Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Wandering Wednesday: Shenzhen Skies

 I was thinking about the topic of the sky in Shenzhen, China which was the subject of one of my recent finishes. So I looked through some of my pictures from 2014 to see if I had any that captured the colors of the skies, and I found these.  Especially these first two are the main inspirations for the quilt.

This was the view from our 22nd floor apartment of the old fishing harbor. And these are non-Instagram filtered that's how it looked most days.

The harbor in the early morning.
 Looking down the block towards the sea. Really it's there. There were a few weeks where we couldn't even see that because of the pollution. I know we took pictures of the night sky during those weeks and it was a solid orange, almost like when there's a forest fire nearby in California, but unfortunately I couldn't find them.

 Downtown where my husband was working. It rained almost every day.
 Taken from the ferry.
 Looking back towards the city.
 Actual blue sky, was always surprising when it would appear.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Wheels Work Better When They Are Actual Circles

I love my Tutto sewing machine carrier, it's so well designed and sturdy. I think mine has a lot of miles on it, it traveled with me to China and back, fitting in the overhead bin just perfectly. And then also within China through the crowded streets of Hong Kong as I had to take my machine to get repaired (wiring/electrical problems).

Alas, something finally went wrong with it, I broke a wheel coming out of the retreat last weekend. I was almost to my car and suddenly it was very hard to pull the carrier, the wheel just crumbled off in my hand. :(

Thankfully replacements wheels are cheap, and I'm proud of myself for remembering to order one ahead of time. Instead of forgetting, then going to use the carrier and finding that it's non-functioning.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Kaffe Fassett Lecture

 Yesterday I got the chance to see a lecture by Kaffe Fassett, it was hosted by Golden State Quilting and held at my alma mater, Saratoga High School. What a trip that was as I hadn't been back there in years, and I was very happy to see the beautiful new performing arts center on the school campus.

In the lobby as we checked in, there were several  quilts made with Kaffe's fabrics and/or from his books, including this one which is a free quilt pattern: Kaffetastic Rainbow Star.
 This is the second time I've gotten to see Kaffe's lecture about Colour and even though it was the same subject I learned a lot. He spoke about going to art school and encountering a color wheel for the first time, "I knew that was the work of the devil!" That got quite a laugh, because the color wheel can be quite challenging, no doubt.

 I splurged and bought the lecture ticket and book. Kaffe's newest work is an entire book of medallion quilts! Photographed in a garden that's on my To Visit Someday list, Hidcote Manor gardens in Gloucestershire, England. It was fun to hear him speak about how they go about looking for places to photograph these sumptuous books. He talked about how grey it is in England, grey skies, fog, old stones, etc. and then there are these fabulous gardens just bursting with colour. To him that combination makes up the color palette of the country.
There was a little drawing and surprise! I won a bundle of three fabrics from Free Spirit.

I think this was the favorite quote I wrote down:

"Stop thinking, and start using your heart to create." 

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Mixing Quilting and Embroidery

 I've been working on another small quilt that's on my Finish-A-Long list, this one's called "Technology's Spine". Having this list to work from has helped me focus and get stuff done, I'm told that's how it's supposed to theory of course.
I tried out a lot of my machine's embroidery stitches in addition to just plain quilting and I like them both together. There's also some sections of hand embroidery too for even more texture.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Weekend Whatever Finished

 Another finish for my third quarter Finish-a-Long list, the mystery quilt from long ago (2005!!). Weekend Whatever is actually done, I can't believe it. I also can't remember who this was for....I guess some unnamed someone will be getting a quilt for the holidays.
 Some close up of the awesome fireworks pantograph pattern that Colleen Granger did for me.
 I think it really worked well with this quilt, and I love how the corner captured this one firework burst.
 I was really happy when Colleen brought the quilt with her to the retreat last weekend, so I could sew down the binding and add the label to call this one done.
 That crazy Hoffman ribbons fabric I used in the border is pretty fun, I like how it looks with the quilting.

The striped fabric made a fun binding, as stripes usually do.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Shenzhen Skies Completed

 Another completed quilt, "Shenzhen Skies". I began this back in Shenzhen, China when we were living there, and quilted it on the rented sewing machine after mine blew up due to the electrical differences.
 A lot of the colors and shapes are reminiscent of the things I would see there when I'd walk around our neighborhood.
 We lived fairly near an oil refinery which didn't always run (thank goodness), but when it did, the skies would be the oddest colors.
 I used a zig-zag-ish sort of stitch and a variegated rayon thread.

Another finish off my third quarter Finish-a-Long list, hooray!

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Our Sister's Huts

A completed quilt! "Our Sister's Huts", made for the Sister Artists exhibit for Quilt for Change
It measures 23.5"w x 38.5"h and has a whole lot of materials in it. Upholstery fabrics, ikat, denim, cotton-polyester woven jersey, commercial cotton prints, silk brocade, printed mulberry paper, eyelash yarn, paint embellished brocade, my hand-dyes, rayon and polyester thread.
This was one of the quilts on my Finish-a-Long list, so I'm very happy to check that off.

The denim at the bottom is dimensional, I left the seam in and showing so that it juts out of the bottom of the quilt.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Wandering Wednesday: Palo Alto

 I spent Thursday through Saturday in Palo Alto for a mostly CQFA retreat that friend Jaye organized. It had originally been scheduled as a class with Rosalie Dace, but unfortunately she'd encountered Visa problems entering the US and wasn't able to be there. Instead we gathered for an impromptu and unstructured retreat instead, which was fabulous.

This picture was taken of the almost full moon across a parking lot full of lights. I thought it made a nice contrast.
 Antonio's Nut House is still there (with their original sign), after all these years. We didn't go there for dinner, but I took this picture to send to my husband. Way back when we worked at Lockheed in Palo Alto in the mid 80's, this was one of the lunch places we used to go.
 This is the only picture I took in the retreat space, but I thought the shadows and colors of this were very beautiful. Adding to my shadows quilt design folder...

The church activity room we were sewing in was unfortunately un-air-conditioned which was pretty rough going, on the first day, On Friday, it was 92F almost the whole time. Yikes. Let's just say, I was very salty by the end of the day, and at one point I had to switch over to hand-sewing as my machine was getting hot to the touch from being in use in the heat.
The next morning found me at CVS in search of some fans to buy and bring to save us from the heat. At first I only found heaters and I was worried they'd already switched over the seasons, all the Halloween stuff is on display already of course. But then, stuck way on the top of another shelf, there were three fans. I bought two of them and it made it much nicer to sew on Saturday, *only* 83F, which is doable if you have a fan blowing air on you.

Besides all the issues I had with the heat, it was a such a great space to sew in, and I can see why Bay Area Modern likes to meet there for their monthly sew days. We had a lot of room, and it was great to have access to a kitchen. I always forget in-between retreats, but it is wonderful to get know some  people better and to just all be together while we worked on our projects.

I got a whole lot done, and I'll be photographing stuff to show my finishes for my quarter three finish-a-long list.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Rotating Color Collusion

 Here's a better picture of Color Collusion, with all the stitching done. It is hard to see it until you're close up, but you can see the texture which is the effect that I wanted to achieve. This is the direction I chose to be the "right way", but I thought it would be fun to show it all four possibilities. One of the goals with making abstract work is trying to make a piece that works no matter which direction you turn it to display.

Note: The following three pictures are from just rotating the photo around, not turning the piece around and re-photographing it again. So the lighting isn't uniform through all the pictures since I wasn't using my special photo light set-up.

I almost chose to use this direction, but went with the other horizontal.
So, I guess I really do like it in all four directions. To me, that means it's a successful abstract piece.
Another detail picture because I really like this particular section and how it turned out.

Okay, now to figure out how to finish the edges (square up and add facing or??) and get the sleeve stitched on to call this  one done for my finish-a-long list!

Monday, September 16, 2019

Slurpee Squared Stitched

I've gotten the additional hand-stitching done on the squaring up the edge slivers on Slurpee Squared. That means all this piece needs is facings, a hanging sleeve and a label to be able to count it as done for my quarter 3 Finish-a-Long. I am also toying with getting this framed, but I'm not sure I like the idea of glass getting in between the viewer and all that hand-stitching I did. It's just so *touchable*.
I think it blends in pretty well now that it's stitched. And once part of it is pulled around with the facings, it'll be fine.
The fusible really has held up well over all these twelve years of being handled and carried around in my car trip bag. Steam-a-Seam 2 for the win...