Paint by Numbers, a creative approach to pictorial quilts

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I was recently asked to review Kerry Foster’s new book, Paint-by-Number Quilts, recently published by C & T, and I eagerly said yes.  I’ve been a quilty-pal of Kerry’s for some time, and enjoy her style of quilt-making.

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Her style reminds me somewhat of Edrica Huws.  I love the energy this type of quiltmaking generates, as I trend toward the pristine and ordered, and am not as comfortable with the assemblage/collage.  I always want to be better, but it’s like trying to straighten that errant curl in your hair–when you are not looking, it springs back to where it wants to be.
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So I thought I would give Kerry’s techniques a try in recreating this picture, taken when we were in Burano, Italy some years ago.  I like the weather-beaten look and knew that it would be better served by Kerry’s Paint-by-Numbers approach.Red Door_2_small

I threw it into an image processing program and used a filter on it to highlight the edges, but you could just trace the strong lines using a lightbox.Red Door_3_small

I extracted all the color, so I could see the shapes, then printed that directly onto the dull side of freezer paper, cut to size and put through my color printer.

I trimmed the freezer paper to size, taped it to a piece of cardstock at the top edge and fed it through the printer.  Mine has a rear cassette access, so the paper path is flow-through (it’s the reason I purchased this one).  Since I’m making one of my tiny picture-stand quilts, there are two images per page.

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I did draw on lines and prepared it for construction, according to her instructions in her well-written book.  All the information is clear and concise, with great photo illustrations to accompany each step.

I’m mid-process in the upper left photo, layering up the pieces as per Kerry’s instructions.  Yes, it did dawn on me at this point, that I’ve hardly broken out into wild new territory, but I liked this door when I took a photo of it some years ago.

Tiny Quilt Red Door_4

In retrospect, I realized that some of the proportions are off a bit — like the doorway is kind of floating, but I am always learning.  Next doorway will be better…and wilder!

Instructions for a tiny quilt on a frame are here.

Tiny Quilt Red Door_4a back

The back.  I’ve finally wised up and am using some of my favorite fabrics in quilts, instead of leaving them on the shelf.  I can enjoy them that way, instead of never seeing them.

Okay, back to the real reason for this post: letting you see a couple of the fun things that Kerry has in her book for you to make:

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Foster Book Review_1

Grizzly Bear quilt

Kerry, and C&T Publishing would like to for you to have a copy of her book. There are many others who have reviewed Kerry’s Paint-by-Numbers Quilting book; I’m one of the last.  Each one is running their own giveaway, if you want to visit them:

Monday Sept 17 – Kerry @ PennyDog

Tuesday Sept 18 – Deirdre @ C&T Publishing

Wednesday Sept 19 – Anita @ Daydreams of Quilts

Thursday Sept 20 – Sarah @ Coopcrafts *

Friday Sept 21 – Krista @ Poppyprint *

Monday Sept 24 – ME!  Elizabeth @ OPQuilt

Tuesday Sept 25 – Wendy @ The Crafter’s Apprentice

Wednesday Sept 26 – Angela @ Heart of Charnwood *

Thursday Sept 27 – Leanne @ She Can Quilt *

Friday Sept 28 – Katy @ The Littlest Thistle

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To enter to win a digital copy, please leave me a comment below.  Thanks to you, and many thanks to Kerry and C&T!

A Tiny Quilt for Autumn

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So, one day I just had to do some creating.  Not following a big-deal pattern with billions of pieces, but a little project that just allowed me to follow a simple set of instructions and play with fabric.

Tiny Pumpkin Quilt_pattern

I had saved this paper pieced pattern from Chase of the blog Quarter-Inch Mark.  It’s a free download, and since I was just playing, I printed it out at 100% which made it about a 6-inch pumpkin.  I think if I were doing this again, I’d go up to 125% or so, trying to get the pumpkin a bit bigger.

I just cut strips and went to it, and in hindsight, should have put the shaded strip on the outside, but since this was for a little quilt, and I was just playing, I shrugged and kept going.

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I am following the tutorial for another tiny quilt I made, which you can find here.  It’s little quilt that fits onto a plastic picture frame that I bought at Wal-Mart for a buck-fifty ($1.50).

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See the other tutorial for how big to make this (I added strips to the pumpkin to make it large enough), and how big to make the sleeve that goes on the back.  All instructions are on that post.Tiny Pumpkin Quilt_binding1b

I like to do single-fabric bindings on my mini quilts.  Cut a strip 1-1/2″ wide, stitch RST, first the right/left sides of the quilt, then the top/bottom.  Fold up the raw edge of the binding, to the raw edge of the quilt.

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Use a glue stick to help you out, as you do the next step, which is folding the folded edge over your stitching that attaches the binding.  See both sides done (below):

Tiny Pumpkin Quilt_binding2Tiny Pumpkin Quilt_binding3

Now do the top and bottom, folding in the raw edges, and then the folded edge over that (orange) line of stitching, which attaches the binding.

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Because you’ve used a glue stick to help you out, the top-stitching (from the top) is easy-peasy.

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Slip the quilt over the plastic frame (above and below).

Tiny Pumpkin Quilt_frameTiny Pumpkin Quilt_front

I hope to make several of these mini quilts so I can change them with the seasons.

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Now I have a summer tiny quilt and an autumn tiny quilt!

Gridster Bee Blocks & Catch-Ups

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Gridster_Septemeber Teton

Simone, the Queen Bee for September, visited Grand Teton National Park over the summer and wanted a block to commemorate her visit.  I can hardly wait to see this one.

Gridster_October African QueenLeisa’s mother used to live in Ghana, a missionary for the LDS church.  While she was there, she sent Leisa a box of fabrics that she’s turned into African Queen blocks.  In case you want one, here’s the info on the pattern by Anne Batiste.

I also saw Leisa’s block in my latest Quiltfolk Magazine, issue #4:

Quiltfolk Issue 4Quiltfolk Issue 4aI have to admit, even though it’s a bit more than I’d usually pay for a single issue, I do enjoy this publication, as it generally focuses on the regular people of quilting, not the big Brand Names of Quilt Stardom.  A nice change, which exposes me to a wider range of our quilt world (and lets me find an African Queen pattern!).

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Here’s another I really enjoy–Uppercase Magazine.  This issue hit it out of the park, in my view, so if you decide to subscribe, make sure you start with #35.  Neither of these publications have advertisements, they are subscription based only, which is why they cost a bit more: the advertisers aren’t subsidizing the costs.  I like advertisements okay; it helps me know what my favorite companies are doing.  But I also like not having advertisements, too.

If you join up with Jeanine’s mailing list, she’ll give you a deal on a new subscription, plus you get her cool little missives.  Never heavy, only intriguing and fun, filled with art and creativity everywhere.  I’m sure you can sign up to get those all by themselves, if you want.  (And no, Uppercase doesn’t pay me.)

Okay, as long as we are in the panting-over-something-but-don’t-know-if-I’ll-get-it phase, look what came in my mailbox this morning:

QuiltMania box set Di Ford

You get one box at a time, filled with stuff to make two Di Ford blocks.  I’m not even a Di Ford aficionado (although you might persuade me) and I’m tempted.  They are only making 400.

This news comes from someone who has the complete set of Frivols, yes, boxes 1-12.  It was my retirement gift to myself.  I still haven’t made ONE of those quilts, although I still like seeing the boxes.  Soon.

My box fetish comes honestly from my mother, who always had a cupboard full of empty boxes for gift-giving, and a stack of them outside in the garage next to the freezer, just in case we needed one.  I’m sure there are other box-hoarders out there, besides me, right?

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Coming November 1st: my final quilt in the Four-in-Art experience.  Although I’ll not be a part of it, the art quilt group still continues on, however, as Endeavourers, with Janine and Catherine at the helm.

 

Endeavourer

They had such a nice response that their slots are full, but having run a few groups, I know that the line-ups change all the time.  If you are interested in joining them, drop either one of them a note and ask to be added to their waiting list.  It has been a wonderful experience to make art quilts these past five years, and being a part of a group is wonderful.

See you November 1st!

 

Polaroid Blocks

Woo-hoo!  All the little Polaroid blocks arrived from the Polaroid Block Swap.  I laid them out and looked at them all, and really thought some lovely quilters somewhere had done a fine job making little bits of fabric in a frame.

On the left is one of my favorites, a series of matryoshka dolls (Russian nesting dolls) of which I have a small collection, and the small bit of cloth that Debbie sent along with the batch of blocks: a Polaroid image on a 2″ square, which can be either a label on the back, or made into a block to go with the others.  I had a great time participating in this and appreciate Debbie’s efforts.

And from those pictures, to another kind — the old-fashioned kind — taken at local quilt shows.  I used to take a few rolls of film (remember film?) in my bag along with my camera, come home and get them developed, then put them into little photo books to look at in between shows.  At one time, we traded photos, made our own little books, bought magazines in order to get our ideas for quilts.

This is my friend’s quilt, hanging in Road to California, with another friend standing beside it.  These are all in the pre-internet days, but even so, it’s kind of hard to remember what we did before we could just pop onto a series of blogs, or to Pinterest, or even Instagram.

I have six of these little books, tucked away.  On the left in that picture are Dave and I standing by my quilt that was hanging in Road to California (a different year than Lisa’s quilt).  And yes, I’m wearing a quilted jacket.  (Boy, do I look like an early quilter.)  Even though quilt styles change and the modern quilt movement has influenced a lot of our designs, I still like looking through these when I come across them occasionally.

Last book-y thing: I shopped C & T’s clearance sale and came up with these fun books.  While not all the books are new, and even some are sort of “vintage” it is enjoyable to browse through them when you’ve only paid a pittance for them.  You really should get on C & T’s mailing list, if you aren’t already.

So, now I’m off to sew sew sew before reality will hit and I’ll have to grade the Argument Terms Test that I gave in class on Wednesday.

You can bet that I’m putting off reality as long as I can.

Scrappy Stars!

Scrappy Stars, full view

I can finally write this post, as I caught Dave before he picked up his latest Donna Leon book (see the picture at the end for my stack).  I used to have this perfect photography studio, but then we had to replace our garage doors and I can’t staple a white sheet onto it any more.  So, I have Dave hold up the quilt for me in the back yard.

Here’s the requisite languid beauty shot: Quilt Draped Over Something.

The back.  You know that fabric you have that you love love love and it’s been sitting sitting sitting on your shelf for too long?

This was mine, so I put it to good use on the back of this very red quilt.

My quilter, Cathy of CJ Designs, did a meander over the star points and a star on a rolling wavy line in the borders. I had wanted to quilt this myself and imagined some glorious feat like Angela Walters accomplishes–all detail and punch and wonderfulness.  But in the end, I traded “Done” for “Glory,” as the pragmatic side of me realized that summer was o-v-e-r and if this quilt was to be enjoyed, I needed help on the quilting.

The label:  Scrappy Stars • No one sees what is before his feet: we all gaze at the stars.  –  Cicero

This is my number 100 of 100 quilts.  Now I’m starting on my second batch of one-hundred quilts.

I’ve arranged this stack of Donna Leon books I’ve finished in order of publication, with Death at La Fenice the very first one she published.  Notice how we get the paperbacks from used books stores (via Amazon and Abe Books online).  ( That second one is titled Death in a Strange Country.) There’s a lot of her books out there. So far, Acqua Alta is my most favorite, but I do like her subplots and characters. I’ve made a note to buy little almond cakes while we’re there, as they only appear around the first part of November — a piece of trivia gleaned from one of the novels.  At any rate, I look forward to reading more of these as soon as I can.

My Head’s in a Book. . . or Two

I should be annotating the readings I assigned to my students with my brand new colored pencils, but instead my brain’s rebelled.  It is Saturday after all, and I need a break.

Remember the exhibit I was all gaga over at Long Beach?  Well, the twelve-by-twelve group has put out a book, Twelve By Twelve: The International Art Quilt Challenge, and it arrived in my mailbox this week.

There’s so much in here, and I’ve just barely started reading.  They have an overview of each theme, and have featured one quilt from that collection and the artist that created it.  We get to learn about her methods, ways of working, how she approached the idea and how it percolated in her mind.

Some of my favorites from the exhibit are featured, as well as an overview of how they all got together.  The Leader of the Pack found a website where six quilters had embarked on a similar project.  So she then asked twelve quilt artists that she knew to try this themed approach to working.  I’ve been chatting with Rachel and we think we’d like to try, and although we know we are certifiably nuts to add one more thing to our lives, the idea of trying new techniques and ideas in a small space (a quiltlet, if you will) is appealing.

We all have Too Much To Do, for sure, but I keep thinking of that old refrain I have heard more than once–something about the worst thing to live with is regret.  I’ve settled some of my ghosts–doubtful I’ll ever write a novel, or climb Mt. Everest (really doubtful on that one), or go bungee-jumping.  But to pass up on a chance to push the creative edge may be a regret I don’t want hanging around.  I think Rachel and I are still wondering if we want to jump off that Quiltlet Cliff, but if you want to walk to the edge and jump with us, leave me a comment and we’ll start to put together our own group.  You have to agree to a deadline, but it will be well-labeled.

The Gentle Art of Quiltmaking is the second book that came this week (banner week for books, I know!) by Jane Brocket.  Betty, a reader, and I were talking (“emailing”) about a quilt titled the Swimming Pool quilt, shown here on the cover, a lush compilation of Kaffe Fassett fabrics.  The whole book is filled with quilts like this, in moody atmospheric settings.  I mentioned to Betty that sometimes these illustrations drove me nuts as I wanted Full! Color! Pictures! of the quilts so I could really study them.

But the quilts are so beautiful I put up with this inconvenience.  She’s quite descriptive in her ideas, methods and even fabric lines used.

At the end of the book, she includes this visual index of the quilts, but. . . I still wanted them larger, esp. since it’s a hardback book. It’s published by C&T, which publishes most of my favorite quilt books.

And lastly, I have my 100th quilt back from the quilter, and am sewing the binding, sleeve and label on.

More photos when I can get my husband to finish his Donna Leon book–we’re feasting on them currently, our heads always with Detective Guido Brunetti, solving crime in Venice.  My husband is on #12 in the series; I just finished #8 (I’m trying to catch up).  This fall we’re headed to Northern Italy, with a stop in Venice, but in reading these books, I feel like I’m already there.