rocket tracking


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sara Deever and word themes

At the SAQA Ohio meeting last week, Terri Hartzell suggested exploring themes in quilts utilizing among other things, words. Interestingly enough, Sara Deever had done just that and brought along some of the work she had done. Each day for a year, Sara stitched only on quilts employing scripture or her rendition of scripture.

Here you see Sara with one of those quilts. Coming from an embroidery background, stitching holds an important part in her design. I love the richness the color and texture she achieves in her quilts.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Saturday, Deb Bentley and I drove to Westerville, Ohio (Columbus area) to attend the first Studio Art Quilt Associates Ohio Regional meeting. It was a blast! Sue King, the regional representative put together a great program. Not only were there opportunities to share and network, but she lined up three presentations: Shelley Brenner Baird presented her methodology and growth with printing and fiber art. Dee Dadik and Molly Butler addressed appraisals, and Terry Ann Hartzell showed her process which found me scribbling notes as quickly as I could.

Here Lisa Sellars-West is sharing one of her pieces.

Terry Hartzell is showing her heart quilt which was the focus of her presentation. At the meeting, I mentioned that I had hesitated to join SAQA since my "studio" was my dining room table in Connecticut. Now, I wish I had done so long ago.

Already, Sue has arranged for one "parlor meeting" --an informal regional meeting among members in the Columbus area. In early January, Maria Elkins will host one in the Dayton/Cincinnati area. We listed things which we would like to see the regional group do and hopefully, we will be able to do some of the suggestions we made.

SAQA's journal is worth the price of admission alone. I've learned a lot already and am looking forward to learning much more.

So, if you want to join SAQA, take a look at their website. SAQA Ohio's blog is here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Autumns last Gasp is Gold

Winter is coming. But gold still abounds. Foxtail grasses wave plumey seedheads which will provide food for small birds such as the junco, and sparrows which stay here all years.

Squirrel tails wave in the gold hiding their own treasure against the winter snows. Where they forget, things grow.

Norway maples hold on their leaves long after their cousins drop theirs. While I prefer the oranges and reds of the sugar maples, I begrudingly admit that this gold is wonderful...even if it sometimes means that you are madly trying to gather them for the last leaf pick-up by the town (not me...I compost mine to change their gold to black gold in the spring).

Strange, alien seedpods, an invaisive member of the morning glory family.....whose name I can't remember, cling to the trellis at Fulton Farms....Waiting for the winter winds.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Incredible Video: Only the Young

I don't usually do this....but my niece included this link in her FB page and I'm blown away. The photography is fantastic and I can see lots of fodder for art quilts inspired by it.

The music is pretty good too...although this middleaged minion isn't too sure about "only the young".... ; ). Take a gander at Brandon Flower's Only the Young.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Wonderful Things for Quilters to Have: Machine Quilting Unlimited

Not too long ago, I subscribed to Machine Quilting Unlimited. I was a bit behind in this as just before the first issue was released, Shirley Stutz was promoting it in one of her classes. This is my second copy and I can't say enough good about it.

The articles are well written and there's material for all types of machine quilting; from domestic sewing machines, to using track systems for domestic machines such as the Handi-quilter, to Mid and long arm quilting machines.

If you need to give someone a gift idea, tell them to get you this. Until November 22, Machine Quilting Unlimited is offering a 2 for 1 deal; subscribe for one year and get a second year for free! Renewals are included. Look here for the details.

And for the record, no I am not employed by MQU, nor do I have any relatives who work for MQU, nor do I get any kickbacks or remuneration (isn't that a great word?) of any sort for plugging this. I just think its a good item.

And yes....I apologize for the quality of this photo, but I couldn't swipe it off the site. Err...borrow it, yah, that's it, borrow it...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Indicating a spotlight in a quilt

On the Quilt Art message list, Madeline recently asked how to indicate a spotlight. This is what I did to indicate a spotlight in this piece called "El Ritmo Flamenco (The Flamenco Rhythm)" in 2004.

It seems a little simplistic now, but I did this piece for the Robert Kaufman QuiltQuest Challenge. You were to use the Color Rhythm fabrics, and I am happy to say, that except for the netting, the shiny stuff and the cording I used on the "curtains", all of the fabric was from this line. Nothing else was used.

To show the spotlight, I wanted something see through, yet glowing. I found the shiny crinkle iridescent lame in the fancy dress goods section at JoAnn's. However, it was a tad too bright. I needed something to break up the reflective quality.

After trying a whole bunch of sheer fabrics, from georgette, to chiffon, I finally settled on plain, old black netting. Illusion netting was just too dense. The open hole structure of the black net allowed the shiny stuff to show through but knocked it back a bit.

The flamenco dancer was inspired by a press photo of Teresa Torkonowsky, a famous flamenco dancer, teacher and purveyor of dance accessories. Ms. Torkonowsky was kind enough to give me a copy of her 1950s black and white press photo and the permission to use it in this piece.

What doesn't really show up in these photos is that the dress is three dimensional. Each of the layers is gathered and stands out from the background. Her "flower" in her hair is made of gathered lace and her earring is the catch part of a hook and loop closure for a necklace.

This piece was part of the traveling show for the Kaufman Quilt Quest that year. One of the funny things, or maybe not so funny, is that it was almost lost. After entering the show and sending the piece off, I discovered I would be moving from Connecticut to Ohio. I dutifully sent off the change of address to Kaufman, which they acknowledged. About two weeks after the quilt was supposed to be returned, I frantically got in touch with Kaufman. It appears that they had had a computer crash and lost my current address, so sent it to the old address. Fortunately, the new owners of our old house were on good terms with us and they over-nighted it to me.....too bad I had to pay those fees and have the heart attack, but at least I got the quilt back safe and sound.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Quilting Day at Hartzell Propeller

My husband is an engineer for Hartzell Propeller, a wonderful facility in Piqua, Ohio. The building is relatively new and absolutely pristine and gorgeous. As you enter the building, 5 large oil paintings by Katherine Hurley of Cincinnati the called Pilot's View show the sky, the Piqua airport, the Dayton skyline and in her wonderful style. I'd love to study under her some day.

When you come to the "All Hands Room" which is an all purpose room, usually used as a lunchroom and for the quarterly meetings, you see this great handwoven rug. Designed by the wife of one of the Hartzell employees, Mary Frances Rodriguez, it illustrates several of the props, current and old, that Hartzell manufactures. Hartzell was propeller maker to the Wright Brothers, and makes a variety of variable pitch props.

Twice a year, as a spouse of a Hartzell employee, I reserve the room on a Saturday for the Batty Binders to come in and work. Usually, I reserve it in November so that people can get a jump on Christmas gifts that they don't want to work at at home. We usually have a small group of about 10 or so people and it always makes me laugh when they come for the first time. They can't believe how gorgeous the place is and how great it is for quilting.

You can see the great windows which look out on a small pond. Lots of things were accomplished. I even got to work on becoming a practically perfect quilter by being given the option to un-sew in order to make perfection. Too bad I had to rip out ....err...un-sew....the same seam three times. You'd think I'd get it right. I'll blame it on chemotherapy drugs and the fact that I am working on a traditional piece, a "stack and whack" dahlia or Dresden plate I started a year and a half ago as a present for my mom. I want to get it done in time for Christmas...somehow I think I'm dreaming.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day 2010

Once again, Veteran's Day has rolled around. In Connecticut, schools were closed and I would gather my daughter and walk down to the Monuments on Broad Street. Quite often, there was a parade which started at the school, wound around the block and finished at the monuments where a volley was fired in salute, wreaths were laid, speaches and prayers delivered. Here, there are no monuments (instead, Troy's Football Stadium was constructed as a memorial), school is in session, and I marched in no parade.

It doesn't mean I don't think about it. I like what President Woodrow Wilson said: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…" I like that the original act to recognize what was then Armistice day said:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples. I am especially thankful to the infantry who I think always gets the bad end of the stick.

Later, an act was created to established the day as a day to promote World Peace. I rather like that too.

I don't like that another war followed and that we have had many more since. I thank Veteran's when I see them. My grandfather served in both World War II and World War II, my father and his twin in World War II (my uncle being killed at Okinawa), my nephew served, my husband's cousin, Domingo Ochotorena, while a naturalized citizen served in Gulf I and is currently retired. I thank my niece's boyfriend, Andrew Cole for serving in Iraq (Semper fi, guy) and I pray that all of those who are currently serving and those who have left the service find some rest from the horrors that they have seen, and adapt to the lives that they now lead.

My dad, now 88, has been sharing stories of the War. He didn't use to. I only used to hear him talk about it when he got together with our friend, Karl Simroth, who interestingly enough, served in the Hitler Youth, as all young men in Germany who were too young to fight did. It was interesting to hear both sides.

When I was out there in September, Dad spoke with my sister about Anzio, spurred by a book that he had recently read. Dad was in the 5th Army Corps of Engineers and went from North Africa, to Salerno, to Anzio and on up and at the end of the war was at Innsbruck, Austria.

Dad said that this particular book, wasn't entirely accurate. According to the author, the German's were "beaten back", but dad, who spent three weeks (not vacationing mind you) at Borgo Sabatino said that the Germans withdrew because of other pressures to the north.

It's funny what becomes indelible inscribed in memory. Dad noted the location on a map where a Pole and an Italian , fully armed and part of the service troops (probably ran the kitchen), surrendered to him along the road while other GI’s were asleep nearby…but not near their weapons. He noted that probably that was fortunate – if someone had opened fire there would have been an incident. The GI’s weapons were propped up against a nearby building. An English “chap” offered me a cup of tea in a tin cup. It was too hot to drink. It was the same morning, May 25, when the two prisoners surrendered to me. Isn't it odd? That snapshot of the Brit offering dad tea....It is also funny as dad drinks his coffee REALLY hot.

Dad also almost became a casualty from friendly fire....This story is a testament how rattled people can be when under stressful situations:

"I was shot at by friendly fire as I knelt down at this location. I was setting out a listening post in no man’s land and had told the people in the machine gun position that I was going (out to set up the listening post) and would return. They (the gunners) had tied tin cans to the telephone line and when I moved the line to see of the phone was operable the cans rattled. They hadn’t informed me about the cans. When they heard the cans rattle, they fired without identifying their target. I saw the tracers going over my back and if I had been standing…that would’ve been it. I took off running toward a barn and wondering what I was going to do. The company commander came into the barn. He asked me who they were shooting at and I said “me.” He asked me what I was going to do and I answered that I was thinking of going to the German line (as dad thought it would be safer....of course, he has the same weird sense of humor I do). He then asked where they were shooting and I said they were shooting high. He then went out into the open and to the strong point whereupon he reprimanded the shooters for shooting to high. Thanks a lot.

As I have been struggling with the pain from the cancer and the fatigue I have from the chemo, I keep on thinking of all the young men and women who will have long term pain, and those who will never turn their faces to the sun again. While I don't think that I have lived long enough at age 50, to look back at their lives cut short in half the time, I often feel like I don't have anything to complain about. I just wish that somehow human nature would finally get it right and see no point to having war at all. Of course, that's merely a dream.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Quilts as Public Art and decoration

I always love seeing fiber art in public spaces, especially in restaurants as the fiber helps to deaden the noise which often accompanies all the hard surfaces and hustle and bustle from the kitchen. I often wonder why more isn't used, and I think that art quilters should really work to put work in such places, even though I know that it isn't the best of environments for fibers---air might contain oil and cooking smells and people will touch. Sometimes I think we get carried away with the touching thing...after all, quilts are eminently tactile objects.

I'm not so sure about this particular piece which is hanging in the Troy (OH) Panera. While I like the colors...the craftsmanship is a bit....well...poor. The pieces are not cut on the grain or isn't cut square, causing an odd bowing. In addition, it is minimally quilted, causing the larger areas to bag out. The composition isn't bad, and being the lover of earthy toned things, I do love how all the colors work together and it fits the theme of the restaurant.....but my oh my, how I wish it had been cut properly and quilted more....I don't mean that it has to be quilted within an inch of its life, but quilted so that it doesn't bag out...

I wonder, who did this piece? Are there millions of the same hanging in Panera Bread's across the country? Is this the product of some little sweatshop some where?

Don't you wish YOUR work could hang here?????

Friday, November 5, 2010

Last Blooms of the Garden

While winter is coming quickly upon us, my garden still has surprises and wonderful blooms. We've had below freezing several times, and a killing frost.

Some of my late season blooms are to be expected, like these Eupatorum "Chocolate Soldier" (the white frothy blooms with the dark foliage) and the orange mums which grace the front of the north facing house.

Others are understood as the last roses of the year hang on. Here, the David Austin Rose "Belle Story" is in its quartered apricot/pink beauty...and it even smells great.

What isn't to be expected, given the hard killing frosts and freezes we've had is this petunia, living proof to the wonders of a micro-climate. Inside my garden gate, on the west side of the house, the petunia grows nestled under a crepe myrtle bush, near the glassed in sun-porch and just about six feet from the goldfish pond. In addition, it cascades over a brick path. These elements, and the fact that about 10 feet away is a six foot tall privacy fence keeps it warm frost has not claimed these late hangers on.

Cold does interesting things to plants. In the case of this David Austin Rose, "Livin' Easy", the cold has intensified the color. Here you see an almost spent bloom. Next is one in bud. What is should look like, you can find here. These Austins are tough, have the wonderful characteristics of floribunda's and great scent. What a wonderful present to find while wandering in my zone 5b garden.