Saturday, June 25, 2011

Getting Motivated!

We have been at our Colorado summer home for over two weeks now and the box of UFOs have finally been unloaded.  A couple of 'aged' projects were brought along with a few new projects (shouldn't really think of beginning a new one before finishing at least one old UFO).  This past week we took some time in the basement studio to work on a really aged UFO.
This UFO was dated 1996!  Now, that has really aged!  It was an exchange with other guild members and somehow all the pieces got placed in a bag.  The exchange was plaid fabrics and now we are working up this quilt.
There are over 85 different plaids in the exchange--rectangles and squares.  You add the star points and centers. 
It sews up quickly (since all the pieces are already cut) so why did it rest for such a lengthy time?  Who knows?  It's fairly straight forward too.
And all those cut strips have finally been sewn together.  Instead of one large quilt top, we got two smaller tops.  Now, just need to add borders (first a trip to the fabric shop--madness to my method!) before they can be finished completely.
The June block of Heneriatta was easy to whip up--just a little hand stitching and it was placed in the box to be returned to winter home.
And the June block from Little Birdie's site is stitched--that was fun!  Okay, now we are back to being motivated after a visit from our grandson--a trip to the mountains and other fun things happen while he was here--back to thinking about fiber, fabric and completing those aged UFOs!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fiber Visits

There are those days when you just want a fiber fix!!  doesn't matter if your stash is very well developed and aging--you just 'need' to see what's out there.  And this week was one of those times plus there was the perfect opportunity to stop in yarn and quilt shops.
Ah, Yes,!  what a great name for a shop!  Stash shop is located right off the main 'drag' in Castle Rock, Colorado; slightly across the street from our favorite lunch spot--The Old Stone Church.
The front porch is very inviting as it is well shaded by a large tree along the walkway to the front door.  This shop is situated in an old house and each room is filled with lovely yarns and fabrics--a great combination and a satisfaction to the fiber soul.
Amy Butler fabrics
Yarns from far and wide decorate the wall space.
The open spaces give way to yarns of choice colors and samples of knitted, crocheted garments decorate many nooks and crannies.
And books and patterns are close at hand.
Darling hats adorn a step ladder
Just take a look at these wonderful fabrics--not only is the space invited but the personnel provide a warm and friendly atmosphere.
Need an idea?  Well, here it is!
Down the road a short distance and located in Parker, Colorado is High Prairie Quilts
And the front hosts a Quilt of Valor quilt
Step inside to find shelves loaded with fabrics from many vendors--you can find what you 'need' here for sure
Color! Color! and more Color!
A touch of this color will brighten any quilt!  A day out by yourself is rewarding but a day with fellow fiber addict is twice as good!
So, the following day my knitter friend Judy met me at this shop--new to me but a main stay in her fiber diet--Colorful Yarns!  This shop is located in Centennial, Colorado and it is in an office building, which puts one off at first but once you cross the threshold, you are in awe!
Fibers and yarns that you hear about but haven't touched yet.
And the best part about this shop --there is a wonderful lounge area and a class room that any instructor would envy!  Judy said that the shop has expanded and feels more comfortable.
Need any equipment to make that special garment?  The wall of needles is outstanding.
After a tasty lunch, Judy took us to a relatively new quilt shop Snappy.
Oh My! The first impression is certainly 'snappy'!  The fabric selection is bright and cheery!
The staff is lively and helpful.  Check out their web page for a free pattern.  You can not resist all these bright fabrics.
Add to this 'snappy' appearance is a lounge area to sit and visit while deciding on the perfect fabric to go with that special pattern.
Onto our final stop for the day Holly's Quilt Cabin--
This shop is taking up the slack that Great American Quilt Factory left when they dissolved earlier this year.  The shop is expanding and bringing in her fabric, equipment and other sundry supplies.
Sadly, the day with Judy must come to an end.  But, we didn't part ways without taking along some great purchases and time spent with a good friend.  We have plans to meet up again soon to take in northern fiber shops.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

CHT Tour Continues

We are continuing on our tour of College Station/Bryan, Texas exhibits while attending Contemporary Handweavers of Texas conference.  This was the most interesting exhibit--how do you combine flowers with weaving elements?  That was the project directed to the students in this class.
Our first view of the floral design building was this giant wall weaving that was created by Brazos Valley Weavers in 1983 when the building first opened.  There was a request for a weaving that would give the space 'life'.  It took several years of designing and implementing the hanging.
Here is a close-up of the warp and weft.  This was quite the accomplishment for the weaving guild.
Now, take a tour of the facility to see how the students incorporated weaving elements into their floral design work.
Members of the Brazos Valley Weavers added their special weaving touches to the displays as well.
This design used a shopping bag from a boutique as part of their element.

Woven Shibori

Chicken wire or mesh graph was used frequently in several of the design pieces, giving a perfect grid for weaving.
The students were allowed to use one special piece from the permanent collection of art.

From the Benz Design building we journeyed to the Bush Presidential Library where we greeted with a special tour of the third floor, which houses all 3-D art pieces that have been given as gifts to the president and first lady while they are in office.
We were shown 11 textile pieces from the collection:  Needlepoint artwork which was a depiction of a carnival scene (given by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh on their meeting in March, 1992)

2.  100% silk tel kimono with golf/white flowers stitched on the back; given as a domestic (American citizen) gift
3.  Cotton Mola dress given to Barbara Bush from Guillermo Endara, President of Republic of Panama. 
4.  Fendi Shawl, fur trimmed with punched fabric design, given by Livia Andreotti, wife of the Prime Minister of Italy: valued at $3,000 in 1990
5.  Green Sari wrap with golf and silver threaded designs embellished with colored gemstones: given on 11-21-1990 from Jawhara Ibrahim Al-Abrihim, wife of Kind of Saudi Arabia (appraised value was $2,000 in 1990)
6.  Chinese silk brocade, given by Madame Yude Wang, wife of the Ambassador of the Peoples Republic of China.
7.  Traditional Russian Black wool shawl "Pavlovski shawl" is 5'x5' and given in 1990 as birthday present by Soviet Ambassador to the U.S.
8.  Two pieces of brocade fabric from Queen Sirikit of Kingdom of Thailand.
9.  This one was classified as 'tapestry' but we all decided, after an up close and personal viewing, that it was needlepoint.  It was given by Chinese government in 1997.
We felt that this large hanging was needlepoint.  It is hard to see from the photo but up close, it certainly looks like needlepoint although the information on the piece says it came from the Shanghai Red Star Weaving Factory.
10.  Woven wall hanging given by Amata Kabua, President of Republic of Marshall Islands.
11.  Hand Knit Purse was one of the many gifts given during their tour of  Kuwait in 1993.

All these were given as gifts to the President and First Lady, but these are gifts to the people of United States .  The President and First Lady are not allowed to keep any gift that is valued over $250 and if they wish to keep the gift they must pay for it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Kente Cloth

Our tour during Contemporary Handweavers of Texas conference took us to our first stop at Brazos Valley Museum to an exhibit of Kente Cloth.  Wrapped in Pride, Ghanaian Kente and African American Identity was a feature the Museum of Natural History and presented in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Arts.
This beautiful exhibit explores the art of making Kente cloth, its symbolism in the cultures of Africa and its expression of identity in African American communities.  This garment was displayed in the main lobby.
Photos from the region were also on display to show how the garments are worn in everyday life.
This fabric was machine printed and shows some of the different designs woven.
This fabric was woven with design, using inlay techniques.
The strips are woven in narrow bands and then shown together to make a larger length and width.
These bands were unique in design.
Inlay designs give different meanings to each region.
The African map shows the location of Ghana.
Color plentiful!
A typical loom used to weave this colorful cloth.
Weft bobbin threads used in crossing the warp.
The warp is placed at the back of the loom and this photo shows how the warp is given weight and tension.
Close-up of inlay technique.
Notice how the narrow bands are stitched.
The narrow bands on display were used for touch and feel.  They also show the different patterns.  The weft and warp designs each have their own unique meaning.
This exhibit will be on display till August 11, 2011 and is well worth the trip to the Natural History Museum.