt. Some focus on art, traditional, unusual or ordinary. Some shows focus on the quilting and some more on construction.

Don't make a quilt for a particular show, make it for you. I love my art quilts and I make them for me. I make them very well, and consider them the best I can do each time I make one. I don't cut corners, and I don't use inferior materials. So my quilts are to my taste and not the norm. They also appraise extremely high for their size. So, do I care if I get accepted, of course I do, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.

I have a friend that has had enough of those rejections and she has let it get her down too often. She got an acceptance to the same show, Road 2 California. I'm super proud and happy for her, and I look forward to seeing her quilt at the show and taking a picture for her with it hanging. Her quilt art has grown so much this past year and she has made many beautiful pieces that she should be proud of. Wish her lots of luck with me.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Making Chatelaines

Today I decided to play hooky and make some beaded chatelaines. I went to a retreat with a few friends about a week ago and my friend Lee was making some beautiful chatelaines. So today I pulled out my beads and made eight. They are made with beading wire specific for making necklaces and bracelets and is very sturdy. The gold loop was from a sale rack necklace that I deconstructed

for parts. The loop is spacious for hanging sewing tools from such as seam rippers, threaders, scissors, and reading glasses. I wanted one to hang my glasses from while longarming, so that is what inspired me to make these.

I decided to do a giveaway of one of the chatelaines. I'm going to giveaway the purple and white glass beaded one that is shown in the last picture on this blog.

To qualify for the drawing, you need to post a comment to my blog, and leave your email in the comment. The drawing will take place Sunday 11-21-2010 at around 5 pm. I live in WI so it is central time.

All of the chatelaines are made with either glass beads, shell, or stones.

This lovely chatelaine could be your's, so please post to my blog. You may even want to list my blog as a favorite.

Thanks for reading.

Zodiac Artist Trading Cards

I joined a Yahoo chat group a couple of weeks ago that focuses on fiber and quilting art. They trade atc's and postcards and encourage the participants to try different techniques to make them. It's not a super active group, but definitely an inspiring one. They opened up a zodiac atc trade and I jumped in to make 12 to trade. The pictures show the steps I took to make
mine and the final pieces. What you don't see is the lion stamped on the fabric for Leo the sign I chose, because the layering obscured the gold paint stamping. It shows through on parts of each card and looks more like a sun. Almost considering it a failure, I let it set for a couple of days so I could figure out a way to make a sign for Leo that would show. I tried stitching the Leo sign in glittery thread, and it still wasn't visible

enough. So I put an orange crystal in the center of the sign for an eye for the sign. Still not good enough. I then thought of puffy dimensional gold glitter paint. It worked perfectly because it comes with a fine spout, and dries to the look I was after. They are now in envelopes waiting to be mailed on Monday. Five will go out of the country to Singapore, Australia and Germany.

I'm anxious to see the 11 cards I'll be getting in the mail in the next month. I also thought that since I was finished so quickly, I would join the post card exchange that is also active. It's limited to 5 people at a time, so it's not such a daunting challenge.
Hope you enjoy the pictures.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Teaching Machine Quilting on a Monday

Today was a teaching day at Granma's Workshop. I had students for my beginning machine quilting class. Students brought their sewing machines and put the pedal to the metal today. This class is designed for the beginner that wants to start quilting their own projects. We went over the basic techniques that can be worked together to create medleys, borders, blocks, stencils, freezer paper, and different marking tools. It's a fun class, and students are excited to have that fear of trying it on their own taken away. Of course there is the practice...practice...practice afterwards on their own.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Working on Key Fobs

I decided to put together some key fobs using leftover fiber art from past projects.

I put fusable on the back of the fiber art and fused a front with a back which makes the fob stiff enough for using as a fob. After fusing these together with medium heat with my iron using a pressing sheet, I then used a tight zig zag

for an edging treatment. Then using a rivet pliers, I attached the rivet. I'll probably add a few embellishments such as beads, crystals, etc. I think they will make nice gifts for some of my quilty friends.

Class with Karen Stone from TX

Had a great weekend in Duluth MN for the Quilting on the Waterfront event. I took classes with teacher Karen Stone from TX. She is a wonderful teacher that has a distinctive flair with color and design. I found her class to be an eye opener, so I was very pumped when I got home last night. The picture has both pieces that I started in her classes. The one on the left is a free form design that I made up in class, and the one on the right is the start of paper foundation pieces for "An Unusal Lonestar" from her pattern that I've admired for years. There were many friends in class, and we had a blast.
This class was a stretch for me using brighter colors than I normally use. I have them in the stash, but I just admire them and don't cut into them.

Today I'm going to try and do a little decorative stitching in between working on a flannel customer quilt that is on the machine. A girl has to be creative with her time when so many things are calling her.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dryer Sheet Tutorial and Goodies from Friends

Today for our Wild Threads Machine Quilters meeting I did a short demo on using dryer sheets for making leaves for use on art quilts.

Last fall I dyed dryer sheets by low emersion in kool aid dye and later for more mottling I added some lumiere metalics to the sheets. From these sheets I fused one to fusable and cut out a leaf shape for application on a batik fabric.

Here are directions for working with the dryer sheets.

1. Save used fiber dryer sheets.
2. Wash sheets in warm soapy water, dry, and on low heat iron flat.
3. Fuse sheet onto a thin light weight fusable such as steam a seam light 2.
4. Mark a shape with a fabric marker or stamp a shape onto sheet. Cut out.
5. Apply shape to fabric and heat set using a pressing cloth.

I saw this technique used on a beautiful quilt made by Betty Busby featured in the AQS magazine for November 2010. Betty's quilt is on

the last page. After looking up Betty's work on the net, she wrote about the method used to make the leaves.

Here is a picture of goodies that were shared at the Wild Threads meeting today. There are centers that are used for floral arrangements, and multi colored braided fishing line. I'm feeling a creative art day will be happening soon.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Slab o Border

I've been working on the quilting of a challenging quilt the past 2 days. A friend, Linda Thielfoldt, said she calls quilts like the one I was working on "slab o border" quilts.

Here's my story. I got a call from a lady that was at the local quilt shop and she said she had a quilt that she made just like the one that the shop owner had made, but she made it to fit her queen bed. The worker at the shop said, "Norma quilted the store sample". This is why I was blessed with this "gem".
When she got to my house, she insisted I quilt it just like the one I did at the shop, but she showed me the border, and my thoughts were OMG! But, I did'nt show that reaction, I sucked it in fast. She liked my idea for feathering in the outer border to fill the space. I told her I wasn't remembering the quilt I was told I quilted for the shop. Monday I went to the shop to check out said quilt. It was someone elses quilting, and not of a style that I quilt. It had panto motifs that I did not own. I had to take a clear garbage bag and a sharpie to copy the motif, just to get the quilt done. The real challenge was the outer border. I decided to use Linda Thielfoldt's wavy marking ruler for 2 matching spines that I marked with school house cheap chalk. GREAT MARKING TOOL! I then quilted freehand feathers for the inner spine and used the outer spine for a parameter for bars leading to the outer edge. It was a whopping 20 inches of mega border to fill and try to make it look good.

It was a success, and I highly recommend this technique for such a situation.

I used the Ultimate Spine-Vine Tool Large.

Check out Linda's products at

End of story is, the customer will be picking up her quilt in the afternoon tomorrow and I'm confident she'll really like it.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Taking pictures and finishing UFO's

Last weekend I visited my daughter and her family southern WI and we went to a pumpkin and berry farm. My grandson Gage was not so happy with the posing he did with the pumpkin. But, he is a badger fan.

Today I finished a blue log cabin that had become a UFO and I used the last 4 blocks that were left over for a baby log cabin. I love to use up the fabric stash and this helped for using up those blues I'm never very happy with.

The other thing I worked on today was photographing the last of my art quilts and bed quilts that need to be listed in my shop at etsy.

As a quilter and artist, I find it a real challenge to sell my things. Not only is there a separation issue, but there is the challenge to get people to notice and want to buy your art. I've had moderate success on etsy which is a site for selling handmade items, and I've had a little success selling to some locals in my area. The problems I think that exist are the downslide in the local economy, so most of my quilting customers are from out of my area or state. It doesn't seem to make a difference that I've been fortunate to be published in some magazines for winning at shows, published in a couple of quilting books, and won ribbons at national quilt shows.

What I do is not a necessity, but a luxury, so I depend on people being able to afford this luxury of quilting and preserving their quilts. The fortunate thing for me is my quilting machine is paid for which reduces the anxiety when quilting jobs get sparse.

Of course I quilt because I love to work with fabrics, so I there for piece. I have about 30 UFO's of my own that need to be quilted, but I can't keep all of them. Then enters for a store front to sell some of my finished work.

Enough ramblings for one day. Gotta get back to work.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

AQS show in Des Moines

Just got this from a friend in MN that I quilted a lovely english paper pieced water color quilt for last year. We made the show cover for the AQS Des Moines show in Iowa this month. What a super honor, plus the quilting actually shows very well. Life is full of little surprises when you least expect them. This quilt also won a ribbon at the MN State Fair this summer. Congrats Sarah Jane Stowell.
We didn't win a ribbon at the quilt show, but someone at the AQS organization really liked the quilt enough to feature it on this cover. Thank you AQS!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Quilts finished for the Shows

Started this post about half an hour ago and had to come back to finish it. I have a fairly new laptop that I sort of know how to use. I drug my thumb over the mouse and suddenly my screen went sideways. Ever try to read a screen sideways, yup, the mouse is also hard to use. Now, I know how to fix that fubar.

Back to my topic. I finally finished my 2 current show quilts, and I entered them in the Road 2 California show for this January. Cross all your fingers and toes for me. Now I need to decide what other shows I would like to enter them in. I like certain shows, and really dislike some that are not very fulfilling.

I've had a very busy last 3 weeks, and that is why I've played posting hooky. I moved my son, daughter in law and grand daughter to Portage Wi and returned for another visit, visited my daughter and her family in Milton twice, fished in the Musky Tournament, and finished some customer work. Last night I was up until 2 am finishing one for a customer in Duluth. I spent some time at my son's trailer home and finally got it sold on Tuesday. I still have a mess to clean up in my flower gardens and carrots to pick. It's crazy how fast summer went this year.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Back to my Quilting Routines

After taking this past weekend to move all of my son and Daughter-in-laws possesions to Portage WI this past weekend, I am left with 13 bruises of various sizes that are healing finally. One was a monster the shape of a concrete block, which I had fallen on last Thursday while coming down steep stairs and carrying a box full of heavy breakables. The daughter-in-law had it well packed cause nothing broke when I threw it away from me as I fell.

Now I am back to my routine of sewing each day. Monday, and Tuesday were recovery days because of my many aches and pains. Today I finally feel almost normal. In that time I've managed to finish 3 smallish customer quilts, and I'm on to a rush job today which will be in a quilt show in a couple of weeks.

Lucky me, the Road to California quilt show extended their deadline for the show in January. It's now moved to the 15th of October and now I have a chance to finish "Party to the Stars". Tonight I'll be beading the edge. I need to get back to the excitement of finishing a quilt for showing. I love that sweet feeling when it is finally finished after all the frustration of trying to be perfect.

I also taught a machine quilting class this past Wednesday at my home for 5 students. I have 13 on a waiting list, so I need to schedule another class for October. I'm tossing around ideas for more classes, such as Shiva sticks, fabric painting, another fiber layering class, discharge, quilt beading, stamping, etc. Would you the reader like to toss some ideas my way as to what you would like to do in a class?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Quilting Hooky-Gone Fishing

We took a trip to Canada for a musky fishing trip this fall. The first pic is Mike's musky from his first trip, and the next two are from the second trip that I got to go along with. Mike's second pic is a 45" musky and mine is a 34". Mine was not very big, but great fun catching. I did get to help netting his fish and helped net a 43" northern for one of the other guys that we went with. I also got a chance to see HUGE musky chasing my bait. I mean HUGE! Could have been at least 50" or more. I felt grateful to have been invited this year.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Party to the Stars

I've been working on the binding and beading for "Party to the Stars". It's hard to find the time to do such tiny stitches for this type of binding. It needs to be stitched down with hidden stitches, matching thread, and less than 1/16 of a inch apart. I managed to finish it while watching the morning and evening news over the past week. Now on to the edge beading which is sewn on with double thread and each bead gone through twice so there is a total of 8 thread strands through each bead. Whew! So close to being finished.

I'm really liking the colors in this one and all of the dimensional layers.

Today I'm trying to quilt up some small quilts that I used Shiva sticks on last fall with my friend Stephanie Forsyth. I need some hand work when we go on our fishing vacation this week. The friends that we are going with are nice, but I need some creative stimulation even while on vacation.

One piece is quilted with mctavishing for most it. I'm thinking I should do some bobbin play on it also. The top needs some glitz and more interest. Just beads will not be the answer.

In the mail today, I was really flattered to get an invitation to participate in a winter quilt show of some of my art

quilts at the local art gallery, Art Beat. I've thought about it in the past and never followed up on it. Now to have the gallery owner to write me saying she would like to have the showing is

It is harder for a fiber artist to be accepted in the art community than a traditional artist.

Many look at what we do and feel it is a craft, hobby, or doesn't take a lot of skill or time. Let me say, BULL. I spend many hours on my pieces from the first concept to the final embellishment I add by hand. I put a big part of myself in every piece, and the best feeling is when I hear someone say they like what I've done at a show while I'm eavesdropping.

So the next time you see one of my quilts at a quilt show, I may be lurking around the corner of the drape.