Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Something Quilt Related

Don't faint anyone, I'm actually going to post something quilt related. I finally finished this quilt top and it is ready to go off to my friend Barbara so she can work her quilting magic. I don't have a long arm machine and I rarely choose to wrestle with tops this big any more. The fabrics used are mostly "civil war reproduction", something that will be sure to delight my friend Joan. You might have noticed that these aren't my usual colors, but they are definitely hers. The log pattern is based on an antique quilt and uses 3 1/2 inch center squares and 1 1/2 inch strips. I like the impact of the larger squares.

Every year I make a quilt for someone in my quilt group, and I receive one in return. In our little group, those who want to participate draw names in January and we exchange quilts at our annual Christmas party. If you want to see last year's exchanges, click on the "Quilt Posse Christmas" photo in the sidebar. Of course I will share photos after our party in December this year.

I have a few little art things on my design wall, but with Thanksgiving coming they will just have to wait. Besides the work that pays the bills, we have been doing LOTS of work around the house, "deep cleaning" in preparation for company. Last weekend we moved furniture to steam clean carpet and climbed on ladders to chase the spiders away and clean ceiling fans. Fun stuff, eh? This coming weekend we will tackle the outside, washing windows and sprucing up the flower beds. I'm afraid that between the squirrels and gophers some of my flower beds are looking pretty pathetic.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Camel Dairy

A couple of weekends ago Jerry and I decided to hop in the car and drive up to the closest local mountains. The small town of Julian has an "apple festival" every year and they sell wonderful cider and apple pie. Here is some of the scenery from the drive.

We had to stop in Santa Ysabel along the way and buy bread from the famous Dudley's bakery.
It has been quite a while since we took a "scenic drive", what with the price of gas and all, but we used the small car and didn't feel too guilty about it.

I had been hoping for even a little fall color, but it has been a long, hot DRY summer. Even in a year with rain, we do not have the kind of glorious color seen in other parts of the country. When we were choosing trees for the yard, liquid amber trees were among my choices since I wanted a touch of fall color to remind me of what "real" fall is like. Alas, my little trees are still steadfastly green so far. They will eventually change to a lovely red and the mulberry trees will turn yellow, and that is about the extent of our fall color.

One last interesting bit. On the way up we passed a camel dairy. Yes, camels. I had trouble getting my head around that one, but apparently camel milk is not only nutritious but lactose free. At this point, I don't think there is anything being made for human consumption, but they do sell soap and use the camels for a variety of purposes (living nativities, for example). That first photo I took has camels in the distance.
All in all, it was a lovely day.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Work In Progress

Recently, on the Quiltart list, there has been some discussion about working styles. How do you get an idea and then work through to the completed piece? Some people like to plan everything out carefully before diving in and some like to work strictly from intuition, allowing the piece to evolve and tell them what needs to happen as they go. I have tried both methods, but my best working style falls somewhere in the middle. For me it takes all the fun out to plan everything first, but on the other hand I like to warm up a little and play with sketch or paint before I turn to fabric. Here is one of the small "warm up" paintings I did with the concept of overlapping transparent square shapes. I used acrylic paint watered down to the consistency of watercolor. I still like to use watercolor, but it takes many patient layers of color to get to brightness, so acrylic is better to work up a concept quickly.

What you have on hand once you start working also affects outcome. I thought some about using transparent organza but discovered I didn't have enough of the right colors. I ended up using some hand painted cotton, silk and cheesecloth.

Of course you have to add color and texture with the lovely threads.

Here is the work in progress. You will notice that it bears little resemblance to the painting, having evolved considerably in the making. You have layering, square shapes, some transparency, and hopefully some feeling of depth or looking out into different planes.

The great thing is, I will go back to the concept and do more small pieces and each one will be different.