Quilts for Sale

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Laundering a Quilt

The wedding quilt saga continues. After trying unsuccessfully to remove pencil marks made by the quilter and snarling and fussing for three days, I took the plunge. I actually washed the quilt!

Yikes! Double yikes!!! I was a nervous wreck, standing in front of the commercial machine with its ever growing mound of suds, watching for a tell-tale sign that some fabric somewhere had run. But all is well. Sigh! Double sigh of relief!!! The quilt came through fine with just one tiny spot of blue dye where it shouldn't be. I can easily fix that and am not concerned.

Agitation from a regular home washing machine is what tears up quilts. I went to a laundromat with extra large front loading machines which gently toss loads. I used Orvus paste I'd dissolved in warm water at home, a little Synthrapol and a cold water wash/rinse. The pencil marks are gone and colors preserved. I'm happy.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Preserving Points

I changed my mind yesterday about making bias binding for the NY Beauty wedding quilt. Because the pieced outside border has many bias edges, using a straight grain binding will have a stabilizing affect. The leftover long strips of blue fabric, cut lengthwise, worked perfectly.

Early in my quilting I developed a couple of tricks about adding borders/bindings and such to an edge containing lots of points. When I learned to sew, I was taught to place the fabric being added on the top - next to the needle. But because that method covers the points, it's like sewing in the dark. Even with a perfect 1/4" seam, it can lead to disappointment (chopped off points). To avoid this, here is what I do:

Step 1: Baste the entire quilt edge, making sure your stitches hit the points exactly right.

Step 2: Pin binding in place, aligning raw edges of it with the quilt edge.

Step 3: Turn quilt upside down so that the backing is on top, next to the needle. Following the basted line, stitch binding in place.

Step 4: Complete binding. Note: Refer to my January 25 and 28 posts for parts 1 and 2 of my binding tutorial.

Finished binding with sharp points preserved!

A point to remember (pun intended): Fabric has two straight grains: warp (length) which runs parallel to the selvedge, and weft which runs crosswise from selvedge to selvedge. Depending on the weave of the fabric, the crosswise grain can have nearly as much stretch as bias. For this reason, I cut borders lengthwise whenever possible. My thanks to Caryl Bryer Fallert who shared this tip in a lecture many, many years ago.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Studio Day

Puppy Shampoo

I was too tired last evening to do anything on the wedding quilt except trim the excess batting and backing. My original plan was to make the binding so I could begin stitching early this morning after cardiac rehab. I found my chosen blue fabric is all in long strips only 12" wide (leftover from cutting the border), not nearly adequate for making bias binding. This may force me to make a trip to Mary Jo's! Oh my.

In yesterday's post I did not mention that the quilting designs had been marked with pencil. It never occured to me to tell them to not use pencil as I really did not think anyone still used that technique. (I use chalk or a silver pencil which rubs off easily.) I called the quilter for guidelines on removing the marks. They recommend using a commercial drum-type washing machine, cold water and Cheer. Apparently they have this question a lot, as washing instructions were to have been in with the quilt.

Even though every fabric used in the quilt (including some very dark navies) was prewashed I am very hesitant to wash it. An on-line search about removing pencil lines was not reassuring. I've come up with an unconventional method for getting the marks out: Mix a couple of drops of puppy shampoo (the mildest thing we had in the house) with lukewarm water. Dip a corner of a white wash cloth into the mixture (don't get the cloth too wet) and gently rub the pencil marks. So far, so good!

I hope there are a couple of good movies on tv - as this will probably take me all day! But I'm very fussy about this type of thing.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

It's Home!

A small part of the New York Beauty quilt.

The NY Beauty quilt came home today. It had been in PA since early December being hand quilted. The quilting motifs I selected worked out very well and look great. I'm excited about sharing with my readers but will not show the piece again until after my son and daughter-in-law have it. After all, it is their wedding quilt - just 3 1/2 years late!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

IKEA Opens in Charlotte!

Yeah!!!!! We now have our own IKEA store - the only one between DC and Atlanta. People have camped out for the last three days hoping to be amongst the first few to receive a free IKEA chair. These shoppers were obviously experienced at waiting in line, as they came equipped with tents, heaters, sleeping bags and grills! A steady rain began about midnight and the temperature dropped, testing the mettle of those in line.

The situation is intense this morning, as reported in this news story By: News 14 Carolina Web Staff

"CHARLOTTE – The new IKEA store in the Queen City is open for business.

A long line formed as eager shoppers got ready for the opening, while Charlotte Department of Transportation officials prepared for conditions much like those seen on (NASCAR) race days.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are directing traffic at major intersections, and are advising people who haven’t already left for the grand opening to consider waiting a few hours to do so due to the extreme traffic conditions.

For those who will be attending the grand opening, drivers are advised to use Interstate 85 to get to the City Boulevard exit instead of North Tryon Street."

We don't plan to visit until next week when crowds have thinned a bit. We've had just one IKEA experience - last July in Minneapolis. My dh loved the furniture and kitchen gadgets; I went for the Marimekko fabrics and chocolate - divine! Thank goodness dark chocolate is good for the heart!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

To Quiltart Members

Any quiltart listers out there? Contact me if you have sign-on information. My hotmail account, containing most of my business-related info, has suddenly evaporated - only to be replaced by something called live.com Even typing the hotmail URL brings up live.com. Very puzzling indeed. This is supposed to be an improvement! Lost are hundreds of emails, folders of family photos received and letters sent.

Also lost is all contact with the quiltart list. I desperately want to reestablish my account, but to no avail. Nothing sent to my hotmail account since last Friday or Saturday has gotten to me. I so hope someone from the list will post my new email plus a request for me to once again receive quiltart in the digest form. Thanks so much! Send mail to: ellenguerrant@gmail.com

Monday, February 16, 2009

It's Finished!

New York Beauty Top
Before Quilting

Matthew and Suzie's wedding quilt is finished! Mrs. Petersheim called this morning from Bird in Hand PA to say she and crew had completed the quilting and I should have it by the end of the week. Yeah!!! I can't wait to see it. Then all that remains is the binding! It has been a very long time coming.

For more information on Sylvia Petersheim, click here: http://www.sylviasquilts.com/

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Heart Day

Valentine Roses

My husband Bill gave me a huge bouquet of roses for Valentine's day. But more importantly, he joined me and 1500 other souls in the Cupids Cup 5K and Fun Walk early this morning. It was 46 degrees and raining. Additionally, my dh was in pain. His second bunion surgery had to be postponed last December because the surgeon was (and is) ill. To support me and help raise funds for cardiac rehabilitation, my dh soldiered on. Thank you, dear.

Late note: We cardiac rehab patients raised over $60,000! Thanks, everyone.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dyeing 25 Years Ago

One of the early pioneers in fabric dyeing was Debra Millard - now Debra Millard Lunn. I bought her self-published book A Quilter's Guide to Fabric Dyeing in 1985. I have never seen another copy. Anyone out there have one?

I can't imagine how difficult it must have been to put this book together, as it contains actual fabrics, each one carefully positioned. Shown below are just a few examples. All photos are clickable.

The Color Wheel

Value Scale

Value Scale - Tints and Shades

Debra's book served me well as I learned how to dye my own cloth. I finally was able to study with Debra and her partner Michael Mrowka in 1994 at the Quilt Surface Design Symposium - back when it was held at the Josephinum in Columbus. It was after this class that I set out to find a wringer washing machine, regretting that we'd sold the two my parents once had. The techniques and equipment for fabric dyeing were much more labor-intensive back in the day! I still have a few of the five-gallon buckets gathered from the grocery store deli department.

I did finally find a wringer washer as well as a mangle locally. Of course this was just about the time low water immersion (LWI) dyeing was introduced!

I intended to properly press and cut my swatches - really I did.

I dyed these colors during my 'pink, blue, purple and mint green period.' I still use purple and blue. Pink and mint green? Not so much.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy 200th Birthday, Mr. Lincoln

This is the earliest known photograph of Abraham Lincoln taken around 1846 or 1847 by Nicholas Shepherd.

I grew up in the Land of Lincoln where our 16th President was much honored and revered. How I wish I could have been in Springfield today for the celebration of his 200th birthday.

Graffiti Street Artist


I first became aware of Jean-Michel Basquiat through a film - Basquiat. Roaming around Blockbuster at least 10 years ago, I rented the movie* simply because of the artwork on the VHS box. I was blown away by the amazing work of this young man, originally a graffiti street artist, and have been a huge fan ever since.

A Google search yielded much information, including short clips of the artist at work. Below are just a couple of the images I found.

The following write-up about Basquiat was done preceding a 2005 show of his works at MOCA in Los Angeles.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, photo by William Coupon

"The story of Basquiat is one we're all too familiar with when it comes to any visionary's overnight rise to fame. They often fall as fast.

Born on December 22, 1960, to a Haitian-American father and a Puerto Rican-American mother, Jean-Michel Basquiat was raised in Brooklyn. Although active for just one decade, he is considered one of the best-known artists of his generation and received unprecedented international recognition. When still in his teens, Basquiat first gained notoriety among New Yorkers for the cryptic graffiti poetry he sprayed on the walls of Lower Manhattan under the pseudonym SAMO. In 1981, when he was 20 years old, Basquiat burst upon the art scene under his own name with an original body of work that quickly developed into a complex and highly diverse, mature style, marked by innovation, sophistication, skill, and a stirring emotional depth. By the age of 21, he had already enjoyed five important one-person exhibitions and been included in the prestigious Documenta 7 in Kassel, Germany. Basquiat died of a drug overdose in 1988 at the age of 27."

*The film also covers the interaction between Basquiat and Andy Warhol. I'm fairly certain it is still available. See it if you can.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Color Inspiration

I love the color of blueberries!

I'm gearing up for an April visit from my youngest (and very energetic) sister Patty. We want to do lots of "stuff" while she's here. I've laid in a supply of Lutradur, soy wax, paints, collage materials and of course dyes. Patty had a week at Nancy Crow's barn with Carol Soderlund a couple of years ago. Maybe she can tell me how to replicate the color of blueberries!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Is It Spring?

We were given this beautiful arrangement after my DH provided photography for his aunt's 90th birthday luncheon Saturday.
The roses are just opening. I loved the addition of the baby cabbage.

Following several days of morning temps in the low teens along with a bit of snow and ice, our high broke a record yesterday. It was 74 degrees! We hope some of the warmth moves to parts of the country which have suffered so with the recent ice storms.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Framed............or Not Framed

Surface Design Study
Techniques used: Hand-dyeing, painting, stamping, resists, scrunched, hand and machine stitching.

After years of teaching surface design, I had lots of samples lying around. Late last year I decided to turn several of the fabrics I'd created into a small wall hanging. The study was originally framed. It looked okay, but not great.

After looking at it for a while, I changed my mind about the framing. I felt the glass over the stitching detracted from the tactile qualities of the piece. I also didn't like the fused binding I'd used. I knew as soon as I'd started to fuse it that it was not the look I wanted, but it was too late. Using a fusible is not an easily reversed decision.

The piece is now out of the frame where it can breathe! Here are a couple close-ups of the quilt's more textural areas.

I often leave frayed edges of fabric as a textural element. I'm also a fan of loose threads and the combination of machine and hand stitching in the same piece.

A resist of Elmer's School Glue formed the white lines of the wavy half spiral above. Once dry, the fabric was painted with diluted Setacolor transparent paint and sprinkled with salt.

Elmer's School Glue Gel makes a wonderful resist. Its pointed top is great for writing and drawing. The glue takes a long time to dry, so plan ahead. BTW - our drug and grocery stores carry this product. Look for the blue stuff and make sure it is the No Run Gel.

Deka Silk paint was used for the pinkish-rose colored stitched Shibori. Using a variegated floss, I accentuated the resist lines with free-form embroidery. Triple wavy lines of multi-colored orange threads accentuate the hand-dyed purple fabric.

Caran D'ache Neocolor Crayons are a favorite tool. I like them for coloring a whole piece of fabric. Sometimes the fabric is damp when colored; other times it is colored and then spritzed with water and "finger-painted."

I've put this piece aside while I ponder the next step. I may keep it just as an example of a less than desirable fused binding!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Aunt Camille Turns 90!

Camille's 90th birthday cake was
beautiful as well as light and delicious.

It was a warm spring day, perfect for a birthday celebration. My DH's dear Aunt Camille is 90! Family gathered for a lovely luncheon hosted by Camille's sister Rossi and her husband Frank at Carmel Country Club.

Aunt Camille has for decades been the primary genealogist for Bill's family. There is nothing she doesn't know about generations of Moravian Crouses. Her cousin George had uncovered several letters Camille had written in 1931 and 32 to his mother. Highlights were read aloud before they were given to Camille. For her, there could have been no better gift than the written word. Letters are history.

Friday, February 6, 2009

National Wear Red Day


casual group formatted.jpg

Today is National Wear Red for Women Day. By wearing red and making a donation to the American Heart Association we can all raise awareness of the nation's #1 killer - for both women and men.

My DH and I will be participating in the Cupid's Cup 5K and wellness walk, a local fundraiser on Feb. 14. Info can be found here on my personal page:


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Exhibition Photos

The Mint Hill Arts exhibition, Quilt Evolution: Traditional to Contemporary, ends tomorrow. (See right sidebar for details.) I hope some of you were able to see it. Several pieces were selected for other venues in Mint Hill. My three quilts will hang in Town Hall; others will be displayed at BB&T bank.

Here are a few photos from the show:

Verde detail
Canvas, tyvek, beads
Linda Stegall

Janet Lasher
Ivory Detail 1

Ivory Detail 2

Saga Van Atta's
beautifully framed work.

Saga Van Atta

Linda Stegall

Linda Stegall - Detail 1

Linda Stegall - Detail 2

Janet Lasher

Bambera Detail

Several panels held small works.

Jean Zoet
Detail from lower right-hand piece on above panel.

Leaning That Way
Phyllis Tarrant

Shrimp Creole - Detail
Ellen Guerrant

Toast with Jam - Detail
Ellen Guerrant

Orange Slice - Detail
Ellen Guerrant

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The 'Big' Snow

Daffodils in snow.

I didn't know of it until I stepped outside at 6:50 a.m. But there it was - no doubting the white stuff. It was snow!

Snow is a really big deal in Charlotte. The mere mention of the possibility of snow in the forecast causes a run on the grocery store. Every supermarket is jammed with panic-stricken people laying in supplies for "the big one." In an hour, every loaf of bread and gallon of milk has been sold.

When I got to cardiac rehab this morning, I saw that the parking lot was nearly empty. Uh oh, I thought. Maybe class has been canceled. There were only six people in the 6:45 class; about the same in my class at 7:20. Conspicuously absent? The fellows from Buffalo and Michigan.

Schools were closed as were many businesses. Our quilt guild meeting tonight was canceled although after a day of bright sunshine, there is not one flake to be seen this evening. As a former midwesterner, I still haven't gotten used to this.

Here are a couple of pix of our big snow.

Snow against our neighbor's fence.

Snow on a deck table.