Thursday, August 10, 2017

Folk Art Fun!

This past weekend Dave and I headed back into the Adirondacks for a Syracuse University Alumni event. We go every year during the first weekend in August. Usually our speaker for the weekend is someone from campus who talks about their education programs or topics of central New York interest. Sports marketing, Civil Engineering, the Erie Canal, Healthcare, for example.

This year, our speaker was Warren Kimble, graduate of the class of ’57 and former member of the football cheerleading squad! His tagline from his website is “America’s Best Known Living Folk Artist.”

Warren shared his experiences creating and licensing his artwork. this is one of the pieces typical of his work that we got to see up close and in person.



Warren always include three clouds in each of his painting. It’s a trademark. And his paintings of animals notably have human-like eyes.



Here’s Warren. For 82 years young, Warren is quite the achiever. His start on the cheerleading squad seems to have left a mark on his life. Warren is a huge community advocate for his hometown of Brandon, Vermont.



“Widows of War” is a study of the Iraq war and its toll on those left behind when soldiers leave home to fight. This is one of the paintings in that recent series of artworks.



A close up of this canvas on canvas painting. It's really pretty amazing! See the torn and raveled edges of the canvas pieces?



Next came the fun part. As a hands-on option, we each had the opportunity to create our own piece of folk art with Warren’s guidance. Our mission: painting leaf transfers onto wooden boxes. We cheated a bit, with concerns over a potential time-crunch, Warren painted each box with a black gesso base coat.



I added a layer of splashy blue with ordinary Saran wrap, crinkled up and dipped in paint, then applied onto the box.



Since the forecast for the weekend included quite a bit of rain, Warren collected bunches and bunches of leaves for us. Then things got a little messy (and very fun), painting, the leaves, then transferring the leaf shape to the wooden box.





TaDa! I used leaves and sticks for my painted shapes. Then I added bright reds and yellows to loosely interpret wild columbine flowers. Dave said I missed the mark on the columbines, but he opted out of the project, so he doesn't get an opinion. I like it!



Everyone (who participated - ahem!) had a great time creating! Look at all these painted boxes and baskets!



I think I’ll use mine to store embroidery threads, or maybe all that sock yarn that I’m collecting for a rainy day!

Happy Stitching!

Joan Ford

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The List

For the past several years, my friend, Gail invites me to her camp in the woods just steps away from Panther Lake.




The location is pretty remote. Since I’ve been going there for a friends weekend of sewing, Gail has added a little improvement here and here. This year a new refrigerator and new kitchen flooring. Nice!

Out in the yard, the Indian Pipes (also known as Ghost Flowers) were in bloom. Pretty!




Sometimes Peaches gets to come along, too. She likes to supervise the sewing activity from her perch overlook.




As for that project list I was packing last week, time for an accounting. A  few things actually did get wrapped up before I left, specifically, my Splendid Sampler quilt. I’ve had a couple of questions about how I quilted it. I’ll tell you a little more about that in a future article. For now, I’m pleased that it’s done, quilted bound and labeled. I used one of the bonus blocks to decorate my label.




These small projects make from leftover class samples were the first items to get buttoned up during the mini retreat.




Next I pulled out those really fun brightly colored fabrics with the cool zipper. And got busy making colorful half-square triangles with my 2-1/2” Blocloc trimming tool. I made a bunch of 2” half-square triangles then . . .




. . . kept on going until I had a little bag that will be a special gift for a certain little niece. Sorry, there isn’t a pattern for this one. I just winged it with the fabrics and tools I brought with me.




I like it when I can take a project from start-to-finish on these sewing holidays. 1) it gets it off my unfinished project shelf and then 2) it goes right into service doing what it was made to do, and 3) I feel a real sense of accomplishment when I can actually see, touch, hold a finished project, and 4) that’s a really good feeling!

I jump around from project to project when I have to, but a sewing retreat is ‘my’ sewing time, and I’m so much happier when I can stay focused.

Next up was this little gadget bag from a pattern by By Annies. This was a last-minute impulse throw-in during my final packing push. The pattern came in a kit with everything except the fabric to make the bag. That whale fabric seems a perfect fit for this little project and a really nice use for fabric I purchased on the Alaska cruise I did a couple years ago. I have to say, the pattern threw me for a loop in a couple spots, but overall, it’s a really cute bag and I can’t wait to fill it with threads and scissors for my next cross-stitch project.




I didn’t mention this project either last week when I was making my packing plans. But I always like to have that ‘other’ project to work on while I’m piecing the main project. I started these blocks when I finished the Splendid Sampler quilt top. I had a lot of long, skinny leftover fabric strips. The Creative Grids Mini Pineapple tool made it into my sewing room at about the same time, and it was a great way to use up those skinny scraps! This weekend, I was determined to finish up the 35 blocks I had planned. Mission accomplished!




Now I just have to figure out how I’m going to sash and set the blocks.



For a good portion of the last two days I worked on these Nearly Insane blocks and got a start on my Christmas ornaments (not sharing pictures of those as some of you might be on my family/holiday mailing list!) The nearly insane blocks are all 6” finished size, and the book that inspires them has no actual instructions for the blocks. The block illustrations were drafted from an antique quilt. With a lot of measuring, cutting, trimming, and tool-using, I’m going to take my time working on these blocks whenever I’m in the mood or on a sewing holiday. Doncha love the combination of Liberty fabric and other solid colored scraps?




Camp Clammie got its nickname because we get a bag or two of littleneck clams to enjoy during our dinner breaks. So yummy!! And tradition is tradition!




And Gail makes up a bunch of fresh salads. These veggies are ready to grill. Once grilled she chopped them up into a salad with some balsamic dressing. Also yummy!




There’s Gail during one of our evening sewing sessions. The machines are set up in the garage. When the garage door is up, and the screen is in place to keep the bugs and other critters out, it almost feels like we’re sewing right in the yard!




Gail also kept pace by completing several quilt tops. Including this beauty on the design wall.




The weekend wrapped up with a little hand sewing. This is one of two Baltimore album-style quilt projects in my in-progress project stack. I keep reminding myself. . .One stitch at a time . . .




If you are paying close attention, you may have noticed that a couple of projects that I said I was going to take along didn’t quite make this report card. That includes the paper-piecing project and the cage cover. They came with me, but they didn’t get any further than that. C’est la vie!

I guess that just means I’ll have to go on another retreat. Speaking of that, are you coming to the retreat with me in Vermont at the Strong House Inn? Once summer is wrapped up, I’m going to be on a serious tear to finalize all the prep-work for that amazing (and very mysterious) project. I do hope you’ll join me.

In the meantime, let's enjoy summer!

Happy Stitching!

Joan Ford