Friday, October 28, 2011

Work Space

We have the town sand pile at the end of our road. The other morning when I took Alex to catch the bus, he noticed this face in the sand. Thought it was funny so made sure to take my camera the next time I went out.

This is what we woke up to this morning. SNOW!!! I'm not ready for it! Although the trees did look pretty outlined in white.

This is my sewing area. I decided I might as well take pictures of it now because it will never be really picked up since I'm always working on something. I'm still figuring out how to arrange it best for me. On the right behind my chair are a couple of small bookcases. Someday I will have better lighting but we only have 2 outlets in the basement, so I have an extension cord running from halfway across the basement for my sewing achine and iron. Because it is a Habitat house the basement had to be unfinished, so we only have an outlet for our washer and dryer and and outlet for the cold air exchanger. Gary is planning on putting more outlets in as we get money and he gets time. Someday we will also have finished walls but hey, the blue styrofoam insulation panels work great for a design wall! Or should I say walls since I could use the whole basement as 1 big design wall if I wanted!

This is the sewing table my sister-in-law gave me. It is great! Lots of shelves underneath to store stuff on. I used clear plastic shoe boxes to put yarns and other embellishment stuff in. I sorted them by color and even have them labeled. There still is a pile of stuff to the left of the picture that I need to figure out where to put.

And the other side. A nice place to put my Matchbox Car storage containers which hold my thread. On the other side of the chair, I have some baskets to put things in.
What a difference this is from having all my stuff in the living room like I did at my parents or sharing the loft with Kara when she was home from college. The loft was really tiny and putting all my sewing stuff and all her furniture and stuff in there, it was cramped!! Now I can leave my projects out and can just start where I left off when I come back.

I keep forgetting, my exciting news..... I'm taking a 5 day class with Sue Benner this January. Its the North Country Studio Workshops in Bennington, VT. I've never been but Susan and Marilyn from the Fiber Divas go just about every year. I received a scholarship which made it possible for me to go. I'm so excited! I don't think the end of January can get here fast enough! I have really admired Sue's work for years and never thought I would have the chance to take a class with her.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Work in Progress

I'm still here. Just been working on a couple of things but don't have anything finished. After pulling out that piece from my scrap bag (see here). I decided to pull out this piece that inspired it. I started this one in a class called Still Life with Bottles. I can't remember who the teacher was but she taught a lot of hand applique. These bottles were hand appliqued on. I took the class a long time ago, before I started blogging, and never finished the piece. I always like the colors and the look, I just didn't know how to finish it since it needs something like plants, flowers or branches in one of the bottles. The 2 small squares on there are just stuck on to test some colors for borders. I didn't remember to take them off! I do have borders added to it now. I thought whatever I put into the bottles, I might like going off into the borders. Just need to figure out what is next. I'm now thinking maybe I should have shortened the top a little before adding the borders! Oh, well, guess I can always rip out and resew if that's really what I want to do.

At the last Fiber Divas meeting, Susan was getting rid of some of her fabric and we all went through it. I decided I wanted to use some of the oranges I picked up from her. Once again, I decided to use colors I don't usually use and picked purple and green. I just needed something I could sew without really thinking about it so I decided on circles. Because I wasn't thinking I made this project a lot harder than it had to be. I wanted each piece different so instead of sewing circles together then cutting them in quarters, I cut circles out then cut them into quarters before sewing them together. I was going to fuse this together but was so into getting it started, I started cutting out before I put the fusible web on. I tried sewing one together with raw edges and didn't like it, so I'm now turning the edge under then machine appliqueing it. Oh, well.

Well, I'd better go. Have to take Alex to the Tilton Outlet stores to look for some casual dressy shoes that he needs for Tuesday. Of course he didn't tell us this until Friday night!! If I had known Thursday, we could have stopped at the outlets in North Conway when we went to his ortho appointment.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

New Quilts

Here are some of the new quilts I've made. This is the sketch that the first quilt was made from. Doesn't really look like much. I drew this after looking at pictures of our house construction. All the framing for the walls both inside and out gave me the idea for this.

This is the final quilt from the sketch. I went with totally different colors than I usually use. I always fall back on the colors I'm comfortable with and find easy to use and wanted to challenge myself to use something different. That was one of the first comments the Fiber Divas made that it wan't my normal colors. This one I called Construction.

This is actually 2 separate quilts. I took the idea from Jean Wells book, Intuitive Color & Design, Adventures in Art Quilting. She calls it Portrait Finish, where you make a simple quilted piece to mount the actual quilt on. It acts like a mat for a painting. I think it gives smaller pieces a much more finished look. Some people mount their pieces on painted canvas or mount the actual piece onto stretchers. I've always thought some of the smaller pieces that I've done look unfinished and needed to be presented differently. They needed something more so people would think of them more than just fancy potholders!!

This is a closeup of the quilting in Construction. The quilt itself was made with hand-dyed and painted fabric. The background piece was made from batik and hand-dyed fabrics.

I have always wanted to try my hand at more abstract work like Jean Wells. I've also admired Robin Ferrier's work and Liz Berg. Theirs is more abstract also.

After I finished Construction, I again hit a blank. I'd go down and pull fabric out, move it around and nothing! Didn't help that I had an awful head cold and was all stuffed up! I finally decided to just start pulling stuff out of my scrap bag and just start sewing. Well, as I was pulling stuff out, I found the piece with the vases on it. I had started it years ago and never did anything with it so finally just tossed it in the scrap bag. I also found the pieces to this border in the scrap bag. Something I had started in a class I took with Carol Taylor 3 or 4 years or so ago. I started by sewing all the pieces to the border together. Had no idea what I would do with the finished piece but just started sewing. I then decided that the border would look interesting around the vase piece that I had pulled out. The border might be a little too big for the center but oh, well, at least I was sewing again!! I do love how the colors of these went together. I doubt I ever would have thought of doing this if I hadn't come across them in the scrap bag. It did need something between the center and the border so I picked out the tan and black batik. Now to just finish it. I think I need to add something on the upper right to fill in a little of the space. I'm thinking some sticks (not real, maybe embroidered) or pussy willows. Something simple.

Last Saturday the Fiber Divas went to the Belknap Mill Quilter's Guild Show in Laconia, NH. Lynn Elkinton, one of the Divas, was their featured artist. She does such lovely work, it was great to see it all in one place and see some pieces we hadn't seen before. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera!

I just took a look at Carol Taylor's site so I could put the link in my post. I love the new work in her linear series!!!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Beth Who????

Yes, I really am writing on my blog. In case you have forgotten, I'm Beth and I live in NH. Life has really been crazy! We finished building our house and moved in the end of last October. I can't believe it has almost been a year. Took us a while to get settled and organized and get back into a routine. But lately I really haven't had an excuse. I even have less of one since I now have my own sewing area. I thought when we moved here I would have to share my daughters bedroom and use it for sewing while she was away at college. Neither of us were really excited about that idea! Our basement is unfinished but they put so much styrofoam insulation panels up that it stays really warm in the winter even with no heat and stays nice and cool in the summer. To top it all off, my sister-in-law moved and didn't have room so she asked if I wanted her sewing table.. Let me say that this sewing table is really NICE!!! Her husband, Brett made it for her. At first we thought there was no way I would be able to get it, because we didn't have a truck or van to drive out to Syracuse, NY. Was I really excited when they called to say that Brett and their daughter were driving to Maine to visit relatives and could bring it out!!!! I will have to take pictures of it and my sewing area to post.

I haven't done too much quilting. I did make curtains for our dining room and living room. Really simple, just valences. We live out in the woods and want to see out. Still have fabric that I need to make valences for Kara's room! I did finish up a couple of pieces to put up in the house since they went so well together and with the wall colors.

This first one, I started in 2006? Give or take a year. It's been sitting around as a top that I kept pulling out to try and decide how to quilt it. Right now it is just quilted in the ditch but when and if I decide to, I can add more quilting to it. It is over my couch. I have always really liked this one.

This second one, I started out just playing with colors, I think I had posted it when I finished the top. I finally quilted it. I still have trouble deciding how to quilt things and then hesitate because I worry that I will mess up and ruin it. I'm trying to push past this! This one hangs in the dining area on one side of a window.

On the other side of the window hangs my Birches quilt. This is another one that I always liked and am glad I finally have a place to hang it up.
We still have a lot of empty wall space. I found that a lot of stuff that had been in storage for 14 years wasn't really my style anymore.

I have one piece that I have recently finished and need to get a picture taken. After that piece I really had a block and couldn't come up with anything. I would go down to my sewing area and just move fabric around and not come up with any ideas. I finally decided to pull things out of my scrap bag and just start sewing without any idea of where I was going. I found a couple of pieces in the bag that I had started sometime and never did anything with them. I decided to put them together and finally have something going!!!

Even though I haven't gotten much done I have, I think, defined my "style" a little bit. I have done a lot of exploring, trying new things, mixed media techniques, etc over the years. Just in this last year, I realized I wanted to pretty much stick with fabric maybe with a few added embellishments if it needs it. I tend to like simpler quilts and simple quilting, I like to let the fabric talk and be an important part of the quilt. You tend to see a lot of heavily quilted pieces and I always struggled because I felt that is what I had to do but I've come to realize that No, I don't. I prefer my pieces quilted simply. I also like to make and use my own fabric whether by dyeing, painting, discharging, etc. This is almost as fun as making the quilt itself!

Well, I've rambled on enough for tonight. Now to get some other things done. I will be back soon with more stuff!!!