Saturday, July 30, 2011

Timing is everything

Sometimes a matter of minutes is the difference between something good (or bad) happening or not happening. A couple of days ago I was running errands, including picking up some things at the hardware store. They didn't have everything on the list and I dawdled around a while, trying to reach the person I was buying them for. After a while I decided to stop by the Goodwill store next door.

I've been looking for frames for my quilts every time I stop by. So I headed to the back of the store, where everything was a jumble, shoved together to make room for the crew painting the back wall. As I tried to wrestle a couple of frames apart, another customer helped out by moving a bedframe leaning on the display.

We started chatting as we looked at the frames and quickly discovered that she is an art quilter, too! We had a great chat (getting out of the way of the painters) about work and sources of materials, and exchanged contact information. I'm looking forward to getting together with her soon. It will be nice to know an art quilter locally, since the ones I know are online.

detail - the turtle was quilted separately, and painted then appliqued
on the quilted background
Well, timing is looking good in the studio, too. After my marathon binding session last weekend I had about 10 pieces to hand-stitch the binding, so I took them along to Tybee. Got several done while visiting with the knitting group Thursday and watching the season premiere of Project Runway Thursday night.

It's supposed to hit 100 degrees here today (heat index 110), so I'll be hibernating in my air-conditioned studio. I have a couple more pieces in progress to finish and an idea for another new piece to start. Plus I now have a half-dozen or so pieces to frame.

One of the pieces I finished was the sea turtles quilt I mentioned a few days ago. After making all the turtles individually, I pieced and quilted the background, then appliqued the turtles on. Sea turtles have been on my mind, as it's nesting season on Tybee, so expect to see more turtles in the near future!

Sea turtles finished and waiting for framing, about 13 by 18 inches
More later.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Back in the studio

And it feels good!

A string block became the center of a new pillow sham
A whole chain of diversions had conspired to keep me out of the studio for about three months, but in the past couple of weeks I've gotten back in the studio and am having a great time.

The first evening I went back in to work I turned on the new air conditioner and just looked around. I didn't even know where to start. I spent a couple of evenings just taking stock, seeing what projects were in progress, and what I needed to finish them. I still wasn't ready for anything too challenging, so started by taking a string block, setting it on point and quilting and finishing it as a pillow sham for our new apartment. Along with that, I pulled out some already quilted string and crumb blocks, which I took to the apartment and finished as potholders.

These string block pot holders add a colorful touch to the
kitchen and are useful
Then it was back to my art quilts. I do a lot of my pieces in components, preparing backgrounds, and making other parts separately, then applying them to the background. I had quilted this lighthouse, plain white fabric layered on felt and heavily quilted with variegated thread, but it didn't work with the background I originally planned. So my first project was to create and quilt a background. I love this orange fabric with stars and it worked perfectly with the bright threads of the lighthouse. The original background, pieced and painted with a sunrise, became the background for a palm tree.

This lighthouse is closely quilted
using colorful variegated thread.
With those done, I went through the stack of nearly finished pieces and picked out and cut binding fabric for each one, and this weekend did a marathon binding session. Not my favorite part, but now I have a stack of handwork I can work on while watching TV or visiting with friends.

With several of the quilts nearly finished, I decided it was time to start some new work, sea turtles! Here's the first herd of turtles. For these I fuse the top fabric to felt, using MistyFuse, then quilt and paint. After I cut them out, I paint the edges to seal them. More on the turtles soon, but for now I have other work to do.

More later!

This palm was appliqued to the painted

A herd of turtles! I fuse fabric to felt, then quilt and paint. After cutting out, I paint the edges to seal.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Photo Friday – back roads

I know it's not Friday, but I don't want to wait another week before I get my blog back on track.

I enjoy traveling back roads. There's less traffic, less stress and more interesting things to see. A couple of weeks ago as I was traveling home from North Carolina (more about that later) I was driving down U.S. Highways 321 and 301. I couldn't help looking at all the old motels and relics of the days when these roads were the way to travel. Beginning in the 1930s, automobile travel became more and more popular, and roadside accommodations grew to serve the travelers. From campgrounds to cabins to motor courts, the lodging evolved and following World War II, the major north-south highways were lined with motels to serve vacationers.

After the Interstate system was begun, most of the travelers changed routes and the boom days were over. In the more prosperous towns the roadside motels were torn down for other growth, but in some areas they still exist. Along the stretch of 301 and 321 I traveled, there were some that are still in business, while others are dusty ghost towns.

I found the Vintage Roadside site to be full of interesting information on the history of motor lodges, as they were first known.

Here are a couple of pictures of sights that caught my eye.

A large motel, appears to be still in business

The Interstate, which apparently was a large truck stop and restaurant complex. Now a ghost town.

A great sign on a roadside restaurant

And another great sign on an old motel