Tag Archives: art quilts

So Close

Over the past week I have diligently quilted “Full Sail” so I’d have something to talk to you about. Well, it’s almost done, but I want to be sure I’ve done all the quilting I think it needs before I face the edges.

“Full Sail” approximately 18 by 26 inches

I chose to stick close to my source photo for the quilting lines rather than go off piste clever. KISS and all that. By my count I used eight different threads ranging from off white to steel gray. Most were 50 weight, though one was a 12 weight. For most of the stitching I used the basic machine stitch, though I changed up to a denim stitch for some of the ropes. For the blue sections I threw in some light blue rayon thread for variety, and changed the line spacing a bit.

My big should I/shouldn’t I question is whether to add more quilting to the sail on the right side. Right now it’s the least quilted section, and I like the way the sail seems to billow. I think it’s a good contrast to the more tethered center sail. Maybe I just need to add more to the dark section. Feel free to comment.

Sail on right side.

Here’s more detail shots.

The center sail
Changes in line spacing

In earlier posts I forgot to mention that much of the fabric I used was hand dyed by Vicki Welsh. I want to give credit where it’s due.


Filed under Art quilts, In Process

Slow Motion Finish

Finally it’s done, I thought as I sewed the hanging sleeve on “Shattered” yesterday. Unlike most of my work, this piece has been a multi-year effort. I wrote about its genesis from a photo of a broken mirror earlier (here and here.) To recap, I had Spoonflower print fabric from my photo in 2019, did the initial composition in 2020, solidified the design in early 2021, and quilted the piece in June and July of 2021.

Usually it wouldn’t take me four weeks to quilt a small (roughly 2 by 3 feet) piece, but problems with my neck have limited my sewing machine time. Like Nora Ephron “I Feel Bad About My Neck.” In my case though the bad feeling is from pain, not vanity.

“Shattered” 22 inches by 38.5 inches

The materials I used besides the printed photo include hand dyed cotton and damask, silver lame, and novelty yarn.

You’d think I would choose to go light on the quilting. Hah!


I did walking foot and free motion quilting using six different threads, including metallic, which was a pain as usual. The edges are faced, but I tried sewing 1/8 inch grosgrain ribbon along the raw edges before adding the facings. It’s a technique for stabilizing edges I read about in a Jean Wells’ book. It seems to reduce waviness, but the true test will be on a larger quilt.


I’m relieved to have it done and be able to move on to a new project. At this point I can’t tell how I feel about it beyond relief since I’ve been so close to it for four weeks. I should reach a better assessment after I’ve ignored it for a few months.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.


Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects, Fabric Printing

Quilts On The Wall

Recently I’ve been trying out some apps that show how my work would look actually hanging in a room. It’s in aid of ways to display my work online if I decide to offer my work for sale. The two I’ve tried so far are WallApp by OhMyPrints and PhotoFunia. Both are free for basic versions. Many more fee based similar apps are out there, as well.

At first I thought Wall App was the answer to my needs. It’s easy to use and offers the option to upload a photo of your own room. You can download the mockup you create to your computer. Downsides are the company watermark on the lower left and the inability to accurately scale your work to the room and furniture dimensions. I guesstimated using the app’s built in resizer.

“Phosphenes” hung above a desk.

Then, I ran into a problem. As I saved more mockups, the saved copies had big black bands across them, like a shutter being lowered. I tried on another computer and had the same issue. I have no idea what the cause is. At first I thought maybe a user gets only a few free downloads, but the app makes no mention of a fee based option, which shot down that theory. I’ve searched online for mention of this problem but have had no luck. Any ideas or solutions are welcome.

PhotoFunia is designed to add many special effects to your photos, but only a few options actually put your work on a wall. Some of those options add filters to your work. They get in the way of showing my stuff as it is. Again, your photos are scaled to fit the frames, so true sizes of work can’t be shown.

“A Hazy Shade of Winter” in triplicate. Photo Gallery option
“Kansas” in a fancy frame. Painting Snap option. Note how the work is also shown on the phone.
“Identical Opposites” side by side. Photo Exhibition option.
“Heart In Gold” in a gold frame. Painting Snap option.

I think that showing any art work in situ helps a buyer get a better idea of how the piece might look in a room. Certainly, serious art sellers are using these options more and more as more art commerce goes online. For now, I think I’ll stick with the free apps. If I get serious about selling my work I’ll revisit my decision.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.


Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects

The Paths Often Taken

Desire lines are paths “created as a consequence of erosion caused by human or animal foot traffic. The path usually represents the shortest or most easily navigated route between an origin and destination. … Desire paths emerge as shortcuts where constructed paths take a circuitous route, have gaps, or are non-existent.” (Wikipedia) If you have been on a campus or a street with no paved walks you have most likely seen informal desire lines worn down to dirt.

Such paths weren’t on my mind when I began my quilt “Desire Lines” but once I began the quilting the subject snapped into focus. Much of the fabric and quilting structure is rectangular, yet the white lines in the dark purple/blue fabric suggested parts of paths to me that needed to connect irrespective of a grid.

“Desire Lines” 24 by 34 inches

To emphasize the informal paths I hand stitched two curving paths in red, orange, and yellow.

“Desire Lines” detail

I finished the edges with fused strips of dyed Pimatex using Frieda Anderson’s method and added a line of orange stitching to make sure the strips stay put.

It’s always interesting to see how a piece can find its way, no matter how nebulous its starting point.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.


Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects

The Year That’s Been

I thought I hadn’t been much affected mentally by the pandemic. I had my health and my art, and my family was safe. I used the extra time in isolation to explore mixed media – collage, gelli printing, painting. Thank you internet. Much of my sewn work was either long overdue finishes or scrappy pieces. Then I came to grips with two serious pieces I created over the past year. It seems my unconscious was having quite a response to the year, whatever I thought.

“Shattered,” the first piece, was based on a photo of a broken mirror. I distorted and recolored it in Photoshop and had Spoonflower print the result.

I chopped up the fabric and inserted strips of dyed damask and novelty yarn, but I found the result lacked something.

“Shattered” first draft

Finally, after this attempt was banished to the closet for months, I realized it needed color contrast. Back on the design wall it went, and I added orange.

As it now stands, with thanks to Jane Dunnewold for the grid reminder.

Of course, I still have to figure out how to quilt it, but I think it captures our lives during the past year with the orange representing slivers of hope. Funny how that solution emerged after the Covid vaccines were developed.

The second piece, “Letting Go,” was based on a photo taken by my friend Penny. It also used an edited photo printed on fabric, along with hand dyed fabric and a smidge of commercial fabric.

The original photo of steps on a hiking trail.

I drew an outline based on the photo, and made freezer paper templates. I had planned to piece the steps but decided I could get the effect I wanted with paint and quilting.

Before quilting and applique

After I added a lot of shading with water soluble crayons (Neocolor II) and netting, I realized I wanted the piece to represent a lightening of my burdens as I climbed to a less dark place. I created rocks as stand-ins for burdens, and appliqued them to the lower steps.

“Letting Go” quilted, 24 by 34 inches

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I don’t make “message” quilts. Chalk up another change to the past year.


Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects

My Sewing Machine Gets Used

Fear not, I still use my sewing machine for quilting. In between splashing paint and gluing magazine pages on paper I finished three fabric pieces.

First, “Suspended,” which I showed you before. It’s now all faced and even has a hanging sleeve (pats self on back.)

I did finish it vertically, but if someone wanted a horizontal orientation it’s easy to change.
Detail that shows how much painted and printed fabric I used.

Next, I made “Win-Win” on a whim. Actually, I wanted to avoid some FMQ, so I pulled out my donated felted wool scraps (thanks, Felice) and combined them with thickened dye painted cloth and needle felted wool squares that don’t play well with my other ones.

First, I quilted the background, then hand stitched the felt down.
I always loved the backing fabric, but could never find a way to use it. Better on the back than in the closet.

Finally, I tackled the FMQ and bulled my way through an untitled piece, informally called gray circles.

Lots of painting and printing, plus some last minute slashing and rearranging.
Detail of india ink and graphite.
Detail of painted areas.

I’d like your help with the untitled one. Obviously, it needs a name but I can’t come up with anything better than gray circles. An Instagram follower suggested “The Pink Line” but that doesn’t do it for me. Please send me any ideas you have. As I was making it I thought of industrial pollution (how cheery) and the oil tank fields I used to see on my way to the Philadelphia airport. Another inspiration was the color of oil on rain covered streets. I wanted to change my palette with this one and I certainly succeeded.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.


Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects

Fabric Collage

One of this year’s experiments has finally come together into a finished piece I’ve named “Suspended,” which I hesitate to call a quilt. I think fabric collage is a more descriptive term. More and more I’m using this big piece approach as lots of cutting and pressing cause problems with tendonitis in my dominant arm.

It began with chunks of cloth I had done some form of surface design on. Here’s my first mock-up, which is much wispier than where the piece ended up.

I had originally planned diagonal thin strips.

I sewed blocks of silk and cotton I had painted and printed to a piece of cotton drill cloth with no regard for finished edges. A lot of trimming and shaping went on as I wrestled with a layout. I realize it may not look that way, but trust me on this.

On top of that I sewed down chunks of silk organza I had monoprinted, plus a bit of an old curtain. Finally, I glued random strips and squares of cotton fabric over it all.

“Suspended” after sewing down the fabric chunks, with some organza. I ended up cutting off at least 6 inches horizontally and some 3 inches vertically to reach proportions that worked for me.
Computer drawing of possible overlays.
First try with actual overlays. It definitely needed more.
Completed top

I quilted it with off kilter lines, following the Marcia Derse backing fabric. I emphasized the thin strips with 30 weight thread and a jeans stitch. I’m still debating whether “Suspended” should have a vertical or horizontal orientation. It’s roughly 22 by 26 inches. Let me know your opinion.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.


Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects

My First Ever Giveaway


I will mail (U.S. only) nine small works pictured below that I’ve created for classes and exercises to blog readers selected at random. Most have hung in my house, but I am ready to release them.


I have too much stuff and I received an unexpected check for a Honda air bag settlement that will cover postage for nine packages.


Drawing will be open from Thursday, July 30, 2020, to Wednesday, August 5, 2020.


Leave a comment on this post that specifies the number(s) of the work(s) you’d like. Please give at least your first name and last initial. A full name is appreciated. Only one work will be sent to each winner. I will draw winners at random, list the winners in next week’s post and ask the winners to send me their mailing information. If I don’t hear back within a week, I will select another winner for that item.


  1. Arch (9 x 12”)
Number 1 – Arch

2. Art (11.5 x 13” hanging sleeve)

Number 2 – Art

3. Eyes (9 x 12”)

Number 3 – Eyes

4. Ferny (17.5” square)

Number 4 – Ferny

5. Geese (pillowcase 14.5” square)

Number 5 – Geese

6. Opening Up (10 x 13.5”)

Number 6 – Opening Up

7. Openings (9 x 11”)

Number 7 – Openings

8. Silk (14.5 x 10.5”)

Number 8 – Silk

9. Spring  (12.4 x 14.5”)

Number 9 – Spring


Filed under Art quilts

Vertigo, Not Whiplash

Earlier I mentioned pieces that I kept pulling off my design wall to make room for work that was flowing more easily and I actually had a plan for. I estimate “Vertigo” was on and off the design wall at least four times, which is the whiplash part of my post’s title. The name itself comes from a viewer’s  initial reaction.

In this post I talked about photos I had printed on fabric. As is usually the case, I didn’t want to cut up my printed fabric so it languished in the closet. What better time than a pandemic to force oneself to stop viewing that fabric as too precious to use. I worked on the mirror fabric for a bit, but got truly stuck. I’ll save that one for another time. Then, I took my rotary cutter to the footbridge fabric. It began like this.

I guess all those straight lines made me think of curves, because that’s what I turned it into.

I added fabric from my mark making class and solid organic cottons, which are lovely to work with. Finally I got the curve I wanted and cut the sides to be mirror images. The middle took a bit more time as I auditioned fabrics.

While I like the notion of extending the built environment theme, there’s not enough contrast between the building and bridge images.

I’ve been trying to find a use for that pink/gray damask for years, but this isn’t it. Just too wishy-washy.

The color of the hand dyed fabric (a gift) I eventually chose evokes rust and the pattern is bold enough to contrast with the black and white. However, it needed something to keep the image from resembling the Eye of Sauron. At first the gray and white strip went straight down the middle, but on the advice of a perceptive friend I gave it a curve.

After all the angst of fabric choices construction was surprisingly easy. Big curves are much easier to sew than 4 inch ones. “Vertigo” now waits its turn in the quilting queue.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.


Filed under Art quilts, In Process

Weird Fabric Finds A Home

Several years ago I snapped up a yard of odd mottled rose/gray fabric because it was just $5. Ever since it’s been hanging with my yardage, being passed over each time I look for a new quilt palette.

Finally I had two project palettes that actually worked with my long overlooked fabric – a bowl and a small quilt.

My second fabric bowl has subdued colors and I couldn’t find anything to cover the rim until I remembered that fabric. It slipped in nicely with hand dyed fabric from Vicki Welsh, hand painted pole wrapped shibori, and batik scraps.

My small quilt, named “Concrete” because of its inspiration, used some of that fabric as well, mostly in the column near the right side.

The inspiration? This magazine photo of Boston’s City Hall. The building is considered an outstanding example of Brutalist architecture, which features lots of poured concrete.

My piece doesn’t capture the depth of the photo and the receding diagonal lines, which are probably what attracted me in the first place, but I can always make another version. Maybe I’ll use less pink next time.


Filed under Art quilts, Commentary, In Process