27 Sep


Channel Stitching


I quilted the channels on this scrap quilt using my home machine. It looks just fine, and is more than adequate for a utilitarian quilt, but I can see every wobble and change in stitch length.

Triple Stitching


On this one, I tried three lines close together and then a larger space between to make radiating spokes. I like the look of the spokes, but again, the lines most definitely show the hand of the quilter.

I greatly admire those who can do smooth and accurate quilting on their home machines, and those who can cover an entire quilt with regular, lyrical loops, squiggles, whorls, and flowers. I just can’t seem to do it. Admittedly, I think a lot of the super good home quilting is done on much smaller pieces than I try to wrangle through my machine, but there are some really talented people out there.

I’m also seeing a lot more work done on long arm machines (and even sent Zeitgeist out to a long armer because that’s what the quilt really wanted). Long arm machines can do things not possible on home machines, and now that many are computerized, the accuracy of the patterns is amazing.

While sitting at my machine unsuccessfully trying to make my stitches as even as possible, I got to thinking. Not long ago, free motion quilting on a home machine completely changed the way we thought about how the surface of a quilt should look. Quilting became denser, patterns became more complex, and now accuracy has increased. I kind of feel like there’s no way my work on my home machine will ever compare side by side, so why bother? I had the urge to swing the pendulum back all the way, and return to the comfort of big hand stitches.


Hand Stitching


I wonder if I am alone, or if there will be a new movement of hand quilting to complement, not compete with, amazing machine quilting. I look forward to seeing both extremes.

25 Sep

Screeching Halt

So, I’m working on a new piece and it requires lots of 2.5″ squares. If anyone remembers making Watercolor Quilts at least a decade ago, the key to keeping all your little squares in order was to fuse them to a gridded backing, then fold between the rows or columns and sew. I’m doing the same, and I thought that it might be a good idea to go the extra step and cut those folds open so that I could press my seams open for less bulk.

Binary Back



Yuck! It looks so sloppy, and it was such a pain to press open without melting the interfacing. I only did four rows and then I decided that it was a bad idea and I’d take tidy bulk over less seam integrity and plain old ugly (even though it would be hidden inside the quilt and no one would ever see it).

Binary circle


On the other side a few circles got caught in the seams. With just a few horizontal seams sewn and the circles appliquéd by hand, it will be easy to take off the offending circles and reposition them. But, the combination of the chopped circles and the sloppy back just ticked me off the night I sewed them and all of a sudden I completely lost momentum on the project. Silly, I know. At least I knew enough to walk away. I slept on it and things looked perfectly surmountable in the morning. I’m taking a short break to make a costume for my daughter (and loving that I can sew together a pretty profi looking skirt and blouse) and I will be back at the little squares soon with renewed enthusiasm.

23 Sep

SAQA Annual Benefit Auction

SAQA’s annual benefit auction is here! Actually, it’s been going on for two weeks now, and has done a super job of raising thousands of dollars for it’s exhibition program so that people all over the US and the world can see more, and more variety of, art quilts. My piece is on page 3b and is up for bidding this week. The price goes down each day, but don’t wait too long or your favorite may already be gone. I have my eyes on one each year, but the ones I like never last long enough to get to my budget. Oh well, more money for exhibits, and I definitely appreciate the opportunity to see and participate in those!


So go check it out!

13 Sep

Sketchbook Challenge Blog Hop: My Day

It’s my day over at The Sketchbook Challenge to share something about Houses and Hideaways. I like this theme because, if you click on the Galleries tab above, you’ll see lots of houses in the Villages and Rooted Series. I’ll share a few of my favorites here, but be sure to pop over to the Sketchbook Challenge blog to see how I make these little homes.

Since my solo show, The Army Wife, is on view this month, here’s a detail of one of the aprons, Torn From the Roots, which has a row of collaged houses:

Torn detail


I also love Pink House



…which led to the simpler Heart House, below. I really liked stitching directly onto the raw canvas, and plan to do more like this in the future.

Heart House sm


More is often more though, like in this detail of Rooted IX, which I donated to SAQA for this year’s annual benefit auction. By the way, the reverse auction for this piece (and many others) starts September 23, but the fundraiser has already started with many other wonderful work from other SAQA members!

Rooted9 detail

At the end of 2010 I made a mosaic of the year’s house quilts and other artwork. That was a big house year:

HOuse Mosaic 2010


It’s been a while since I’ve made a house piece, so now that I just painted up a bunch of little house bits, I’m looking forward to making some new house art soon.


09 Sep

Sketchbook Challenge Blog Hop

Today is Day one of The Sketchbook Challenge big blog hop!


My date to post is on September 13th but there’s something to see every day. Because there are so many of us, it’s a long hop and many are offering tutorials and giveaways.

Here are the full details:

The Sketchbook Challenge Hosts have a surprise for you – for the next 21 days we are celebrating September’s theme of Houses and Hideaways with a blog hop! Each day, beginning on September 9th, you’ll find a new post on The Sketchbook Challenge blog related to this month’s theme that will also include a link to the artist’s own blog, where you’ll find tutorials, videos, studio tours, exciting giveaways and more!

On each day start by swinging by The Sketchbook Challenge blog and then follow the link to the Host’s personal blog for extra goodness. Here is the blog hop schedule and enjoy!

** On each day start at The Sketchbook Challenge blog!**

September 9 – Gina Lee Kim

September 10 – Jacqueline Newbold

September 11 – Sue Bleiwess

September 12 – Jackie Bowcutt

September 13 – Me!

September 14 – Jane Davies

September 15 – Lyric Kinard

September 16 – Terry Grant

September 17 – Carol Sloan

September 18 – Leslie Tucker Jenison

September 19 – Lesley Riley

September 20 – Traci Bunkers

September 21 – Lynn Krawczyk

September 22 – Desiree Habicht

September 23 – Jamie Fingal

September 24 – Mary Beth Shaw

September 25 – Kari McKnight-Holbrook

September 26 – Deborah Boschert

September 27 – Susan Brubaker Knapp

September 28 – Laura Cater Woods

September 29 – Jane LaFazio


07 Sep

The Army Wife at McGuffey Art Center

Last night was the opening reception for my show at McGuffey Art Center. Also at the Art Center is the Charlottesville Watercolor Guild’s annual show, so there was a sizable turnout for the evening. I don’t think the evening could have gone any better. Well, it would have been fantastic to sell a piece, but I wasn’t really expecting to anyway. I did sell two “catalogs” and made a connection which could open a door or two, so I consider that a success!

The Other Woman

The Other Woman

Absence II, Unaccompanied, and Medallion for an Army Family

Absence II, Unaccompanied, and Medallion for an Army Family

Be Strong Always, Unraveling, Medallion, and Welcome Home

Be Strong Always, Unraveling, Medallion, and Welcome Home

Suck it Up, Connections, and Be Strong Always

Suck it Up, Connections, and Be Strong Always

Be Strong Always, Torn from the Roots, and Non-Entity

Be Strong Always, Torn from the Roots, and Non-Entity

These two are fairly recent pieces which I don’t think I’ve really shown. Welcome Home references the home made banners families tie to balconies and fences on post when soldiers return from deployments, and the cheap and cheerful dresses wives wear to the reunion.

Welcome Home

Welcome Home

Suck it Up and Drive on is a common saying in the military. Essentially it means stop whining because there’s nothing that’s going to change what you have to endure. It also dovetails nicely with the currently popular Keep Calm and Carry On posters from the UK which were originally meant to encourage a stiff upper lip in WWII in case of a German invasion. I love this quilt.

Suck it Up

Suck it Up

02 Sep

Hi September!

There’s lots of good stuff happening this month.

SAQA’s annual benefit auction is coming up soon, on Monday the 9th. I have a piece in it this year (on page 3b), as do many other member artists. There’s lots of beautiful pieces to look at, and maybe even purchase…

The Sketchbook Challenge theme is Houses and Hideaways and we’ll be doing a blog hop a little later in the month (stay tuned)…

Twelve Months, Sponsor's Social, Medallion for an Army Family, and Connections

And, we hung my show at McGuffey Art Center! I’ll take more photos soon, when all the lights are properly adjusted and the room is looking it’s best, and hopefully some “action” shots on Friday at the opening reception. Maybe I’ll get really tricky and do a video walk through. Speaking of walk-through, I’ll be giving an artist talk on Sunday the 15th, after which I invite any local SAQA members to come for a meet-up (I’m not sure exactly where yet, but I’ll find a local restaurant this week). In addition to my show, the Watercolor Guild is having it’s annual show in the hall galleries and there is some fabulous work.

Connections, Unraveling, Be Strong Always, Non-Entity, and Hanging by a Thread