Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Birthday

I had a birthday a week or two ago… I didn’t/don’t announce those… publicly. Never have. Anyone that is a friend on Facebook knows about this last one….  because some dear friends and some family sent wishes… via Facebook.

I am, alas, not really thrilled about getting older. Yes, things are getting better the older I get, but then there is the whole thing about wanting to live forever, and seeing… that - that won’t be the case. There is so much more to do!!!

This last birthday had a 5 in it… and of course I did a little thinking about birthdays and the age thing… that line of thinking didn’t last very long, once I realized I was going down the wrong path- of melancholy… You know those questions… about the mark you are leaving, your contributions, your legacy…. etc. So I let it all go, changed the channel so to speak! I’d still like to leave a mark… a good mark… do some good… somewhere.

Don’t get me wrong. I had a great birthday!!! this year. I got some cards and letters, a lunch out, a couple of gift certificates that I will put to excellent use!!! My husband gifted me one of the best gifts, though. It is a Web Domain of my own… for my photographs. Everyone says they like/love them.. and I know I do… so I am planning to offer them online. I envision some postcards or greeting cards, some prints… I’m thinking out loud here… so if you are interested in helping me pick some photographs or have a particular favorite…. sound off either in the comments or send an email… (see upper right side bar for a link).

I did get two quilt related (fabric gifts). One from my friend Karen, she blogs FQ-fabshere, rather intermittently recently. We belong to an International Fat Quarter Swap group… and generally we send a generous envelope… to one another for the birthday. Some years she sends some of her Hand Dyed or Snow Dyed fabrics… but this year an awesome stripe-y batik that goes from pale green to yellow, and it is more than a FQ! There was also a gray and white… batik with snowflakes falling on it… I can see that as a background for another project similar to the Star “Hunter”… (I don’t know why the pictures from the little Nikon S01 take such gray photos in the Creative Space, but trust me when I say that batik is less yellow and more green).

And from my friend Wolfie, in Sweden, choc-saltshe blogs here sent a really fun envelope!!! In it was a box of chocolates, and as she wrote, not for the chocolate but for the tin they come in!! A box of flavored salts. Big flakes, a plain salt, a lime salt, a paprika salt and hickory salt flavors and while all that sounds great…

swedish-towelThe best was a towel with all kinds of mushrooms illustrated by a famous Swedish cookbook author, Märit Huldt. But even better was the meter of fabric, which depicts many of the illustrations drawn by the same cookbook author. My plan is to make some placemats and a table runner from it for the kitchen table!!! Just look at all those funny little illustrations… clipping herbs, checking the pot, presenting the dish, eating, they are all just so cute!!!


I can’t wait to start making!!! All in all it was a very nice birthday!

More Later!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Challenges Revealed

I have been hard at work the last few weeks creating a piece for the Guild Challenge!

The Guild “Golden Scissors Challenge” is issued early in the year… in February, at which time you may register, pick up the fabric and rules for the exorbitant sum of a $1.

The rules were pretty simple.

  • The theme is "Stars".
  • The perimeter of the quilt should not exceed 200".
  • You must use at least some of the challenge fabric 
  • The quilt can be hand- or machine-pieced and/or appliquéd.
  • The top must be completely finished and ready to be layered and quilted.
  • There must be a label on the back that includes name of maker, name of quilt, and other relevant information. At least one star must appear on the quilt top.
  • Quilts may have a secondary theme such as holidays, seasons, etc.

Categories for judging included:

  • best interpretation of star theme
  • greatest number of stars
  • most traditional
  • most unique use of stars
  • best handwork
  • best machine work
  • best in show (viewers' choice)

There were 20 entries in the challenge, nearly half of the entire membership, which is an extraordinary turnout! The guild has a membership of 52… and just recently expanded to 54! I have posted pictures of the prize winners, mostly because many of the entries were original designs, and I did not ask permission and well the windows behind us made some of the pictures not as great as they could be…. All the attendees of the meeting were the judges by ballot, so the quilts were judged by quilters of all levels.

First up was Deb B’s…. and she won for “Most Traditional”. It was hand quilted. Her quilting depicted fire works, which is what the challenge fabric reminded her of.


Brenda A’s …. was a Hunters Star and won for ‘Best Machine Work’ every single point matched!!! (sorry for the picture… neither picture I had was good). I don’t think the camera liked the light and couldn’t figure out where to focus on the quilt.


Irene T’s was a stunning in it’s simplicity and workmanship. She won for ‘Best Handwork’ and “Best in Show”. While she didn’t use the smallest bit of  the challenge fabric…it was close. (“the comets tail”)


And lastly my quilt. The challenge fabric is her dress, the largest piece used… in any of the quilts (I think). She started life with the working title ‘snow queen’ because of her cape and hood, but since the theme was stars… that had to change. The title is Estrella del Cazador, translated The Star “Hunter”. The inspiration came from a Dover Design Coloring Book. All I saw was the star in her hands… I, of course,

took some liberties with the drawing and made much of it my own by coloring with fabric. I played with this… and had lots of fun and some frustration… in making it my vision. Some things worked and some didn’t quite go as planned.


One of the things that worked was the star in her hands. I used 2 pieces of wool behind it, but above the cotton batting, to make it seem round and appear to come off the quilt, like a globe. One of the things that didn’t go quite as planned was the fur on her cape. I really wanted it to look furry, but the thread just didn’t want to cooperate and the “maker” was a little frustrated that day… but I really like how the ‘holographic/flat iridescent’ thread on edges shines and gives sparkle. One of the other things that didn’t go as planned was her face… I used a bit of wool batting behind that too so I could add some dimension there as well, but all it did was make it wrinkle a bit, which in the end worked. I’m not sure it translates in the picture… I also didn’t have quite the right color thread to stitch in facial contours or wrinkles…. it is bad enough I had to give her chin a bit of a cleft! I built it as I went with very little thought as to how and when I was going to achieve each element. I wish in some cases I did a little more planning…

All in all she was fun to make, I am happy with it. The prizes she took were ‘Best Machine’, Most Stars (68-the globe, the appliqued stars, the quilted stars, the jewelry and 19 sequins on her dress) and ‘Most Unique use of the Theme’. Each prize was a small gift certificate to the LQS!!!

As Always… More Later!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Nature at Harpers Ferry

I parked the car and walked through the lower part of the park, along the river and then back through the town. Way back when, in the mid 1800’s Harpers Ferry was an industrial town. The Shenandoah river was harnessed to produce water power for a weaving mill, a pulp mill and several other factories. But that did not last too long... after the late part of the century. As with most rivers, when it left its banks… the damage became too much to repair, over and over again.

Much of the stone work to channel the river, is still there, as is some of the holding basin

While walking back to the car along a remnant of the basin, I found some turtles. They are so used to movement along the shore that they don’t scurry off the logs. I like how green the little guy is.


Then there were these 5… catching the last of the warm weather before going into hibernation for the long cold winter ahead. Again another green one.


And then, this lady was just laying here, not concerned about the humans standing just a few yards away. Didn’t even flick an ear.


And I think just about the last of the wild flowers


I hope you enjoyed my day out in Harpers Ferry.

More later-Beth

Monday, November 3, 2014

More from the Drive

I decided to head for Harpers Ferry, West Virginia… from my house. The road rolls along some small but very scenic valleys. I like going to Harpers Ferry, because it is along the river, actually settled between 2 rivers, the Shenandoah and the Potomac. The town is quaint and not generally overrun with tourists and there is a National Park there too, so it is clean!

On the way, I passed a winery. With just what I was looking for… color! I’m a little late for perfect… we have had some wind… but no frost yet.


In Harpers Ferry, I saw this rock wall, but I hadn’t noticed the sign painted on it. Something about Powder


As I passed by a couple of buildings, I checked out the door hardware (again).


I love how decorative, even some of the most mundane things were in the past. Look at the second door handle, you can see where there is some wear on the pattern.


Next post a little more nature…

More later, Beth

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A little Drive

I took a drive yesterday and one about a week ago…. just to see some of the color. Yesterday was the last day of really nice warm weather… actually bordering on HOT! In the low 80’s with a little humidity too.

So I’m going to share a couple of pictures today and maybe a few more in a few days. I don’t have much to share in the way of quilts, but there will be one at the end.


A stone fence along a country road.


I don’t know what kind of tree this is- but I love the colors!!! and when the breeze came by it shimmered in the colors of fall.


I caught this guy sitting on the deck rail. A bunch of his friends were hanging out on the deck. I don’t think I have ever seen a sparrow flatten out and sit so long like this. Was he warming up in the sun? I only saw one other doing this on the neighbors deck rail, and she did for a very short time. Not only that, he was disturbed once… stood up and then settled back down.


And lastly a baby quilt. It’s been sent off and just in the nick of time. Grandson #2 made his debut last Friday. He is healthy and his parents are happy!

More Later!


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Waterford Fair

This past weekend was a Juried Craft Fair in Waterford VA. It is the largest and oldest in Virginia. This was the 71st and the dates have been set for next year already, always the first weekend of October. The fair is set in the village of Waterford, established in 1733, and all the crafts have to reflect the late 1700’s and 1800’s. There are lots of demonstrators sharing many time honored crafts, as well as some old time tools being used. For more information about the Waterford Fair click HERE.

While walking through the village after my stint quilt sitting and selling raffle tickets for the Guild Quilt I was lucky enough to see some re-enactors. I’m not really sure who we are seeing here… as my American History is much better in the kitchen than on the battlefield. Virginia has been in the thick of much of this countries skirmishes, (I suspect these re-enactors are from the Civil War era) based on the uniform colors -blue and gray.

The Piper-


The Blue-


The advance-


The Battle-


A little artistic license, while we were waiting for the battle to begin-


There was a demonstration of some of the early mechanical corn shucking, cobbing and grinding machines, but I thought the pile of crib corn was more interesting.


And last, but not the least… a late bloom in a garden near the re-enactment.


More Later!

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Last of Summer Sun?

Seasons’ change we are looking very closely at fall here in Northern Virginia. One day it was a hot summer day and the next it was cool and breezy… although the sun was shining.

I took the camera with me for a short drive one day…  and found these. They are blooming all over… along the road, in the middle of fields, along fence and tree lines every where!


Coreopsis major - Greater Tickseed, Whorled Leaf Coreopsis, Forest Tickseed.


If I lived where I could see these from my windows I’m not sure I could get anything done inside the house! Such a happy riot of yellow and green!


I like that there are 2 butterflies visible… both are sulphurs (a white and a yellow). Technically a bad photograph because the horizon is skewed, but either the horizon or the plant would have to be tilted….


This was across the road…there is Buttercup, (I think), Queen Anns Lace and a small white daisy. On the left is another butterfly (a sulphur… which one I don’t know) , and just behind it, in the back ground you can see some small blurry blue dots of flowers and those are chicory.

A few miles down the road the maples are beginning to show some color. In a few weeks the color in the Shenandoah Mountains should be spectacular!!! So I am thinking these might be the last of the summer flowers.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

I have been invited to participate in Blog Hop! Nothing big… I answer a few questions in my post and  then nominate/ask 3 others to do the same.

I was asked by a South African blogger, that I have been reading for several years and you can find her blog here. South Africa is a big country with many diverse areas. If I had known Fleur was blogging while I was in Durban, I like to think we would have met up for coffee -at least!

What am I currently working on? It’s a hush hush project. cr-estrellaA challenge, due in November, so I can only show a peek… of it.  See that gray and red slashed fabric (in the center). That is the challenge fabric…. and the other bit that has to be in the piece is a star…. . I and you can see a bit of it in the upper right corner. I just recently finished making several Thread ‘Play, Sketch, Painted’ pieces (which ever term … fits).

The first… the Flower Basket- front (25” x 25”)


and back


The Elephants Blanket-front (40” x 25”)


and the back.


and  Feather’d (20” x 22) front


and back


How does my stuff differ from others? I’m not sure it differs from others… Its fabric and thread… sometimes beads and/or embroidery. I take a large pieces of fabric, sometimes bright and sometimes more subdued, cut it into little bits, mix it with a few others, stitch it back together in a some what cohesive manner…. which may or may not be better than the original pieces of fabric -add thread…. and pray! I don’t think I have a particular style or signature either. Not that I really want one. I don’t want all my stuff to look the same… or so closely related that it may be mistaken for the ‘same’ and skipped.

Why do I create what I do? I have always been involved with creating, either my vision or assisting others, (also known as work) with theirs. I play in the textiles area because I think it allows the most freedom… from precision (which I do not do well) to the ‘no rules’ JUST MAKE ART kinda stuff, and within that I fall somewhere in the middle. Neither precise or innovative. I generally begin with an interest -a new style, color, pattern, technique… block… well any spark really!!! My one “personal” rule is to try and expand or stretch my knowledge or process… while making it. Either the technique, my technique, a new color or color way or perfect something I have learned.

How does my writing process work? I share what I think would be interesting… and would only share pictures, but they don’t always tell the whole story… sometimes we need words too. I have considered doing photos of in progress, but in the end I don’t think they ever show the ‘interesting’ part or I forget to take pictures of the interesting parts.

To end I have nominated 2 other bloggers to add to this hop.  Wolfie from Sweden and Karen at A Creative Kick…  (I haven’t been able to round up another) they are both friends and do some pretty amazing stuff!

Until Later- Beth

Sunday, August 31, 2014

2 Big Projects Done

I’m here, really I am. I have been very busy, recently.
Isn’t this a beautiful quilt? It is 72 x 84 inches and titled “Waterfords Fields and Forest”. It is the opportunity quilt for the Waterford Quilters Guild. I have put approximately a billion stitches in it with many of the other guild members. I started last winter… maybe November by doing some of the Redwork embroidery on 2 blocks. The Cardinal and the Prairie Rose. When I got those done I volunteered to do one of the borders. All the blocks measure 12” finished.
I did one of the side borders, which measured some-WFF-1-brdrwhere around 60
inches long. The picture on the right is just 3 of the border motifs, and the other is a close up of the one of the motifs. Each border has 2 different embroidery motifs that make up the 6 total.
The Quilt Committee worked hard getting the center blocks set and once the borders were done added them. And then the quilting began. This quilt is about 80% handmade. Some of the pieced blocks, I think were done by machine. The quilting on the entire quilt is done by hand. I quilted a block as well, and I think it was the rabbit, but I am not sure. I was so concerned with keeping the dog hair off, that the quilting part is a blur.
The last big hurdle was getting the binding on the quilt. “The Quilt Mom”, our member that took on getting the quilting done and keeping the schedule and getting it from one member to the next, called to say the binding was on, but still needed to be stitched to the back. I suggested that she come over, we’d put it on the cutting table and each take up a side and stitch until we got it done. Took the 2 of us a bit more than 2 hours to get it done. It was a very pleasant afternoon!!!
My next job was another large task. Every year we display the quilt and sell the tickets at several handcraft fairs, the largest and most exclusive being the Waterford Fair. The guild participates every year and most years there are requests for the pattern of the quilt. The pattern this year was designed by a guild member with the embroideries hand drawn of the plants and animals that are found around the little village of Waterford Virginia. So this year we have a pattern too. It was a group effort, one member did the directions for piecing the Virginal Star block, another member did the drawings and I formatted it.
The specifics of the pattern are: complete piecing instructions for the block, all 15 of the graphics you see on the actual quilt plus 4 additional graphics if you are not fond of one or four of them, all the graphics for the border and suggestion for the quilting. We are making it available in both the paper format (16 pages graphics must be enlarged) , above or a PDF format on CD or via email. The PDF is the paper patter plus all the graphics full size (40 pages). The Pattern is only $5 plus postage $1, (CD or paper). And if you are more interested in winning the quilt I can supply you with a ticket $1 or 6 for $5!!! Please just email me at baquilter (at) gmail (dot) com (fill in the missing symbols) for either a ticket or the pattern.
Oh and the drawing for the quilt will happen late afternoon on October 5th.
As Always- More Later! Beth

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Chicken Dance

I am still getting ready for the Thread Painting class in September. I have the elephant done, the flower basket done and the 3 flower piece done as far as it will be going…. Until after the class. I am toying with one more idea- either painted or done with TAP paper (to cheat and not have to paint)…. But before I could do that I had to finish a really fun project that I have been working on for a year. Really a little longer than that… because I started it in late 2009, but the original plan did not work… so it waited until I was ready to make it into something else.

You will remember this part, I posted it … as a top in June 2013.


It done and has a name… I have decided to call it “Foul Play on the Dance Floor” and it now has a label, too. The red and white checker board did not work very well with the Chickens. So I turned it into this quilt, which while it reminds me of a chess/checker board, has nothing to with Chickens, but we can still have fun with a name! The Foul in this is, aside from the design errors, the thread I used to quilt it…. OMG, I will never use this brand again… break break break… while Free Motioning… the thread did not mind the Accufeed, (Janome’s name for the walking foot) at all, though. Too bad my construction was not quite spot on… Oh well… I just didn’t want to waste the fabric… so I made it work!


and now Part II of the original design has been finished too.

The whole time I was working on it, it brightened the room. I am beginning to think, I like bright…. bright, bright!


It is titled “Foul Play at the Chicken Dance”. Anyone that has been to a wedding had done the Chicken Dance (or at lease seen it performed). There was some foul play along the way… like, after having my sewing machine service, the tech did not wipe down all the areas where grease (black grease), did not belong. So I had to remake 2 of the borders Also on the back is the leftover chicken that did not make it to the front. He has a broken heart, because as is often a case –or as so many novels and movies portray, a new relationship …. may end and another bloom at a wedding. Another foul, I did not consider… was that the wool batting would not block the front from showing through… Oh well… I wanted to use wool because I have it… (you can see the front… coming through).


I sent it to a long armer for quilting. It does make me want my own long arm even more!

cr-Orange-Chick-Dance        cr-Pink-Chick-Dance

Two of the chickens… and a bit of a border.


I was going to bead the chickens, but they really didn’t become any more special with the beads, so I removed what I had on it.

And to end… while I was trying to get some pictures of the Chix…. Linzi decided she wanted to be photographed and a not so great picture of Axel, with his totally healed ear!!! Hooray!

Linz       Ax

More Later-Beth