Friday, February 22, 2013


first step foundation paper pieced a little sewing machine

next back it and quilt it with the name and embroidery embellishments 
bind the edges  and model it... 
Now I have a crafty new name tag that is HUGE so everyone will be able to read my name at the DCMQG meetings.  At the recent meetings I noticed that I can't read the paper ones unless the wearer uses a giant sharpie marker to write their names big and plainly. I was excited to find that there is a challenge in the group discussed on our DC Modern Quilt Guild discussion board to make tags and bring the next month.
I hope everyone makes an original name tag for the March 17th meeting so I can really begin to recall and retain some of those names.
Maybe in time I can do a smaller one but the embroidery dictated the size of this name tag. Thanks to Anjeanette for the link to her Pinterest bulletin board for the quilty name tags ideas.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Special Days

This past week has been romantic and full of fun, friends, family and a little quilting. I had a lovely Valentine on my desk when I got up on the 14th and enjoyed delicious heart shaped black and white cake with a big pink butter cream rose. Then on the 15th a luncheon with old college friends who drove into town to visit my Mom and us. That was really a treat! Saturday was a trip to the DC modern quilt guild meeting up in Gaithersburg at a real quilter's shop. I got there while show and tell was happening and missed some of the members shows. My photos of the quilts that I got to see are in this flickr. set follow the link and see more quilts and quilters!
We finally got to see every one's Madrona Road Fabric quilts from last months challenge and Jessie Aller brought in a package of her wonderful fabrics she designed as the prize. We were asked to vote by secret ballot for our favorite project. I was thrilled to be the winner with my "Birds in Air" quilt seen below.
Fabrics for the Madrona Road Challenge 

Birds in Air quilt 
My prize is a lovely collection of fat quarters from white to gray to fuchsia and finished with a black and white dot. All but the black and white dots are Jessie's fabrics she drew the plants and designed the repeats and colors. What an exciting gift this is and I am anxious to find a new quilt project that will complement these delightful prints.

Jessie Aller's fat quarters prize

Currently I am working on quilt projects in green and white once again. Here is a peek at one block in progress. My own design...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ai Weiwei "According to What"

Dan's Red 1965 Buick Riviera 
 Keith and I were treated to a ride to and from the Hirshhorn Art Museum yesterday in Dan Murray's 1965 Buick Riviera. One of his three vintage automobiles. It's always fun to ride in them as long as I am strapped in I feel safe but with all that metal on the dash and power under the hood it makes me feel a bit anxious. We went to see an exhibition I heard from an art pal was suppose to be very good. Ai Weiwei is maybe the most famous Chinese contemporary artist know all throughout the west. He is best known as the designer of the Bird's Nest stadium from the 2008 Summer Olympics. He has been a sort of agitator and dissident and follows a long tradition of poet activists pushing for greater personal freedoms in his culture. I have been following his life the last few years since he  has been getting in trouble with the powers of the Communist government. He spent his formative years in the same part of lower east village NYC I did and in the show there were a string of black and white photos from those early days in 1983-93. Showing the same Pyramid Club I frequented.
Dan's driving us downtown to the Hirshhorn to see the Ai Weiwei retrospective exhibition. 

It is fun riding in his vintage cars. Waiting at intersections people often comment  and gesture. 

What no seat belts in the back? Yikes don't hit the brakes too hard Dan. 
 The first thing we saw once we arrived was the twelve Chinese Zodiac heads he made in the courtyard of the museum around the drained fountain. Very impressive bronze busts on pole stands. We played tourists and posed by our signs but Dan wasn't sure which he was and there were no guides that we saw. I was lucky that recently in a Chinese restaurant with my mom we sorted out ours together off the printed paper place mats while waiting for our egg rolls!
Dan thought he was born under the Cock but it turns out he was in the year of the Monkey 1956

Frederick born under the Ram 1955

Keith born under the Dragon 1964 
It was a very exciting exhibition. Large and impressive works featuring the crafts of China put to work in a larger way than pure craft alone. Thought provoking and clever. I won't spoil it by trying to describe them here in words. I didn't photograph the installations because I don't think photos would do them justice. I recommend you plan a trip in the next couple weeks if you possibly can or watch for his work or documentaries on it on the internet. Ai Weiwei will be in the news again... He thrives on getting his ideas out into the ether.

Link to previews of the show at Hirshhorn Museum:
Ai Weiwei According to What 

Link to a good introduction to Ai Weiwei documentary:

BBC:艾未未专题纪录片(Ai Weiwei, Without Fear or Favor)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Shoofly quilt is finally revealed

This has been a fun quilt inspired by an old one in a book and my friend Jason Alexanders the potter's gift of some old fabrics. The two dark plaids of green and blue were my favorites from his old clothes and I set to work right off making this cool block my book calls shoofly. I see other quilts look different with the same name so I guess it is an open title. These half triangle squares are the key and that is what I wanted to practice and this old quilt caught my eye in the book. What ever you call it, I like it and set to work making the blocks and found I had enough fabric to stretch it out to make a nice sized nap quilt. 39 x73.5 inches

Antique quilt from 520 Quick and Easy Patchwork Designs by Kei Kobayashi ©1993
this is the quilt folded to consider the binding fabric hanging on my design wall

working on embroidering a label
boxed the embroidery in a frame for the orange back! 

completed the navy blue plaid binding by hand last night 

on the wall with the label showing

Three orange stripes progress across the field of shoofly diamonds  

I asked for advice about the background on this project and got a bunch of different answers. Yellow, Orange, Blue were all popular but somehow I decided early on that I wanted to pair these masculine dark plaids with a darkish neutral pebble print that look gray. Then the orange diagonal stripes were inserted to give a break in the traditional pattern. I also played with the thinnest stripe when I discovered I could not add a strip that ran from side to bottom without planning it ahead of time. I learned again that a wide strip inserted in the diagonal from side to bottom causes the edges to bump out the width of the strip and no longer meet up with the sides. It would have to be planned ahead to keep the edges even.  So I folded this little strip in half and sewed it in like a ribbon. Later I added a piece of cording to round it giving the top a play thing raised up from the surface to fondle. 
Once the top was done I went shopping for a dark backing fabric with my mother. We couldn't find one that suited my vision until we switched course and discovered the bright orange circle print fabric which happened to be on sale for 60% discount! I knew right away that this was the right choice for backing my plaids and pebbles Shoofly quilt.

notice the orange quilting threads in the gray blocks?
I used orange thread in my feather weight sewing machine, quilting in diagonal lines to match the 45º angles of the orange stripes.  I am looking forward to washing it to see it crinkle up and soften for use on these cold winter days ahead. Ground hog says spring is coming sooner than usual this morning he didn't see his shadow!