Detail from "Rain Dance," an original quilt by Sherrie Spangler

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sew much inspiration from the Nuts!

Another Sew Day with the Twisted Nuts
has come and gone,
and I'm still reeling from the excitement!

Linda's fun pin display.

Linda J. was our host, and we started out in her sewing room looking at some of her latest projects. She's a sewing machine in hyperdrive, churning out quilts, purses, placemats
... and she loves COLOR.

No, this isn't a sewing store. It's Linda's embroidery thread.

Linda rented time on a local quilt store's longarm machine and quilted TWO tops in one day. Here they are. That's her above. Can you tell she likes bright colors?

She also has a stash of discarded jeans, which she turns into placements like those above and bags, like the one below. I love the way she tucked a napkin in the pocket of one placemat and included a belt on the bag.

Besides denim placemats, she had a stack of colorful, reversible ones in the kitchen like these. It was pure coincidence that the latte mug Nancy brought from home matched the placemat:

It was a sunny, warm day so we took our handwork outside on the patio and had a relaxing afternoon munching on chocolate chip cookies, sipping iced tea, and working on our crazy quilt blocks.

Some of our crazy quilting:

Nancy and me with a contorted filbert tree.

Ten days later, darned if Nancy and I weren't touring Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island when she got all excited and started yelling,

"There's a contorted filbert!"

 I felt I should pay homage to it, because a contorted filbert leaf that we used to discharge fabric last year is what led to our name:

The Twisted Nuts!

You can read about it by clicking on "Discharging With the Twisted Nuts." For some reason, that post has more page views than any of my other posts.

Have a very colorful day!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bunners in the garden

Our garden is going bonkers, with giant cabbages, Swiss chard, kale, huge cauliflower and broccoli, ripening heirloom tomatoes ... it's paradise for Bunners.

He's a little unsure here in the Swiss chard (he prefers kale), but later he discovered the parsley and perked up. Even though the garden is fenced, we don't let him run loose in it because of the eagles and hawks. Grandma is always standing by with hands ready to grab him.

Have a colorful day

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thanks, Gig Harbor Quilters!

"Garden Gone Wild" by Sherrie Spangler.
Raw-edge collage, feathers, yarn, painting, beads, machine quilting.

My trunk show for the Gig Harbor Quilters guild was a few days ago, and what a fun afternoon that was! One of my friends took about 200 photos and presented them to me on a disc. She gets all the credit for the photos here, although she apologized for the warm tint. I like the effect because orange is my favorite color, which you can tell from the quilts and my dress. Thanks, Sheila!

"Winter Twilight Spirits" by Sherrie Spangler.
Painted, raw-edge collage, machine quilted.
Guild members took turns holding up my quilts, which made it easy for me to point things out. Thanks, guild!

My unfinished Lone Star top from the mid -'90s.
I'm afraid to quilt it.

I wanted to give them an idea of how I got started, way back in 1980, and how I progressed through various stages up to my current fascination with painting and layering sheer fabric. I made this Lone Star top when I moved to Texas in 1994. I still haven't quilted it because I'm afraid I'll screw it up.

"Storm Trackers" by Sherrie Spangler, from mid-'90s.

"Storm Trackers" is another one from my Texas days. I learned to paint fabric at a Jane Dunnewold workshop at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, and this is one of the first quilts I made using fabric that I painted myself. It's based on the traditional block called Hole In the Barn Door and Monkey Wrench, among others.

Detail from "Searching for the Light" by Sherrie Spangler.
Hand-painted and stamped silk, cotton and some commercial fabric.
Machine quilted.

Later, I started painting silk organza and layering it to create more depth. I entered this one (above) in a regional artists show at the Freeport Arts Museum in Illinois and beat out all the painters and sculptors to win 1st place and my own solo show. So go forth, fellow fiber artists, and venture beyond quilt shows.


Shameless bragging about my article in the Fall 2005 Quilting Arts,
"Not Bound by Tradition." 
It was an opportunity for shameless bragging about my magazine and book articles. (I was a journalist before I was a quilter.) In the Fall 2005 issue, Quilting Arts Magazine wrote about The Three Muses, the little art quilt group I belonged to in Illinois. In conjuction, I wrote a separate article called "Not Bound by Tradition" about unconventional quilt edges.

One of the Muses, Julaine Lofquist-Birch, has a really fun blog at The other Muse is Bonnie Saxby. I can't say enough about the value of forming your own little art quilt support group. Thanks, Julaine and Bonnie!

Here's my project that was in Lark's "Creative Quilting With Beads."

This small fiber and beaded heart project was in Creative Quilting With Beads. The yoga girl in the background, made largely with flattened Hershey Kisses wrappers, was the February 2006 calendar girl for the Quilting Arts Magazine calendar. I went through a long Hershey Kisses phase where I bought every color in the name of art.

One of my favorite quilted jackets, from almost 20 years ago!
I used to do a lot of wearable art, like this jacket. That was in my Kansas stage back in the early '90s when I was learning a lot of techniques from the local sewing store. It's amazing how many garment techniques can be used for art quilts -- pleats, tucks, facings, piping, gathers, buttonholes, zippers. Thanks Bernina House of Manhattan, KS (since closed)!

"The Purple People Celebrate Summer" by Sherrie Spangler.
Painted, raw-edge collage, machine quilted.
I'm in a prolonged Purple People phase. A long, long time ago I found some fabulous purple batik fabric printed with these dancing purple people. I bought a few yards, and they have been popping up in my quilts and garments ever since.

Two versions of "Julia," with my daughter's photo copied onto fabric.
The quilt on the right was for the 2007 Journal Quilt Project.
An invaluable motivation for me to develop my skill set was the Journal Quilt Project started by Karey Bresenhan of Quilts, Inc., as an exercise in creativity to encourage quilt artists to stretch and grow. Printing photographs on fabric was something I had wanted to do for years but was hampered by my technophobia. The Journal Quilt Project was the impetus to get over my fear and just do it, and that's how I made the quilts above.

I participated during all four years of the project, and Karey actually bought my first set of Journal Quilts for the Quilts, Inc., collection. Thanks, Karey! 

"To Weave or Not to Weave" by Sherrie Spangler.
Hand-painted, woven, machine quilted.

Another great motivator was belonging to PAQA (Professional Art Quilt Alliance at when I lived in Illinois. They had numerous challenges, such as the one where we had to make two quilts based on the word two, or to, or too. The one above uses two colors (pinks and greens) and the title uses "to." The one below uses "too" as in "Too Much Fun." Thanks, PAQA!

"Too Much Fun" by Sherrie Spangler.
Mostly hand-painted fabric, collaged, beaded, machine quilted.

"Transparent Nine-Patch" by Sherrie Spangler, 2010.
Hand-painted silk organza, yarn, lame, sheer backing.

My current fascination (besides embellishing with hand embroidery) is using layers of hand-painted silk organza and other sheers. "Transparent Nine-Patch" is one of my favorites.

Detail from "The Chocoholic's Food Pyramid" by Sherrie Spangler.

So thanks again, Gig Harbor Quilters, for giving me a reason to dig these oldies out of the closet and get myself organized.

P.S. The guild welcomes visitors and new members. It meets at 1:30 p.m. the first Wednesday of the month at the Harbor History Museum, 4121 Harborview Drive, Gig Harbor, WA  98332.

Be fearless in your art,
Eat more chocolate,
and have a colorful day!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Getting ready for my quilt talk

I should be getting ready for the lecture/trunk show I'm giving to my quilt guild on Wednesday, but instead I'm blogging about it. I needed a break after trying to figure out how to organize and condense everything from about 30 years of quilting.

First step was to haul out all those quilts that have been rolled up and piled in the closet since we moved here three years ago. This house is a lot smaller than the last one, so more quilts went in the closet and fewer went on the walls.

Do I dare show my very first quilt -- the king-size lumpy unfinished red and brown one above that I started around 1980? I had never even MET a quilter at that point, but I had been sewing clothes since I was 11 and decided to teach myself how to quilt from library books. I think I broke most of the rules of traditional quilt making.

Here's another traditional one, using the Friendship Stars block, that I made in the '90s after I had learned to quilt properly.

This sparkly wall quilt is one of my favorites because it always makes me smile. It's based on the picture below that my daughter made when she was 5. I call it "Julie's Happy Fish."

Here are some from the late '90s when I had started to paint most of my fabric, hence the softer color palette.

These are from the early 2000's (would that be '00s?). The top one is from my Hershey Kisses wrapper stage, when I collected all the colors and ate chocolate in the name of making art. The black one showing on the left is a piece I made in reaction to the 9-11 attacks.

I have more, but blogger isn't letting me upload them. Maybe it's a hint that I should get back to work! Wait a minute, I'm not supposed to be working on Labor Day ...

Have a colorful day

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sunflowers and purple cauliflower

Our sunflowers are glorious!

Months ago, our neighbor Rick asked if we wanted four little sunflower seedlings that he had started. He had a dashboard full of them and was delivering them to neighbors who liked to garden. We said "Sure!" and planted them against the 8-foot-high deer fence that surrounded our vegetable garden.

I am absolutely thrilled at how they've grown! I've never had sunflowers in my yard, even though I have artificial ones all through the house.

And take a look at the beautiful color of this purple cauliflower that Dave planted. It tastes sweet and mild.

He's also having great success with cabbages, both green and purple. Above are some of the cabbage leaves.

And here is Farmer Dave himself, with beans on the left, potatoes in front and corn on the right.


Have a colorful day