Friday, October 25, 2013

Bloggers Quilt Festival: Winter in Lincoln County #1

Welcome to everyone who is clicking through from the fabulous Bloggers Quilt Festival hosted by Amy over at Amy's Creative Side. If you haven't yet been over there, click through to check it out.  Its always a wonderful event.


 I hope if you like what you see you'll come back again sometime.  You can see some of my finished quilts in the top tab pages, or just browse through the archives to get a sense of what kind of things I make.

Apologies to my blog regulars who have seen this quilt before but this year I'm entering my quilt Winter in Lincoln County #1: The Orchard. It's inspired by a picture of my parent's fruit orchard in the mountains of southern New Mexico (I'm counting the days until I can visit again) which was taken after a winter snowstorm.  Winter is my favorite time of year, and I love the crystalline cold feeling on a fresh new morning.

Winter in Lincoln County #1: The Orchard, c. 2013 Shannon Conley
The sky is a piece of fabric I painted, cut up, and tiled after being super-inspired in a Gloria Loughman class.  The trees are made with all different techniques.  Some are commercial fabric, some are painted fabric, and some are thread painted on dissolvable stabilizer.  All are accented with free motion quilting.  My favorite parts are the shadows which I made by cutting stencils and daubing with many different colors of Shiva Paintsticks.

Winter in Lincoln County #1: The Orchard, detail

Winter in Lincoln County #1: The Orchard, detail

Winter in Lincoln County #1: The Orchard, detail

Thanks again for clicking through, and many thanks to Amy for such a fantastic job organizing the Blogger's Quilt Festival!  For more info on this quilt, you can click the "orchard" tag in my right sidebar.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Mice and Other Mammals

So many things have happened lately, both on the life front and on the sewing front, that blogging has had to take a bit of a backseat.   In addition, many of the things I've been working on aren't to a stage that involves good pictures.

Weekend before last I was lucky enough to get to make a quick trip to St. Louis to see Quilt National and meet up with my quilty electron microscopist friend Barb who lives there.  We had a lovely lunch and really enjoyed seeing the show.  Only about 10% of quilts entered get in, but my goal is to throw my hat (er quilt) in the ring for the next time which will be 2015, so ideas for that project are percolating in my brain.

Also fun, last night I got the catalog for the SAQA Text Messages show in the mail.  It was so exciting to see my quilt there in the book in living color.  The show is opening at IQF in Houston, and I can't wait to see it in person.  Based on the catalog, there are some really fabulous quilts in it.

In not quite so exciting news- we're currently struggling with a mouse invasion in our house.  I work with mice in my day job so they don't bother or frighten me, but it's really startling to see one scurry across the bathroom floor out of the corner of your eye as you brush your teeth, and I do not want them eating through my walls or wiring.  I'd tried to catch it for a while with no success, and when I realized it wasn't a lone mouse (is it ever?) I went ahead and got some traps.  As of this morning we've caught 8 (most in the garage); hopefully there aren't too many more.

On the sewing front, after a couple of weeks I've finished sewing my Halloween costume for this year.  My mom and I are going to a Halloween party at IQF, so we decided to dress up together.  She doesn't usually dress up, but found a Grumpy dwarf costume in the closet she made 25 years ago (ouch!) to trick or treat with us.  My sister and I, in turns, wore a much beloved Snow White costume (you can see my sister wearing it here), and my mom suggested I go as Snow White again this year.  I'll share pictures of us both dressed up when I have them.

Now for the good stuff- I've finally started to get to work on my next two art quilts.  The first is what I'm mentally calling my mammal mandala.  It features at least one mammal from each of the orders represented in Oklahoma.  So far I'm just in the design phase, but here's what I have so far.  It's going to be about 60" square made with a variety of construction techniques.  As usual I'm going with the "figure out what you want to make first and then come up with a way to actually make it" approach.  Incidentally the colors in the design have no relationship to the colors I'll use in the quilt, they were just what I happened to select when making my vectors in illustrator.

The second quilt I'm working on is based on an electron micrograph of some photoreceptors taken for our lab by the aforementioned Barb, and is a slightly smaller project.  I'll share more about it next week.

So what are you designing lately?  Any Halloween costume sewing going on? Can you tell what the mammals are?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Sierra Blanca: Last quilt of the summer

Some of you may remember my mountain quilt, based on one of my pictures of our home mountain, Sierra Blanca (in southern New Mexico).  I'd started it in the wonderful Gloria Loughman class and had it mostly finished since the spring, but wasn't sure if it needed something else.  I hemmed and hawed, but without much progress.  At one point I thought I should thread paint some trees in the foreground. I tried that but they looked terrible (let me tell you, ripping those out was not fun).  In any case, after several months of looking at it on my design wall, I decided I love it just the way it is.  My eye is instantly drawn to the white mountain peak and it makes me crave home!  I can't wait till Thanksgiving when Mike and I will travel there.

Winter in Lincoln County #2: Sierra Blanca, c. Shannon Conley, 2013, 32 x 21

And here was my original inspiration picture.

Winter is coming (hopefully)!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Church Altar Cloths

Back before Easter (ouch!) a kind lady named Gerry at our church asked me if I'd be willing to make some table runners for each of the church seasons for the conference table in our church office.  She also wanted an altar cloth for one of the chapels.  I agreed, but it wasn't until August that we actually got together to do the project.  She picked out and paid for the fabric and I stitched them up!  I decided to go ahead and use my embroidery machine to put some embroideries on them to add a little interest.  I'm always surprised by how long even a fairly simple seeming stitch-out takes.  These took about 45 minutes each, so with thirteen of them to do (two each on the table runners and one on the altar cloth) it was a lot of time babysitting the embroidery machine! The fabric was all really slippery, but I think they turned out nicely.

This first one is on my design wall folded in half.  They were pretty long, about 84" I think.

And here's Gerry in the church office with the one for ordinary time.

There are two more, a red one and a purple one, but I didn't get very good pictures of them.  And these next pictures are of the altar cloth.  It's a bit wider and shorter and since it has a definite front, I used a different cross embroidery.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tote Bag Swap

Hi guys!  Today I wanted to share a bag (actually two) that I recently made as the tote bag swap being hosted by Lia's Handmades.  The theme for this round was nature, and my partner requested something classic looking with no batiks.  I thought it was the perfect opportunity to use some of my precious Tula Pink fabric and the coordinating tree embroidery pattern from Urban Threads.  I made up my own pattern for the bag, but the idea for the criss-cross triangular front pockets came from Bonnie over at Fishsticks Designs.  She was my partner in another swap and made me a bag with that triangular pocket and I loved it so much I put it on this bag!

Here's the front.  The main body is actually navy, but I'm still getting used to my new camera and am having some difficulties.

And the back, both main panels are quilted, and I wanted to include a bit of coordinating patchwork as well.

Inside is a zipper pocket, and the top features an inset zipper closure. I've never done one of those before and just sort of made it up as I went along.  I think it turned out ok- in any case it opens and closes and all the raw edges are hidden!

And here are a few extra goodies I sent along with it.

I liked the bag so much I made a coordinating one for me.  I think it's going to be my IQF Houston bag.  It's a bit bigger than a purse (with room for purchases!) but not huge, and has nice padded straps for a long day of carrying.

And now, I really have to get back to quilting.  But I really hope my still-secret partner likes the bag!