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Portfolio Time

When I first joined SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) a portfolio of the juried artist members was produced intermittently–I asked–and was told when they had enough new work. Now it is an annual event and every year I try to find something that represents my work but hasn’t been submitted before. I like to do portraiture but there has recently been a wealth of portraits not done the way I do them but in a manner that many people seem to feel attractive. So I have gone back to abstract type or variations of traditional work.

Here is this year’s submission.

It is Floribunda. I started this in a Nancy Crow workshop and had bits and pieces of it to take home after an intense week there.—they are all intense! But great fun! Because I had started doing leader-enders and there are a lot of small seams to be made in this kind of work, I brought along a stack of roughly cut triangles from my grandmother–found in a box neatly labeled ‘material scraps’. I pieced those triangles together and those became part of the piece too.

I quilted it on my new Gamill longarm–named Vivian after my grandmother and so here it is.

Weir floribunda

and a detailWeir Floribunda detail

Vivian was not happy today

When I bought my first Gammill–and only–I learned that many quilters gave their machines names. I named mine Vivian after my grandmother who was a sewing machine repair lady during depression days, operated a canning machine during World War II and was always busy with assorted projects.

Vivian has been very nice to me–except the one time I forgot to oil her before starting and she just locked up and said I’m not doing anything at all until you oil me.

Since then I have oiled her liberally and every day that we play together.

Today though was a different story.

I had a black polyester batt left from my mother’s small quilt store twenty years ago, a rather stiff backing–even after washing, and a top that had a LOT of bias edges.

First the backing was so hard to piece with the needle it left big holes in the backing–no way to erase bad stitches. The polyester batt and the bias edges kept me chasing the top all over as though it were alive.

And then Vivian said–no way am I stitching straight lines without you stopping to rethread after shredding the thread. Her arms were crossed and she was not budging on this idea.

I double-checked the threading, checked the bobbin tension, changed threads, changed needles–and still NO!

THEN I tried going left to right—and it was perfect–still the holes in the backing–but that backing is going to a homeless quilt that is tied—ditto the batting.

So Lesson learned—Vivian sews straight lines from left to right but is okay with pantographs also left to right–but on the backside of the machine.

Slowly but surely I am learning how to use this machine. img_5186-m

A cup of tea

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There is just something about a cup of tea made properly from loose tea in a preheated teapot and steeped just right.

I didn’t grow up drinking tea of any sort–my mother would drink it when her stomach felt upset- but otherwise the parents drank coffee and the children drank milk–raw milk from the cows Dad milked twice daily by hand for many years and then with a milking machine.

When I married, I married into a family of tea drinkers–hot tea. The girls would sit in the formal living room drinking tea from the special cups–we each got to choose our cup for the day–and we would chat about this and that while the guys retired to the play room or garage to discuss–or fix–or admire–.

Then I spent a wonderful three months in Kenya with my brother-in-law and his wife–and quickly–after just one session became accustomed to morning and afternoon tea–there it was made with hot milk and lots of sugar. Tea was purchased at the market–with sieving s and twigs bought separately and then mixed.

We do not have a similar market here–but I discovered great loose tea at the local India food store.

There is just something about a proper cup of tea

A quilt for a little boy

boys haven quilt

Quilted earlier this week and awaiting binding, this flannel quilt was sewn by my dear friend Sherry from donated scraps. I used a simple loopy-do meander and then did the borders in a continuous fashion requiring rolling and re-rolling–not so hard with a simple loopy-dee-doo.

I always like to include a nice label with a wish/prayer for a better future. This quilt will go to a Boys Haven boy sometime in the near future. These are boys who are from troubled homes and who frequently have not had anyone voluntarily do something nice for them. This is an ongoing project for the local quilt guild–and I am happy to have contributed several quilts.

Next Door

When we moved from Georgia to Texas we were welcomed by neighbors across the street with coffee, orange juice, and doughnuts. We learned they had four children, two of who matched two of our boys ages–and we had parties together and worked on our houses together. We all celebrated news of functioning bathrooms and repairs of roofs and new paint.

But next door lived a woman in what was once a lovely house. It had French doors leading to the front room, a carport and a wide front porch. Unfortunately she did not have the resources to maintain it and after three successive hurricanes with a large tree falling on the back area, it was deemed uninhabitable by the city. After many long months it was demolished this past week.

While it is sad to see the home gone, perhaps we will now have fewer raccoons and homeless people sleeping next door.

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Pink Snow

pink20snow-mSnow in this part of Texas doesn’t last long—thank goodness for this Yankee who admires it greatly in photographs and for maybe a week or two—but shoveling sidewalks before going to work/school each morning, stocking up for blizzards–this was okay as long as we had electricity and heat–but not so much fun when you had to go to school on Saturday to make up the lost days–and then the mud in the spring.

Snow here means treacherous driving as people here do not understand a light foot on the gas pedal is essential. And it seems that every time we have had snow we have had a significant hurricane.

But Pink Snow—it lasts just a couple of days and presents no driving hazards–just a bit of sadness as the season of the azalea flowers is coming to an end.

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Skye Studios Adventures

img_5126-mA whirlwind of three days with much laughter and some sewing–and more cutting and sorting on my part has passed. Holus Bolus met for our spring retreat and as usual the time passed all too quickly.

I have been home now for three days and still cannot find my pins or my scissors. I remember putting them in my baskets/bags/boxes to return home but can I find them? I did find my knitting with a few dropped stitches–no problem there–the yarn is multicolored and those dropped stitches will fit right in with all the others.

We did manage to fit a lot of things in–a trip to the Piney Wood Quilt Guild show, a shopping trip to Atkinson Candy Factory Outlet, AND to the fabric lady who is available by appointment only, a passing off of our row quilts we had all worked so diligently on–lots of squeals of delight here—and then on to serious business. We traded fabrics to do a piece representing ourselves using Chagall as our inspiration.

I made spring rolls, the sisters cooked lovely meals, and Larry made steamers of shrimp, corn on the cob, and potatoes on the grill. Fritzi was excited to see us–and probably cried when we left–we all had to pet him.

Here are my photos from the event—https://sylviaweirphotos.smugmug.com/QuiltGroups/Skye-Studio-Adventures-March-2017/

 

Hands

Last week’s assignment was hands.

I took a lot of photos at a gathering on Saturday, then worked hard on finishing up my final exam in Photoshop Elements. Somehow I had pressed a button and all the tools would implement themselves one by one as I tried to put letter in the text box. I have no idea what I did–tried closing and rebooting photoshop Elements—then I found the reset all tools buttons–did that and I was back in business.

This photo is therefore late but here it is.

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it become the basis for a new art piece–but I have a few others in the lineup first.

BeesWax and Batik

Last summer I harvested honey from my one hive–such gentle bees and so productive. I got about two gallons from those industrious creatures. And I had cappings–wax!

I saved the cappings in the freezer for processing in cooler weather when it might be nice to be in a kitchen with the oven going. One pan was processed in the oven but then I still had another bag of cappings and the first batch of processed cappings.

Batik has always fascinated me–and I wanted to try it. So off to the store to find an electric fry pan with a temperature gauge. None to be found in the one store—but a cute little crock pot for less than ten dollars. Would it work?

Dumped the bag of frozen wax in there–and I thought we had gotten all of the honey out of it—Nope!

By the time we finished with both bags of cappings (two harvests) we had half a quart of honey. And we strained out a lot of bee legs and bits of leaves and so forth. The house smelled wonderful–like baking bread or simmering cinnamon sticks.

On to batik!

I used a vintage potato masher for one piece. The wax needs to be hot–and the masher (metal) needs to stay in the wax long enough to heat the metal–otherwise you end up with a wax coated masher and no wax on the fabric. The wax has to penetrate the fabric to be successful.

Beeswax does not crack as much as paraffin does–but I did get a few cracks. I think if I had put it in the freezer and then scrumched the fabric, I might have gotten more. Next up is a dried corn cob.

 

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here is the wax melting in the little crock pot.

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and here is my first waxing. I dyed the fabric after this waxing and then re-waxed in opposite direction and dyed again.  Tomorrow I’ll show the finished piece.

 

Azalea

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This time of year always seems to surprise us–it seems much too early for our yards to be in full bloom. I have three colors of azaleas, white, salmon, and pink.

Satsuma and lemon trees promise a lot of fruit—but my poor peach tree did not survive last summer.