Sunday, January 29, 2012

Walk Through Ellen's Garden: a winter treat

The other day, a copy of Thread Magic Garden, by Ellen Anne Eddy arrived.  What a beautiful book.
Water Lily Sunset, quilt by Ellen Anne Eddy
When I opened the book and saw the title page and table of contents I was hooked.  Beyond these first pages the entire book is rich with color, detail and texture of her wonderful new work.  Ellen and I think the same way about our flowers and gardens:

"My garden intoxicates me.  The sights and smells, textures 
and sounds are my daily retreat.  Just as I slip into the garden, 
the garden slips into my quilts."
What a lovely thought, I wish we were closer to spring. 

Ellen's work has changed some since her first book, Thread Magic. At least for this new book, her focus is on her garden and the creatures that live there.  Her new quilts are small jewels, each one better than the next.
Snail's Pace, quilt by Ellen Anne Eddy

She is still blending sheer fabrics with her dramatic hand dyed fabrics; and has added commercial lace, trims and loose fibers.  She explains in rich detail how she accomplishes each look.  Ellen includes:
  • tips
  • dos-and-don'ts
  • types of stitches
  • color theory
  • blending threads and colors
  • composition
  • creating a visual path
  • shading
  • angled stitching
  • and the list goes on. 
Her approach is very thorough and understandable for anyone wanting to try her free-motion techniques.

Whether you are interested in thread work or not, this book is a visual delight. CandT's book designer did a great job of including large detail shots throughout the book. It makes me drool!

Book details:  full color, 111 pages, 8.5 x 11 inches, $28.95, available as an eBook from CandT Publishers.  The book is now available in quilt shops, from CandT, and from Ellen's website.

Cover of Ellen's new book

Support your local quilt artist.  Ask your local quilt shop to carry the book.  It will soon become a "must have" for everyone interested in thread work.

Ann Fahl, an envious thread artist!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Free-Motion Quilt Challenge

Ann Fahl, machine quilting her Coneflower Fiesta quilt! Join her in March for the FM Quilting Challenge.

A 12 month free-motion quilt challenge that has just begun.  There is a black and white icon at the very bottom of this blog, when you click on it, you will find an explanation and a place to sign up for this no-fee class.

I will be providing the tutorial for the month of March!  And, I will  follow the famous Diane Gaudynski who will be featured in February.  If you have always wanted to improve your machine quilting, this is your chance.
  • 12 months
  • 12 instructors

Check it out.

Ann Fahl

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Oreo is Moving! La Conner to Anderson!

It is time to announce that Oreo's next exhibit will open soon:

January 29-March 25 2012
Opening reception Jan 29, 1:30-4:00
Open Tuesday through Sunday from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
-- and they have an interesting gift shop too. 

Anderson Arts Center

121 Sixty-Sixth Street
Kenosha, WI 53143

The public is invited.  Donations accepted.

Valentine for You, a quilt for Valentine's Day by Ann Fahl
There will be two exhibits showing:
A Black and White Tale, all of the quilts in the book will be on exhibit.  
Ann will be signing books at the opening
Quilts in Color: The artists are Rhonda Rodero, Melody Johnson, 
Marcia Stein, Barbara J. Schneider, Gloria Hansen

The Anderson Mansion.  Galleries on two floors in a beautiful setting.
I haven't seen the complete exhibit on both floors yet, it is still being set up!  But what I have seen is amazing!  You will love the variety of subjects, use of color, and expertise that all the artists bring to this beautiful art center.  If you live anywhere in the midwest, please  put this on your calendar.

There will be more about this diverse exhibit in the future.

Ann Fahl

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

On the Front Porch--My Journal of Terror

January 9, 2012

To think, this morning I didn't have any idea of what to blog about! Things have changed.
Fall Fun
The drama begins............

My complete show from the La Conner Museum, was to arrive this morning, in 8 boxes.  I waited all day, and no quilts.  So at 5:30 pm, I tracked one of them and found that they were left on a front porch at house with the same number, but on the wrong street.  Terror almost stopped my heart. I tracked the remaining 7 boxes, and they were all delivered to the same incorrect address.
Hairy Homage
 I called UPS, and they found that they did indeed deliver them to the wrong address. By this time my voice was shaky.  Candace  was very calm and said she would work on this right away, and someone would call me back within the hour. In the meantime, I got in my car, drove several blocks away, and looked at everyone's front porches, but  it's 8 hours later, and it is dark outside. I talked to several people that were walking dogs and one lady that gets lots of deliveries, but no one knew anything about my 8 boxes.
In the Black Eyed Susans
 All I can think is that my body of work is sitting on somebody's front porch.  Would it be stolen?  Where was it? Thank goodness it didn't rain or snow.

As I pulled into my driveway from my personal search, my husband was standing at the front door talking on the phone.  This time it was Glen at my local UPS delivery hub.  He told me they had already picked up the packages, and would be delivered the next day. I didn't really believe him, as I had found there was no such address over on the incorrect street.
Coneflower Fiesta, my featured quilt at the exhibit
Glen called back a few minutes later and said my shipment had arrived and had already been loaded onto the truck that would deliver the boxes tomorrow, hopefully to my address. He had spoken with the driver that had picked up and returned the boxes to their depot.  So, all I can do now, is relax and hope for the best. Did I say "rest?"  
End of the Day
 It's going to be a long night until the quilts arrive.  Keep your fingers crossed.

January 20, 2012

I didn't sleep too badly last night.  I've tracked my packages, some say they've been delivered, some say they are back on a truck for delivery, so I trust what Glen said last night, that the packages will be redelivered. I've planned my activities for the morning, so that I will be able to hear the doorbell ring when that wonderful UPS man arrives!

I'm cutting several hanging rods for my show that opens at the Anderson Art Center on Jan 29.  As I drill the last hole in the end of the last rod I hear the door bell ring.

The drama concludes.........

It's 8:36 am the UPS man has delivered the 8 long boxes.  I am so relieved.  I have learned several things from this "opportunity for learning."  I will share those with you next time.

Ann Fahl


Friday, January 6, 2012

What's in the Bag?

This is the bag that stores the miles of bias binding that I have left over from quilt making! I keep a special collection of stripes and plaid fabrics that I like to use for bias. I think bias makes the best and longest lasting binding. (I feel so strongly about this that I wrote a booklet about it.)  There is a strip of almost everything I have in this binding bag, so when I'm auditioning binding fabrics, this bag always gets pulled out.

Last week, in an earlier blog I asked you to vote for how you thought I should bind or face the outer edges of my collage. I initially wanted to face the edges, but something inside of me kept telling me to bind the edges instead. So here is the finished quilt. It is just funky and fun.
Scraps of a Different Color, (c) 2012 by Ann Fahl 32 x 21 inches
I chose to bind it with two of the darker fabrics.  This gives only a slight contrast to the outer edges. I used the blue/green stripe on the left side and the charcoal/red print on the right.

Now that the quilt is complete, I've attached the hanging strips on both the top and lower edge of the quilt back.  The label is attached, which identifies the quilt and me as the maker, and will shortly be uploaded on my website. Also it gets its own listing in my quilt inventory notebook. The digital photography has been taken and stored. My initials always go near the lower right corner. On this quilt it is located near the white spade-like shape.  So it is truly finished. Nothing more needs to be done to document the fact that I made this quilt.
The actual ginkgo leaf I used for the pattern was given to me by my neighbor. She had just been to the library on Lake Michigan and found the leaf.  I immediately cut one out of fabric but never used it.  So this leaf has been pinned up on my design wall for years.  It is good for it to have a real home. I quilted it with a wonderful variegated Superior gold thread.  The purple cup in the corner is from Ginkgoes Galore.
The fish is something I cut out years ago, I think they may have been part of the fish left over that could have been included in Fish Tales! Fish Tales is included in A Black and White Tale.  The coneflower lying on it's side is from the quilt Sewn Together. The little ginkgo leaf is something of which that I've used hundreds.
The pink coneflower is from a large quilt that I am currently embroidering. The cup is from Ginkgoes Galore. The large green hand painted and beaded leaf is from one of my all-time favorites Summer Sanctuary.  I painted hundreds of these coleus leaves and only had 2 or 3 remaining.

As usual, even though I've made a good attempt at using my little fusible scrap shapes, I still have many. It's difficult to close the drawer that holds them.  There will inevitably be more in the future.  It's a challenge to see how I can put them all together.

So here it is for you to enjoy, part of my quilting life in scraps!

Ann Fahl

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year's Resolutions for Quilters

The big question this time of year, is "What are your New Year's resolutions?"  When reading what one quilter said, it was something to the effect that she was going to finish all her unfinished projects. All I can say is:

Stop that kind of thinking right now!

In my first 10 years of being a quilter, I struggled to finish all those little blocks and projects that were learning exercises.  I spent hours finishing a hand stitched stained glass block!  And for what?  Just so I could say it was finished?  I was wasting my time, I could have been doing something else.

If you've been an artist or a quilter for quite a while, and a project isn't working, put it away. A very famous quilter once told me something that helps me when this occurs.  Caryl Bryer Fallert told me that "Not all projects were meant to be finished."  And with that little phrase she was so right.  Sometimes we need to try something, and if we don't like that technique, or it didn't turn out the way we had hoped, put it in an unmarked brown bag and drop it off at Goodwill.  Or put it in a white elephant exchange at your quilt guild.  You have still learned something from that project, even if it is just, "I"ll never do that again." Get it out of your life, and move on to something that makes you feel good. Or at the very least, cut it up, and sew it together in a different way.

Some projects are worth the struggle to completion. Workshop samples are not. Waaaay back at a time when I was making windows of my quilts, I made a yellow pieced background and scattered metallic scraps like confetti thrown up into the air.  The blocks were set in a cream and yellow decorator print that was very pricy, I hated to even cut into the fabric.  The finished top was such a disappointment to me, I brought it to my critique group, they agreed that it needed something, there was quite a discussion about trying this and that.  In the end, it was the above mentioned Caryl who looked at me and said, "You need to cut it up and set it together in a different way."  At the moment, the thought was too horrible to consider, but on my 1.5 hour drive home, I realized she was right.  My plan was formulated by the time I got to my front door; I would set the blocks in black. And wow.  It is a great quilt!  
Confetti Celebration, the finished quilt, (c) 1991
You will have to make your own resolutions, maybe they should be to work on projects that are important to you or to make the best use of your limited time.

In 1976 in America, we experienced a resurgence in the art of quilt making.  People were cleaning out their attics and finding old quilt tops everywhere. All I can say is, if you have your grandmother's flower garden quilt top neatly folded, in a box lined with tissue paper; there was a reason grandma didn't finish it.  She had already learned this lesson.

Throw some confetti up into the air, and don't vacuum it up!

Happy Quilting New Year,

Ann Fahl