Thursday, July 29, 2010

Quilt Show!

Just a quick little note to say that I'm in quilt show mode! I have printed off my volunteer lists in two different formats - by job and by person. No matter which question I get asked, I can answer it! I'll be helping with set-up tomorrow, then the show runs Saturday and Sunday. In case you're local, here's the info:

Washtenaw Community College
Morris Lawrence Building (that's the one across Huron River Drive from St. Joe's emergency entrance)
Saturday, July 31, 9a-5p
Sunday, August 1, 11a-5p
$5 admission fee
There'll be quilts, vendors, activities for the kids, a silent auction, a food vendor, technique demonstrations! Woo!!!!

Anyway, we get it all packed up and cleared away Sunday evening, and first thing Monday, Hubby Dearest and I are heading to Michigan's upper peninsula to see the Soo Locks, the Shipwreck Museum, and Copper Harbor. I am SO excited! I haven't seen the locks since elementary school! The last time I was in the Keweenaw Peninsula, we were taking my middle sister to college. I don't know if I'll be blogging during the vacation. At the very least, I'll see you in a week or so.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Art Fair Too!!

As I was considering where to go on my lunch hour on Friday (when I'd be on my own, instead of with a pal), I realized that there was a piece that I had seen on Wednesday that I really liked. I wondered if I would like it again. I did!! So, I bought it. Look at this:

That's pottery!! That was made by Kris Stewart, a member of the Potters Guild of Ann Arbor. It's about 12-15 inches long, about 3 inches wide and is, essentially, half a tube. The surface, though, is what got me. It feels like a birch tree. The texture is uncanny. This potter has done some serious study of the inspiration and of her techniques. It is a truly impressive piece, and I will say that it impressed me far more on Friday than it did on Wednesday. I think the big reason is that when I saw it on Wednesday I was just getting started on the fairs and didn't know what else was out there. On Friday, I was really paying attention.

As the lady was wrapping it, she mentioned that it's a bit fragile, and I realized that I was halfway to where my husband had parked the car. So, I headed to the car and went down a block of the fair I hadn't previously gone. There, I encountered a booth where Adam Egenolf uses a crystalline glazing process. I wish I could have gotten a good picture of the piece I bought, but it is a study in shades of white and simply didn't come out in my attempts. The pieces are very lovely, very unusual, and utterly amazing.

The second day of Art Fairs rain started as I was heading back to my office. (There is a rule in this area that if we get only one day of rain in July, that day will be during Art Fair, and the rain will be torrential and threaten tornadoes.)

After work, I headed for Main Street. I left work shortly after 5 and sent Hubby a note that I would be at his office by 6, so this was supposed to be just a sightseeing trip to the part of the fair I hadn't seen yet. Right. I stopped at a booth where Sandra Lima of Mount Gilead, Ohio, was selling collages. They were lovely. We got to talking. Of course I bought a piece. I think it was the brownies that got me here:
The piece is probably about 14" x 17" - I really should measure these things. I have a spot on my bedroom wall for this piece. (My kitchen walls are quite full, thank you!)

I want to remind you that if you are going to be in southeastern Michigan next weekend, the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild will be holding its biannual show at Washtenaw Community College's Morris Lawrence Center. Saturday, 9-5, and Sunday, 11-5. I'm the volunteer coordinator for the show and will be somewhere near the front of the show most of the weekend. Stop by and introduce yourself!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Art Fair!!

I LOVE Art Fair, love it love it love it. It runs Wednesday through Saturday, but really seems to start on Monday, when the streets start getting closed off, and the booth boundaries get marked. The first two days of the fair, I went out with a friend at lunch time, and we poked around, chatted with people we knew and didn't buy anything except some candied almonds. I've gone out by myself in the evenings, and last evening, I bumped into a friend from the book club, and we wandered along together.

Anyway, the first evening out, I made an impulse purchase:
Isn't that gorgeous? It's 8" on a side, and it's all stones carefully placed on a piece of slate. I kept looking at it and looking at it and looking at it, and well, it had to go home with me. If you want to see more of the artists' work, check out their website.

I also made a very conscious purchase. In addition to the "official" art fairs, there are a couple of "private" art fairs. At one of these, I've gotten in the habit over the years of buying a dress or top. This year, it was a spaghetti-strapped dress with this darling painted on it:
The vendor is called "Creations by Tina," and she's based in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. I was unable to track down a working website. She paints jersey dresses all over and then puts a large motif in the sternum area. My only cavil with this dress is that it didn't have pockets. I had to install some side-seam pockets yesterday morning before I could wear it to work. Of course, when you're 50, and you haven't done much "working out," you wear a T-shirt under the dress...

Next, I've been spinning along for the Tour de Fleece. Here is what I've done over the past week or so:
I'm so pleased with how pretty it is!!

Finally, I want you to see what the Yarn Piggy did with the piece of hand-dyed fabric I sent her last month. So, check out her blog.

I opened the front door today, and I think we'll be able to swim to work - yeah. Hot and HUMID!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What I'm Reading Wednesday

Every so often I see a movie where I want to grab people and say, "You've really got to see this movie." In the last couple of weeks, I've seen two of those movies (thank you, Netflix!). Both are about people living in dangerous times under tyrannical regimes. In both movies, most of the characters are struggling with questions concerning how much of their sense of SELF they can give up in order to survive and not become someone else.

The first movie, which I saw this past weekend, is The Lives of Others (German, with English subtitles). It came out in 2006, and I meant to see it in the theater, and .... anyway. It won all sorts of awards, including the Oscar for best foreign film of the year. The movie concerns the Stasi (secret police) in East Germany in the 1980s, and the surveillance of "enemies of the state." There are SO many places where this movie could have gone seriously offtrack - violence, torture, sentimentality, big dramatic scenes - and it doesn't go those places. It is a quiet, carefully controlled film where one really gets inside the heads of the characters. Put this in your queue, borrow it from the library, whatever. Just see it.

The second movie, which I saw the weekend before last, is The Black Book (Dutch, with English subtitles). It also came out in 2006. I had never heard of it, and I'm not entirely sure how it got in my queue, but I'm glad it did. The film is set in The Netherlands in the last few months of the Second World War and is centered on a young Jewish woman who has been hiding from the Nazis through the duration of the war. The film starts with her losing her hiding place and having to find another way to survive. This is also a very intense movie, filled with lots of places where the movie makers could have gone seriously off track, but the movie stays close to the heroine as she struggles to make it out alive.

Both of these movies have been accompanying me on my daily rounds as I think through some of the decisions the characters made and why they made them. I like movies that do that to me. That's what I've been reading - subtitles!!

On a crafty note, I bound, sleeved (for the show), and labeled the Scraptastic quilt this past weekend, around my other activities. You'll see that I went with a different fabric for the binding. I had wanted to use this fabric, but I didn't think I had enough until I came across another piece of it in a different cupboard.

This weekend, the quilt guild had a "garage sale" where folks brought in stuff they don't want any more, and the rest of us buy it. I found a piece of fabric, at least 4 yards, possibly 5, for $1 that will make a great dress!
Isn't that pretty!!

The next few days will be taken up with The Ann Arbor Art Fairs. There are four official fairs and a couple of unofficial ones, and the closest to my office starts just across the street from the building where I work. Woo hoo!! Of course, I love to stroll the streets and look at the pretty stuff and talk to artists and buy special items; but, get real, the one constant every year is this:
A dinner-plate sized piece of fried dough sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and eaten hot .... gotta run!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Finished Objects Friday

Amazingly enough, I have spun my first batch of roving!! Woo-hoo!! Here is a picture of the spinning that got done this past week:
Here is a picture of the roving that is up next.

I bought it at the FiberExpo in Ann Arbor last fall. If you're going to be near Ann Arbor in late October this year, it might be worth checking out. They had a LOT of stuff to see, touch, learn, and purchase.

The Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild meeting is tomorrow, and I'm taking workshops from the speaker, Vikki Pignatelli, today and Sunday. I don't think I'm going to take my camera. I'm feeling a little loaded down as it is. I need some down time, and if I'm taking pictures, I'm not really relaxing.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Scraptastic #7

It's quilted! A long weekend at the sewing machine, and I have achieved what seemed impossible. Here are some shots of the front:

and the back:
and the binding-to-be:
Keeping with the spirit of the rest of the quilt, this left over from a previous project (and was given me by a friend who'd received it from a friend of her mother and felt guilty that after 15 years, it was still sitting in her stash).

Later this week, I'll be taking workshops on Friday and Sunday with Vikki Pignatelli through our local guild. Yay!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Fill Ins

1. Layers of fabric and batting are sitting on my sewing table, awaiting quilting.

2. Sometimes I wish had less insight and could just live a little more selfishly.

3. I'd be willing to bet that a certain omission I'm making will go unremarked.

4. My brat cat scares the dogs across the way. She's fierce!

5. I'm fond of my brat cat and her brassy sassy ways.

6. Thinking about the amount of stuff I have to do this weekend hurts my head way too much!

Spinning I've done since Monday night:
I am hoping to get the quilting done this weekend, and I'll post pix early next week.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Scraptastic #6

I set an ambitious goal for this past weekend: get the top done. I figured it was an outrageous goal, and that I'd be asking my boss for some days off near the end of the month.....

Well, here is some "leaf" fabric (made up from squares left over from a previous project):
Here is a leaf prior to pressing and topstitching:
Here is a collection of leaves, pressed and stitched. (Gee, I wonder which first-grade skill I used in freehand cutting of these?)
And, amazingly, here is a completed top:
(The best place to take the picture was over the stair railing, which meant draping over the back of the couch, where Big Guy was napping; he was still half-asleep, wondering why he'd been disturbed.)

Now for the part I dread: Quilting the darn thing. I have some variegated blue and purple thread, and some variegated yellow and orange thread and some variegated green thread. I will be echo quilting, probably at about one-inch each round. I keep wishing I could just magically skip this step. Oh, well.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Scraptastic #5

I went back through my posts, and this is approximately the fifth post about my Scraptastic obsession. This all began last fall when I had lost my quilting mojo and was feeling overwhelmed by the scraps in the sewing room. I had finished at least three or four big projects and was feeling uninspired. So, I started sorting my scraps into color families and sewing them together at random. For pictures of that early part of the process, please go here.

Then, I made a couple of test pieces (and ended up quilting and binding the green one for a silent auction at my husband's workplace). Then, I made a larger piece for the silent auction that my quilt guild will have at its show this summer. Then in June, I dyed the background for the big quilt I'll put in the show - it's the scrunched blue near the top of the post. As of this morning, after a weekend of working on the quilt, I am pleased to show some real progress.

First off, the idea is a field of flowers under a sun. Last month, I created "dirt" from my brown scraps:
As you can see, I pressed the edges of the triangles under and topstitched all around. I then moved the triangles around on the quilt until I had them in a layout that pleased me. The end triangles are left and right isosceles triangles rather than regular isosceles triangles - to form edges.

In my last post, I was unhappy about the way the sun looked. At about midnight Friday night/Saturday morning, I couldn't sleep and went into the sewing room, hauled the thing down from the design wall and started scribbling on it with Prismacolor pencils.

I am pleased with how it looks. It's a little messy, but much less obviously BRIGHT YELLOW.

I cut down the very large diamonds I had cut out, and made several smaller flowers. I pressed the edges under, starched, and topstitched.

Once I had enough flowers, I could then start laying them out. When I was in college 30 years ago, I edited the student newspaper for a year and a half and learned basic layout skills. To this day, I start in the upper left corner of a "page" and move diagonally downward to the right and then put something interesting in the upper right. You can see this in the Brat Cat quilt. You can see this in this quilt.
That's the sun in the upper right corner. The faint orange lines are pieces of novelty yarn used to show the locations of the flower stems. Next, I went into the scrap box and pulled out stem-shaped pieces of green fabrics and laid those down.

Then, I trimmed, sewed together, pressed under the edges of the stems, and pinned the stems into place:

After I had the layout right, I started sewing down the stems and flowers to the quilt. At this point, the dirt is held in place with a single line of stitching across the bottom and pins the rest of the way. When I get the stems and flowers sewn down, I'll create leaves from squares left over from a previous quilt (the red, green, and yellow one shown here). I'll have more pictures soon, probably tomorrow.

In other news, I have been spinning 20-30 minutes each day of the Tour de France/Fleece. Here is two days' worth of spinning:

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday Fill Ins - and lots more

1. When it's quiet I can read in peace.
2. I haven't rested in what seems like a month.
3. My heart is racing from all of the deadlines in July.
4. I want to survive July.
5. In the town where I was born there's a really pretty lighthouse.
6. Making dinner most evenings is something I really love about my significant other / friend.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to laundry, tomorrow my plans include baking Communion bread for the church and then going to the Independence Day parade in Ypsilanti, and Sunday, I want to make serious progress on my quilt for the guild's show at the end of July!

On to other news, since I have taken the process pledge to show my works in progress, here is where I am with a quilt that I've promised for the guild's show at the end of July:

Yeah. They're only pinned on (except the sun). This was going to be a queen-sized quilt until I got real. Now, it's twin-sized. Right. The "flowers" are not staying; they'll be replaced with smaller flowers. Here's the sun in close-up:
I am going to run to the art supply store today and get some PrismaColor pencils in yellows and oranges and see if I can't scribble out that weird yellow line in the upper corner.

As for the too-big flowers, I'm going to make pillows out of them. They are SO cute!

My plan at this point is to sew on the "dirt" I've got ready (pix soon, I promise), and then create "stems" and smaller "flowers." For those new to this blog, here is where I showed the beginnings of this process.

Because I don't have enough going on, I have also decided to be part of the "Tour de Fleece," and I am pledging to spin at least 20 minutes per day from July 3 to July 25. I'm hoping to take this:
to this:
It is Louet 50% wool, 50% soysilk. July will be a very interesting month....