It’s a Mystery
Oct 11th, 2017 by Wendy

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It’s a mystery: I won Art Fair bucks, then this wonderful Kate Spade acrylic ampersand, but not the lottery. Okay, not so much of a mystery- I forgot to buy any lottery tickets. But you know what I mean.

 

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It’s a mystery: In the same month, the sky is blue with giant sunflowers in the garden over In The Valley, but here at home, on the eastern side of the mountains, the bird bath is frozen every morning.

 

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It’s a Mystery: I went to this restaurant, BibIM BAP House twice, before I realized my other fave spot, Ike’s Box Cafe, was across the street. In my defense, across and DOWN the street. Both are on Chemeketa Street in Salem, downtown. The Korean restaurant has Korean, Japanese, and other food options, and they close Monday nights to feed homeless people under the Marion Street Bridge.  Ike’s Box is in a beautiful old building, with large and small rooms, where you can almost always find a quiet spot.

 

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It’s a Mystery: When did 66 happen? I’m wearing my Pendleton Wool coat, made in 1986, with old fashioned tailoring and complete with underlining, lining, and horse hair interfacing. I had some Mad Sewing Skills back in the day! Then there is my Eileen Fisher outlet store purchases from last year (cashmere sweater, very lightweight merino wool t-neck), and black stretch pants that I did not get to wear in Lincoln, Nebraska at the Studio Art Quilt Associates National Conference because I was in bed with Influenza B coughing my guts out. And my black lace up Born Boots.

 

Improv Patchwork by Maria Shell

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a Mystery: But not for long- Maria Shell’s new book, Improv Patchwork, with C&T Publishing, can be preordered now. Beginning on October 16, at www.ctpub.com/blog, you can follow the Improv Blog Tour. Get the full schedule at ctpub.com/blog, or on any of the blog tour websites along the way. Return right here October 22, for my contribution.

 

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It’s a Mystery: Even though I’m busy cutting & sewing, and this is my original idea, I don’t know what will become of the hundreds of units. I’m hoping that by showing snippet photographs, you’ll experience the mystery with me. Like anything else, there is always a balance between having a plan and being flexible. Or between letting things happen and evaluating the choices. It’s not magic, but with effort, the result can be magical. I must sign off and start laying the pieces…..

 

 

Part 2: Creative Quilt Challenges at PIQF 2016
Oct 24th, 2016 by Wendy

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Come early to the Pacific International Quilt Festival to be first in line or come a bit later to miss the crowds.

The twenty special exhibits have their own area in the convention hall. We had an “end aisle” on a main walkway near the women’s bathroom— how great is that?!!!

Our 30 feet of back wall, with 24 feet of side walls, didn’t go as far as we hoped. We added a half wall at the 20 foot mark. PIQF provided black curtains, rods, telescoping rods, S hooks in 3 sizes, and a work table. It took Tuesday afternoon and all day Wednesday until 3:55pm to get all the quilts up. Five minutes to spare!!! Woo Hoo!

From Left to Right: Here is the first 20 feet of the booth. On the right is the half wall, with the door way to the last 10 feet of the booth. The quilt names go from left to right top first, then bottom row.

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Photo #1: ColorBlind, 2013, Wendy Hill

Photo #2: Color Blinded Again (reversible quilt); Bright Hopes, 2013, Pat Pease; Georgi’s Garden, 2016, Wendy Hill; Cut Up, 2013, Pat Pease; A Change of Heart, 2015, Pat Pease & Wendy Hill

Photo #3: Bright Hopes, Georgi’s Garden, Silent Reflection, 2013, Pat Pease & Wendy Hill; Cut Up, A Change of Heart; Lightening Strikes, 2016, Wendy Hill

Photo #4: Silent Reflection; Lots of Trout, 2016, Wendy Hill & Pat Pease; One Orange Dot, 2013, Pat Pease; Lightening Strikes, Echino Yet Again, 2013, Pat Pease; Stepping Out, 2015, Wendy Hill

 

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Photo #5: Confluence, 2015, Wendy Hill; Cairn Study 3, 2013, Wendy Hill

Photo #6: Marsh Scene, 2013, Pat Pease;Evey’s Quilt, 2016, Pat Pease; Snow Strings, 2014, Pat Pease;  Jocey, 2016, Pat Pease

Photo #7: Left Side- Evey’s Quilt; Ripple Effect, 2014, Wendy Hill; Square Dance, 2013, Wendy Hill & Pat Pease; Pass It Forward, Bolt Fabric Boutique, 2016; Right Side- Shape Shifting Challenge, see below

Photo #8: See information Photo #7

 

We invited 10 people to participate in a group challenge on the theme “Shape Shifting”. The rules? Please interpret the theme, 20″ by 20″ maximum size, any materials or methods, mixed media okay. It’s fun to do challenges with your local friends, but with the miracle of the Internet, you can connect with people around the world!

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From left to right:

Row #1: Opening by Christine Drumright, New Mexico; Genesis by Maggie Vanderweit, Ontario, Canada; Day Shift by Judith Garnett, Oregon

Row #2: Peace of Nature by Barb Frances, California; Magma Displacement by Susan Howell, Minnesota; Encryption by Pat Pease, Oregon

Row #3: Command+Option+Shift by Ann Marra and Timothy Ely, Washington; All Life Matters by Karla Rogers, California; Evolving by Tawnya Romig-Foster, Colorado

Row #4: Hot Flash by Maria Shell, Alaska; U-Turn by Wendy Hill, Oregon; Ohio Shifted by Tierney Davis Hogan, Oregon

 

All of the quilts deserved a bit more space, but our 30 foot booth at PIQF was already a generous piece of landscape at the show. We were ambitious! We had quilt signs, plus most quilts had technique or in-progress photo signs too.

We met a LOT of people: thank you to everyone who spent time with our quilts and us, Wendy (on left) and Pat (on right).

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Sew Yourself Silly with Bias Covered Curves!
Aug 20th, 2016 by Wendy

 

 

In 1983, I  covered the curves on Grandmother’s Fan blocks- instead of piecing the curves–  for the first time. I used ribbon, not known for wanting to stretch around curves, but it worked. I made two extra long twin bed quilts, each 60″ by 100″. I apologize for the photo quality- these are my only photographs.

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I liked the way covered curves gave more opportunities to mix up fabrics while offering a short-cut to piecing the curves (and having it look professional). Anybody, no matter the skill level, can cover curves, which opens up a door to a big room of curved quilt block and free-form curved patterns. In the early 1990’s, Threads Magazine featured the work of Koos van den Akker, who (at that time) combined unlikely fabrics- such as leather with Liberty of London, with free form curves, covered with self-made bias tape. Very Cool! (Google Koos van den Akker to see his work; he died in 2015 at age 75.)

In 2001, I drew something like 60 individual free form arcs blocks, thinking I would piece the arcs together. I woke up with the idea to cover the curves instead- something I had not done in awhile. I loved the first blocks! I ended up making two quilts with the blocks – one pieced & quilted (Roads Not Taken) and one quilted block by block, assembled with satin stitching (Entanglement).

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In 2004, I pitched a book proposal to C&T about covering curves with self-made bias tape. It was accepted; I had a year to complete the manuscript package (fall of 2005). The book arrived from Hong Kong in time for fall International Quilt Market in Houston, 2006, and I got to be there with C&T to promote the book (my 4th IQM!)

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Do you have something to share with the world in a book? Would you geek out at seeing the ISBN number assigned to your book? Would it make you smile to think of a copy of your book at the Library of Congress for all time? Then you should consider trying to get published.

Step 1: Get the book proposal guidelines from the publisher. I highly recommend C&T Publishing. All statements below are based on my experience with C&T- other publishers methods may vary.

Step 2: The more effort you put into your book proposal, the clearer it will be to the editors at C&T (and it gives you a head start if your proposal is accepted). The proposals  get assigned to an editor, who passes it around with a checklist to other editors on the acquisition committee. The committee meets every “x” number of weeks, so it might take several weeks to months to hear the news.

Step 3: If your proposal is accepted, you will work with the acquisition person to define your book in the contract and set up the mini and final deadlines.

Step 4: You will have “x” amount of time to complete your manuscript proposal. I’ve always had about one year, although I’ve heard of authors who agree to less time. You will receive your Author Guideline packet, at least an inch thick, detailing how to put together the manuscript, the images, the how-to samples, and so on. The better you follow these guidelines, the better the final outcome will be.

Step 5: The clearer you can write and organize your text, images, illustrations and overall message of the book, the better your team at C&T will be able to give your book your voice.

Step 6: You aren’t finished after turning in your manuscript package. Now begins the second year, with timelines for opportunities to give feedback about the cover, the styling of your book, and the editing. Again, the better you are at giving this feedback, the better your book will represent you and what you want to say.

Step 7: The book goes off for printing, in Hong Kong, and after some weeks, comes back into the United States. Woo Hoo!!!!

Of all the techniques I’ve written about (thread texturing, reversible foundation piecing, stitched thread-web 3D constructions and bias covered curves), I’ve probably used bias covered curves the most, with thread texturing & 3D constructions coming in at a close second. Here are a few of the quilts I’ve made after Easy Bias Covered Curves arrived in stores in 2006:

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 Bubble Bath Day, 2006: This is my own variation on a traditional block called “Leatha’s Fan”

 

 

 

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 Falling Into Liquid, 2003: This original design uses bias covered curves  to create the surface design in the blue circle and around the  circumference of the entire circle. This quilt is part of the permanent  collect of the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum (inducted 2005).

 

 

 

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 Yellow Fever, 2009: I used zippers and bias tape to cover curves. This quilt was part of the  “Color Cascade” special exhibit, which debuted at the 2010 Pacific International Quilt Festival,  then traveled all over, including Alex Anderson’s Garden Party event in 2011, the Sisters Quilt  Show 2011, and more.

 

 

 

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I made a reversible baby quilt for one of my son’s teachers in 2006. It’s a terrible photograph,  but a good example of adapting a traditional block with bias covered curves.

 

 

 

 

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In 2007, my love of the color “taupe” collided with the fun of using bias covered curves. With  21 different quarter-circle blocks and different widths bias tape, the (auditioned) random  layout lets all sorts of things happen. Taupegraphical got included my article “Taupe, More  Than Just Brown”, Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine #394/July-Aug. 2007 (and the Electric Quilt  Co. CD-ROM with QNM) and was juried into Quilts: A World of Beauty 2007, Contemporary  Colorations: The WOW Factor (National Quilting Association) 2008, and Quilts=Art=Quilts, Auburn, NY 2009 and Fabrications- the Art of Quilting, Bend, Oregon 2012.

 

 

 

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Out Far, In Deep” 2007. Another taupe quilt with colors, I played around with the musical idea of repetition of melody, only with visual motifs. This quilt debuted at the Sunriver Quilt Show in 2007 (Shaker Challenge), then got juried into the World Quilt Show XII in New England 2008, and the American Quilters’ Society 25th Show & Contest in Paducah, Kentucky. QuiltMania Magazine featured it as a project in #73 then included it in their collection of quilts at the 15th European Patchwork Meeting 2009. It was also included in two gallery showings, DIVA in Eugene, Oregon 2009 (Solo exhibit “Wendy Hill: Not Always Linear) and Art in the Atrium, curated by Billye Turner,  in Bend, Oregon with the Lubbesmeyer Twins, Linda Spring and Alice Van Leunen).

 

I’ve always pitched book and magazine proposals with the belief I have something to say that will add to the body of knowledge in the quilt-fiber art world. After Easy Bias Covered Curves, I thought I’d said it all. But then came an exhibit of challenge quilts with collaborator and friend Pat Pease at Pacific International Quilt Festival in October 2013. The folks at C&T Publishing took us out to lunch and pitched the idea of a book to us. About 2 1/2 months later, we submitted our proposal to C&T and they said YES. That led to my fifth book, with Pat Pease, in print and in the USA as of February 7, 2016.

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Book #3: fast, fun & easy Incredible Thread-a-Bowls
Aug 3rd, 2016 by Wendy

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Around 1997, I discovered something about Sulky Solvy: if not washed all the way out, it dried stiff. Solvy is a water soluble stabilizer, originally marketed for machine embroidery,  but has a host of other uses as well. It currently comes in many different weights and styles.

But back then, almost 20 years ago, I used Solvy to make stitched thread webs (such as scarves or “new” fabric). I also used it to make the signature bouffant thread hair for my Button Babies, shown in my first book, On the Surface.

 

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On this particular day, the hair dried stiff as a board. My first thought: “Darn! Now I have to rinse it again”. But I had an immediate second thought: “How could this be useful?” An idea popped into my head:  A stiff, stitched thread-web bowl beckoned to me.  I dropped everything to make my first bowl. Wow- it worked!

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I gave a bowl to my husband’s parents, who lived in Palo Alto at the time. Over the next few days, their bowl slowly deflated. The short story is that yes, a clear residue of Solvy will dry stiff, but since it’s water soluble, it will pick up moisture in the air, and get soft again. I got the bowl wet again, reshaped it, let it dry, then sprayed it with a matte finish acrylic spray (repeated 3 times in between drying periods). I made another bowl, with the acrylic spray treatment, and gave it to someone who lived on the coast, a block from the beach- plenty of moisture there. Neither bowl deflated. (Photo of first vase by Craig Howell, Studio Craig)

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I kept experimenting and waiting for the acrylic spray to turn yellow (still waiting— hasn’t happened yet). I used a glass vase to mold a stitched thread-web as fine as a spider’s web. It still stands. The gradated color vase incorporated silk flowers within the stitched thread-web, also molded over a vase. I made dozens of “Color Bowls”, molded over the plastic lid for a coffee drink, and although it’s hard to see in the photos, there is a flower center made by pushing the thread-web into the hole for the straw. Each of these bowls is constructed with fabric confetti pieces and thread blend to create the new color.

 

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My mother-in-law and I decided to embark on collaborative art projects. This thread-web/painting was our first. We kept passing it back and forth, adding to it as we saw fit, starting with the underlying painting my MIL. We ended with a stitched thread-web that I shaped with a cake rack (pushing the wet web through the wires).

Check out my book and see how easy it is to make 3D constructions from flat stitched thread-webs. You might just find a new obsession and gigantic thread-stash. You’ll find the basic instructions needed to make anything you can imagine, as well as projects and gallery samples (in each project chapter).

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P.S. Check out Sulky Solvy too! I use it for a LOT of things, but you can read all about it on the Internet and at sulky.com

Isn’t it amazing how we can believe we’re going in one direction, but then we come upon surprise forks-in-the-road or even intuitive leaps to another landscape altogether. I thought I was making bouffant hair, but I caught a glimpse of another landscape entirely, and I jumped to explore it. Immersed in the manuscript package for my “3rd” book, I had the opportunity to squeeze in a book about stitched thread-webs. We experience time as linear. We can’t “remember” the future. Things in our daily experience go in one direction only. But our imagination is not limited to linear travels. If we are open to it, we can go anywhere!

And then came my fourth book, published in the fall of 2006:

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Book #2: Two-for-One Foundation Piecing, Reversible Quilts & More
Aug 2nd, 2016 by Wendy

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Where do ideas come from? How does a book about reversible foundation piecing relate to a reversible chicken/egg doll? (Housewife Hen/Rietta on the Town, 2003)

For me, ideas pop into my head. Often there is an obsession or a theme to the ideas that take on new forms over time. Instead of following ideas in a series, I tend to circle around, coming back to old ideas in new ways months-years- decades later.

Making reversible things (and the magical thinking that you can make 2 sides in the time it takes to make 1 side) is an idea I’ve thought about & used with clothing, quilts and other things throughout my creative life. When Quilting Arts Magazine issued their “Move Over Barbie” doll challenge in 2003, the idea for a reversible chicken-egg doll came to mind. I think this idea had been waiting around for the right moment to come back around, because as I’ve thought about this blog post, I suddenly remembered  a reversible Red Riding Hood/Wolf doll I purchased over 40 years ago. I haven’t seen that doll for over 30 years, but I’m sure it had some influence on my chicken/egg doll.

One morning, in 1995-96, I woke up with the idea that I could adapt the method of foundation piecing to make reversible pieced patterns, with great accuracy on both sides, by always sewing on a line. I wanted to try it first with the log cabin block, but why this block? Around the same time, I bought a reversible picture book* for our young son. After reading it from front to back, you flipped it over and read it from back to front, telling two stories with the same pictures! Isn’t this similar to a quilt that looks like one thing from the front and quite another from the back, even though the pieces have been sewn together in lock step through the batting with foundation piecing?

*Round Trip by Ann Jonas shows- in simple black/white drawings and simple text- a trip to the city. But at the end, flip the book over, and the now upside down images show the return trip to the country! (google for more information about this out of print book)

Before I tried the idea (1995-96), a local shop owner in Grass Valley, California talked me into teaching a workshop based on this technique. She had students signed up before I tried my first log cabin block. Of course, it didn’t quite work the way I expected, but with some experimenting, I found a way to make it work with any block pattern. I had to use fabrics from her store for the class sample. The orange side is mostly fabrics by Nancy Crow. This side is electric!

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“Opposites Attract”, 65″ by 65″, 1996,  earned Honorable Mention in the juried Quilts=Art=Quilts exhibit in Auburn, New York at the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center.  Next came a magazine article  published in American Quilter, Fall 2000, Vol. XVI, No. 3,  followed by book #2 with C&T 9n 2001.

I’m making the case that ideas can take you places if you give them a chance, if you jump on board, and pursue tangents and opportunities that land in your lap. While it was premature to schedule a class before I figured out the technique, having a full class list motivated me to find a solution to the obstacles. We always have good reasons for letting ideas drift by- just make sure you don’t miss too many opportunities in the business of every day life.

Just as with my first book, On the Surface, I invited a variety of people to take my idea and run with it, each in their own way. My books are never only about me and my creations. I always hope my readers will take my methods and ideas and run for their creative life—-making things I would never imagine.

“If you followed your dreams, where would they take you?”, I wrote in the Dedication. I believe everyone is creative and anyone can make a quilt.

This book includes quilts, clothing, accessories, home decorations and more, with studio and location photography, for projects and gallery examples. Here are some photos:

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Look for the photograph of the reversible doll quilt with the Grandmother’s Fan blocks- notice how one side has ribbon covered curves. In 2001, the same year as this book was published, I started making random arc blocks with bias covered curves. I’d been covering curves and seams, but this time, the idea hit me big time. In 2004, I had a book contract for what would have been my third book (Easy Bias Covered Curves), but then C&T asked me if I’d like to squeeze-in a book about stitched thread web constructions. I received an extension of 2-3 months on my manuscript deadline to work on the new book. So…..fast, fun & easy Incredible Thread-A-Bowls became my third book in 2005.

 

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