Friday, October 31, 2014

Awesome Rotary Cutter Coat by Dawn White, First Light Designs

An awesome Rotary Cutter Coat made by Dawn White of First Light Designs. 
Dawn White of First Light Designs was having a giveaway on her blog recently, and I was one of three lucky winners who received a Rotary Cutter Coat, designed and made by Dawn. I have to be the luckiest person in the world! Dawn says I came up first in the drawing, great luck considering how much I have coveted the Rotary Cutter Coats since they appeared on Dawn's blog.

I love how the design makes the case look like a coat, and that's how it got the name Rotary Cutter Coat. Dawn owns a small home pattern business called First Light Designs here in Portland, and she is always working on something wonderful. I enjoy following her blog, and always marvel at her sewing skill. If there was ever something I wanted to figure out with sewing, I'm sure I could ask Dawn and she would know. 

Thank you to Dawn for the good luck and the great Rotary Cutter Coat!! Check out her Rotary Cutter Coat tutorial and learn how it is made. To view the tutorial click here.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

American Quilts, The Democratic Art

The second edition of "American Quilts, The Democratic Art" by Bob Shaw is now available, and two of my quilts are part of the book.

A pieced quilt from South Carolina, made around 1870 by Florence Shealy of Saluda County, appears in the preface. It is an outstanding example of the design known today as New York Beauty.

The velvet fans quilt, c. 1920 from New York, was on the cover of the first edition of the book and is also included in the second edition.

The new book is available in bookstores and online, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys quilts and art. Check it out on Amazon, click here.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Green Alien Space Baby Fabric

"Green Alien Space Baby" is my first Spoonflower fabric design. I was thinking about it because Halloween is coming.  Aliens are fun any time of the year, but especially around Halloween!!

Green Alien Space Baby

Where on Earth did I come up with such a crazy idea for a fabric design? Silly question! I got the inspiration from Mars, not Earth. The fabric may be more of a challenge than a gift to some quiltmakers, but a deep Halloween fabric or novelty print stash wouldn't be complete without it. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Spoonflower Fabrics

I received an order of Spoonflower fabrics the other day, and loved how they turned out. The big orange print is very striking. Each orange is 10" in diameter! I also love the green "Terrarita" fabric and the gray "Boiling Point".

I have some ideas, and will get the sewing machine fired up soon. Maybe I can make it work this time. :)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Soon to be "OOP"

"What is 'OOP'?" I asked myself recently when looking at books on Amazon. "Wasn't that a hip hop song back in the '90s?"

Oh wait...never mind...that was "O.P.P." (LOL!)

OOP stands for "out of print" but perhaps it should be OOP$. When a book goes out of print, it often becomes more difficult to find and increases in value. 

Two of my self-published Blurb books will soon be much more difficult to find. They will go out of print by the end of 2014.

"Collecting New York Beauty Quilts", the exhibition catalogue from last year's event at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, will be OOP as soon as my Quiltmania New York Beauty book is released. It will be some time in the next few months, so fair warning! I did the same thing with my "Beauty Secrets" catalogue from 2011. It went OOP as soon as the San Jose catalogue was released. Very few of these catalogues are in circulation, and although I can't foresee what value they may have in the future, I can say they will be extremely difficult to find.

The other catalogue going out of print is "Changing the World: Quilts from the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative" from my 2012 exhibit at the Anne Amie Vineyards in Oregon. When the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) reached its goal of raising a million dollars and was discontinued, I stopped collecting these quilts. Originally the goal was to have a large collection of the quilts, but that goal changed with AAQI's plans to cease operations. The collection has approximately 30 quilts, and may be exhibited in small venues in the future.

The last time one of my catalogues went OOP, people came looking for copies later, and sadly they were out of luck. So, as a courtesy I thought I would announce it here. Self-published books are kind of a new animal, so it would be difficult to predict whether or not they will be a collectible genre in the future. However, knowing how people are about quilt books, I think these books will be collectible. To visit my Blurb bookstore, click here.

Monday, October 6, 2014

"Eye on Elegance, Early Quilts of Maryland & Virginia"

Achsah Goodwin Wilkins applique counterpane now on display at DAR
"Eye on Elegance, Early Quilts of Maryland & Virginia" at the DAR Museum in Washington, D.C., is now officially open, and it looks like an outstanding exhibition. One of the objects on display is the appliqué counterpane from my collection, now part of the DAR Museum collection. Attributed to Achsah Goodwin Wilkins (1775-1853) of Baltimore, Maryland, the counterpane was made in the first quarter of the 19th century.

The DAR Museum web site has an online exhibition with photos and descriptions of the objects. There are also videos about the exhibition and the specific groups of quilts-- appliqué, album, pieced and migration quilts--  with Curator of Costumes & Textiles Alden O'Brien and Heidi Campbell-Shoaf, Director and Chief Curator at the DAR Museum. As the O'Brien explains, the exhibition combats the myth that all quilts arise out of frugality or necessity. The origins of quiltmaking in Europe and America were anything but "make-do", as the quilts in the exhibition clearly demonstrate.

It takes a lot of work to put together an exhibition of this magnitude, especially when working with such old, rare textiles. Congratulations to the staff, volunteers, and everyone else who contributed to a job very well done! "Eye on Elegance, Early Quilts of Maryland & Virginia" will be on display until September 5th, 2015-- so there is plenty of time to arrange a visit, even if you are not in the area. I think there will be a catalogue, too. More information at the exhibition web site- click here.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

book collection inventory

This weekend, I am working on a project that is long overdue-- an inventory of my collection of quilt books. The collection grew rapidly over the last few years, and at times I found myself buying books not realizing I already had them. Fortunately, technology has improved and many tools are now available for this type of project.

After poking around online, I chose Library Pro, which offers a 15-day trial period and is compatible with Macintosh. The program is easy to use. It has more features than I would ever use, but I appreciate being able to search and capture information about the books online.

On the "Item" tab, just select "Search web for item" and fill in the search box at the bottom of the window. Any matches will pop up, and you can easily use the green arrows at the top right of the window to scroll through results, until you find the one you want.

When you find a match, just click the green plus sign button at the upper right in the window, and another window pops up with fields for information.

Fill in whatever additional information you want, click to save...and that's all there is to it! If you cannot find your book online, don't worry, you can add it manually. Same goes for photos, easily dragged and dropped in. There is also a function to allow for scanning bar codes on books, but I have not used the tool yet.

So far, I have entered 200 books. There are more to do, but not many. I will also add photos of any book covers that were not included with online information, and print out a list of the whole collection. Easy! Much easier than I expected.

The last time I tried to do an inventory, maybe ten years ago, I was typing all the information into a word document, a laughable idea today. No wonder I gave up on the project and ended up buying duplicate books. Needless to say, I don't anticipate having that problem anymore. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

beginnings of a personal fabric collection

I love the idea of making a quilt entirely out of fabrics I designed, so I was playing with Spoonflower again, and ordered up some samples of five fabrics. They were designed over the last year, and were not really intended as a collection, but I can begin to see some possibilities for using these fabrics to make a quilt.

Oranges is the one I previewed yesterday. It is a large-scale orange polka dot made with images of an orange. This one could be challenging, but fun. I can see fussycutting (yes, I still call it fussycutting) individual oranges or rows.

Terrarita is a light, leafy green print, I think of it as a medium neutral because I love green. This fabric and several of the others were not necessarily designed with quilts in mind. I was mostly designing for fun.

Salsa was generated from a photo of some fresh salsa I blended up one day in a food processor. The design is made of bits of tomato, jalapeño pepper, green onion and cilantro. I hope the fabric is as delicious as the salsa was. Orange continues to be hot, so this fabric could be great.

Manyanakin is a unique design created in Photoshop using the paintbrush tool and a variety of rich colors. It is one of the first fabrics I designed, and it is now being printed for the first time. This fabric and some of the others have a kaleidoscopic appearance after applying the mirror repeat, one of Spoonflower's design tools.

Of course, I had to include a gray! Boiling point was designed using an image of boiling water in a pan on my stovetop. I liked how silvery the bubbles looked, and thought it could be interesting as a neutral fabric.

So, what will I do with these fabrics? I guess we will have to wait and see. As soon as they are printed, I can offer them for sale, just like the Green Alien Space Baby fabric -- but only if the fabrics meet my standards. Although not many people would really buy the fabrics, that's part of the reason why I like them. You won't see a lot of these fabrics in other people's work.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

orange polka dots

I was playing around with Spoonflower again, and designed a new orange polka dot fabric. It's not just any orange polka dot, though; the oversized orange polka dots are actually oranges. 

Whenever you design a fabric using Spoonflower, it can only be made available to the general public after ordering a sample and "proofing" it, so that's what I have done. Usually takes a couple weeks. Can't wait to see it!!