Saturday, February 26, 2011

From ISBN to a Cat Book

One of the early hurdles in publishing this book, was obtaining an ISBN number and barcode, I've come a long way since then. On Thursday, it finally happened. I took the electronic file for the book to the printer.  In a few days I'll be able to see a proof copy of A Black and White Tale. This is really going to become a reality. 

The cover of Ann and Jacquie's 2011  book

While I was waiting at the printer's office I little book fell out of one of my file folders. I had forgotten, that I made this little book for a small group of friends for Christmas 2005. I wrote a little prose to go along with each of 10 quilts or photos of Oreo. I had the cover laminated and I hand stitched the pages and cover together with variegated pearl cotton.
Prototype of cat book from 2005, by Ann Fahl

It has been 5 years since I looked at this project; which was a first step toward my current book.  Sometime after this little project was created, Jacquie Scuitto agreed to write some poetry to go along with all of my cat quilts.  Eventually, there were a total of 22 cat quilts and Jacquie wrote additional verse for each new one that came along. Now there are a total of 34 quilts included in the story line. Quilt and cat lovers of all ages will enjoy it.

I must admit this has caused a sleepless night or two and has become another chapter in my adventure in the quilting world.

When I finished my first sampler quilt in 1978, I never dreamed that I would ever become a publisher!  Quilting gives all of us so many options and paths. I am so fortunate to be a part of the quilting community. This is sew exciting. ;-}

Ann Fahl

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Looking Ahead to Spring

Closeup of Purple Iris a quilt by Ann Fahl
This month we've had a blizzard with 24.5 inches of snow and now an ice storm.  We've had enough winter to last for the rest of the year now.  So I've decided to show you a new quilt to take our minds off the terrible mid-western weather.

As a child I always liked the little fuzzy parts of the iris.  We lived in a huge old house in New Jersey, and there was a bed of iris around a patio in the back yard. The iris is such a complex flower; with petals growing upward and some gracefully flowing down; and then all the interesting stuff in the middle.  So on the above iris, I embroidered the little sepals in a small circular pattern to make the contrast color stand out from the rich purple petals.
Full view of Purple Iris by Ann Fahl
 I love how the quilt turned out.  The quilting is fanciful and heavy covering the background.  I used three or four different variegated threads that were light blue or lime green in hue. It is such a pleasant contrast to the vertical lines of the flowers and leaves. 

My original plans were to make a pattern for this quilt. But right now my energy is focused on getting the book about my cat quilts finished and ready for quilters to read. You can read a little more about the quilt on my website.  Stay warm.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February 15 the day after Valentine's Day

I hope you'll allow me a few moments to reminisce. Yesterday, Valentine's Day, was always special to me as a young girl. I've mentioned this before; making Valentine's, giving candy, decorating paper doilies, and hoping to someday finding my prince charming were all part of that day. What could be more important than this?
USS Maine  Havana Harbor 1898
It is no longer Valentines!  February 15th was always a special day for my father a former navy man. As a naive young girl I was appalled because he always wore this little metal pin that he found in an antique store. It was red, white and blue and had a very old ship pictured in the center. It said "Remember the Maine" in big letters. This was the day that the Maine sank in Havana Harbor in 1898, a huge naval disaster. It may have been an event that precipitated the Spanish-American war.

The mast may still be at Arlington Cemetery.  When my sisters and I were kids we climbed on it.  I wonder if it is still there?

For years now, every Feb 15. I think of my dad. On this day, so long ago, the world changed its view of American Naval power, and America gained more respect. Today will always be "Remember the Maine Day." It always started the same way;  Daddy always came down to breakfast wearing his pin. We would roll our eyes, knowing that we'd get his little talk about the Maine. And of course we did.

Now you know what is special about this day. I like to ask everyone I see, "Do you know what happened on this day in 1898?"  And of course I tell them the story.

Thanks for listening. I promise to get back to blogging about quilts tomorrow...........


Friday, February 11, 2011

My Official Valentine's Day Blog!

Since I was a little girl, Valentine's Day has always been special to me. Maybe it was a little girl's dream, prince charming, fairy tales and all that stuff. Or perhaps it was because I have always loved candy, especially chocolate.   I always looked forward to decorating pieces of red construction paper with lots of paper cutting, glue, paper doilies, crayons and scotch tape. I could spend hours and days making decorations for the house! Then I made little bags of candy to give to my special friends. It was all part of the my personal tradition.

The sad part of all this is my husband and two grown sons have ZERO interest in this special day. In the past, this crushed me, I gave up on them, and then decided to continue to celebrate the day in my own way. So...............instead of sending Christmas cards I began sending Valentine's. Think about it, how many Valentine's do you get these days?  Not many huh? Everyone seems to appreciate them. As soon as Christmas is over, I begin my Valentine plans.

Hearts and Trillium,    quilt by Ann Fahl
This is a slow process.  Making cards is faster with a computer and printer, but before I begin that part of the process I make a special small quilt to place on the front of the card.  My Hearts and Trillium is 17 x 17 inches, so it was completed relatively fast.  It's quilted with little hearts all over the surface to carry out the Valentine theme.
Valentine and Ginkgoes  quilt by Ann Fahl
This is last year's quilt.  I love the green quilting on the mottled black background. For me it is the highlight of the quilt.
Beaded Valentine  by Ann Fahl

The year before was Beaded Valentine. This one took lots of time because of the hand beading. Those of you with a copy of my  book, Dancing with Thread, will recognize this from the segment on quilting embellished quilts. I love the beaded border around the heart.

Now you've seen 3 years of quilts from my personal Valentine tradition. I wish you many quilts to warm you with colors, pattern and stitching. And no Valentine would be complete without those little heart candies, and a big chocolate heart with caramel in the middle. Of course I will wear my red socks with white hearts and a little black cat on the top.

Have a great day.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Big Blizzard, Quilts and Cat

The snow began falling yesterday morning. By late afternoon the wind whipped up and started to get scary. All night, snow was swirling around the house in every direction. The wind howled and whistled around the house, it was really creepy and difficult to sleep.  It has been a long time since we've had a storm like this in the SE corner of Wisconsin.

The deck on the back of the house, storm of 2011
Today I woke up to 23 inches of snow!  I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the snow. The drifting was amazing, one wouldn't know that there was a street out in front of the house, if you didn't already know it was there. There was a 3 or 4 foot drift across the middle of our driveway. The deck in back had huge mounds of snow on it. What a difference weather has made to this setting.

This is the same setting for one of my recent quilts, pictured in the month of July.
Summer Sanctuary a quilt by Ann Fahl 
I just love this quilt. Summer Sanctuary was inspired by another photo of the same setting, except there wasn't any snow! On this day it was so hot and humid, it was horribly uncomfortable. But that day the geraniums were blooming, huge and colorful on the bench in front of the chair.  My Coleus were beautiful and spilling over the pots. Making this quilt brought me to a new place in machine applique, and has changed the direction of my work. How could this even be the same place?

We were literally snowed in yesterday and today until 4:30 this afternoon; when a snow plow finally came up the street. Actually 2 very large double plowed trucks came and cleared the road. My husband and I found lots to do even though housebound.

I tackled the Library of Congress copyright application system. My new book is just about ready for the printer. So now A Black and White Tale has been submitted for an official LOC copyright. I took quite a bit of doing, filling out the form, and getting the pdf of the finished book in its completed form, and uploading the large file successfully, directly to LOC in Washington DC. Now I have an ISBN number and will soon have a copyright number; how exciting is this? Progress seems so slow, on the book. Each step brings us closer to publication.

What was Oreo the cat doing during all this excitement?
Oreo, relaxing in the family room during the blizzard of 2011

There was lots of snow blowing, shoveling and copyrighting today. It was an invigorating day for me. The cat's day however was much more relaxing.