08 Nov

IQF Houston: Part 1

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and the International Quilt Festival in Houston is no exception. Like last year, I’ll break down my experience into several posts.

First, the most important and bestest reason to go this year: to see the Twelve by Twelve exhibit and to meet eight of the other eleven twelves, many of whom I’d never met in person!

Our exhibit area was two bracket shaped “walls” of drapes facing each other to form somewhat of a room. Flanking each side of the entrance were informational signs and our boldest Colorplay sets. It invited people in perfectly.

Twelve by Twelve Special Exhibit at IQF Houston

The big sign explained the project and credited our sponsor, The Thomas Contemporary Quilt Collection as without Del’s support and enthusiasm the exhibit probably wouldn’t have happened. The other side plugged our book, which was a much bigger hit than we anticipated.

Twelve by Twelve Special Exhibit at IQF Houston

In fact, the whole experience was more than we anticipated. I expected people to walk through and say that it was nice, but I was blown away by how many people said it was the best exhibit in the whole show! Inside the exhibit were all the Theme series quilts and two tables for us to sit at and sign books or rest our feet. For the most part though, we were up and chatting with all the viewers. The more we told our story, the better people liked the work.

Twelve by Twelve Special Exhibit at IQF Houston

There was a steady stream of people all day every day, admiring our work. Amazing.

Twelve by Twelve Special Exhibit at IQF Houston

One outer wall showing Colorplay quilts.

Twelve by Twelve Special Exhibit at IQF Houston

We all took turns signing books at the Quilting Books Unlimited booth. Cathy Neri is so enthusiastic about our book and it was great teamwork to share book sales with her.

IQF Houston 2011

In our “off” hours we had the best time hanging out together, be it at dinner in a restaurant, in the hotel bar/breakfast room/lounge, or in one of our rooms.

9 of 12 Twelve by Twelve members meet in Houston
Dinner our first night: Karen, Terri (almost hidden), Nikki, Diane, Brenda, Terry, Deborah, and Gerrie. It’s worthwhile to click on everyone’s links and see their photos and commentary as well. I ended up not getting any pictures of myself, or more importantly, the paper stand-ins of the three Twelves who couldn’t be present that Gerrie made and we took with us most everywhere we went.

9 of 12 Twelve by Twelve members meet in Houston
Dinner our third night: Deborah, Diane, Terri, Karen (behind the wine), Brenda, Gerrie (behind Terry), Terry, and Nikki.

9 of 12 Twelve by Twelve members meet in Houston

Deep in discussion in the lounge: Diane, Nikki, and Gerrie

We exchanged gifts one night and Nikki made us each journals with hand painted paper and beaded spines. Not sure what prompted Deborah to rub the beads on her cheek but it was pretty funny when we all followed suit.

9 of 12 Twelve by Twelve members meet in Houston

Diane, Terri, and Deborah

Technology ruled and kept us (mostly) in touch with each other, those buying our books, and the outside world.

9 of 12 Twelve by Twelve members meet in Houston

Brenda and Diane reading lovely comments on Facebook, and keeping track of expenses on the iPad.

Compared to last year when I made sure to see every exhibit and walk each vendor row, this time I was perfectly content to stay in out Twelve by Twelve area and get to know my old friends a bit better and to interact with our surprisingly enthusiastic viewers. I have some quilt photos and purchases that I’ll share in the next posts, but really, the best part of the experience was hanging with the Twelves! I miss my sisters (and Quilt Mom) already.

01 Nov

Twelve by Twelve “Rusty”

Our latest Twelve by Twelve challenge was a rusty palette. I like rust and green. I had ideas. I let them simmer.

I pondered fabrics. I felt good about it all. I had time.

And then I didn’t! The last few days have been a marathon of stitching and beading. But, here it is, pretty much as I had envisioned it two weeks ago.

For the whole piece, it’s inspiration, and eleven other wonderful interpretations of the “rusty” them, go check out the Twelve by Twelve blog!

09 Sep

Look, a Book!

It’s real! Twelve by Twelve has a book. I can hardly believe it since this project started three years ago as a low key way for a group of fiber artists to inspire each other to push our boundaries and see what happens. Well, a book happened!

The book is due out in March 2011. It includes beautiful color photographs of all 144 quilts created as part of the twelve theme challenges we did through 2007 to 2009. Each “Twelve” wrote a chapter discussing a particular theme, how we were inspired, our thought process, and how it may have related to what other Twelves were doing for the same theme. It’s about us, but it’s about collaboration too, and with so many people connecting online it’s nice to see how one group (ours) was particularly enriched by the experience.

01 May

Lava (in summation)

For anyone who might not already know, I belong to a wonderful online group of 12 quilt artists who challenge each other every two months to create a 12″x12″ quilt interpreting a new theme each time. This time, it was my turn to choose the theme. I knew I wanted to do something that related to my being in Hawai’i, and with the current twelve challenges, we’re focusing on color. So I chose the volcano Kilauea and gave a few photos and a palette as a jumping off point.

I wasn’t exactly sure how I wanted to interpret the theme myself, though I did know I wanted to go abstract as opposed to literal, and I always strive to connect my interpretation to works in cloth, if not quilts specifically.

Serendipitously, about a third of the way into our 12×12 timeline, I taught a class to my quilt guild on how to marble fabric. Bam! There it was — the undulating lines of cooled lava in a classically textile media.

For my first attempt I used the red, orange, black and two greys from my palette (and snuck in a yellow). Although the patterning was fantastic — looking both like classic european book papers and swirling, oozing lava at the same time, it didn’t have the richness I was hoping for. In my mind the fabric should have been black and grey with veins of red and orange running through in cracks as if it was just below the surface. I also found that after washing, the painted surface looked scuffed and faded and I didn’t like that.

I realized that I should have started with hot lava colored fabric and then marbled the cooled lava blacks and greys over it. Rather than start from scratch, I decided to try over dying my marbled fabrics as I had nothing to loose (they were pretty, but not what I envisioned for my Kilauea quilt). Great! Here was the rich color I needed, but it was too bloody looking and not lava-like yet.

To get more variation in my color, I tried discharging it. With hand dyed fabric, discharge can often uncover surprising hues. Not this time. Now my fabrics looked tired and washed out.

Starting from scratch now, I changed tactics and experimented with marbling using discharge dyes. The long story is here and here; the short story is that I made interesting fabrics, but none were quite what I wanted to use.

In the end, I went back to traditional marbling and used red-orange fabric s my base. Nearly perfect. I’d still like to go back some day and experiment more with dyes and marbling, but for now I have just decided to rinse, but not wash my painted fabric.

For the quilt itself, I used a simple traditional squares and let the fabrics speak to the types of lava and hawaiian setting. Onto that base, I added chartreuse triangles edged with french knots to represent the uluhe (false staghorn) fern so predominant at the Kilauea Caldera, and a few beads around the edge to symbolize Pele’s Tears often found near eruptions.

To see the whole quilt, and everyone else’s interpretations of my color theme, Kilauea, check out the 12×12 blog!

19 Feb

New Tool

I’m not one to go out and buy the latest gadget. I believe I can make just as wonderful things with a rotary cutter, rectangular ruler, and home sewing machine, or a needle, thread, fabric scraps and junky paper, as I could with a long arm machine, pre-cut templates, specialty cutters, and colorful pins. However, my 44 year old, hyperopic eyes aren’t so good at threading needles anymore and the lovely lady at our local stitching shop, Fiddlesticks, suggested this little goody:

Needle Threader

It has got to be the best thing since sliced bread! It’s too big for quilting betweens, but it will thread just about anything into just about any other needle. And it doesn’t pull apart after two uses like those needle threaders with the thin wire loop. I love it, love it, love it. And how do I know I love it so much? I’ve been using it every day for the last several weeks on my 12×12 “Blue and White with a Touch of Black” challenge.

Delft Back

Our reveal day is on 1 March. In the mean time, this is the back before I faced it.

31 Jul



Starting the morning of 1 August, California time, we reveal our 12×12 “Passion” quilts. I know I’ll be checking in all day to see each one and to see everyone’s reactions. Interestingly, the hints I’ve seen so far are not at all what probably first comes to mind, so I’m excited to see where we’ve each gone with this theme. As for my photo it’s only tangentially related to my quilt; the rest of it is just a little gloating because tiki torches are a regular thing around here in my back yard.