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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Yellow Stuff

My mom gave me this party book in 1962 when I was 8 years old. I loved to linger over the pictures and read the recipes. Not sure I actually made anything from it but the sketches and party plans captivated my interest.

What an unusual choice of yellow to illustrate this page on Christmas decorations. It got me curious as to whether I had any yellow Christmas decorations.

Today my husband and I decorated the Christmas tree and, sure enough, I have a couple yellow ornaments.

Tradition generally dictates our color choices for holidays, but why not break out of the box with an unconventional color?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


A couple years ago my husband and I were on a mission in rural China. This gracious hostess prepared a meal for us in her "kitchen" (a fire box under a large metal wok, a small work surface and one pipe for cold water in the corner of a tiny, one-room house.)

She served bread, honey, hard boiled eggs and hot green tea. We will never forget the generous gift of hospitality.

This week we celebrate Thanksgiving in the USA. Thanksgiving originated as a holiday to express thankfulness, gratitude, and appreciation to God for a bountiful harvest, family and friends.

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.

--Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Yellow Stuff

How I love a sunny day. Unfortunately, it was overcast today!

The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It has a diameter about 109 times that of Earth, and accounts for about 99.86% of the total mass of the Solar System. About three quarters of the Sun's mass consists of hydrogen, while the rest is mostly helium.

Light travels from the Sun to Earth in about 8 minutes and 19 seconds. The energy of this sunlight supports almost all life on Earth by photosynthesis, and drives Earth's climate and weather.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The World

See the November 3 post for a full size image of The World. Here's another detail shot.

I lucked out on the commercial fabric for the cat as it looks like fur. The body, head and each ear are single pieces so she took four pieces of judiciously cut fabric. The quilting lines accentuate the fabric. Nose and eye are drawn with Micron Pigma pen and colored with diluted Setacolor fabric paint.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Yellow Stuff

On a recent trip to a local family farm and apple orchard, I couldn't resist taking pictures of these bins of squash. Though considered a vegetable in cooking, botanically speaking, squash is a fruit.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The World

These zebras are drawn directly on the background fabric using a black Pigma Micron pen. The white stripes are made whiter with slightly thinned Jacquard Neopaque white paint.

Other items like the cactus and rocks are appliqued.

View the complete quilt on the November 3 post.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The World

This detail image of The World (see November 3 post) shows a portion of the western hemisphere.

The starting point on this quilt was to get one full-sized accurately drawn hemisphere of latitude and longitude lines. First, I downloaded and printed a double hemisphere map on 8.5 x 11 paper and made a transparency by running it through the copy machine on transparency film. Using painter's tape I attached drawing paper (larger than the finished size of the hemisphere) on the wall. Then I put the transparency on an overhead projector (blast from the past) and adjusted the image to the desired finished size of one hemisphere. Tracing the lines with pencil gave an approximate image. Now it was time to get out the compass and ruler for accuracy. Refining of the drawing is done on a horizontal work surface.

Latitude and longitude lines are spaced every ten degrees and are further divided into ten black/white sections marking off 180 degrees around the perimeter and across the equator. The celestial equator (the sun's path across the sky) is also marked with 180 degrees.

All final line markings are done on the paper pattern with an ultra fine point Sharpie. I taped a second large sheet of paper over the accurately drawn hemisphere and traced it to get a second hemisphere pattern. I sure wasn't going to draw that thing twice.

To get the continents, each hemisphere pattern was returned to the wall and the continents were sketched in pencil using the projected transparency. To further refine the placement the patterns were tweaked after removing from the wall. This took a lot of pencil and eraser.

When I was satisfied with all the markings they were permanently drawn on the paper pattern with an ultra fine point Sharpie.

To transfer the pattern markings to the fabric, I ironed freezer paper to the back of the fabric (for stability) and taped the paper pattern under this. Using a light box I traced the lines on fabric lightly in pencil and later with Pigma Micron pens.

The color for the continents and water is achieved with Inktense water soluble ink pencils. On the freezer backed fabric I shaded the colors with a dry pencil. Then I spritzed it with water, covered with a disposable press cloth and heat set with the iron on cotton setting. The press cloth absorbs some of the wet color so I recolored in some instances and repeated the process.

Just a word on the giraffe. Note the use of heavier/darker thread on the eyelashes and finer/lighter thread on the hairs of her chinny chin chin. Using appropriate thread lends to the realism.

Stay tuned for more posts on The World.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The World

The World is making its debut at International Quilt Festival, Houston, TX this week (Nov 4-7). It is 73" wide by 56" high. The genesis of the world is portrayed in the style of a double hemisphere map.

Inspiration for The World came from antique maps of the 17th and 18th centuries. Check out these intricate examples of the art and science of cartography. They just don't make 'em this way anymore!

Something rich and rare was lost in the "progress" of printing and mechanized map making. I don't want to go back to a more primitive way of life, but I do pine for the art and craftsmanship of yesteryear. The satisfaction of presenting the work of your hands as a gift to the world. A finely tailored garment, a meticulously carved chest of drawers, a hand bound leather book--items of everyday use, not considered the arts--but when executed with excellence and pride, truly a work of art.

Stay tuned for further posts on some of the details of creating The World.