Thursday, May 31, 2007

It's Down

Last night I bribed two friends to help me take down the commission quilt and pin it to the backing. It took a Thai dinner and heaping ice cream sundaes afterwards to pay for the service but it was well worth it.

I was about to take pictures of the event when I realized I had left my camera at home. Oh well, my friend Robin climbed up on the ladder and cut the quilt down. We pulled out all of the push pins that were holding it from the top and got it down, very carefully and laid it on the table on top of the backing. It was on my 4 x 8 ' table and then I had two 24x72" tables to support the rest of it. We got it all straighten out, and pin basted it and then folded it ready for quilting.

Today I went in to work on it. Blew another fuse as the needle tried to go through all the layers of fused fabric. But, what I found out is that it is very difficult to move such a big quilt around in order to quilt it free motion style. Did a small portion and then decided this was not the way to do it.

So, I have a call in to my good friend Cheryl, to see if I can put it on her bigger longarm with a frame and do it that way. I think that will work just fine especially since the quilting will not be long stretches at a time but will be done in squares overlapping each other. Once that is done, I will start doing the foiling and then the facing for it.

But, most importantly, for the first time in six months I really feel like I can start thinking about doing something new. I took 20 quilts to the photographer and his mouth dropped open but he should have them back to me on Monday or Tuesday. I have him do slides and digitals.

So, last night I started doing some stitching on cheese cloth over a couple of layers of batting and then added some nonwoven interfacing and stitched away, adding more pieces and colors of cheesecloth. Tonight I did a lot of satin stitching and then stitched it into a form which I am in the process of doing some hand embroidery with pearly cotton. This is sculptural and will not be a wall piece but will sit on the table. We will see but it sure is fun to do something so different. Meanwhile, I have had so many ideas for new work going through my head that I don't know which way to go but am not rushing it. I have to look through the ideas and let the percolate for a little while and meantime I can just play around. Oh yeah, and make 24 sleeves for quilts that don't have them....

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


With my heart pounding this morning, I called APQS with trepidation...what would they say? Would I be reported for abuse? Oh My...I left my name and phone number and waited for a tech to call me...were the police going to come first? Or would I get an answer to revive George.

Amy called me. She calmly listened to my tale of calamity. As soon as I started to describe reaching for the rag to catch the WD40 drips, she knew I had gotten the rag caught up in the bobbin race. She concured with my idea that a fuse must have been blown (I had done some pre-diagnosis and since there was no burned motor smell, no electrical smell, and I was able to hand crank the machine but could not get power to it) and she was impressed that I had gotten that far. She then explained to me where the fuse box was (which was where I thought it might be) but most importantly, she explained how to open it and told me there was another fuse in the little drawer.

So, down to the studio with great hope! I sat down with George, told him how much I loved him, said a little prayer and took the flat screw driver to the fuse box. It opened! I pulled it out, found the burned out fuse, removed it, opened the little drawer and replaced the old fuse with a new. Let me assure you that on the way home I stopped at Radio Shack with the burned out fuse (which in no way could I read, the writing was so tiny) and purchased a package of five to take back to the studio.

George was up and running again. Oh, what a relief!

So, I finished half of an unfinished circles quilt, and then finished the very last circles quilt.

Ta-Da! The circles quilts are all quilted and have labels on them so I know which is which. Now all I have to do is to make sleeves and get them on and they are ready to travel. But first, they go out to my photographer for the mug shots on Thursday.

the last one almost finished

and the next to the last one hanging on the wall.

needless to say, I did not get the big quilt off the wall today. I am going to see if my good friends would like to go out for dinner tomorrow night and end up at the studio to get it taken down...a little bribery and trickery to get the job done. Oh, and then the hours of quilting to do....

But, all of a sudden I feel so much relief that those circle quilts are quilted. I am beginning to see an end to the things I am committed to and will be able to start working on some new work. I have in mind a 3D piece which I really want to work on and also several more ideas for assorted things. Because I have been away from creating something new for a little while, I have too many ideas rocking around in my brain so I will have to sort them out and figure out where to start.

But, tonight I am very relieved!

Monday, May 28, 2007

I Killed George

Saturday I was down at the studio working on quilting more of my life circle quilts. Was down to only one and a half more to go...was just too tired to finish up that half one.

I decided that I would come back after church Sunday and finish those two quilts. Tuesday two of my friends are coming over and we will take the big quilt down and attach it to the backing so I can start quilting it. It was my hope that the Life circle quilts would be finished and then they could go to the photographers.

Sunday after church I sat down to clean George. I usually do it as part of my finishing for the day but the day before I had just been too tired and decided to do it when I came in.

Well, cleaning George gets a little messy. First I brush out all the lint with the needle plate off. I can easily reach in to the bobbin case and clean it from underneath. Then I spray a good dose of WD40 on the bobbin case etc. I have to run the machine at a high speed to get all the stuff off. The WD40 doesn't lubricate but helps to clean stuff off. Since it is open under that part of the machine, the WD40 gets on the floor and also gets on the underside of the plexi insert. So, I reached under with my cleaning rag to just catch the extra WD40 and oooooppppppsssss.

I got too close and the bobbin case caught the rag and wrapped it right around the case, broke the needle into three pieces and jammed the machine. I was able to hand crank the needle and bobbin case around so I could get the rag out but the machine would not restart. Oh, woe is George is dead!!

I looked in my book but there was no information on resetting George. I took him out of the table and looked underneath to see if there might be a reset button. I figured I had probably blown a fuse or the circuit breaker or something like that. There was no burning motor smell. But the Circuit lights wouldn't come on even tho I checked every electrical connection.

I did find something in the book about resetting the circuit board but it says to call the service tech first. So, since Monday is a holiday, I have had to wait until Tuesday.

First thing in the morning I will be called APQS to get a diagnosis...I sure hope it isn't terminal and that we can revive George....Stay tuned.....

Thursday, May 24, 2007

It's getting there

Yesterday was spent down at the is being spent doing all sorts of little things that have been neglected too long.

anyway, I am making good headway on my commission. Had to take a break and go out to get fabric for the backing. Also stopped by a reclycling center that does all sorts of weird stuff like toilet paper rolls, little thingies, left over greeting cards, scrap paper from printing companies, old foam core signs, etc. They have moved and now it is more really have to look around to find some of the really good ole junk. Anyway, obviously they had been gifted by some company that had tons of shot silk samples that were selling very cheaply. I got a bunch of them and then spent some time, sitting down, fondling them, and looking at all the colors. Each bundle has a warp of one color and then the weft is a different color. What fun.

So just to tease you, I have taken a couple of pictures of the neat fabric I found. They are all about 8 x 14 inches or a little smaller and just have one staple in each piece which I will remove as I work. Guess I better take a staple remover down to the studio!

Just look at all those colors! And the photograph does not do them justice!

So, I got to a place with the commission that I am feeling pretty good about. Tomorrow I will be back at the studio and will cut out some little foil pieces and place them where I want them to see if they give me the feeling that I envision. Such fun creating! All the time I have been doing this part I have been contemplating how I am going to get it off the wall, how I am going to get it on the backing, and then how I am going to quilt it.

so, this is where I am as of today and I like it much better.

Oh, for those of you in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, I will be teaching a class on design for the abstract quilt in my studio on July 21. I have three students and can take eight. The cost will be $60. If you are interested, please email me at The class gives you great ideas on how to get going and helps you to understand the principles and elements of design.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I'm in the Groove Again

For your entertainment...yesterday on the way to the studio I stopped by the bank and these flowers were in the flower box. Isn't this just beautiful?

And, just to be sure that you get enough orange, here is another one

So Thursday morning I arrive at the studio. I find it amazing how much work I can get done in five hours there versus the same amount of time at home. First thing I did was to take off all of the turquoise. As you can see, this leaves some hidden blank spaces.

Then I proceed to paint more turquoise since I had cut up just about all that I had done before. This batch is a little bluer than the other but I like it a lot...

Yesterday, Friday, I was on my way to the studio when I went by the local home decorating store and they had a bunch of chairs out for sale for $15 to $25. Made a u-turn and went in and bought this blue chair so now I have somewhere to sit comfortably when I want to take a break. And my cooler works perfectly as a foot stool. This fits in just nicely, of course, not a artisty at Rayna's sitting area in her studio but very comfy.

so, in between waiting for paint to dry, I have been quilting the Life Circles pieces. I am now down to only five more to quilt. When I bring them home I have to label them so I will know which is which. And soon, they will all be off to the photographers. Don't you love that backing fabric? George and I are now working at a nice rhythm and really getting the work done.

So yesterday, after I got my chair in, I ironed fabric, fused it, cut it up, pulled out the ladder and after thousands of trips up and down with the iron and my fabric pieces, this is how I left it. It still needs tweaking...I can see areas that need some color change, areas where the color change is too abrupt and areas that need to be beefed up a little. But I am much happier. Next week I will get all that done and then figure out what I am doing for backing and then how to get it all together.

Actually, I think I will put a large table up next to the wall, start cutting the piece out of the larger piece of batting, and put it on the table and keep going as far as I can. I haven't thought through what to do when I need to get the ladder up there. Oh, Home Depot was advertising a scaffolding which would doesn't go too high but would get me up further. But, if it doesn't go high enough, that won't help me...oh, sounds like another problem to resolve in my sleep, which is what I did with the design of this piece....I do some of my best work in my sleep!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Trying to Work it Out

Things don't always go as I had planned. Just so I can be faithful to the process, I am showing you just a few of the permutations this has gone through, none of which make me happy. I should have known better, since it was a gray day all day yesterday.

Each of the changes, which may appear small to you, required several trips up and down the ladder.

This last one is the way I left it...discouraged.

However, since I had this problem to figure out, I spent my sleeping time working on it. I have decided that I don't like the rough cut pieces and I sure don't like the way I was trying to do it.
So, I think I will get out the white fabric, paint another three or four yards of different turquoises, and then go back to my original design idea of a cruciform in larger squares.

Today the sun is shinning. I have to take my dad to the doctor this afternoon for an eye procedure and then maybe I will stop by the studio and take these things down so I don't have to look at them any more. And then, tomorrow I can start painting.

I've been tagged

Tomme Fent has tagged me to give 7 random facts about myself. When you're tagged, you're supposed to post 7 random facts (not 'interesting' facts, or 'secret' facts) about yourself in your blog, and also post the rules of the game. Then you tag seven others, and list their names in your blog. Leave those you've tagged a comment on their blogs so they'll know they've been tagged and to read your blog. So, here are my 7 random facts:

1. I love chocolate

2. I had a caseload as a probation officer with most of the exhibitionists on probation (you know, the flashers)

3. I've had a guy expose himself to my mother and myself as we were driving near a shopping mall and he was riding a bicycle in circles.

4. My studio is an absolute mess at home but the studio outside of home is very neat and tidy.

5. I don't enjoy gray days any more...I used to, but not now.

6. I have been white water rafting a couple of times and would go again if my husband would go with me.

7. I met my husband at a shooting (gun) range.

So, now it is my turn to tag others, so:

Carol Larson


Louise Schiele

Pam Rubert

Linda Minton

Rayna Gillman

Lesley Riley

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I'm getting there

I woke up this morning to a gray day. Four days ago it was 90 degrees and today it has been in the mid 60's. Yesterday the fog came in which means that it is cooler in the morning and when (if) the fog burns off, it wards up. Yesterday got up to the 70's. I have found, tho, that when the sky is gray I don't want to get up. I pull up the covers and hide. I get up to go potty and then rush right back. I may linger there until 8:30 or so...very decadent!

So I finally got up, didn't like the gray day, but knew what I needed to do today. Stopped by church where we were having a plant sale and picked up a couple of things for the garden. And then, off to the studio.

I really enjoy coming in to the studio. I have developed a routine when I get there...put away my purse, get out my telephone, put my Nano in the speakers, chose the music, and sit down to contemplate things for a few minutes.

Because I don't have all of my "stuff" there, I am much neater and put things away when I am finished using them. When I shift from one project to another (which I can now do as I have enough stuff there) I clean up so if I am painting it doesn't get on the quilts, etc. I'm so good I don't know what to do with myself! My goodness, why can't I do this at home? I really know why...I don't have the room to put everything away.

So, first off, paint more orange fabric. Did that.

Then, when it is drying, quilt another circles quilt...the pile is getting smaller and I now have fewer to quilt than I have at home (which all need sleeves). I have been getting the labels on them...that is the only way I can keep track of them!

Once the fabric was dry, I ironed on my Misty Fuse and then started cutting. Had a big pile and sat down to finish off the left side. Got down to about 2.5 square feet left to do and ran out of orange of orange fabric.

You don't want to know the words I was thinking. I was about to decide that I never wanted to see orange again and it is my absolute favorite all of it's nuances. But I needed to paint some more.

However, time for a break so I worked on my lutradur book. Did some writing on several pages..on a red page I wrote in purple...really cool. Then wrote in yellow on another page. And then had fun doing rubbings with various things I have collected. Then, back to the painting.
I pulled out another orange piece and thought I would recolor it but decided I didn't need to do so much so found a couple of other smaller pieces and redid those.

Then, let them dry while I make a list of galleries in San Francisco that are listed in the entertainment weekly thing from the newspaper. I am supposed to look those up and see if any look appropriate for my work, and if so, to contact them. Not my favorite thing to do.

I really need to find a gallery in the east where work sells for so much more money. Oh well.

The fabric I painted already had fusing on it so when it was almost dry, I cut it up, pulled up a chair, plugged in the iron and went to work.

The orange is finished!

Now, when I return next week, I start working on the blues. That should be finished by early next week and then I will call on a friend to help me take it down.

And then, the backing...that is the part I don't enjoy. And then I can start quilting unless I decide to go ahead and add the foiling at that point. And then I need to bring in my Janome so I can do a lot of satin stitching through the blue...oh, it will be so great!

I have received a number of queries from people via my website who have been reading this blog and have enjoyed the process. Someone suggested they could come and do the drudgery just to watch me work. All I could think of was that it really wouldn't be very interesting...the work starts in the head a month or so before I even start with the fabric. And then the fabric starts, and keeps going until I am happy with it and then hours of fusing, and then cutting and then, finally the fun begins. However, this piece is big and I have found that working on it for four or five hours a day is about all I can do. Up and down that would have thought I would have lost some weight during this time but I have an emergency supply of chocolate to give me energy when I feel it lagging. This piece is really a stretch for a friend said, I am doing what I always do, only bigger!

Friday, May 11, 2007

And still ticking

Yesterday I was down at the studio early and got a lot of work done. Ironed my recently painted fabric, added fusing, cut, and then up and down the ladder. I just have the lower left to finish in orange. I have another painted piece of orange but after drying, I don't like the color so I will go at it again today. You can see on the table there are not very many orange squares left. I will have to do two differnet pieces so it doesn't look like one piece cut up and plopped in there.

Here you can see that I actually have the right side done. After I get all of the orange, then it is time to start working on the turquoise. The more I work on this the more I like it!

Here is a close up with three different fabrics coming together in collage fashion.

In this picture you can see the metallic paint as well as some foiling. I will be doing more foiling once I get it all fused together and before I start quilting. As you can see, the squares are just tacked down and have not really been pressed completely. That will happen when it comes down off the wall.

I just love these fabrics in the upper right quadrant. The one on the bottom left looks like marble and the other two do, also...really cool.

So I took a little break from orange and cut up lutradur and have stated a book. I have painted the lutradur and have started screening on it. Lots of different texture images, many from my time in Texas. I have screens of frozen grass, weeks, a piece of cactus and who knows what else.

And here are a couple more pages drying. They will be folded over, and lots more stuff done to them before I bind them. Because you can see through the lutrdur, it is fun to do something on one side and see parts come through. This will be fun and there is no right or wrong in this...just layers and layers of stuff. And I haven't even started adding pictures and words yet! Oh, what fun I have in the studio!

This morning I am getting caught up on a couple of business matters and then will head back to the studio to paint more orange. See ya!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Moving Right Along

Yesterday was spent running my dad around to two different doctor's appointments and out to the exchange to purchase his two months' worth of cigarettes. Tried to get my EFM homework done while I was waiting for him with the eye doctor but didn't quite get it all done. Oh well.

Didn't get home until 9:30 and had left about 10 am for the day. Days like that are not fun, especially when we are in a heat wave. The temperature has gone up 25 degrees in three days. Just on Saturday it was in the mid to high 60's during the day and the past couple of days it has reached 90...Oh well.

consequently I wasn't able to get to the studio yesterday but did after lunch with my rector.

My good friend Carol Suto came by to show me a new piece she is just finishing. It is absolutely wonderful and I should have taken a picture of it to share. Her story telling is so great! She had taken a lot of photos of the murals in the Mission District of San Francisco (the Hispanic area) and has incorporated these in to a lot of pieces of wonderful work. This one was one of the best!

Anyway, thank you all for your concerns that I might break my neck on the ladder. I realized, to make you more comfortable, that I don't really get up to the next to the top rung but the one just below it so I am really quite safe, especially when I am juggling a hot iron and a hand full of fabric squares. But Carol took some pictures so you can see the process.

Of course she took a back view so you could see the big fat behind but you can also see almost down to the bottom of the piece. The blue is just pinned so I have an idea where I want it to do and will add much more of it to the piece. Right now, tho' I am working on the orange. I am really excited with the texture and color changes that take place in the various pieces of orange.

Now there you go...a front view!

By the end of the day this is how it was looking and of course you can't see the bottom two feet. This feels so good! I know how I am going to quilt it and will also add satin stitching in a cobalt blue within the turquoise. Oh, it will be so wonderful, if I do say so myself!

Back to work tomorrow!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Commission has started!

Yesterday I finished the quilting on another circle piece, finished up a banner for our youth group at church and then laid out some of the fabrics and the colors the the clients sent me.

So I decided I might as well get started. The creative process has been going on in my head for a number of weeks now and I am ready. I am far enough along with the quilting on the Life Circles and there are no other commitments right now.

Decided to start off with a pearly lighter orange in the upper right corner so I needed to iron on the Misty Fuse. And then the fun began.

Out came the ladder, and I started cutting pieces for the background. Up the ladder, put a bunch up there as far up as I can reach, down the ladder, walk to the other side of the room, decide I need to intersperse some other oranges, cut them up, up the ladder, play around with them, down the ladder, walk across the room and contemplate. And contemplate some more since I am tired or going up and down the ladder...I have to go all the was to the last rung in order to reach the top.

Brought in my 120" tape measure and have it hanging. I figure if I work toward 120 inches then I can trim down to the finished size of 9'3". All of a sudden it isn't looking as big as it did before! This is do-able. I can do it. I love the colors.

After doing a lot of thinking about the major form which is a cruciform, I decided not to do it in cut squares, etc and to make it more organic.

I got so excited about the turquoise that I started cutting it out and putting it up to see how it looks. Changed it around and then realized that I had not ironed on the misty fuse before I started cutting. That meant that I had to start laying down misty fuse, lay down odd shaped pieces of blue, cover top and bottom, iron the stuff on, peel the teflon off and then pry the extra misty fuse off. What a pain in the patooie... I'm still working on getting the blue that I cut covered in misty fuse. I won't make that mistake again.

This is beginning to feel exciting! After I took this picture, I ironed a lot and was able to start putting, just sticking on the wall, more oranges that I could reach without going up and down the ladder. I didn't fuse them or tack them down so I will see if they are still there on Tuesday when I hit the studio again.

Now I want to be there all the time but I think that I will work on this piece, take some time out to contemplate it while a machine quilt another circles quilt, and then keep working. I don't know yet if I am going to have to paint more fabric...may have to get Jacob to come down and work with me on that if I do!

I've also been making a lot of silk screens and have some really neat new textures, grasses, bare tree branches, etc that I can hardly wait to start using. I do love that surface design!

It's been fun reading Gabrielle Swain's blog...she has been at the Out of Heart and Hand Retreat where I will be teaching next year. Sandy Turner is sending out brochures for me so if you want one, send me your snail mail addy and I can send you one.

So, I am in a good place! Tomorrow I spend running my dad around the two doctor's visits, one of which is with him brand new gp, then we head out to buy cigarettes at a reduced rate courtesy of the Coast Guard (as a retired military person he has PX privileges) and grab a sandwich along the way. That takes up most of the day and I can do my EFM homework while I am waiting for the eye doctor...will be going in with him with his internist. What fun! But, then Tuesday comes and it is back to the studio! Whee!!!!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Students Work

Yesterday I left home at 7 am with a car loaded down with all sorts of paints, stamping things that I have collected, and tons of quilts, to go to Sacramento. I had been invited to teach and do a lecture at the Sacramento Center for the Textile Arts. This was not a group of quilters, but a group of fascinating people who do all sorts of textile arts. Many of the people in my class do book making, some do beading, and others do other sorts of textile work.

The class started out with painting fabrics, which you will have to find down at the bottom of the entry. Then they moved in to mono printing and then stamping with found objects and making their own stamps, and finally foiling. It was lots of fun and I think, as you see from the pictures, that a lot of great fabric came out of this day.

At the end of the class we went out for dinner, got me checked in to my hotel and then back to the Center for the meeting and my lecture. I had decided not to do a power point presentation but just showed quilts. I talked a little bit about how I had gotten to where I was, the difference, as defined by me or traditional, contemporary, and art quilters, being a full time studio artist and selling work. They were so responsive to me and said such nice things about my work. They all made me feel so very important.

Annd now for the pictures, of course they are all in reverse order...some day I will figure out how to easily put them in the right order!

fabric that has been painted and stamped

fabric painted and stamped

fabric dyed before class and stamped

mono printed fabric and stamped

painted and stamped fabric

commercial fabric stamped

painted and stamped fabric

mono printed and stamped fabric

painted and stamped fabric

painted and stamped fabric

painted and stamped fabric

painted and stamped fabric

painted and stamped fabric




painted and mono printed fabric

painted fabric

painted fabric

painted fabric


I will update and correct all the students names tomorrow after I have unpacked the car and found my list!