Monday, November 7, 2011

Cut Work Portrait book & free pattern progress

Cut Work Portraits and Other Art Quilts book:
I have been writing every spare moment.  It is amazing how many things need explained.  I don't want a book that assumes the quilter knows what I am talking about, and so is not helpful.  So, the book has lots of pics each step of the way, and lots of explaining why things are done as they are in the process.

I hope to get all the photos/patterns to the testers soon.  I am still hoping to get the book published in time for Christmas gifts.

I have thought of doing a free pattern, if the book is pre-ordered.  Wonder how well that would be recieved?  Hmmm....

Free pattern
I have been working on a quilt as a belated wedding gift.  It is a scrappy string quilt that I am calling HEART STRINGS.  Without giving away the surprise center that I mention on my Free and Fun page, I want to say.. it is so cool!

The center panel allows our extreme creative side to shine.  It utilizes some trapunto, echo quilting, Cut Work Portraits techniques and was just so fun to do!

In the free area will be only the quilt pattern itself.  Of course, a quilter may use any quilting they want on the free pattern. 

However, I have designed brand new quilting stitches for each area of the quilt! The quilting stitches are HEART FEATHERS, FLOWERED HEARTS, HEART SPIRAL, HEARTS TIED & HEARTS A FLUTTER. I will offer the quilting stitches only once the pattern goes on sale.

Friday, October 7, 2011

progress on book...

Today, my new laptop arrived.  I ordered this so I can work on my book on the go, in bed, on the couch - where ever, and even while Dan is using the PC!

The book writing should go alot quicker and smoother now (please, Lord).  I have several patterns that I am working on this weekend to include in the book.

I also have the pics chosen which I need to get permission to use, and will be sending out the slips for that.

So, it is all coming together!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Leah Day has announced the Transformation Challenge Winners

Today Leah showed all the winning quilts.  They are all so beautiful, check them out!

You may have noticed that my Diana's Transformation (aka My Daughter) is NOT on the winners list.  Though I must confess I was hoping, I am not terribly disappointed.

By not being a winner, I get my quilt back!  I had been missing it.  I spent alot of time planning it and creating it.  So, it will be good to be back home with me.

Also, consolation prize includes a professional photo, and her new book!  How cool!

In case you want to see all the finalists, check this out:

Looking at the quilts that won, I see a color and theme (all nature-y) going on.  Leah says "It came down to arranging the final quilt and finding this perfect layout, in which each piece compliments another" and I see how they do all blend quite well.

If you look at the winning quilts, and into the empty spot in the center patch Leah's quilt she made when she announced the contest - you will see one really cool quilt in the making!  And you will see how my quilt was "odd man out".  I can't wait to see the final quilt!
I am hoping that Leah will include some critic with the quilt, to help know what did or did not work.  I would love input to help improve my quilting.

Well, this deadline has passed, now it is time to tackle the next "challenge".  Hint: it has something to do with a wedding tomorrow (and unfortunately, a project that won't be done in time, but one that I think will be really cool!).

Also, I am planning to work full force on my book "Cut Work Portraits and Other Art Quilts".  My goal is to get it done by month end, or very soon thereafter.  We will see...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

the Walk to Cure Diabetes

My granddaughter, Isabel, is a Type One Diabetic.  I will be participating in the Walk to Cure Diabetes on September 18th.  I would love if you could donate to this worthy cause!  Just go to My Page and click the DONATE TO TRUDY button.

God prepared Isabel for this trial, but when the diagnosis came, we thought she would have a terrible time.  You see, Isabel loves all kinds of food.  There is hardly a vegtable, fruit, pasta, bread, meat, or dessert out there that doesn't have her name on it.

We thought this would be a bad thing, but it was all wonderfully & divinely planned.  Soon after she was diagnosed, we attended a potluck luncheon.  All the other kids were piling their plates high with potatoe chips, but just 3 chips - yes I said THREE! - would have used up all of her allowed carbs for that meal.  So, she shrugged her shoulders and said "how many carrots could I have?".  It was one of the first examples to us how God had prepared her heart, and her tastebuds, for what she was to face.

Her blood sugars continually climb and plummet.  Now she has a pump which monitors her, and gives her insulin - but often she needs manual attention.  Just last night, she had to get more insulin becuase she was very sick, her blood sugars were real high.

God also prepared her another way - by making her very sensitive to her body.  She usually knows (even before it can register on the monitor), if she is spiking or dropping.

Not all Diabetics are that lucky.  Some don't know (or can't respond) if their blood sugars get all wacky.  Without timely proper intervention, these people could quickly begin to damage their liver or slip into a coma or die.  That is why this Walk is so important - it is someone's life we are talking about.  Please take a moment to view MY PAGE and donate to save a life.  Thank you.

By the time all the money was turned in, I had raised $145 - thanks everyone!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cut Work Portraits & Other Art Quilts - my first book

I am working on my first book: "Cut Work Portraits & Other Art Quilts"!

The buzz has really been exciting on the Quilting Board.  So many great suggestions, some of which I have taken, and some I have decided against.

I have a good portion of the book written, and pics for the "how to" chapters.

I am working on gathering pics to create some generic patterns, that would appeal to a wide audience.

Several board members that have published, have offered some great advise.  Also, today Dan ordered a book for me that I had checked out from the library and found very helpful.  AND recently Leah Day talked about self-publishing - so it seems to be all coming very slowly together!  EEK!

You can see a couple of examples of the Cut Work quilts on my Projects Gallery page.

Monday, August 22, 2011

I am a finalist!

I received an email from Leah Day - that says my quilt made the finalist list!

Check out the 13 other great quilts who made the cut:

We will find out on September 30th who the 8 winners are.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Transformation Challenge Quilt - deadline is now past...

Sunday has now come and gone – so, did I get it done??? YES!!!!!!!!!!!! Woo, hoo!

I worked and went to church 23 hours this weekend, had to reprint the borders and label, then change the colors of the fabric (2 step process), and rush to JoAnns to buy a different color thread, as the one planned for the skin, basically disappeared on the fabric. Uggh!!

Last night Diana and Ramon took pics of the quilt, and we mailed it off – with 34 minutes to spare – plenty of time! Ha, ha.

Anyway, drum roll please………………… Here is my entry: “My Daughter”

Leah will notify the finalists on August 22nd – wish me luck!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Challenge update

Well, Sunday is the deadline to send Leah the pics of the completed quilt – so, “how is it coming?” you might ask. Well……….

My machine keeps jamming up on me (don’t know why, other than the deadline – it is clean, I have torn it apart a million times, new needle, bobbin is in right direction, tension is good).

Also I started, then got interrupted by life a few dozen times.

Then decided yesterday to start all over as I didn’t think it was good enough.

I am so glad that I did! I am really loving it (except when I want to kick the machine – but the QUILT – I am loving that!). So, yesterday I worked on it for about three hours.

When I planned this quilt, I made a sketch of how the stitches would look in each area, and what colors I wanted. It really helped me “see” the quilt.  Click on the pic to get a good closeup of the "stitching".

Here is what I had done before leaving for work today. I will work on it for maybe half an hour tonight (two jobs today, also getting up 2 hours early tomorrow to do grocery shopping before work, so can’t stay up too late). Then, I will have Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon to finish up.

As quick as this has gone so far (especially considering that I have to keep stopping to un-jam the machine) – I don’t think I will have too much trouble getting it done in time.

Without further delay – here is “My Daughter” – well, at least the beginning (please ignore all the loose threads not yet cut).

I want to go back and restitch the outlines of each area, and make it a little more smooth looking.

The hair is "Swirling Flames".  I want to outline each individual flame better.  But, I figure I need to get the whole quilt done first!

Please pray for me, that I get it all done in time. I told Dan that even if I didn’t get the quilt done in time for the contest, this has really been good for me, to push me beyond my capabilities, and besides, it is really fun!  Thanks, Leah!

You can see the original photo in my blog titled "Leah Day's Transformation Quilt Challenge" below.  Oh, by the way, don't notice that the pic is mirror image of the quilt.  I decided I like the back of the quilt better.  ;-)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Leah Day's Transformation Quilt Challenge

I have loved Leah Day’s site since I first discovered it, just a couple weeks into her project! Leah challenged herself to create a new filler quilting stitch each day for a year.

The designs she comes up with are amazing, and each day I dread how slow my computer is to pull up her site, as I am holding my breath to see the new design. When it is finally revealed (I have high speed, but boy! is that a long 3 seconds to pull up!), what little breath I still had, is completely taken away by the sheer genius and beauty of the new design.

As I read her weekly newsletters and shopped her quilt store, and read the daily blog, I felt like my knowledge of quilting had grown by leaps and bounds, and I thought of Leah as a friend.

When birthdays and Christmas rolled around, my hubby asked what I wanted, and the answer more than once was one of Leah’s books. My hubby had trouble getting one of the books downloaded so called and talked to Leah, and she was just as sweet and helpful over the phone, as she always appears on her blog, she even did something special to help him out. Thanks, Leah!

As I watched her new designs, and saw the new quilts she was creating, I could see a growth and change in her too. So, it was not terribly surprising that when she decided to have a quilting contest, that it would be called “Transformation”.

Because of my personal growth as a quilter, inspired by Leah, I had begun to play with a continuous line FMQ that was an entire scene. I thought of entering that as my contest piece, but it wasn’t anything transforming. It was just a beach scene on a hot summer day. But, it wasn’t transforming! So, “what to do??”

Well, this was a summer scene, maybe the transformation could be all the seasons in one quilt. I began to play with that, and thought of the background fabrics and colors of thread, and really enjoyed the plan. But, soon I realized it was too complicated for such a small quilt, and I wasn’t inspired to create some of the seasons, they came out pretty boring, without a lot more thought and work than I felt I had to spare before the contest deadline – so, again, “what to do??”

As I was mulling (and rejecting) ideas, my screen saver popped on, and up came the faces of my family. Seeing my beautiful grandchildren, I thought how they had changed from even just a year or two ago – a dim light was beginning in the back of my mind, but not enough to even call it a flicker yet. As I watched the different pics float over my screen, lost in memories of each child, another pic came up – my daughter, Diana. POW!!! – the light was now blinding!

What better example of transformation could there be than my daughter? As a baby she was adorably cute, but now she is awesomely beautiful. She began life as a daughter, and now she is a mother. She had been shy, but now put her behind a camera, and she is confident. She was an unskilled employee when she got her first job, and now she owns a business and employs others to help her! Of course, there are many consistencies in her life, like her style and artistic flair, her love of beautiful unique things, her devotion to family and friends. But, these things too have grown in skill level and depth of passion – so that too is a transformation.

As I watched the pics continue to float across my screen, in seconds the pattern for the contest began to form itself. I think my best patterns, are not planned, but come to me in a flash, almost complete, then I have to figure out just how to accomplish the end result. That is how this contest piece came to me – almost complete. Now, I just had to figure out “what to do??”

The contest rules said you had to use at least 5 of Leah’s stitches, so if I did an appliqué, it would be hard to showcase the stitching and yet not bury the pic of Diana. So, my mind went back to the summer continuous line pattern I had played with. The entire quilt had been stitching to show the rolling waves, the palm tree, the flying gulls, the fluffy clouds – you could clearly see the beach and feel the heat of the sun, but it was all done with stitches! Why could I not do the same thing with the pic of my daughter?

I am very fortunate in that Diana and her husband, Ramon, are professional photographers (she owns Peters The pics they take are always awesome, even if they are just family “snapshots”. My top header is one of her pics - and those are her children!  Aren't they cute?

A couple years ago, they had gone on a second honeymoon while I watched the six kids for a week (yeah, I said SIX! - count them). Ramon took one pic, that seemed perfect for what I wanted – a close up of Diana’s face, her staring straight into the lens, her chin resting on her arm.

So, now that I had a pic chosen, I needed to decide what stitches to use. I began scanning Leah’s site (she has it set up so great, sorted by skill level, basic type, use and name). For the hair, I wanted lots of movement, but not something that looked tangly or Medusa-ish. And I wanted to suggest hair that had been kissed by the sun, a few highlights, and a few lowlights.

Leah has so many great designs it was hard to choose! As I would choose a design, I would see how it played out, and compare it to others for the same part of the pic. Since I was planning no appliqué (and no cyanotype printing, my favorite technique) for the pic, and planned to allow the stitches to form the pic, in a whole cloth style, I needed stitches which varied drastically from each other to set up the edges of each part of the pic.

Eventually I ended up choosing all 5 stitches from among the first few designs Leah made. Not that the other later designs are not equally fantastic, but these just seemed to fit!

So, Diana’s hair would be Swirling Flames. It would make the hair look smooth, but wavy. I decided if I could find it, I would use a variegated brown thread so the highlights and lowlights would not be stark, but blend into the hair as a total piece, giving life to her locks.

Her sleeve would be made of Matrix, it looked like a perfect “weave” for the fabric of her blouse. The thread color would match the blue of her eyes.

The background stitching had to be something not curvy since it would surround her hair. I liked the look of Etch N Sketch, because of all the straight lines, that varied in lengths, as it would easily shape around her head. If I did this in a green, it wouldn’t match any other area and would help define the background.

I knew that I only had one area left to quilt – the face – but that was only 4 stitches, so, once more, what to do?? I decided since I cannot embroider, have lousy hand writing and no other way than my favorite technique:cyanotype, to print the words I wanted on the quilt, that describes Diana’s Transformation, I would do a border around the pic to squeeze in one more design and find a home for the words. So, not 100% whole cloth, but pretty close.

This 5th stitch needed to be something round as the background and sleeve both had straight lines, and that is what would be next to the border. Finally I decided on Basic Spiral as the swirls reminded me of the winds of Autumn, kicking up a pile of multi colored leaves and bringing in the change of season, and hinting at the blistering winter storms to come. Or maybe it was more the way the magic wand was waved to change Cinderella’s pumpkin into a sparkling beautiful coach fit for a humble little girl who had been transformed into a princess, on her way to meet Prince Charming. Either way, I was happy with Basic Spiral as the border stitch.

Now, the hard part – her face. What do you think my first thought was? Of course, it was “what to do??” LOL

I wanted something which would make her face have shape, and would show the contours of her cheeks. I would need something that would be smooth looking. Striated Earth seemed perfect!

I planned to make her face in a pale beige thread, and with the same brown used for the hair, to give her brows and lashes. A darker beige to outline her nose. A couple of shades of pink for her lips, and of course a baby blue for her watery depths of eyes.

I sketched out the entire quilt, using colored pencils for the thread lines. I played with the size of the stitches, trying to get consistent spacing, and small enough to create the pic, but large enough I wouldn’t get frustrated (remember, I am still fairly new to the “quilting” process). Finally I had a plan that worked! I could hang the paper sketch pattern on my drawing board, walk across the room, and see just her beautiful face, and not the stitching. But, when I walked closer, I could see her clear blue eyes, the slight tip of the corners of her mouth, the waves in her hair. I could see the edges of each section of the pic, the background, the border, the sleeve, the hair, the face. The “stitching” was small, but not annoyingly so, and even – I think I can do this!

The next issue was what fabric to use – or in other words “what to do??” I decided muslin would have little balls of threads that could cause my stitching to wander, and then the whites of her eyes would not be white! Plain white cotton was a possibility, but seemed so, well, plain. Finally, I found a fat quarter with a slight texture, it wasn’t florally, or too pronounced – that would work!

I finished up a few projects (see another blog – when I get time to write it – about the 4 graduation quilts). And finally I am ready to start! Wish me luck!