Monday, December 31, 2012

Frankly, it's Frosty! (or "Inspired by Bacon")

Happy New Year, challengers! I hope you had fun with the frost theme! When I told my husband that I thought the theme should be seasonal, but not Christmassy, he suggested "frost". So, Frank, this one's for you!

About two years ago, I won a random drawing from the Quilting Arts forum. I received, amongst lots of other goodies, some white opalescent Angelina fibres, which I excitedly packed away in a drawer, where it remained until I went looking for frost. I spread out the Angelina and MistyFused them together on plain white cotton. And left it like that for about 6 weeks, waiting for inspiration. 

A few weeks later, my sister suggested that "we" (meaning "I") make a bacon ornament for her son's Christmas tree. She even provided me with a picture of her idea of a perfect slice of bacon. This is what I came up with - free-motion stitching in many different threads (complete with some glitz, because it's for Christmas; but not too much, because it's for a guy!) on water-soluble stabilizer:

(Before I gave it to my nephew, I rinsed out the water-soluble stabilizer!)

As I was makin' bacon, I decided I could make a tree - using the same technique and, if it turned out, use that with the Angelina/MistyFuse background. This led to some more of the same technique to the strips at the base of the tree. During my canvas-work/cross-stitch days, I  had accumulated a rather large supply of fancy, glittery, glitzy threads and fibres, so I added lots of frosty sparkle!


Using an over-dyed rayon thread for a bit of subtle colour in the trunk of the tree, I machine-stitched the three pieces to the background, but decided not to stitch down all the branches, because I like the 3D effect. I also like the crumpled effect - the Angelina cannot be ironed any more due to over-heating. I think the 3D effect and the crumpled look add to the harsh, wintery appearance of the piece.

After I had finished the machine-stitching, I added a few random opalescent beads in the branches of the tree. 

This is my Frost.

I look forward to seeing the more frost - and to the next challenge!
Arctic slivers
Sometimes inspiration comes from the materials themselves. When I made Frosted Tree I had a large pile of white on white fabrics, beads and threads all out on my cutting table and somehow I didn't feel I was done with them yet, then I spied a basket full of metal shavings my husband had given me a long time ago. He does a lot of metal work and had this great pile of shaved aluminum which he felt I could eventually work into a quilt since they where such interesting shapes. I guess he was right I did find a home for them. Here is my Arctic Slivers:
The detail photo shows the various sizes and shapes of the aluminum shavings each is hand sewn onto a quilted background and lots of beading. This piece is also mounted onto a commercial canvas. This is my favorite challenge piece to date.

I had this image in my mind of a river on a frosty day - you know when there is a light mist just curling along the water surface and tiny pieces of ice swirling along. Its cold enough to make your nostrils stick together ever so briefly and the snow crunches loudly beneath your feet. 

I'd like to wish everyone happiness & health in 2013.
Frosted Tree
Well here we are the end of 2012 and time to post our next challenge pieces. I have to admit I was a bit stumped at first - how do you quilt FROST? I was hit by inspiration at the Dec meeting of our local quilt Guild we had a guest speaker from Denman Island Barb Martell and she did a wonderful trunk show - in her show she had a white & grey piece all free cut. I was struck by its elegant beauty. Fellow challenge member Pippa Moore had two tree pieces also set with free cutting. The next morning I got to work I knew exactly what my piece would be - it was like all these influences added together with classes taken with Judy Farrow and Lorraine Roy all came together to make my Frosted Tree.
I free cut the outside pieces together then made the tree separately on a bridal satin once I was happy with the tree I then pieced it into my 12 x 12 square.
Once the piece was quilted I added beads then stretched the piece over a commercial canvas.
 Close up of my tree. I really love this piece. I can almost feel the movement of the wind and the cold in the air.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Not All Black & White

I choose very early to go with a black and white theme to this incandescence challenge and life happened so it is late but done enough to post. A few beads are telling me they need to be added to reflect more light as the metallic thread needs a little help. Joan will be pleased.
Why the black and white? It is the light that incandescence brings to the dark. Sometimes our thoughts are debating the positive and negative aspects of a subject --weaving together sometimes not aligned straight which makes us feel uncomfortable but in the end we express our thoughts in an enlightened way if we listen more.
Weaving the ribbons comes from my love of weaving and I loved the transparency they offered. A fun challenge - thank you and I look forward to round three and being on time.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Incandescence by Joan

Incandescence Challenge:

Hi everyone:  I know I am late, late, late, but here it is.

When the theme “Incandescence” was announced, I thought of heat, reflected light, Northern Lights, sun, moon and a lot of other things that might work

I have always loved Northwest Native Art. I have a couple of carved bracelets, one the sun and the other the moon. I looked at both of them, and put together a sketch incorporating some designs from each. The other thing I have wanted to do for some time is work with metal, adding it to fibre. Voila! I thought, a copper sun/moon.

This is my sketch...

I enlarged the sketch, then traced it on to copper shim with a stylus. I didn’t like the narrow line that resulted. To make the embossing thicker, I glued and taped kitchen string to the back of the copper, in the narrow lines, and used a paper blender to push the copper down and around the string. I liked that effect.

 I then mounted the copper on to Tim Tex by curling the copper around to the back of the Tim Tex. It worked, but I do need more practice.

Now that I had what looked like a trivet, I had to figure out how to mount it. I thought black was the way to go to show up the copper color so I  made a quiltlet, couched heavy metallic thread with a fine copper thread to look like rays. Now to attach the two pieces - Pippa said “why not attach it by hand”, and so I did, with black Perle cotton.

Meet my CopperFace.

Once I got into it, I loved the process. I think I'd  like to do play some more with metal on fabric.

The Third Challenge

It's time to cool things down from the heat of "Incandescence" - so the next challenge, which is due December 31 - is


Monday, October 8, 2012


When this theme was announced, I had to go to the dictionary to look for meanings and interpretations.  What I found was:

Incandescence is the emission of light (visible electromagnetic radiation) from a hot body as a result of its temperature.[1] The term derives from the Latin verb incandescere, to glow white.[2] Incandescence is a special case of thermal radiation. Incandescence usually refers specifically to visible light, while thermal radiation refers also to infrared or any other electromagnetic radiation.

Having read this there were multiple ideas swirling in my head.  But that's normal.  I'm an idea person, and seldom a completion person!  How's that for True Confessions?  However, back to the theme.....almost immediately I came up with this idea and tried to think of reasons not to do it, but nothing else came out of my hands so here we are.  I started late in my attempts to do something to do with fire, which didn't work, and then finally got down to what I wanted to do in the first place.  They say listen to your heart and I should have because I'm happy with and had fun making this piece.   

I thought instead of light or the normal sources of heat, I thought of sex appeal, which is another elusive kind of heat.  There has been of late, a lot of resurgence of interest in Marilyn Monroe, the all time sex symbol for my generation.  Here is the picture I chose to use for a reference, found on Pinterest.  

Looking at this photo made me wonder what it was that radiated the sex appeal she was famous for.  Was it the looks?  There have been lots of women just as, or even more beautiful.  Was it the body language?  Or was it the diamonds?  I don't know and probably never will, but I truly enjoyed interpreting this photo to my 12" x 12" interpretation of Incandescence.

The project is worked on a black background which has a few sparkles on it.  The face and hair are layer upon layer of chiffons, both polyester and silk.  The face and shoulder are obviously carefully cut to indicate the appropriate shadows and shapes.  But the hair I truly enjoyed doing.  I just free hand cut teardrop shapes of all the colors of chiffon I had in yellow, pale yellow, glittery yellow and white and stitched down each piece as I went along, building up the shades and shapes and covering what didn't fit with a couple more layers.  A really free way to work and I enjoyed every minute of it and am happy with how it turned out.  The embellishments (did you know I love to embellish!!) are bits of treasures from my collection, a single earring, a strip off a dress from the thrift shop that I tore the diamonds off and kept, and a set of plastic eyelashes designed for Halloween but perfect for enhancing her sultry look.  The binding is metallic fabric and that was a trick!   

Thank you Barb, for coming up with such a great theme.   

Thursday, October 4, 2012


This topic was a very challenging one for me.    It took awhile to get past thoughts of a light bulb in the dark.    After seeing the many unique interpretations of the first topic,  Island,  I thought that any thing you can imagine goes.    Gardening and flowers are a big part of my life.   Lilies in bloom do a wonderful job of lighting up my back yard.

I used a photo of a Day Lily from my garden, with some help from Photoshop, then came up with a usable design.   The flower is made of silk fusion. Stitching was done to define the veins.   An extra layer of batting was added behind the flower. The flower was then applied to the back ground.  Stamens were made of silk yarn and beads added.  There are slanted vertical quilting lines in the back ground,  also long stitches using an iridescent thread.   

 A fun and challenging topic.  Diane Boyko

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Catching Fireflies by Kari C.


When I first heard our theme, I immediately thought of light…obviously! 

My mind then ventured into a familiar memory from childhood…catching fireflies. 

Then I discovered this poem by KatMeow, an Internet author: 

“The firefly
      Has shed
      A flicker
Of its warm light
     Hung it about
A strand of moonbeam
     To grace
          my person
     With a token
Of incandescence.” 

Since I also wanted to incorporate some form of technology and had recently read about lights in quilts, fireflies seemed like the perfect choice! I used the LilyPad E-sewing kit from SparkFun and was impressed by how simple the company made the process. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Incandescence by Pippa M.

Here is my response to our "Incandescence" theme. I began by thinking about the sun, and then thought about that most basic source of incandescence - the candle. I thought about incorporating the wonderful Peter, Paul and Mary song - "Light one Candle". But time was running out, and I still didn't have my piece made (I am truly a woman of the last minute!), and so I went back to the very basic idea of light. Which could be the sun, or could be part of a fireworks exhibition. I'll leave it up to you.

I worked with lots and lots of already fused fabrics that I had left over from a class with Sue Benner. I just began cutting them up, and starting with the lighter colours in the centre, placing them on a teflon pressing sheet. Every row or two, I would fuse them together, and then added the next rows. Originally I was going to put it on the background in a horizontal orientation, but I changed my mind at the last minute, and like this much better. I finished with machine quilting in rayon threads, and then added the sun centre at the very end. It's made of a layer of lame, overlaid with a layer of gold netting.

I enjoyed this challenge much more than the last, perhaps because I am much more pleased with the outcome. So bring on the next challenge!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Incandescence by Kathy K.

It is during our darkest moments 
that we must focus on the light.....

It is the end of the second quarter for our Up for a Challenge 12 x 12 Art Quilt creations. The challenge topic is Incandescence.  This topic, at first, stumped me; after some thought, I turned to quotes which turned things around for me.  My final piece is below:

I started with white fabric and dyed it in stages from yellow to orange to red to violet.  I then used Fabric Etch to create long rays emitting from the center.  I placed black felted wool behind the fabric and begin hand-embroidering and continued hand-embroidering.  I have been to the doctor's office and hand-embroidered, then to the dentist's office and hand-embroidered, onto Panera's and hand-embroidered.  Literally, for the past few weeks, this project has gone everywhere with me and, you guessed it, I hand-embroidered it.  I hand-painted the quote and ended the top by placing a beveled piece of glass at the center of the yellow section (and, yes, it is securely attached). Finally, it is edged with a velvet border.

I enjoyed creating this piece and am looking forward to the next topic being announced tomorrow! Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wedding Day by Karrie P.

So you might be thinking "Wedding Day?" the theme is incandescence. In the definition of incandescence I read about the emission of light from within or a strong emotion. To me there is no stronger emotion than love, nothing can make you happier or make you incredibly angry or sad. Love has inspired endless forms of art, painting, sculpture, poetry and song to name a few. 
This month my husband and I celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary so this piece is dedicated to my husband and a love that still burns bright. These are our hands from our wedding day, I added french knots for the baby's breath in my bouquet, beads for the beads on my dress and I added a button to hubbys tux. 
Thanks Barb for the theme, it was a tough one to start but I really enjoyed the process.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


From 69 to 12
(From the Moon to Mars)

I can't remember when/how I decided that it was time for something completely different - but out came my  Embellisher for this challenge. I machine-felted chopped up bits of sheer polyester fabric, metallic ribbon and fabric, and silk fabric to strips of black Kunin felt. When I was pleased with the overall strip, I attached the next strip. If I didn't like a section of the strip, I removed it. The first section is in the centre right of the following photo.

As I continued to build on the strips, I got more and more excited with the possibilities. I over-layed and under-layed the metallic ribbon before needle-felting it - which left a trail of little sparkly bits throughout the house.  

Of course, I did an oops, and trimmed about 1/4 inch too much off one side.

After I did that, I added some hand- and free-motion stitching and then some semi-precious chips, glass and metallic beads. The edges are just a few rows of black satin stitch. Bamboo batting and Kunin felt backing (which you are NOT allowed to see!)

And here it is ... Curiosity.

Thanks for the great theme, Barbara!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Fruit Island

My piece started out as a photograph of an island fruit-scape made of bananas, kiwis and tiny oranges. Having spent a few years on a tropical island and remembering the abundance of fresh fruit, this seemed like the perfect inspiration. 

Of course, I also wanted a way to bring technology into the final project so I took the photo into a kaleidoscope software program and manipulated it until I had something pleasing. The final selections were printed onto printer fabric. The smaller version was cut and portions added to the corners. 

The quilt was then embellished with hand stitching using silk thread, beading, decorative machine stitching, as well as micro stippling. 

The darker beads in the corner blocks represent the kiwi seeds in the original photograph.

The border and binding fabrics are meant to mimic the flora, water and sand of a tropical island.

 The inspiration photo became a part of the quilt label on the back of the piece.

The quilt was photographed against my own
banana trees.

Intro from Kari

I’m also from Patti Maderis Culea’s Stargaze Tome group and Gladys and I were in one of Patti’s challenge groups together last year. I was honored that Gladys asked me to join this 12x12 challenge group. 

I don’t have a blog…yet, maybe someday. Instead, I’m kept busy by the 9 Yahoo! Groups I own. 8 of these are for the Bernina line of products which I also teach independently. The final group is technology based, a subject near and dear to my heart; I’m a geek!

I live in southern California with my husband of 31 years, 2 of our 3 kids and assorted cats, large dogs and an ancient tortoise. I love to sew, both by machine and by hand and if I can incorporate technology into a piece so much the better!

Friday, July 13, 2012


I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you all with this word.  I have looked in a couple of dictionaries and they tend to stay with the literal modern use of the word applied to things electrical.I first remember it as the name of the gas mantles that used to light my grandmother's house - 'incandescent globes'.  Wickipedia describes its figurative use as describing a person who is very angry, but I was thinking of the scene in 'Becoming Jane' when she says her writing is going to be incandescent. I would say that the work of textile artists is often incandescent with creativity.
Btw, I have had to start a new post because I cannot work out how to get my computer to accept a reply to a post - any suggestions as to what I am doing wrong or not doing?
Love and hugs, Maudie/Barbara in Cornwall where it is still raining, but the ferns and foxgloves in the hedgegrows are looking magnificent.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


I pondered whether I was up for the challenge with this group but I will give it a try. After all it is to make you try new things and generally muck along, which is what I like to do. The theme brought all the images that this wonderful island  I live on and its neighbouring favorite cousins have to offer. I thought too of the islands I have visited but I just kept on humming --- I am a rock -- I am an Island --- now get that out of your head. Shows my generation and time warp.
In the end the funny little island in the Thousand Islands took up residence. I titled this piece " Island Status" because evidently you are an island when you have one tree. It brings good memories of a fun afternoon taking mom on a cruise in the St Lawrence Seaway. We chuckled about the status definition but fiqured they had to get to a thousand so what the heck. Notice how these islands become personalities ---anyone else have this problem or should I be looking at "alternate residences " sooner?

I began by resurrecting a failed piece of shibori with some shimmer fabric paint. Thought it might need a little glitz since I'm really not a bling person. I quite like the results. The objective was to explore the possibilites with Transfer Artist Paper ( can easily be ironed onto fabric paint) to see about using an image to thread paint part of and to solve a problem with mirror imaging text to do this. I guess I like messing with my brain but problems were solved in a convoluted kind of way.

It is a fun little memory quilt and show that each island is unique whether it has a castle or a bird box.


In the end I got my mind into it, as the business year end stuff was hibernating until August and I had a chance to play. I am on holiday to play for the next month. Dye studio is set up outdoors and the days are warm.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Second Challenge

I know I haven't yet posted my first 12x12, but I did explain to Gladys that I was heavily committed until the beginning of July.  Promise I will produce an Island square.

However,  Gladys informs me that I have the privilege of deciding the theme for our second square.  I have chosen... (drum roll)  ...


Hope you are all instantly inspired.
Love and hugs, Maudie in a very damp Cornwall.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Manhattan IS an Island!

The year 2009 was a very special one in my life.  The publishing of my first book, followed by a trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for spring quilt market, and that followed up by meeting two very good friends in New York City for 5 days.  An absolutely fabulous time that left an indelible memory and set the bar very high for anything to match it! 

When the theme "Island" was chosen, and it wasn't my first choice....we can thank Joan for this one, I had so many ideas that I didn't know where to start. Joan knows.....she heard about all of my ideas....seagulls on logs, grandmas with babies in their lap, etc.  Procrastination being one of my stronger character faults.....I thought and thought, but there was no action.  It was an easy theme for someone who lives on an island (Vancouver Island), and especially when that someone knows people who live on even more remote islands which she gets to visit regularly!  There were also the predictable "No Man is an Island" phrase....and you should have seen the man I was going to create....but I digress! 

I was pondering between three of what I thought were really good ideas when one of the friends I met in Manhattan and I went for a long beach walk here at home.  She wiggled her eyebrows and said "Manhattan is an Island"......and smirked.  That was it.  I loved the idea.  So here it is. 

This is a collage/improvisationally pieced/bead embellished/thread painted and quilted representation of some of my favorite things in New York City.  There are so many more!  But I chose these from my photographs, printed them on fabric, pieced them into pieces of sari silk (yes I shopped where Joan did), clothing, hand dyed fabric, lame and best of all, some words (Manhattan, Times Square, Grand Central & Broadway) are from commercial fabrics purchased at City Quilter in NYC!  

I love to embellish my work, and in this project I worked with individual sequins and learned how to lay them out in a line.  Not my favorite enterprise, but they seemed just right to represent the marquee lights.   I used some square sequins that are meant to represent windows on the NASDAQ building, and trimmed them to varying sizes to fit with the shape of the building in my photo.  I have more embellishing to do, but this could go on forever so I thought I better just post it as it's close!  I want to add some thread painting and a few more beads.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Bwama Island

I took a photo of Bwama Island, an Island in Lake Bunyoni, Uganda a few years ago with the idea that I would someday make a quilt to remind me of a visit to Bushara Island. I also took 2 classes with Sue Benner, one on abstraction and the other about landscapes. I love the way she uses strips, and decided I would try her method. I love the result, and am anxious to make more using the same technique.

The strips I used are sari silk purchases at the Back Porch quilt store in Pacific Grove, California. They come in a variety of colors and designs and are twisted up into a skein, much like yarn. Obviously my someday is here! This exercise stretched me somewhat, and I am anxious to do more.

This is the full size 12 x 12 picture of Bwama Island challenge quilt. Actually, it is terraced fields given by the local Diocese to women who are able to till the land and feed their families with the produce. I used raw edge strips, laid out to represent the terraces as they rise out of Lake Bunyoni. I have folded some pieces to create abstract plants and thread painting to make the reeds in the lake.

OK Barbara, what's the next challenge theme? Gladys is sitting beside me as I do this because I am technologically challenged, and she promises to have hers posted today as well, and when she does, she'll start nagging!