rocket tracking


Tuesday, August 31, 2010


When I went to Connecticut in June, I was fortunate to meet up with the weekly stitchers I quilted with on Thursday mornings. One of the funny things is that when I moved to Ohio, the weekly group I meet with there also started stitching on Thursdays.

This group of ladies are very talented and supportive of each other. Sophie Peletier always has something interesting she's working on and this time was no different. This is a table runner Sophie was working on.

Sophie is a remarkable hand stitcher. Her artistic ability is wonderful,although she usually does things along a more traditional line.

Here's a shot with many of the quilters I worked with. I'm keeping this short because....I'm still working on the binding of the quilt.... I had hoped to finish it today and get it shipped off. I hope to complete it tomorrow as it really needs to be on its way. I think I'll miss this fellows chemo this week, but maybe not....IF I can get it done tomorrow. Hand-sewing the binding, putting the label on it, and maybe machine embroidering a saying onto it....and stitching down the hanging sleeve. (I put a hanging sleeve in in the event that they may wish to ultimately use it as a wall-hanging as it has the entire family's names on it).

Monday, August 30, 2010

Stitching my head off

I'm madly working on a traditional "comfort" quilt for a friend in Illinois to give to her neighbor. I'm quilting it, and tomorrow I will bind and do the finishing touches and get it in the mail ASAP as he's due to get a chemo treatment this week.

Therefore, I'm sharing some pictures. This lovely blue tropical water lily and the white one were at the Aquatic gardens shop (Green Vista) which is just about the only place any more for me to get high quality fish food and oxygenators.

Much to my happiness (and my husband's chagrin), I found this wonderful jewel of a frog in my garden. It's a Northern Leopard frog, sometimes called a "grass frog" (Rana pipiens). This is the first one I have seen here in 5 years, which may be a testament to my garden, the present lack of rain, or the fact that I don't use chemicals in my garden.

Leopard frogs are truly amphibious, they are often found in the grass but they must have areas of permanent, slow moving water. The little creek at the back of my yard and my fish pond both qualify, although my pond doesn't have frogs in it...and every fall I fight the bull frogs (they eat anything they can get their mouths around...and since they're big, that means my fish as well).

My husband doesn't like frogs....I think from an unfortunate experience in Cuba when he was little. Cuban houses didn't have screens. On the ground floor, there would be iron grates to prevent people from coming in on the outside, and wooden shutters over the windows. Once, when visiting someone's house, they opened the shutters and tons (according to his sister and him HUNDREDS) of frogs fell out. He thinks of them as "slimy" so I am the frog and snake removal around here.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sarah Ann Smith & Thread Work Unraveled

Back in June, I started working on reviewing some of the NQA quilts. I only got through some of the miniatures! One of the pieces which I was taken with was this one by Sarah Ann Smith. The title is Cookie? Pleeze, Cookie? Sarah Ann completed this portrait of her pet Pug, Pigwidgeon, as a study in value (light, medium and dark). You can see a picture of Pigwidgeon, read about the construction of this piece as well as learn more about Sarah Ann here.

I think one of the reasons I like this piece so much is the color and fabric choices she made. While she says they are "decidedly NOT realistic colors," they are based on realistic colors as one of the coat colorations of Pugs is tawny with black muzzles. It isn't a far stretch to see the indigo and violet as well as the tealy greens in the shadows and the orange and yellows for the body. I also loved the seed printed batik for the muzzle, it looks like it has the warty spots and whisker bits!

Her threadwork is also wonderful, giving a lot of texture as well as shading/coloring in the picture. You may be wondering where you've heard of her before. Not surprisingly, Sarah Ann is the author of Thread Work Unraveled.

I have to tell you, this is a great book. It is just full of practical information on thread, using thread, stitching, needles, cautionary tales and whatnot. It isn't a "pattern book" per se, but there are instructions for a couple of pieces, instead it is a valuable reference tool . This is a fantastic book for ALL quilters, whether traditional, or art quilts. I dare say that even hand quilters can get some information out of it as she compares the different thread types. I also like Sarah Ann's sense of humor which comes through....although I think I like anyone who is brave enough to show a sense of humor.

The book is published by the American Quilters Society, so if you're a member, you can get discounts there. In addition, you can find it in your local quilt shops. I also stumbled into it in JoAnn Fabrics today.'s almost sounding like I have monetized this blog...I haven't, I just believe in the book...and love Sarah Ann's contributions to the field.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dairy Barn and Nelsonville Quilt Company

Today, Chris Landis and I took a little trip to Athens, Ohio to see an exhibition of Amish Quilts at the Dairy Barn Art Center. It was an absolutely glorious day, and unmarred except for panic-ridden calls from my dd who swore the spaghetti sauce I made for the cross country pasta dinner at my house was burned (it wasn't).

As usual, no photographs of the quilts were allowed, but they did have a catalog available. Drawn from Pennsylvania, Ohio (predominantly Holmes County, but with others) and a few from Indiana and Iowa it was an excellent show. Dee Dadik and Molly Butler (appraisers of "I Have a Quilt") curated the exhibition. Chris Landis is a professional long-arm quilter and she and I particularly enjoyed looking at the differing quilting motifs and how they handled problems of turning corners, etc.

I love the play of light on the Dairy Barn. I also love the ever-changing sky of Ohio. It is really remarkable. I hope that I will be coming back in the spring. The Quilt National quilt submissions are due soon and Lori Gravely-Novello has been working hard on her pieces and they are absolutely stunning. Lots of art quilters are sweating trying to get their works done, photographed well and submitted. I'm not ready for that yet.

We drove around Athens a little bit. I was a little familiar with it as Ohio University was one of the college visits I made with my daughter this spring. Although she is concerned that it is highly rated as a party school (and what school isn't?), and that her friend who is attending this fall would think that she is just following her, I hope that she will choose OU. Of all the schools we've looked at so far, this one seems like it is student oriented, and other than Ohio Northern, it was the only school to include the library on the campus tour. I was also impressed with how human the campus seemed rather than sterile or industrial in nature.

We stopped for lunch in Athens. Then on down the road. Even though I have sworn that I wasn't going to buy a lot of stuff and certainly I don't need fabric....we stopped in Nelsonville at the Nelsonville Quilt Company. You can visit the shop online here.

This is a great shop, one of the best that I have been in in Ohio. They have a wide variety of fabric types and lots of good notions and tools. I was able to get my Needle Grabbers (I affectionately call them Needle Nabbers--round rubber disks which help you pull needles through obstinate fabric).

The owner of the shop, shown here, is too modest to nominate herself to the top 10 quilt shops which appears in Quilt Sampler twice a year, so she's not in this issue, but I promised her she rated in my top 10 Ohio shops and would highlight her shop here.

I was amused because while I was in the shop, this woman with the turquoise top (one of my favorite colors) was there and she and I share a name, so when the shop owner called "Lisa!" I whipped around....only it wasn't me.

The lady in the lime green top was visiting from New Zealand, and although I was aware of the prices they pay in Australia and New Zealand, she was commenting on that topic and once again, I took a deep breath. Even though the $9 and $10 per yard is now common and hard for this brain who started purchasing quilt shop quality fabrics at about $3.00 per yard, having to pay what they pay would be really painful.

One of the other fine things about this shop is the gorgeous, and original tin ceiling. Nice patterns!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Taking Classes: Carol Taylor

If you are lucky enough to have quilting teachers near you, or if you belong to a guild which brings in "big name" quilters, I would like to encourage you to take classes. I find that I usually learn something, although sometimes I wish I had understood a bit more how the classes were being offered. There was, you see, one time which I signed up to take two classes with George Siciliano. While I had done a little paper piecing, I didn't know what I was in for.

The first class was teaching us how to make little 2 1/2" square blocks with some horrific number of pieces...I think 72. What I didn't know was that they scheduled the hardest class first, then the intro class second. Frustrated wasn't the word for it. I have since learned that George no longer teaches the itty bitty class, so I feel a little vindicated.

This year, I took a class with Carol Taylor at NQA in Columbus. The class I took was doing the first quilt shown in this post. The other class she taught was for the arcs you see at left. Carol is a cheerful and fun teacher. Take a look at her website here.

I pretty much enjoyed the class...except for one small thing. I was at a table with a table hog. I had never experienced this before. I can't imagine what would have happened if we had had the 4 people to a table for which the set up was intended. I also felt a little embarrassed as I know that other people are able to work with much less space. I've heard that Japanese quilting classes are smushed together like sardines in a can with no ill will or problem.

So, yes...I'm whining. Here's what I was working with. The Bernina and the cutting pad (which flips for ironing as well) is my stuff. The lady on the other side of me had the area next to her, plus that's her quilt which is unrolled next to my pressing/cutting station. All my materials were on the floor.

So yes, I admit it, I'm a cry baby. I don't think I would have been if it weren't for the lady's comment. "Oh! Isn't it wonderful that we don't have two other people at the table so that we can spread out?" I can honestly say that I certainly was not spread out. However, I now know what other people sometimes complain about when they sit with a table hog.

One good thing, Carol has a video out which is a workshop of this technique. It's produced by Interweave Press and is available at their website, the Quilting Arts Website, and I even saw it at our large JoAnn's the other day. Of course, you can always order it from your favorite brick and mortar store as well as any number of online sources.

In the Garden

This summer, I've been working my brains out... OK, my hands and hip off, trying to get the garden in great shape. First, I had to bring it back after going to Connecticut because the weeds had taken a strong hold.

Then, after telling me she wasn't going to have her senior pictures taken in the garden, my daughter decided she would after all. Put the weed pullers in overdrive mom...

Part of the challenge was that August in a south west Ohio garden during a hot summer with 2" less rain than normal, does not for a great garden vista make. My garden looks great in spring, June and early July. By August, the annuals are often petering out but the mums, grasses, asters and dahlias (largely because I got a late start) haven't kicked in.

In addition, I don't do well in the blazing sun and heat, so I have about 4 hours I can do in the morning, provided I feel good enough and am not distracted by other things, and 2 - 4 hours in the evening as long as I can get dinner around and am not distracted again.

I'm not sure I am completely happy with the goldfish pond. When I initially built it 5 years ago, I didn't know where to get stone. So, I used the concrete retaining wall blocks. I don't much like the looks of them and since I can't cut them, I don't have the close fitting stones at the top, and even if I got coping pieces, I still need to cut them.

Now I know where to get stone. And, I got a bunch of cut limestone from a Freecycle exchange. So, I've redone most of the waterfall and the area around the settling pond. I still need to do more on the waterfall, but the raised edge still gives me problems. I supposed I could reshape the pond so that it is rectangular...but I prefer rounded shapes because I'm just not that formal of a person and I'm trying to off-set the boxy-ness of the house.

After all that...the great photo shoot was yesterday. I was out early in the morning deadheading and making sure everything was good.

When Ty Fischer of FischInk arrived at 9 a.m., he commented "looks like you're ready for gardening." Do you suppose the dirt spattered Komen t-shirt and shorts with dirty tennis shoes gave him a hint? Or maybe it was my hair which was all skeejawed because I washed it and went to bed with it wet the night before?

Here's Ty showing my daughter one of the shots on his camera.

We went to Bruckner nature center and took a lot of shots....and after all the work which I had done in my garden....only one "set up" was done here. Harumph.

I guess the only answer is to have a party to make sure that all the hard work pays off. Of course, in the spring is graduation and what I can do now will make it all the easier in spring because....she wants a pool party for her graduation party.

Hopefully, when Ty does his shot of this, she won't have a shoot growing up out of the middle of her head.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Aullwood: Drawn to a Close

The Aullwood show is over for this year. I picked up my quilt and thought I really need to finish up here as well. After all, my garden is calling, other quilts need to be put up, and all sorts of other things I have in mind sharing with you.

Since this piece shows a clock, I thought it appropriate to lead off. This is Susan K. White of Xenia, OH's It's Time to be Green." Susan's quilt was inspired by her walks. Here's her information: "It begins with the central image of a village--man's impact on our world. this image is surrounded by a reiteration of the familiar "reduce, re-use, recycle" symbol expanded to represent a clock. The final layer, composed of several wildflowers, reminds us of the beautiful green world we are quickly losing. "

This one is Anne Triguba's Renaissance. Anne was inspired by the Corkscrew Swamp Audubon Sanctuary in Florida. It represents the layers of plant life. I love the rich colors. I find the shapes, while imparting an organic feel are also contained and held in check...and interesting concept, yet it still offers great flow.

Anne lives and works in Columbus, OH and has previously had work accepted at Quilt National.

Quite logically, this next work is called Blooms and Butterfly and is by Patricia Larson. Patricia is also from Columbus and attends the Quilt Design Symposium regularly. For her, "The procedure of making a quilt and adding handwork is a spiritual experience."

For the last two years, Diane Dover has been the outside juror along with Aullwood's director, Charity Krueger. Diane's work almost always includes birds...not surprising since she has a degree in ornithology. Diane is from Dayton (actually Beavercreek, a suburb) , and I've seen her work in several other locales, but the restrained palette is not one I associate with her.

What I do associate with her work is a combination of hand and machine work, which you can see here. The piece is called Black and White Warblers.

Next year, the theme of the show is going to be "Water, Water Everywhere," so start your planning now!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Aullwood: Julie Zaccone Stiller

Julie Zaconne Stiller's work resonates with bright color and wonderful shapes and patterns. She works intuitively, placing things where her eye and spirit move her. I love the richness of her Sun Garden which is at left. "The sun rules this garden where traces of it remain in all the flowers and plants." One might add that this quilt retains it as well.

Julie works in Boulder Creek, California. You can find some of her other work here, as well as on her blog.

In this next piece, Creation City her colors are fantastic and the shapes are pleasing to the eye. I love the fact that this quilt has a shaped border. Here's what she said in her statement: "An idealized vision of a city whose purpose is to create. The city is immersed in and completely a part of the natural world which surrounds it."

Working intuitively can be fun. Take some fusible and iron it on to different sections of fabric, then cut them and start playing with the shapes. Work quickly and freely. Explore and enjoy the process.

Aullwood: Constance Norton

Since it is a bright sunny day outside, I thought it might be fun to play a little game. What do you think quilter Constance Norton was working on when she did these two pieces? I can make you think about these.

OK, I'll just tell you. Windpower! Really fits in with the Aullwood "It's a Green World" theme, doesn't it? At any rate, they are just plain fun.

This first one is Windmill. It's fairly large by Aullwood standards, 55" x 51" Windmills were standard views on farms when I was growing up, in the midwest in the 1960s and 1970s, even though a lot of them were no longer functioning. This one reminds me of those rusted relics. They were also used to grind grain. The windmill at the Peyton Randolph site in Williamsburg was a companion for one summer as I worked with the archaeological crew excavating the yard.

This second one is really fun. It's Pinwheel. Constance wryly wrote "My first exposure to wind power was a pinwheel. " I remember looking longingly at them in the grocery stores...where they were put conveniently right next to the cashier so every small child could look and beg to take one home.

This last one is the modern rendition of a wind tower. I remember being amused when my friend Bob Smart came back from Argentina where he was working on installing a "wind farm." Harnessing the wind yes, but growing it?

I know that they are causing quite a bit of controversy, but I find the wind towers sculptural and elegant and far less annoying or disruptive to the horizon than cell towers. I am, however, aware that they are a problem for bird strikes and I hear that bats are impacted by a change in pressure in their lungs.

It does, however, seem like it is a better answer than coal and gas powered plants. Certainly there is loss of wildlife with hydro generation as well.

It is rare that I can get a shot of the quilting to actually show up, and I realize that straight line quilting isn't the most impressive, unless of course, they lines are as true and straight as Connie's are here.

Constance does commission work and is a member of the Mason Dixon Quilt Professionals group. Just click on the link to find her.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Aullwood: Jean Brueggenjohann

Tomorrow, or rather later on today, the Aullwood show will come to a close. I will try to finish up rather quickly, but I will do so in a series of posts.

Jean Brueggenjohann is the artist featured in this post. Jean uses a variety of techniques, and if I were to characterize her work, I would say that she employs a lot of surface design techniques (printing, dyeing or painting fabric to create her own fabric designs which she then uses to make her quilt designs) and that her quilts tend to have a graphic quality.

I admit, I'm starting with this one as I love warm reds and gold. This is Dry Hill. I think this one is interesting for a variety of reasons. I love the use of color and how the blue pops out on the red ground with the glitter of the gold. I also like the segmented quality.

I think it is particularly interesting that while Jean uses a lot of her own fabrics, this one uses commercially printed fabrics. I own some of the same black and gold (I think...although she could have printed this one). Many art quilters print and dye their own fabrics to get exactly what they want...

Here's what Jean had to say about this piece: "The quilt is based on sunsets where I grew up, an area in central Missouri , in the country, called Dry Hill. It is a rocky, hilly area covered with trees. I have always liked the graphic look of trees in the winter. I have added a few colorful leaves to add to the overall composition. I used multiple techniques including machine applique with satin stitching and hand and machine quilting."

The lovely warm colors of this piece, When the Sun found the Moon are dyed and over printed. Interestingly, Jean created the shibori centerpiece by dyeing in the microwave. "I loved the overall design and it spoke to me of the Sun and the Moon and the seasons. I added more structured side panels to anchor the overall shibori center. The piece was machine pieced and hand quilted."

Her last piece is Union Square Horses, so titled because she purchased the fabric at Union Square in San Francisco. "I made this quilt based on a metal horse sculptures that I had seen. I wanted something very playful and very fun like my trip to San Francisco. " Machine appliqued and machine quilted.

Once again, Jean has used commercially printed fabrics to good effect. I love the small horses at the base of the center panel.

Jean lives in Columbia, MO. Check out her website here. You'll find a lot of other interesting pieces.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Aullwood: Judith Trager

Judith Trager's work glows with a richness which small pictures on the web just don't do justice to. Cattail Moon shows an incredible luminosity which isn't often captured in quilting. Her pieced background gives wonderful texture and depth to the piece as well as connecting it to traditional quilting.

Judith designed this piece, as well as the other piece she has in Aullwood entitled Marsh Grass, inspired by the Bosque del Apache, an area of wetlands near Socorro, New Mexico. This area is one of the wintering sites used by Sandhill cranes. Judith says " It is a magical place and I guess I'll always be making quilts about it."

With quilts like this, I can see why.

Cattail Moon ©Judith Trager 2008

Judith lives in Boulder, Colorado. Her quilts live many places. She has won numerous awards and is known internationally. Please visit her website.

Marsh Grass ©Judith Trager

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Shooting and seeing Aullwood overall

I probably should have started this review with these shots. The Aullwood Audubon Center's education center is a fairly large building. However, the exhibition space isn't very large. It is essentially a long hall with two alcoves off to the side.

This shot was taken at 2:00 pm on the opening day of the exhibition. Even so, you can see that the lighting is adequate to view the quilts, but not the best to try to take pictures. It's also sometimes difficult to get good angles for the photographs because of the size of the hallway or alcove.

Two different wall types are employed, a smooth fabric covered wall (at least I think it is) in oatmeal and then the rough hewn "barnboard".

The show was started several years ago with the help of the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network. About 6 or 7 years ago, MVAQN pulled out and Aullwood's director, Charity Kreuger with the able help of Barbara Trick has continued it.

Each year they ask a fiber art professional, usually from the area, to be the juror. If the exhibitor wishes to offer a quilt for sale, they may do so and Aullwood takes a 20% commission (which is very fair). Ms. Trick told me that usually they sell one or two pieces.

I particularly enjoy this show, even though it is small, because it has some really nice quilts from across the country.

Monday, August 16, 2010

K.I.S.S. and struggling to submit

In December, Dijanne Cevaal put out an on-line challenge which she called "K.I.S.S."--the acronym for "Keep It Simple Stupid." I don't know how many of us responded, but we were to make 50 cm quilts (about 20" square) using two colors (they were supposed to be solids in order to emphasize the simple aspect) and we were to use threadwork (running or straight stitch only) in any way in as many colors as we wished.

I think Dijanne intends to put them up somewhere, but she's been teaching in Europe and recently was called home to Australia, cutting her trip short.

Mine is fairly simple. It is based on a microscopic view of a feather taken by James Brittin. James nicely gave me permission to render his work in fiber. You can see his work here.

I used a white cotton sateen and Kona black cotton. The thread was pearl cotton and crochet cotton (variegated blues/violet). The perfect small stitch was done as bobbin work (which I had never had the intestinal fortitude to try until now).

I used Quilter's Dream Green batting...NOT a good choice. Quilter's Dream Green is made from recycled plastic bottles...but it is VERY flat and hard to needle through by hand...well, lets put it this way, I used 2 layers to try to get some loft and needling through it with the pearl cotton was miserable. I thought I was going to break my fingers trying to pull the needle.

I have been doing a lot of nature quilts lately and Martha Sielman is doing a new Art Quilt book for Lark publications on nature quilts. I was thinking about submitting this one, but I wasn't sure about it. I ended up sending in a shot of my Great Blue Heron at Sunset....but I'm not sure that that was a good idea either.

I was having a heck of a time getting good shots of it. I think I need to take a class on how to get my digital camera to do more for me....of course I was also sort of in a hurry as I have had a friend from Connecticut visiting...I sent the shots in after snarling at trying to get it uploaded as a .tif file (I failed), and the shot which had great balance and lighting also managed to be one which slightly cut off the bottom right edge of the quilt....I didn't notice it when I shot it (it was really close and barely missed)....and it included a strip of the insulating foam I used as the support.

I probably shouldn't have bothered and just forgotten about it. However, nothing ventured, nothing can't be included in things if you don't even try. it went. And this one stayed home.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Aullwood: Annette Kennedy

Today has been a really rough day and I'm completely worn out. Today, my daughter was supposed to have her senior pictures taken in my back yard. So....I got up early, went to the bakery (we have a guest and I wanted her to be able to try a selection of yummy baked goods from the Bake House Bakery in Troy), the grocery store (we were out of milk and I needed feta and balsamic vinegar for a Greek salad I was making for a party later on in the day); and to the farmer's market to get some fresh veggies (and yummy red raspberries).

I was back home by 7:30, ate breakfast and went out to finish working in the garden. I needed to tidy up the beds by deadheading and cutting away plants which had gone dormant or died in the heat, and lay the new cut limestone blocks I got through freecycle for the edges of the goldfish pond, and then take away the concrete blocks I had been using. By 8:30, it was already 81 degrees with oppressive humidity. At 12:30, we got our first thunder storm.

After it passed, I went back out and tackled the limestone, hand hauling blocks weighing over 30 pounds. Then there was another downpour...the upshot? My daughter called me from the hair dressers saying that she had to cancel the photo shoot, even though she had had her hair done as it was too wet and drippy and since she had to work, there wasn't enough time to push it off and just have it later. I hope all the patrons appreciated her hair as they were the only ones other than the four of us here today who say it.

Because I'm building a new wall, I decided that Annette Kennedy's Garden Wall HAD to be the one I showed you tonight. Annette is from Longmount, Colorado. She made this restful piece by fusing commercially printed cotton, then painting the details and shadows. She machine quilted the piece to emphasize the lines and shading on the plant parts.

Annette is well known for her painted quilts. She offers classes and lectures. If you really can't live without Garden Wall, Annette sells prints of her original piece on her website. Her website may be viewed here