ready the fleet

crossing the field & making marks

something must’ve struck me about the image above, for back in my scribbling days i marked it with my favorite yellow crayon, so that when i just happened to come across it some twenty eight years later in a dusty book at my parent’s shop it’d stop me – in. my. tracks. was i clumsily trying to star it because i liked the image of the women in their matching mechanic suits, walking across the air field in a confident but down to earth manner? was i already aspiring at a young age to be like one of these women? why did i mark this page…? why did i find it after all these years…? and how is it that i know for certain it was me, and not one of my sisters, that tagged it? what am i trying to foretell myself here? even though i found the mark, i often feel as if i’ve completely missed it. i’m well aware that life doesn’t come with a manual or pre-flight check list, but sometimes i just wish there was something more certain to go by. high school, check. college, check. grad school, check. career, sort-of check… on second thought, scratch that last one. where’s a good pink eraser when you need it?

my friend maggie, blogner of the curiosity shop at slotharium, recently posted about her own appreciation for rosie the riveter. she even had some local landscape interventions to experience them by this past memorial day. but seeing that it was i who begged her to start blogging, she’s now taunting me to pick up the blogging stick once again, even if i don’t feel as if i have much to say. yes ma’am…

here’s a somewhat recent cartoon, from the april 4, 2001 edition of the new yorker that’s been on the desk for a while, waiting for its moment at grwhryrpltd. it pretty much sums it up for me.


while not a worm, i do have an affinity for caterpillars, both before and after pupation. it’s especially cool when i’m able to convince a newly opened swallowtail butterfly to cling to my finger. there’s an amazing, unforgetable energy transferred from butterfly legs to human digits. you should try it sometime, if given the opportunity. i rescued this guy for a spell, then placed him on the flowering Diplo perennis (perennial corn) we’re trialing here in the garden:

male black swallowtail on perennial corn

thanks to my friend cindy for the link help to identify this guy from the gals. i was able to “rescue” another swallowtail from certain kitty doom yesterday, and she (the butterfly that is) seemed relieved for the assistance. while i may not have a matching swallowtail mechanic suit to strut amongst the sunflower patch with her, i have a quilt in the works that should suffice. it’s of my own design, modeled after the stripes on a swallowtail caterpillar. while it takes a certain amount of explanation to point out the similarities between the caterpillar and sewn squares, i sure like the mystery about it. i went to design school dang it, and not everything has to appear realistically. can you figure it out? here’s a hint: think vertically, in groups of three.

caterpillar quilt, in the works

see the resemblance?

Polyxenes asterius (black swallowtail) caterpillar

moral of the story: you really don’t need to know about everything all the time. but if you pick up clues and insights along the way, you’re probably doing okay.

now, where did that yellow crayon get to…

inspirations: fields of basil

by the time you read this i’ll be heading to houston for the international quilt festival.  this is my third time attending, and i’m picking mom up on the way for our second annual quiltapalooza reunion.  while i’m definitely looking forward to oogling all the quilts on display this year, taking a few classes and perusing the vendors, i’m particularly excited to see the Eye of the Quilter: Inspirations exhibit.  it’s their second annual photography exhibit that had an open call for submissions.  i missed entering last year, but made sure to enter this year.

my dear friend maddie got married this fall and my mom and i decided to make her a quilt.  we quickly found and agreed on the pattern “crossing,” designed by bill kerr and weeks ringle of (featured in the june 2010 issue of american patchwork & quilting).  we chose this one because it reminded us of an aerial view of farm fields and the sashing brought to mind farm-to-market roads.  perfect, because both maddie and her now husband come from hard working and fun loving farm families.  i asked maddie what her color theme for the wedding was going to be: basil green and black.  mmm, basil… at the time, basil from last year was starting to sprout all over the garden and it continued to provide a muse for this project all summer and into the fall.  mom and i chose a selection of six green batiks and opted for a dark brown batik for the sashing (black just didn’t seem right).  mom and a friend back home cut all the pieces and sent them to me for assembly.  after arranging scanned images of the fabrics in illustrator to make sure no squares of the same tone touched, i started sewing.  thank goodness i made myself a map to refer back to!  after it was all put together and kitty approved, i sent it back to mom for quilting.  we corresponded with the quilter and i sent her images of the basil growing right outside my studio window.  we discussed how important the design of the quilting itself was to the theme of the quilt and she found a quilting pattern that resembled the growing structure of basil.  i crossed my fingers that it would all come together as planned.  a few weeks later i was on a plane and the quilt was finished, waiting at home and just in time for the big event.

down on the farm
quilting detail
mother.daughter quilting duo
mother.daughter quilting duo

maddie asked us to help set up for the wedding and graciously invited us to stay at her house the night before.  i couldn’t wait to hear about their reaction upon opening the gift, so i gave it to them that evening as they wound down from an exhausting day.  the reaction was even better than i imagined, particularly from jason, who seemed shocked that someone would spend so much time and effort on a wedding gift.  that’s what you do for good friends celebrating a very special occasion.

for the newlyweds

i previously posted some photos of the quilt in-the-works, but that was before i submitted an image for the Eye of the Quilter: Inspirations exhibit.  this is the image i submitted, and now you know the story and inspirations behind it.  instead of submitting a single image, i made a triptych including an image of the garden’s basil, the aerial view of the quilt’s fields and farm-to-market roads, and the quilted basil pattern as seen from the back of the quilt:

inspired by fields of basil

i’m happy to say it was accepted into the exhibit.  see you in houston!

p.s. if you can’t make it to houston this year, head on over to amy’s creative side and her blogger’s quilt festival and take in the fun of this online quilt fest in the comfort of your own home.  there’s some really cool quilts to see… i’ll post the fields of basil there too.  enjoy.

fields of basil

i’ve been working on a quilt top for a certain someone’s special gift… i can’t disclose the details for fear she may find out, but wanted to share some pictures with you.  on monday i’m shipping it off to my mom’s to get quilted, so we’ll have to wait a few weeks before we see the final result.  in the meantime, enjoy.  the kitties sure have already…

fields of basil quilt amongst the wild basil
kitty approved
fields of basil quilt
fields and farm to market roads
envious green eyes
another hand-crafted gift that's going to be hard to give away... but those are the best...

birdie quilt

the birdie quilt is finally up and on the wall…!

click for a larger, non-fuzzy image

i started this quilt so long ago i forgot when.  it’s made from an etsuko furuya fabric panel, designed with three appliqued elements, machine quilted and hand stitched by yours truly.  i finished it in may, but didn’t get around to making and hanging the tubular steel brackets until last night – with the help of mr. grwhryrpltd, of course.   no more waking up to a blank wall!

intersecting hand-stitched circles, appliqued branch
appliqued ornament
foliage machine quilted with bernina's stitch regulator
birdie and butterfly, twee...

a quilted garden

a few weeks ago i attended the international quilt festival in houston and promised to show you some of the amazing quilts i photographed there.  as usual, i found myself drawn to quilts that depicted elements found in nature.  so come and take a stroll with me through the iqf garden… (all images are credited with the artist’s name and title).

let’s start with the handi quilter best of show award (and $10,000) winning quilt:

on the wings of a dream, by caryl bryer fallert (paducah, ky)

check out the quilting detail:

detail, on the wings of a dream, by caryl bryer fallert

winner of the world of beauty award (and $7,500) went to this magnificent baltimore album quilt:

hearts and garlands, by liz jones (leominster, herefordshire, u.k.)
hearts and garlands, by liz jones (leominster, herefordshire, u.k.)
block detail, hearts and garlands, by liz jones

the future of quilting award ($1000) went to this lovely:

tuscan sun, by gina perkes (payson, arizona)

this quilt won honorable mention in the handmade category:

the endless world II, by noriko endo (nagoya, aichi, japan)
detail of the endless world II, by noriko endo

i loved the simple fabric selection in noriko’s depiction of a traditional grandmother’s garden quilt (above).  the next quilt won the handmade category ($1000):

white dew, by tsuneko shimura (tokyo, japan). embroidery on applique.

loved the hawaiian-inspired applique on this quilt:

my mother's quilt, by yachiyo katsuno (setagaya, tokoyo, japan)
detail of chrysanthemum. my mother's quilt, by yachiyo katsuno.

this quilt won the art-abstract, small category award ($1000):

building up, by kathy york (austin, tx)

according to the artist’s statement, the quilt above is a comment on the beauty of modern urban architecture, but also on its underlying population and consumption issues.  in it i saw plan views of both buildings and parterre gardens.

beyond the horizon, by mary ann hildebrand (comfort, tx)

the quilt above was AMAZING!  according to the artists’ statement (a wife and husband team), the appliqued design was based on a woodcut that appeared in Flammarions Book on Astronomy, first published in the late 1800’s.  here’s a detailed image:

detail, beyond the horizon, by mary ann hildebrand.

another blazing beauty:

rose mandala I, by anne lullie (lake in the hills, il)

the following quilt was inspired by a cross-sectional cut of a tree:

cycles of life, by jean wells keenan (sisters, or)

this quilt was just too funny, and as neon as it looks in the picture:

starbugs fly-thru cafe, by kathy kennedy-dennis (houston, tx)

this one was long and lean:

carrot farm, by carol morrissey (double oak, tx)

the next quilt was INCREDIBLE!  i loved the multiple perspective points along the split rail and field rows:

everyday barns & family farms, by karen hanken (medford, or)

you can’t really tell from the photos, but the multiple angles of the barn vignettes made the entire piece look like siding on an old barn.  here’s a detail:

detail of everyday barns & family farms, by karen hanken

i fell in love with this one:

keeping watch over carlson ranch, by david taylor (steamboat springs, co)

the artist used rust-dyed fabrics to realistically depict the owl’s feathers.  it.was.STUNNING.  here are some details:

detail of feather applique, keeping watch over carlson ranch, by david taylor
detail of quilting, keeping watch over carlson ranch, by david taylor

the following whole-cloth quilt won the superior threads master award for thread artistry ($5000):

protection, by hollis chatelain (hillsborough, nc)
thread detail, protection, by hollis chatelain

yes, the ENTIRE image is made with thread…!

thread detail, protection, by hollis chatelain

the following quilt won the traditional pieced category award ($1000):

relationship, by kayoko hata (yokohama, kanagawa pref, japan)

i really liked its color palette:

detail, relationship, by kayoko hata

this quilt won honorable mention in the traditional applique category:

my challenge, by vicki jenkin (horsham, victoria, australia). based on magical medallion pattern by karen kay buckley.

every good quilt garden needs a classical reference or two:

medea escaping, by marilyn belford (chenango forks, ny)

and a way to mark time:

zodiac, by martha brown (pickering, ontario, canada)

zodiac was pretty amazing.  the image above was at the center and was surrounded by the artist’s interpretation of the astrological signs.  here’s a detail of leo:

detail of leo, in zodiac, by martha brown

and aries:

detail of aries, in zodiac, by martha brown

the show’s youngest white-glove curator (or so her mom told us) saw us looking at the quilt, and showed us its inspiration, which was stitched on the back of the quilt:

embroidered zodiac, made when the artist was a teenager (martha brown)

this next quilt was absolutely STUNNING:

african adventure, by janneke de vries-bodzinga (kollumekzwaag, friesland, netherlands)

great color gradations throughout, accentuated by tone-on-tone quilting:

leaf detail, african adventure, by janneke de vries-bodzinga

and the bubbles even looked like water:

bubble detail, african adventure, janneke de vries-bodzinga

the quilt below had lovely applique work and won first place in the mixed technique category ($1000).

note 3/24/10: i previously misidentified this quilt, but paula byrd brought it to my attention – my apologies to ms. jones, and thank you ms. byrd!

"the fernery" by liz jones (leominster, herefordshire, united kingdom)

this one was a pretty view:

a tree's nature, by lucia chan (forest hills, ny)

a moon garden:

she came by the light of the moon, by marlene shea (wethersfield, ct)

this quilt won first place in the minature quilt category:

mission: impossible 2, by kumiko frydl (houston, tx)

just look at the size comparison between the quilt and the blue ribbon!  its a teeny tiny 128 point mariner’s compass…!  proof nothing’s impossible for kumiko:

detail, mission: impossible 2, by kumiko frydl

this quilt won honorable mention in the art-painted surface category:

moon garden, by judy coates-perez (chicago, il)

the colors and lines on this quilt were quite nice:

winter to spring, by kathy york (austin, tx)

i REALLY liked this one:

surfing school-winter, by harumi iida (kamakura, japan)

and last, but certainly not least, we pass through the fabric forest:

fabric forest, an installation by the grobenzeller quiltgruppe of germany

there were many trees of fabric suspended from the ceiling.  you could walk around them to observe how different artists interpreted their favorite trees.  the aspen was my favorite:

detail of aspen, by vassen heidrun (unterhaching, germany), member of the grobenzeller quiltgruppe
walking through the quilted trees...

it was quite an inspiration, walking by all those quilts.  if you have any interest in design, regardless of your choice of media, i highly recommend making a trek to this show.  it will surely inspire you too.

if you want more information, or to see entire images of the winning quilts, click here.