Monday, June 13, 2011

FFFC 57, Art Deco/Art Noveau

I am about a week late, but I have completed the latest challenge for the Fast Friday Fabric Challenge group.  This month the task was to create a piece in the Art Deco/Art Noveau style.  I was excited about doing this as I had purchased some books from Dover dealing with this subject matter.  I had perused them many times, but had not gotten around to using the designs for a project.  That coupled with the fact that I am determined to use up some of my fabric stash, led me to creating a slightly Asian style Art Deco work. 

I began by drawing my own Art Deco pattern after looking at some of the shapes used in that style of art.  I then ironed fusible web to the back of the butterfly batik panel and cut out a circle shape.  Then I drew the cutting lines on the piece and cut it into sections.  I kept some of the sections and discarded the others.  I cut out a black circle a couple of inches larger than the batik circle, layed the batik sections on the circle and fused them.  I added a few of the discarded sections in order to create more interest in the piece.  After this, I stitched the sections down, added some quilting around the flowers and leaves, and then quilted the black background.  I used a varigated King Tut thread by Superior to stitch a decorative motif around each section to lift them of the background more.  I finished the outside of the circle with the same thread, but a different motif.  I then added piping around the edge to finish it off.  I am disappointed because the circle is not perfect, but am not willing to pull the piping off at this point.

This is the first quilted piece which I have sewn on my Janome 7700, and must say that I am very impressed by this machine and the free motion quilting capability which it has.  I loved my Viking Designer 1, but this machine is light years ahead of it in this area.  A lot of improvements have been made in the last nine years (I bought the Designer 1 in 2002) and I am just beginning to experience some of the strides which have been made.  What a blessing this machine is going to be!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Fractured Quilts 2011 Exchange

I was so excited to make it back to Klamath Falls, Oregon last week as our group which does the Fractured Fiber Art was meeting to exchange pieces.  Then the arduous task of reassembling and completing the pieces begins.  This year, in my opinion, no one piece stood out above the others.  Everyone worked very, very hard to produce the best product which they could and the end results shout that out!  Thank you very much Dona, Joanne, Kathy & Susan for your commitment to excellence.  Without further ado, here are the pieces and a short explanation of them.

Susan's Bird nest was taken from a painting by one of her friends.  Each piece is very dimensional, done with a lot of roving, yarns, threads, feathers, and actual fiber from a palm tree.  The bottom of the nest will stand out a little bit from the background so the eggs can tuck into it.  The background on the third piece from the left will either be replaced or toned down to flow across the piece.  That was my section, and honestly, the original picture had blue and green on that part of the painting.

L-R, Kathy, Joanne, Louise, Dona

 The next piece belongs to Kathy Adams who combined three pictures to draw this scene depicting her Grandmother's catch at her favorite camping spot.  Joanne and Kathy did Gramma with her catch and the detail is very life like.  Kathy requested that the mountains and the ground pieces be done in a traditional pieced style, which seems to flow together quite well.  The two large trees are quite dimensional, begging to be touched.  Everyone provided Kathy with lots of bushes, grasses, foliage pieces, etc. which will be added after the quilting is completed.  It is really a wonderful piece, but lots of work and ingenuity will be required to get it put together and finished.

L-R, Kathy, Joanne, Dona, Susan, Louise
Dona chose to do zebras for her piece.  She did the background felted piece directly behind the zebras and each of the rest of us got a zebra to complete.  Dona provided us with the pattern and a color palette to use on the zebra which we were given.  Initially, we tried to exchange some fabric for the zebras to obtain some continuity in the piece, but soon discovered that each zebra was a different color.  The base fabric for each zebra was either found in our stashes or painted and then the stripes were cut from fabric or felted wool, fused on and then further embellished.  Each zebra seems to have a definite personality and Dona will have to showcase that in her finished product.  We auditioned several backgrounds, and the final one will be left up to Dona. As one of our quilting friends used to say, "her quilt, her way."

L-R, Susan, Kathy, Louise, Joanne

Joanne chose to draw a rain forest scene, providing each of us with a line drawing of the whole piece and the pattern for our section.  She also gave us a color palette to follow and then sent us on our way to create.  This piece really stops you in your tracks for a number of reasons, first and foremost the colors!  After that, the dimension and all the interesting pieces draw you in.  An arsenal of techniques was used by everyone on this piece and it begs for a closer look and maybe some petting! 

The tree on the left, Louise, the ground layer, Kathy, the parrots and background, Joanne,the plants above ground level, Susan, and the tree and flowers on the right, Dona

The last piece is the one which I am doing which is about a young Indian man from my tribe, Jackson Bussell.  This piece has truly been a labor of love and a spiritual walk for me.  In so many ways it has touched my heart and those of the other women who have worked on it along with Jackson's family.  I can see the hand of God guiding this piece.  He has, and continues to mesh together so many lives and situations to bring this piece to fruition.  I believe that it truly is blessed by God and meant to be a testimony and honor to Jackson's life and his love for God.  The main figure is Jackson, taken from a photo of him in his Chicken Dance Regalia performing at a powwow.  The other figures are Chicken Dancer drawings done by his stepfather Marc McNair and created from those line drawings.  Numerous techniques were used, fabric painting, needle felting, beading, etc.  Not all of the small pieces have been affixed as of yet, but believe me, it is going to be over the top when it is completed.  Thanks to each of my Fractured friends and Jackson's family for allowing me to be a part of doing this work of art.

Top L, Susan's Chicken Dancer, Bottom L, Kathy's, Center, Jackson top half, Joanne, Bottom half, Dona, R Chicken Dancer, Louise

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

8 hours of intense labor!

I have been thinking of learning how to make a small basket for Jackson's fracture which I am working on.  Last week I went to Madonnna Needle Works in Morgan Hill, CA, and a woman was teaching a class in making minature baskets.  Nancy Jones, the teacher, offered to give me a private lesson on coiling baskets on Sunday.   Of course I felt like a total klutz, but Nancy was very patient with me.   After 5 hours I had the start of a basket, about 1" in diameter!  Not fast work, but I did enjoy it.  I worked on it some more on Monday just to cement the process in my head and it is now about 2".  I think I would like to make it between 4-5" and see how it looks.  It is something which I think that I will enjoy pursuing.  I thought it was very funny that a non-Indian taught me how to coil a basket!  Go figure.  Thanks Nancy, you are a great teacher, and I have made a new friend.

I also worked on finishing the moccasins for Young Buck and have temporarily attached them to him.  I am very happy with them, now I need to finish the arm bands, which is also proving to be lots of work and size 14 beads are itsy, bitsy things!  I will work on shading once I have attached him permanently to the quilt piece.  I feel like I am really making progress on him, but I need to put him away and finish a couple of odds and ends on the rest of the fractures before I get to Klamath Falls.  

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My New Best Friend!

I am superexcited today, as I just purchased a new Janome 7700 Horizon for a great price at Eddie's Quilting Bee (  I have been salivating over this machine since it's release in the spring of 2010.  The sewing machine tech who usually services my machine for me in Klamath Falls, Jeremy Franklin (  )  told me last May that I would probably need a new machine in the not to distant future.  I have had my Viking Designer 1 for over ten years and parts were just wearing down!  It has been a great machine, but I didn't need all the bells and whistles this time around because I primarily do art quilting and don't use all the additional features which come with the top of the line machines.  If any of you follow Leah Day's 365 Days of Free Motion Quilting website ( ), she has used the Horizon for the last year and for the most part has only good things to say about the machine.  I have also read reviews by others who have the machine, and for the purposes for which I will use it, it seems like the best machine for me at a great price.  My Viking will be gifted to my oldest daughter Carly (unfortunately, there is limited space in my motorhome)  and hopefully the quilting muse will someday speak to her spirit.  In the mean time, I am sure that she will put it to good use making things for her home.  What a blessing this is and I am truly thankful for it!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

More work on Young Buck!

I have spent the last few days working on this piece and feel that he is really coming along well.  I worked on the ribbons for his apron and added some more stitching on his breast plate.  I really felt that I needed to get him on a background before proceeding much further.  I dyed three pieces of cheesecloth and finally decided on the final one which I did.  It is dyed using Dynaflow Brick Red and Burnt Umber along with adding highlights of Luminere Gold and Copper.  Initially the cheesecloth piece was to large for him, but I didn't want to cut it up and lose the organic edges which had been created in the dying process.  So I just began folding and scrunching and ironing the piece to reduce the size.  The cheesecloth is layered onto a piece of lightweight suede upholstery fabric is a soft brown/gray color.  After attaching it with some small pieces of fusible webbing I added the young buck by trapuntoing him.  I will not permanently attach any of his regalia until I have quilted the background.

His yellow headpiece (a maribou hair clip found at JoAnne ),  will have some added lime green deer hair and purple something to it to complete it.  I am in the process of making his hair and beading moccasins and arm bands for him.  After that, I will add feathers, bells and necklaces to complete him.  I am thrilled with the way he is developing and feel that he will only compliment the focal point of Jackson.  This is such a fun piece to work on!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Fractured Quilt, "Young Buck"

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I have been working on pieces for the fractured art group which I belong to since last October.  It has been an enjoyable experience for me as I get to learn new techniques and utilize old ones in order to interpret the pieces as I see fit.  I have been very busy finishing up pieces for the other four women in the group and just began working on my own piece yesterday. 

I am very excited about it, as I have chosen to do a piece related to one of my many cultural backgrounds (I am what many call Heinz 57, as my parents were of various lineages).  I am an enrolled member of the Klamath,Tribe located in Chiloquin, Oregon.  Our tribe is made up of Klamath, Modoc, and Yahooskin people.  I have wanted to do something depicting a Native American Dancer for some time.  With God putting together all the parts, I am honored to do a piece featuring Jackson Bussell, a young man of Modoc descent.  Jackson was first and foremost a child of God, a devoted son to his mother Felicia McNair, a professional boxer, a Chicken Dancer, and a student of engineering at OIT in Klamath Falls, OR.   Jackson was also a very good role model not only for young people but for those of us who call ourselves Christian.  Jackson collapsed in the boxing ring at the end of a professional fight on September 20,2007 and went to "kick it with God" as his mom says.  His life story drew me in and I want to honor Jackson and the things which were important to him in this piece.  You can read about him  at:

All of the other women in the group have been working on their parts for this piece which I believe will be titled "Sacred Ground" to  honor this God loving young man.  I have truly enjoyed working on another Chicken Dancer, part of my work for this creation,  who I call "Young Buck" in remembrance of a term my mother, Marilyn Hall, used when talking about IIndian men who were younger than her.  The pattern for my Chicken Dancer and two others which will be used in this work were drawn by Marc McNair, Jackson's stepfather. 

I enlarged the pattern, copied the pieces onto fabric which had been fused, cut the pieces out and began assembling him. After assembling his body, I added the apron and chest piece.  I used some braid to decorate around the edges of these pieces and then used some decorative stitches on my machine stitched with metallic thread to decorate the chest piece.  I have a little bit more stitching to do on it, but need some different thread colors.  I am in the process of stitching ribbons to hang over the apron.  The belt to the apron is a copper piece of leather which came from my stash.  The heart in his left hand will be trapuntoed, and the mirror piece in the center is a reflective material which my friend Joanne purchased in a fly tying shop. I will be adding more decorative stitching, arm cuffs, moccasins, roach for the head, hair, etc. in the next week hopefully.  I have to say that I am really enjoying working on this piece because it holds so much meaning for Jackson's family, myself, and the other women in the fractured art group.  It will truly be an amazing piece of art when it is finished.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Ethan and Caleb's Portrait Quilts

I began these two pieces while staying in Spokane before Christmas.  I had completed Caleb's portrait, but just began Ethan's before we left for southern California in February.  I have been working on various fractured pieces, but knew that I had to complete these before returning to Washington in June, otherwise my daughter would just have one more promise of something which I was going to do for her.

Caleb's portrait was taken from a picture of him while he was on an annual camping trip with Nate's (Caleb's Daddy's) family at Icicle near Leavenworth, WA.  Caleb was spending some time fishing in the river with a stick rigged with string and a bottle cap.  I have titled this piece "Caleb, a Fisher of Men!" which is who I believe he will grow up to be some day.

Ethan's portrait is of a picture taken while he, Caleb, and their mommy were at the strawberry farm picking fruit for jam, which they also do annually.  Usually Ethan and Caleb have full tummies and red faces by the time the journey is over.  I titled this one "Ethan the Harvester".  I believe that his walk with God is just beginning and that he (Ethan) will do great things for his holy Father!

"Ethan the Harvester"

"Caleb, a Fisher of Men!"

Both pieces will attached to wrapped canvas and hung as portraits.  My next portrait quilt will be of my daughter Mandi, her husband Nick, and my granddaughter Pearl taken at their wedding over a year ago.  I think that this time I will try fused fabric rather than painting the faces and body parts!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

FFFC 56 "Splintered Leaves"

Original UFO

"Splintered Leaves"
The most recent FFFC was announced on Thursday and after working on it for the last two days, I have completed it and am pleased with the result.  I was the first one to post a completed piece on the FFFC Blog, and that is most definitely a first for me and an accomplishment which probably won't be reached again!

I had already been thinking about what I would use as a background for the next challenge, one of my UFO's!  I had another one in mind, but after digging through my stash underneath the bed in my motorhome, I came across this piece and decided it would work with the challenge theme of Nature's Rhythm.  I began with a piece of sun printed fabric which I had done about five years ago.  I had already trapuntoed the leaves, but was not enamored with the results, so I put it away, as I seem to do with a lot of the pieces which I am not happy with.  Little did I know, that I would eventually pull it out to recycle, redesign and rebirth it!

The piece had already been trapuntoed and layered for quilting before I rejected it.  All I had to do was finish the trapunto and cut away behind all the leaves.  After that, I took it to my cutting mat and began disassembling it with my rotary cutter.  Then I fitted the pieces back together in a fashion which looked good to my eyes and joined them with a zigzag stitch.  After that, I layered a thin flannel backing behind the piece and begin quilting the open areas and around the leaves.  I enhanced the trapuntoed leaves with jaquard and setacolor metallic paint.  I made 1/4" bias tape and applied it first with glue and then decorative stitching to cover my joining stitches.  My plan is to attach it to a prewrapped canvas and hang it as a piece of wall art.  It measures approximately 18 x 20".

I am very happy with the way the piece finished out.  I really like the color combination and the happy accident that the trapuntoed leaves form a diagonal pattern.  I am wondering if I need to somehow enhance the quilting in the right top corner to make the piece more visually balanced.  I was thinking about darkening the background behind the leaves to lift them, but this is supposed to be an abstract, so I am not sure that is warranted.  I also want the colors and interesting paint patterns to be apparent.  Any and all comments and suggestions are welcomed and appreciate.

Friday, April 8, 2011


Wow, it has been three and a half months since my last post and I have no excuses for that!  Well almost none.  We were able to head south in February since our son-in-law returned home from his tour of duty in Afghanistan early.  The tank which he was in hit an IED, but thankfully he only reinjured his back and returned home safely.  We are counting our blessings and thanking God that he is home in one piece. 

I have to admit that I was seduced by the sun, blue skies, and warmer temperatures here on our RV lot just outside of Palm Springs.  I have been spending most of my time playing, learning a new hobby, making new friends and enjoying the wonderful places to eat out here.  I have been doing some quilting in my spare time and have managed to finish four of the five pieces for the Fractured Quilt Group which I belong to.  I haven't done the last two challenges for the FFFC, but decided that I needed to produce something for the March challenge which is Dance/Movement.

I decided to do a piece featuring a Native American female dancer.  I began with a piece of white fabric and traced the figure onto it using pen and ink.  I then drew the triangle pieces coming in behind her.  I trapuntoed the dancer, added the batting, and then quilted the whole piece before coloring it with Inktense Watercolor pencils, Tsukinkeo Inks, Gel Pens and Jaquard and Setacolor paints.  I initially had an orange background but couldn't make it work, so I painted over it with brown and copper paint and then antiqued it with the brown, adding more copper for highlights.  I am very happy with the movement of this piece which I think was achieved through the background quilting.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

FFFC 52 "Endless Summer"

Happy New Year everyone, I pray that this year will bring you more love, peace, and happiness than you could ever imagine.  The last year was ushered out with a visit to our daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren in Lake Stevens, WA.  New Years Eve was welcomed in with our daughter and granddaughter in Spokane.  The weather is cool, subzero, but the sun is shining, which I will take as a good omen for the coming year.  I managed to finish the challenge for the FFFC group which I joined in September and to also get a walk in today!
Okay, this group is really pushing my boundaries, but in a good way.  I was going to use the holidays and travel as an excuse to not complete this challenge.  The real reason being that abstract quilts are a new venue for me and understanding the colorfield concept was difficult for me.  But hey, I am three for three for these challenges, so I forged ahead!  A post a couple of days ago cleared the waters a little for me, so I went ahead and attempted a piece.

I have titled my adventure "Endless Summer" which is what I am wishing for in the subzero temperatures of Spokane, WA.  I chose the colors of blue (for the sky), green (for the plants), and yellow (for the sun).  I pulled out a piece of white silk and used my dyes to paint it, which is another first for me.  Once the foundation was done, I struggled with what to add to it.  I have been reading some posts about lutradur and it's transparency, so I decided to paint it with the same colors.  After it was dry, I sliced it and diced it and then rearranged the pieces into a grid pattern.  I think that if I had diluted my dyes more, the grid would have blended more into the background, but I didn't really consider this until everything was already put together.  I then quilted it with vines and leaves, and yes, those are the sun's rays peeking out of the squares!  I echo quilted around the grid and am thinking that I will add more rays on the outside of the grid.  I believe that it loosely fits what I understand to be the colorfield style.  It is okay if I didn't hit it on all levels, because I love my piece and it brightened my otherwise very cool day!