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.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

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Friday, May 1, 2015

Drum roll please....
It's time for another Four In Art reveal!!!

Click the links below to view other
Four In Art quilts

Betty at a Flickr site:
Catherine  at Knotted Cotton
Elizabeth at 
Jennifer at Secondhand Dinosaur 
Nancy at  Patchwork Breeze
Rachel at The Life of Riley
Susan at PatchworknPlay

A little bit of silk inspiration from a trip to 
Michael Lavine's in downtown Los Angeles
combined with a quote from my high school
track & cross country Coach Calvin Rossi.
I know this isn't literature, but nonetheless.....
they are words.

"Hills are your friends,
whenever there's an up,
there's always a down."
Coach Calvin Rossi, Irvine High School 

Coach Rossi was constantly talking about hills. He taught 
us to pass competitors on the up hill, then lean into the 
hill on the way down and FLY!!! This is one way to mess
with a competitor by passing them when they are dying
on a big hill. It becomes a mental game. You've just 
intimidated them on the challenging up hill, AND you 
get an adrenalin rush by doing something tough.

Funny thing is, I still do this on my bike rides every 
week with my husband. We play cat and mouse the
entire bike ride, taking turns passing each other. 

A photo of me in 1988. I saw this sign during a race in
Whittier, California and had to go back for a photo.

Detail of silk hill. Working with silk was slippery.
It slid around and pulled easily under 
my walking foot.

I have to say this is one of my favorite hills. 
It not not only is a horizontal hill, but it ended up in 3D!

Life quite often is full of hills.
Hills we don't want to go up, challenges 
we have to take. It's important to remember
that once we overcome the difficulty
there will always be a time of rest, or 
a down hill time in life, where we can
rest, recover or just coast for a while.

I decidedto keep the back of the 
quilt simple, it's solid yellow.

I kept the edges raw and just added some thick bands 
of stitching to finish the edges off. 

The back side of the quilt.
Since all the hills were quilted in smooth hilly shapes
I thought the quilt could use some contrast.
The top and bottom areas of the quilt are all
quilted in geometric straight lines.

I'm on the left, not running up a hill.
1989 Irvine High School.
Go Vaqueros! 
A Vaquero is a Spanish Cowboy.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Camille's Quilt

While Quilt Con was going on... 

I found all sorts of fun fabric at
Road to California last month.

Then I went to town and cut
the heck out of it.

My kiddo came to me recently with a request.
She wanted her own quilt. Why not, everyone
else she knew had their own. 
She had a specific wish list.
Not too young looking,
and not too old looking.
And definitely no babyish 
looking animals!

It was refreshing to follow a pattern this time 
for Camille's Quilt. After creating a few of my 
own quilts I sometimes find that it's good to 
have a project that allows you to work on 
technique. Cut, piece, sew, iron, cut, piece, 
sew, iron. Camille is picking out some border 
fabric this weekend before it's quilted. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Smoke Screens


February's Four In Art challenge is based on literature.
One of my all-time favorite books is The Screwtape Letters
by CS Lewis. The book is about a senior devil, by the name 
of Screwtape, who teaches a junior devil about the art 
of tempting the enemy (which are the humans). 
I chose the quote... 

"The game is to have them running 
about with fire extinguishers 
when there is a flood."

I titled the quilt Smoke Screens,
because this is Screwtape's intent... to have the smoke
from the extinguisher prevent us from seeing the real
problem that is at hand. Essentially we're blinded. 
With this scenario people are going through 
the motions of thinking they are solving 
 problems, but with the wrong results.

I found CS Lewis' signature on the internet and 
printed it on red fabric for the fire extinguisher. 
For the actual quote I used Illustrator to
design the text and printed it out on the gray
background fabric (which is extra from a 
skirt I recently made). Since these are actually
CS Lewis' words I thought it would be good
to have them looking like they are coming out 
of the fire extinguisher.

I used silver thread to free motion quilt the text. 
Boy, I was seeing circles after all those little letters!

My youngest kiddo wanted to get in on the 
free motion quilting fun too. 

I really like this quote since it's about 
Screwtape teaching to distract humans during 
a crisis with the wrong resources to life's problems.
How often do we find ourselves in a flood, 
but are tempted or distracted with the wrong solution?

Close up of the fire extinguisher handle. I used silver 
heat-resistant fabric for the handle and nozzle.

Detail of silver text.

I liked the surface patterns pictured here with the
light reflecting on the silver thread.

Blue thread was used in the bottom half of the quilt to represent the flood that the fire extinguisher is being used on. I also added a some red, in the very narrow binding, to help draw the eye across the quilt, to provide some balance to that HUGE extinguisher. 
Blue fabric was added to the binding down where the flood is taking place.  

One valuable lesson I learned is... never free motion
quilt while you are on the phone with 
one of your college kids! 
I accidentally did this on the red knob on 
the fire extinguisher handle and decided the 
quilting there was thoughtless & messy. 

Back side of the Smoke Screen quilt, which looks like the 
aftermath of fighting a flood with a fire extinguisher...
total chaos in a lost battle. 
This is where Screwtape and his minions want us to be,
lost, distracted, exhausted and confused about all our efforts.

Personal Note: 
I have found many parallels between 
the temptations from the adversary and the 
instruction from Screwtape. To me, CS Lewis' genius lies in 
understanding the enemy and discerning his 
intents, purpose and temptations with us. 
I have been training Kyokoshin Karate for 7 years. 
One thing that I have learned from karate is that 
if you are to fight an enemy, you need to study 
them and know their weaknesses and strengths 
so that you can be triumphant. 
And so it is in life...

You can view other Four In Art quilts here.

Betty at a Flickr site:
Catherine  at Knotted Cotton
Elizabeth at 
Jennifer at Secondhand Dinosaur 
Nancy at  Patchwork Breeze
Rachel at The Life of Riley
Susan at PatchworknPlay