Saturday, March 7, 2015

Madeleine Island School of the Arts-October 5-9 2015

I want to invite you to come and create with me at Madeline Island one of the 22 Jewels of Lake Superior known as The Apostle Islands.  This is a  unique blend of cultural, historic, artistic and natural resources to discover.



21 of the 22 Apostle Islands, along with 12 miles of mainland make up the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, a federally protected National Park. Here you can see some of the most amazing sandscapes in the world including the famous “singing sands” on Stockton Island’s Julian Bay. Kayakers flock to the area to paddle through the breathtaking sea caves, and when the winter weather is just right, these same caves transform into magnificent ice caves. 

Madeleine School of the Arts
Voted one of the "Coolest Small Town in the US" Madeline Island is the only year-round inhabited town in the island chain. 
Bring your adventure for miles of sandy beaches, hiking, and biking.  you can even reat a mopped to tour the island.   
To see a video about all the island click here.
Recently it become one of the newest and most sot-after art/quilting retreats destination. I am so excited to have been asked to teach here.  After  class there will be time to explore.

You’ll also need a hearty appetite as many of the restaurants serve up the freshest white fish and trout you’ll ever taste.  

The island represents over 100 artists. You can explore the many galleries and shops that feature the artist works in a verity of media- all inspired by islands of Lake Superior.  Then you can come back to class with me to create your own master pieces in fabrics. 

The 3 photos below are of pasted students work. They all came to class a little timid, but look what they accomplished in 5 days.

Students Work in progress.
In this class you will create your own flower quilt inspired by your flower photo. I will walk you through the steps of building and layering your fabric colors just like a painter layers there paint.  I will show you tricks about seeing and using color and how to feel more confident in picking the right colors.  
Students Work in progress.
I get asked all the time Why Flowers?  Well, if I can get you to see at all the colors and values that are  in one flower petal you can create any subject matter in the future. 
 And lastly you will learn how I finish my quilts with Renegade Thread Play that adds so much more detail and depth to the finished art quilt. 
students work in process
The date is October 5-9 2015 in the midst of Fall and the changing colors.  I'm pretty sure it will be breathtaking.  So bring your camera to capture new photos for the next time we meet.
Madeleine Island School of the Arts-October 5-9 2015
You can email me if you have any questions and we can talk about what you want to create. melbula@comcast.net  
Hope to see you in October.






















Monday, March 2, 2015

Keepsake Quilting Catalog


So excited about my quilt being in the Keepsake Quilting catalog. 
I got a call last year from RJR Fabrics about doing a pattern design for them using their fabrics. They wanted a pattern that was big and bold and thought of me. What an honor!  I don’t think they really knew what I do but someone dropped my name.

Texas Wildflower is on page 7.
They sent me samples of all their colorways.  You would think that if you had all those colors in your studio you could just take one of my flower patterns and translate it into their fabrics but that is not quite the way it happens.
 My Poppy pattern.
You see, I learned that I have a look which has its own color palette.  That is why I have been dyeing my fabrics.  I also use commercial fabrics when I can find my colors but for my quilts I want a certain color look.  Just like a painter mixes the right color, I have to find or make that right fabric color and value.  Remember, the fabric is my paint.  It is all about the color for me.


The first flower I wanted to try in RJR fabrics was my Poppy pattern!  It’s a show-stopper and the pattern has 3 different color charts for 3 different kinds of poppies so I thought this would be perfect.  But it wasn't.  Their red palette was not my red palette.  There was a big difference.  Who knew?
laying out the Texas Wildflower laser cut fabric kit.
The more I study and teach about color, the more I learn.  As I was making the poppy, it just was dead.  No pop, no wow factor.  I had to call RJR and tell them I couldn't do it.  I don’t care how much money (by the way, it wasn't that much) it pays - I can’t put my name on something that is not me and not my colors. At this same time I was making my Libby Quilt for the auction to raise funds to help Libby Lehman with her treatments. This flower, by nature, was in the RJR color palette with its orange reds and peach pinks.  

So I simplified the pattern so it didn't have as many fabrics as the original and started working on this new quilt.  RJR liked the quilt so we had a deal. Now you can buy my pattern and a laser-cut fabric kit with the RJR fabrics that go perfect with this flower. 

Just for fun I made the quilt in another colorway using RJR fabrics again.  I like purples but there is no kit for this one but there is a color chart in the pattern to help you pick your own colorway.  
In Purple and reds.
I have also put together a thread pack for the the Texas Wildflower that goes with the RJR fabrics. You can the pattern and the thread pack at my web shop.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Something Out Of Nothing

I made this soft and cuddly knitted shawl two years ago. I got it out to wear to dinner the other night and found, of course after I got home, that there were holes in the fabric. It looked like it had been chewed. I tried to fix them but another hole showed up and then another. It made me sick. This was expensive yarn!


With a disgusted look on my face I grabbed the whole thing and threw it in the trash.  I think I even stomped my foot as I walked by the over-stuffed trash can. By the time I got to the door of my studio I paused and went back to the trash can and pulled the shawl out.  It’s just so soft.  I know there is something I can do with this, but what? 
What if I used my sewing machine and zig-zagged with black thread over the holes?  How about doing straight lines of zig-zag stitches all down the shawl?  It needed more. And then I remembered I have a bag of laser cut wool circles I bought two years ago at Quilters Affair in Sisters, OR. 
I think they were made up for the Sue Spargo class. I had no idea what I would use them for at the time.


I started by laying the circles on the three holes to be fixed.  Then I added more and layered them randomly all over the shawl.  I stitched them into the knitted shawl.

Then I did some more zig-zag stitches up and down the shawl.  With an extra ball of yarn I crocheted a ruffle on the ends of the shawl to give it a nice finishing touch. 
Then added a big vintage Bakelite button.
Front
I think I like this better than the original! I love creativity!
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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Retreat, March 11-15 2015


Our House in Milford, Texas -  Retreat from March 11-15, 2015

Directions? 

Hop on your horse, your plane or whatever sweet ride you choose to get you to Dallas. Go down the road and get on the highway - 35E, I think?  You will pass a town called Waxahachie but go past that, then turn at the big water tower with the word Italy on it. It’s pronounced Itly.  You won’t mistake it for the gondola-riding, pasta-eating, pizza-making country but you will be able to get some gas.
As you drive, you may notice some strange round houses on the right of the highway. These are called Monolific Domes. Italy is the capitol of the domes and even has a visitor center, if you care. 

Then you turn right at the armadillo laying in the field of bluebonnets and you’ll be in Milford, Texas. 
Milford, Texas. This is the view from the porch.
Go a few miles more and when you see nothing but green valleys and cute vintage white houses, turn right into the driveway of one of the most hospitable places to ever have a retreat:  Our House in Milford, Texas.
The wrap-around porch lined with rocking chairs is there to welcome you.  Your hostesses, Ann and Angie, are a mother and daughter team from North Carolina. They are the true representation of southern hospitality in Texas and, maybe best of all, their food is gourmet and healthy so you can eat more!  


The classroom is big and bright with windows all around. You have large tables to spread out, which means you can bring lots of stuff to work on. 

If you want to relax away the day’s stitching stresses there is a Jacuzzi, so bring your suit.  There is a refrigerator where you can bring your favorite beverages and snacks and Ann and Angie keep it well-stocked with bottled waters for when you get parched from all the visiting and laughing. 
This will be the first time showing my new pattern, the
 Texas Wildflower.  It's 32" x 32" and is a stunner.
I made the original quilt  for the Libby Lehman auction this last year and it sold for $5,000.
Now for the best part - making your quilt masterpiece. I want this retreat to be a place where you can finish something you started in one of my past classes or you can start a new piece, choosing from a variety of my patterns. 
Clematis, size 28"x 22", can be done in any color
 you like and I can hand-dye kits for this pattern.
This is called 3 Zinnias, and for our class you will have time to do one flower.
 Hand-dyed fabric kits are available for this pattern.
These are big, bold art pieces. I call them “LQQ”: Living room Quality Quilts because they turn out so stunning that you'll be proud to display them in a prominent spot in your home.
Peach Rose, size 32" x 32",  is a pattern from my first book, Cutting Garden Quilts.  For this class,  I have turned it into a single flower  pattern with a large layout guide and all the pattern pieces drawn for you.  Also included is a color chart that can be modified for any color you like.  Sorry, there are no hand-dyed kits for this pattern. 
You can email me before class and we can talk about which one you would like to do and if you want to change the color or add something. I will send you a color chart with fabric amounts so you can get ready. I can also hand-dye fabric kits for some of the flowers. 

Poppies is a big, beautiful quilt that is a show-stopper.  It can be made in any color you like and
 hand-dyed fabric kits are available.
Each pattern comes with a color chart and all the pattern pieces drawn for you, so there's no tracing.  You can change the colors, too.  I will demonstrate how to finish your quilt with Renegade Thread Play and If you want to finish your quilt during the retreat, I will be there to hold your hand.

If you want to work on another of my patterns that is not pictured here, go to my web site to view more patterns.  HERE is my shop.

We will arrive on Wednesday after 4 pm, have a wonderful dinner, then spend the evening setting up and enjoying a meet and greet. You can get up early and go to bed late and the class room is open all the time. 

The next 3 days are full of creativity and learning some of my quilting tricks. Then Sunday we will have a wonderful brunch and prepare to leave by noon. 

This class is for you to be creative in a safe environment with no outside interruptions - except for the dinner bell. It’s a place to refresh yourself and this is the kind of retreat you can come by yourself and go home with new friends. We do a lot of laughing!


For more information and the right directions, please contacted Ann or Angie at OUR HOUSE IN MILFORD.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Modern Fusing


It all started with a free(!) day to play and a pile of scraps I have been collecting for a while. I call this quilt "Modern Fusing."
I started cutting little leaves out of the leftover scraps I had after making my hand-dyed fabric packs for Houston this year.   They were already fused so why not make leaves? I had no ideas on how or where I would use them, but they were so cute and so easy and mindless to make.  Let's just call this therapy!  So I stuffed then into a plastic bag and would add to them with each new color I dyed and fused. Well, the next thing I know, I have piles of these little leaves in different values of green.


Here, I've separated them by values and started to play with them on a white piece of fabric. White will always make your colors POP!
I stared with the darkest green values and worked outward to the lightest green which was a robin's egg blue.  They took on a pattern of their own as I worked.  It's kind of a leaf flower. 

I always take pictures of the messes I make when being creative. I don't know why but I like looking at controlled chaos.

 Now for the pressing of my quilt top.
Now the fun part, quilting!  I layered the quilt top with batting and a white backing fabric and put green Sulky Variegated Blendable thread in the bobbin and on top of my BERNINA 750.
I free-motion quilted veins in the little leaves and did a simple echo stitch on the background, still using the variegated green thread.

I found this robin’s egg blue stripe for the binding in my stash . This is why I LOVE my fabric stash - I think the stripe gives the quilt a fresh look.
Keeping with the theme of Modern Fusing, I folded the binding to the back and placed a ¼ inch strip of Steam-a-Seam 2 (which is back and better than ever) on the edge of the binding and fused the binding down to the back of my quilt.  

Can I get a shout out from the crowd?
Then I added this twisted piping to the edge of the binding. I have been making this braided, or twist, cording using the leftover strips from my hand-dyed fabrics.  I'll show you how to make this in the next blog.
I played around with different presser feet to find the right foot for couching this twist down. That was tricky but with the right presser foot BERNINA # 20C it was a breeze. The open foot held the piping up against the binding.  The needle would catch one side of the twist up against the binding edge.  As I sewed I was also caughting the back of the fused binding. 

 I added seed beads to the leave for a little bling. 

 Here you go, my Modern Fusing wall hanging.