Monday, November 28, 2011

The Glamorous Life Continues!

On the 10th day of patching and painting my studio, I finished the job at 7:30 pm! Wow, it's finally done.

Day 11, is "put it back together" day.  Well, I was so tired after all the painting I decided I needed a break--so I took a nap instead. Eventually I did work at getting parts of the room back in place. The work is slow as I cleaned everything, tossed out stuff and tried to find all my rulers!  I reorganized all my patterns and book stock, so it is easier to fill orders, hooked up the TV and DVD player. My great grandmother's tea cart holds my phone, phone books, paper and pencils.  It took a long time to gently dust all the surfaces, clean the glass tray on the top and hook up the phone and answering machine. This is stuff I'm not good at: cleaning and organizing stuff. "Where did I put those rulers?"

Great grandma's tea cart, is now my communications center! This cart was formerly painted white and sat on the porch at Winona Lake--almost as long as I have been alive.  I am now its caretaker, a job I take seriously!
It was time to start dinner, so I went to the basement and got one more load of stuff to put away, and there they were. All the rulers were sitting under a huge stack of old drawings and notebooks!  I was afraid something had happened to the rulers.  Now the rulers are back in their corner stored above my cutting table.

My rulers have always been on the ledge near my cutting table.  Nothing felt "right" in my new studio until they were back in their place.

Now I can relax, I've found the rulers.  Tomorrow I will begin to hang my quilts and other artwork on my freshly painted walls. On Day 12 I'll give you a quilters tour of my studio next time.  Soon I will be back at my quilting.

Ann Fahl

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's a Glamorous Life

Recently I got back from a teaching trip in Monterey CA. They treated me very well there, and I had an enjoyable time. The students were amazing, I am proud of the work they accomplished in the 2 day workshop.  There were two highlights for me personally; I stayed with Dave and Sally who were wonderful hosts, they had a magnificent garden. Two, I took a beautiful drive down the Pacific coast on Hwy 1.  Rita and Stan were my tour guides. Here are some of the highlights.
Shore view with natural archway, it was a beautiful day.

Looking in the other direction the mist creates a mysterious view of the mountains in the distance

A hillside view of the succulent garden at the home of my hosts.  What a rich assortment of plantlife I rarely see in WI

This garden had multiple levels, these stairs lead to a view of a small canyon behind the house.

Upon my return home, a combination of events occurred and I decided to paint my studio. This is a job that is long overdue. I ripped off the dark paneling, patched, scraped and primed and textured the walls. There is probably about a week's worth of work remaining. Sometimes it is good to take time off from quilting designing and blogging. I'll get back to those things. This is just another part of my glamorous life as a quilt artist and teacher.
Here is the artist disguised as a house painter!
 Here I am dressed for a day of painting and patching, wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving.

Ann Fahl

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Topstitch Needles Go on an Adventure!

For a number of years I've been selling my patterns, books and notions on the web.  When an order comes in, I am so pleased that someone likes my stuff enough to purchase it. Last year I decided to offer a 4 pack of Titanium needles on my website.  I really believe in them, they have made my work easier. 

Late in September a customer I will call Mary, ordered a 4 pack.  I shipped them to her Sep 28 in a hand addressed envelope.  Two weeks later, she hadn't received them so I shipped her another set.  This time with trackable label. Again, Mary let me know envelope #2 hadn't arrived and she was using her last titanium needle, wasn't there something I could do?  It's November by this time, and the tracking information said the envelope was undeliverable and would  be shipped back to me.  I wondered what was going on?

Here is envelope #1 as it arrived back at my studio after a month and a half
 So I sent her another package, again with a trackable label.  Finally envelope #2 arrived at her house.  It was too late, because #3 was already on its way.  Then envelope #3 arrived.  And just the other day envelope #1 arrived! Wow, all those envelopes were so late in getting to Mary's house!  Where do you suppose they went?

Do you suppose #1 made a stop in Hawaii, visited relatives, did it hide in the mail truck?  Mary wrote me again, after I told her all the extra packs had finally been returned to my studio.  She remarked, "no matter snow or sleet, the post office delivers."  So I guess it does, but we have to be patient.
Spring Gift, original quilt by Ann Fahl

So I've decided that after an early start, the needles went on a trip to Houston to see the big show and visit my entry Spring Gift, before they went on to Mary's house.  She was surely waiting for those needles, and this evening, I picture her as being warm and cozy; sewing a quilt in front of her fireplace!

Stay warm
Ann Fahl

Sunday, November 13, 2011

This Really is My Last Post on the La Conner Show

Today a CD arrived in the mail from my cousin. Bravely, she took both her 88 year old father and her husband to see my show. She sent pictures that I have not gotten from others. I thought you'd like to see them. I'll keep it short.
The Gaches Mansion, houses the La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum photo by John Adams
This beautiful home is well cared for by its current occupants.  Currently there is a fund raising campaign underway for additional renovations. There are 3 floors that include exhibit space and a gift shop.  My exhibit, The Quilted Garden, is on the second floor.
A museum visitor studying a quilt on the second floor, photo by John Adams
My cousin Charlie pictured above is looking at my Coneflower Fiesta quilt which I have posted more than once on this blog. This is the first chance that he has gotten to see Indiana Memories, a quilt I made in honor of his mother!
Indiana Memories by Ann Fahl
The above swan quilt was made to honor Nelda Vibrans, my great aunt, who died in the 1990's.  Both of us loved Winona Lake IN and spent lots of time there.  The swan was a symbol of the area because there was a small swan pond downtown.  Nelda liked to sew, knit, was an artist and a singer.  She made a few quilts, of which I have one. The yellow leaves filled the Indiana autumn days when her memorial service was held.  I scooped some of them up on my way back to Wisconsin; and eventually they wound up in this quilt. The swan is sitting on a nest of magenta yarn, symbolic of her love of fiber and knitting.

End of the Season by Ann Fahl

This brilliant quilt is about autumn, a time when there is nothing left of my black eyed susans except the seed heads.  I placed them on bright patchwork to contrast the dying blossoms.  I love this piece because of all the hot colors on the patchwork. This quilt is included in the exhibit on the second floor of the museum.

Let me know if you get to see the show.

Thanks for reading once again.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Trying Something New

New tools to add to my toolbox!
Quilting has been an important part of my life since I since I walked into my first quilting class in 1978. Shortly thereafter, I started my own business, and I've been thinking, breathing, eating and dreaming QUILTING! I have made quilts numbering in the hundreds. Maybe I'm slowing down, or getting old, but I want to try something new.

Designing and making quilts will always be an important part of my life, but I no longer want to do this 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I want time to do other things; to clear away the lint and take time to smell the roses and coneflowers!

Tonight I went to an orientation meeting for people that would like to become Master Gardener Volunteers. This is a program that is run by the University of WI extension service.  Other states have similar programs. They are looking for people that want to learn about all the facets of gardening and spend time creating new gardens in public spaces and helping others learn about growing things.  I want to learn more about growing plants and good garden design.

This could be the perfect new thing for me to try. It could be a life enriching experience, expand a community garden or two, and a perfect companion to my quilting life! Who knows what might develop? I'll have to wait and see what transpires.

Ann Fahl

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Oreo Continues to Entertain at the La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum

Summer Sanctuary, is a quilt when first completed didn't include Oreo.  She was added later!
Please just one more blog about my show at the La Conner, it runs through Dec 31, 2011!  This is the longest running exhibit I've ever had. Several people have let me know how much they enjoyed my show and the other 2 ongoing exhibits at La Conner, WA.  Some of you have even sent photos for me to see, it's been great. Believe me, it kills me to not be able to go and see it for myself!

A Quilter's Menagerie, is the first quilt that my husband has ever suggested a title for.
Because the size of this quilt is large, it makes a big impact: whether it hangs in my living room or is displayed at a show. This is a fun one to look at because there are so many details when you step up close to it. The green hand dyed fabrics were died by Dagmar Plenk of Milwaukee. She does are marvelous job of blending the procion dyes to make interesting fabrics.  They seem to glow behind the tree!

This is a smorgasbord quilt that contains at least one of everything that I do: metallic thread, hand bead, machine embroidery and quilting, machine applique, and all the animals and images that I've used throughout my career.

Indiana Memories was included in A Black and White Tale as part of Oreo's adventures
 Although Oreo isn't in this beautiful swan quilt, it has become part of her story in Jacquie's and my book about her adventures.  The quilt makes me feel wonderful, but when I look at the quilting I did, I'm amazed at how much I've improved since making this quilt.
Under the Giant Coneflowers is always a crowd favorite
Here Oreo is walking under the leftover coneflowers from Wow That's Orange. Wow, is also in the exhibit. I'll leave you with a springy quilt on this rainy November Day.  Do you remember Tiny Tim?
Tiptoe, lots of hand beading on this one
But now I realize that this one isn't in the show.  We can still enjoy it anyhow.  I will be talking more about metallic threads in the near future.

Ann Fahl

Sunday, November 6, 2011

This Time It's a Blue Metallic Thread!

I'm almost finished with the embroidery of the papyrus blossoms in this new quilt, but have a loooong way to go.  Next I'll embroider the brown portion of that plant that holds the flower.  I love the way the dark blue accents the blue/green hand dyed fabric. The contrast is greater than the green metallic I used on some of the other flowers.  See my earlier post.  This will make the quilt for interesting for the viewer!

The more you can embroider with metallics, the fewer problems you will have.  Quilting through the entire sandwich is more challenging.  I detail all this in my new Mastering Metallics booklet.

Ann Fahl

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Still Playing with Metallics!

For several months I've been working on a major piece.  When it's ready to exhibit I will show it to you, and write about how it developed.  But for now, I'm just beginning to embroider portions of it. The collage I've been working on, has been sort of a test piece for this new one which is currently titled, Egyptian Garden III.

After spending several days embroidering just stems, it was time to work on the papyrus flower/leaf.  I planned the embroidery (decorative stitching on just the quilt top) by doodling on a life size drawing on paper of the flower.  Right away I came up with something I really liked.  Since I've been playing with metallic threads now, I chose to use a green metallic on a mottled green flower. I used a topstitch 14/90 needle with the spool sitting upright.
Embroidered stylized papyrus ©2011 Ann Fahl
I am so thrilled with how this turned out, I just had to share it with you. The base of the flower hasn't been embroidered yet, but it will be stitched next. When the quilt is finished, the quilting will enhance the design direction that you see here.  From time to time, I'll show you little bits and pieces of this new quilt.

That's all for now.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Beading Begins

Closed toe generic darning foot that Ann prefers for quilting around beads
Now that the embroidery is complete on the collage, I've started the beading. Unlike Lyric, I bead then quilt with a clear generic closed toe darning foot.  This system works well for me. In a much earlier post I discussed the pros and cons of darning feet.

The spot on the collage I chose first was the little wavy red line on the right hand side of the quilt. Check previous post for photos of this collage "Playing with Fabric." I ran a line of short stacks of seed beads.  I chose a size 6 yellow bead for the base and an iridescent red size 11 bead for the top.  This created an interesting line through the center.  Before viewing Lyric's dvd I would have just stitched a single line of seed beads down the middle and that would be it. So I've learned something new that is lots of fun. I love the combination of the two colors, it would be fun with 3 colors too!
Next I couldn't wait to put single bead stacks on the ends of the spiral eyelashes on the lower left corner. I chose the same size 6 red bead for the base and a size 11 black bead for the top.  This adds a nice little touch to the ends.  Although it doesn't show in this photo, the spiral is appliqued with a rusty red metallic thread and the eyelashes are covered with a red metallic size 40 thread.

Next, I decided to change colors and bead the inside of the large lime green leaf at the center top.  I tightly clustered some iridescent seed beads in the center. The leaf was hand painted and left over from my quilt titled Summer Sanctuary. The edges of the pink center already had a little free-motion stitching in a variegated pink thread.

Who knows what is next?

Ann Fahl