Monday, August 1, 2016

Purple Chop Chop

Our Blog  Four-in-Art Quilts

Other Four In Art Quilters 


This quarter's Four In Art theme is Purple Passion. 
We've owned 3 purple sofas. Here are a couple of photos of #2 purple sofa. 
Our townhouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Four generation photo after our first daughter, Claire, was born.
The sofa looks more red here due to poor lighting. 

I used to wear a lot of purple, we've owned 3 purple sofas, 
but I really hadn't quilted in purple before. I thought it was time to experiment.

I decided to draw some lines on a piece of paper. 
I then cut it into strips on the diagonal and taped it together. 
Then I cut on the diagonal from the opposite direction and taped again. 
This is the final mock up, mind you I did this in bed at 11pm,
and my husband couldn't understand why I was doing 'crafts' in bed. 

I was doing this in bed because at the time, 
I thought I had a bright idea.

 I used some PURPLE silk from one of Claire's semi formals,
I added some equally vibrant orange for balance.

I chopped and sewed....

 and copped and sewed....

 and chopped and sewed.

I stopped chopping at this point and spray glued it on a gray background.
I was afraid the spray due would show through on the silk, 
lucky me I won the quilting lottery today and
the spray glue didn't show through. 
I decided to leave all the raw edges exposed.

 I started quilting my chopped up purple silk with straight lines.

Then I quilted a bunch of circles that matched the orange fabric.

A good artist knows when to stop. Well....
I kept going thinking more is better. I forgot that less is more. 

I was fine with the quilted wavy lines, straight lines and circles. 

Remember how I said a good artist knows when to stop?
Well... after I stippled the word PURPLE I knew that
I would NOT be quilting any words onto my next quilt. 

 I decided to leave the edges raw since the silk edges are raw and this is an experiment 

At the end of the process this was a great experiment to be part of. 
I wouldn't mind chopping a bunch of fabric up again, 
but I'm not going to be stippling any words or letters on a quilt anytime soon. 
Not all ideas are brilliant, they are just ideas.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Butterfly Scales ~ It's a Microscopic Reveal

Our Blog  Four-in-Art Quilts

Other Four In Art Quilters 


This year's theme is COLOR.
This quarter's sub category is MICROSCOPIC (which I chose).

I went straight to the internet and found electron scanning microscope 
photos of butterfly wings. Here are my photos I found 
and printed on white fabric after I cut them out. 
Butterflies actually have SCALES on their wings. 

I was originally interested in designing a modern twist on a Dresden Plate, 
but then I got out my wedge ruler and I said good bye to the Dresden Plate. 
The low volume fabric was a Christmas gift from my friend Lisa Johnson. 
I was happy to find a home for it. Since the photos are a little more
technical in nature I thought the technical drawings on the fabric was a good match. 

I included two butterfly eggs in the quilt. 
One of them is above. 
I will let the other butterfly egg be a Where's Waldo mystery. 

The quilting was going well until my walking foot broke!

I had actually forgotten that my walking foot was on the verge of collapse 
from my last quilting project and needed to be replaced. I learned my lesson.
It is not easy quilting with a lame foot!

I actually sewed the wedges together randomly. 
I realized I didn't have enough wedges, so I cut off some overhang 
from the lower left and sewed it onto the upper right corner. 
If you look closely you can see how the upper right corner
doesn't jive with the rest of the quilt. 

I decided to bind the mini quilt in raw silk. 
I thought the silk had some reflective qualities that 
were close to that of real butterfly wings. 

Summary: Even if you have 3 months to make a mini quilt 
don't wait until the last week because....

1. You might get sick and need to make your quilt in one day.

2. Your daughter might get engaged and then you get to plan a wedding.

3. You might even make a wedding dress for your daughter. 

4. You might also have a Spelling Bee deadline the same week.

5. You  might end up helping a friend who just moved clean her house.

6. You might teach/help 4 girls sew matching pencil skirts.

7. You might end up going to a funeral.

8. You might end up with more wedding plans than you expected. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Industrious Blocks

Please click on the links below to view other Four In Art Quilts.

Catherine Chisholm
delayed due to house flood

Elizabeth Eastmond


Betsy & Ben
Were Industrious Blocks

The Front

The Back

This projects' inspiration came from a children's book called
By Susan Arkin Couture
Illustrated by Petra Mathers

I picked this book up at an overstock book sale in Ann Arbor, Michigan
The book has become a family favorite over the years.
We've read it so many times my husband and I have the 
entire book memorized. Here are a few photos of the book. 

For this project I wanted to make a giant letter B. 
The lead characters in the book are named Betsy & Ben
and they are industrious blocks. So I opened up Illustrator and scrolled
through my fonts until I found a block that I felt suited Betsy & Ben. 

I set up my document page as 13"x13" and tiled the print.
I taped it together then cut out the individual pieces for each piece of fabric. 

I then designed some fabric in Illustrator with the text from The Block Book. 
I managed to use every single word from the book. 
I decided this fabric would be used as background fabric.  

I chose to use the following fabrics for the letter B. 

Here's the metamorphosis of the letter B.

Once I completed the letter B I realized that the mini quilt 
didn't convey any of the fun quirky qualities about the book. 
So I decided to make the letter B the back of the 
quilt and illustrate one of the images from the book.
In the story a neighbor's house burns down. 
Not much of the burning house is shown in the book
 so I decided to illustrate it. 

Here are the beginnings of the burning house.

I wasn't quite sure how to show flames coming out of the house, 
but I happened to have chili pepper fabric on hand. 
Chili's by the way, are HOT.

I wanted a narrow binding, and totally goofed on how wide to cut it, so I ended up rolling the binding under on the backside towards the raw edge of the quilt. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

You can view other Four In Art quilts here:
Betty at a Flickr site:
Catherine  at Knotted Cotton
Jennifer at Secondhand Dinosaur 
Nancy at  Patchwork Breeze

May I introduce to you the E.coli hot pad.

Q: What does an E. coli hot pad have to do with this year's
Four In Art theme of Literature?

A: The inspiration for this project came from a scientific journal article 
written by my husband. The article is called... 

Escherichia coli O157: H7 transport in saturated porous media: 
Role of solution chemistry and surface macromolecules 
authored by Hyunjung N. Kim †, Scott A. Bradford ‡ and Sharon L. Walker 
*†Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, University of California

The article can be found in the 
Journal of Environmental Science and Technology. 

I know this is such utterly exciting 
news you have probably stopped reading, 
but I thought it would be good to pull information 
from a scientific source for the quilt. 

Q: Why E. coli? 
A: This organism is a dinner topic for our family since my husband's research resolves around microorganisms and how they move through the ground and potentially contaminate our food and water supply. One time I told an acquaintance that my husband is an Environmental Engineer. They responded with, "He must be good at recycling." Uhhh....No. 

I started constructing the E. coli critter out of Kona Cotton & brushed silk.

I inset the body of the E. coli using freezer paper & a glue stick.
I forgot to take a photo of that step, but here's the inset oval. 

E. coli have all sorts of flagellum to help them move around.

I quilted the flagellum in glow in the dark, gray, yellow & orange thread.

Remember, this microorganism is only 3 microns long, 
which is a little smaller than a red blood cell, 


a human hair is about 75 microns wide.  

Here's a photo of the glow in the dark E. coli. 
Scientist often stain E. coli with a fluorescing medium for visibility. 
I figured I could do the same with glow in the dark thread.   

Q: What can E. coli do to my body?

A: There are many types of Ecoli, and most of them are harmless,

but some can cause bloody diarrhea. 

Some strains of Ecoli bacteria (such as a strain called O157:H7)
 may also cause severe anemia or kidney failure, 
which can lead to death. Other strains of Ecoli can cause
urinary tract infections or other infections.

Ironically, you'd probably never want to give a hot pad 
with an E. coli on it as a house warming gift, 
on second hand, maybe you would. 

The backside of the hot pad is actually a kitchen towel with utensils on it.