I decided to pop these three art quilts into the shop. Each is an original work of art, 12” x 12”, includes a hanging sleeve, and is ready to add a little color to your home.
Oh happy day! I am so pleased to have my quilt, Las Ventanas, in the new 2019 Curated Quilts calendar. This lovely calendar is printed on the same matte finish paper as the CQ magazine and is constructed in such a way that the quilt photos can later be cut out and framed if desired. See more calendar quilts or purchase one here: Curated Quilts Magazine.
My copies have finally arrived and I’d like to giveaway two of them to two lucky winners. If you would like to be in on the giveaway, please comment once below and tell me what is your favorite item in either of my shops. The giveaway is open to US destinations only. Feel free to let your friends know about the giveaway. Comments close on Thursday at 5 pm (Pacific time). I will be choosing two names from the hat on Thursday night so I can ship on Friday. I will be going on vacation next week, so final shop orders will also go out on Friday. Thanks and good luck!
**** Please note, I have no way to contact you directly from Squarespace. If you enter the contest, please put your email address in the comments separated by spaces (ie- name @ gmail.com). OR, if you prefer to keep your email private, be on the look out for a blog post Thursday evening. If I don’t hear from the winners by 8 pm Thursday I’ll have to choose other names. Thanks!
The Mt Bachelor Quilters' Guild Quilt Show in the Park was last Saturday. It was an amazing day for the quilt show with picture perfect weather. It was sunny, dry, and not too hot. The smoke of the previous week had cleared out and this week's smoke was yet to come. I took lots of photos of the show, but have posted the rest of them on the guild 's website. So please go to the link if you want to see the rest of the show.
In this post I will highlight the Undercover Quilters special exhibit of Martin Marten quilt. Our quilts were inspired by Martin Marten by Brian Doyle. If you like these quilts I hope you'll consider reading this wonderful novel. To see what they looked like a few days before this go to my previous post about our quilt reveal meeting.
I think our quilts looked amazing together, partly due to the uniform size of 40x40 inches. They were also paired beautifully as you'll see below. After the paired photos I'll go through each quilt individually, so keep reading to find out the scoop behind the quilts.
Jane's quilt was inspired by the techniques of quilter Susan Carlson. It was really amazing to see how this one came together. Jane used many different Australian prints to bring this scene to life. One thing I love about these quilts is that although 6 of them include the marten, none of the quilters does it the same way. And that tree is amazing! I love the blue streaks.
This book is a coming of age novel of a sort, but it follows two main characters as they grow up. One is Martin the marten and the other is Dave the boy who lives in a log cabin with his family in the little hamlet of Zigzag on the slopes of Wy'east* in Oregon, USA.
Doyle is one the most amazing authors to read because his love of language comes through every page. This book includes all manner of tales of the people of the community and an amazing variety of natural history about the wildlife. I feel like I know a whole lot more about pine martens after reading this book.
One of the things we highly encourage in our group is to get your quilt done in any way that it makes sense to you. If you happen to have the perfect UFO lying around with a log cabin and lots of animals which were mentioned in the book, then yes, please go with that. Lani got lucky in that these blocks were already made and she only had to put them together and quilt it. How perfect is that embroidered log cabin? Did you know that the Beaver is our state mammal? If you aren't a quilter, did you know that quilt block is called log cabin? This quilt is soft and cozy and oh so perfect for the book. Lani noted that her family has a cabin in the little town of Rhododendron which is in the same area this novel is set.
* Wy'east is the Multnomah tribe name for Mt Hood which is in the northern part of Oregon and part of the Cascade Mountain Range. In the Author's Note at the beginning of the book Doyle calls it the "holy mountain Wy'east". One of the main characters in the novel, Dave, "prefers to say that he lives on Wy'east, which is what the first people who lived on the and around it called the mountain for thousands of years, rather than Hood, which is what some guy from another country called it one day."
Betty is a talented art quilter who likes to hand dye her own fabric. This piece includes hand dyes and depicts the river that runs through the town in the book. In fact, the town is named for the river and that's true in real life, though Doyle makes pains to say that the town of Zigzag in the book is not like the real life town of Zigzag.
"On the other hand, the Zigzag River in this book absolutely is the real Zigzag River on the holy mountain Wy'east."
Betty perfectly depicts the river flowing through the trees with dappled sun and shade.
Suzanne is one of two new members to our group. She really outdid herself with this map quilt which shows Wy'east with its glacier and the ribbon of the Zigzag river flowing from the glacier . Dave's sister Maria is a precocious child who sees the world from a map based perspective. I love that Suzanne picked up on this detail for her quilt. The running trails are shown as well as Dave and Maria's log cabin and another version of Martin. The applique for this quilt was all layered on top of a white background. We were all impressed by how she did the chinks in the logs of the log cabin. Those are just slits cut into the brown fabric. It works perfectly! She also did a tiny marten in the trees. What a wonderful addition to the group!
Sally's quilt was a bit of a surprise at our quilt reveal. Previously we had only seen the tree trunk and then she showed up with that adorable marten face! It really makes this quilt and fits the book perfectly. She also represented his sharp claws which are mentioned specifically in the book. One of the things we see Martin do throughout the book is he watches other animals and people as they go about their days. A watchful marten is one that learns and lives. Sally's color choices are also interesting and so effective.
Martha is the one member of our group who is famous for her last minute quilt finishes. If you look at the previous post which was on a Monday night, you'll see that her quilt didn't have Dave in it and didn't have the marten. She had only three days to finish the whole thing because the quilts needed to be turned in last Friday. Somehow she pulled it off and it came out great! Martha has depicted the moment that Dave and Martin see each other for the first time.
"Marten! And just as Dave realized what sort of animals they were and blurted it aloud, they vanished back into the woods, graceful and silent as wraiths; but the last one heard Dave say the word and turned and looked at Dave, and he and Dave stared for a long instant at each other before Martin slipped under a fern frond, following his family, and Dave stood up, thrilled and stiff, and walked home to tell his family what he had seen."
Martha also does a lot of hand dyed fabric and other fabric manipulation. She includes fabric painting and fabric collage here.
Cindy's tale of this quilt is quite interesting and complicated and if you ever see her you should ask her about it. This is the short version. The raccoon became her focus when she decided to take a workshop with Sophie Standing. Everyone in the class was going to do a raccoon and with this book it worked out perfectly because just about any animal you can imagine living in the Oregon Cascades is mentioned in the book. Anyway, Cindy learned Sophie's stitching technique at a workshop where it turned out her table mate was none other than NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg. Have you seen this cool video of Karen sewing in the International Space Station? But I digress... Well, then there was another story that Cindy tells of a recent camping trip in Yosemite National Park when a raccoon stole a Baggallini purse from the tent. That's how the quilt got its name.
There were other misadventures I haven't mentioned here, but I don't want to give away Cindy's whole story. Besides, just take a look at this beautiful raccoon! The raccoon panel is created separately from the quilt underneath. It was made with various commercial cotton prints over which Cindy stitched with many colors of thread. It really is stunning. The eyes, which took many hours just on their own, are only created with stitching.
This is my quilt and I already wrote a whole post about it, so I'll refer you there, but I did want to point out that this is Dave's sister Maria. She looks wiser than her years even though this scene is her 6th birthday. But as I mentioned before she is quite precocious so I gave her a more serious look. Also, this is her Cassin's Finch which was a birthday gift from the Unabled Lady. (You'll have to read the book to understand the way Doyle names people). However, there is one little twist to this story. In the birthday scene Maria's finch is indicated to be a female. Later in the book the bird is clearly stated to be a male and that is what I depicted here. I am guessing this was just an oversight, and I'd love to ask Doyle about it, but he passed away last year. The later passage talks about bird song and says "he, the finch" several times, so I suspect that is what he meant it to be from the beginning. Anyway, that passage is a delightful discussion of how Cassin's finches came to be called that. It's in chapter 42 in case you are interested.
And Martin! Yes, here's another version of Martin.
Cheryl is the other new member to the group and I'm particularly delighted about that because she's my sister. Cheryl's quilt is so representative of her style of art. She is primarily a glass artist (shop Silly Dog Art Glass) and she works in a whimsical folk art style which really comes through here. She loves to do hand work and this quilt is no exception- it simply oozes with hand embroidery and hand quilting. Cheryl has also represented Martin here, but not in a traditional way. The ribbon of gold winding through the trees is Martin on his way to something. He is also written about this way as he quickly makes his way through the forest.
"....perhaps as you walk in the woods or sprawl in a mountain meadow or lie abed early in the morning and stare out the windows, sure that you just saw, just for and instant, a flash of golden brown against the long green splash of the trees."
Susan was inspired by this bear block from a UFO she had. Again, if you've got the perfect thing already started, just keep going. We love to finish up those UFOs! Susan found a passage to go with it too.
"Up and up comes a very old bear through the thinning juniper and alpine fir and into the tumbled rock fields, and Martin watches from a high stone pillar."
In this case the bear block also includes the orange bear paw pattern which is a traditional block. I believe this block was from a local block of the month. The rest of the quilt includes wonderful forest colors of brown and green.
And that's a wrap for this particular exhibit. We already have plans for the quilts to be exhibited at QuiltWorks in Bend and hopefully at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show next year. I hope you enjoyed them!
The Undercover Quilters is my quilting book club. We have 14 members now, though two have moved away. For those who don't know we read a book every month just like a regular book club. Every year we choose one book we've read to make quilts from. You should also know that the only rule about our club is that you can't quit. You don't have to read the book and you don't have to make a quilt. For this exhibit we have 10 finished quilts. I should also note that though we call this a quilt "reveal" we have actually seen the quilts along the way. There's often a lot of finishing in that last month though and often there are wonderful surprises.
This year our book choice was Martin Marten by Brian Doyle. This book is a coming of age novel about a boy named Dave and a marten named Martin. It's just wonderful and set right here in Oregon on the slopes of Mt Hood. As you'll see, our quilts celebrate the nature of the Pacific Northwest.
When we do our quilt reveal meeting it's just a few days before the Mt Bachelor Quilters' Guild show which is our debut exhibition. We never really know which quilts will be complete, there's always some that have a little ways to go (or sometimes a lot). Some of our members are a bit shy, but I've posted the quilt name and maker's name for each. I love that every maker has a different style. We often try new techniques for these quilts and we share our quilt knowledge at every meeting. Enjoy the quilts and be ready for the next post from the quilt show in which all of these quilts will be complete.
The past few weeks have been super busy getting this quilt ready to show last Saturday at our guild quilt show. If you were following my Instagram feed I was noting the amount of time it took for the machine quilting. It turned out to be about 20 hours just for that, plus another 5 hours to do the facing, sleeve and label. Not to mention countless hours I spent designing and creating the fusible pieces. You could also count the hours spent making the four smaller faces which gave me the confidence to start this quilt. All in all, I'm only counting hours so I can have an honest answer when the inevitable question comes up. I don't do that for every quilt I make and I know there are some quilts I've sold for a pittance compared to the amount of hours that went into them. Luckily, I don't think I'll ever sell this one.
Maria and the Finch is 40x40 inches which was the size my book club determined for every quilt in this exhibit. A consistent size helped make this a very cohesive exhibit which you'll see in a future post.
My first task for getting on with this quilt about a month ago was to make the marten face. I based this image on the book cover. You can see the cover in the last photo of this post. I wanted to make it look like Martin was hiding in the flowers and originally intended to put a lot more flowers in the mix. As I was adding flowers I changed my mind and made it a bit more simple.
Once all the pieces were fused down I pinned it and got out a bunch of threads to get ready for quilting. I ended up adding more colors of thread. This free motion quilting included lots of thread changes which is one reason it took so long. In addition, I prefer to bury my thread ends and I like to do that as I go which makes things a little slower.
I started with the all important face. First I got out my previous face samples to study for a bit. It had been a while since I did them and I wanted to get a feel for the process again. Then I just dived in! It's not perfect, but do you know a face that is?
I love looking it at on the reverse too. In order to keep from having the fabric bunch up I worked my way from the face out to the edges. I did the shirt next, then the flowers and the marten before heading up into the sky.
The bird got it's quilting, but the legs didn't get done until later. They are just heavily free motion stitched lines.
I attempted some fur texture on the marten's face and body.
Doing a person's skin is a particular challenge. I've gotten used to doing the faces, but when it came to the arms I wasn't sure what to do and ended up with these lines. The rest of the quilt is pretty densely quilted, so I wanted to keep the amount of quilting similar throughout.
As with my other face quilts, I don't do any stitching at all until the applique is fused and the quilt is layered with batting and backing. Therefore, the stitching I do to hold the fused pieces down is also the quilting. I also add stitching to every single piece. I just prefer it that way and I don't trust the fusible stuff to keep it all together over time.
Below you'll find my label which I create in Microsoft Word and print onto printable fabric. I hope you'll consider reading Martin Marten yourself. It's a wonderful book and the quilts our group made are really fantastic. More on that in the next post!