Monday, July 16, 2018

Small Projects

Last week Sue used some studio time to make a few small projects that have been on the back burner.  First was a zipper pouch that she bought a kit for in June at the Quilters Unlimited quilt show.  The vendor was Bucklebee by Me ( and the pouch is called the Skipjack Zipper Pouch for Washable Paper.
Washable paper (which appears to be the same as Kraft-tex, if you are familiar with that product) is a hybrid-textile product that looks and feels like leather.  The paper is wet and scrunched to give it the crinkled look.  Allow it to air dry before cutting the pieces.
These are the cut pieces.  Sue used a piece of hand dyed/screen printed fabric for the contrast trim and lining.
This is the beginning step of joining the outside bag pieces to the zipper.  The bag is fully lined with the fabric.  This was a fairly quick project. There was a little confusion with some of the directions but overall it seems to be constructed as intended.  The paper is rather stiff when it comes to turning the bag right side out, especially the corners. It helped to wet the bottom edge to soften it in order to get the corners pushed out.

Another thing Sue's had on the project list for a while is to make something using cork fabric.  As a first project, she decided to make this simple wallet which is a free downloadable pattern at Sallie Tomato.
It turns out the cork is very easy to work with and is actually very soft.  This is also an easy project, which took a bit more than 2 hours including cutting out the pattern and fabric.  The inside has 2 slip pockets, 6 card slots, and an ID pocket.   There is no storage for coins, however.
Sue will likely be teaching a class using cork for this project at Artistic Artifacts  in the near future - stay tuned for more information!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Studio Work

Wow, hard to believe it's been a month since our last post.  Time to catch up!  Elizabeth is off traveling in Asia, so this post is from Sue about what's been going on in the studio for the last month or so - late spring/early summer.  April was a really busy month for me, so May and June were intentionally slower as far as projects go, plus during both of those months I spent time in PA with my mother.  Is it really almost mid-July already?

One thing I did was to finally finish my spiral quilt from Susan Carlson's class at the QU show 2 years ago.  This is done with Susan's fabric collage method; all the pieces are held in place with glue, then covered with tulle and quilted to hold it all in place.  All the handwork, including binding, label, and sleeve is now done, so there's one quilt I can put in next year's show! 
In June I took a second class on quilting with rulers; it was actually day 2 of the class I first took in February.  I went with the intention of getting more practice with the rulers I already had, but of course we were able to try other rulers and I ended up buying more - no surprise there.  I took along a quilt top I had found in my studio clean up earlier this year in the hope that I might use it to practice on.  I found that I liked the overall design that could be done with the apple core ruler and started quilting in class, finishing up the binding last week.  I'm not sure what this pattern is called - its a piece that's been around for a good 10 years or more!
Here's a close up of the apple core quilting pattern.
June was also the month when spring postcards were due for my swap group.  Our theme this time was "perchance to dream".  Since I recently found out that I will have a quilt on exhibit at Houston this year, I decided to highlight that as my dream come true.  Here are the 6 postcards I made - a city skyline with the word "Houston" screen printed on top.  Elizabeth and I will be making our first trip to Houston this year!
I have also been trying to finish a quilt top called Paint Chips that I started in Karla Alexander's class at VCQ's Celebration retreat in April.  I got all the rows together in May, and finally finished adding the borders yesterday. Now to find some backing and work on the quilting.
And last but not least, my regional SAQA group issued a challenge due the end of July to make a 12" piece that illustrates "making your mark".  I'm working on mine, starting with thermofax printed fabrics and adding hand stitching - mark making in progress.  Here is a sneak peak.
It helps to catalog here what I've been working on.  Sometimes it doesn't seem like much, but then I look back and see I've done more than I thought.  Now to get back to some other started projects!  And maybe some new ones too!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

New Screens and Etsy Sale

Everyone loves a good birthday celebration, right?  Etsy is celebrating it's13th birthday by having a sale from June 18-22.  All shops were invited to participate, so you're bound to find some great deals next week.  In the PGFiber2Art shop, all items will be discounted 10% during the sale.  Use code ETSY13THBDAYSALE when checking out to save on your order.  There is no minimum purchase required, and you can use the code as many times as you want from June 18-22.  So check out the screens in the shop or get those custom screens made that you've been putting off!

Also, we have an ongoing discount for first time purchasers.  If you have not purchased from our Etsy shop before, use code FIRSTORDER10 when placing your order.  Or feel free to forward this offer to a friend you think may be interested in our screens.

We have added 3 new screens to the shop.  First is a hand drawn mum that is available in 3 sizes - 5.5 inches, 4 inches and 2.5 inches.  They may be purchased individually or as a set.  (Variety of size makes your design more interesting.)  Use to create an all-over random print or a planned pattern.  We also have a "bubbles" screen, which again, can be used to create a specific effect or an all-over design.  And third is a crackle screen.  We already have one crackle screen in the shop, with more rounded lines.  This one has sharper angles.  Both are effective for adding texture and background. Check out photos of prints of all three in the shop at

Mark your calendar for June 18-22 and check out the sale!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

More QU Quilts

As usual, there were too many favorite quilts at the QU show for one blog post.  Here are some others that we liked.
A group of Vienna chapter quilters did a challenge especially for the Just Piece It theme of the show.  They each created a portrait divided into 3 sections (top of head, eyes to nose, mouth to neck).  They then swapped the top and bottom sections, keeping their own eyes to nose section, and assembled the 3 parts into a harmonious quilt. Click on the photo to enlarge for a closer view.  Participants include (left to right, top to bottom):  Lorraine Heady, Karla Vernon, Willa Downes, Anna Willard, Trudi Sommerfield, Joni Seidenstein, and Polly Dombroski.
I Love Batik is by Bonnie Anderson of the Haymarket chapter.  The pattern is Shimmering Triangles by Jenny Bowker.  The top was pieced by Jo Cotter and Marty Bush of the Annandale chapter (Bonnie purchased the top at their auction) and quilted by Bonnie.  We'd say the pattern is aptly named!
Patricia Price of Burke made Amazing Love as a wedding gift for her nephew.  The pattern is by Laurie Shifrin.  Pat pieced the top and it was quilted by Beth Flores; the quilting pattern is Curved Maze by Geometric Longarm.  The interesting thing about this design is that the semicircles are only visible from a distance (or through the lens of a camera).
This is one of Linda Cooper's (Burke) original kinetic quilt designs - When Quilts Party.  The inset pieces feature photos of other quilts Linda has made which are attached with fishing lure swivels.  The back sides show the same quilts in black and white, hence, the party (color) side and non-party side (black & white).  The machine piecing and quilting are all done by Linda.
Sue's favorite was this  completely original quilt by Bonnie Rhoby of Reston, called Sewing Seeds of Hope.  Techniques include hand painting and applique, machine piecing and  quilting.  The workmanship on this is amazing.  Enlarge for a close-up look at the micro-quilting.  Below is a detail shot.

Beverly Pontius of the Springfield chapter made Brix, a pattern by Amy Walsh.  It is machine pieced and quilted.
Finally, Lollipop Trees is made by Ann Collins of Springfield.  The pattern is by Kim McLean and is machine pieced and hand appliqued by Ann.  The quilting is by Margaret Solomon Gunn.  Ann says she began this quilt in 2010, and though it took a few years to complete, was worth the time and effort.

We hope you've enjoyed this mini quilt show, especially if you weren't able to attend in person. 

Monday, June 4, 2018

Quilters Unlimited Show 2018

The annual QU quilt show was held this past weekend in Northern Virginia at the Dulles Expo Center.  Over 500 quilts were on display made by members of the 11 chapter guild, and over 70 vendors had their products available for purchase.  As always, it was an inspiring show with lots of great workmanship on display.  These are some of our favorites from the show.
Joseph's Coat is by Julia Rouse of the McLean chapter.  The pattern is by Kaffe Fassett and Liza Prior Lucy.  It is pieced and quilted by Julia.
Scrap Petal Garden is a pattern by Penni Domikis of Cabin in the Woods Quilters.  This version is made by Carol Conahan of the Mt. Vernon chapter and is machine pieced, appliqued and quilted by Carol.
The Bee Gazer is by Cecile Batchelor of the Reston chapter for a guild challenge.  The center is wool applique surrounded by Australian aboriginal fabrics.  It is hand appliqued, hand quilted and machine quilted by Cecile.
Above are 3 examples of a pattern by Jen Kingwell called Small World.  Top left is by Beverly Pontius of Springfield; top right is by Jill Warren of Springfield; bottom is by Chris Prestenbach of Springfield, all made for a chapter challenge.
She Can Dance is made by Puggy Beljan from a pattern by Frog Hollow Designs.  It is machine pieced and quilted from a collection of Kaffe Fassett polka dot fabrics.  It was quilted by Penny Bascastow of Pennyroyal Quilting.
Cracked Ice was made by Wanda Hlavka of Burke QU.  The pattern is by Connie Kaufman and is machine pieced and quilted by Wanda.  The quilting pattern is "Broken Glass" by Wasatch Quilting.
Debbie Bullock of the Burke chapter made Cactus Flower, a pattern by Renee L. Peterson.  It was made as a wedding gift for her daughter.  Debbie did the piecing; it was quilted by Beverly Burroughs, also of the Burke chapter.
Fifteen is by Joyce Carrier of the Haymarket chapter.  It is based on a photo taken at the Nashville zoo and is machine pieced, appliqued, and quilted, all by Joyce.

Stay turned for a few more quilts in our next post.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Leaf Pounding with Barbara Wise

Our local guild (Burke Quilters Unlimited) this week hosted Barbara Wise for a presentation on the ancient art of leaf pounding and dyeing with natural elements. Barbara has an Etsy shop (Aunt Lilly's Attic) where she sells rescued and re-imagined vintage fiber items and an Instagram page featuring her fiber art.
Leaf pounding is a Cherokee tradition that was used to decorate garments.  A leaf or leaves are taped to a piece of fabric with the vein side against the fabric; the tape prevents the leaf from shifting.  Then it is turned fabric side up, placed on a hard, lightly padded surface, and pounded with a hammer to transfer the pigment from the leaf onto the fabric.  This process produces very soft colors, and often the color you get from the leaf changes or fades after a fixative is applied.  But the results are still wonderful.
Barbara has used her leaf prints to create lovely pieces of wall art.
She sometimes enhances the prints with watercolor pencils to add a bit of color or definition.
In the piece above, Coral Bells, she has also incorporated embroidery. Isn't it pretty?
She had several small pieces mounted on wooden canvases that incorporated embroidery or applique.  The pounded leaves can also be turned into dimensional appliques by backing with felt.  Fabric used for pounding must first be prepared with a mordant (a treatment that allows the color to bind with the fabric).  When dyeing with plants, some require a mordant and others do not. Find more info about leaf pounding and plant dyeing on the web.

Barbara will be leading a workshop for the SAQA Northern Virginia pod in June and Sue is looking forward to participating and trying her hand at this ancient technique.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Whisper Challenge

Over the past year, Sue's art quilt group participated in a challenge we called the Whisper Challenge.  Think of it as the quilted version of a game of "telephone" that you may have played as a child.  This is how it worked.  The first person in the challenge selected a photo and made a quilt based on that photo.  She then passed her quilt (not the photo) on to the second person.  The second person had a month to make a quilt based on the first quilt, which was then passed to the third person.  This process continued through 9 people, where each person saw only the previous quilt.  The only "rule" or guideline was size, which was 18x24 inches.  When all 9 quilts where completed, the results were revealed to the whole group. 
This photo of an individual from Tibet was the original photo chosen by Bobbie Dewees.
Her interpretation of the photo is shown in the quilt on the left above.  As you can see, she stayed pretty true to the original photo.  The second quilt (left to right) is by Willa Downes, who gave a Caribbean island twist to the original.  Third in the challenge was Barb Sherwood whose quilt takes on an African interpretation.  Fourth was Judy Albert, who selected a n Indonesian batik panel as the focal point of her quilt.  So far, we are taking a rather international tour!  Click on the photo for a closer look at all the quilts.
In the photo above, we again see the fourth quilt, followed by Anna Willard's interpretation.   She was inspired to create an African dancer, with a "Gee's Bend" style improvisational background.  The sixth quilt by Linda Cooper took the dance interpretation and focused on a gymnast (her daughter) on a balance beam.  Sue's quilt is the seventh; she found inspiration in the concept of  balance and the diagonal line of the balance beam so in turn screen printed these "birds on a branch" as her focal point.
Judy Grumbacher was the eighth participant and based on Sue's quilt, created this improvisational tree. And finally, Barbara Wise used the tree inspiration to create a whimsical tree of her own, but one that included birds. 
Here's a shot that shows the progression in all 9 quilts.  Quite a change from first to last!  But you can see how each quilter took some aspect of the previous quilt as inspiration for their creation.  We all enjoyed this concept, and are planning to start a new challenge this fall.  There will be more participants, so it will take a full year to complete.  We hope to exhibit this year's completed challenge in the 2019 Quilters Unlimited quilt show.  Members of the art quilt group are from Burke, Fairfax, and Vienna QU as well as the Norther Virginia SAQA pod.