Quilts that are washed sometimes look a bit different. Is it worth it to wash a quilt that is 'new'? (You risk slight colour changes or warping/wrinkling in un-quilted areas.) Not always, but sometimes it becomes a genuine necessity. Especially when a quilt has been handled a lot or has been worked on over a large expanse of time. My example is the 2019 World Quilt Exhibition entry mentioned last blog. The quilt was carefully handled, packed up between quilting sessions but -in fact- had been in progress for many years and even with all the care I could give it couldn't possibly be clean. We lived in five different houses between the beginning and end of this quilt. (We do move around a bit so that's no surprise really) The point is that no matter how much you take care of a quilt, in reality it might need to be washed. This quilt did not LOOK dirty, or smell. I was just painfully aware of how many hours I quilted, and how many times it had been out then packed away. (How many years it had been unwashed.) To wash such a huge thing first a large bath was filled with tepid water then a colour safe soap was added. THEN the quilt was added. It was a huge shock to realize how much dust had landed on this baby over the years. Three rinses saw the water clear. Yikes! In case you are wondering, the discoloration in the water was not dye, when the tub was drained the first time, there was a layer of wet dust stuck to the tub. The moral of this story is to consider washing any quilt that hasn't been washed in years, even if it looks/smells good.
This was one of those forever projects because of the design and further because once the top was made it was heavily quilted using marine life themes. The William Morris border fabric that was used for the Kaleidoscope blocks created some pretty amazing shapes. Overall I was pleased with the outcome and with the fact it was accepted to tour with the World Quilt Exhibition 2019. Now back home it will travel to the states later this year to become a permanent part of my younger son's belongings.
One of the things I appreciate about challenges or competitions is the fact that it forces me to focus and meet a deadline. When creating 'just because' I tend to dwaddle or overthink. SO for the Wanaka Aspiring Art show I revisited a quilt that I created some years ago. Unlike the previous incarnation this is mounted on a canvas and hung 'on point'. It was still carefully assembled and hand quilted. The original was much larger and had a large black background creating an upper horizontal edge so it could be hung. I'm REALLY liking the way quilts appear on canvas. This piece was accepted for exhibition in Wanaka. If you want to see a bit about this competition check out the button link below.
Well I hope you had a wonderful 2019. It was a pretty full on wonderful year for us. We shifted to Queenstown, became grandparents, gained a new brother in law, and I have enjoyed having a proper studio. About that brother in law... Imagine my surprise when earlier this year I received a phone call from my sister asking me to wish her luck as she was getting married the next day. Eloping at 68. All very lovely and everyone is happy. She and her new hubby decided to visit us in NZ so to celebrate her new marriage I created this quilt. Not an original design- it was one of the three actual 'bed' quilts finished in 2019. The happy couple were delighted to have such a bulky addition to their international luggage. Bless their hearts. Because the quilt needed to be finished hastily, I posted it to my friend in Darfield who does edge to edge work on her Gammill machines. If you live in NZ and want quality edge-to-edge quilting done, let me recommend Quilts and Quilting. This arrived back in the post less than a week after I sent it to Bronwyn! Her turn around time is usually less than three weeks. (Bronwyn is also a friend of the bride, so this might have gotten a bit of priority).
The Queenstown art centre (where I have my studio) holds an art award yearly. Artists who are members may enter paintings, sculptures, whatever art they fancy. The award exhibition featured ninety works including some paintings etc. that were truly impressive. This year I entered the first quilt I've ever mounted on canvas. The quilt was made of leather and heavily embellished with metallic bits. Much to my surprise and delight, the judge chose this as the overall winner. The prize was substantial enough to fund my studio rent for a year, which was fantastic. Another bonus was the honored of a mention in our local newspaper and the Style magazine!!! It's always a buzz to see your work in 'print', good for the art and good for the artist.
As always when I haven't posted for a while - much has happened! I've become a grandmother, moved to Queenstown and become a resident artist since my last post! So - most important news first. Grandmother status. Yes, the world's most adorable little girl has arrived to remove my grandmother-less state. Rose is a treasure, sadly living on the other side of the planet, but hey, that's what airplanes are for!
We were very fortunate to be able to visit this little miracle for a few weeks and gathered up all the cuddles we could for a while! What a great age to live in, with Skype and instant photo exchanges. This means that even though we are far away we won't be strangers when we meet again. Yay for technology (when it behaves)!
Next of course is the shift to Queenstown. What an amazing privilege. Beauty all around and wonderfully warm people. As always moving to a new place is dis-orienting for a bit, but we have met great neighbors, and have made quite a few friends. Fortunately there is a strong artistic community here.
The Queenstown Arts Centre in town had recently had a resident artist move out, and the spot was offered to me by a fellow quilt friend who is also one of the tenants. This provides me a small but serviceable office in town where I can go to create my quilts and interact with a motivated group of artists. Yes quilting is art.
The attached gallery and class-rooms creates great potential!
While visiting my children in Idaho, I took a day out to have lessons on the machine behind me. Millie. The idea of following a lined pattern with a laser pointer was ridiculously daunting. Learning to 'load' a quilt, handle thread changes, etc really made me appreciate my friends who use these massive machines!
The real reason for my lessons of course was to complete a quilt that I've constructed whilst on the road traveling around the USA. Next week I'm headed into the shop to actually quilt a queen sized quilt, (not wanting to take it with me back to NZ as it's destined for an American relation), so wish me luck!
Happy birthday to me, a 'simply purple' cushion!
For my birthday, the kids got together and decided to provide a softer seat for my travels. This very heavy 'cushion' is actually a soft honeycombed gel that is designed to relieve stress pressure.
As with most products there are pros and cons. Different people probably would have a variety of opinions. Mine is as follows:
For a soft seat - such as a shaped car seat this only seemed to add pressure to the back of my legs. (Probably due to my excess weight.) However for a flat or solid surface I found this cushion is excellent.
Sitting at a sewing machine while using this (on a wooden chair) was very comfortable. The cushion is somewhat breathable, so it doesn't seem to heat up like many seats do. There are quite a few different gel cushions out there, so buy responsibly!
This particular cushion is advertised on Purple.com and is the 'royal' model.
Sometimes there is a less expensive alternative?
For making temporary marks on wears fabric this is my favourite pen EVER! (Superior to chalk, or any light coloured transfer paper in my opinion).
This white ‘Clover’ brand pen contains a milky looking waxy substance. When marking, a light pressure must be used for the white ‘ink’ to flow easily. About 20 seconds after marking a thin white line appears. To “erase” the mark heat needs to be applied. One quick touch with an iron and poof, no mark.
The pen should NOT be stored in an area that has the tendency to bake in the sun, or be heated overly. I’ve found to my chagrin that the ‘ink’ of the pen seperates into a transparent liquid with a solid mass of white if left in a super hot car...
The only time I’ve seen the wax leave any sort of mark after being ironed away, my fabric was a stark black batik that showed a slightly darker line when the marks were ironed off. This has only happened once to me, and the mark was easily removed with a light soapy scrub with a damp cloth.
I’ve owned dozens of these pens throughout the years and recommended them to my students in several of my classes.
The pens are particularly useful when drawing needle turn appliqué patterns on fabric. Something about the waxy stuff makes needle turn appliqué easier, as the wax tends to cause the fabric to naturally bend one the drawn line. Win win.
Letting you into the inner sanctum of a quilter's thoughts and activities.