Saturday, December 3, 2011


Lately I have been feeling nostalgic for my early quilting days. In the 1980's we had solid cottons and calicos and my first quilts were Log Cabin, Ohio Star and Double Irish Chain. Nowadays quilt shops are filled with batiks, novelty prints and all manner of geometrics and designs have expanded in complexity and refinement - all of which I love. The changing landscape is the reason quiltmaking has held my attention all these years.

But I have been looking back and find myself longing for the simplicity of those early efforts. I ran across this piece of black and white homespun - a piece from my mother's stash - and I was transported. I hand-quilted two rows with buttonhole thread and beefy stitches and topstitched the outside border by hand with a sewing-weight thread. The tiny, white buttons are from some long-forgotten project. I purchased the knitted roses at Britex a week ago thinking I would sew them on a sweater, but find they work perfectly here.

This piece reminds me of the basement at J.C. Penny's in Sunnyvale in the 1960s. My mother and I shopped in the fabric department that, at the time, inlcuded sewing pattterns, notions, yarn and fabric as well as sewing machines. The fabric and buttons connect me to my sewing roots and the roses reflect the present and my latest obsession with all things ruffled and flowered.

I enjoyed participating in this final challenge.

Susan H. in San Francisco

Friday, December 2, 2011


What means home to me? A person, family, a room, a house, feelings, a scent, memories, a scenery or an area?
Well, for me it is a combination of a person, a house, an area and a scenery.
At home with my husband, looking out of the kitchen window to the colorful and changing scenery of a sunset. The roofs of the houses and the clocktower of our church dark in the opposite light.
I see with my inner eyes the land, which lays between the sunset and our home - villages and a few towns - roads and railroad tracks - forests and rich farmland, on which vegetables, salads and corn grows - small ways for bycicles and hikers - three lakes with fish and other animals and shores for swimming and camping.

I worked with fototransfer (a map of our area and 3 pictures), watercolor, felting and quilting.

This is our last challenge. These two years helped me to stay tuned, work with a theme and finish in a certain time. Thank you to all!


Saturday, October 1, 2011

All Squared Away by Jan Girod

When the word "Square" was announced on August 1st I thought of a "town square" or a "game board", but these just didn't excite me enough to provide the motivation to create a piece of work, so......! Procrastination seems to be what has happened with the last several words and this one was no different, at the last minute Tuesday, September 27th this came about.

For the last several years I have been working on water soluble fabrics, allowing me to create small machine embroideries, dimensional work such as the leaves in "Kudzu" or needle felted backgrounds for embroidery. The small trees were done in such a manner, then framed within this small quilted frame. The little quilt was machine quilted in a simple square grid pattern.


The start of this challenge was August 1st, our Nationalday.
Our national flag is a red square with a white cross. So I decided red to be my color.

Square came to my mind, when I was thinking of quilt patterns. Many of them are based on squares. I like traditional quilts as much as I like designing my own ideas.

I machine stitched with white thread squares on a red background. Then I cut 4 different red fabrics into smaller squares, mixed them and machine stitched the piles in the middle of these squares.
With threads, beads and buttons, I embellished this quilt.

Square - Heidi Stucki


Monday, August 1, 2011

Yes, In Any Language by Jan Girod

This is not the quilt that I set out to make. How many times has that happened to you? The idea of using the word "Yes" in several languages was part of my thought process for this challenge from the beginning, but not the techniques used or the end result. Once again my daughter had to flat out tell me that I was hung up on the techniques, clearly they were not getting me where I wanted to go and that I needed to forget the plan. Well she was so very right. I actually had to grovel tonight. I thanked her for the "kick in the pants", that I actually love the way this piece turned out and that it is probably better than expected. Actually kissed her cheek in gratitude for her bluntness...which by the way she is very good at.

I am sorry that the colors in the photo's seem so different, I wanted to get these posted and did not wish to take time to set up my photography lighting. The top photo is the accurate photo, but in order for you to see the writing clearly I had to illuminate my design wall with my work lamp.

New Word for August and September 2011

a flat shape with four sides of equal length and four angles of 90°
any square-shaped object
an area of approximately square-shaped land in a city or a town, often including the buildings that surround it
a particular space on a board used for playing games
the number that is the result of multiplying one number by itself

or have a look at

Use what you want of the meanings and technique possibilities within the work.
I wish you happy and inspiring hours working on this.



And here it is:

The YES, which is as important as the NO.
Yes, I will go on - no, I do not give up.

The fabrics (old linen sheets) are hand-dyed or screen-printed and were waiting to be used - even the YES.
The yarn matches the blue fabric and puts forward the blue screenprint pattern.

Screenprint with water solubale waxcrayon


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sneak peek YES

Sneak Peek YES
A littli preview .....

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"Ain't No Spring Chicken" by Jan Girod, theme "Spring"

This is not what I orginally planned to create, but a nap with the dictionary and I awoke with a whole new plan. After recently cleaning, organizing and having our studio spaces photographed, our studios are currently appearing in the Summer 2011 Studio magazine by Cloth Paper Scissors, I found so many things long forgotten about. This chicken block was left over from a Mary Lou Weidman quilt I made eons ago. She provided just enough attitude to create a great looking "spring chicken".

Her curls were orginally the springs in 3 older ball point pens, they don't work anymore and hubbys' collection is a few less. A trip to the party store provided her legs and feet. Dismantling little notepads left me with the right length white springs for her legs and her feet were part of a hand clapping toy. She has made me smile and giggle ever since she was done.


So good, that spring in English also means a technical spring. As Karen, I have made my spring quilts and was glad to have this choice.

For our Swiss Quilters exhibition, I was working on a traditional Amish quilt - Jacobs ladder - with Amish fabrics from Intercourse. After this, I wanted to do something different.

I needle felted Organza to synthetik felt and embellished with beads and golden wire springs. Then I hand stitched the piece on thick black felt and a golden Organza.

Golden Springs


When the word was announced I had just completed a Spring Quilt with bugs and flowers and I couldn't go there again. So I decided to use a different meaning and thought of a spring bouncing around. I had purchased lightweight aluminum circles at a scrap book store a few years ago and they seemed like the perfect thing to use on this piece.
I have been doing a lot of fabric dyeing lately and I always throw some "Color Catcher" sheets into the washer when I am rinsing the fabric. They come out in beautiful colors and since I just can't throw them away, I have quite the collection. I decided to use them in this piece too. I collaged the color catchers and some textured paper onto black felt and sewed them all down. Then I hand appliqued the circles on top. Does it look like it is springy???

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Friday, May 6, 2011

spring peek

detail spring

Spring made me jump. I love the possibilities.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Bird - "Bird: Past Tense"

The minute I got the word "bird," this image flashed into my brain. It must be my warped sense of humor! I had fun drawing it and might do a little series on this guy. Anyone want to help name him?

Not much to this quilt; one of the simpler quilts I have done. The background, white and pink are all unknown fabrics from curtain samples. The quilting was fun, small spirals on the cat and the background quilting is something that I made up...I call it "lightning spiral." If someone else has done this, I don't remember seeing it!

The whiskers are handstitched wool embroidery yarn.

Sorry this was posted too late. Life has a habit of getting in the way. I can't wait to work on the next word, Spring. I already have an idea. Let's just hope I can get this one done before life turns the tables on me once again!

Lisa Kay

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Bird challenge

TRACES close view

Birds - they wake me in the morning, I see them fly by or sit on a roof or a tree. Or I see their traces. 
I have taken a picture at Lake Erie of bird's footsteps on the beach. That was my starting point for this challenge. 
I took monoprinted fabrics and made a collage. Normally, I love working with strong colors so it was an additional challenge to stay in black and white - more or less! 


Unfortunately, the colors don't show well.

Friday, April 1, 2011

"Blue Bird, Blue Bird" by Jan Girod-Bird

When the word for this challenge was announced I lept with joy as I have been using these birds in my work quite frequently....this would be so easy. At midnight last night as I stitched away I was thinking, oh what a fool you are, but it is done and I feel absolute relief. For several years now I keep finding myself using trees and birds in piece after piece....sketchbook too. I have attributed it to growing up in Minnesota, following behind my uncle who became a wildlife biologist. My friends never did get my affinity for snakes, oh well to each his own. I began with a unique piece of hand painted fabric I had been saving for a special project, it fit perfectly. The branches are drawn in freehand and colored using Derwent Inktense using them. Once everything had dried I transfered on the birds using TAP-Transfer Artist Paper. Leaves are a combination of painted Wonder-Under, sheer fabrics and free motion quilting.

bird challenge - Lynn Krawczyk

Blue Line
Lynn Krawczyk

I chose the theme for this challenge and it wasn’t a difficult thing for me to choose Birds.

Its a combination of my love for the little fellows and my intense desire for winter to be done with us. Spring, please.

My favorite bird imagery is birds on a wire. There’s something very romantic about the silhouette of a small bird, high on a single line against the vast sky.

Thrills me every time.

I started my piece with some soy wax batik fabric. I stamped the fabric with a wood batik block I found at a flea market and then did a wash over it with watered down black dye-na-flow. The effect reminds me of the variation in the colors of the sky depending on the time of day and the season.

I wanted to experiment with the stitching on this piece. I am a loud and proud hand stitcher but when I thought of this piece, I wanted really tight long vertical lines. What I had in mind could best be accomplished with machine stitching.

I decided to do the stitching before I printed the imagery. I used two different thermofax screens to print the birds. The smaller scale birds are done in black and the larger birds are white and the one single line of blue.

I particularly like how stitching first broke up the screen printed images, making it feel more daydream, produced more shadows. I think its something that I will do more of.

Birds of a feather

I have a beautiful blue feather that was calling out to me when the topic was chosen. I have been playing with Inktense pencils so I drew the feather on freezer paper backed fabric and colored it in with the pencils. I used fabric medium to wet the pencil marks and the colors came to life. Then I freehand quilted the feather and appliqued it to a fused collage background. I like weird outside edges and I love the technique of zig-zagging a binding. It all came together very quickly and I am happy with the results.
Here you can see the blending of colors from the pencils and the quilting.

New Word for June 1 reveal

Spring sounds so trite........but it is so on our minds as we all start to recover from what was for most of us a hard winter.  Here in Northern California we just emerged from 21 straight days of rain. Unusual for us for sure. So I looked up "spring".  It has some other meanings that are also fun.

the first stage and freshest period: the spring of life.

a source or fountainhead of something: a spring of inspiration.

an elastic or bouncing quality: There is a spring in his walk.

a leap, jump, or bound.

Do have fun...........that's what it is all about!

Beauty of birds

Here is my version of this challenge.  I am lucky enough to live where I can look at birds in flight all day long if I wish.  The primary feeling I wanted to demonstrate was both the simplicity and the grace of a bird  in flight. The lines are smooth and graceful. Gliding is the best. So here it abstract, but here it is. Thanks for a great "word". It is my turn to post a word and I will do it from work today....


Well, it's April 1st, and I'm looking forward to seeing what we have made.

I hope I haven't gone too far around the bend on this one, but the first thought that popped to mind for "bird" was a woman I admired for her work in ecology and the spreading of wildflowers across the US. I'm thinking, of course, of LadyBird Johnson.

I studied many on-line photos of her, and modeled my image on several from her later life. I knew she always tried to wear bright colors, so I gave her a dress made from Kaffe Fasett fabric with a big flower as a collar, a red silk hat, and set her among as many pieces of floral fabric as I could squeeze onto our 11 x 17" format.

I had fun making "LadyBird."

Sue Walen

Friday, February 4, 2011

Pythagoras Unbound

In this piece, the standard square-in-a-square image used to illustrate the Pythagorean Theorem explodes in three steps. Two colorful cotton fabrics were fused and cut apart using pinking shears. The background was machine quilted in a wavy grid and the edges left raw - a wide zigzag holding the three layering together. Construction mirrors the free, unrestrained, playfulness of the subject matter. And so the change in perspective from precise to silly.

Good Art Among Us

I just posted a print copy of Jane Dunnewold's lecture for Form-Not-Function. It is well researched and thought provoking.
Go to to read this great piece.

Cathy Ortelle

Thursday, February 3, 2011

new challenge word: BIRD

Maybe its because I'm weary of winter. Or perhaps its because birds are a recurring image in my work lately...but I thought maybe since we are all day dreaming of spring and the things that will come with warmer weather that the next challenge word would be BIRD.

You can do anything that has to do with birds. A bird itself, a nest, eggs, birdhouse, chicken coop - whatever strikes your fancy! Have a pet bird you'd like to honor? Do you enjoy looking at birds on a wire? (That's my personal favorite!) Do you like watching birds at your feeder?

Everything is game!

And to provide a little bit of inspiration, here is a photo mosaic to get your wheels turning on our fine feathered friends:

1. Robin_8203, 2. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, 3. Getting In A Lather, 4. Rose-Breasted Grosbeak - USA, 5. Female Bullfinch in garden Jan 29th 2011 9821, 6. Lots of blue eggs, 7. calling whoopers, 8. Robin Eggs are really Blue., 9. Bullfinch, 10. Bird Houses on a Red Barn, 11. DV3E2460, 12. Female Cardinal Feeding, 13. Untitled, 14. Looking for her Sweetheart - Mallard Duck, 15. Stock Dove (Columba oenas), 16. Red-breasted Nuthatch, 17. Pretty Cardinal, 18. Snowy day, 19. eye contact, 20. The dreaming tree, 21. free, 22. Snowy Owl, 23. 目白  Japanese White-eye, 24. green ON green, 25. Chicken, 26. dove in the snow flying - Canon 500d, 27. Two eggs, Nestbox #1, yesterday afternoon, 28. ~Do you happen to have a pair of birds that are... just friendly?~, 29. colorful stare, 30. It Must Be Love, Love, Love ..., 31. Roosters, 32. Birds, 33. Take this down....HFF Everybody..:O)), 34. notes of a rock song, 35. I believe in love...., 36. Follow the leader

Have fun!!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Changed - Cathy Ortelle

I might have taken this challenge too literally. I first heavily rusted (Change!) some Pima cotton fabric; it reminded me of a topographical map.

I then quilted some turquoise hand-dyed fabric to batting and overlaid the rusted fabric. Voila! Clear blue lakes nestled in Northern California mountains. I tried to machine quilt around the obvious places. Disaster! It looked horrid. So I ripped out the machine quilting and tried some hand work. Even worse. I don't have the dexterity to do good hand work any more. So I will be doing more machine work in the future.

I missed last month's challenge - sorry again. I have a huge Christmas party and my whole house is turned upside down and things are packed away. I still haven't found the challenge that I had almost completed before Christmas. Maybe it will turn up some day.

There's lots of fun work in this challenge. I'm looking forward to the next!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Color Change

I got some red-green fabrics from my sister-in-law. Her mother was a dress-maker. I had nice red velvet and dyed cotton in my stash.
I cut squares and zig-zaged them together with the green 'line'.I discharged the top with a self-made flower stamp. What a change - and so different in each fabric! On the partly woolen clothing material on the far right and left, the color is brown. On the dyed fabric, it is yellow also on the velvet.
The outline of the flowershape is stichted with pearl thread.
With paintstiks I changed the color of the flowers into gold, green and pink.

It does look changed - or not?

Change -- "Quilt Metamorphosis"

Since I was the one that chose this month's word, I have had extra time to think about what I wanted to do. I decided to take an old quilt* and change it into a modern piece of art. I took a simple log cabin with hand stitching and kept changing it until I was happy. I left the left side pretty much the same and kept adding more and more as I went further to the right.

I started with the quilt* already quilted and didn't bother taking it down to just a top. I first added a layer of white spray paint to diffuse the background. I stamped with the cap of a film canister the metallic red and green circles and used a pencil eraser to stamp the small gold circles. I fused straight strips of fabric angled somewhat out for a modern look similar to a log cabin.

That didn't seem to be enough change and after thinking about it for a couple of days, I decided on an additional change. I again sprayed the piece with more white paint then added the circular "log cabin." I then stamped more circles from the film canister cap with white paint.

I then layered it with batting and another back and requilted it moving from squared off quilting on the left hand side to the right hand side where it is all curved quilting.

I finished off with a decorative hand stitching. Starting in the upper left corner with white, straight "chicken scratch" stitches and moving to the lower left corner where there are just magenta french knots. In the middle, the colors change places.

Going from left to right these are the changes that the quilt makes:

Old to New
Dull to Bright
Traditional to Modern
Square to Circle
Light to Dark

I hope everyone had as much fun with Change as I did!

Lisa Kay.

* No antique quilt was hurt or in any way damaged by this experiment. It was an old pillow sham made in China that looked like a quilt!

Change: Then and Now

As I thought about the word change in relation to quilting, I realized that I have been quilting for 30 years as of this year. I began by hand sewing 9-patches in an Amish quilt class and I have never looked back. Since I was using solids at the time, I opted to create a background using solid, hand dyed fabrics in a 9-patch pattern. On top of that, I created a flower of sorts using soy silk fiber, painted and melted tyvek and yarn. The flower is a statement about where I am with quilting today. I love embellishing with dimensional materials and playing with new products and techniques.
Here is the soy silk fiber with the tyvek piece in the center. I think there is some angelina fiber mixed with the soy silk to add a little sparkle.
I crocheted fuzzy yarn and couched it to the background to create these tendrils. ...after I quilted the background, of course!

Change as in mediums

Here is my change, from paint to fabric. For those of you familiar with my blog,
you will know that I am up to version # 12 on my blog of this little trike done in oils for my art class.  #'s 13 and 14 are being worked on in the studio.  So how do I stop and create in a different direction for this challenge?  Just change the meduim.  This little trike is fused out of commercial fabrics and painted with thread.  The lovely part is that I just cut it out without any stress. I know the trike well now and it is less and less important that it be just so.  I want the whimsey. Did I get it?