Sunday, May 23, 2010

It's a Beautiful Day!

I haven't been quilting much since I returned from my teaching trip to Kansas. The last 2 days have been gorgeous in Wisconsin so I have spent some time at our local garden centers.

The young gal at the garden center said these beautiful red Verbena baskets would do well in strong sunlight, so I bought 2 to hang on our deck.

For the last month, I've also had a hummingbird feeder on a hook. I have carefully hung a red ribbon near it, to attract any new-comers to the yard. But yet I have not seen any evidence that anything had been feeding from it. My friend Linda mentioned that a few days ago the hummingbirds finally came to her lilac bushes. Of course I was jealous! As I was hanging up one of my new Verbena baskets last night, something large and dark buzzed past my head. I'm so glad I didn't swat at it, it was a hummingbird.  At last they've found my house too.

Today it was really hot outside, so I couldn't wait another day to fill up the pots for the front and back of my house. They don't look like much yet, but soon they will look beautiful. I used a vine that is a succulent, a red geranium, purple wave petunia, and a little white lacy filler plant for texture.  As summer progresses, I'll try and remember to show you a more mature picture.

I would like to also ask a favor of you, my readers. If you have had a chance to read my new book, Dancing with Thread, would you please write a review for and any other bookseller that you use online?  Thank you very much.


Friday, May 7, 2010

New Quilt part II

Over the last 10 years or so, I’ve never gotten into the goddess thing. But in my personal study of Egyptology, I have found my personal goddess; she is Maat. Rarely seen as a human in Egyptian artwork, she is usually depicted as a feather. You will see a feather at the top of this Sycamore Fig tree, she represents balance. As an artist, wife and mother, it is always a challenge to maintain a balance between the elements of my life. If you are a quilter, I'm sure you understand the concept of balance.

The water lilies or lotus are merely an extension of much of my early work. Here in this quilt they are water lilies with an ancient twist. They are partly embroidered, and partly quilted. The little fish are swimming in the pond, may eventually become someone’s dinner. They are simply cut from commercial fabric, the clamshell quilting makes them come alive.

Some of these were left from an earlier quilt, Egyptian Garden I.  I practiced the embroidery on a smaller beaded piece called Lotus Garden. It can be found in my Small Quilt Gallery. I love all the seed beads, and my quilting dances around all the shapes.   You can find a large image and a detail shot of this quilt at   

So finally, here is the actual quilt, EGYPTIAN WATER GARDEN II; which is related to so many other of my quilts!

Here is a close up of some of the quilting near the trunk of the tree. I’ve created more branches of leaves in the quilting motif.

The quilting of this piece was very creative and energizing for me. I tested almost every idea for quilting motifs on a smaller sample, before I actually quilted on this large piece. This pretesting was key to the success of the final work. When I was sure it was right, then I jumped right into the real thing, and had a great time filling the areas with the appropriate idea. I call it “dancing on my quilt” just like the title of my book.

A little too late, I found one of the original sketches I used for the quilt. This is a xerox copy of the sketch from the 1820's, in the book (titled Treasures of Egypt and Nubia by Ippolito Rosellini), where I colored in the background with colored pencil. You can compare the results.

Thanks for reading.
Ann Fahl

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New Quilt part 1

My newest quilt went for a little trip to Paducah KY in April. I had high hopes for it, but no ribbon was ever pinned on it. That is a little bit disappointing for a quilt that I thought was so wonderful, full of color and nature. I put my “all” into it.

 The quilt was inspired by a line drawing made in the 1800’s from a tomb painting in ancient Egypt. I couldn’t get the sketch out of my mind! I took the basic layout, and then placed the tree and pond on a patchwork setting. Designing the entire quilt was very exciting as it went together quite easily. I’ve never made anything this shape before, it is taller than I am, but because it is so narrow, it will fit on a small wall.

 I had great fun fabricating the parts. I love the way all the pieces worked together. The small water garden fits right below the fig tree. It took hours putting together the plants, ducks and geese.  When the trunk and the limbs of the tree went up, I could see the skeleton of a great quilt. Then I started cutting out the leaves. What was I thinking? There are hundreds of them. The little yellow figs made the green of the leaves sparkle.  It is going to take forever to embroider them.

The ducks/geese on the lower edge, took a great deal of time to fuse together.

The last one was finished before I realized that it was backwards! I couldn’t throw it out. I wound up on my quilt Pipe Dreams on the right side.  I love it when my quilts relate to one another, by having imagery that come from each other.

The earthen pots of red poppies are the crowning glory of the composition. I chose to use a
magnificent piece of orange and red hand dyed fabric by Dagmar Plenk of Milwaukee; the colors make the flowers sing.

These flowers were the last object to be quilted on the quilt. I had to do lots of experimenting to find the right idea to stitch.  I made a miniature quilt with similar flowers, and tried a different design on each one.  You can see this small quilt in my small quilt gallery.go to 

You can see the entire quilt-- later.