Try-angle Trees and Cutting Tool Clouds

Can you see I've been having fun? Imagine yourself skiing thru the fall colored trees and looking up to see the clouds forming shapes?  Perhaps you should keep your eyes on the ski slope while skiing!

Went to the Sewing  Quilting Expo at the Dulles Expo Center this weekend.   I was so fortunate to be a passenger and I wanted to get my "stitching on".  So at 8:30am Saturday realized I needed some handwork to take.  Found the Scissors sunprint in my "altered fabric" box and fused it to some felt (oh yes, lime green!) - then looked at the shape of the scissors - in the class last week, I really saw how repeating elements helps the piece and thought , hmm - applique of a scissors shape was, well, kinda blah and I don't do blah very well.

So started looking at the fabric, where the blades open there is a very nice triangle. and there is a second triangle in the opening area near the handles.  So glad I decided to open the cutting tools - the largest one is actually a tin snip from the garage.

First I wanted to be able to practice some outline sewing - for the 3 scissors left to right- running stitch balanced, running stitch with longer thread than gaps, and backstitch. I liked the backstitch best so repeated it for the top scissors.  Added triangles at bottom, at first my thoughts went to "cutting the grass" so laid them out in a grass-like, organic order.  And did some free-motion applique with YLI thread. 

Did I mention that I love quilting... Not piecing, not applique, but taking a needle and thread and scribbling all over fabric at high speeds... At quilt shows I absolutely love running the longarms and just playing!  Yesterday, an energetic vendor was talking to me while I sewed some spiky flame shapes... She asked "what are your thoughts?" in a kinda getting me to open up about my intentions to purchase (it wasn't overtly pushy, but still doing her job)..  but I heard a question about what thoughts I was having - and I answered honestly - "I'm not thinking".  There is a methodical, meditative groove I get into when machine quilting (I know, it's drudgery to some).  If I could only do one of the steps of either piecing, applique or quilting - I choose quilting!

So thanks to one friend I had time to sew in the car, thanks to my other buddy, I was given the vision of skiing  thru trees and seeing shapes in the clouds... She insisted I see these stuffed koi fish in one of the vendor booths.  AND - I do love making me some three-dee objects, and fun to see what others are doing.  In the booth I was chatting up the sales person and behold, the topic of quilting came up - shocking, huh!  She had this steering wheel - but kinda square and shaped like a very blocky capital C. And she was no sales person, she was the Gypsy Quilter herself, Lanette Edens. Liked her right off - even when I thought she was just a sales person.

Love. LOVE, L-O-V-E the tool, it' really does live up to it's name "The Fabulous Fabric Glide", the feel and motion is really close to that of the long arm and the control is amazing.  Before this tool, I would wear the white Micheal Jackson like grippy gloves - better than barehanded - but not that comfortable.  I was able to do some ridiculously tight quilting - see in a nice turquoise Robison-Anton thread "Marine Aqua" - I do love the 40 weight Super Brite Polyester - one beacuse I have it - two cause it has a nice shine and the poly is stronger than rayon so can also be used in come construction.  Note to garment sewers - never ever never never use rayon to seam a garment - top stitching is fine, but seam construction in rayon can lead to unfortunate wardrobe malfunctions. 

Thanks for letting me go off on a quilting and thread tangent!  Back to the project at hand!  Here is a needle-eye view of my Fabulous Fabric Glide - hanging right behind the machine I quilt on.

Before I did that quilting I fused on some appliques.   The second shape in the scissor was the oval handle loop - so instead of circles, I cut ovals to and cut "triangles" out of the oval flower-cog...


My goal for this project was not to make art - but to experiment - so tried different stitching on the flogs - no two the same.  I can use this as a reference for adding handstiching to flowers. And if it was for a project I thing I would have done the same stitching inside each one - I think some variety is nice, now that I see it.  Maybe in future do a few styles of stitching - on purpose!

I love the bottom one with the V's and the single french knot... Never would have come up with this stitching pattern if I had not done the others.  And I didn't undo or go back - in the left of this photo the one with the single bar on each pedal is not my favorite, but that's the one I did that led my to the V's.

Here you see it hanging in our powder room, the walls are the same mossy green as the flogs, not yellowish as it looks here. 

And that raises two questions
Question number one
- Should I be providing "powder" if I insist on calling it a "powder room"?  Or it it BYOP?

Question number two
- What is "a scissor", singular?  The 2 handled tool is called "a pair of scissors" or a scissors, plural...

Just saw this in Wikipedia.  It's a bit odd...

"In New Orleans, some believed that putting an open pair of scissors underneath your pillow at night was a sound method for sleeping well, even if one might be cursed."

I don't recommend sleeping with scissor open or closed under your pillow!
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Cognition Interpreted

What an honor, I inspired an artist and she went on and won a blue ribbon! I invited her to the Arts and Old Lace opening, and invite you to come too.  

Saturday, July 21st, from 2-8 at:
Artistic Artifacts
4750 Eisenhower Avenue; Alexandria, VA 22304

 Look what came in email today!

Subject: For Immediate Release - Art & Flowers in Orange, VA

Contact:  Laura Thompson
Executive Director
The Arts Center In Orange
129 East Main Street, P.O. Box 13
Orange, VA,  22960

FLOWER POWER - An Art In Flowers Event at The Arts Center In Orange

On July 13 The Arts Center In Orange celebrated Orange County’s fabulous Art in Flowers tradition with a reception to honor participants in the FLOWER POWER - Flowers interpret Art competition.  

During the past month floral arrangers have been invited to visit the center's Morin Gallery and choose a quilt from the Power Suits exhibit for interpretation.   Power Suits, a 2-year art quilt challenge project was developed by Virginia quilters Cyndi Souder and Judy Gula and resulted in 108 art quilts from across the U.S. and Canada.   The exhibit was brought to The Arts Center In Orange through the sponsorship of The Law Offices of Sean D. Gregg and the Virginia Commission for the Arts.

Winners of the competition were: 
First Place - Martha Jean Jacobs interpreting “Cognition” by art quilter Amy Morusiewicz, Second Place - Anne Meade Faulconer interpreting “The Power Within a Suit of a Different Color” by art quilter Susan Fernandez, Third Place - Ada Harvey interpreting “Fruit of Life” by art quilter Pat Peeler.

The Arts Center In Orange located at 129 East Main Street in Orange and online at, phone (540) 672-7311, hours 10-5, Monday-Saturday.

Photos Attached.
- Winning arrangements by Martha Jean Jacobs, Anne Meade Faulconer, and Ada Harvey.
- At the Flower Power reception, Martha Jean Jacobs, Frances Purcell, Ada Harvey, Pat Tackitt and Lee Wooters.

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Bloom – Reveal Day 7

I love my flower cogs (flogs), I find these to be a happy shape. I love when Art makes me happy!  Many happy mornings were spent watching Bob Ross painting happy clouds.  Again I diverge, but wait, isn't divergence part of the journey?  So I take this moment to thank those who came before and inspired me and taught me I can be myself and I can be silly, you don't need to be what others think is a serious mopey artist to be making art, seriously! 
  • Flogs cut from Artfabrik handdyes (leftovers from class with Laura Wasilowski last year) - circles drawn with Staedtler Halfpipe Pen Style Compass, circles cut and wedges cut out
  • Free cut stems on the bias
  • McTavishing Free Motion Machine quilted the background first then applique stitched since I wanted to overlap the applique over the quilting
  • Orange Flogs appliqued with a tighter freemotion zigzag
  • Red/Yellow Flogs appliqued with a free motion zigzag keeping the quilt oriented the same way no mater where on the flower I am, then turning quilt 90degrees and repeating
  • Hand sewed french knots in each flower - using DMC variegated floss (90, 106 and 51) - the Yellow Flogs have strands 90 and one each of 106 and 51, Orange has 2 strands 51, one each of others...  For the 2 strands that are the same floss, turned one so that the result is a more mottled look of color rather than the distinct color variations.

The birth of "Flog"...
Once upon a time in a challenge project long long ago, a tiny artist wanted to show the inner workings of her mind, so a cog or gear shape was in order.  She cut out a circle that was too static and round - so cut some wedge shapes out of it, kinda free and kinda messy like.  The cog was born, and all was good, but the cog looked kinda like a flower, and the tiny artist called it a "Flower Cog" for a while, but that is too long a name, so Flog it is!   I was pleased to find that Flog is an acronym: "For Love of God". Found that on Wikipedia, for the love of God!

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Peace, Love and Joy – Reveal Day 1

This piece of fabric has been handdyed and inked for what seems like several years.  It's just sitting in my box of altered fabric waiting for an opportunity to knock.  I brought the altered fabric to a local art quilt group for show-n-tell. Joan Raciti really liked it, and has inquired a couple times what I have done with it.  Now have an answer!  It is quite a nice feeling to have someone share with me that they appreciate that which is 100% my creation.

In steps below, I added a * for steps of the creative process that were done prior to 12x12x12 challenge. And I'm kinda excited so I used !!! to show that it was the first time I ever did a certain technique or step.   Such a fun adventure, can't wait to share the rest with you!

  • Hand dyed fabric *!!! (from my first ever dyeing at a guild retreat)
  • Words masked with scrapbooking stickers*!!! (my total idea, now I see others have done the same - we're all creative),then inked in green with Tsukineko All Purpose Inks
  • Blue scribbles added with Fabrico Markers
  • White circles stamped with the lid from ink*!!! (the white ink is a must try)

  • Hidden "in search of" - I want my quilts to have impact from a distance, draw people in, good design and hidden surprises... when I looked at the photos I found the "in search of", I had forgotten I hid those words in the dark blue line on the left - see where the middle row of hand stitches ends?

  • Ultrasuede Flower Cogs (Flogs) I decided to outline cut them this time!!!  The overall design is very light and fluffy, the solid Flogs in that flat Ultrasuede would dominate, so why not... And I thought I fused them in place

  • Hand stitching using 3 different variegated colors of floss
  • Lucky for me the fused Flogs didn't fuse well, so I added the hand stitching in the Flogs, now they really play well with the other light and fluffy elements
  • Free Motion Machine quilted - yep, til it screamed out "no mas!"
  • Free Motion Zigzagged the edge

  * - These steps were done prior to 12x12x12 challenge
!!! - First time I ever did this type of thing

I can't wait to show you my Day 2 project! Feel free to ask me questions, about any of these steps and techniques.

In fact, feel free to ask any questions from A to Z!
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Numbers Count

Happy Triple 11's today! 

Wednesday was reveal day for the 2011 challenge quilts.  Challenge was to make a quilt inspired by page 73 of a nonquilting, nonart magazine.  I checked about 73 different magazines before selecting my page 73.

Peaceful Passage
Yes, I've come full circle back around to circles!

I had fun with numbers, such as the olive branch is made up of 7 leaves, 3 of which have stems.  There are 3 blue flower-cogs (flogs, cowers?), 3 sides of quilt have facing that takes the silk right to the edge.  There are 3 double flogs, and 7 single black/grey flog shapes, 3 silver circles.  Love the juxtaposition of wool felt and silk - the only cotton is a single green line on the left edge. In Cognition (my Power Suit entry) I didn't want to admit the shape could be a flower so I denied it's graphic daisy-osity;  with Peaceful Passage, I embrace it's inner flower and gave them a little spin.

Here's my inspiration page...

I wanted to put number 73 in the quilt, but slightly hidden... do you see it now?

Saint Leigh and her son spread their wings and carried me as we embarked on a quest from to silver water  to the land of rocks to rescue my silver stallion from it's incarceration.  Yes, you guessed it my car was towed from Silver Spring to Rockville...  Leigh's sister is a great friend, Nickie (or five-cent as some of us hockey players know her), so I know one day through Nickie, our paths would have crossed, but if not for the tow I wouldn't have been inspired to add the peaceful dove and olive branch, so I guess I should say that I must say I was lucky... And I do feel lucky, overall it was a positive experience. 

I wanted to honor their kindness in my art, with both the image of the peace dove and on the backing a delicious chocolate colored fabric.   Leigh Lambert is an experiment artist as well, now I crave to experience her art and I predict that I'll be trying these brownies in my not so distant future...

The hand dyed silk was a gift from my sister, so you need sisters for Peaceful Passage.  My sister also asked what is the Chinese character means - I think it's "peace", based on the Internet - but I don't read Chinese, so it could be "soup"...

Sorry for the humorous diversion - back to math...
So I thought I would count up the parts of the quilt not including the shadow silhouette, tada! There are 33 (oh yes I counted 3 times to be sure) 

33 is 11+11+11

what an auspicious number!

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Cognition Unveiled!!!


Finally, my Power Suit Challenge quilt unveiled! 

the fine print below my quilt reads...
Inspired by mental power = cognition...  My Nerd-self focused on power, movement, force, and then a “power series” in mathematics.  Athlete-self added Power = strength = denim.  Fashionista-self = dark suits.  Cogs with French knots feature felt made from machine needlefelting 4 layers of suiting.  Tied together with the silk “Power Tie” binding and at the bottom “denim”; Cause a great pair of jeans is my power suit.  Wishing you fun from A to Z!
Amy Morusiewicz Mitchellville, Maryland

I was limited to 75 words - that was a challenge.  I feel very connected to this piece - the background is PFD that was handdyed at Southern Comforter's winter retreat.  The cogs are a result of hours on the needlefelting machine creating felt from 4 layers of the wool suiting samples.  My goal was a piece that would have visual appeal from 30 feet away, drawing you in and giving you little surprises such as the french knots in the flower/cogs and the lightning bolt embroidery.

Here's a glimpse into how my brain works...

Power Nerd
I remembered power series in my mathematics methods for physicists class (my last math class after 4 calculus classes.)  The only book from college I still have - a great memento of another time in my life - and a lovely book in teal and silver!  So the background contains selected equations and terms that were part of my life studying Physics in college.  Machines and movement, thoughts and ideas abound.

Power Athlete
Hockey? Dark grey and black circles, larger ones are closer to me, smaller as they go away - hockey pucks? During hockey practice, many pucks fly my way as a goalie with the Washington Wolves women's hockey team. 

Power Style
Denim and black - that's the powersuit of my generation.  The blue cogs are made with the plastic cover of the wool suiting samples.  The kit contained a silk tie in a beigey grey (somehow my kit knew I could use a plain tie - others artists got stripes or print ties)

Movement, strength, depth, serious and humorous...    Cognition

Oh, I need to tell you about the opening reception for the Power Suit Challenge, and that's a story for another day...
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