Monday, February 26, 2018

machine move

I had a brilliant idea one yucky January day as I looked out this window in my sewing room.

Not only a dreary day, but I have had it with this view of my neighbor's roof.  When I set up my sewing room, my son and daughter were still living at home and they were in rooms with better views. Those are guest rooms now.  So hey, why don't I just move into one or both of those rooms!!  Brilliant, oh but what a pain... My husband and I did most of the move over the last couple of weeks - moving beds, dressers, desks, and yes the longarm. Now look at my new view:

still a dreary day, but there is a neighborhood playground and tennis court out this window and

Here I can see the neighborhood pool and my backyard where the dogs are frolicking.  

I love my new location, but whew it was a lot of work moving all that.

I put my great-grandmother's quilt top on the longarm after the move.  

Here are more pictures of it:

just the top

here is one of the blocks that I repaired, I appliqued the light blue background diamonds over some shredding fabric.

Another background repair with the sage green diamonds.

Here is how the quilt looked on the back, all hand pieced.

She used different colors of threads

I put a layer of muslin underneath the top to help stabilize the aged fabrics.  Now many people told me to do this (add the muslin), but no one told me HOW to do that.  so I spray basted the muslin to the back of the top.  Then when I described my method to a friend who's a longarming genius, she asked me if I had pre-washed the muslin.  Well, duh, of course I didn't, what a doofus!  Then she asked me why don't I just put the muslin on the longarm and baste the quilt top to it... I could then take it off the longarm and put the backing and batting on as usual.  So I took the spray-basted muslin off, washed it, and re-baste it on the machine... a much better method.  

I added a pretty blue border AFTER I basted the muslin to the back.  That also helps keep the muslin from shifting.  

Okay, so it is all together and getting quilted now.  Here's a teaser, with more photos to follow as I finish.  I am using two battings, a cotton from American Fiber and Hobbs wool on top.  I really hope this double batt doesn't make the quilt too stiff.  I want it to be cuddly, but pretty too.

another view of my new longarm room, see the room is kinda rounded with those three pretty windows, and it is also gives me two more feet to get around the longarm.  Not too sure about the lighting, but I can work on that later.  Oh  yes, and what a show off, I hung up my ribbons yesterday!  

I got some more information about my great grandmother from my Dad last weekend.  He remembers playing around her quilting frame as a child.  He poked his finger with a needle and she told him he would forget about it soon.  Dad is 83 and she was wrong, he still remembers it!  He showed me a picture of the house where she lived and pointed out the upstairs room where her frame was, and would ya believe it has 3 rounded windows just like mine!  I hope that her spirit will be happy to have this top quilted finally, even if it is on a machine!  

Have a good day, I better get back to work, Karen

Monday, January 29, 2018

What I've been up to...

Yikes, it's been so long since I've blogged, I might have forgotten how to do it.  I think I will just show some pictures of projects I have been working on.

Here I am right before giving a trunk show and power point talk at the UUMC quilt guild in San Antonio.  What a nice bunch of ladies, and they  seemed to enjoy the quilts that I brought.  

I bought this jelly roll of ombre fabrics in Houston just to make this project.  I saw it online and loved the dimension.  the pattern is called Strip it Three Ways by Nancy Rink.  Very fun and quick.

I am quilting this one on the longarm right now.  My friend Cyndie made these blocks for me for my birthday and we put the top together one fun day.  it is the periodic table of quilting, she made it for me knowing my chemistry background.  Wasn't that super sweet?  

I plan to paint those letters with lumiere after quilting the top.  I'll post photos then...

I quilted two of these panels before Christmas and then put the lights in as shown on the Missouri Star site.  One went to my daughter who never puts up a tree because she's afraid her kitty will destroy it.  The other went to a Christmas gift exchange.

I have been working on this quilt for a while now.  The snails trail blocks are stencilled with a J Michelle Watts pattern and stencils.  I had to make stencils for the storm at sea blocks to fit the stencilled blocks.  The top is almost finished.  It's for ME and I love pink. so this quilt is going to be my cuddler.  

I made a portrait quilt of my niece for my sister for Christmas.  I loved this pensive look and she is going to college at Appalachia State, hence the mountains in the background.  

My cousin called and asked me if I wanted to quilt this old top that my aunt had kept in a trunk for 60 years and I said yes, yes, yes.  We're not real sure who made this - it might be my grandmother...  

There was one fabric that had deteriorated and it was used in many places.  I decided to applique over these patches.  

alice also sent me some old fabric that had been in the trunk, so I made applique patches out of that fabric. 

And here is the patch with the baby blue appliqued on top of the old rotten fabric.  I had three of these blocks to repair.   Now that it is done, I am going to back the top  with muslin and quilt it on the longarm for our family reunion auction.  I will also be adding a blue curvy border.  

So, I have been doing lots of things, but no blogging....

Have a great day, Karen

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Fabric paints to the rescue

Our biannual quilt show is this weekend, so I have been working to finish my entries to the show.  ah, but this one looked so sad.  It is a mini and up close it was so pretty, but when I took a picture it was just blah except for the blast of dark blue cross-hatching.

So I went to my drawer of paints and pencils and just started in on it.  Above, the green radiating lines have been started - on the left is without and on the right side I used an inktense pencil with aloe vera gel as my medium.  Looking a little better....

so getting braver, I used lumiere pink paint on the unquilted outlines of the pink leaves.  wow, dayglo!  but still better than blah...
then I used the inktense to make those inner lines green too.

Here is the finished mini wholecloth quilt, not bound here but I did get that done too.  This is about 14 inches square.  A little blinded by the colors...

Now on to my big piece that I called Shangri-La.  Except I forgot what name I put on the entry form months ago when this quilt was just a top, and I put "Arabesque" on the label...  duh, one of these days I will make copies of my entries and keep them somewhere I can find them!

Here is how some of the light thread showed up yucky in the purple sashing strip.  Well, this is an easy one...  I got out my fabrico marker.   it is tsukineko fabric ink in a double sided marker.  I love these and have them in many colors just for these kinds of touchups.  

Here is the same portion of the quilt after I touched it up with the marker.  Now this may seem like cheating, but the integrity of the quilt is intact.  I just consider this fabric art.  I am changing the color of the thread in specific areas.  Right?  

Here is this quilt that I entered in this weekend's show.  After quilting it, I rinsed and spun it in the washer and laid it out on the back porch to block.  Then I noticed some of the vines in the center block had become dull and lost their vibrant green color.  

Here is a closeup, sideways view.  That fabric totally lost color in the rinse cycle of my washer.  oh what to do??? 

I dug around in my fiber arts arsenal. (I have bought so many types of fabric paints and markers over the years) and found some tsukineko ink paints.

And look how good it looks!  yea for tsukineko...  the vines on the bottom have not been painted yet, and the ones on top have been inked.  I also had a few leaves made from the same fabric.  Oh wow, I was so happy with the result.

Another picture of the quilting, which I am proud to say, I did on my Innova longarm.  I am traditionally a sitdown quilter and the transition to a track mounted longarm has been difficult for me.  I have struggled with control, and there are many places in this quilt that I am not thrilled with the quilting, but I am definitely improving.


and here is ShangriLa hanging at the quilt show.  If you are near San Antonio, Tx this weekend you should come out and see our 300 beautiful quilts and shop at our 40 vendors.

Look at that vibrant green vine!

So if your fabric or thread is not exactly the color you had hoped, don't despair,  fabric paints can be your salvation.  

Painting is by nature a luminous language." - Robert Delaunay

Thursday, July 6, 2017

pueblo quilt

It's been so long...  sorry but I have been working on several projects.  Here is a big finish that I would love for you to see.  It's Linda's Pueblo Rhapsody, from a pattern by J. Michelle Watts.  It is a stencilled whole cloth quilt.

This quilt has a layer of wool and a thin layer of cotton under the wool.  

 It was quilted on my Pfaff Powerquilter sit-down machine with Superior Bottom Line Thread on top and  Glide in the bobbin.

I hope you enjoy looking at this beauty.  More to come soon, Karen

Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago. Warren Buffett

Read more at:

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Blemished Beauty, my environmental statement

I was inspired by the Threads of Resistance Contest to make my plea for the environment.  I remember a horrific sight a couple of years ago as I was driving to Midland Texas.  We were driving for miles and miles through the western landscape of cacti, shrubs, and tumbleweeds and they were covered with plastic grocery bags.  I thought then that Midland and Odessa really needed to ban those bags in these cities badly.  Austin, Tx has had the ban for a few years.

Those bags take over 500 years to disintegrate, so unless someone goes out to that 100 miles of open prairie and picks up those bags (very unlikely to happen), then this will be the view for 500 years??  Here's a photo my husband took in West Texas yesterday...

This is just a small amount of bags - see the white stuff in the prickly pears?

So I was inspired to make this piece.  It is called Blemished Beauty.  I found a beautiful landscape photo from Eric at Adobe Stock and made a raw edge applique' quilt of it. I painted some details with Tsukineko inks and thread painted other details.   Then I stitched on little pieces of plastic bags.  DH didn't want me to ruin it with the bags, but that's how I feel about the true landscape, right?  

  Those four cornerstones are from some plastic fabric I made using bags found on my morning nature walks.  I put several layers of plastic together inside a 2 pieces of parchment paper and experimented with melting them together to make a type of fabric.  If the iron was too hot, the plastic just melted away to a small blob.  Too cool and they wouldn't fuse. I did all this outdoors to protect myself from the fumes.  

Then I looked up all the chemicals used in the manufacturing of these bags and quilted them around the inside light brown border.  Everything was heavily stitched on my stationary quilting machine.  

View here if you'd like to see a video of my quilting technique: 

"It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment."  Ansel Adams

Monday, April 10, 2017

March was a month for trying new things.  I made two cameo quilts...  I saw a pretty cameo and thought it might be possible to do a whole cloth cameo with my longarm.  So I used a picture of a cameo that might not be so hard to try out the whole idea.  I used two layers of wool batting, hoping the open spaces would show dimension.  I like how it turned out, the piece is 8 inches wide and 15 inches high.  I used neocolor II crayons to paint the background.
This was quilted on my sitdown longarm.

This was all a test before I quilted the larger piece.  This piece is 40 inches tall x 30 wide approximately.  The cameo depicts the goddesses Selene of the dawn and Eos of the dusk.   I used my  Innova longarm to quilt the images (I know, I know - two longarms???).  And I am so happy that I could do that.  I turned off the stitch regulator to do the quilting, it makes the machine run so much smoother - no jerking me around.  I even used the longarm to couch that braid around the circle.  The inner circle is made with a creamy radiance fabric and it is inset into slipper (the pink color) radiance fabric. I still needed to paint in some shadows in this photo.
Here is the cameo that I used to make this quilt.  

I may need to add more wool batting to the chest of Selene... I tried steam and starch to get rid of her chest wrinkles.    I will figure it out.  That's what's fun about trying new stuff, it takes a little finagling to get the kinks worked out - then either it does or it doesn't.  Here is the bound and finished piece.  I am thinking about making a slit in the back and stuffing that wrinkled chest with more batting, then sewing it closed like the trapunto of yesteryear.  

I dunno, it was a fun project, but I think I'll move on to something else.  I have an idea for a new art challenge: Threads of resistance challenge    I don't get too worked up about politics in general, but I am concerned about some environmental issues.  If you want to talk politics with someone, look elsewhere, I just hate that sort of thing.  So I will have my little say with art in this challenge.  I will keep you updated.  

“I realized something on the ride. I realized if I wait until I'm not scared to try new things, then I'll never get to try them at all.” 
― Marie SextonBetween Sinners and Saints

Have a great day, karen Lambdin, proud to be a quilter