Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Turn Your Photos into Thermofax Screens!

We are again teaching this class at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria on Saturday, January 28, from 10 AM -1 PM.  We will show you how to use Photoshop Elements to convert a photo to a black and white image suitable for creating a thermofax screen that can then be used in your art quilts or mixed media work.  You will practice with some of our images first and then work with your own to see how you can incorporate your own unique imagery into your work without any concerns about copyright.  We'll also give you tips for taking photographs to make this process easier.  Soon you'll be looking at things with screen images in mind.  If you're in driving distance of the metropolitan DC area, come join us on Jan.28!

Note: While your own laptop and copy of Photoshop Elements are most beneficial, you can share one of our laptops if you don't have one, and download a trial copy of Photoshop Elements to try for 30 days before purchasing. Send us an email at pgfiber2art  @ gmail dot com.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thoroughly Modern Postcards

November was the month for the second postcard swap of 2016 with Sue's VCQ swap group. Our theme was "Thoroughly Modern". Since everyone in the group has now received their cards, it's safe to share pictures.

Sue has been working on a neutral quilt project, and decided to use some of the scraps to create her. cards.  She decided that improvisational piecing would be the way to go.
Rather than keeping them totally neutral, she decided to add a solid pop of color. Two of the cards got a red accent.
Two got a blue accent.
And two got a yellow accent.
Above are a few other interpretations of the theme.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Fabulous Fabric Swap Revisited

Back in October, Sue posted about the Quilting Arts Fabulous Fabric Swap  and the fabric she received in this magazine sponsored fabric exchange.  Today, she received a note that the recipient of her fabric had done a blog post on the swap.  Her name is Ann Scott and her blog post can be found here.  A selection of the swap fabrics were published in the current (December/January) issue of Quilting Arts. 
In the photo below, Ann's fabric is on the bottom left.
A selection of the dyed and surface designed fabrics were published in the magazine.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Holiday Open House & Pop-up Market

Next weekend, on Saturday, December 3, we will again be participating in  Artistic Artifacts annual Holiday Open House and Pop-up Market. 
This year we will be part of the pop-up market, with handmade gift items for sale including screen printed scarves, wall art, printed tote bags, mug rugs, small zip-up bags, tree ornaments and gift tags.
We've been working hard to get things ready.
If you are in the DC Metropolitan area, we hope you will take some time to stop by the shop.  Enjoy some demos as well as the market and of course all the fine offerings in the shop as well.  We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Spice Route Quilts at New England Quilt Museum

We are excited to have our Spice Route quilts on exhibit at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts!  We have visited this museum several times and seen some absolutely wonderful exhibits, but never thought we'd have quilts of our own on display here.  What an honor!  Of course, the Along the Spice Route exhibit is more than worthy.
Here is a quote from Pam Weeks of the museum to Paula Golden, exhibit curator, about the exhibit. 
"What fun we had yesterday hanging this lovely exhibit. Thank you for all of your hard work. All of the quilts are in good shape and it looks great."  Pamela Weeks  Binney Family Curator
New England Quilt Museum

Though you've seen them several times before, these are our 2 quilts.
 Elizabeth's China - Black Pepper

Sue's Mustard Seed.  

If you haven't had an opportunity to see this exhibit, be sure to take some time to view the collection at the link above.  They have been traveling since March of 2015 and after the New England Quilt Museum, will move on to the Texas Quilt Museum and the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum.  

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Virginia Consortium of Quilters November Meeting

If you follow our blog you know that both Sue and Elizabeth are members of the Virginia Consortium of Quilters, the state quilters guild that was founded in 1984.  Sue is ending her term as president this year, and Elizabeth is currently the Program coordinator.  We meet 4 times a year in various locations around the state, offering 3-4 workshops each time and a Come Quilt with Me group.  We have lots of fun and learning at our workshops, and enjoy getting to know quilters around the state, as well as seeing different parts of Virginia and visiting quilt shops along the way.  This past weekend we met in Martinsville where we enjoyed the "Art of the Quilt" show Friday night at Piedmont Arts (yesterday's post).  On Saturday we were at the New College Institute, a lovely new facility that is very high tech.
Sue led a workshop on making rail fence quilts for a charity project.  Three quilt tops were completed during the day, and 2 others started.
One of the classes was constructing a "Sew Together" bag.  This little gem has 3 zipper compartments inside.  Most of the participants got close to finishing and there were some clever fabric choices.
Here they are, hard at work, and below, some show and tell.
Dianne's bag used Scotty dog fabric on the outside, and a dog bone print and paw print on the inside.
The class above was learning a method of joining quilt-as-you-go blocks.  This method lets you work on the quilting on a smaller scale, a block at a time, and then join them together after they are quilted.
Above are some of the pieces they worked on.
The Come Quilt with Me group also shared their show and tell.  These folks chose to bring a project that was already started to work on rather than starting something new.
Mary worked on her "Equal Rights" quilt that she started at Celebration in April.  Equal Rights is a pattern by Susan Emory of Swirly Girls.
Phyllis showed us her completed top of "Indian Summer".  This was another Celebration class taught by Lucille Amos, who is a certified Judy Niemeyer instructor.  The top is paper foundation pieced.
As this was Sue's last meeting as president, serving 2 terms, she was presented with a quilt made by members of the guild.  Designed and coordinated by the vice president Faye, the blocks were made by members.  Faye assembled them into the top, and the quilting was done by Martha of Two Rivers Quilting.  Isn't it beautiful?  Sue thinks it will work very well in her bedroom!

It was a fun weekend and we would love to have you join us!  Our next meeting will be March 11, 2017 in Annandale, VA.  Information about the meeting and workshops will be published in the newsletter at the end of January.  The newsletter is sent to all members, but it is also accessible on our website.  We will post a reminder when it is available.  All are welcome, members and non-members alike.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Blue Ridge Parkway

One of the side benefits of traveling to VCQ meetings is seeing different parts of the state, and choosing different routes than the usual interstate highway.  On our return trip from Martinsville we took a leisurely drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway from Roanoke to Waynesboro.  While this route is slower than the interstate, it was actually more direct than continuing west to I81, so the time difference wasn't that great, in spite of a few stops along the way.  It was a beautiful day, and that made the trip all the more enjoyable, even though most of the leaves at that elevation had fallen.  There was still color to see off to the east or west at lower elevations.
This valley close up was off to the east side of the drive.
The Great Valley is to the west, between the Alleghenies and Blue Ridge.
If you enlarge the photo above you can read about this path of migration.
At the Bedford interchange there is a National Park Service visitor's center (closed for the season) and a gift shop. Sharp Top mountain is in the background.
This spot, known as Peaks of Otter, is a popular site.  A bit beyond the visitor center is the Peaks of Otter Lodge which sits along Abbott Lake.  We were advised to head over there before the after-church crowd arrived!
The lodge houses a restaurant and gift shop; next to it is a rustic motel with views of the lake.  Lunch was just about to open when we were there, but we opted to travel on.
Above is a view of the lake side of the lodge.  For you history buffs, you can read a bit more about the area on this historical sign.
We journeyed on, thoroughly enjoying the nearly empty roadway and the peacefulness of a lovely fall day.

Piedmont Arts "Art of the Quilt"

Every 2 years for the last 20 years, Piedmont Arts in Martinsville, VA, has mounted a fall quilt exhibit curated by master quilter Linda Fiedler.  Though retired from teaching, Linda is still busy creating and curating this show known as "The Art of the Quilt".  Linda is well known for her thread painted quilts, but in this show her quilts took us back to her piecing roots with a modern feel.  Those of us who have attended this show many times over the years have seen how current trends are reflected in the quilts exhibited.  The opening reception of the show was held on Friday evening of our VCQ weekend meeting.
It was hard to choose quilts to share in this post, so I settled on my favorites.  You'll see that most are more modern than traditional, but that is not to imply that there were no traditional quilts in the show.
Above is Redux XIII: Terra Sienna by Lynne G. Harrill.  This is part of a series in which Lynne is exploring how a traditional block (log cabin in this case) can be modified to appear quite different.
Nightsong by Linda M. Fiedler is one of 3 quilts she has in the show.  The bright colors against the dark background really make it pop, along with her signature black and white borders (you need to enlarge the photo to see them).
Gwen E. Goepel created Let's Dance, which celebrates joy, music and dance.
Another of Linda M. Fiedler's quilts is Colors, created in the modern style with solid and ombre fabrics.  The signature black and white border is noticeable in this photo.
Ellen Guerrant created On the Road to Oblivion which is an example of improvisational piecing.
This eye-catching piece is called Candy Stripes by Constance Norton.
Public Anemone I is by Deb Karakik. She designed the quilt around a fabric line with gradient color.
As I said, the show did include more traditional quilts.  Here is a lovely example by Jackie Perry called Baltimore Album Tribute that includes trapunto, ruched flowers and hand quilting.

The show is open through December 31.  If you are in the Martinsville area it is worth a trip.  Some of the quilts are also for sale.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

UFO Busting for October

October was a better month in the studio for Sue.  She could actually make a list of projects she worked on, and finished, though none were actually from the UFO list.  That's OK, she is feeling better about being more creative and productive and hopes to keep the momentum going.

One thing she worked on is a wedding signature quilt for her niece.  The top is finished, so quilting is on the agenda for November. (This picture was taken before the borders were added.)
Last week she decided to take some time to contribute to the charity efforts of the local guild, and completed a preemie quilt.  A bundle of children's print fat quarters were the starting point.  Squares for 4 more have been cut.
And this week, she worked on screen printing some tote bags, getting ready for a December Open House at Artistic Artifacts. 
So even though there's nothing to cross off the UFO list this month, its a win from her point of view in that she spent more time in the studio and got some work accomplished, and feels on track for the trend to continue.  This is the last month that Vick is asking participants to report results.  Check out her blog to see what others have accomplished in October at Colorways by Vicki Welsh.

So the stats for October are:
Starting UFO count: 11
New projects started this month: 2
Projects finished this month: 2
UFO count at end of month:11

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Broken Needles...and an Open House

You know the saying, "You've got to crack a few eggs to make an omelet"?  Well, apparently you've  got to break a few needles to complete sewing projects! Elizabeth broke a lot of needles this past weekend!  She is on a quest to bring back some creativity in her life.  Plus sewing meant she was far from the TV, secluded away in her sewing room and didn’t have to think about the craziness of the big world out there.  She probably should have stayed away from Facebook also!

When she breaks a needle, it makes her think of sewing friends who say things like “I haven’t changed my needle in two years” or “I only change my needle when it breaks”.  “Whoa!” she thinks to herself.  This weekend, she changed needles because they broke and also because they wore out. She didn’t count but probably went through 6-8 needles.  If she sews with a needle for 6-8 hours she changes it because that is best practice.  A new sewing needle is one of the first solutions when a machine malfunctions and one of the cheapest solutions too.  Of course, along with changing your needle comes re-threading as that is also a problem solver.  
The act of putting in a new needle, makes her slow down and really look at the machine and figure out why the needle broke.  Sometimes, she just doesn’t know why but usually it is something she’s done wrong, such as missing a step in threading or the thread was tangled around the spool, or sewing so fast the foot wiggled loose and the needle hit the metal.  In any case, go change out your needle, just for the heck of it!  You can learn a lot about needles here:  http://www.schmetzneedles.com/all-about-needles/  Schmetz even has a phone app about needles, which could come in handy when you're out shopping and aren't sure what kind or size needles you need.  You can download it for free in the app store.

Here are some of the things she stitched out on her “SuperBaby” Destiny sewing/embroidery machine this weekend. 
Mug rugs, small zippered pouches, lace ornaments (still need to wash away the stabilizer), and a bit of screen printing too. 

Our “Lattice” screen was printed on some hand dyed blue fabric and then used as the background for a pumpkin mug rug.  There will be more of these.

We are getting ready to participate in the Artistic Artifacts Open House and Craft Sale on December 3 in Alexandria.  These items and more will be on our table for your buying pleasure.  If you are in the area, stop by.  This event includes many vendors all with hand crafted items.