Monday, March 30, 2009

Java Jive & Froggie Friends

Ahhh, spring! Look what rose from the warming earth this week! In spite of the heavy cover of dried oak leaves and winter's debris these little crocus are a sure sign of the verdant explosion to come!

But wait! Winter isn't ready for it's exit yet! The next day a typical Midwestern spring snow storm pulled the boots and parkas back from the closet. But this will just be a memory by the end of this warm day!

In the mean time... the studio has been taken over by caffeine inspired froggie friends! Melissa
Peda has whipped up these stylish coffee sleeves to spice up our morning cup of Joe! 

She has made these for many of her friends and recommends that you wear them on your wrist until you put in your order. So they are also fashionable, reversible and washable!

Here we have a very plump and color coordinated frog sharing the stage. His bean bag body gives a determined attitude to his creative slouch! 

This cast of characters has been overseeing the completion of the next line of FreeSpirit fabric that will be lovingly packaged and mailed to Westminster later this very morning! So I'm feeling a bit lighter... a new moon, spring flowers and a completed deadline... feels good!

Quilting Adventures

In my last post I was off to teach at Quilting Adventures in New Braunfels, Texas. I knew it would be a wonderful time because it was my second visit. But this week was even better than I expected! The weather was fine and smelled of spring and the hospitality was as grand and warm, as ever. And the students really stepped up to their potential!!! It was especially nice to have some familiar faces and old friends in class, too.

As you can see, a five day class allows time to work on complete compositions. Each project was a gem! I think several of the students even surprised themselves this week. Very satisfying to see such variety in one room!

On our free evening a few folk art enthusiasts headed for the Blue Star Arts Complex in San Antonio, about 30 miles away. Our target was to go to San Angel, a wonderful gallery shop known for their comprehensive collections of folk, outsider and visionary art from Mexico, Latin America, the United States and Europe. As soon as we entered I noticed a display of  Pan-American style shirts. I my surprise several of them had been made with Sassaman fabrics! There was also am incredible display of ceramic work by Hilario Hernandez Sanchez.

Then we stopped by Fiber Artspace and to our delight my friend and fellow art quilter, Liz Axford, was having an opening of her beautiful new felted works. The show is up through 
April 24.

So the whole little adventure was truly serendipitous! The entire week was inspiring.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Talented Friends

The snow is gone and the landscape is a hundred different colors of brown. The light has transformed into "spring light". Here is a beautiful new orchid caught by the evening sun. Since I am holed up in the studio this week trying to meet this years fabric designing deadline I thought I would let some of my talented friends take the stage.

This stunning quilt is called Infinity and was made by one of my talented Australian students, Margaret McDonald. It is Victorian paper pieced by hand and quilted by Sandy Campbell of Rowdy Flat Quilting in Yackandandah, Victoria, Australia. It is a joyous rainbow of energy!

In this detail, you can see the individual hexagon blocks of the Grandmother's Flower Garden which feature Sassaman fabric from seasons past. 

Next I'd like to share this sublime quilt by Glynis Thompson called Jane's Magic Garden is Now Blending. I love the way she has placed the blocks so the edges almost disappear. This piece has
a very appealing mysterious quality!

Even in this detail it is difficult to see where each block begins and ends. Again, Glynis has successfully raided her stash to combine several lines of Sassaman fabrics. Wonderful!

And now for another contribution from Melissa Peda! She used the Folk Art Sugar Skull pattern and Judy Coates Perez's RIT dyed batting technique to make this graphic little quilt.
You could also use some of that scrumptious hand dyed felted wool in a similar way. The hand stitches really give it a delightfully naive look!

Tomorrow I am off to teach at Quilting Adventures... Hill Country Style in charming Kerrville, Texas. This is a fun event and I recommend it for any of you that need a break from the norm! It is about an hour outside San Antonio, the setting is relaxing and the company is great!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Winter Wrap-Up

I had hoped to post this blog more than a week ago. But as you can see, I have been busy. In fact, I have been half way around the world and back! Last week I was teaching at the celebrated Australasian Quilt Convention in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It was a first visit for both Velda Newman and myself and we had to keep pinching ourselves to make sure we weren't dreaming.

This is the beautifully restored Expo Center where the event was held. The vendors were housed on the expansive main floor and the classrooms overlooked from above. The Australian quilters welcomed us with enthusiasm and their unique sense of humor and friendliness. Although the trip was brief, we had an excellent adventure and I look forward to my next visit in July 2010.

Although it was summer in Australia, it's still winter here at home! So this week we will be showing some new winter wraps to keep you cozy and looking good until spring. First, Willow models a coordinating hat and scarf featuring the Dusky Sweet Potato Vine fabric from the Prairie Gothic line. The hat is knit of bulky wool yarn and sprinkled with yoyo flowers. The scarf is lined with matching green polar fleece and trimmed with harmonizing striped ruffles which add femininity and fun.

Here we added a quilted purse to the ensemble. All very rich and extremely wearable.

This outfit predicts the arrival of spring! The saucy cap and scarf use pink polar fleece to guarantee this gear is energy efficient. The fabrics are from the Strawberry colorway of Prairie Gothic from FreeSpirit. 

This cowl scarf is another new design from the studio. It can be buttoned or unbuttoned depending on the weather and the look that you want. Like Willow, I prefer to keep the bottom corners loose to form a collar or dickey effect. This wrap is lined with butterscotch colored fleece to match the coordinating buttons.

We used the Midnight Teasel and Lace fabric with a checkered band for this variation. I think it has a nice combination of comfort and "attitude"... my favorite fashion statement.

Finally, we have a coordinating "Full Fud" topper with a cowl wrap. Even though the colors are neutral, there is a subversive sense of humor at play! This could work well with a formal camels hair coat or a shearling jacket. If you have to keep warm, you may as well have fun and look good doing it!

Thanks to Susan Tempin and Melissa Peda for their excellent sewing skills and attention to details, as always!