Posts Tagged ‘Amador Valley Quilters’

I Spy The Floor

July 9, 2014

 

I may have mentioned bidding on every embroidery package at the last Amador Valley Quilters silent auction because I can never find embroidery supplies when I need them. My plan was to sprinkle the packets around the sewing room so no matter what corner was currently blocked with too much stuff, I could still find some floss and needles. This week I was looking for something else – zippers, in fact, for a friend to use in a sewing class – and I cleared out an entire bin’s worth of random supplies. Then I put all my embroidery supplies in the extra bin.

Not sorted, but stored

Not sorted, but stored

This is a double victory, if you don’t count not finding the zippers. First, I know where my embroidery supplies are. Second, I can see more of the floor.

Another path to more piles

Another path to more piles

I don’t often get to see my floor, so I revel in the experience. I don’t even mind the extra vacuuming.

The other experience worth reveling in this week was my beading project. I started the pearl and bead strands on some hand-dyed silk. This week I finished enough of the beading that I can audition fabric to quilt and use behind the silk piece.

Lani Longshore silk beading

Luck and wisdom!

 

Beading Art

April 16, 2014

 

Amador Valley Quilters invited beading artist Thom Atkins to speak and teach. I signed up for the workshop without asking what we would do. Best plan ever.

Atkins, who wrote Beading Artistry For Quilts, lets the fabric and embellishments speak to him while he is working on any given project. He starts with an idea and lets it develop. His kits are created with the same idea in mind – give the student some fabric and beads and see what happens.

What I learned in class

What I learned in class

Atkins actually intended this to be the backing fabric, but it fits perfectly for an idea swimming in my brain for the water project. He accepted my reasoning and let me have fun.

Letting the beads speak

Letting the beads speak

The best part for me during the workshop was learning a new finishing technique – a beaded picot stitch.

Lani Longshore beaded picot

The best part after the workshop was discovering another cache of beads that will fit with this project.

More found treasures

More found treasures

Atkins uses a boatload of beads on each project, and encourages his students to do the same. Since I’m already a proud member of the “if one is good, one hundred is fabulous” club, I feel as if I’ve been given permission to fly after years of walking – on beaded wings, of course.

Luck and wisdom!

 

Valentine’s Gifts For The Artist

February 12, 2014

My husband will give me flowers and a funny card for Valentine’s Day, unless this is a mushy-card year, in which case he will give me a blank card with an interesting picture. Probably of a dog. I like flowers and funny cards, and neither of us needs a box of chocolates, so I’m happy as a clam at high tide with those gifts – from him.

 

Lani Longshore heart box

 

I’m asking for a better gift to me from me this year.

 

I won a consultation with Beth Barany, a writer, writing coach, and marketing consultant. We used the session to brainstorm about marketing my two novels, Death By Chenille and When Chenille Is Not Enough. It was a fabulous experience, and I’m going to put aside some money to work with her again when Ann Anastasio and I finish The Chenille Ultimatum. That is my first Valentine’s gift to myself.

 

The second gift is to treat myself to as many classes as I can afford. I’ve already signed up for two quilting workshops through Amador Valley Quilters, and I’ll take whatever workshops Tri-Valley Writers offers, but that isn’t enough. One of the ways an artist can grow is to explore other arts. I find a lot of cross-over in my writing and quilting. I’ve also found some cross-over with my martial arts training, and even my (minimal) musical training. Themes that appear in one discipline have a way of working into another.

 

My third gift to myself is my own box-o’-art-quilt-prompts.

 

My art quilt bag and fabric prompts

My art quilt bag and fabric prompts

 

I have a couple of writing and art prompt card boxes with suggested projects and inspirational thoughts. They’re great, but it occurred to me to I could make my own and clean another tiny space in the sewing room at the same time. I packaged up some of the inspirational fabrics that I bought for projects I can no longer remember. There are three projects I need to get finished for deadlines, but after those are done I can take out a bag and use those fabrics for an art journaling project, or a gift, or an experiment that I’ve already given myself permission to throw away if it takes a turn for the worse. My hope is that when another deadline looms while I’m working from the box-o’-prompts fabric, I will find it easier to get started since I’m already priming my brain to be creative.

 

Give yourself a Valentine’s Day gift this year, the gift of permission to get your hands dirty with whatever art you choose. You’ll thank me later.

 

Speaking of thanking me later, here are the links that I embedded above, just in case:

 

Beth Barany –www.bethbarany.com

 

 

Death By Chenille – on Smashwords

 

When Chenille Is Not Enough – on Smashwords or Amazon or B&N.com

 

Amador Valley Quilters – www.amadorvalleyquilters.org

 

California Writers Club Tri-Valley Branch – www.trivalleywriters.org

 

 

 

All The Steps, In The Right Order

September 18, 2013

I am an Iron Maiden.

 

My badge of honor

My badge of honor

 

Laura Wasilowski came to Amador Valley Quilters, and I took her workshop. Yes, I’ve been fusing forever, but learning from the Dean of Corrections at the Chicago School of Fusing was worth it on so many levels.

 

First, I learned about myself. I’m lazy, and I don’t always follow directions. In Laura’s class, I had to follow all the steps, in the proper order. It shouldn’t be a surprise to discover that one gets better results when one follows directions, but there it is.

 

Cut-outs waiting for a project

Cut-outs waiting for a project

 

Second, I learned that I can restrain myself if I listen to my project.

 

The leaf will tell me what to do - someday

The leaf will tell me what to do – someday

 

The doodles I made for the class project had many, many curlycues and embellishments. When I cut things out and started assembling the leaf, I heard a faint whisper from the fabric. “Step away from the block now. I will tell you in my own good time what I want you to do next.”

 

Third, I learned that when you properly learn a technique, ideas present themselves. I’ve been agonizing over two small gifts I wanted to make. As soon as the class was over, I knew exactly what to do.

 

Gift one

Gift one

 

Gift one - detail

Gift one – detail

 

Gift two

Gift two

 

I can’t wait to find out what I’m going to learn tomorrow.

 

 

Catch Up

June 5, 2013

Some days the little catch-up jobs take all my attention. Despite my best efforts to ignore them, comes a time when they block my path like a herd of linebackers. That’s what happened this week. One of those tasks concerned photos of quilts made in my prison class, and I thought I would share them.

catch-up-jewel-box-6-5-13

 

 

Margaret Misegades and I teach the class, but we also get help from other members of Amador Valley Quilters who donate fabric to the program, cut kits for the inmates to sew, quilt and bind the tops and backs, and get those quilts to Community Quilts for distribution to local organizations. These photos were taken by Cathy Lacer.

 

Lori Vogel's house blocks

Lori Vogel’s house blocks

 

This quilt began with orphan blocks donated by Lori Vogel. The inmates completed the top in one class and the back in another.

 

catch-up-vera-6-5-13

From Cathy and Vera

 

This is a quilt made from kits that Cathy and Vera Pierce cut.

 

catch-up-twisty-6-5-13

From Linda’s pattern

 

This quilt started with a pattern that Linda Ballou wrote up for me. Both she and Rose Seay have made many kits for the class, and have been a source of great ideas for easy patterns.

 

Like all the really worthwhile activities in my life, the prison class would be impossible without the help of my friends at Amador Valley Quilters. I don’t know that I thank them enough for all they do for me, so I’m glad my catch-up job gave me another opportunity to say how grateful I am.

 

 

 

 

Beading Time

April 24, 2013

Amador Valley Quilters had their quilt show last weekend. It was a fabulous show, with Alex Anderson as the featured artist and a special exhibit of Quilts of Valor projects. We also had members giving demonstrations of various techniques, and I demonstrated beading.

Me in yellow and blue for Boston

Me in yellow and blue for Boston

Beads can substitute for embroidery, and enhance bindings. They can be used to hide piecing or quilting errors, or can be scattered over the surface just because you’ve got them. I like to turn otherwise unusable jewelry into embellishments, too, and I lump that under beading when I’m giving a demonstration.

Being me, I have my beads squirreled away in many corners of the sewing room, some in containers with projects in various stages of completion. Pulling the stuff together for a demonstration requires me to paw through bins, boxes and stacks – which means I’ll get distracted and come up with another dozen or so projects before I remember what I’m doing. This year, I decided to turn that character flaw into a teaching moment. I brought a sample of the various sorting systems I have used over the years.

bead box A

bead box B

bead box C

This collection does not show how well they work, but illustrates how many choices there are and (I hope) serves as a warning to those who have a a tendency to buy these systems because they are so darned cute. I also hope it will encourage others to do what I have found impossible, namely develop an organizational system and stick with it. Of course, if I could have done that three years ago I wouldn’t have anything to write about in my blog, and that would be sad.

The Beading

April 21, 2011

I spent a lovely day beading Taj Mahal but couldn’t photograph the results to save my soul, even with my husband’s camera (and his help). Nevertheless, I’m going to show you the best pictures of the lot.

Most of the beads came from my collection, but some are new. I happened to be at my local craft store – looking for something else – and a few items leaped off the shelf into my shopping cart. Still, I managed to combine things I already had with the new things.

I put eight of these on the quilt, four on each side. The silver square is a slide for a bracelet. I added the loop of seed beads on each slide.

I made two of these bead strings for the top of the quilt. The top bead is a painted, wooden bead.  The crystals are out of focus, I know, but this is the best I could manage.

This combination is in the center of the quilt. It is made of two pendants linked by a seed bead loop.

Here I put together three buttons and a cell phone fob that I had made months ago. The buttons were on a card in the sale bin. They simply begged me to rescue them and do something clever. I hope they’re pleased with their new home.

I finished the quilt with a fringe of wooden beads and pink pony beads on a gold cord. These items all came from my collection. In fact, I think I wooden beads for a project for my daughter when she was in elementary school (she’s in graduate school now).

Taj Mahal will be hanging in the Amador Valley Quilt show next weekend. If someone else can get a decent picture of it, I’ll beg a copy and run it after the show.

Alien Week

January 19, 2011

When Jan Steinhoff, Block of the Month coordinator for Amador Valley Quilters, announced that her husband thought the heart pattern she chose for February looked like an alien, was there any doubt I’d be buying a kit?

Find the eyes!

The alien face effect is subtle. If you aren’t looking at the block from just the right angle – or don’t have the proper mindset – you might miss it. So I decided to kick it up a notch.

Since the kit includes a gorgeous red and black tulip print, I looked in my collection for something similar. I found a pink and burgundy print and started looking for background fabric. After a few minutes, I dope-slapped myself. Why use the tulips for the alien face or eyes? Obviously, it should be the background and the quilt needs to be titled Garden Variety Aliens.

Which meant I had to make more than one face. Since the whole idea of using the heart pattern was to piece a simple face, that left the eyes. My first attempt used the same piecing as the original block, just one less:

Surprised alien

I had a good chuckle, but the effect wasn’t quite what I wanted so I made a woeful alien:

Woeful alien

Again, close but no cigar. The contrast for both attempts wasn’t quite strong enough. So, here is plan C:

Evil alien

I have three blocks of each of the three faces, and – yes – I intend to finish the quilt. And display it. Maybe in a show near you. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Oh, and let the UFO jokes begin.