Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Walking Foot WOW! Gets a Mod Mola Makeover

Back in April, I introduced Mod Molas while serving as a Featured Artist for the Santa Clara Valley Quilt Show.  Everyone that stopped by was completely mezmerized by the stunning transformation as I trimmed away snippets from my layered samples.  During that weekend, Isabel, a member of our Programs team asked whether I might consider incorproating this into my upcoming Walking Foot WOW! workshop scheduled for August.  I certainly saw potential for the Walking Foot designs but needed to experiment first.  So I stitched up another Walking Foot WOW! sampler with three modifications:

  1. Layering one of my hand dyed fabrics under the quilt top
  2. Using a slightly shorter stitch length
  3. Stitching less dense designs in order to create larger, unquilted areas
Then I grabbed my trusted seam ripper and thread snips and went to work carefully trimming away sections from the solid black quilt top to reveal the colorful hand dyed fabric underneath.  These pictures do not do justice to the transformation process--it is truly magical!!!!!

Mod Mola Metamorphasis
So I agreed to incorporate the Mod Mola option into the workshop and updated the supply list for those participants who were game to try.  I loaned my new sample to Isabel to promote workshop sign ups!!  Sign ups began at the May general meeting and by the time the meeting began, the workshop had sold out!!  Isabel had a suspicion that this might be the case, so we had already discussed the possibility of scheduling a second workshop date to accommodate.  Well...not only did the second date fill up, but we went ahead and scheduled a 3rd date which is also full with almost 30 members on the waitlist!!  WOW!!

For the nearly 60 members who are signed up, I am sharing three of my favorite Walking Foot WOW! notions:

1.  Machingers Gloves:
These amazing gloves have rubber finger tips which helps you grip and control your quilt sandwich as you stitch out the various designs.  While wearing my Machingers gloves, I no longer need to maintain a death grip on my quilt sandwich, thereby allowing me to relax and enjoy the quilting process.  It may feel a bit funny to be wearing gloves for quilting, but let me tell you that whenever I take off my gloves and try to resume quilting without wearing the gloves, I immediately feel the tension in my shoulders/back.  The gloves come in 4 different sizes (Extra Small, Small/Medium, Medium/Large, Extra Large).  And as you can see below, the white gloves don't stay pristine for long.  While I have had some luck putting on the gloves and washing my gloved hands using Dawn or Palmolive dish detergent, I usually treat myself to a new pair every year or so.  In fact, one of my older pairs (2+ years old) started to experience rubber rot and I would find little bits of rubber flaking over the top of my quilt.
Machingers Quilting Gloves
During the workshop we discuss options available for securing started/stopped lines of quilting including my personal favorite method of tying a knot and burying thread tails within the batting layer.  Using a self-threading needle makes this process quick and easy.  While there are several different brands of Self-threading needles out on the market, I love the Sench brand side-threading needles because they are super easy to thread and I have yet to experience any shredding of my threads!  In fact, I am able to bury 4 or more threads at once, cutting my time in half!
Sench Side-Threading Needles
3.  Havel 4 3/4" Snip-Eze Thread Snips with Curved Blades:
I love, love, love these thread snips!  They are ergonomically friendly to use and their curved blades allow you to trim thread tails very close to the surface of the quilt top.  They are also the secret behind my Mod Molas, as the curved tips allow me to hug up along my stitch line and trim away swatches of the top layer of fabric.    
Havel 4 3/4" Snip-EZE with Curved Blades
Whenever possible, I try to support our local quilt shops.  I am pleased to share that one of our local quilt shops and supporters of our recent quilt show, Golden State Quilting (located in Campbell, CA), is carrying all three products and is happy to restock as needed for our upcoming August workshops.  For those enrolled in the workshop, I recommend calling the shop ahead of time to ensure they have the products in time for your workshop date.

August will certainly be a flurry of Walking Foot WOW! fun.  I will be sure to take lots of pictures to post everyone's samplers (especially the before and after Mod Mola transformations!!)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Inspiration In & Around the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

Saturday was jam-packed with quilting fun and inspiration.  Once home from the California State Fair, I had a little over an hour to recover before heading off to the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles for their Champagne Gala.  Luckily there was no traffic so I had some time to explore the local downtown scene for a bit before the gala commenced.

There is free parking on the evenings and all day on Sundays under the 680/280 overpass, where all the columns are painted in an array of bright colors.  This most recent visit I noticed several paint patches, which I suspect are the city's solution to covering up graffiti.   While I certainly do not condone disrespect or destruction of public property, I really appreciated the way that the colors & shapes interacted with each other!

Just past the SJMQT is MACLA (Movimento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana)  and I was quite smitten with the artwork adorning their building and windows.  Above their sign is a graphic black & white artwork that reminds me of my favorite artist:  Keith Haring.  Then their windows have large banners that feature pastel colored organic shapes that overlap to create transparency.
Interaction of Color and Shapes
Interesting lines and textures were abundant within the architecture of the sidewalks and brick facades.  So many possibilities for walking foot quilting and modern piecing designs!!
Abundant ArchiTEXTURE
My little inspirational scavenger hunt lasted only a few minutes as soon it was time for the Champagne Gala to open.  Once inside, I was shocked to see that my donated FiberShot had already been purchased, as evidenced by a red dot next to the signage!!  The new owner revealed themselves and I am delighted that this lil' Mosaic Mod Mola is going home with a fellow quilter who is both a long-time supporter of SJMQT as well as a founding member of my guild.

This year all donated FiberShots were on display and will remain part of the exhibit for the next month or so.  So while quite a few were purchased during the Champagne Gala, there are several amazing pieces of Fiber Art that are still available for purchase for $125!!  I recognized one FiberShot that used the Interleave technique, as well as another that incorporated designs from my Walking Foot WOW! workshop.
In addition to all the fabulous FiberShots on display, there were three new exhibits in addition to the Artist in Residence space.

The first gallery featured Linear Intervention:  Sabine Reckewell, architectural installations that "focus on line, repetition and geometry."  I was especially entranced with her Linear Intervention, 2017 that is constructed out of polyester webbing, wood strips and screws.  I just kept moving around the space taking in the new patterns of light and color that emerged, especially with the bright orange webbing against the slate blue walls!!
Sabine Reckewell's Linear Intervention, 2017
Next stop was to the Maker Space featuring the current Artist in Residence:  Heather Deyling and her Invented Hybrids series.  Heather's colorful organic creations are a fabulous complement to Sabine's minimalist designs!
Heather Deyling's Invented Hybrids (left to right):  Accumulation 1, Stalk and Fused 2
Once again I was transformed as I viewed the award winning quilts from the 13th Quilt Nihon Exhibition.  These stunning quilts were made by some of the most talented artists from Japan and the Pacific Rim.  Not only did these quilt feature brilliant and beautiful designs, but were impeccably constructed!!!  I had a difficult time choosing my favorite, so here are a few of my favorites with accompanying detail pictures.
Harue Konishi, SYO#80:  I love how the machine pieced Ls dance and the floating circles
Keiko Ohno, Triangles to My Heart's Content:  Such energy created by the different shapes/angles and quilted lines
Yoko Kageyama, Sparkling Until the End:  Fall Leaves Reimagined into so many ways!!
Ayumi Asano, Good Luck:  Enamored with all the fun fabrics and quilted balloons floating in the background!
These are just a few highlights of these breathtaking exhibits, making the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles a must-see this summer!!  I am already looking forward to returning again to spend more time with these quilts where I am sure I will discover surprising new details!!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

California State Fair

This past weekend, Doug and I drove up to Sacramento and braved the 100+ degree heat for the annual California State Fair. 
California State Fair Entrance
Back in late April, I decided to enter a few of my quilts into the California Crafts Competition, especially since this year they added a new Modern Quilt category.  The entry fee was only $12 per quilt, plus the cost of shipping your quilts for the judging process (note:  next year they will be moving to an online submission process using photos for the initial jurying process).  In early June I received a feedback form for each quilt in the mail and was impressed with the quality of hand-written feedback that was provided:  a full paragraph plus with both praise as well as some constructive feedback).  The form also indicated whether or not the quilt had received any ribbons or awards.  I was excited to learn that all four of my quilts had placed and would be included in the Crafts Exhibition.
My Colorful Quilts & I
Exhibitors are provided with two complementary adult tickets and a FREE parking pass which we opted to use to attend the Awards ceremony on Saturday morning.  The ceremony celebrates the major and donated awards and afterwards I was able to pick up my ribbons (with the cash prizes mailed at a later date).
Quilts Exhibited (Top Left Clockwise)

Time to Celebrate
This certainly called for a celebration, which included sharing a Funnel Cake (or Fried Dough as we called it in New York) followed by checking out the rest of the fair's exhibits that celebrate California's forestry, farming, wildlife and even included a Dinosaur exhibit.
Having Fun At the Fair:  Wood Carved Creatures, Tractors, Doug with a Douglas Fir, Birds of Prey and Dinosaurs
The exhibits provided both education and inspiration.  I was especially enamored with a ceiling installation featuring hanging soda bottles that contained colorful liquid.  I loved the gradation of color, light and floral shapes created at the base of each bottle.  In the Modoc county exhibit, there was a rotating display of barbed wire styles that could easily translate into free motion quilting designs.  Oh the possibilities!!
Inspiration for Next Year's State Fair Quilt Entries?!?
I encourage all my California quilting & crafty friends to consider submitting your work to the 2018 Crafts Competition!!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hoffman Challenge: Technicolor Trellis

Time for the annual Hoffman Fabric Challenge!!  This year featured two large floral all over prints from the Style #P4299 Mastery Digital-Print Collection:  562-Blooms or 55-Charcoal.  Participants could use one or both challenge prints, as long as they were used in body of the quilt and in more than one spot.  And 50% or more of the entry had to be made up in Hoffman fabrics (Mastery collection coordinates, Hoffman batiks, screenprints or digital prints).  Quilt entries could be any shape, but the combined sides must equal 72" to 160".

Unsure of a design, I purchased two yards of both the Blooms and Charcoal fabrics.  And then I waited for divine inspiration...
My Fabric Palette:  The Challenge Print Blooms and a Super Fun Ombre Print
With just 6 days until the deadline, I finally managed to come up with a design and template.  In my two yard cut, I was able to find six repeats, so I modified my Mod Mandalas from sixteen wedges to six isometric triangles.  Once the triangles were fussycut to feature some of the larger flowers, I could rotate them to generate three different kaleidoscope backgrounds.  

Blooming Kaleidoscope
Half inch bias tape was made out of a lovely Timeless Treasures ombre that gradated from a glowing yellow green into a brilliant blue.  A package of emerald quarter inch tape was used for the skinny strips.

Once all the bias tape was appliqued into place and my triangles reassembled, it was time to start auditioning quilting designs.  Taking inspiration from the floral print, I sketched out a variety of petal-like filler designs.    
Floral Inspiration for the Quilting
Once again, the Hoffman Challenge was co-sponsored by Aurifil threads.  There are three Aurifil Awards (that include either $250, $500 or $1000 in Aurifil products!!) that will be awarded to entries that have Aurifil threads visibly used (thread painting, embellishment, beading, etc).  A variety of Aurifil 50-weight threads were used in both the construction and quilting of my Mod Mandala:

  • Spring Green (1231) used in the bobbin for the bias tape applique
  • Grey Smoke (5004) for piecing the triangles into a quilt top
  • Bright Pink (2425), Neon Orange (1104), Red (2250), and Red Orange (2245) were used to free-motion quilt the petal designs into the background areas.

Abloom Aurifil
Some of the charcoal print was used for my quilt back and sleeve.
Greyscale Backing
Artist Statement:

This year’s challenge fabric, Mastery Blooms, prompted a garden themed Mod Mandala design.   Six repeats of the bountiful flowers were fussy cut to create a brilliant kaleidoscopic bouquet.   Petal-like designs were free-motion quilted into the background, adding a delicate layer of quilted texture.  An ombre trellis constructed out of bias tape applique, provides support for this floral design to blossom and bloom! 
Technicolor Trellis, 27" x 24" (81" perimter)
Despite my late Tuesday night start, I managed to finish my entry within 4 days and even managed to submit it online with 24 hours to spare!!  Phew!!  Less than a week later, I received an email instructing me to ship my entry to Hoffman Fabrics for the next round of judging for consideration of awards and/or be included in the travelling exhibit.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

FiberShot for The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles

The San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles will be hosting their 4th annual FiberShot Champagne Gala Fundraiser this Saturday, July 22nd from 6-9 PM.  This is your chance to support Fiber Arts here in the Silicon Valley area, sip some champagne, enjoy the amazing new exhibits and get first access to purchase some pretty amazing Fiber Art made by Fiber Artists from around the world!   Each 10" x 10" square FiberShot will be available for purchase for $125, with all proceeds going to support the museum's fiber art programming.

One of my new Mod Molas will be available for purchase!
Mosaic Mod Mola, 10" x 10"

After I free-motion stitched out a mandala design, it was time to carefully out out swatches of the solid black fabric to reveal snippets of a patchwork inspired print hidden below the surface.
Metamorphasis of My Mod Mola
Advanced tickets are available for purchase online for $30 and will also be available at the door for $45.  My Mosaic Mod Mola and I hope to see you there!!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Brilliant Bay Quilts Interleave Inductees

Introducing the latest class of of Interleave Inductees from Bay Quilts Quilt Shop.
So Proud of their Fabulous Interleave Progress and All Those Smiling Faces!!
Despite the heat wave, these quilters kept their cool as they learned the ins and outs of creating Interleave quilts.
Productive Crew!
 And there was a really fun range of fabric selections leading to some pretty spectacular designs!!
Stunning Solids Including Some Silks & Grunge!!
Pretty Patterns:  Modern Zig Zags, Beautiful Batiks, Textures and More!
Exciting Zingers:  Bright Rainbow Hand Dyes, Bold Digital Prints, Fun Dots & Stripes!
I look forward to seeing the finished quilts from this class of Interleave Inductees and the ones that they are already planning to work on next.  One quilter even picked out a fun palette of fabrics to create her next Interleave featuring a large scale print!!  Oh the possibilities!!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Mod Mola & Bright Blooms: Pastel Peony

Time for a new Mod Mola & Bright Blooms sample featuring more Kaffe prints!
Pastel Peony, Finishes 16" x 20"
Many quilters are surprised to learn that I do not use any marking pens prior to stitching out my design.  After hearing too many horror stories about the pens coming out too early or not coming out at all, I simply avoid them at all costs.  Instead, I use contact paper, regular printer paper and blue painter's tape as templates or guides for my designs.

I've learned that I am unable to create symmetrical why bother?  By folding my paper in half and cutting out one half, I am able to create a perfectly balanced vase template!  I also struggle stitching perfectly straight again, why bother?  A length of blue painter's tape creates a perfect straight edge that I can echo with my darning foot.  And as a bonus, it helps remove any stray threads or lint!!
Mark-Free Tools
A variety of Aurifil 50-weight threads were used to outline stitch my various shapes and background fillers (left to right):

  • Bubblegum 3660 Variegated for the Peony Flower Petals 
  • French Lilac 3840 Variegated for the Wavy C Curves
  • Medium Blue Grey 1310 for the background zig zag meander
  • Spring Green 1232 for the flower stem and leaves
  • Mist 2660 for the Vase

Line Up of Aurifil Threads Used
It should come as no surprise that I love adding beautiful quilting texture and I very much like the finished wholecloth design.  But I LOVE the transformation that comes next as I carefully trim away swatches of fabric from the top layer of fabric to reveal snippets of Kaffe prints hidden below.
Total Transformation!!
For this particular project, I used two muted Kaffe prints and one dark teal solid:
  • Kaffe Pastel Ombre for both the Flower Petals (pink areas) and the Wavy Lines (greens, teals & purple area)
  • Kaffe Grey Mad Plaid for the Vase and binding
  • Dark Teal Solid for the Top, which becomes the background after the cutwork is complete
For those living in the Bay Area, I will be teaching a Mod Molas & Bright Blooms for Bay Quilts Quilt Shop (Richmond, CA) on November 11th and look forward to adding future dates to my teaching schedule.    

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Intriguing Interleaves with Amador Valley Quilters

This past weekend was jam packed with quilting and teaching.  Saturday morning, I had a lot of fun participating in Northern California Quilt Council's Meet the Teacher program to promote my new workshops and lectures to quilt guild representatives and quilt shop owners.  I really enjoyed meeting with the new guild reps to introduce myself and my work, as well as reconnecting with the guild reps that have hosted me over the past year!!

As soon as Meet the Teachers wrapped up, I quickly loaded my quilts and promotional information and headed down to Pleasanton to present my "Challenge Yourself!" lecture/trunk show for the Amador Valley Quilters.  What an absolutely delightful group of quilters!!  I attended their April quilt show and was very impressed by both the quantity and quality of quilts displayed (I was especially excited to see multiple quilt challenges included in the displays!) and their July meeting was just as impressive!

On Sunday, I taught Intriguing Interleaves and just loved everyone's enthusiasm!   Not only were they an industrious group making great progress on their Interleave quilts...but they were super creative as well.  By the afternoon, as most folks are nearing the halfway point, we take a break to discuss ideas for adapting this technique and/or adding personalization.  Almost immediately, I could see several of the attendees planning out their second or third Interleave quilts and ways of adding their own unique design twist!!

Here are some pictures of their amazing progress from Sunday.  As you can see--there were lots of exciting fabric and color combinations yielding some really striking in-progress Interleave quilts (along with a few finishes!!)
Superbly Solids
Subtle Prints and Patterns
Surprise Zingers!!
And I've already received an email from Rebecca B showcasing her fabulous finished and bound Interleave quilt.  She shared that she is eager to start her next Interleave quilt!!  YAY!!!

Many thanks to the Amador Valley Quilters for their warm hospitality and for being such a fabulously fun group of quilters!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Walking Foot WOW!! with Piece by Piece Quilters of Morgan Hill

My return flight from filming TQS in LaVeta, CO arrived in San Francisco around midnight and the very next morning, I was heading south to Morgan Hill for a jam-packed day of quilting with the Piece by Piece Quilters.  First up was a full day Walking Foot WOW! workshop.
Walking Foot WOW! with Piece by Piece Quilters
Despite the heatwave, these quilters were an industrious group as they added beautiful, modern quilted texture to their quilt sandwiches!!
Modern Texture Galore!!!
With over 20 different designs discussed, there is so much variety to everyone's samplers!!  However, in this last workshop, Parallel Lines and Matchstick Quilting was a very popular selection with more than half the class filling in one or more blocks with this modern design!
Love All Those Modern Lines!!
 Of course, there were quite a few fearless quilters who embraced the curvilinear designs that can also be achieved with a walking foot, incorporating them into designs that are usually comprised of straight lines/rays.  The curves add such fabulous texture and energy to these designs!!
Courageous Curves
And I am always delighted to see quilters add their own twists to the designs.  Strips of blue tape are used to mark out many of the designs.  One resourceful quilters (left green image) used small tabs of blue tape to serve as markers for her design.  Another quilter stitched out a grid using non-parallel lines, which adds so much interest!!
Deft and Daring Deviations!
After class, we grabbed some dinner and then it was time for their General Meeting.  I laid out my quilts and set up the A/V for my lecture/trunk show and then had a chance to connect with guild members before the meeting began.  When it came time for my presentation, I went to resume my presentation and nothing!  I tried powering up the projector again and still nothing.  Turns out there was no power running to the projector or my laptop!!  We tried running the powercord to a different outlet and still nothing.  It looked like all that Walking Foot quilting may have blown a circuit or two.  Had this happened a year or so ago, I would have been in full-blown panic mode.  But I have to credit my Comedy Improv training for helping me to stay cool under pressure.  I just started improvising and luckily after a minute or so, a member was able to locate a working outlet and we were back in business!!

Many thanks to the Piece by Piece Quilters for being such a fabulous group of quilters!!  You certainly kept me energized!!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Mod Molas & Bright Blooms

These Mod Molas are sooooo much fun to create.  They combine my love of color and quilted texture with the anticipation of the final reveal!!!  So this weekend, a brand new workshop entitled Mod Molas & Bright Blooms will make its debut at NCQC's Meet the Teachers.
Bright Blooms, Finishes 18" x 20"
In this workshop, a beautiful garden scene is cultivated through layers of beautiful color and texture.  Through stitching, our flowers will germinate and grow into an original wholecloth quilt.  Enjoy the spectacular transformation as it blooms into brilliance!
Transformation of Table & Flower Pot Reveals
Saving the best for last:  bright & blooming daisies!!
Blooming Beauties
A beautiful bouquet of Aurifil 50 weight threads were used to stitch out these bright blooms:  Spring Green (1231), Light Juniper (28145), Light Jade (1148), Medium Teal (1125) and Light Magenta (2588).  A lucious teal green Cherrywood hand dyed solid was used for the top layer, concealing a fun strata of Kaffe Fassett prints.
Tools to Grow Your Own Floral Mod Mola :  Aurifil threads, Cherrywood solids and Kaffe prints!!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Summer Sizzle: Sunny Rays & Days

One more Mod Mandala inspired by Project Quilting's off-season challenge theme:  Summer Sizzle.  Special thanks to my friend Sharon F for a large donation of single-fold bias tape, several of which were incorporated to create a gradient effect for this design!  I supplemented by creating some 1/4" bias tape using yardage from my stash.  
Sunkissed Quilt Top
Through doodling, I was able to explore new quilting motifs to add quilted texture to all that wonderful negative space.  Usually it takes several iterations until I land on the perfect combinations of motifs.  Initially I reverted to my tried and true loop de loops and C-curves and sketched out a few linear designs to complement all the curvilinear designs.  I really liked the nestling triangles/zig zags and chevrons and continued to finetune for each area.
Pool of Doodles
Doodling also helps me to develop muscle memory as well as work out the travel path in and around the quilt.
Drawing to Awe Inspiring Texture
Rather than an all over motif for the background, I wanted to carry the sun rays out to the edges.  Again you can see that several revisions are required until I land on the final design.
Sunny Rays
Blue painter's tape was used to mark out the rays, half of which were filled in with alternating nesting zig zags or chevrons.  Once these were all outlined and stitched, I really liked the light and shadow created by leaving half of the rays unquilted and chose not to leave them as is rather than fill in with a zig zag meander.
If You Steal My Sunshine
For the most part, I love the zen of quilting in the negative space.  However, I've noticed that I always leave the center most area for last as it is the one that challenges me the most.  Instead of one large star, I try to break the area down into 8 smaller diamond shapes.  By breaking down the area into more manageable shapes makes it easier to carry on the nesting zig zags and chevron designs.
Hot Diggity Done!
All the quilting was done in Pale Yellow (1135) Aurifil 50 weight.  It added the perfect amount of contrast to the blue background without overpowering the overall mandala design.  I found this fun cocktail print for the background and had fun incorporating my new sunglasses into the photoshoot.
Sunny Days...Chasing the Clouds Away!
Sunny Rays & Days, Finishes 22" x 22"
As you can see, I am having so much fun with these Mod Mandalas!  I am already planning new variations and color combinations!  And I can't wait to see what others create in my new Mod Mandalas workshop!!