27 Mar

War Still Sucks

I am pleased and honored that “War Sucks” will be part of the 2012 Art Quilt Elements show. So, if you missed it at Art=Quilts=Art in Albany, NY last January, now’s the chance to see it, plus a gallery full of other fantastic art quilts, in Wayne, PA. The show opens on March 30th, 2012 and runs until May 13th. They will also have a catalog if, like me, you will not be able to attend. Art quilts always look better in person though.

23 Mar


In keeping with my “Unravelling” apron, I follow with another piece that could easily belong to the series.

Absence” by Kristin La Flamme, 2012

I created this piece for possible inclusion in the invitational show curated by Dinner@Eight artists Jamie Fingal and Leslie Jameson. 2012 is the fourth year of the show and the first year I’ve been invited to submit a piece. There is always a theme and size limitation, and this year’s theme is Rituals.

Ah, the military life is filled with rituals. Interestingly, while I was working on this piece, I was also working on my Metamorphosis piece for Twelve by Twelve and they sort of dovetailed. Certainly the process a soldier goes through in Basic Training is a ritual made to initiate him or her into the Army society.

(click to enlarge)

For “Absence,” I decided to focus on the rituals missed while a soldier is deployed. So many center around the dining room tabel. Meals together, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Our family has certainly had it’s share of important moments without daddy present.

I’ve tried to convey a table with wood grain fabrics and vintage table linens. In addition, the traditional Dresden Plate quilt blocks represent the place settings, with stitched silhouettes of hands for each family member present. There’s a yellow ribbon for remembrance and stars and stripes for patriotism. Most obvious though is the hole showing the soldier’s absence. This is in honor of all the family rituals every soldier, sailor, airman and marine miss while they serve our country.

19 Mar


Sometimes it feels like that. No matter how hard you try, things just unravel.

Unravelling, by Kristin La Flamme 2012

While things are holding together for me just fine right now, that’s not always the case. I think most Army wives will agree with me. There are times when it’s hard to keep it all together. This is another (the 10th!) apron in my series  “The Army Wife.” It’s knit from my husband’s discarded uniform tees, plus some other uniform bits and fasteners, and a heart of stone as a sort of talisman.

Unravelling detail

Something I’m really enjoying while creating this series of work is letting each piece dictate how it is made, as opposed to trying to make my ideas conform to a specific model such as “art quilt.” It means that I can’t enter pieces I really like, such as Be Strong, Always, and The Other Woman, into quilt exhibits, but that’s not the point. Wool, knit, quilted, sheer, a sheet, or a bed quilt, the form each piece takes is integral to it’s meaning, and that gives me great satisfaction.

17 Mar

It’s Crafturday! (9)

This time it’s crafting with friends.

Daughter chain piecing

Technically, she’s my daughter, not my friend, but bear with me. The girl was inspired by the zig zag quilt behind her and wanted to make her own little quilt, and not to worry, she would “do it by herself.” Well that turned on the guilty feelings about being so caught up in my own work that the kids know they have to fend for themselves. We found a compromise. She picked out fabrics while I sewed the final rows of the zig zag quilt, then I cut, and then she sewed (with a little help from me). She made a lovely little top of neutrals which we’ll quilt just as soon as I’m done quilting the zig zag (soon!).

H and my machine getting to know each other.

But that’s not the only craftiness going on at my machine. I have some new friends from Knit Night and one, H, who is an adventurous knitter, wants to learn to sew and quilt. She admired my Julie Tasche and asked if I could help her make one. Only problem, she doesn’t have a sewing machine. No problem. I have now completely spoilt her with my machine, and empowered her by making her do all the cutting and most of the sewing. I was basically just the pinner and ironer.

H's bag almost done!

It’s almost done — just needs the elastic through the top casing and the lining sewn shut. I can’t wait to see it in use next Knit Night.

10 Mar

Crafturday (8) with Quilting

I spent my Crafturday piecing. I spent my Thursday and my Friday piecing too. I’m making a quilt for a special young lady who wanted something with a rainbow. So, I decided that a rainbow zig zag with “modern” fabrics would fit the bill. As luck would have it, I was even offered a sample pack of charm squares from Windham Fabrics that looked like they’d play well with what I had in mind.

Sample squares!

I cut 5″ squares from my stash and arranged them in rainbow-ish rows. I had lots of purply reds and greens to aquas, but not much in the way of pinks, sky blues, or blue purples and I needed more white and grey (I’ve actually heard that hard core modern quilters buy these by the bolt!). So I did a little shopping here and in Austin. Stitch Lab is a charming little shop that stocks not a comprehensive collection, but a very nice selection of fabrics that would appeal to the hip sewist, lovely wool felt and plenty of cheerful notions for projects like aprons and bags. But I digress.

Squares ready to start.

I paired one square of each color with a grey or white for the stripe above and one with a neutral for the stripe below and sewed the pairs on a diagonal to make half square triangle blocks.

The cool zig zags

Once laid out on the floor, I could refine my arrangements. The HST blocks definitely look different than the 5″ charm squares without the neutrals mixed in.

Some warm zig zags

Sewing the blocks in columns and rows is easy and it was fun to see the sections grow. The new Cabana Blooms play very nicely with my stash fabrics. And, of course, there’s a bunch of Kaffe Fasset Paperweight in there too (six colorways!). It never ceases to amaze me how well Kaffe fabrics blend with almost everything else.

An interesting aside, I could really feel a difference in weight between the Kona cottons, the Free Spirit and Moda fabrics, and the Windham and Westminster fabrics. For a well used quilt or handbag, I suspect the heavier Kona, Moda, and Free Spirit would last longer, but on the other hand, if I were making wearables, I’d much prefer the drapier Windham and Westminster. I had no problem using the various weights together though, and if a fabric had a color and pattern that I liked I wouldn’t not purchase it just because it’s base fabric wasn’t as thick as something else. It was just an interesting observation I could make because I was using quilting cottons from many sources.

Zig Zag for J

A couple of days collecting and cutting fabrics, and a good solid three days sewing, and I’ve got a quilt top finished!

Zig Zag for J

I think it looks awesome. Now I need to decide how I want to quilt it.

09 Mar


Where to start? So much going on, so little time. I could do things, or I could blog about them, but there does not seem to be time to do both (there’s hardly enough time to do just the “things”). Anyway, we went to Austin last weekend. My brother in law got married and he and his bride made a whole wonderful family reunion weekend out of it.

We explored Austin. We checked out the capitol building and I tried to get the kids to compare and contrast this one to “ours” in Honolulu, but they were enchanted by the squirrels! Yeah, we don’t have squirrels in Hawai’i.

Kids and I went horseback riding with hubby’s cousin at a local ranch.

We saw some cool street art to continue the theme from a few weeks ago.

There was evidence of Hawai’i influence (though it’s correctly “shave ice,” not “shaved ice”). And by the way, the whole food truck thang seems to be quite popular in Austin. In fact food in general is quite popular in Austin. There was no shortage of interesting and delicious restaurants.

I dragged the family to a quilt shop for “modern” fabrics (Stitch Lab. Charming), and a yarn shop (Hill Country Weavers) which had really, really great samples! This chicken photo is for Megan who doesn’t even read my blog but is knitting an adorable giant owl.

The city motto is “Keep Austin Weird” and for being in Texas it sure is different. It reminded me of Melrose and Santa Monica streets in LA. I thought this medic turtle was wonderfully weird.

Just about everyone converged on the boot store.
Oh yeah, these came home with me!

Of course with a wedding comes a wedding quilt. As the couple lives in Texas, we thought a Lone Star was in order. My mother- and sisters in law settled on a pattern from “Material Obsession 2” and made it in the wedding colors.

I pieced the center and sent it to my mother in law to piece the smaller corner stars in their circles.

Then she sent it off to one of my sisters in law who hand quilted the whole thing in her gorgeous, tiny stitches. She finished it just in time so the best photo I have is in the hotel room!
Lone Star Quilt awaiting it's debut

It was well received (the bride LOVED that the grey fabric sparkles!) and I hope that it enjoys many years of use with the happy couple.