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

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bowls of Bunners

I'm still churning out fabric bowls for the bazaar, and Bunners just doesn't know what to think. I plopped her down in one for a photo shoot today and she said "I'm outta here." She wasn't even enticed to stay by that crisp kale leaf from the garden.

I'm drowning in bowls ...

... but they're addictively fun to make.

The only downside is that my shoulder and neck muscles are killing me from hours at the machine every day. So I told myself that I would use these scraps (below) and not cut any more, and make one more bowl that would end when I ran out of cording.

Here's that bowl. Now it's done and I'm getting restless. I will not make another one ... I will not make another one ... I will not.

I wrote a little tutorial a few weeks ago on how to make the bowls: 
I'd love to see yours if you make any!

P.S. Tie Dye Judy just sent this link to some fabulous bowls she made after reading my tutorial: 

Have a colorful day

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Gray, gray, go away!

Outside Tacoma's Museum of Glass on Friday.
Aw, it's raining. We had a super long glorious sunny spell, then a few weeks of alternating rain and sun, and now it looks like the rainy season is seriously upon us. That means my camera and I will be looking for color in the gray for the next seven months or so.

Gray sky reflected in Glass Museum's hot shop dome.
Last Friday I took a visitor to the Tacoma Art Museum and the nearby Museum of Glass to escape the dreariness and find some color.

Well dang if the special exhibit at the Art Museum wasn't BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY! It was beautiful, evocative, delicately powerful film photography by Michael Kenna, but there was no color.

"Ten Silver Birches" by Michael Kenna, Japan, 2005.

"Nine Boats" by Michael Kenna, India, 2008.
The exhibit, which just opened and runs through March 24, 2013, is Memories and Meditations: A Retrospective of Michael Kenna's Photography. The first part of the exhibit focuses on images of Asia and industrial scenes. The second, opening Jan. 11, will feature images of Europe and the United States.

And then there was Chihuly!
"Opal Gray and Amber Seaform Set," Dale Chihuly, 1984.

Dependable, glorious color in glass by Tacoma's famous son, Dale Chihuly. The Art Museum has a room dedicated to a permanent collection of his work, and I often go there during the winter to sit and soak up the color.

Another view of the seaform set.
Glass vessel by Chihuly.

We took our reflected photo looking into this courtyard where Chihuly's big glass Japanese float balls are usually displayed, but they had just been taken in for the winter so that they wouldn't break in the cold.

Back outside, fallen leaves added a touch of color to the otherwise gray urban landscape.

Have a colorful day

Monday, October 22, 2012

Book giveaways, bowls and spirals

Sunday night in the studio, and I'm planning the next week's projects. First up, I just received these two books from Interweave Press to review on the blog and give away. I requested "The Art of Mandala Meditation" even though it's not a quilt book because I thought the beautiful mandalas would be inspirational for any artist. I'm almost done reading it, and I'll post a review in the next few days. I'm also really excited about "Vibrant Quilt Collage," which just came out this month.


Then there are the bowls ... I'm churning them out to sell next month. It's really hard to stop, even though my arthritic thumbs are screaming in pain.

The start of the corn bowl.

I pulled out some fall colors to make a Thanksgiving bowl, which I imagine heaped with corn muffins (in paper cups so as not to soil the fabric).

Coiling the corn bowl.

Finished corn bowl, with today's tomato harvest.

And finally, I decided to finish a spiral quilt that I started more than a year ago. I got hung up on the design at this point (bottom photo), and then had a bolt of inspiration a few days ago. I'm going to cover the black circle (black hole) in the middle with a calm, yoga face photo of a family member who doesn't know about this yet. I printed her face in a few sizes on paper and am meditating on it ... procrastinating, in other words. When I decide on the size, I'll print it on fabric.

I just realized that the common thread here is CIRCLES: mandalas, coiled baskets and spiral designs.

Have a colorful day!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Free eBook on artistic quilt finishes

I had an email surprise today. Quilting Daily announced that it has updated its free eBook on binding and finishing techniques and that one of my old articles is in it! Here's what the link showed about my work:

Free Quilt Binding Tutorial: Not Bound by Tradition by Sherrie Spangler
Detail of "What Is Life" by Sherrie Spangler
Not Bound by Tradition by Sherrie Spangler

Leaving her roots in traditional binding techniques behind, Sherrie began experimenting with alternative methods. In this article she walks through a few of her favorite alternate ways for binding a quilt including using backing fabric as a frame, using exposed batting, and raw wraps.

Here's what else they said:

If you think quilt binding and finishing is the least creative part of your quilt making, think again. Our free eBook Quilt Binding and Finishing: Free Tutorials on How to Bind a Quilt Plus Tips on Finishing a Quilt has been updated, with 13 creative—yet easy—techniques for finishing and binding a quilt.
quilt binding and finishing grant
Art and finishing technique by Terry Grant.
Quilt Binding and Finishing contains ideas from experts on how to bind a quilt or finish it with stitching, mounting, or framing that you can use whether you are new to making quilts or have been creating quilts for years.

With detailed, color pictures and the expertise of seasoned art quilters, you will learn how to make your quilt look professional and gallery-ready.
Plus, this free eBook has been expanded to include Barbara Shapel's technique for how to create and bind a show-stopping, two-sided quilt with an invisible quilt hanging sleeve.
how to bind a quilt smith
Curved quilt binding technique
by Sarah Ann Smith.
In addition, Sarah Ann Smith shows a few finishing techniques, including how simple it is to create a perfect quilt binding for tops with curved edges. Her bias binding instructions and diagrams will make you a pro at this quilt binding technique.

Sherrie Spangler cleverly demonstrates a nontraditional method for framing and hanging a quilt top simply by stitching it on top of a backing fabric with raw edges.
Finishing a quilt that's small can be a challenge, but Terry Grant has come up with a smart (and simple) way to finish those small handmade quilts and have their corners stay clean and neat.
how to bind a quilt kinard
Lyric Kinard shows how to mount
and frame a quilt for display.
And Lyric Kinard lends her art and design expertise and offers several methods for presenting, mounting, and hanging a quilt so that it shines.
Whether quilt making is a hobby you share with friends or you aspire to win awards in quilt shows, you will love being able to refer to your free download of Quilt Binding and Finishing: Free Tutorials on How to Bind a Quilt Plus Tips on Finishing a Quilt anytime. Binding a quilt may never seem like a chore again!


Have a colorful day!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Peace and sunshine

Strong winds overnight blew out the clouds and brought blue skies to Gig Harbor today, along with a Peace Bus. The Feet & Forks struck some poses by the bus this morning during our walk through the harbor.

We stopped at this peaceful viewing spot over Crescent Creek, where recent restoration has succeeded in taking the creek back to a more natural state.

Part of sign at Crescent Creek viewing area.

Back home, the sunshine still held and I took more photos of colors glowing in the low fall afternoon light. Our tomatoes continue to ripen, yielding bowlful after bowlful every day. 

"Nature's peace will flow into you
as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you,
and the storms their energy,
while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."
           - - John Mui

Have a colorful day

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fall rituals -- bowls

Our 80-something-day streak of sunshine ended abruptly last week, so it's time to settle into the rainy season traditions. For me, that means surrounding myself with my brightest fabric and making coiled fabric bowls for the holiday bazaars.

 This is how it looks today from our back deck. The party's over :(

Here's how I work on the bowls. First I cut a bunch of 1-inch strips, then I wrap them around cheap clothesline from the hardware or dollar store, securing the ends with a touch of a glue stick. (I spend $1.50 a package for polyester or something else fake. It makes a stiffer bowl than the cotton cording in sewing stores.) 

After you've wrapped a few feet of cord, coil a few rounds to make the center of the bowl and straight stitch across it horizontally and vertically to hold it together. Then zigzag the coils together, feeding the covered cord into the machine as in the photo above. When you're ready to start turning up the side, tilt the bowl and overlap the next few rows a little. Make sure you're coiling it in the direction shown for this to work.

You can play with fun handle shapes like this, or just taper the end and do a smooth finish. 

Here comes a fall colored one, but I had to inject a few flashes of this green to keep it light.

 They're starting to pile up, and my neck and shoulders are starting to ache. The red and green ones always sell well for Christmas.

Here's a post showing more bowls from October 2010:

I had to give my aching muscles a break, so I started getting ready for tomorrow's book club. I only have to host once a year, which means panic cleaning. (I basically just clean when I'm having company.) Now my arm muscles are aching.

But the kitchen looks so nice now, with my chunky colorful dishes and mugs and the fall tablecloth. I guess it's worth the achy muscles. My husband is always banned from the kitchen at this point the night before I have a group over. That means we'll have to eat out -- darn!

I even slogged out into the rain to clip a few branches for a quick arrangement. I should do this more often!

Have a colorful fall day