Monthly Archives: January 2020

Cleanup From 2019

Despite a few forays into new work, I’ve kept my needle to the grindstone to complete two pieces from 2019. The first, “Sunset,” is a working quilt made of scraps and based on directions from Christina Camelli. I had it quilted with a pantograph pattern by a local longarm quilter just to get it out of my closet.

Here it is on the job, i.e. on my sofa ready for a lap. Usually my husband has it folded neatly and draped squarely in the middle of the sofa back, a look I hate.

The second one, “Aunt Harriet’s Handiwork,” I quilted in a spiral from the center. I used a narrow, single layer binding in blue. Since I prefer a skinny binding, I used a double fold one only on working quilts, like “Sunset.”

It features cyanotypes of my great aunt’s crocheted doilies and antimacassars. I think she would have enjoyed the bold colors, given her taste in wool yarn used in her afghans.


Filed under Completed Projects

Revisiting A Goal

Over the past two years I have made a conscious effort to show my work publicly. While I have focused on national shows, I’ve also entered local shows. Ironically, I’ve had greater success with the latter. Right now the three pieces shown below are in a local juried art show.

“Disco Woks”
“Dark and Deep”
“Let The Mystery Be”

By my calculations my work has had roughly 50 percent success in being selected. I’ve entered quilt, fiber, and all art media shows. For some shows I realized after the fact my work was totally outclassed. I’m looking at you, Excellence in Fibers. For others, once I saw the work selected I decided my work simply didn’t fit what the juror was looking for.

To enter juried (and most other) shows, you need to fill out an application and pay an entry fee. Since selection is based on digital photos, you need to submit photos that do justice to your work. Shows that produce catalogs use the images you submit, so they have to be high quality ones.

As you probably have figured out, the costs begin to add up. Professional photography fees can run $30 to $50 per piece. Entry fees can range from $15 to $50, though often you can submit up to three entries for the higher fee. If your work is selected, you need to pay shipping costs to and from the venue, unless it’s close enough to drive to. Many shows specify you can’t use USPS, a cheaper alternative to UPS and FedEx. Total shipping to and from the last show my work was in came to $55. Recently I saw a call for entry with a $20 handling fee for unpacking and repacking your work.

The cost is worth it if your piece sells or if the show helps increase name recognition for your teaching or work. Since I don’t teach and have made no organized effort to sell my work, the calculus is different for me.

In 2020 I plan to enter fewer shows. That’s partly because some of my work is aging out. Many shows specify work has to have been made in the past three years. Right now that’s 2018, 2019, or 2020. Another reason is that much of what I’m creating right now doesn’t have show potential. I’m trying different materials and creating small pieces. Shows like big work, and often have a minimum size requirement.

I’ll see if my mind gets changed by the SAQA seminar I’ve signed up for called “Your Professional Toolkit.” It will cover exhibiting your art as one of six topics. Stay tuned.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.


Filed under Art quilts, Commentary, Quilt Shows

Results May Vary

I had planned to type Results May Will Vary, but the latest version of WordPress editing tools don’t seem to make that possible. I wanted that caution because of my recent experiences with gel plate printing. Now I find I can’t even do a new paragraph.

<Let’s see what happens with this button. It seems to return me to Classic Mode.>

Anyway, although I’ve owned gel plates for a while, it took a nudge from a friend to get me started with them. She was interested in printing on sheer and semi-sheer fabrics, so we ironed rectangles of said fabric to freezer paper and began to print with fabric paints. After trials with shapes of cutout sponges, stencils, stamps, and patterned rolling pins we found the video instructor got better results than we did. (Here’s the video we used.)

My guess is the consistency of the paint wasn’t right, as the video’s results were much sharper. Also, the detail of some stencils didn’t show at all. We found pressing on the wet paint sometimes caused the image to smear, as in my results below. Some of my other efforts were sort of successful, but printed sheers don’t show up well.

Patterned rolling pin on silk organza
My best result was on silk broadcloth with clear images from empty spools. The fainter images were made with the end of a pool noodle.

My second experiment with gel plates involved shapes cut from a paper towel. Per the video, I coated my plate with matte medium, cut out shapes from a towel, laid them over the medium, and then sprayed fabric paint over the lot. I had more success with this approach, though I often sprayed too much paint which blurred my oval blobs. Of course I deviated from the video a bit – I didn’t use paper or alcohol inks and I applied matte medium only once. Some of my results follow.

Fabric on the left was printed with a ticking pattern.
Image is from a stencil.
I overprinted this image.
Cloth on bottom combines paper towel shapes and stencil.

I think for my next gel plate adventure I’ll try screen printing ink for fabric to see if I get more consistent results. In the video the results look great. Yes, there’s one born every minute.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.


Filed under Fabric Printing, Techniques

New Year, New Start

It’s just past Epiphany and I have completed my first top of 2020, surely a record for me. Of course conception began quite a few months ago, and the “father,” Frank Lloyd Wright, has long since departed.

Many years ago I was captivated by stained glass windows designed by Wright, and resolved to translate them into a quilt.

Finally, in late 2019 I drew up a rough sketch to work towards my dream. I simplified Wright’s design and deleted the lines of leading.

My color inspiration came from vintage table napkins and sun prints I made from place mats. I added lots of hand dyed and other home manipulated fabrics to the mix, along with commercial solids.

“Calliope” 74 inches long

I tried out many variations on the lower right section, which I won’t bore you with, and had quite the time fitting all the pieces together. Good thing I know about partial seams.

Sad to say, “Calliope” has made a liar of me. I vowed to never make another large piece. This one is 74 inches high and has proved hard to photograph.


Filed under In Process, Modern Quilting, Project Ideas

2019’s Last Hurrah

Sorry I lied to you. It turns out I wasn’t finished with finishes for 2019, though the final one is more of a collaboration than a solo effort.

Several years ago I bought an Amish made wall hanging at a tag sale. It was sun faded and made with bland colors, but it had nice quilting. After it spent a few years as a table cover, I decided to over dye it. Despite several hours of soaking in a dye bath all the colors remained unchanged except for the cotton quilting thread. Sadly, my wall hanging was made mostly of polyester fabric.

I put it in the to-be-donated box and forgot about it until two weeks ago when I put together a box to take to a local veterans thrift store. I realized I could use the hanging as the base for new layers, and did just that with many smaller silk pieces cut into squares. I had wanted to use more of my silk fabrics before I died, so I was glad for the opportunity.

I sewed the squares down on top of the old squares with a zigzag stitch. My sewing lines are uneven as I found the original workmanship left something to be desired, with crooked, uneven piecing. The whole piece also curled a bit, even after blocking.

I filled in between the silk squares with mother of pearl buttons I inherited from my granny. They are tied on with hot pink crochet thread. Because one button is slightly darker than the others (leave it to my husband to notice that) I call it “There’s Always An Oddball.”

I left the original binding and hanging sleeve as is because I saw no reason to assume new binding would made a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. I still like the cable quilting in the borders.


Filed under Completed Projects