Thursday, March 27, 2008

Collage Mania II

Have you heard about Collage Mania II? Virginia Spiegel is holding her annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society on May 5 & 6, 2008. Two of my collages have been accepted by Virginia to be available to donors. You can read more about how it works here.

Single Breasted Suits

Years ago while watching a talk show, I saw a breast cancer survivor who had gotten a beautiful rose tattoo over her mastectomy scar, and often wore garments to show off the tattoo. I was in awe of this person who realized her body was more than the sum of its parts, and she embraced what must have been a painful memory.

After my mother's mastectomy, she didn't go so far as to get a tattoo, but when she almost lost her prosthetic breast at a junior high concert, she decided that empty pouch in her bra could be put to much better use, such as holding her cell phone.

I dedicate Single Breasted Suits all breast cancer survivors.
Size: 10"x8". Mounted on bristol board, signed, dated and ready to frame. Materials: hand-dyed cotton, polyester, rubber stamp, ribbon, llama wool, pigma pen and watercolor pencils.

la belle vie (a beautiful life)

While working in Springfield, MO, I met a vibrant young man who welcomed everyone into his life. He was a chef, but his bold laughter and omnipresent smile nourished our souls as much as his food did our palate.

Dan recently lost his battle with throat cancer. He's gone from our sight, but his memories will sustain us until we can gather around his table once again.

Thank you for allowing me into your beautiful life, Dan.

Size: 10"x8". Mounted on bristol board, signed, dated and ready to frame. Materials: hand-dyed cotton, computer printing on cloth, cotton and rayon fiber.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

National Quilting Day...Er, Weekend

Saturday March 15th was National Quilting Day, so I pushed aside all other distractions like chores and got some work done of quilty projects.

I started Friday after work and got most of the sewing done on some pillowcases. Running out of top thread and then bobbin in quick succession told me it was time to sleep instead.

Last year, a friend passed along some fabric from a woman who was retiring from quilting (can it really be done? retire from quilting?), with the stipulation that it was to be used for charity. I work with a group who makes quilts for veterans, so my friend sent masculine colors. I got these cut out last year, but it took until this weekend to actually finish two almost identical quilt tops. They can now be sent off for quilting.

The vertical sashing is a border print that I received already cut into 4.5" widths. 4 10-yard pieces of 4.5" strips!

These are four fabric post cards I made for a swap with a great group of fiber artists who inspire me to try new things. I haven't had time to actually try those new things yet, though. I was down to the wire and the theme was tea, lace and roses with Victorian tea party mentioned. Since I was working too close to the deadline, I went with crazy quilt.

To be honest, I had to finish the embroidery on Monday night after work, so it made for a 4-day weekend.

The quickest project I worked on is one that is also close to my heart. Three years ago my baby girl got married. Although I had only been quilting for a few months, had made only a couple of quilts, I had to make her a wedding quilt. A Double Wedding Ring wedding quilt. I thought, I sew curves all the time in garment making. I can to this!

That quilt turned out rather sorry, but was filled with love. In the ring opening, I used a template with a Celtic chain of hearts. The one smart thing I did was test my quilting before I started on the quilt.

I saved that test, and this weekend I added a binding to it. It shows my lack of experience, and some of the blue marking pen lines that I didn't wash off. But it will always be special to me as a reminder of my baby girl's big day.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Quilt Green Challenge

Quilting Arts Magazine is hosting a Go Green Challenge for quilters. It involves making a 5"x5" mini quilt with recycled items, nothing purchased just for the project.

In the current (February/March 2008) issue of the magazine, there is an intriguing article by Natalya Aikens on recycled quilting. She suggests making weekly journal quilts from repurposed materials.

I decided to try my hand at using found items for a few weeks, then entering one in the magazine challenge. Here's the first:

I used rummage sale ugly fabric for the backing, green dryer lint for the batting. The green was so pretty I didn't want to hide it, so I added small trimmings of cotton fabrics from my waste basket, some pink used gift wrap and shreds of gold, copper and raspberry paper from chocolate wrappers.

To help hold it all in place, I added a tea-dyed crocheted doily from an estate sale. (Oh, I just looked at the photo again and realized what I need to do with the other half of the doily!)

My doctor has advised me I need to be kinder to my body to the tune of 50 pounds (well, 40, now!) and the chocolate was smuggled into my body after my last check up. I decided to include the wrappers in some art, as the beautiful packaging is not helping my packaging become more beautiful.

I call this quilt "Waist Not."

Eco Quilting

I think I mentioned before that I am trying to live more mindfully. In quilting, I am looking for earth-friendly ways to keep the passion going. I am starting with batting choices.

I use cotton batting most often, mainly because I love the feel. Cotton is renewable, but if it's not organic, you have tons of chemicals involved in growing it. I used to live next to fields and would be so sick when defolient was sprayed just before time to pick.

Alongside organic cotton batting made by several companies, you can now get bamboo blend batting. Fairfield has a line of 50% bamboo, 50% organic cotton. I used that batting in this quilt:

I have to say, when I pulled the batting out of the roll to let it air before using, it was the softest stuff! I wanted to just curl up with the batt, forget putting fabric around it.

When I got over that urge, I put the quilt on the frame and got to work. This batting is as thin or thinner than 100% cotton, has a light scrim that kept its shape beautifully. The quilt itself is very lightweight, a nice spring feel on the bed. I think this might become a new favorite batting, although I have a cotton/silk blend and cotton/wool blend to test still. There is also a line of corn-based poly that I am curious about.

Fairfield's bamboo products are available through Joann's; use your coupons to bring the price down, as it costs a bit more than cotton and poly lines.

YLI has a new line of organic cotton thread, although it's only available in white and natural that I can find. Maybe if we all start buying and asking for more colors, we'll get them. I found it for sale at Keepsake Quilting.

Next I want to find organic cotton fabric. The more we use, the more they produce, right? If quilters start demanding organics, the prices will come down and the variety will go up. And we'll all live a bit better without the chemicals. (Sorry, my SoCal nature-girl is showing)

By the way, the pattern for the quilt above is from Paula at Coffee Time Quilt Studio. Isn't it a fun design?