Saturday, July 30, 2005

Jazz Quilt--DONE!!

I don't understand rules that preclude you from showing your quilt on your own website if you're entering them into shows and I'm hoping that posting this one won't affect it for the future, but here's "My Fabulous Cousin Jo Sings Jazz".

Children & Fools

You know the saying about how God loves children and fools, because I sure did run around like a raving lunatic today. If only you knew what I went through to get those slides off for Jazz Quilt. You'd be surprised at the lack of quick slide turnarounds anymore.
  1. Bought a cheapo 35mm film camera which promptly auto-rewound my slide film @ 3am.
  2. Ran to the pro-photo shop in the morning to buy 2 more (in case the camera got hungry again)
  3. Took photos of quilt to give slides to hubby to run to a Georgetown photo lab
  4. Clutch cable on car broke on hubby en route to me @ work downtown
  5. Hubby's best friend is in vicinity of my office and takes slides to G'town for me instead
  6. I go to company picnic
  7. Hubby, after car in to auto shop, picks me up and we pick up slides
  8. We go to FedEx. Bye bye slides!
Whew! What a load off!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Japanese Tie-Dyeing (Shibori)

Sometimes I like to throw in a little something for our dye folks on the list. I can't say I'm not a bit fascinated myself.

I think that shibori is such an interesting technique. I never knew it was so time consuming, but the outcome is always so beautiful. There are Japanese pieces that took months just to tie! You can find out more about the history of shibori tie-dyeing at the Arimatsu-Narumi Museum of Tie-Dyeing in Japan. This site has a nice overview of the different styles. Very cool site.

Still stitching and embellishing away on the jazz quilt...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Shows and Standards

OK...I understand the whole thing about volunteers, non-profit, file formats, etc., but why why why do most shows & exhibits still insist on slides?

The turnaround time and expense for digital-to-slide is still a pain when you need them done last minute. I haven't owned a 35mm in 4 years and everyone I know either uses digital like I do or those inexpensive disposable types, so I don't know anyone with a 35mm with zoom.

It's almost hilarious really, but being the procrastinator that I am, I have a quilt to shoot and get slides FedExed to IL by August 1st. That's right--August 1st and it's the 26 of July. Yeah, I know. Procrastination's a bad thing. A very bad thing...but darn it, when you're pressed for time, trying to hunt down a dang 35mm with zoom is even worse!

No Lightning Bolt and a Happy Ending!

My day seemed suck-y: went to the dentist and had some work done (ow), locked my keys in the ignition of my car and had to wait 3 hours for them to pop it (boo), and the postcard thing (ow).

Then I got a great email from Virginia that totally made up for the rest of the day. When she actually received the postcard, she found it to be way prettier than the scanned pic of it. (Oops. Lesson learned about the power of your pictures). Turns out there was a patron who had wanted to participate and had missed it. She thought it was beautiful too and bought it. Yay! Happy ending for all and I'm glad I was able to contribute after all.

This is the first time I have ever sold anything quilt-related and I'm so glad that it was for such a good cause!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Lightning Bolt's a Comin'

I don't know whether to be embarrassed or what...

I submitted "Los Girasoles" into the Fiber Art for a Cause ACS fundraiser and it was posted Friday. Yay in that regard as I was glad to be a part of it, but as of yesterday, it was still unsold although everyone else's around mine sold. Today one of my family members told me they couldn't find it on the site at all and they were right--it wasn't there anymore. I contacted Virginia and it turns out that she did take it down when refreshing the page with new pieces. Now my piece is going to be returned to me. She said my work was beautiful, but I am so very sad about this. It's just a postcard right?

I feel a little wrong for even saying anything about this.

Where's that lightning bolt, because I need to get out of its way.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Fun Fun Fun

I've been experimenting with Dye Na Flow. "Experimenting" meaning "I have no idea what I'm doing." Thought I might do something bold and bright for the background of Jazz Quilt. That center spot is where her head will be. I tried to make it so that the colors would go around her. I wanted nice purples and blues and green and this is what I came up with. My husband walked into the room where it's hanging and said, "Ohmigod, it's beautiful!" Hubbies are so cool. It kind of reminds me of the hand-dyed dress I brought back from Senegal. Next time I'll try not to have so much white in it. Oops. Live and learn.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Dyeing With Laughter

Well, my attempts at coloring fabric were interesting--to say the least. I fanfolded one, scrunched up another and baggie-immersed another one. I was working with smaller pieces to get a feel for it. I have found that I make a mess. A big mess along the scale of home-dyeing my hair big. I got really acquainted with Clorox Clean-Up last night and I gave myself a green thumb.


If anything, I now know that turquoise-y color isn't right for the quilt and I'll go a deeper green and deep blues and purples.

Somebody Say Fabric Paint???

Now that I have all that QA mess out of my system (relax relate release), I can focus again, LOL.

I have some Dye-Na-Flow and it's about to get realllllllly interesting down here in the basement. Consider it a starter introductory first-time thing. Next time I'll upgrade my dyestuff.

I'll let you know how it goes as I've never applied paint or dye to fabric in my life (not counting the pastels).

Have colors, will go for it...Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

To Blog or Not to Blog

There are reasons you shouldn't be in a craft supply store when you have time to kill...I ended up walking out of it with fabric paints, brushes, and this cool fabric kind of yarn. I rationalized it all as necessary for the jazz quilt.

The QuiltArt listserv recently had a big huge long debate about blogging and how it'll change the list blahblahblah. QA is an email listserv discussion. Blogs are personal/working journals. There is a difference. I'm not posting the minutiae of my life on a listserv, but I might just tell you about my day in my blog. The first point of contention was about how the list would be clogged with "see my blog"s. What do you think happens when so many people respond? Geesh. Scan the topics and hit delete already. QA can be so caustic that sometimes you don't want to actually post anything anyway. If it wasn't for the nuggets of real info like contests, etc., I wouldn't be subscribing.

The second point was about blogging's relevance. I figure it like this. You don't have to read or check them out if you don't want to. Free will's a wonderful thing. Personally, I enjoy checkng out other folk's blogs and links. I've found out about many other wonderful fiber artists and techniques and wow--I can actually see their work and thought processes. I know blogs help me keep track of mine.

The last one is the one that really gets me. The whole "I don't have time to blog because I'm so busy doing my work." That's B.S. and cry me a river. I work full-time, have a published book and another coming out in '06, I'm doing a writing project for Harvard U, webmaster, blog, and I still quilt--just check out my blog to see the proof. It's called scheduling and time management. I'm rolling my eyes right now. As if blogging takes an hour to do!

You all know I almost never rant in my postings. I'm usually pretty darn perky on here. They just really got under my skin.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Jazz Quilt Underway!

I'm a woman on a mission...

After missing out on the European Patchwork exhibit with Tish Groove, I am determined not to miss another deadline. I used the wax pastels to "paint" her and I'm going the Mrs. Mel route and fusing my little heart out with the Jazz Quilt. Here's what it's looking like so far and also a pic of my rigging the coffee table into a makeshift lightbox for making freezer paper templates.

Friday, July 15, 2005


I know that a lot of you in the AQ ring are going to relate to this:

After 3--count 'em--three months, I FINALLY got the Artful Quilters logo button to appear in the sidebar! Turns out I accidentally deleted a part of the code when I dropped it into my template.

I just had to share that, lol.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Fiberart for a Cause Postcard: "Los Girasoles"

I thought that I would make postcard pieces to contribute to Virginia Spiegel's Fiber Art for a Cause fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. (See below for current info on the project!)

I have lost persons who were close to me to the disease, yet I also have friends and family who are survivors. They inspire me.

When I was little I grew sunflowers in my grandparents' backyard. My granddad thought it was pretty odd, but helped me maintain them. In a way, it was odd, those sunflowers growing in an urban backyard in that really rough neighborhood. Yet they made me very happy, watching them grow strong and tall.

In a way they just seemed right for this piece...

Fiber Art for a Cause is now an international fundraising effort for the American Cancer Society through the donation and sale of fiber art postcards. It has raised over $33,000 in less than a year! Karey Bresenham, FFAC's honorary chair and Dir. of the Int'l Quilt Festival is donating space again for FFAC to sell postcards at IQF Chicago.

To participate, purchase cards, or contribute, please click on the link above!!

Tish Liberation

Ahhhhh...I can breathe easier. I trimmed that wide border off of "Tish Groove" and I am so much happier with it now. Problem solved. That border's been like an "Uh-Oh of the Month" for me it rankled me so much. I know now that it just didn't fit my original vision of the piece.

Quilt and learn.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Arrrrgh: "Tish Groove"

Have you ever had one of those moments where you look at a piece and you're like, What have I done? Well, I'm having one right now looking at Tish Groove. I'm thinking twice about that really wide border. Maybe it's the photo. Maybe it needs something more. Maybe when I put the binding on it'll all come together. It's just something about it that I'm just not feeling today.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

What Kind of Blogger Am I?

Cathy (and Gabrielle) made it so I couldn't resist! I now know what kind of blogger I am:

You Are a Life Blogger!

Your blog is the story of your life - a living diary.
If it happens, you blog it. And make it as entertaining as possible.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Books, Beauty, and Binding

I had an opportunity to get some research done at the Library of Congress today. I was in the main reading room of the Jefferson Building--which is the older building--and it is gorgeous. You're scribbling your notes under this beautiful 160-foot high dome with gildwork, mural paintings and statues everywhere. The only thing was the process. Definitely not your local library. You turn in a slip and 45 mins. later (or less) the book is brought to your desk. Voila! Great thing is, there's literally (no pun intended) just about every book you can think of. I finally got a chance to read African American quilt historian and scholar Cuesta Benberry's Always There: The African American Presence in American Quilts. Since it's out of print, it was a real treat.

As for quilts, my copy of my cousin's CD came today and I can see her photograph clearer. I'm ready to start the Jazz Quilt now.

As for "Tish Groove", I have to finish the beading on it and bind it. Oooooooo...

Tish Groove...Hmmm...

OK...This is "Tish Groove" so far. It's almost done. I have to add the binding to it. I have this great African fabric that I'm going to use. Almost...there...Can't quite see the stitches in the wide border in this photo.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Starbirth: Lagoon & Swan Nebulas--Done!

Well, here are two of my "Starbirth" series quiltlets. They're only about 8 x 16-17". I'm really pleased with how Lagoon turned out.

Nebula Clouds postcard

Since I had some of the wax pastel fabric left over, I put together a quick little postcard-sized one and named it "Nebula Clouds".



My thoughts are with the citizens of London. Living in D.C., I know that feeling afterwards when something terrible like this has occurred in your home. My prayers are with the victims and their families.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


Given that "Tish Groove" is my first time doing any extensive machine quliting on a larger piece, I realized when I was done quilting that I have what looks like 50 million threads on the back now! Dear God. Remember...I've always handquilted so there are fewer thread ends to contend with. I turned to my husband and said, "What the heck am I supposed to do with all of these? Bury them in the batting? It'll take forever." He looked at all the threads and just said, "Wow."

With the "Starbirth" pieces, I'll admit that I clipped and knotted them, then pillowcased it for faced edges and fused the "external" backing fabric over it all. I can't say that I care if I can see the stitches on the back. All I know is that looking at the back of TG I'm prepared to do the same thing all over again!

Yikes...all those threads, LOL!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


Between all of the exhibits and Ethiopian food and doing nothing all day today (which was wonderful!), my husband and I went to a surprise 30th birthday party on Saturday for a friend of ours. He was genuinely surprised (his fiancee's ruse being that there was a bug she needed him to get from the room). He was really happy to see us, as he hadn't seen my husband since we all shared a room together in a haunted castle in Ireland (a-HA! Now there's a whole other story to tell!) back in November. That made us instant friends for certain.

As everyone else was leaving, our friends asked us to stay and we ended up talking and laughing for hours and hours and had dinner together. They had recently moved into their very pretty home, which became theirs through sheer serendipity. What a great time we had! It's always nice when you realize you have made friends that you genuinely like and enjoy their company, isn't it?

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Had My High Fiber Today!

Today I headed over to the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery to see the "High Fiber" exhibit. It featured fiber art that included tapestries, woven pieces, quilts and more from the museum's collection. I finally got a chance to see a Nancy Crow quilt up close.

My husband reluctantly went (he wanted to do nothing at all today), but I convinced him and a cousin to go after a great lunch at an Ethiopian restaurant in Adams-Morgan--a really lively, multiethnic neighborhood in NW. D.C. has the largest population of Ethiopians outside of Ethiopia itself. My husband and cousin were both genuinely surprised by the pieces that they saw.

This piece is by Carolyn Mazloomi, a noted African-American quilter and founder of the Women of Color Quilters Network. She was the co-curator of the landmark exhibit "Spirits of the Cloth", which was one of the first exhibits featuring contemporary quilts by African American quilters. I hope to be in one of her exhibits one day.

Saturday, July 02, 2005


Washington, D.C. has a lot of beautiful brick Victorian homes with bay windows, such as these in Capitol Hill. Although the traditional colors for them are red brick, many homeowners like to paint their houses (which drives the historic preservation folks crazy). Many of the houses still have their original cast-iron front stairs (like the house on the right) and wooden doors.

The house in the center belongs to the mother of my husband's best friend. She has recently painted it since this photo so now it is a pale golden-yellow with cream trim. I'll post more for everyone as I see them because with all of the revitalization going on, many of them have been restored now. I think they're gorgeous...

Alison's Exhibit @ the Australian Embassy

Today, on its last day, I had the chance to visit the Australian Embassy here in D.C. to see Alison's exhibit "Ebb and Flow".

Let me just say that the pictures that all of you see on her blog and website do not do her pieces justice! In person, they are truly drop-dead gorgeous. The metallic threads in them shimmer as you pass and the wavy curves within the pieces make you feel as if they are undulating.

My personal favorites were "Ancient Expressions IX", "Bushfire 4", "Grey Landscape" and "Desert Wind". I spent a few minutes just standing there admiring it. Of course the Ebb & Flow series and wow, the wedding quilt.

The gallery space itself was beautiful and they really did do a nice job of hanging the pieces. I was by myself, so I really had a chance to get up close and enjoy the stitches (I loved the large sashiko-like stitches in some of them!) and the colors. I'm really glad that I had the chance to experience it and in such a nice setting too!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Sooooooo Excited!

OK...Although I have lived in Washington, D.C. all of my life I have never been to an embassy for anything before. I mean, we even have a section of town called Embassy Row. Then again, there are plenty of Washingtonians who have never been to the top of the Washington Monument--I know my husband hasn't, lol. It just seems wrong, doesn't it?

Since it's only a block away from my job and I'm getting out early for the holiday, my husband and I will be going over to the Australian Embassy to see fellow AQ member Alison Schwabe's exhibit in their gallery!

I am really looking forward to it!