Monday, May 26, 2008

Haves and have nots

Despite the economic doom and gloom, I sent my money in for the Strip Piecing I & II workshop at Nancy Crow's Barn in October. With that done, I am now stressing about plane tickets, lodging and supply. Yes, I am a worry-wart!

At least I have the fabrics - 100 solids, including off-whites, tans, black, white and grays. I would be in a total panic if I was trying to find, buy, wash, press and fold all these in one shot, let alone one or even two months! There are still some color gaps though.

It's harder to find more colors. At the stores, I pull out my handy dandy little fan deck. 'Cept it's not so handy and not so small - I am juggling a deck with a 3x4 index card for each solid. Like my baskets, my deck is divided into six color categories, then arranged by value. I feel a bit self-conscious but how else to separate the haves from have nots?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Workshop with Gabrielle

Gabrielle Swain whirled through here for a two-day workshop through EBHQ. She is a kick! She lets her personality come through and is not afraid to speak her mind! During lunch, she called her niece a pistol, then admitted she must then be a shotgun! I swear she said that!

The first day we designed and selected fabric. This was work! Better to spend time on design first rather than trying to design around a beloved piece of fabric, she said. I came up with a three leaf design with a segmented border. I've never hand appliquéd and was concerned about the small pieces. Bigger would be better. I enlarged the leaf by 200%. My quilt grew to 36" wide. Well, so much for keeping it small and doable!

Gabrielle nixed most of my fabric selection. Okay, I understand: too much pattern. She also kept saying too many colors. Leaves of a plant are all one color with variation only through light and shade. She must have emphasized that a few times and even had us look at real leaves on real plants. Eventually I understood that too.

I needed only five fabrics. The background passed. So did a chartreuse green solid I threw into my bag at the last minute. The rest of the fabric bought specifically for this class were unacceptable. Karen gave me a hand dyed that works. That was so generous of her. And Tish kindly let me borrow one of her shibori hand dyes. So after class, off to the local quilt shop with the approved fabric set for alternatives.

The second day was easier - less thinking involved. First off, she approved my latest purchase for the leaves and the pseudo-border. Yeah! I didn't need my backups! Then she showed us how to select leaf segments pieces by placing the pattern and fabric on a light box. How to mark the fabric, pin and hand baste. And her hand appliqué technique.

I started one leaf section in class. Gee, I could appliqué in front of the tv, in the car, in waiting rooms, etc. instead of being tied to the sewing machine. Wonder if I can actually finish this?

Monday, May 12, 2008


Uh oh, another sign of aging: two white lashes on my right eyelid.

All white lashes would be an interesting departure from my natural black ones. Then I could color them to suit the mood of the day and they'd really show up. Ooh, fun! Then I can dress up any day!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

EBHQ workshops

EBHQ gives great workshops. I've been signing up for just about every one since I joined. All in my quest to learn as much as I can this year. And I haven't been disappointed yet.

Katie Masopust Pasquini was here for a two-day workshop in February that parallels her book on Abstraction which will be out soon. We learned how and where to look for source material. I now have a great idea for a series. And other ideas are tucked away.

In March Carol Soderlund taught us about dispersed dyes. The techniques to get color on paper then transferred to fabric are so fun and easy. So many variables affect the final outcome that a why-worry attitude is more useful than obsession about every little mark. A great idea for an artists' play date!

We made fabric books in Nance O'Banion's April workshop. She provided most of the materials - simple really: magazines & stamps - and encourage us to let our inner voice guide our creativity. Surprise at what emerges. Another artists' play date idea. Her lecture and slide show was just fabulous - creative, warm, inspirational and spiritual. I am in total awe of this woman.

I love how quilting merges with other art. The creative possibilities are exponential. Wow! What a difference a few decades make!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Seismic activity

Preceding the quakes in the Reno, Nevada area, there was a whole lot of shaking going on here. Haven't posted much lately. What with tax season , I over committed and life just got in the way.

I joined the local quilt guild, East Bay Heritage Quilters, last year and have taken a workshop each month starting in February. With a whole month between, I'd think I can manage. But alas no! As I put together supplies for the next workshop, I am finally putting away stuff from the previous month's. Throw in a 7-Saturday class and a 4-week online class, I am over my head. Add tax returns, spring gardening (weeds never sleep in California), tenant and family issues and I have seismic activity! I still think I am younger and more energetic than I really am.

Life's pace has slowed for the moment. The calm before the storm? I aim to get my workspace cleaned up and some friends over for an art date.

But I am devoting this year to learning. More workshops through September with a reprieve in July. Then off to Nancy Crow's Barn in October.