11 Dec

No Electricity Needed

I finally, after three years (way too long), took my “daily driver” sewing machine into the shop last week for servicing. One reason I had put it off so long was that I always seemed to be using it. So now what was I going to do?

I have a 50 year old Husquvarna machine from my mother in law. It’s serviceable and is basically my backup machine. But I also have this…

treadle-1

A friend purchased this Naumann Kl9 for me when we lived in Germany. I had wanted a treadle base to make a side table, but for the same price, she found me this complete machine with a beautiful inlaid top. I agreed it was too nice to pass up, even though it meant I’d still have to shop for another base (which I did and used it for my modern sewing machine).

 

treadle-2

The only problem was that the Naumann has a scary looking bobbin case and instructions in German, which intimidated me, even though I actually can read a fair amount of German. Check out the cute little bobbin storage box though! Long story short, I’ve had the sewing machine for almost 15 years and have done basically nothing with it. Time to justify hauling this thing halfway across the globe.

 

treadle-3

I did get as far as learning how to load the bobbin from my friend Nanette when I stayed with her in NC for the Homefront and Downrange exhibit. But I never sewed more than a quick test because 1: we packed up to move soon after, and 2: I still didn’t know how to wind a bobbin with desired thread. So, with my regular machine in the shop, (and a project that actually lent itself conceptually to a little zombie-apocolypse sewing) I decided to figure this out. Thank the Germans for a well-illustrated manual! Between Figure 7 and a few key words I loaded up a bobbin! It’s not beautiful, but it works.

 

treadle-4

I marked a quarter inch with some handy blue tape and got to sewing. Check out my Instagram feed for a couple videos of both sewing and bobbin winding.

 

treadle-5

Ta-da, I sewed a whole bobbin-full. I’ve now re-filled that bobbin three times, and pieced a small quilt top. I can sew forward and backward, adjust the tension, and adjust the presser foot pressure. I’ve oiled the machine a couple times and it’s purring along nicely. I’m ready to pick up my regular machine, but it’s been fun prepping for the apocalypse.

 

treadle-6

18 Nov

Quilt Storage

I Instagrammed a bit of this home improvement project, but never really took all the photos I wanted to write a blog post about it. Oh well, sometimes yo have to write the blog post you have, not the post you want.

storage-1

I sketched the storage that I wanted to build and then went to my mom’s house to use her tools. We also bought my supplies at her local lumber yard, Jerry’s, which is pretty darned awesome. I wish there were one in Portland.

 

storage-2

We cut angles, and nested pieces together with dado cuts, and bolted it all temporarily in my mom’s basement. Then I didn’t take any photos of me painting the pieces back at my house, or of me removing bits of wallpaper in the closet/boiler room and painting it.

 

storage-3

And here’s the contraption assembled in the closet/boiler room off my studio. The rails are closet rods and sit in the same cups that one would use in a closet so that I can easily remove each rail and roll and unroll the quilts. Each roll is a sturdy tube covered in archival tissue paper. The rolls also now have dust covers. They should have tags with pictures of each quilt on the roll, but I haven’t gotten to that yet.

12 Nov

IQF Houston 2016

Here’s where I was last week (or was it two weeks already!). This was my fourth visit to the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX. (Here’s a link to lots of posts about previous shows and a few tangential things).convention-center

Quilt Festival is a huge event. Between the exhibits and the vendors and the potential classes it’s overwhelming. I’ve found that over the years, having a plan and a buddy has helped to make the event manageable. This year, Quilt National ’15 was one of the special exhibits and included my quilt ‘Murica. Seeing my quilt in this venue was the main reason for going, but I also wanted to support my friend Deborah as she promoted her new book and taught at Festival for the first time. And, since I was a bit at loose ends, I also took the opportunity to work for The Craftsman’s Touch Books. Working for the book shop had the unintended benefit of giving me a behind the scenes look at the Festival, and early access to the show (which I could really see during normal hours since I was working).

forklift

It’s a little surreal to be dodging forklifts and drivable vacuum cleaners in the aisles of the vendor area.

unpacking

Day one was unpacking boxes. It’s a brutal day for vendors. They set up their booths on Tuesday and then fill them on Wednesday. Some booths just had a little work on Wednesday, but many worked 9-5 to fill inventory. At 5pm, the show opens and visitors fill in, shopping until 10pm. I was lucky to have only worked until 7 and then previewed the exhibits for a few hours. I left hungry and tired, but excited.

overview

There’s a lot to cover! I did not have the time to browse the vendor mall, but I did ping around, checking out things that caught my eye, and looking for inspiration for The Pine Needle where I work in Portland.

silk-amish

The unveiling of the major prize winners is always a big part of the excitement of the show. October Sky by Bethanne Nemesh is my favorite. The silk just glows, and her stitched drawings are expertly rendered.

 

old-denim-square

Old Denim Square by Noriko Nozawa also won a prize. This one grew on me the more I looked at it. I love the denim log cabin blocks. Then I grew to appreciate the deft use of custom machine embroidery in the details and the way she incorporated the pockets and brads and various parts of the denim clothing used in the quilt. Deborah predicts that custom digital embroidery will be the next big thing. We saw several examples at the show.

old-denim-detail

 

Denim must have gotten to me, because I was also attracted to Just Before the Lights Come On by Ana Buzzalino:

just-before-the-lights

 

Another winner, The AEIO Ewes by Janet Stone charmed me. It’s clear design and sweet (but not too sweet) colors look great in photos and holds up in the cloth as well.

aeio-ewes

 

Skinny lines were on display in many ways. Fire in the Stone by Kimberly Lacy just blew me away. The color, the composition, the construction — gorgeous!

fire-in-the-stone

Look, more tiny strips — this time in Bobby Dole’s Blue Jeans by Chawne Kimber (my finger for scale, and hey, more denim in concept at least).

bobby-doles-blue-jeans

 

Machine quilting and long arms have finally come into their own in regards to whole cloth quilts. This one, Don’t Tell Me it’s Not a Dream by Ximo Navarro Sirera, is deceptively simple technique-wise, but strikingly elegant in design.

dont-tell-me-its-not-a-dream

dont-tell-me-detail

Deborah’s miniature art quilt won a prize too. I didn’t get a photo of her or it, but it was so exciting to be with her at the awards ceremony when she found out she won first prize in the category!

One of my favorite categories is Traditional Pieced. I particularly  liked this section with bold, fresh, quilts (from left to right, Flight Path by Mary Menzer, Amsterdam View by Carolina Asmussen, and Wall of Sound by Maria Shell)

traditional-pieced

 

Here’s a closer look at Maria’s. She’s doing exciting work in my opinion.

wall-of-sound

 

There were several quilts in various exhibits which were simple one-patch blocks, in bold colors, with a combination of machine and hand quilting. I really liked them all. Diamonds Quilt #2 by Tara Faughnan was one I returned to again and again.

diamonds-quilt

 

This sample for Sizzix by Victoria Findlay Wolfe is a great example of how great she is at taking a traditional block and “removing” parts (often by matching it to the background fabric). I thin this is a variation of the Arabic Lattice.

vfw-arabic-lattice

 

I like the movement on this one too, though I think the hard work was done by mid century Dutch designer Wim Crouwel whose design was inspiration for Betsy Vinegrad’s Mod Blocks.

mod-blocks

 

I’m thinking 2017 might be the year of the scrap quilt for me. I also have a ziplock bursting with half square triangle blocks. Obviously I was inspired by Chesapeake by Aline Joulin.chesapeake

 

Homespun by Mary Kerr and Donna Ferrill James reminds me of my own quilt, Partisan. It’s part of an exhibit of quilts marrying vintage blocks with modern settings.twisted

 

I find myself drawn to Baltimore Album quilts and almost as much to Whig’s Retreat quilts. I may actually get around to making a Whig’s Retreat some day. Sunshine And Bluebonnets by Laverne Matthews is a variation. sunshine-and-bluebonnets

 

And in another exhibit was this interesting contemporary variation, Spot On by Karen K. Stone, which caught my eye as well.spot-on

 

And a detail:spot-on-detail

 

One of my favorite “traditional made contemporary quilts” is New New York Beauty by Katherine Knauer, which I saw a few years ago at the Texas Quilt Museum.  Here’s another of Katherine’s quilts, Solar City, which contains all kinds of fun fabrics, including some fantastic ones she designed herself. solar-city

 

Look, fuzzy fabrics and cabs and green streets!solar-city-detail

 

Zinnias in the Rain by Martha Wolfe has the loveliest transparencies and line work.zinnias-in-the-rain

zinnias-detail

 

Finally, me with my quilt, ‘Murica. It was great to talk about the quilt with people, and see it getting attention from a new audience. The best reaction might have been the one a friend relayed to me of a genteel southern woman who was so shocked and unprepared to see this that she had to go sit down in a quiet place and pull herself together (particularly after witnessing another person identifying with the quilt in a guns are good kind of way). Apparently, she had no problem with the two quilts with nudes as “nudes are in museums,” but guns at a quilt show was a step too far. The experience led to a really interesting (and nonjudgmental) conversation between my friend and this lady, so the quilt has done it’s job of opening dialog.murica-and-me

28 Oct

Talking Politics at The Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum

“War Sucks,” the quilt that jump-started my Army Wife series and eventual social commentary quilts will be a part of this timely exhibit at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum. I see my commentary quilts as conversation starters. They are my way of processing events and ideas that intrigue or vex me and they are my way of telling the world (or anyone who is willing to listen) what I think.

Unfortunately, I won;t be able to attend the show, but I invite anyone who will be in the Golden, Colorado area between now and January 21st to please go see this timely exhibit!

Patchwork Pundits Take on Politics
&
The Presidential Quilt Project

October 28th, 2016 – January 21st, 2017
The Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum
200 Violet Street; Suite 140
Golden, CO 80401

WarSucksweb

RMQM celebrates voters’ individualism through a display of politically themed quilts submitted by quilt community members from all over the country.  This exhibit brings political views, patriotic values, and social issues to light through quilt art in this election year.

The Presidential Quilt Project, curated by Sue Reich, will accompany RMQM’s Patchwork Pundits exhibit.  From the presidencies of George Washington through Barack Obama, the quilts help us enjoy American History and reflect on how quilt history has chosen to remember the U.S. Presidents. This exhibit of forty-three quilts represents each of the United States presidents to date.  RMQM is excited to host this beautiful and patriotic collection.

29 Sep

Death Shroud For Democracy (Take 2)

I actually made this quilt several years ago (see it’s post HERE), but I was never very happy with it. After several rejections and a year of contemplation, I decided that what it needed was to be covered with words that represent what I believe to be the things which are tearing away at our democracy. And so I got to embroidering.

shroud

I auditioned several ways to create the letters. At first I thought I wanted them to be negative space left when I covered the rest of the quilt in seed stitches. After testing a few letters, I didn’t like the legibility (or lack thereof). I wanted something more subtle than appliqué on top of the existing shroud. I considered filling in the letters, but ultimately decided that a simple outline with variegated floss was both legible and subtle enough for my purposes. The words themselves were edited down from an extensive initial list of members of caucuses, senators and Representatives, names of PACs, etc. Specific names tied the shroud to specific moments in time or movements within the US government, so the final list is words that refer to these entities but are still general enough to be relevant as long as possible.

shroud-detail

I finished this in time to submit it, and a handful of other quilts, to the upcoming “Patchwork Pundits Take on Politics” exhibit at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Colorado. Unfortunately this one did not get accepted, but at least I am much happier with it this time around. (By the way, War Sucks did get in the show.)

28 Sep

Too Many Quilts (6)

I’ve gotten lots of questions about my sale quilts — mostly about which others will also be for sale. So, without further ado, here are the quilts I am price cutting:

hansel-u-gretel-web

Hansel und Gretel (link to it’s own blog post HERE).

 

juni-web-lg

Juni im Rhein Neckar Kreis (link to it’s own blog post HERE). SOLD

 

fliegenpilz-i-web

Fliegenpilz I. Named after the red and white mushrooms the polka dot fabric suggests, this is yet another quilt in my Impressions of Germany series. It’s machine pieced mostly of cottons, but with a few interesting bits thrown in for texture. The work is machine quilted with hand stitched details.  At 33.5″ x 51.5” it’s made to be a wall quilt, but I think it could be fine for a lap or small child as well. I’m offering this quilt for $200, mailing included, anywhere in the US.  SOLDfliegenpilz-i-detail

Fliegenpilz I detail.

 

bauer-9-patch

This last quilt is an early one — I made it in 1997 before I discovered “art quilting.” The center is a vintage flour sack. The surrounding 9-patch blocks are reproduction fabrics. The colors coordinate with my collection of Bauer pottery. I still have most of the collection, but no longer want to use a quilt in my accompanying decor. This one is hand quilted (as were many of my early quilts) and also priced at $200, mailing included. It’s 43.25″ x 52.”

That’s it. Everything else is either sentimental, useful, or just too horrible to be seen in public! Thanks. Paypal only. Email me at umzavi(at)hotmail.com if you are interested.

 

25 Sep

Too Many Quilts (5)

“Juni im Rhen Nekar Kreis” was the first quilt I made for my “Impressions of Germany” show in Heidelberg, Germany in 2006. I love it’s combination of traditional 9-patch blocks, free-piecing, and stitched embellishment to create a landscape that is both recognizable and abstract at the same time.

juni-web-lg

As the title suggests, this quilt is what I saw in June in the Rhein-Nekar county in Germany. It represents still-green spring wheat fields edged with Flanders poppies. It’s smallish (and therefore easy to find a place for) at 30″ x 42.” I’m offering this quilt for $150, mailing included, anywhere in the US. Paypal only. Email me at umzavi(at)hotmail.com if you are interested. SOLD

21 Sep

Too Many Quilts (4)

I’m cleaning house again. This time it’s the wall quilts that I’m looking at. I built some quilt storage and still have more than I want to fill it with. My work has changed over the last decade or more (as it should) and I have many quilts that just don’t make sense for me to hold on to for exhibits or display in my home. So, I’m going to post them here at bargain basement prices.

hansel-u-gretel-web

This is “Hansel ind Gretel,” created for my solo show Impressions of Germany in 2006 and juried into Main Quiltfestival 2006 Wettbewerb “Märchenwelt” (The World of Fairy Tales). It is 29.25″ x 35. The center is has dyed cotton velvet embellished with suggestions of a magical forest with a button and pebble path. There’s even a (boiled and bleached) chicken bone should any inquisitive witches be looking for small children to eat. The backing is an adorable Japanese print with Hansel, Gretel, and forest critters of course. This would make a lovely wall hanging for a child’s bedroom, and if you buy it and remove the bone and pebbles, it would be a snuggly lap or play quilt as well. I’m offering this quilt for $150, mailing included, anywhere in the US. Paypal only. Email me at umzavi(at)hotmail.com if you are interested.

hansel-u-gretel-detail-3