Friday, December 24, 2010

Fabric Christmas Cards 2010

I experimented with adding paper to a couple cards this year.

Two  showing more detail.

I made about 30.   Wish I'd made more this year.   Will have to start earlier next year, God willing.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I Need Some Conversation Up in Here!

    It is snowing in the mountains and in the valley.  I'm snug and comfy within, wrapped in an old, old, housecoat given me one Christmas, long ago, by my sister.

     I've been exploring sites that offer tips about getting traffic to your blog.  I feel like "all the lonely people"  here just typing away and no one responding.   From Ezine@rticles I find a list by Denise Wakeman and Patsi Krakoff that has been viewed 85,000 times, so I figure all those viewers thought it was worth reading, at least the first time and maybe some of them returned.   Another site I read offered "5 Blogging Basics You Can't Live Without "by Nate Moller, who then has lots of comments from other bloggers agreeing or disagreeing with his suggestions.  I registered my blog on Planet USA.

     I wonder how the quilters who I list in my Quilters Love List on the right got friends and strangers to visit their blogsites.    Well, if you're reading this and you have tips to share, I'd sure appreciate it.

"I knew who I was this morning, but I've changed a couple times since then."
                                                                    Alice in  Alice in Wonderland

Monday, December 13, 2010

Elizabeth Barton on Cliches

"Clichés very definitely exist in the abstract world too; I think the “wall of sound” type of abstract work has had its day (even though several people continue to produce them!), also empty spaces filled with complicated dense machine quilting and then the occasional shape or line, wildly painted or dyed cloth that is randomly cut up and sewn back together, strip piecing for its own sake and so on."

" The point about good art is that it slows us down, makes us think, shows us a new way of looking at things.  Moreover, it’s a way we won’t forget and will want more of."

It is interesting to read what someone who is a national teacher of quilting and known in the quilt world thinks or defines as "cliche " in that world.   It's not something I knew.   Like the child I find I'm constantly amazed at what people do with cloth and machine.   And with the long arm artists these days, one wonders if there is anything that can't be done.  And yet, I feel if a young or new quilter makes sunflowers or a log cabin quilt, she's or he's exploring what can or cannot be done  afresh in this medium

Christmas Comes

Making Christmas fabric cards for special friends.  Having fun.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

New Portrait

Been working on this for a while.   Our church held its first annual Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 21 and combined that with a "roast" for our priest, Fr. Livinus Uba.   I started working on the portrait back in September, but it was an off and on again affair.   Selecting fabrics to capture the lights and shadows of his face presented problems, but it turned out okay.  
     The simplified sketch above was made from a tracing I did from the original photograph I took.  This line drawing was blown up and then copied onto freezer paper, which became my pattern. I used steam-2-seam fusible to lay the portrait pieces, then quilted after assembling the whole portrait.  I came upon a new method of framing these portraits in the recent QN, (I think that was the magazine) that I plan to try.   It calls for another quilt which provides a frame for this one and to which you attach the portrait.  Looks fairly simple, but I'll let you know when it's done.

I appreciate your visit.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Online Quilt Festival

Happened by chance upon an online quilt festival, hosted by Amy's Creative Side The fall/winter festival results were just published in November. Each quilt is accompanied with a story of why the quilt has significance for the quilter. The stories and the quilts are beautiful to behold. I'd love to enter a quilt in the spring festival if it is held in 2011.

Also, read about Mandy Chilvers who hosts a site calling for an art card each week -- Sunday Postcard Art.  A theme word is posted and artists respond by creating a work that represents in some way the word's meaning to them. Neat idea. I like the idea of a weekly challenge for its power to inspire one to make something complete each week. The work portrayed is awesome in every category.  

Monday, November 29, 2010

                                           Sampling from 4 boxes of quilt magazines.

Magazines ----Old magazines---4 boxes bought at an estate sale from 1970's forward. Very interesting. Lots of templates. Lots of traditional designs for quilts. I've read and read and read. Little representation of AA quilters or other American Ethnic groups. In Dec. /Jan. 2010 issue of QN there was a letter by a reader who excoriated the editors for printing 3 pages of quilts made to celebrate the election of President Obama. Looking back over 50 years of quilting magazines, and seeing perhaps 5 AA quilters represented in those 3 boxes of magazines, I wondered why that reader was so angry at 3 pages.  

Monday, November 8, 2010

Festivals and Bazaars

                                           WV Hills -Moonlit

In summer there are street festivals, in winter, bazaars.  For the quilt artist, neither venue offers much in the way of financial compensation for the time and energy given to their work, if they desire to sell it.   At the recent St. Peter Claver Winter Bazaar,  patrons appeared much more interested in food and small items of practical use. Perhaps it is the times in which we live, now. While it is enjoyable to meet the public and have your work admired, it is on the other hand frustrating to watch them walk away without a piece of you work in hand.
       Still I find deep joy in creating, bringing into manifestation some image or vision.  That process lifts one out of the state of ordinary selfness into a purer state of in-the-moment awareness.  For many artists, achieving that state of being is enough; for others there is the  hunger for affirmation in more commercial ways.
       Pondering this dilemma I realize that different skills are needed to develop oneself into a "commercial" artist.  Not only must one be the creator of the work, but the skills of marketing come into play:  marketing analysis, advertising, promoting, pricing, etc.
It's daunting.  I suppose that is why so many artist never get out of their own studios.  Rather, their body of work grows, but languishes in dank and darker and darker storage places as space permits.  The will to sell or be accepted into museums, shows, or even teaching venues is washed away by the sheer curve of learning needed to achieve the skills necessary to go to that level of sharing one's work.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Experimenting is great because, from the start, it gives you permission to fail. Some experiments will work out and some won’t. Either way, it’s okay because you’re learning something.     Maria Elkins

I love days when I go into my studio with no agenda.   Experimentation becomes possible then.   I don't know about you, but some days I enter the studio with an idea but find that once I begin to play with it, new ideas come and the joy of experimentation takes over.   I do learn something.   I do figure out things oftimes in such situations.  And because on those days, anything I do is for me, then, it doesn't matter whether I make mistakes or whether or not the stitching is perfect, or whether the seams match up.  Everything I do, then , is for PLAY, discovery, practice, freedom..!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Christmas Topper (Process)

I cut templates from cardboard
I had plenty of fabric's
cut fabric disks and batting squares

Someone said it would be so easy.   Quilt-as-you-go, 1-2-3- it's done!   NOT!

Sewed 2 disk together with backing and touch of glue

Lay out circles and watch pattern begin

Make sure seams meete

I had lots of Christmas pieces.

Back of quilt

It 's nothing like it looked in the book, but it makes a great piece to practice quilting with HQ 16.

AA Quilts and Honoree Jeffers

My sister and I went to Morehead, KY to the Folk Art Museum last night to see the quilts on display and to hear Professor Jeffers' reading.   It was an interesting and informative trip.   The quilts were fascinating examples of art, all hand quilted and seemingly made from what was on hand.  When I think of the patience it requires to hand quilt, I am in awe of these earlier quilters.

Professor Jeffers was mentored by Lucille Clifton, one of my favorite poets.  Her own poetry  was strong, graphic, and often touching.  I love poetry.  I was reading a blog earlier today where the writer said she collects poems she loves, and reads some poetry everyday.  She said it calms her and gets her in the mood to begin creating.  It caused me to wonder what others do to fuel the mood to begin working?

Peace, love and blessings to you.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Morehead, KY Coming Attractions

The exhibit "Southern Stitches: African-American Quilts from the Collection of Larry Hackley" opens October 21 at Morehead State University in Morehead, KY. The show runs until February 26, 2011 and features 16 bold and colorful quilts made by six African-American quilters from Mississippi and Alabama. Hackley is a folk art collector. The opening Thursday, Oct. 21, 5-7 p.m. will also feature a reading by poet Honorée Jeffers at 7 p.m. One of her collections is titled "The Gospel of Barbecue." Enjoy!

From Kyra Hick's  Black Threads blog.     I want to see both the quilt collection and Honoree Jeffers.  She's a scholar and poet who is doing an ongoing study of Phyllis Wheatley's work.   Morehead is just a couple hours away from Huntington.  

Sewing/Quilting Studio

Getting Studio organized AGAIN.   Working on bazaar items for Winter Festival.

Trying to find balance between what I have to have out and what I want at hand.  I'm a minimalist, but this still feels like waaaay too much.

Cutting table and opposite wall of fabric storage

design wall with back of MMGarden hanging there

Best Find:  Light table --from a friend who was going to throw it away!

Well at least things are neat again.  Of course, that state won't last too long as I'm in the throes of working on craft items for Winter Festival show and finishing up a couple big quilts, which I hope to have finished soon.   Then I begin on a T-Shirt quilt requested by my sister.

Peace, love to visitors.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

By the OHIO

      Two days ago it was 80 degrees.  I was driving by the Ohio river to one of my favorite quilt shops ,  Ingrams in South Point.    Today, it is rainy and cold ( around 40 ) ------ a good day for staying in and quilting.   I have been so caught up in the Black Arts in America site and getting wall repaired, painted, and refitted with design wall that I haven't spent anytime here.   This is my problem with blogs,  I will write conscientiously for awhile, then drop off.   I journal too and my rhythm is the same.  When I've taught journaling classes, people tend to think that its something you have to do every day.  Not true.  I have boxes of journals that have accumulated over the years from my sporadic journaling.

      Anyway, I loved the way the sun sparkled over the water the day I drove over to the quilt shop.   I had to get out and climb down the hill to get a picture that showed this.   You can see my angle is from between the weeds there that were taller than me.  The design made by the (is that golden rod) makes me want to make a landscape quilt from this pic.  I love landscape quilts too, as you can see from the Mountain Mama Garden .   WV and my hometown Huntington offer a billion opportunities for designing in this genre.

I finally published two pics ( one of my son Chris, and one of my friend, Frank) on the BAIA site and I'd like to publish a few more.   I love going there and looking at what some of the other artists have put up. I love the diversity of images the site hosts.   I discovered yet another fabric artists (Margene May), I'll have to go back and check the name.   But I was blown away by her work.  She does, like Linc, a sort of  raw edge patch using a variety of ethnic fabrics, in constructing her faces.   Her images are mostly full body, and she seems to have developed her own human look, although they may be based on real people.   Her work is very beautiful.

                                                 Christmas table cover^
     I'm still playing with the Handiquilter 16.   I quilted one baby quilt  on it ( using large stippling pattern) and I've started on the Christmas cover top which I messed up royally.   But that is what makes it wonderful for this sort of practice.  I'm learning to control my speed and I figure by the time I finish this project, I'll have trained my foot to know exactly how to control the speed to what I want.  Those flaps have to be sewn down.  the quilt, though difficult at first for me to balance evenly, went together easily, once I realized I had to layout each row and consistently work to keep flaps even and seamline meeting.  UGhhhhh.   Now it's great practice for leaning to quilt around each flap in every row in a circular manner.   There is no zigzag, sooooo I'm doing a wiggly line around each flap.

Peace and love to readers.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More Discoveries

Finding the blog for Elizabeth Barton was a true delight, because she takes the time to write really thoughtful and interesting reflections on quilting arts.  She also led me to Nick Cave and his soundsuits, Unbelievable designs to be worn. The discussion of Nick Cave on Barton's blog is quite informative too.   He also has a series of youtube videos.

Peace and love to visitors

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

HQ 16

        I have been putting my time into the 10,000 hours ( a la Malcolm Gladwell) toward becoming a master of this machine.

         And surfing the web for new and awesome quilters and groups that lead one to new discoveries.   I've found several.  I discovered by accident the site, Black Art in America which houses a group for African American Quilters.   The art and artists there are awesome!  It was there I discovered the portrait ,fabric and paint artist Wycliff Lincoln Bennett.  His fabric collages and fabric choices create really  unique portraits.  Check them out.   You'll be glad you did.
Peace and love

Friday, September 17, 2010

Class Registration closed

     I'm so disappointed because I'd wanted to take class at QU on Still Life from Ruth Blanchet and found out that registration is closed already.   Class begins Oct. 1.   Now, I'll have to wait until Jan.  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Glory Alleluia !!!!
I got the slideshow up and running.
See below.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pillow Back or Bind edges??

Now that I got the top finished and ready for next part, I find myself in a quandary.  Would it be better to do the pillow back or should I bind the edges?   I'll need to sleep on this for a few nights.  But any suggestions would be helpful.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mountain Mama's Garden

In the song "Country Roads",  John Denver refers to WV's Mountains as Mountain Mama.   I've been working on a series of post cards, wall hangings, and now a bed size quilt with that theme.  I used crazy quilt patches to do design, which is my own.   My process included drawing picture on grid paper, then making blocks 13 x13, on a foundation of very light weight gridded foundation fabric (from JoAnn's).   I had been collecting flowered fabrics for a long time because I simply loved them.   Using very small flower prints and graduating to very large ones.  I was attempting to show a garden that started back up in the mountain and came forward to viewer.  The mountains too were constructed to show distance with darker ones closer to viewer.   I plan to do some quilting on this once I add the batting and backing.   For the backing I'm thinking of using a pillow back, no borders, not binding.  The actual size of this top is currently around 87 by 87.

And here is a sketch of the portrait for my friend's son with his new bride.  It's been blown up to 24 x 36.  She wanted a larger one and I've finished fabric selection.   My next step is to trace this onto freezer paper and then cut out the individual pieces and iron them to the fabric chosen.   I plan to add more pictures of the process I follow in this construction as I go along.  I am not happy with the mouth of the male, and will be reworking when I get to that part.   I think making the teeth so specific, I made a mistake.   When I redo it for the pattern piece, I will just outline the sections of the mouth and not individualize the teeth until they're more right than wrong. In other words, I'm going to simplify that part of the drawing until I feel it better portrays the young man's smile.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Apple Butter Festival

     I've completed top for "Mountain Mama's Flower Garden" (changed name to allude to WV mountains) and will post picture as soon as I download pics from camera ( tomorrow).    I've stopped progress on portrait project to prepare some items for the Apple Butter Festival which is coming up around the end of this month.   I already have pillow cases, shopping bags, and a couple of purses, so I plan to add a few more items--wall hangings, throws, and another purse if I can get to it.   There will be another Winter Festival in November, and  I plan to make several other smaller projects for that.   I found two different fabrics with the Walt Disney Princess on it in lavender and purple.   I have idea to make pillow cases and a matching towel set with that fabric and the lovely lavender towels I found the other day.
       The portrait is still on my mind and I've been collecting fabric for a month now.  I think I have what I need but I won't be sure until I sit down and begin to put the faces together.   Because it is two faces and one is slightly pink and the other has more peachy coloring, I'm worried about making them distinct enough.  Deidre Scherer and Ruth McDowell both use patterned fabric in their faces and I love how well it works for them.   As a result, I've been trying to find the perfect pattern for this portrait's faces, and that is one of the reasons fabric selection has been taking me so long this time ( it is always a little trying for me).   Using monochromatic color  choices was easier, but still took some time to find values that worked effortlessly with one another.  Once fabric selection is done, the actual 'piecing of the face' goes easily, reminds me a lot of paper piecing which is basis of this process actually for me.   Will get pics downloaded first thing in the morning.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


There seems to be a lot going on these days.   I can't believe it's been a month since my last post already.    I've been on vacation, at a youth camp, to family reunion and on a spiritual retreat.  And busy, busy, busy at home with quilting, homemaking and entertaining between the other.   THERE!    Apologies and excuses done.

New crazy quilt, "Mountain Haven" (WV Mountains Series) has been occupying most of my time lately:

In truth, I've finished the blocks, but didn't take picture of the finished blocks.  I'm in the process of squaring up blocks, then I will join them and post top.  It's been an interesting and challenging process so far.  I just hope my interests in this type of piecing doesn't wane before I'm finished with the quilting which I'm looking forward to at this juncture.  I haven't used my Handi-quilter (16) much and I need the work and practice on it.   Of course I have a couple of other smaller projects that will require quilting  and will afford me practice too.

Another project I've been working with is the ART GAWK Walk in Huntington.   I have six fabric portraits in the project.  Here are examples of those portraits:





Currently, I'm working on another portrait of a young man and his fiance.   The ones above are all 8 x 10 size.   The engaged couple is going to be quite a bit larger.   I'm hoping that it works in the larger framework.   In recent Quilting Arts magazine there was an article on Deidre Scherer and her series of portraits of elderly people.   She is a master and an inspiration for me.  I find I have several who inspire me in this genre.  Among that group would be Marilyn Belford, Maria Elkins, Leni Wiener.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


I'm going to try to write regularly, however, already I see my schedule will sometimes interfere.   Tomorrow I go on retreat at St. John XXlll center and the rest of the week I'll be working with  the AAAHA camp.  By the time I get back though I should have some pictures of my work to show, and perhaps have a slideshow posted.

Hope everyone had a wonderful 4th.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Welcome to Fab Lover, a site where I will be sharing my work and thoughts about contemporary quilting and various other topics related to quilting, learning, and growing as a fabric artist today. My educational background is not in art, but rather language and teaching. For years I made clothing for myself and my children. I've loved fabrics and textiles all my life. In 2000, I tried my hand at quilting and was hooked. As I scouted around and played with trying different types of quilting, I found myself drawn to contemporary quilting. And I watched as my interests led me to combining contemporary designs to traditional blocks and patterns. As I grew in the art, my confidence grew; I began to expand out into newer areas. My fascination with portrait quilts resulted in my taking an online course at Quilt University with Marilyn Belford. This past year I've done several portrait quilts. What I've learned about people through studying their faces takes me into knowings for which I have no words, but which reminds me very much of the way language usage defines our reality.

The work of Katie Pasquini Masopust also fascinates me. When the opportunity arose to take a workshop with her at the Paducah Quilt Museum last year, I was overjoyed. During that time, I stayed at BryerPatch and met Caryl Bryer Fallert, another quilter whose work I deeply admire. Under my favorite teacup, sits the coaster of her winning piece in Houston. 2009 was a very good year.

2010 finds me trying to incorporate all I've learned into the work I'm doing now. I continue to learn the new and the traditional as I venture out on my own and work still with the Piecemakers quilting group of 25 women which formed in 2004. My interest does not wane, no, it grows.

On public TV right now, I am listening to Austn City Limits and an international group ( Thievery Corporation) is KICKIN. I've just got to stop and dance.


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