Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving in New York


Last week for Thanksgiving we drove to upstate New York to visit our best friends, Candace and Derek James.  Candace, Derek, and I were all together at the Pratt Institute a few years ago. Okay, a few decades ago but who’s counting? (Hint: I am NOT.)

Derek is a fine artist/painter. His work is many private collections including those of Tom Hanks and Bruce Springsteen...and that’s right, my house.

Dinner this year was a formal sit-down affair for 37 in his barn studio. China, stemware, sterling silver, twinkling lights, great friends, and great art! It was fabulous from soup to salad, to buffet turkey and trimmings.

Here’s the barn:


Inside, before dinner:

barn side 

barn front 

And after the transformation:



The day after Thanksgiving I went snooping in the barn. I can’t help myself! I opened a flat file drawer; my jaw dropped. Another drawer; another jaw-drop. Derek has hundreds of beautiful drawings and amazing small paintings.




While in the neighborhood, I couldn’t pass up a chance to visit my dear friend and author, the amazing Joan Lintault. Details about the visit, pictures of a work in progress and (drum roll please) a giveaway coming up this week.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Quilt Market Part III

Last June I tried long-arm quilting and discovered I’m more of a mid-arm woman. Ever since I took a class on the mid-arm Handi-Quilter machine, I’ve been looking at quilting patterns very carefully. In Houston this year I had plenty of gorgeous quilts to study. So much inspiration! Although I'm a long, long way from duplicating any of this master stitching, I’m determined to hone my skills. Look at these amazing quilts:

Whimsical, by Claudia Clark Meyers


Our Divine Miss Beetle, by Sonia Grasvik


Multiple Personalities, by Cynthia Goodwin




These quilts bowled me over with their use of color. Simply beautiful:

Harvest Tie-me, Frances Krupka


Joyful Garden, by Stephanie Nordlin


Ring Around the Aloe, by Lois Podolny




I am looking forward to next year’s trip to Houston already! I promise to take more photos next time.

Friday, November 19, 2010

International Quilt Market Part II

I’ve been back for a while, now, sorting through my pictures from my trip to Houston. I swear there were more quilts than usual this year and a few things you don’t normally see at a quilt show. I'm not even sure you can even classify these as a quilts but they sure are beautiful and make me laugh!




Take that Maidenform (and Madonna)!

I’ve been trying to pick a favorite from the show. It’s overwhelming and it’s impossible. There are so many quilts, so many talented, creative artists. I have a shortlist, though. One is this Asian quilt. I’m always partial to dragons and this particular piece was breathtaking. Called, Eastern Elements, and created by an Australian quilter, Linda Steele, it was an Asian version of a crazy quilt. Oh, how I’d like to hang this one in my home!

IMG_2864 IMG_2868

Keiko Goke, a really great Japanese fabric designer, did her amazing, fabulous version of a Wedding Ring quilt. I love the use of color and the non-traditional way she assembled the quilt.



Of course now that I am on my way to being a mid-arm quilt master (after one lesson….) I am studying at the stitch patterns in the quilting very closely. Hers is beautiful!

This weekend, a few more quilts that caught my eye, and next week (drum roll please) the first Dragon Thread Open Book Giveaway.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Paintsticks Monday!

Today was a totally fun day, a great way to start the week and get my creative juices moving.  Beth Schillig, our resident art quilter, came over and showed my book designer Kim, fellow quilter, Vicki and me how to use Shiva Paintstiks to create some beautiful fabric designs. I ordered my Paintstiks from Cedar Canyon Textiles but I think they are available at quilt shops everywhere.  Basically, Paintsticks are oil paints in a fat crayon form.

Beth teaches a class about fabric design with Paintsticks. You can check her new website. Kim, Vicki, and I were lucky enough to get private lessons! Beth came with all the supplies. First, she showed us how to use rubbing plates, stencils, rubber stamps, freezer paper stencils and then let us loose.

Here is the snowflower that Kim did with rubbing plates and her own stencil design.

This one is what Vicki did with a coneflower rubbing plate. 

The blending of the colors is what makes it so nice.

I painted gingko leaves on silk dupioni. I tried to blend colors for each leaf. It will be good to design my own fabric by either adding texture to a printed fabric or creating a pattern with the rubbing plates on a solid fabric.

This has to dry for 24 hrs and then we can add stitching. It's a fun and easy medium for surface design. Try it with your friends!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Houston Quilt Market Part I

I got back early this past week from the Houston International Quilt Market. I think it’s the 18th one for me. Market is for store owners only, not generally to the public. I had a booth there to sell our new book by Noriko Endo called, Confetti Naturescapes : Quilting Impressionist Landscapes.

It was fun to see all my old friends and make new ones as I wandered through hundreds of booths. I mean hundreds. No exaggeration! Many of the largest booths are fabric vendors. My favorite was Free Spirit and the new Jane Sassaman line called Garden Divas! I can’t wait to get my hands on some of this yardage with the bold graphics and beautiful colors. Jane is a master at fabric design. I’ve recommended it before, but her blog is always a great place to go for ideas:

Lots of people from around the globe stopped by the booth to say hello to either Noriko or me. It was terrific to see our new distributor from Barcelona. Our distributors from New Zealand spent some time telling me about their beautiful country. I was ready to get on a plane and go, but I’ll wait for another day!

Author, Susan Brubaker Knapp was by to tell us about her new DVD coming out soon called Master Machine Stitching: Thread Stitching Beyond the Basics that will be available next month. It is a follow up to her first DVD on Machine Stitching. (Watch this blog! Susan and I are doing a trade. I’ll have a copy of her DVD to give away and she’ll have a copy of the Confetti Naturescapes to give away on her blog.) Susan, by the way, has a fantastic blog, where she’s already put up a couple posts about the Quilt Market. Go take a look!

A big trend from fashion was seen at Market….zippers! Like you’ve never seen before! Lecien from Japan had invisible ones with printed tape…prints of trucks and lace and floral. Across from me was a Chinese manufacturer that had zippers with rhinestone teeth, multi-color metallic teeth on one zipper and striped grosgrain tape that was beautiful! People were wearing open zippers around their necks as badge holders!