Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fallen Bias Queen Returns!

Just a quick update. 24 hours later, the quilt is again hanging in my living room, and it looks wonderful. My fix was exactly what was needed. Phew!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Queen of Bias Binding Loses Crown!

Yes, sad but true. After thinking I was the queen of bias, my crown has slipped.  My quilt, Egyptian Garden I was hanging in my living room. Every time I looked at it, the lower left edge sagged and buckled more. This quilt is going to a show in a month or so. Having to redo the binding is not my favorite thing to do.  What could I have done wrong?  I wrote the booklet on binding, could I have messed up?
Egyptian Garden I  by Ann Fahl

Yes I certainly did. I marked where the quilt was cupping toward the wall.  I took off the binding on that side of the quilt and the lower corner.  Thinking it was perhaps the quilting, I removed the quilting around the palm tree (this took two evenings.)  I steamed the heck out of the area, using no pressure on the fabric and re-quilted it.

I hung it back on the wall, with the binding hanging down on the lower edge of the quilt. It looked like it was going to hang straight, but my husband said, the side wasn't straight, it curved out in the center. I laid it out on my cutting table and sure enough; it curved out 3/8th of an inch in the lower middle.

Edge of Egyptian Garden I trimmed so it is straight.

So I whacked it off, reattached the binding, and hopefully it will hang straight this time.  The moral of this story is no matter how good a quilter you think you are; you can still mess up!  Certainly I did. My crown has dropped to the floor and rolled across the room hitting the cat on the way!

While working on this project , I figured out how to stop this from happening again:

  1. Be careful when pinning out the completed quilt to the dressmaker's cutting board before blocking with steam. Perhaps I pulled the edge out too taut. Over time, parts of the quilt relaxed more than others.
  2. Measure the sides and check the straightness twice before trimming and binding.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A New Tip for Printed Treasures

Today I printed a quilt label on my computer. This is always the last thing I do when making a quilt. I like to use Printed Treasures, a Dritz product with paper on one side and treated fabric for computer printing on the other. I have used this product as long as it has been on the market. Ocassionally it is difficult to remove the paper. Today, it was impossible!  I carefully pulled the paper off and  it came off in layers only removing a portion.

While watching Oprah today, I picked and peeled and picked some more, I spent over 30 minutes peeling little strips off the back. Then I realized that this was going to take hours. Because I had nothing to lose, I put an iron, set on high steam on the paper side, I brushed it with my hand, and it came off with little effort!

Eureka, I've found the solution to difficult paper removal!  After the ink is dry, peel off the paper as carefully as you can.  If it strips off in layers, leaving a mess, use the steam iron and while it is still hot, immediately brush off the remaining paper with your fingers. This will only take a minute. Then the label can be pressed and trimmed to size.

I've always found Printed Treasures to be a convenient product to use, so I was relieved when I found a simple solution.  So, tuck this away into your personal bag of quilting tricks.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Big Project! part 2

Hairy Homage, by Ann Fahl  a quilt of scraps from many of her cat quilts!
Sally, my book designer, and I have spent lots of time together this week, trying to clear up the last of the details on the book's pages.  We are so close to being done.This is probably what I said in my last post, but it is almost time to send the pages to the printer!

Sally is quite clever and knows how to move details around on each page, everything needs to be lined up so each one looks just right. She has come up with a way to put paw prints on some of the pages, to echo the feline theme. Just how many will be in the final book has yet to be decided.

I've registered my book with the Library of Congress. It is amazing to think that some of my work will actually reside in Washington DC!  What an honor. Soon I'll have an official copyright number from the LC in addition to my ISBN number.   Isn't this exciting stuff? (Making quilts is so much more fun.)

There are so many things to balance; artistic things, editing the quilt descriptions, and just plain office work.  It's hard to take your life's work and boil it down to just 48 pages. I hope you will all like the book when it is done.

More to come.............................

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Milwaukee Quilt Exhibit

Quilts:  Story Material
This show runs from January 8-February 19, 2011.  The work of 4 artists is hanging in a gallery space at St. John's Communities, 1840 N. Prospect Ave. Milwaukee WI.  Mon-Sat 10am to 5 pm.
Quilt by Casey Puetz
Juleen Jaeger is a traditional quilter, Chris Lynn Kirsch, Judy Zoelzer Levine and Casey Puetz are the art quilters represented.  All are working in Wisconsin.
Sorry no title, this bold red quilt is by Chris Lynn Kirsh

Each of the artists had a number of pieces on display, so the viewers got to see a good cross section of their work.

One of the body series by Judy Zoelzer Levine   

My apologies for the photography. The lights were bright and the space was crowded on the Sunday opening. It was an interesting show.


Monday, January 17, 2011

My Big Project

Whiskers  by Ann Fahl, this is Oreo's official portrait quilt
Many of you have seen the quilts of my cat Oreo.  After publishing my first book, Coloring with Thread, I began working on a book including all my feline quilts.  Jacquie Scuitto wrote delightful verse to accompany the quilts. For years now, I've worked to find a publisher for my small volume. Time is marching, and I've decided to publish the book myself. My friend Sally is designing the pages for me and the pieces are coming together to form a colorful book.

This book will be for quilters, cat lovers, and people that would like to share quilts with their favorite children. In short, almost everyone will enjoy looking at the color photography and reading the accompanying poetry. If they want to know more about the quilts, there are short descriptions of each in the back.

Since I'm a quilter, not a publisher there have been some big challenges along the way; learning how books are bound, paper types, and purchasing my first ISBN number.  This number has consumed much of my time. After asking everyone about these things I've finally sifted through all the information on the web, and have one assigned to this upcoming book. This sounds like a small matter, but it was a huge challenge for me.

Yesterday I got so frustrated, I left my studio and went to have lunch at my favorite Hardee's. It was the change of scenery that I needed, and when I finished talking to my friend Carole, I drove home and purchased that ISBN number that has caused me so much anxiety!

For today, an isbn nimber is my big news.  I've been taking this book one step at a time, and this was one giant step for me. My next challenge is .............


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wow It's Electric

Ann's quilt:  Wow It's Electric
I've finished a small quilt.  And it is electric. Because I like handwork, I always have a small piece that I can hand bead in the evening.  The binding was sewn on the other day, and now it's finished and up on my website.  You can read more about it here.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Success--Back to the Troubling Quilt part 5

At last it is done.  Before Christmas I rolled up this quilt and put it away.  I was out of ideas about how to change some of the problem areas.

I added the large flower at the bottom, and felt better about that.  Then it was quilted and blocked.  When I hung it on my design wall, I knew I was still "stuck" at the point of needing something in the center portion of the quilt in the water.
Tragedy on Esplanade by Ann Fahl
After the holidays, I unrolled the quilt and took a long look at it.  I added ducks. In a light bulb moment I realized that it was possible that ducks might be out there quacking in the water after the accident.  I moved them around in many configurations. I settled on spreading them out across the lake.
Now I could work on shading of the foreground. After all, this happened at midnight, and my colors look like daytime.  So I got out my colored pencils and shaded the ducks which were too bright.  Then I darkened the applique stitching at the top of the grass, near the hammock.  Then I shaded the upper grass and below the hammock. Voila! I am happy and satisfied with the finished product.

I am done.  All my design problems are resolved. The quilt has been bound, photographed, and the label attached to the back. The memorial to this terrible tragedy is complete.

For more images of this quilt you may go to my website.

Now, where will I exhibit this memorial? Do any of you have any suggestions? Do you live in Winona Lake, Warsaw or Wabash IN? These are the communities that might have an interest in exhibiting my quilt.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Ode to My Purple Vase

I've just finished sewing the binding on a new little quilt.  As soon as I finish the tragedy quilt, I will post it with my final comments!

So here is the picture of my new little piece, My Purple Vase.
My Purple Vase    by Ann Fahl

And here is the poem I've written about it:

Oh, you are such a wonderful purple
But my new vase looks like a urinal.
Your glass is both rippled and clear
With a price of five dollars you’re hardly premier.

Add a flower, you totally transform
Into an object whose color both cool and warm.
With embroidered flowers and curly green leaves
You are a sight that’s so sure to please!

The big pink flowers and fabrics scrappy
You are a sight that makes me ever so happy.
With thread covered flowers and leaves at your base
You have now read my Ode to this little vase!

You can see larger images on my website.

Did I make you smile?

Ann Fahl