Monday, July 9, 2018

Painting paper fabric

I bought a whole bunch of muslin when I saw a sale at Mood on line.  It was purchased for making dress fitting muslins.  But it was so much, like 10 yards or something!  And I don't sew that much clothing.  I remembered a technique that I did one time where I glued tissue paper to the muslin to make a "paper fabric" base.  This time, while everything was still wet, I went crazy with water colors and fabric paints and made up some interesting painted paper fabric.  It is so fun to have a play date and do things like this.

I want to make some art quilts with it; perhaps a nest.  Who knows?

Anyway, here it is:

Monday, July 2, 2018

Sewing with the cat

If you are a quilter and you have a cat, or cats, you already know my dilemma.  The cat likes to be near me, on me, on top of what I'm working on, underneath what I'm working on, underneath my feet......  You get the picture.   I end up with cat hair on everything.  But I love my cats!  OK, I might go so far as to say that I have made my cats co-dependent on me.  I've turned into a cat enabler.

Here is my current cat, Jack, sharing my chair while I'm waiting for paint to dry and goofing around on my computer.  Do you see how much chair I get to use?

Here is a picture of my previous cat, Fly, who loved to sit on top of my sewing machine while I was sewing.  Sometimes, she would hang her feet over the edges and get so close to the needle, I thought that I might accidentally sew over her paw.

Here she is sitting on top of a quilt while I was sewing on the binding.

And here is a really old picture, showing me holding a kitten when I was about 6 yrs old.  So you know I've liked cats for a long time!

I hope you have room for pets in your life too!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Labels for quilts

I helped several people working on documenting quilts from their states as part of a historical record.  Many of the quilts we discovered did not have the maker's identity on them,  Sadly, this is the case for most antique quilts.  Because of that, I think that every quilt you make should have a label on the back with your name and the date.  Other things you can add are the name of the quilt, the person you gave the quilt to, a picture of the quilt or yourself or the recipient, a short story about the making of the quilt, or your city or contact information.

When I first started making quilts, I hand embroidered my name on the lower right back corner.  I started out using chain embroidery stitch and embroidery floss.  I changed to back-stitching with embroidery floss and still do that sometimes.  Here is my very first quilt signature:

(Did you notice that it took me 17 years to complete this quilt?  Yes, it was a long time.)

Lately, I've enjoyed doing the label in the Word program and printing it on inkjet ready fabric.  I try to match the color of the label to the color of the quilt.  But not always.  It's super easy to do that in Word.  Here are a couple of examples.

Sometimes, it's fun to include a picture of the recipient or the honoree on the label.  Here are some examples of that:

After I print the label, let it dry and iron it,  I stitch it to the back of the quilt by hand.

Some of my friends have labels made on embroidery machines and these are quite beautiful.  And other friends hand write out their labels with pigma pens.  Some of these labels are quite large.  But they tell the full story that stays with the quilt.  It's so fun to read those story labels.

I hope you remember to label all of your quilts too.

Monday, June 18, 2018

President's block

Each year our guild is asked to make quilt blocks to give to our outgoing president, as a way to thank her for her year of service to our organization.  This year, 2018, the request to the members was to make a block, up to 10", of something orange, and perhaps a chicken or cat somewhere on the block.

I know that this particular president has quite a sense of humor, so I designed a humorous cat for the block that I wanted to make for her.

And here it is:

I hope it gives you a smile too!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Special Exhibit - Avian Studies with Wilma Scott

We had another fabulous quilt show at the Clark County Event Center in April 2018.  I entered 16 quilts, which seems like a lot!  Some of them were entered into a special exhibit called "Avian Studies".  Wilma Scott entered 7 of her bird quilts, and I entered 7 of my nest quilts.

Here are the pictures of that special exhibit:

It was fun to have a collaborative exhibit.  Thanks Wilma!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Special Exhibit - Vagabonds Bride Dress Challenge

A special exhibit that I was involved with at the Clark County Quilters annual quilt show was the Vagabonds Bride Dress Challenge.  I wrote a couple of previous posts about the making of the bride dress quilt that I entered.

Our group got together and made a wedding cake and table skirt to go along with our exhibit.  We also put one of the dresses we didn't cut up on a mannequin.  It was quite the display!

Here are the photos from the special exhibit, which was part of the Clark County Quilters annual quilt show in April 2018.

Bride Dress and quilt by Sharry Olmstead

Quilt by Audrey Prothero

quilt by Ada Levins
quilt by Beverly Woodard

quilt by Audrey Prothero

Quilt by Lynn Czaban
quilt by Sharry Olmstead

Quilt by Beverly Woodard

quilt by Val Pellens

Quilt by Val Pellens

quilt by Karan Brooks
quilt by Joanne Adams Roth

Monday, May 28, 2018

Modern Inchie Quilt

I made an Magic Inch quilt in 2017 for the charity arm of our local quilt guild.  It was based on a design by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr.  I wrote a blog about making that quilt earlier.

At that time, I also cut out some red squares and black and white strips for a second quilt.  Since then, however, I decided that I would modernize this design and make it totally improvisational.

So, I cut through some of the red squares and inserted the 1" strips. Then I added some borders and inserted strips in some of the rest of the pieces.  I used 3 different grays for the background and just made up all the blocks.

I placed them on the design wall willy nilly and moved them around until they looked very random.
Sewing this together wasn't that easy, as I had really odd spaces to fill and partial seams to sew.  But I liked the improv nature of making this top.

Here is a picture showing the progress of the piecing:

And here is the completed top.

48" x 58" by Joanne Adams Roth

I hope you can take a step into the unknown and put together a top intuitively.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Once in a Blue Moon - Part Six - FINAL

This is part six of the blogs about making my "Once in a Blue Moon" quilt.

It covers the embroidery and beading.

I picked out embroidery floss that matched the colors of the cats and embroidered the whiskers on the cats.  Where the cat appears to be facing right or left, I lengthened the whiskers on the facing side and shortened them on the back side (of the head of the cat).

Whisker detail

My beads are mostly seed beads and a few crystals that I already had.  I pulled out my drawing of the constellations and added a few of the crystals where I wanted the viewer to be able to identify them.  Then I added beads willy nilly to give the quilt some sparkle.  They are barely noticeable.  Should have done hot fix crystals.

This quilt took quite a bit of time to make and lots of thinking through the process of the LED lights.  That is so good for my brain, and would be for yours too, to try something new.  It keeps the neurons firing and connected so that as I keep aging, I don't loose my capability to think.  (I know that is not even close to any of the technical terms, but you get my drift).

Moon Gazing by Joanne Adams Roth 2017

Step outside your box, push yourself to be a little uncomfortable, try something new, make new friends, see new places, be inspired by art..... it's all good.  Don't you think so too?

Monday, May 14, 2018

Once in a Blue Moon - Part Five

This is part five of the blog series about making "Once in a Blue Moon" quilt with LED battery operated lights.

OK, so I had the quilt done.  I had the extended sleeve with the swimming noodles done.  The final step was to really figure out how the quilt would hang in the show with the hanging devices used by our quilt guild.

We use lanyards with relatively flat curtain rods to hang the quilts from the top pole.  The only thing that goes through the sleeve is the relatively flat curtain rods.  There is a black curtain that hangs off the top cross piece, so the quilts are not hanging against a hard flat wall.  If I was designing the hanging apparatus for my home, I would use a stiff board through the sleeve and staple the extended sleeve to the back of the board.  This would insure that the quilt itself was sticking out from the wall enough so that the battery packs would not distort the top.  So, the key was to somehow replicate this with the noodle and the sleeve.

Gosh, I love having this type of problem to think through.  It really appeals to my engineering brain (did I ever tell you all that I have a mechanical engineering degree?).  On the other hand, the creative side of my brain does NOT let me sleep when there is a design element that needs to be resolved.  So after several nights of not being able to go to sleep and/or waking up and not being able to turn off my brain, I came up just the perfect idea.

I am going to support the quilt with a hanging sleeve that is in sections.  And I'm going to support the extended sleeve with smaller hanging sleeves that will fit in between the ones that the quilt is handing on. Close to loops actually.  I'm going to position the top noodle so that it hangs on the back of it's hanging loops and holds the top of the quilt out from curtain.  Well, that's the idea anyway.  Here's my sketch of the idea.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Once in a Blue Moon - Part Four

This is the 4th part of the blog about making the "Once in a Blue Moon" quilt with battery operated LED lights.

After the quilting was complete and the binding was added, I turned my attention to the mounting device for the battery packs.  When they were merely pinned to the back of the quilt, they bulged out and left the quilt looking pretty lumpy.

I showed the quilt to some of my friends, and they agreed with my husband, that I needed to have a separate piece of material hanging from the top of the quilt that would hold the battery packs.  I tossed their ideas around a bit and came up with a solution using swimming noodles and fabric with a couple of casings sewn in it.  The swimming noodle was cut lengthwise down the middle so that I had two pieces that were similar in depth to the battery packs.

I sewed a casing a the top and slid the noodle inside.  Then I pinned it to the back of the quilt and loosely pinned the second half of the noddle closer to the bottom, making sure that they battery packs would end up being right underneath the second noodle, and near the spot where they come out through the back of the quilt.    This is not a false back, which would have disqualified it from bring judged at our show.  It is merely part of the hanging sleeve, with an extended backside.

Here are some pictures showing the finished extended sleeve.  The quilt will hang on the flat side of the noodle, while this extended sleeve will hang off the rounded part of the noodle, leaving that nice gap between the two.  Well, that's how it supposed to work, anyway.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Once in a Blue Moon - Part Three

This is the 3rd part of the blog about making the "Once in a Blue Moon" quilt with battery operated LED lights.

I made pouches for the battery packs by quilting some of the blue sky material then sewing it up into a little bag open at the top and with a little strap.  I left extra so that I could stitch these bags onto something that would be on the back of the quilt; perhaps even the back itself.

Then I cut the backing into 2 pieces and hemmed each overlapping edge.  I positioned these to overlap at the point where I wanted the electric wires to come out of the back and into the pouches.  A small slit was made in the batting to get the wires through to the back as well.

 Slow and steady with fingers crossed, while carefully looking at the silver hand stitches,  I quilted the piece, making sure not to sew over the top of the wires.  The battery packs got in the way a little bit, but no enough to make it impossible to quilt the piece.  I'm glad I have a sit down quilting machine so that it enabled me to maneuver the battery packs.

Staying away from the wires

Maneuvering the battery packs

Close up of quilting 

I wanted to be able to turn the lights on and off from the bottom of the quilt and that's why I ran the lights towards the bottom.  They didn't quite reach, though, because there was only 19" from the last light to the battery box.  In hindsight, I should have put the boxes at the top of the quilt, and run the wires upwards instead of downwards.  This would have made the mounting of the boxes much easier.  However, it would have required a ladder to get the lights turned on and off once the quilt was hung at the quilt show.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Once in a Blue Moon - Part Two

This is the 2nd part of the blog about making the "Once in a Blue Moon" quilt with battery operated LED lights.

I glue basted the edges of the cats and mouse and did a little bit of highlighting with white paint.  I'm not sure that the white will show in the finished piece, but I felt that it gave the cats a look of moon glow.  Glue has become one of my best friends for applique.  This makes the edge turning so quick and it's easy to machine applique through the dried glue.

I added some batting and then machine appliqued the cats and mouse, and added the moon without the extra layer of batting.

The tricky part of adding the lights was next.   I knew generally where to run the lights for optimum effect.  To make sure that I placed the lights correctly, I traced over the top onto freezer paper.  What if the lights looked like constellations,?  Sounded good.  They were sketched onto the freezer paper.  Then the lights got taped to the freezer paper to hold them in place.  This part really helped to keep the wires flattened so that I could sew them into place.

A layer of tulle was laid on top of the lights and hand sewn to all of the wires.  When it was all sewn, I removed the freezer paper and tape.  Then the whole thing got flipped over onto the back of the quilt top and a second layer of tulle was placed on top of that.  Then I hand stitched the tulle and lighting layer to the back of the top with very fine silver thread.  This was to enable me to see where the lights were while quilting so as not to sew over the top of the electric cable or the lights themselves.