Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wartime Stories 72 Years Ago

Christmas 1941 and 1942

Everyone knew that war was coming. Since that June when he'd graduated from West Point and immediately  gone into flight training, both Scott Peddie and his fiancee Mary Lib knew that some time soon they might get separated. They decided that if he got orders, they'd immediately get married. Mary Lib, majoring in biology at Vassar, was in her sophomore year. But if she was married, she'd have to leave school  and she regretted the rest of her life not being able to continue her schooling There would be huge changes ahead for both of them. Then Pearl Harbor happened December 7 and by the next day, with an impassioned declaration from President Roosevelt, we were in the war. A declaration of war on Nazi Germany followed December 11 and everyday life in the US shifted into a wartime rhythm with "Put your shoulder to the wheel-" determination.

After many telegrams (the telephones lines were overloaded and she sometimes had to wait hours for a connection), Mary Lib left Vassar the second week of December and took the train back to Oklahoma City. Scott was granted one day leave. They were married Christmas Day 1941and immediately started life as a married couple, moving from airfield to airfield as the engineers and pilots worked to get the kinks out of the B-26 Martin Marauders he flew and the men in his squadron shaped up, shipped out, or bought the farm. The couple only owned a convertible car, one steamer trunk with their clothes and his uniforms and a cocker spaniel named Lady came along for the ride. Scott was 23 and Mary Lib was 20 years old.

The B-26 Marauder had another name--the Widowmaker--since design problems with the short wings were still being worked out. As the wife of the squadron leader, it was Mary Lib's job to be an example to the
other pilots' wives. If a pilot "bought the farm" (died in training), it was her job to get to the pilot's house as soon as possible and either break the news to the wife or to console her until other help arrived. On more than one occasion, she was faced with an hysterical woman who wanted to kill herself. It was a lot for a 20 year-old to handle but then again, people had to grow up fast to cope with the situation. The phrase 'one a day in Tampa Bay' referred to pilot casualty numbers as the B-26's trained and as the young pilots found that 'coming in hot' (very fast precise landing) was what the new plane required due to its short wings and heavy fuel-load capacity.

Mary Lib's own situation became more precarious when she became pregnant and was hospitalized for a week in Septmeber with bleeding. Scott found his bride a plane ride back to Oklahoma City so she could see her family doctor. The news was not good. The young couple had RH-negative factor. The doctor advised that she should consider a late-term abortion and then plan to not have any other children. Scott had other ideas and consulted a man in his squadron whose brother was an obstetrics surgeon at Johns Hopkins. Advice from the surgeon was different-"Stay off your feet for the rest of the pregnancy and you might be OK." With regret Mary Lib stopped traveling with Scott and she and Lady flew back to Oklahoma City to wait out the pregnancy.

The couple exchanged impassioned letters and many telegrams but then Scott got orders: he was to lead the first squadron of American B-26 bombers to North Africa to join up with the British as they pushed Rommel to the sea. The 443rd Bomb Squadron of the 320th Bomb Group was ordered to leave Texas on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, fly south to Brazil, then hop to Ascension Island, and finally to Libya, North Africa. Mary Lib was due to give birth at the very same time and as the expectant father waited for some word from Oklahoma City, Scott's flight engineer "discovered" an oil leak in his plane that necessitated the squadron temporarily delaying take-off. The next day, Scott got the telegram he'd been hoping for: Mary Lib had given birth to a healthy boy they christened Scott Garret. Miracle of miracles! The oil leak was immediately fixed and the squadron left for war.

Postscript: Scott and Mary Lib are obviously my parents. I am the third of five children so they never let a small thing like RH-Negative get in the way of their desire to be parents. One last thing: Dad remembers that as they approached their landing point in North Africa, one of the plane's fire extinguishers exploded from the pressure and white foam filled the cockpit. The crew cleaned it up and cheerfully shoveled the white foam out the bombay, all the while belting out the song that topped the charts at home, Bing Crosby's "White Christmas". Enjoy the original  .

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Countdown to November 10

Detail of Hanging By a Thread

Back in 2006, quilter/author/designer Ami Simms decided to do something about Alzheimer's. That's right: this quilter from Flint, Michigan was positive, that with help and persistence, she could make a difference when it came to the dread disease that took her mother Beebe's life. Simply put, this woman takes things personally.


Ami Simms

Ami persuaded many people to volunteer their time and talent to help her and the Alzheimer Art Quilt Initiative was born. Five doctors, with specialties ranging from geriatric care to chemical analysis to pharmacology sit on the AAQI board and advise Ami on the grant applications and who should be awarded the money.

Since its inception, AAQI has sold over 13,000 small works of art. The quilts can't be over 8" x 12" and are thus a perfect size to hang as art. They were sold at in-person auctions and online. Just last week, the goal of $1,000,000 in donations was reached as AAQI set up shop on the floor of the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas. As each little quilt found a new home, the sale was greeted by cheers and clapping. When the $1 million mark was reached, the celebration was deafening!
Celebrating the Million mark!
Where does the money go? This link  will take you to the page where the various grants (the amounts, who the money went to, and the subject of the studies) are listed. It is an awesome honor role. In chunks of $10,000-$60,000 the donations do their work. I am confident that one day, Ami and AAQI's efforts will play an important part in the unravelling of the Alzheimer's puzzle. There's still lots to do--it's estimated that over 5 million Americans suffer from this disease and more are diagonosed each day.

Which brings me to the last point: you still have three days to make a difference yourself. I'm afraid that it's too late to make a little quilt and donate to AAQI but there are little quilts that you can buy online. There's the donated quilts here  . And the final hoorah is the Celebrity Invitational Quilt Auction. It started November 1 and is on until November 10. You have three more days! The celebrity quilts can be a little larger-up to 15" square. This year I got the nod and was happy to comply. Here is my contribution  Hanging By a Thread

Quilt information The quilt measures 15" square. All the fabrics are shot cottons from the StudioE line Peppered Cottons  and the perle cotton threads (both size 12 and 16) by Presencia. After the miniature crazy quilt blocks (they're 3" square) were machine-pieced over tracing paper, the backing was torn away and then the embroidery done by hand in the Feather Stitch. For me, repetitive hand embroidery is a meditative process and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Then the quilt was hand-quilted (over Pellon wool batting) and hand-bound.

Symbolism The crazy quilt motif was chosen on purpose to recognize while Alzheimer's destroys our sense of order, our memory and physical strength, each person with the disease struggles to impose their own kind of understandable order over the chaos. The spider here represents the needleworker who surveys her work, secure in her quilted heart.

Last Words  Please bid. If not on my quilt, then on any of the other AAQI quilts available. Or get a T-shirt made. Or a mug with the image of your favorite quilt. If you miss getting a quilt, then memorialize that quilt in another fashion since AAQI gets a donation from the souvenir manufacturer. Maybe you didn't snag Hanging By a Thread at auction--you could still drink your morning coffee from a mug imprinted with its image! Thank you for reading this.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

New Colors of Peppered Cottons on the way

As if twenty five colors weren't enough, we've been pushing the envelope on new shades in shot cottons. (photo to left by Bonnie Hunter) Speaking honestly, some combinations work-beautifully-and others not so much. One of the puzzlements was producing a really exciting red. When you do the shot cotton formula (warp one color and weft another) it does not, by definition, produce a single strong color. But when it comes to Red, we love a true, true red. What to do? We
blended red with black--too dark and utterly out of the red category. We already had a red+dark blue and a green+red. We dropped back and realized that a true red had to go all red through and through.

So that's what Flame is. The warp threads are bright true red and the weft threads the same. Not strictly a bi-colored shot cotton. But when threads are spun and dyed prior to weaving, they achieve a depth of color you can't get by immersion dying (dying a fabric after it's been woven). So that true red-Flame (#16) is our lead-off color in the newest offerings. All the others are shot cottons that combine colors.

We realized we didn't have many light shades so here's the first--a romantic color called Ashes of Roses (#51)--a synthesis of cocoa brown and pale pink.

Then Citrus Yellow (#91). Don't let the name throw you off. It's bright yellow plus lime green. Think of those bright, bright safety vests that highway workers wear-that's it!

Followed by a pair of newly-minted colors-Greige (#97), a lovely medium tan+grey/blue and Grellow (#90) a lemon yellow+medium grey.

Fans of the neutral and taupe color schemes will rejoice in True Taupe (#99),  a strong mixture of tobacco brown + grey.

The shade called Pearl (#20) can pass as a pastel or a bridge between its parent colors of candy pink and light taupe. Think of the nacre on the inside of a shell--that's this elusive color.

Can we ever have too many blues?

Lake on the upper left (#00) is a medium grey + sky blue.

Seaglass (#01) is bright turquoise calmed by a tan secondary thread.
The last color is Sunny Aqua. When bright turquoise meets lemon yellow, a wonderful combination resulted.

The market expert at StudioE Fabrics, Laura Gilvin, designed this gorgeous wall hanging with the ten new Peppered Cotton colors and it was pieced by Deb Fenton. The wonderful machine quilting is by Lisa Snipes. Modern. Fresh. Interesting. Urban geometry. Three-dimensional. Better than I could have hoped for!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Shot Cottons #2 How to Work With These Fabrics-Washing

Shot cottons have been around for yonks but it's only in the past 2-3 years that quiltmakers have discovered them. I'd been hoarding scraps of shot cottons for a long time, fascinated by their dual-color nature and had worked them into several quilts. When StudioE and I collaborated in bringing out the Peppered Cottons line, I realized that maybe people who hadn't worked with these sorts of fabrics might use a little how-to and some tips. In the last blog posting (August 29) I talked about what shot cottons are. This post is about how to work with them and it starts with washing and drying.  Here goes-

On the bolt Peppered Cottons. 
All shot cottons, after being woven, go through a finishing process where they are washed, dryed, and calendared. The term Calendaring means a heat-plus-pressing process which imparts a subtle sheen and a soft hand to the cotton fabric. The final step for the finished goods is to go through a doubling machine where the fabric is folded and wound tightly into bolts. Calendaring disappears after washing. This means that the feel of the fabrics will change. Note: art quilters, who do not need to wash their fabrics, can use shot cottons straight from the bolt. But if the quiltmaker plans a bed-size quilt that might eventually need to be washed, I'd suggest pre-washing Peppered Cottons before starting
the project. 

The photo here was taken by quilt artist Didi Salvatierra--thank you Didi. If you'd like to follow Didi's use of Peppered Cottons, check back with her website from time to time

Then again, there's a whole school of quiltmaking that says, "Make the quilt, machine-quilt it, and then-maybe-wash it.The whole thing wrinkles up nicely." 
Your choice.

How to Wash. 
Keeping the fabric in its doubled-form, slightly trim a little angled ‘ear’ from both selvedge edges of the length of fabric. Unfold the fabric. If washing small lengths (definition of small length: anything less than a 1/2 yard cut), put the shot cotton pieces into a lingerie bag or knotted pillow case. Give the fabric room to move—don't tie the bag with a tight knot. You can wash the bag/pillowcase of pieces with other washing you're doing. Last time I did fifteen 1/2 yard cuts of Peppered Cottons divided into two bags and tossed them in with some bath towels. My everyday washing preference is to wash in warm water and rinse in cold and I use the same sort of soap or detergent that might be used to eventually clean a quilt. Use the 'Delicate' setting and wash in a full tub of water--that's why those towels were useful!

If washing multiple pieces, sort into several bags by colors. Toss in a Color Catcher ™  with the load (not inside the bag). FYI: this step is to capture any excess dye particles. Peppered Cottons are color-fast! After washing but before drying, take the fabrics out of the bags and ‘fluff.’ They might be wound around each other a bit at this time. Use scissors (do NOT pull stray threads!) and cut any loose threads at that time and gently unwind the fabrics from each other. 

Note: do not wash small strips of any handwoven fabrics. If you've ever decided to wash a Jellyrole assortment of strips, you know what I mean. It makes a mess, produces lots of string, and can result in actual inches lost. Handwoven fabrics especially can get thready if they're abused in the washing process.

Drying Peppered Cottons. Re-insert the damp pieces loosely into their bags and dry about 20 minutes. Do not walk away and let the fabrics over-dry. Unfold the pieces to air-dry completely. If the pieces are small you may iron them at this time. Most of the time, I snip any loose threads, fold the dry shot cottons yardage, and go store it with the rest of the stash on shelves. Then when I’m ready to sew with the shot cottons, I only iron as much as I need of the fabric for that project.

The Difference with Washed Peppered Cottons. Washed and pressed Peppered Cottons have a slightly different hand than when they are on the bolt. The calendaring sheen rinses out. Then the weave firms up giving these fabrics the hand (texture + weight) of good-quality unbleached muslin. What's great is that the brilliant colors intensify when the light-reflective finish is gone! Because of the finish difference between on-the-bolt and washed Peppered Cottons, the best advice is to purchase all you’ll need for a project at one time and to treat that length of fabric the same. In other words, no un-washed and washed of the same color in the same project. Note that Peppered Cottons are a higher thread weight than most shot cottons and it means these fabrics blend well with regular-weight quilting fabrics. You can mix-and-match Peppered Cottons with fabrics from your stash with the assurance that they’ll stand up to use.

In the next blog posting, I'll talk about the sewing process with shot cottons and the just-announced Colorful Peppered Cottons Challenge--here's a sneak peek  .

Update: click here for the more direct link to the  Peppered Cottons Challenge  .

Monday, August 19, 2013

Shot Cottons #1--introducing Peppered Cottons

I work with a fabric company called StudioE and after a long time, we've come up with a line of almost-solid colors that's getting a lot of attention. The line is called Peppered Cottons and is a 25 shade offering of shot cottons in luscious colors.

What are Shot Cottons exactly?  They're cotton fabrics in which the warp (lengthwise threads) are one color and the weft (side-to-side threads) are a
second color. The word 'shot' here means that the shuttle carrying the weft thread is 'shot' (thrown or mechanically moved) across the warp. What's intriguing about shot cottons is their mutability and interesting changeable color. While you'd think a blue warp and a yellow weft might produce green (as we've been taught in art class by mixing blue + yellow) instead the result is a soft green-ish blue. Or blue-ish yellow. You get the idea. The final effect of shot cotton combinations is not always predictable. The picture here is of Color #38-Moss-on the Peppered Cottons card. Maybe a blue + yellow combination? No, this is actually a deep purple warp combined with a bright lime weft and of all things, makes for very mellow green. Who knew?

 Another characteristic of a shot cotton is that the threads (called yarn in the industry) are dyed before being woven into fabric. 

The hanks stacked in the photo left to right are
Tobacco (#85) Paprika (#32), and Carbon (#23).

Yarn-dyed fabrics can achieve an intense color that's different than fabric dyed the same color after being woven. Call it richer and deeper. Side note here: chambray, as in chambray shirts, is also a type of shot cotton. In chambrays, the warp is a color but the secondary color (weft) is white.

The home of almost all shot cottons (and shot silks too) is India. Weavers in India have been using the two-color combinations for hundreds of years. When very lightweight threads are used, the resulting shot cottons are used for summer saris, the traditional Indian dress. A sari takes 5-9 yards of fabric so the fabric must be really light.   How to Wrap a Sari

Probably more than any other point, convincing the Indian weavers to try weaving shot cottons using thicker threads in the hope of producing fabric of a comparable weight to other quilters' fabric was a challenge. But they gave it a try and when we examined the samples, we were delighted. In the picture the color called Blue Jay (#85) is being woven.

Here at last are the rich and interesting shades of shot cottons but with the right feel for quilters. With the tactile quality of handwoven fabrics in the quilters familiar weight plus all the beautiful colors made possible by yarn-dying, Peppered Cottons fills a need in the quilters' palette. 

As soon as I received some samples of Peppered Cottons I put them to good use! Here is the little quilt I made for the Alzheimer Art Quilt Initiative. It will be auctioned with other quilts at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas in October. 

                               Hanging by a Thread by Pepper Cory
                                      in honor of Susan McKelvey

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Quilt Competition on a World-Wide Scale

     If you're not a quiltmaker, some of the following won't make sense. You might not even believe it. But if you want to know why my favored craft/vocation/profession of quilting is a very big deal, some basic stats follow. Quilting is one of the-- perhaps the most--popular forms of needlework on the planet. Note: I won't debate angry knitters (they carry sharp sticks) if this statement is disputed but you can't argue with this factoid: quilting is estimated to generate more than 3.58 billion dollars to the economy. That's from a 2010 study and my bet is that quilters are spending more than that in 2013.
      Every year,  60,000-plus eager quilt afficiendos descend on Houston, Texas in late October for two related events: the International Quilt Market (the largest trade show catering to the needs of quiltmakers and all fiber friends) followed less than a week later by the International Quilt Festival. While Market attracts all the business-related interest (sewing machine manufacturers, fabric companies, pattern designers) and those shop owners from around the world who are looking for new and exciting inventory, Quilt Festival is for the quiltmakers themselves. Both these events are coordinated by a company called Quilts Inc., the brainchild of Karey Bresenhan, who foresaw that her favorite hobby was about to take the world by storm way back in 1974. During Festival, quilting and fiber arts classes run non-stop during show hours and more than a thousand vendors' booths crowd the whole floor of the George R. Brown Convention Center. The GRB, also affectionately known as "the Love Boat" since its red, white, and blue facade reminds folks of a cruise ship, becomes an object of intense interest on the web as stay-at-home quilters check in with bloggers, podcasters, and their own Facebook page while Friends record attendees' comments and post pictures. Houston loves the quilters--the city makes upwards of 50 million every time the quilters roll into town. And for the most part, quilters are ideal conventioneers. They love doting cab drivers, good restaurants, and are way less rowdy than concert goers or tailgaters at ball games.

     One of the outstanding features of  Quilt Festival is the annual exhibition of juried quilts organized by the International Quilt Association. By juried, it means that mucho entries have been pre-selected for hanging in the show. If you'd like to know more about IQA, here's a link IQA winners get lots of press, they're interviewed, and attendees ask for their autographs. It is quilt-stardom in a big way.

As a past president of IQA, I adore the night when the winners are announced-for me it's nothing short of the Academy Awards of Quilting. The lights go down, the Grand Ballroom is wall-to-wall people, and as each winner's name is called out,  a gold curtain rises to reveal their winning quilt. The winner, if he or she is present, gasps and sometimes cries and then strides up to the podium to recieve a check and a large bouquet of flowers while posing for pictures.

     The selection process for a quilt making it into the IQA exhibition is a long road and usually starts at least the year before as a quiltmakers sets her sights on competition. There are twenty different categories to consider and size and syle requirements to be followed. Plus your entry form including both digital and a physical photo has to be in by the end of May. IQA sets very high standards: no kit quilts or block-of-the-month quilts, no work-for-hire quilts (finished by someone else), or a reimterpretation of someone else's work. The best avenue to follow when aiming for an IQA quilt is that it be your very own original work, meaning your own design, or a fresh interpretation of a traditional design.

     Those quilts juried in (the acceptance letters for 2013 just went out this past week) travel to Houston in September and are judged by three judges in early October. When I judged,we started at 8 AM and worked until midnight two days straight. Quilt judging is not for sissies. You must be able to prove a point and articulate what you like, or don't like, about a piece and be willing to back up your comments. The winners, and all the workers who made it happen, are sworn to secrecy,  the hanging of the show is planned, and every last detail double-checked until the quilts go up at the George R. Brown Center in the last week of October.

     Even with excellent design and workmanship, sometimes your entry does not get juried into the IQA exhibition or if in the exhibtion, win any kind of a prize. Blame the fact that your competitors are simply the best quilters in the world! If you're disappointed but plan to try again, then step back and study what has won in previous years. Not to copy those past winners, mind you, but to ask yourself, "What's interesting about this quilt?" and to really look closely at the work.

     Sometimes the most endearing quilts don't wear blue ribbons. Those attending can't tell why some gorgeous quilt didn't win a prize. The year I was a judge (2002) there were so many fine entries we split hairs to award  top honors. But there is a consolation for three people: each judge gets to pick a Judges' Choice award on no other grounds than that they personally loved the quilt. That year I fell head-over-heels for a piece by Taeko Ohya of Japan. Her depiction of the Asian calendar and its symbolic animals was strong and beautifully concieved and executed. And if I could have rolled it up and smuggled it out past tight IQA security, I would have. Here's a beautiful image of Taeko's quilt for your enjoyment. Photo by Jim Lincoln and many thanks to Quilts Inc. publicity whiz Bob Ruggerio for finding this in the archives.
Sexagenary Calendar by Taeko Ohya 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

It keeps me off the streets and outta the bars-

The previous blog post introduced my new fabric line called Town and Country that I'm doing for StudioE Fabrics. Here's the catch: the fabric isn't here yet! The fabric business runs 6-8 months ahead of itself so orders for T&C are being placed by the stores now and they'll receive the fabric in August. However, since the Spring Quilt Market, held in May, will likely showcase the line, it seems like some yardage might get to me to make samples earlier. Notice the caveats: 'likely' , seem', and 'might.' OK, honestly, it's a crap shoot. I'm hoping and praying for some yardage, like, yesterday. The company says-get this- "--April-ish-"

But that doesn't stop me from doodling and dreaming. Doodling is an essential part of quilting. I have books full of designs and if I stopped today and never designed another quilt, I'd still have enough raw material to keep me occupied for years! The kind of 'spinning in place' feeling of "What can I do next?" is what I need to avoid--thus the title of this blog. I can sit for hours with a simple black-and-white line drawing and color with pencils while I look at the digital art of the line.

What does doodling accomplish? A lot. The first thing is that the artwork is on paper. No fabric commitment--just paper.You can cross seam lines with your pencil. Aha-and that's where the notion that the block is not sacred came from. Or for that matter, a border's not required around the whole composition either.

Who said you have to make repeated patchwork blocks and then line them up in tidy rows? Fuggettaboutit. The overall movement of the design is much more intriguing. Credit where it's due-the kindly graphics wizard Laura Gilvin at StudioE has been patient with me. I send her a drawing with directives and she makes it look nice. The Town and Country sketchbook is filling up! Here are two designs for you to enjoy. And one day-believe me-these quilts will be real.

Star Steps is a bed runner, a narrow quilt piece that runs along the bottom of a bed over the bedspread. A bed runner spreads a little patchwork cheers plus it keeps your feet warm! It can easily grow into a larger quilt is repeated three times.

And then there's this larger quilt. Inspired by a photo of an antique Welsh quilt, this quartered design has just enough traditional vibe to keep my dyed-in-the-wool quilter buddies happy. At the same time, it doesn't look quite like your average patchwork quilt. Designing is what I do when I can't sew--keeps me happy and somewhat sane. Happy Tuesday.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Introducing Town and Country

Here's hoping this February posting starts 2013 off right. After having been off-blog for a while, it feels somewhat awkward as I try to ease back into the habit of writing and posting. But I have big news and  lots of visuals to share and that will make today's post a bit easier.

Water Striders sand+sage

Quick back story: last May I gave a lecture on color trends at the Spring Quilt Market, a wholesale trade show for the quilt/independent fabric stores. Afterwards a woman came up to the stage and we started to chat. She was Megan Downer, the new art director for StudioE fabrics StudioE  and we 'clicked' as we got to know one another. I was encouraged as I got to know Megan and met Scott Fortunoff, the head of StudioE and thought, "These folks are real and they want to make beautiful fabrics."  After some back-n-forth conversations, I signed with StudioE and Megan and I started work on a new fabric line. Off to plow through my documentaries (antique fabrics) for inspiration.

When it came to the fabric game, this wasn't my first rodeo. I had designed fabrics for Michael Miller from 2000-2003, then for Telegraph Road (a subset of David Fabrics) and lastly a line for Avlyn. But by 2012, my appetite for working in the fabric business was considerably diminished. The never-ending desire for new fabrics and new prints feeds the product end of the quilt market and it never ceases to amaze that a craft born of scraps and leftovers has spawned such a healthy international business. Signing on for this gig with StudioE means I'm ever an optimist and believe that quilting is a still-growing craft worldwide.

In designing this first group of fabrics, I didn't mean to do anything revolutionary--I just wanted to present a lovely quiet palette of prints that would inspire people to make quilts. Truly I wasn't even thinking of the commercial appeal but left that to the marketing gurus of the company. Personally I had gotten downright bored with jewel-tone, sock-em-in-the-eyes contrasting color schemes. Some of the booths at that Spring Quilt Market had looked bright as circus tents and just about as appealing. The taupe prints coming out of Japan however were calling me and so that's the spectrum I went to--colors that were decidedly neutral and greyed.

No more talking--you want to see the pictures! Meet Town and Country, a new fabric line by moi and the geniuses at StudioE who make my ideas real.

I've been asked about the name of the line-- Town and Country. All that means is that print inspirations came both from nature and from man-made objects. Two of the graphics derived from natural scenes--a mod take on those little insects called water striders that you might see frolicking on a quiet pond. The gold Water Striders are the image found at the opening of this blog post.  Two more graphics were man-made: diagonal brush strokes and an overall interpretation of fishing net. The last print was a synthesis--regularly-spaced dots that brought together all the colors in the line.  

                   Water Striders

Medium charcoal with brown

Plum with rust

Oyster with sand

Paprika with rust red







The man-made image is Brush Strokes. Think paint being brushed with a nearly dry brush on a wall diagonally.





                                                                         Fog Grey
Netting is another man-made concept. Imagine a fishing net sprawled over a parchment-like background.

   Dots keep it all together.




Light Sage

The intrepid sales representatives for StudioE, those road-warriors of the fabric business who travel and sell shop-to-shop, got their sales cards of Town and Country last month and right now they're taking orders as they show the cards to store owners. If you are a store or interested in your store ordering these fabrics, feel free to recommend this blog to the store owner. By May, the next Spring Quilt Market, the fabric will be real as it rolls out of the mills and most stores will start getting their orders in August, just in time for the 2013 cold weather and quilting season. I know that quilting isn't seasonal for those of us who are quilt fanatics but a lot of folks can't envision working on a quilt until it turns cold and Christmas is looming.