Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Lime & Purple UFO

My second UFO in the guild's monthly UFO Attack System was a tote bag full of fabric I had collected. It started with a piece that is a color I have sometimes called "periwinkle" but is actually darker. When you put it with blue, it looks purple. But when it is next to purple, it looks blue. But it isn't dark enough for me to consider it "indigo".

Anyway, it looks great with lime green, so I collected and stashed in the tote bag until it's number came up last month.
When I took all the fabrics out to decide what to use, they would not fit back into the same bag!
I suppose that is a sure sign it's time to DO SOMETHING!
First, I had to chose a pattern. Something ended up being the Split 9-Patch.

Here are the fabrics that made the final cut (so to speak!) and the rest went back into the general stash.
But wait!
I know you are wondering about that fabulous print from the first photo. It will be the border.

The row at the bottom is for the half-square triangles, the green & black squares go in the center of each block, and the ones at the top are the other pieces.
How do you like this weird tray?

It was something for the automotive industry and was made in Ashtabula, OH, where my parents lived for about 16 years a long time ago....I have 2, and often use them for keeping cut pieces together while working on a quilt.

Here are some of the Half-Square Triangles. What a tasty combination this lime & purple is! Really, it seems to be leaving a sensation on my tongue!
I like to sew as many units as possible and then start in on the blocks.

My favorite formula for Half-Square Triangles is to cut 2 squares the finished size plus 1".
Then I sew them twice 1/4" away from a diagonal line. But I have a tape on my machine so all I need to do is line up the corner of the square and start line marking for me!
Also the added 1" (instead of the mathematically correct 7/8") allows for the resulting units to be trimmed to exactly the right size. When I use the 7/8" I seem to get several units that are too small.

Oh, look! all the 9" blocks have been sewn! They are just posing on my design wall for you. This is not the how the quilt will look.
I made a total of 48, which will be a nice size quilt when borders are added.
EQ6 came in handy for planning a setting....but this diagonal divided sort of block can be set in hundreds of ways, and I am not committed to the setting I used just for planning.

But for now, these blocks will go back into a bag, along with their scraps and that fabric for the border. This UFO has been changed into a new & different UFO now, and there are too many other projects to be working on.

I am making a fun new class for the Quirky Bits quilt, plus two Personalized Mystery for a guild in Florida and one for a guild in Georgia. Whew!
I guess you'll have to wait to see the Mystery Quilts until after the guilds get their classes...I'd hate to reveal the Mystery too soon, in case they are reading my blog!
And then there's the next UFO Attack commitment: quilting the Perky Old Men!

Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 21, 2008

On the Road with a Scrap Basket

The Famous Over-Flowing Scrap Basket in the back of the Quilt MobilePosted by Picasa

I've done it before.
And I did it just yesterday.
And I'll probably be doing it again.
Yes, I drove over 200 miles (one way) to talk about SCRAPS.
I guess quilters just can't get enough of this stuff, and apparently I don't get tired of talking about it, either!

The famous over-flowing scrap basket is my main prop for the lecture I do called "Taming the Scrap Basket". It's a humorous look at the life of quilters and their fabric addictions....and also includes many helpful ideas about scrap-control and usage....though I'd have to say this basket is not exactly a good example!

The first time I gave this lecture, I thought I'd take along my scrap basket, especially since it is big and would make a colorful focus point. It has fabric going back to even before I quilted.
It was a big hit, and I soon realized that I would not be able to use up these scraps if I wanted to have a prop for my lecture! So, as anyone would do, I just started a whole new container for the scraps I was currently generating.

At the end of each lecture, I invite everyone to come up and take a scrap. This wasn't a problem until at one guild I noticed the ladies were taking LOTS of scraps!
My pack-rat heart leapt to my throat, and then I quickly came to my senses...really, it's not like I was actually using these scraps, and I was certainly making more!

And then, while I was packng up, it really hit me: No matter how many times I gave this talk, and no matter how many scraps were shared with the audience, the basket never became less than packed full!

Even last night, I still had to cram the scraps back inside to get the lid on.
I have never added any scraps to this basket since I started giving the lecture.

I think the scraps are beginning to reproduce on their own.

To test this theory, I used my current scrap container (a small dome-topped waste basket) and my friend C.C., who one time claimed she needed some scraps. I said she could have some of mine, and loaned her the dome-top container.

When it came home, it seemed the level of scraps was lower, but maybe because CC had folded them neatly back inside. One rumaging through for a bit of blue, and the volume was just as large it had ever been.
Yesterday, CC was talking about her scraps, and I"m sure I heard at least 3 different containers mentioned.
Well, I warned her when I gave her those scraps.....they might be self-propagating.

My advice is not to worry about scraps. Never think you have to "keep up" with them...but do share them freely. There will always be plenty to go around!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Artisan Center in Berea, KY

Wouldn't you love to meet this lady and her polka dot chickens?

If you are driving through Kentucky on I-75, at Exit 77 is the Kentucky Artisan Center and the town of Berea.
Take my word, you want to stop!
In a huge stone building the most beautiful handcrafts of Kentucky are displayed with good exhibit style lighting and space to wander around just looking. And everything is for sale, too.

If there's a craft you enjoy, you can probably find it here. Wood, basketry, ceramics, painting...and quilts, of course!
No matter where you go, somewhere a pot holder will show up. I suppose they are the closest thing to a quilt without the major commitment to time & materials!

I had to choose between some beautiful wood and these woven scarves. The dulicmers were tempting, but I went for this color instead.
I mean for a PICTURE!

The Artisan Center is about 2 hours from Cincinnati. There's a nice cafe inside, too, for a meal or coffee before you leave.
If you have time, drive the 2 miles into Berea to visit a small town full of crafts (even a little quilt shop) and antique dealers.

OK, I have said enough about the places I went this month, and will be back to posting more often and about quilting!

As soon as I get back from the lecture I'm giving tomorrow evening in Clearwater: Taming the Scrap Basket!
With luck, there will be pictures.....

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

St. Theresa Textile Trove: a blessing for creative people!

When visiting in Cincinnati, OH, I simply must go to St. Theresa Textile Trove!
Formerly located in what you'd consider a rough area of town, the shop has moved out to 5846 Hamilton Ave. (45224 if you want to use a map program!) into a coming-up neighbor with other shops and restaurants.
The antique/funky/fun atmosphere has been maintained, and you couldn't dream up the inventory in your wildest, most colorful REM!

There are beads and trinkets of all sorts, fibers and embellishments that make you wish you could just move in and play all day.

This is not a shop to duck into for a quick visit. There are nooks and crannies everywhere full of treasures. "Textile Trove" is such an appropriate name! With the sun streaming in the front window, it was like being inside a rainbow.
The fabric is flowing off the shelves. There are convenient fat quarters of everything, though you may want yards of the silks, brocades, Japanese upholstery (not too heavy for quilting!), or oil cloth. The shelves shown here are filled with quilting cottons from the best designers for the imaginative stitcher. And truly...if you want some skeletons or anything else for Dia de los Muertos this is the place!

St. Theresa has a helpful and friendly staff. They'll even let you park behind the building and come in through the back door...just like the regular customer you'll become after one visit!
If you can't get to Cincinnati, look for St. Therea's booth at major quilt shows, and check out their's almost like being there!

I'm a big fan, as you can tell...this post is totally unsolicitited! If I hated the place, I'd tell you that, too. But I'd rather share the places I love!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Last Look at the Folk School...for now!

I just wanted to add a few more things about the Campbell Folk School before moving on to other topics.
It is almost Spring in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, just a bit too soon for the color to return to this beautiful place. The daffodils and crocus were taking a brave lead, though, and it won't be long until the trees are following.

If you think being at the Folk School for a week will leave you without "Retail Therapy", please be assured that the Craft Shop is open every day! It even has a stairway entrance inside the dining hall, or here from the parking lot.
Inside you'll find all the wonderful crafts featured at the school, some made by the week's instuctors and the rest made by local craft people.
You could drive about 20 minutes back to Murphy, No. Carolina, but it seems a shame to insert a visit to W--Mart into a week at the Folk School. There are other nice shops there, though.

This is one of my favorite places at the school: Mouse Town!
Found on the back of the woodshed building in the complex of studios for woodcarving, ceramics and glass, this spot has gathered trinkets for years. Most seem to be bits from class work, possibly something that didn't come out quite right. My contribution from the enamelling class 2 years ago is still hanging, just to the right of the support.

Inside the library at Keith House is one of the many representations of the Folk School motto: I sing behind the plow.
It's a wonderful idea to think about. To do our work with joy. To have joy because we can do it well...and because it is not the only thing we know how to do!

I heard about the Folk School, but never really checked it out until I went on a cruise...and having enjoyed that (once), started to think about what you could do for the same amount of money.
A week at the Folk School is much better than a criuse!

Next November (1--7, 2009) I will be teaching at the Folk School for the second time. The class is a sampler quilt that uses traditional blocks to tell the story of how the school was founded.
I'd love to see you there!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Thursday at the Campbell Folk School

The forecasted snow & rain stayed away...we had another beautiful day that even warmed up to jacket-optional by noon.
This red metal fence is on the walkway to the dining hall and has emblems in each section to represent the crafts taught at the school.
What's strange about this picture of the back porch at Keith House?
I can't believe there is no one there! This is a great place to relax and enjoy the evening before dinner....that's how I know I must have shot this at an odd time.
This was the last full day for classes in a short week, so everyone was working extra hard to get in as much as possible.
Tonight it's very quiet here at Keith House (the only WIFI spot!) as many people are back in the studios tonight. We have 2 hours of class tomorrow before the students' show. The dulcimer makers have let the finish dry and are back to put on the tuners and strings. The book makers are downstairs here completing the special cases for the books they made. I'm sure the kilns are going at the fused glass studio, the blacksmiths are at their forge and the woodturners are creating piles of shavings along with their hollow vessels.
Whew!That's not even all the classes this week...there was also writing, Indian cooking and quilting!

The Folk School buildings feature what they teach. This is the fireplace in the room where I'm sitting. It also has chairs made by students throughout the 82 years it has been in existance.

We'll all be sad to leave tomorrow. Of the 110 students this week about half were first timers...and I'd feel very safe in saying they all hope to return.
I know my posts have not included even a small part of the many wonderful events of this week, so I think next week sometime I'll try to put together another photo-essay about the school.

But don't wait for me! Find out more about the Folk School and how you can attend!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Another Day in Paradise!

Wednesday dawned cold & grey here at the Folk School, but soon turned sunny ...and slightly warmer!
Rockhouse is up beyond the left side of this picture, and it's a nice brisk walk to Keith House where we can get coffee! Morningsong is next on the schedule (though not mandatory) for a wake up with a different local host each day. A few songs, a few stories, and many laughs are shared before we hear the dinner bell and head off to the dining hall.

The red door of the Keith House is a welcome sight when coffee and fellowship are in demand!

The morning class is 3 hours, then lunch from 12:15 to 1:30, followed by another 3 hours of class.
That is a LOT of stitches for ye olde embroidery class....or, as Nancy says, Embroidery on the Dark Side!
These are samples of her work (VERY inspirational!). I'm enjoying the freedom of creative embroidery and thinking of new ways to decorate cloth. I started my sampler today. It won't look like Nancy's, but I love the idea of showing stitches in shapes and waves, not old-style rows.

Tonight's after-dinner activity was a visit to the bookbinders' studio where Ed is taking a class. The teacher, Dea Sasso, is a book restorer and maker. She gave a great overview of her art. It's always amazing to hear a person talk on a subject they have a passion for.

More pictures and news from the Folk School tomorrow...our last full day. The evening activity is a dulcimer concert!Friday is cleaning up and the students' show and tell.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A Rainy Day at Campbell School

The rain rolled in last night and kept us damp today...but that's OK! It was a good day to be in the studio, working on new embroidery stitches.
Here's Nancy Claiborne, who is teaching us really creative embroidery. Not counted X-stitch, not pre-stamped designs, and not necessarily in straight rows or even size stitches!
I'm loving it!
We're learning different families of stitches every day to understand how they are related within groups. Yesterday were the straight stitches. Today the chain stitches!
After learning a few stitches we start to experiment and combine them in new ways, and see how they may change according to the thread used....I know I am going to need some new fat threads when I get home! Some lovely varigated perle cotton, just to start.
This is a shorter week at the Folk School, so we have to learn as much as we can...and we get excited and start to think about other stitches, so Nancy shows us some that aren't in the "family of the day" too.
You may be amazed to hear I have made bullion stitches!
This is my work area...just like home! Each day we get a new "doodle cloth" to learn the stitches and keep for reference.
Tomorrow I'll talk a bit about the "ultimate goal" of a sampler.
But it's not your grandmother's sampler!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Greetings from the Campbell Folk School!

Not only am I at the John C. Campbell Folk School, I am blogging!

This is Keith House, the community center for the school. If you could look through the window to the right of the door in the center, you might see me here in the library (piggy-backing on the WIFI from the school's office!).
This is where everyone gathers in the big community room for Morningsong before breakfast, and evening programs with music and dancing.
This is also where you will find the coffee room, an important stop throughout the day!

The Folk School has a collection of buildings for the variety of class studios and housing for students. On the left is Davidson Hall, named for Jan Davidson the director. It has studios for music and cooking, plus student rooms upstairs. Some of the buildings are old and have been updated for modern use, and several are new. The campus is about 1/4 mile in length along both sides of a hilly country road.
The building somewhat hidden by the trees is the dining hall, home of three huge well-cooked meals per day! It's a good thing I have to walk so far between my room, the dining hall, and the studio for my class.

I'm staying here upstairs at Rockhouse.
It has a nice small living room area with a community 'fridge, and five rooms (2 up, 3 down). My room has twin beds, a rocking chair, chest of drawers, closet, and a small bath with shower.
Just big enough for me & my lover (OK, we've been married for 34 years, but who's counting?)

The Fiber Arts Studio, my home away from home!
Quilting is in the studio to the right, and weaving is through the double doors. That's where my embroidery class is meeting.

I am so happy to be able to share this you. It's a real experiment for me!
Watch tomorrow for more pictures around the campus, a look at some actual embroidery, and stories about Folk School life.