Reach for the Moon

There are quite a few little tidbits for you this morning. I figured I start with my own work since I'm going to talk about last night's guild meeting and show you some pictures of the quilts of Janet Fogg. Since her work is exquisite, I figured I'd show you mine first...you know, as a warm up...so you don't keel over from euphoric ecstasy. So I would say feast your eyes here, but these are my quilts we're talking about. Let's be a little bit reductionist and just have a little snack for your eyes.

First, I finished up the latest stitchery for the Vintage Tin quilt.

And with that completed, I was ready to make the next stitcheries for the Gardener's Journal quilt. I wanted to try out the Sulky ink transfer pens that allow you to trace embroidery designs onto paper and then iron them onto your fabric. Thanks to Dana who sent me this link from Connecting Threads about them. If you scroll down, you can see a little tutorial about how they work. Also, there's a nice review of them here from Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread. I ordered the four-pack of colors from Amazon, but they come in eight colors in all.

These next images are the next two embroidery motifs for the Gardener's Journal quilt. While the pens worked very well insofar as the tracing and ironing was concerned, I was not at all happy with the thickness of the line I ended up with.

I was very concerned that my embroidery floss would not cover it, and it won't. 

I showed it to Mike to get his reaction. He seemed not to notice that the brown line was showing until I pointed it out to him. I'm going to stitch on this a little more, but I strongly suspect that I'm going to have to redo these. I don't think I'll be happy with this if I continue on.

There may be a solution to this problem, however. I experimented with using a very light touch with the pens, and I believe it is possible to get a narrower line with them. (In fact, the Sulky website recommends this for a lighter line.) I'm also going to see if a finer point exists. Just now I did a short search and didn't find any fine point pens, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. I'll keep experimenting and looking. 

My current problem is that I'm getting close to running out of the background fabric that I've used in all the embroidered blocks for the quilt, and I can scarcely afford to waste any. My next move is to cut the fabric for the largest remaining embroidered blocks. If I run out, I can substitute something similar and it won't show as much on the smaller pieces. I'm not terribly concerned about having to use a different fabric, but I'd like to stay consistent if I can. I have some scraps from another project that would make a good substitution.

So with that done, I moved onto the Duluth Trees wall hanging. Thank you to all of you who responded to my request for a "design consultation" regarding the moon over the trees. The overwhelming consensus was to add the moon, and so I did. I experimented with a couple of other cream and yellow fabrics, but I was afraid any color other than gray or white was going to end up looking like the sun. With those dark blue backgrounds, I am pretty convinced this is a night scene. So then I asked Mike to help me choose a spot in my mottled silvery gray fabric that looked like the surface of the moon, and I think we hit on it.

I wish you could see that fabric in person because it has just a slight silvery sheen to it. It almost looks as if it is emitting light from within, and when I put it on the quilt, it actually seemed to light up the design. So, all in all, I'm pretty happy with how this is looking. I might decide to add the tiniest of hot fix crystals to this and put a few stars in the sky. What do you think? In general, I think too many crystals can make a quilt look gaudy, and so I would want to be careful not to overdo it. Also, if I put them on and don't like them, they are easy enough to remove.

Last evening I attended the Westside Quilter's Guild meeting. I attended this meeting once before quite some time ago, and I was impressed at the energy and enthusiasm in the room. It was quite a distance for me to drive, however, and so I didn't return. They've moved their location now, and so I decided to give it another try. In fact, I joined up last night. The membership year begins again in July, and so it was my little way of disciplining myself to keep going at least for several months. When I attended the first meeting, I met up with Sue H. who blogs at Alderwood Quilts. She was there again last night and approached me during the break. We chatted quite a bit about the guild, and it was nice to see a friendly face there. (Hi, Sue!) Also, I know another woman there. Her husband and my husband used to work together, and so we met at a few "company functions". 

I continue to be impressed with all the guild is doing, and the women were certainly friendly enough. I like the new location if for no other reason than its comfy chairs! Gotta have a comfy place to sit when you're corralled for 2+ hours, right? So, slow-to-warm-up me is holding out hope that this will end up being the guild of my dreams, but it's too soon for me to say that I love it. I'll keep going for the next several months, and hopefully it'll become more comfortable with time.

For now, I really loved seeing the quilts of Janet Fogg, who was last night's speaker. She explained to us that she was one of seven children and that her mother died when she was just 11 years of age. Prior to her mother's death, her father had purchased a brand new sewing machine for her mother, and the sewing machine sat unused afterward. Janet claimed it as her own, although she did not know how to sew, and her life as an artist and quilter began from that point. She started a quilters' book club, and I really loved this idea. Her club chose three books per year, which they read and discussed like any conventional book club. Then, they took the idea further by making quilts inspired by the story. Most (perhaps all) of the quilts she showed us during her trunk show were inspired by books. If you click on this link, you can see a good sampling of her body of work, along with the stories that inspired them.

Here are just a few of the quilts that were on display last night. They aren't the best pictures since this introvert was sitting in the back of the room and avoided using flash which would, of course, have drawn attention. This first one is called Kitty Corner and was inspired by a cat from the Harry Potter books. (I'll just say that I haven't read any of the Harry Potter books, nor have I seen more than just snips of the films. I know...I'm a cultural derelict.) Her quilts also utilized appropriate traditional quilt blocks. This first one uses the "Puss in the Corner" block. 

Keep in mind as you look at these that they are almost exclusively pieced! Almost no applique whatsoever! The only time she used applique was when she didn't want to cut into a beautiful piece of hand-dyed fabric, and so she appliqued the design element over the fabric rather than cutting the fabric to fit the element. (I hope that makes sense.) I can't remember all the stories behind these quilts, but they are all available on her website at the link I gave you up above.

I think this was my favorite, called Bear on a Trail and inspired by the book, Undaunted Courage, by Stephen Ambrose. The book is about the Lewis & Clark expedition and features the traditional Snails Trail and Rising Star blocks. Yes, the bear is pieced.

This next one is called Our Lady of the Lake and features a Madonna and child on a single giant Lady of the Lake quilt block. The dark lines are needle-turn applique.

This next one is called Woody and the Seashell and has an interesting story behind it

There were many, many quilts on display last night, and I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the meeting. I strongly encourage you to click on the link I've given you and see the rest of Janet's stunning work.

So that's about all I have for you today. Today is a swimming day, and so I'll be taking off in a couple of hours to go do my workout. I've been doing enough swimming that it is worming its way into my weekly routine...a good thing. I still need to finish the top-stitching on my Duluth Trees quilt, and then I'll be making a quilt sandwich to get on with quilting the strawberry table runner...my ALYOF goal for the month.

I hope you have a lovely day today!

19 comments from clever and witty friends:

Vroomans' Quilts said...

We'll make you a people person yet. Sounds like you had a good time. Nest meeting sit one more row up and progress - you just might make the front row. I enjoyed the site and quilts - my favorite is the bear.

WoolenSails said...

I use the blue markers that wash out and they work great, but it would be nice to have a thinner line for more intricate work. I can see the shimmer slightly, looks gorgeous to me.


Janarama said...

Before doing too much more stitching on the piece using the new marking pens, I would try a lighter color thread. If the lines show through with the dark thread, I would think they would show through even more with a light thread. Just a thought.

I think adding a few crystals to your tree quilt would look fabulous.

Marei said...

Love your trees and the moon...very nicely done. I've got no history with those pens but I'm a little concerned that the thick line might muddy your design. I'm assuming the ink doesn't wash out, right? And the work from Janet?! Fantastic! I totally love the bear. Snail's Trail is one of my favorite patterns and it looks spectacular paired with the star blocks. Wow...totally amazing work. Nothing like that will ever be coming out of my sewing room. Sigh**

Tami C said...

Sorry the Sulky ink transfer pens produced a thickness that wasn't easily covered with the floss. I really like how the moon turned out on your Duluth Trees. It definitely a night scene. I liked Janet's quilts, but I'm more into the classic traditional patterns. I've never been a fan of modern art. Neferkiti made me smile!

LynCC said...

Wow!!! What fun quilts to get to see. I love that bear quilt mightily. :) I also love your Duluth Trees. Something about it speaks to me.

Vicki W said...

One thing I love about Janet's quilts is how large they are!

Junebug613 said...

The moon looks great! I'm so glad that you had a nice time at the guild. Those are some beautiful quilts. I loved the bear too. I went on her site after your other post, but I didn't read the background. I will definitely go back and read it now.

Brown Family said...

I read a review on the pens and I do not think I would like them just because of the width of the marking! I do very thin embroidery, too. The quilts are beautiful. I am headed over to her site now.

quiltzyx said...

Thanks for the link to Janet Fogg's site - amazing quilts!! I'm jealous a little that you got to see them "in person". ;)

Hooray for a finished block. Boo on the fat lines. I guess they would be OK if you were using more of a chain stitch that would cover or hide it better. But I can see how it's irritating to you.

Perfect moon over Duluth! I like the ideas of a few twinkling stars too.

I'm glad too, that there were a couple familiar faces at the guild meeting. That's always nice, any where you go. I bet they will like to see some Show & Tell from you.... :D

Celtic Thistle said...

I have those pens too and have had the same problem with the width of the lines. Will be interested to see if you find a solution.

Fascinating quilts!

liniecat said...

Wonder if perle would cover the lines, though it would give a heavier effect of course and obv youve not used it on other blocks.
Very annoying that line though, hope you disguise it with more stitches to save on fabroc and effort!
Love the moon off kelter like that and it does look shimmery, perfect!
Nefferkiti made me chuckle and I adore Hippo Love!!!
Fabulous art quilts, very cleverly done but not the kind Id want to snuggle round me? They are wall hangings arent they, in their own right, so to me, they are lifted beyond that homespun, huggy, 'hand stitched' quiltyness that speaks of social history of the past.
The art quilts speak of social history of the now, perhaps?
An interesting thought!
But yes stunning work indeed and clever to include the bear beneath his own pattern, as it were!

Kate said...

Hanging the moon was just the thing for Duluth Trees. It looks great.

Hope you enjoy the guild. The one here in town meets during the day, so I can't attend. But there is one I could join, but I'd have to drive for 45 minutes. Like you I'm a pretty strong introvert and I'm not sure I'd enjoy a guild. I'll be curious to see how you like it in a few months.

Diann said...

The fabric you used for the moon is perfect! I personally like the idea of embroidering stars rather than crystals, but of course you'll do what you think, and it'll be great.

I was so disappointed to read about the transfer pens. I need something like that, but with thin lines!

Like other commenters, I loved the bear quilt. I also especially like the Madonna and Child.

Siouxzq64@gmail.com said...

The Bear on a Trail is one of the ones I pinned on Pinterest a while back. Thanks for sharing about the pens. I want to do some stitchery but have been kind of timid about the different ways to transfer the pattern, other than the "old fashioned" way.

Patrica said...

Your moon is perfect, I love it! I think I see a shimmer it could be the power of suggestion but it shines just the same. I feel the same way about guild meetings and so I'm proud of you for venturing forth.

Jacque said...

Giggle! Here's a hug from another cultural derelict....haven't seen one of those movies, nor read the books! LOL
I'm so glad that the guild meeting went well. I expect you were exhausted, but those quilts were stunning! I'm off to click on the story of the Woody. Snuggle up with kitties and rest!

Dana Gaffney said...

Good for you going to the meeting! The quilts are amazing, I like Woody and the seashell, I need to read the story behind it.

Dar said...

Beautiful quilts by Janet. Thanks for sharing with us.