Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tea and Daffodils--As Promised

The Vermont Quilt Festival is over, and I've returned home. This was my
first time to teach there. Burlington VT is really beautiful. The quilters up in New England are very lucky to have such a great show and conference in the area. I was fortunate to teach in a Janome sponsored classroom, and the first time that their brand new Horizon machine was used in a classroom! Now I'm home, rested and ready to get back to my studio.

At last here is my new little daffodil quilt, shown in stages of its development!

April and May were wonderful months for daffodils and narcisis in my yard. I picked large bouquets of them for my dining table and living room. After a long winter the color and fresh scent makes me feel so good. One day while I was having tea, the idea for this quilt struck me, so I got started as soon as I could.

Above is the background. The angle on the right side is to give the impression that there is a table top. Next it is time to make a vase full of flowers. I took a closeup photo of an arrangement on the table and that's what I used to create the flowers. Working a little each day on the flowers, it took me 4 or 5 days to get all the flower heads fused together. The stems are great. I used bright green cotton, and shaded them with Inktense Pencils.

The vase was a sheer iridescent piece of Polyester fabric. It created a great glass vase. Just what I needed.

I knew that a tea cup was going to be sitting on the table but what else should I have?  There should be 3 things included in my composition. So I talked about it with a friend at coffee the next morning. We came up with the idea of using several cookies. The idea worked for me.

Here are the cookie shapes cut out of paper for a pattern

Next comes the cup and saucer. I love the contrast with the yellow flowers and the blue background. Now the cookies don't seem to work, so I put a napkin under them, to make them more visible.

A week has gone by and something is wrong, and I'm not happy with the composition.  Finally the solution for the problem comes to me. The cup and saucer are larger than the cookies. So I pulled them to the front, and put the cookies toward the back. At last it works. Now everything is fused together and time to do the embroidery.

I added a fallen yellow petal laying at the base of the vase.

I'll show you the finished photos next time.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

My First Commission--Some Ann Fahl History

Today I thought I'd share my very first quilt commission with you.I made it for my aunt when she redecorated her living room in soft green with red accents. In the early 1980's, I was fascinated with stained glass applique. I found a pattern in a magazine, I'm sorry I don't know which one. I made the four blocks, hand quilted them and mounted them on wood stretcher strips. I don't know what the reason for the stretcher strips was, perhaps so it looked more like a large painting. The fabrics include muslin, commercial prints, taffeta and silk-look fabrics. Mounted it is 31 x 32 inches.

At the time, I think my aunt paid me $70 for my work. I was thrilled.

Several summers ago, she redecorated again, and asked me if I wanted it back! I didn't even remember it, because it had been so long ago. So now it hangs in my studio, to remind me of my humble beginnings. Actually, I like the simplicity of the piece. The only thing I'd do differently now, is to quilt it much more heavily and bind it.

So here it is for all the world to see. I have never shown it to anyone before, as it was made before I took slides or photos of my work. Now that I again own it, I can show it to you.

The quilting is finished on my new daffodol quilt. It has been lots of fun at each step of the creation, to see my idea come to life. I allowed myself several breaks from the quilting, and sat out on my deck, hoping to see my little hummingbirds come to the feeder. I was treated to four visits. The colorful male came 3 times and the female just once. They are checking me out by first sitting in a tree about 10 feet from the feeder. I must think of some names for these beautiful little creatures. How about Gertrude and Heathcliff of Red Skelton fame?


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Windmill Flowers

The weather has been hot humid and there has been lots of rain. My garden and the weeds are so very high. I've spent hours weeding.

I finished another little quilt from my hotel series. This one is called Windmill Flowers.  I actually started this tiny piece in my last workshop at Empty Spools, Asilomar Conference Center in CA. I brought my bag of Wonder Undered scraps to class and asked everyone to start a little piece, it had to be smaller than a sheet of notebook paper. Mine finished up being 10.25 x 7.25 inches. They could use my scraps and add some of their own. It's fun to dig through old scraps, or someone else's stuff and come up with something. You never know what will develop! It's fun!

Beading is one of my favorite hand sewing activities in the evening. I didn't want to overload this machine embroidered piece with beads so I confined myself to just the flowers. Adding the seed beads to the outside edges of the flowers adds a different effect to the outline of the petals, I'm pleased it. You can see it in Ann's Small Quilt Gallery

Right now, I am hard at work on a new quilt. In an earlier post, I showed you a picture of a bouquet of daffodils and narcissis. My house was filled with such arrangements. This photo served as a starting point for my new quilt called Tea and Daffodils. I'm not going to say anything more, I'll post in-process photos as soon as the quilting is done. Traveling and writing seems to consume so much of my time; when I allow myself the freedom to design and fabricate a new quilt, I am on cloud 9.

News tip: go to Diane Gaudynski's blog. Her cat Oliver recently posted a review of my new book!  The title is "book is cat approved."

Have a great day------Ann

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Of Ferns and Quilts

I got a new printer last week, and I've had a devil of a time, getting everything to work together. It took almost 2 days of calls to the tech support phone lines of HP and Toshiba before the difficulties were solved. Most of you know how absolutely frustrating it can be to spend so much time, trying to get your systems to work together. Right now, everything is working well, so I am both relieved and relaxed!

Finally, I've had some time to work on a little quilt. This is another in my hotel series, using little scraps, hand painted background, and a few beads in the red strips. I hand beaded the little red pieces, machine embroidered and quilted the rest. The name of the quilt is Beads, Ferns and Spirals.  You can read more about it on my website

Here is a detail shot showing the embroidery, beadingand quilting. I had fun making this little quilt.

All the ferns in my shady garden have all opened up and look kind of lush.  We've had some really hot weather here, and lots of rain. All my late spring plants are fully opened and blooming.

My little quilt is just a piece of my outdoor garden.