Friday, June 30, 2017

Project Quilting June Buggy Challenge: Dancing Dragonflies

This month's Project Quilting Off Season Challenge theme was June Buggy.  I raided my stash for bug themed fabrics and found prints containing lady bugs, butterflies and quite a few dragonflies including this lovely print featuring some metallic accents.  The print paired beautifully with a fat quarter of my hand dyed fabrics featuring cool colored pastels.
Fabric Pull
Unfortunately, I only had a fat quarter of this lovely hand dye, so this was definitely a make it work design!  I cut thin strips (just over 1") and paired it with a black solid to create spinning border blocks.  Luckily I had just enough for nine blocks, which were quickly assembled using partial seams.  Then it was time to audition fabrics for sashing strips.  I raided my stash of solids and tried a caribbean blue, cornflower blue and a purple.  There really was no wrong choice, but in the end I opted to go with the purple.
Auditioning Sashing Fabric Colors
The nine blocks were quickly pieced into a 3x3 grid and surrounded by more spinning borders using the purple sashing strips and any remaining yardage from the dragonfly print.
Pieced Quilt Top
And then it was time to add some quilted texture using several different designs from my Walking Foot WOW! workshop:

  • Log Cabin Spirals in the center of each block
  • Rays that spin around the center block
  • Some Wavy Parallel Lines flowing along each spinning border
  • One of my favorite free-motion fillers, Echoed C-Curves to complement the Rays

Quilting Details
Variegated Aurifil 50 Weight Threads add a lovely sparkle to the Quilt Top:  French Lilac (3840) and Creme de Menthe (4662).  Coordinating solid 50 Weight was used in the bobbin:  Medium Lavendar (2540) and  Light Jade (1148).
Quilt Back and Detail of Quilting
A cool black and teal paisley print with metallic accents was used for the quilt back.  While photographing the quilt back, I found a fun little surprise:  one little snowflake framed by the Log Cabin Spiral quilting!
Dancing Dragonflies, 45" x 45"
I am linking Dancing Dragonflies (#5) to Project Quilting for online voting.  Be sure to check out some of the fun and very creative interpretations of the June Buggy theme and vote for your favorites!

And check back to see what fun new challenge theme awaits us in July!

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Quilt Show Part 3: Taping in La Veta

My 2 hour drive from Colorado Springs down to La Veta, Colorado was absolutely gorgeous!!  I loved seeing all the mountains off in the distance, many of which had white peaks.        
Welcome to La Veta, Colorado 
This round of episodes was being filmed at Ricky Tim & Justin Shults' Art Quilt Retreat Center/Studio (which is where the first 2-3 seasons of The Quilt Show were recorded).  Upon arriving, I was greeted by Justin, (who I immediately recognized from each episode's opening scenes) and that is when the reality of me actually being featured on TQS finally set in for me!  We got to work airing out my quilts and hanging them behind my demo set.  Once all the quilts were in place, I had a chance to explore the La Veta area before meeting up with the entire TQS crew for an absolutely delicious dinner.
Guess Whooo Will Be on TQS?!?  Shadow, Aspen and Cedar
After dinner, we were treated to a presentation about Wild Birds, by quilt artist Gail Garber.  Gail Garber is well known for her amazing quilt designs featuring flying geese.  But it turns out that she helped to form Hawks Aloft, a non-profit organization dedicated to avian Conservatory & Educational organization.  She brought three special guests for her taping:  3 owls that had all been previously injured and rescued through Hawks Aloft.  When I first arrived to the presentation, I saw the wooden perches at the front of the room.  It took me some time to recognize that there were live owls accompanying each perch as they were either well camouflaged into their habitat and/or were so still that they appeared to be statues!  Gail gave a fascinating talk focused mostly on owls and their unique features that help them to be expert nocturnal hunters, while also taking questions from the audienced.
Quiet on the Set
My taping was scheduled for the morning shift, so I woke up early to get ready, packed and head to the studio for the 8 AM start time.  As this was the first episode of the week, the crew was putting the finishing touches to the set and synching up the cameras, finetuning the lighting and testing the sound equipment; giving me the chance to observe and get familiar with the taping process.  I was impressed by the small yet expert production team consisting of owners Alex, Ricky, Justin, John; Producer Shelly; Editor in Chief/Production Manager Lilo; Assistant Mary Kay; Cameraman Zumi; Sound Technician Trevor; and 3 volunteers!  It was immediately evident at how this small yet finely tuned team worked well together to deliver a high quality production value for the TQS audience!!

Alex Anderson's teaching segment was first.  This gave me the opportunity to observe the taping procedure, while also watching a true professional at work!!  And soon I was in the hot seat as I shared the story of my own artistic journey and my quilts.  Alex and Ricky were lovely hosts as they welcomed me to the show and helped me to feel comfortable.  Once we started to talk about quilting, I completely forgot all about the cameras, lights or crew!  From there it was off to my two teaching demonstrations:  Slice of Improv and Mod Molas! And just like that, my work was complete!  As I was packing up my quilts and supplies, I had a chance to watch Alex & Ricky record the promotional clips, as well as Justin film his opening segment!   By 1 PM, I had packed up all my gear, grabbed some lunch, said my good byes and was on the open road heading back to Colorado Springs to catch my return flight.
That's a Wrap!
As you can see from my big ole smiles, I had such a fun time with The Quilt Show crew!  Many thanks to the entire cast and crew for welcoming me to the TQS family and allowing me to share my love of quilting with the TQS membership!!

Special thanks go out to:
-Alex and Ricky for being hosts with the most as they expertly guided me through each segment
-Lilo for helping to coordinate all the logistics flawlessly
-Shelly for crafting segments that really showcased me as an Artist/Teacher
-Mary Kay for being a familiar face on set and taking photographs of me & my quilts!!
-Justin, John, Zumi & Trevor for all their technical expertise behind the scenes
-All my family & friends who helped to support me on this incredible journey!

In the next few weeks, I will learn the air date of my episode and will be sure to post updates and access information so you all can watch how the episode unfolds!!  Stay tuned!!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Quilt Show Part 2: Colorado Springs

As I was preparing for my Colorado visit for the TQS taping, I reached out to a fellow quilting friend who lives in Colorado Springs.  Pauline and I met last Spring at Empty Spools in Louisa Smith's Double Vision 5-day workshop and have stayed in touch via Facebook.  When she learned of my upcoming visit, she generously invited me to stay with her and her family.  

I had so much fun catching up with Pauline and seeing firsthand the beautiful Colorado Springs mountain vistas!!  She introduced me to one of her talented Fiber Artist friends, Kim Lacy.  Kim took us on a tour of her beautiful home and amazing studio where we were treated to a gallery of truly breathtaking quilts!!!  In fact, I immediately recognized one of Kim's quilts from PIQF 2015!!  
Kim Lacy's "Fire in the Stone" displayed at PIQF 2015, Strip Pieced with Dupioni Silk
Once in her studio, Pauline and I were treated to a trunk show of one amazing quilt after another.  Not only had I gained a new quilting friend, but I left feeling truly awed and inspired by Kim's amazing artwork!  I highly recommend that you check out Kim's online gallery of gorgeous fiber art.

Next stop was Garden of the Gods, an outdoor park featuring stunning rock formations and wildlife.  Here is just a sample of the ever changing vistas found along our 1.5 mile walk along the Perkins Central Garden Trail.  
Amazing Rock Structures Formed by Natural Forces:  Water & Wind.
We went at dusk and had a chance to watch as the sun set over the park, casting sunny glow along the peaks.
Garden of the Gods at Sunset
While it was tempting to keep our focus looking upwards, there was so much to see along the ground level as well:  colorful rocks, flora and fauna (including a jack rabbit who was curious to check us out).  Luckily for us, it was too late in the evening for any rattlesnake sightings!
Local Geology, Flora & Fauna
On our way out of the park, we stopped by the Balanced Rock.  I especially loved all the strata of color and texture.
Balanced Rock:  Scale, Strata and Lending Some Muscle Power Just in Case!
What an absolutely lovely afternoon/evening exploring the beautiful Colorado Springs area.  
Many thanks to my wonderful hosts Pauline and her husband Jerry!!

As you can imagine, it was very difficult for me to say good bye to Pauline and her well as the beautiful Colorado Springs area.  But it was time for me to make the 2-hour drive down to La Veta, for The Quilt Show taping!!! 

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Quilt Show Part 1: Preparations and Packing

June had originally promised to include lots of downtime from teaching so I could work on quilt challenges and develop new workshops.  And then I received a surprise email from The Quilt Show inviting me to be a featured artist in their upcoming round of taped episodes at Ricky Tim's studio in La Veta, Colorado in mid-June.  After I had a chance to digest the email and speak with Lilo, the Editor-in-Chief/Production Manager to enthusiastically accept this amazing opportunity, I was sent into a flurry of activity to prepare for the taping scheduled just 6 weeks out!!
Preparing Step Outs and Samples for The Quilt Show--Does That Star Look Familiar?!?
So much for my June downtime!  Thankfully the TQS production team has this down to a science as they helped navigate me through all the preparations.  I immediately got to work on my travel arrangements to La Veta, Colorado:  flight tickets, rental vehicle and overnight accommodations.  After my "pre-interview" with Shelly, the Producer, to determine the content, more preparations were in order!!  There were step outs to prepare, samples to create and selecting which quilts to take with me (many of which needed sleeves!!).  Thank goodness for to-do lists!!    
Pre-Show Preparations:  Quilts & Makeover for Me
Last but not least involved a bit of a makeover for me:  manicure, makeup, hair cut and wardrobe.  Clothes shopping proved to be much more difficult than anticipated and I even resorted to visiting not one but two different shopping malls (as well as multiple Marshalls, TJ Maxx and Ross stores!!!) all to no avail.  Luckily my fashionable friend, Gayle, took me under her wing as she booked me my first manicure appointment (in preparation for the demo close up shots) and she even allowed me to raid her closet to create some fun layered looks.  I met up with a make up consultant who helped me navigate the make up aisle, to which I practiced applying the next few days.  And my hair stylist worked her magic on a stylish new hair do.
Auditioning Wardrobe Options the Morning of Taping--Thankful to Have Options!!
More packing lists to ensure that I carefully packed everything that I needed for my travels and taping, especially since La Veta, Colorado is a fairly small town.  FYI:  the population is less than 800, and there isn't a Target/Quilt Shop in town!!

With my bags all packed, I was off to Colorado for 3 fun-filled days...

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Mod Mandalas

In preparation for July's Northern California Quilt Council's Meet the Teacher program, I've been busy developing exciting new workshops.  Introducing Mod Mandalas!!   
Majestic Mod Mandala, Finishes 21" x 21"

Cre8 & Medit8 Prototype

My Mod Mandalas series started out using the slice and insert piecing technique, which in this case does require a certain level of precision.  So in January, I began experimenting using bias-tape applique for my Cre8 & Medit8 for Project Quilting's "8 is Great" challenge.  Not only did I love the design possibilities that were possible when using bias tape applique, but I also found the constuction to be considerably easier and faster!  I just needed to refine the mandala's design to be more balanced as I found the four corners to really command attention, leaving noticeable gaps along the four sides.

Now that I knew what didn't work, I could focus on drafting a more balanced design.  I used a hinged set of mirrors to audition my lines and angles.
Drafted Mod Mandala
Once I was pleased with the composition, it was time to convert my black and white design into color.  In an effort of finding ways to expedite the construction process for a 1 day workshop, I purchased some packaged bias tape (teal), which I then supplemented with a different width of tape (gold) that I made using yardage from my stash.  I chose a tertiary color combination of eggplant/plum, teal and gold.
Assembled Quilt Top 
Aurifil 50 weight threads were used to add beautiful quilted texture into the background areas:  Loop de loops, wedges and nesting C-durves.
Aurifil 50 weight:  Yellow (2135), Light Jade (1148) and Medium Purple (2545)
Much to my amazement, I found the perfect teal and gold stripe in my stash to use for the binding.

More Mod Mandalas are in development.  Check out this amazing selection of bias tape that Bobi L, a fellow guild member, gifted me after cleaning out her stash!!
More Mod Mandalas on the Horizon

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Golden Valley Intriguing Interleaves Inductees

Over Memorial Day weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting with Golden Valley Quilt Guild for a "Challenge Yourself!" lecture/trunk show on Thursday, followed by an Intriguing Interleaves workshop on Saturday.

Thursday night's lecture was a lot of fun as there was a lot of positive, creative energy in the church gymnasium!   I was especially pleased to connect with members following my talk as well as seeing members line up to sign up for my workshop making it a sold out success!
Challenge Yourself!  Opening
In between the meeting and workshop, I stayed with Judy, a friend and former SCVQA guild member.  It was so nice to catch up, see her beautiful new home and amazing quilt studio!!  On Friday, Judy showed me around the local area including an absolutely lovely visit to the High Hand Nursery in Loomis, CA.  This is much more than your typical nursery as they featured garden art including a tranquil coi pond, art gallery, jewelery booth, olive oil boutique and even the Tin Thimble, a sewing and fiber arts shop where Judy and I were treated to a fascinating introduction to wool felting by the manager!!  Here is a preview of our morning adventure and discoveries...
Colorful Blooms!
Succulants on Display
Nature Inspired Garden Art
Colorful Garden Accessories!
Afterwards, we visited 3-4 of the local quilt shops where I found some amazing fabrics for my latest Mod Molas series, as well as a few other projects/workshops.
Fun New Fabrics
Saturday's workshop was a buzz of energy and excitement as they anxiously awaited to learn the secret of creating their own interleave quilt.
Golden Valley Intriguing Interleaves Inductees
I love documenting the before and in-progress pics of everyone's Interleave quilts, but may have missed a couple.  There were so many fabulous fabric selections, so I created a few groupings to show the range of design possibilities...
Larger scale batiks and prints that create a lovely watercolor effect
Vs. Solids & Small Tone on Tone Prints that Create Crisp Curves
Introduction of a Zinger Fabric:  Black & White Stripes, Colorful Zig Zags and Black & White Polka Dot!
 As it was Memorial Day weekend, four members opted to create their own version of a Stars & Stripes Interleave.  Interestingly enough, three of these members unknowingly sat at the same table and soon realized their similar selections in fabric strips!!  And the first finish of the day was one of the patriotic interleaves!!
Patriotic Themed Interleaves in Honor of Memorial Day Weekend
Everyone made such great progress over the course of the day!  I've already received two emails with pictures of finished Interleave quilts!!

  • Tracy Trimble's finished Patriotic Interleave (left)--I just love her appliqued stars completing her flag-themed Interleave!!
  • Lauren Markell's Sinewaves Interleave (right)--Lauren gets bonus points for including a label/hanging pocket using my bonus demo!!

Beautifully Finished Interleaves!!
Thanks to Golden Valley for a lovely weekend!!  I am very much looking forward to returning to the area again in September for some lecture/workshop combos in Auburn, Folsom and Looms, as well as an October lecture in Lincoln!!