Monday, March 20, 2017

String theory

For the last month or two I've been too busy to work very much.  I've been stupidvising my bathroom renovations, which are almost finished.  Waiting for the granite counter/sink/faucet to be installed in the guest bathroom and doing about 10,000 other things that need to be done before I leave for NJ in a couple of weeks.  I've cleaned up the sewing/guest room because my daughters are coming (first one, then the other) and they will need to sleep in here.  This is the good side of the room - LOL.

I have barely had time to sew but needed to do something creative, so I decided to take a string piece that has been sitting around for yonks and give it the light of day.  As usual, it had been an experiment:an idea I thought (at the time) was worth pursuing. This one didn't work very well and when I dragged it out this morning and took a photo, I knew it was due for triage.

So... I took it apart. When I separated all the blocks, I discovered they were all slightly different sizes and shapes. Uh - was I drunk or just tired when I sewed them together?  Most likely, just in a hurry.  Not a good idea.

I trimmed all the blocks to the same size (5") and tried another arrangement without sewing them together.

Better, but not much.  The blocks were too big, clunky, and close together.  They needed more space around them but I had no more of them and wasn't about to make additionalones.  Other fish to fry!! 
Down they came. Then I wondered what if I  put space between the small units and played with a sort-of alternate grid? I arranged and rearranged, and here is what is on my wall now.  I still needs more negative space around it, but basically, it's done. I think I'll stick a fork in it.  What do you think?

Of course, once I sew the pieces together the whole thing will get smaller and may change a bit - but that's okay.  It can't be worse than the first version! But I think I may let it percolate for another day, just in case.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

It's only Tuesday?

My mother used to say she didn't know what day it was until she looked at the New York Times. I thought she was kidding.  Alas, now I know she meant it.  The days fly by!

My bathroom renovation is in process - the less said about that, the better. 

  I have also been dealing with real estate: I've bought another apartment about 5 minutes away to use as a studio and I feel strangely calm about making this purchase, although I have never done this before without a husband to share the legal and financial stuff with. BUT- It just feels right-- and there is a bedroom I can use for overflow guests.

The curtains and shades have to go, as will some of the furniture and items in the kitchen cabinets the sellers left -- but I will have space!!  Closing scheduled for sometime next week.

In the meantime, I have been puttering around after having returned from QuiltCon.  I finished taking apart this nearly-finished quilt because I didn't like the way it turned out.  I will now reuse these blocks in some other way where they don't have to line up exactly right.

I have always admired Cherrywood Fabrics but had never purchased any.  However, they were vending at QuiltCon and I had to buy some.  Yesterday, I combined them with some of my Indian batiks, making a few experimental blocks.  Not sure where this is going - or IF it is going. Whall see at some point.  In the meantime, I have a few other ideas I want to try.

However, the sewing will have to wait because for the next three days I am going to print!!  Kerr Grabowski is teaching nearby and while I don't need a class, I do need to see her. So, three play days!!  I'll keep you posted.

Past my bedtime, considering that I have to be out of the house at 7:30 a.m. 'Nite.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Quiltcon 2017 - Savannah

It has been an exhausting, exhilarating two days at the Convention Center in Savannah. I'm on sensory ovarload and my feet hurt, but that's part of the deal. Right??

The vibe here is strong and good; lots of young people - and I mean young! But there is a palpable sense of energy and enthusiasm, even among us seasoned ones - LOL.   I had a wonderful time looking at all the quilts and seeing old friends, former students, and meeting Facebook friends in person!

Sandi Suggs and I have been chatting online for a long time and we finally got to meet! I love when you meet a cyber-friend and hit it off like old friends.  This was a joy and I can't wait to see her (and her friends) again.

Today's unexpected gift was spotting Sophie, my delightful student from the class I taught last year in Switzerland.  She and her friend Sophie (yes) came all the way for ths QuiltCon and we were so excited to see each other!  She promised to send me a photo of the piece she had started in class. She is a Swiss Modern Quilter!!

If you've been reading Facebook, you'll see that I posted some pictures of quilts at the show. But there were many more that I thought were interesting or that really spoke to me.  I still don't think I saw everything there, but I'll share what I can.

One of the classes I teach is Idea to Improv, where you come to class with an idea or an image to use as a jumping-off place for a quilt.  I was taken by one exhibit by an online group, all of whom interpreted the same photo in a modern way.  Here was the original photo, taken from the High Line in New York.

And here were three of the pieces that resulted. There were more but I didn't get photos of all of them.

Here are some other quilts I enjoyed looking at.

This one for its palette.

 This one for its use of negative space.

This was a group quilt I thought really worked.

And this one, inspired by a Stuart Davis exhibit, really captured his vibe.  My fave.

I cannot wait to get back to Florida and start cutting and sewing. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

she's back...for the moment

Life interferes with life -- and with art.  Have you noticed??  

My big deadlines are over. Today I sent out a piece that will be exhibited at the Kirkland Gallery in Clinton, NY.  When I get home in April, I will be gathering pieces for a solo exhibit, May 6 & 7 at the Northern Star Quilt Show in Danbury, CT.  So I've been a bit busy.

In addition, the 1970s era bathroom renovations are underway. 

Master bath in process, with the usual "it takes twice as long and costs three times as much" (or vice-versa.I can never remember which).  Still waiting for shower doors, granite, and for something to be done about the water pressure in the new shower, which was fine before. Grrrrrrrr.  Meantime, at least we have one good strong (old) working shower in the guest bath.  Never a dull...

I have also been shopping for another apartment to use as a studio -- another time-consuming task. My guest room needs to remain as such; it has been difficult working in there and then spending 3 days cleaning up when I have overnight company, as I did this past weekend, when Hilary, Josh, and Ben were here.  

I found a one-bedroom/one bath one in another area of the village which will be great for my purposes and gives me an extra guest room in case I have an overflow.   Best of all, no carpet - so if I want to use it as a wet studio, I can.  We shall see.

In the meantime, it will all wait until I get back from QuiltCon.  Phil and I are leaving this morning to drive to Savannah.  Have never been there and we'll spend some time being tourists while we are there.  This is also my first QuiltCon and I hope/expect to meet up with some friends while I am there.  I'll take lots of pictures and post on Facebook, Instagram, and hopefully, here.  It will be interesting to see how the vibe differs from Houston.  Will keep you posted.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Almost there

I swore I wasn't going to leave the house today until I finished stitching the piece I am working on.  I did go downstairs to the mailbox, but that was IT. And I am almost done, but still at it. This quilt has given me grief the whole time I've been working on it.


1) part of it is fused and the edges keep coming up.

2) the quilt is dark and the batting is white. There is white fuzz all over the front of the quilt, even on the parts I have not yet stitched.

3) I am using 3 different colors of thread, which means I am changing thread every 30 seconds (or so it seems).

4) There is no quilt store nearby, so I had to replenish my thread at Jo-Ann's. It is crappy thread, despite having a brand name. It breaks and leaves a lot of fuzz.  

I am so exhausted from quilting and ranting that I will save rants #2 and #3 for another post.  Going to sleep it off.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

busy, busy, busy

I have been quilting a pice in spurts, all month. Still not there.  The problem is that I have to change threads very often, which slows up the process.  In addition, the batting is shedding all over the quilt, which is a dark color. This has never happened to me before and it is not a happy situation.  Mopping up as best I can.  I swore I would finish this week, but I am not so sure.

Art Palm Beach was this weekend and my cousin Mimi and I had passes for the preview evening.  Not sure which was more interesting: the art or the other patrons. There was some really strange stuff and a lot of bad art, along with the good pieces. 

When I go to an exhibit I always play a game with myself: which one would I take if I could get it for free? Most of the time,the answer is "none."  I took pictures of some I liked when we arrived, but after that - meh. Here are a few I liked or thought were interesting.

Liked the use of color in this one.

There were four of these - each in a different palette. This was my favorite.

Loved the figures and the faces here. I think the was the "grab and run" candidate.

Not sure why I took a photo of this one, in retrospect.

These were just two of the giant heads in an installation that is probably meant for outdoors. Really fun!

There is always some art or fine craft exhibit going on in this area.

I am a member of the Palm Beach County MQG and the meeting was on Saturday, so I went. Caught up with my friend Debbie Krajkowski who moved here from New Jersey and is now doing long-arm quilting, and saw my friend Judy, although not really time to chat.  I am going to QuiltCon in Savannah at the end of February and I expect to see a lot of people I know.  I have not been to Savannah, so looking forward to spending some tourist time, too.

Two years ago I did the kitchen here; this year, the bathrooms. I hope to get these done before I leave - and I'm getting the apartment painted, as well.  Finally picked a paint color.
This place hasn't been painted since the '80's. The walls are peach and I am going to do gray.  I have worried that it might be too dark.  I've got splotches painted all over the walls.
Tonight, it occurred to me to take the photo in black and white so I could compare the values of the old paint and the future paint. Surprise!  The gray is actually lighter than the peach.  You really can't go by color--something I emphasize with my students all the time.  At any rate, I feel much better about the gray now. No worries about it being too dark!

With that, I am off to bed.  My sleep pattern has been very strange: ready for bed by 9 and up before sunrise.  I don't care for that, but can't seem to break the cycle for more than one night.  Cheers!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

moving right along...

Christmas has passed, the New Year hasn't arrived yet, and Chanukah is on night #4 -- New Year's Eve will be the last night.  I can't remember when there has been such a perfect confluence of holiday dates.

I'm in Florida and I spotted a menorah in the kitchen cabinet.  But it appears to be child-sized-- which mystifies me, since no children ever lived here. I wasn't even sure the candles would fit, but they do -- and the wax drips all over the counter in little blobs.   
I thought the $6.99 candles would burn much longer than the $1.99 candles, but I was wrong. Oh well.

In the meantime, lest you think I have been idle, my guest room has turned into my sewing room. It is just as messy as the one at home, but it didn't take as long to get this way.  I will show you the neat parts:

And no, I haven't cut into that African fabric yet. Maybe in January.

Ok, the candles have burned out, so I can go to bed.  Last night I was so tired I went to bed at 8:30 and woke up well rested -- three hours later.  Good grief! I had to stay up for a few hours so I could go back to sleep. (what is wrong with this picture?)

Hope you are having some sort of vacation this week. I am off to bed - it is now a civilized enough hour for that. xo

Friday, December 23, 2016

Where did the time go??

Ha - it went away.  Have spent most of the last few weeks in my guest room - now temporary sewing room - playing around with some ideas.   Some worked out; others, not at all.  And the one that I should have cut up before I quilted it is sitting on my wall, looking sad.    I can't even show it to you -- it is too embarrassing.

When I left my sewing room, it was for the supermarket or to Bed, Bath & Beyond to buy a vacuum.  My mother's old one from the 1970's is great -- except that the retractable cord retracts every time I take a step, so I can only vacuum in one spot.    So, after having read every vacuum review on the Internet, I decided on this one.  It has been lying on the floor for 3 days because I haven't got time to put it together.  I got as far as following the first instruction.

  •   Lay the machine on its back.
The next step requires me to get down on the floor, from which I will never get up.  Phil, my partner and engineer, will not be back until the end of January. So here I am, back in the sewing room, which has a floor that looks like this (and this is not even the worst part).
It is raining.  I have beenup since 4:am.  It is now 6:45 and my NY Times has not
yet arrived - grrrrrr).   There is only one cure for this before I get on with my day.
Happy Holidays, everyone!


Thursday, December 08, 2016

Help! I am a prisoner in my sewing room!

This is not exactly a complaint, you understand.  I have lost no time in making my Florida guest room into a mess.  There wasn't enough horizontal space, and there is barely any storage space. The bookcases are now almost devoid of books and have been replaced by piles of - ha - fabric.  I had to buy a folding table, 24" x 48" - and I bought one that lowers so I can actually sew on it without getting a crick in my neck.

I am using up leftover bits from another quilt and was trying to make something modern and restrained - but it wants to be something playful, so I guess I have to go with it.

Honestly, it never pays to have an idea of what you want because you are only disappointed when the piece sticks out its tongue and says "nyah nyah, you can't do that. You are doing it MY way!"  

I've been waking up at pre-dawn hours, so I'm trying to stay up a little later tonight. Maybe I can sleep till a civilized hour and work on that silly piece tomorrow.

On another note, my African batik arrived a day or two ago and I hope to live long enough to use it. Here are two sections of it.  I think the turquoise is a mistake, but it is at intervals so it might be intentional.  In any case, I love the effect.

So that's my story for today. Stay tuned. If I don't have anything interesting to say I will try to invent something for the next blog post.


Monday, December 05, 2016

Apologies - or explanations.

Thank you, dear readers, for having checked to see if I was ok.  True, I have not posted since I came back from Switzerland.  Short of time, I have been doing quickies on FaceBook and Instagram but there is really no content with those posts. I was home for a week between Switzerland and Paris; time to unpack, do laundry, and repack.

I have tried several times to post from my iPad, but since Blogger discontinued its app, it is impossible to post and edit properly.  So - since I have my computer with me, I have finally made some time (mid afternoon??) for a blogging break.

In the meantime, a bit of backtracking.  My class in Geneva was terrific - and I taught and lectured in French, which was very cool.  One  of the exercises I gave them was to use black, white, and one color to make a piece.  Here are some of the results.

My life has been hectic and my week in Paris was book-ended by funerals.  My visit to Paris was a belated condolence call to my cousin. I enjoyed spending the week with her and seeing the rest of my extended family.  Paris was chilly and gray for the most part, but we did go fabric shopping. Since I was in Africa last year, I have been collecting a variety of African fabrics -- and there are plenty in Paris. Have I used them yet? Of course not.

We also spent one day in the Marais - my most beloved neighborhood in the whole city.  It, too, was filled with color and pattern.
Le Marais is filled with wonderful shops, but this one stopped me cold.

I could have bought everything in the store.

But because I had only one little suitcase and one little budget, I came home with this one. 

Since I got home, I have been juggling and I have now juggled my way to West Palm Beach for the winter.  I have brought my entire stash and my old Bernina, in case I want to quilt something while I am here.  Today, I received a yummy piece of African batik from Judy Gula at  I have washed it and it is out on the porch, dripping onto the carpet as it dries. 

SO - that's the short version.  I am deliriously happy to be staying in one place -- although will be driving up to Savannah to attend QuiltCon for a couple of days at the end of February.  But I promise, you will hear from me before that!