Thursday, October 27, 2016

Upcoming Shows

In less than one week, my mom and I will be traveling to IQF in Houston for the quilty extravaganza of the year.  If you're going, drop me a note in the comments, maybe we can say hi in person!  I'm privileged to have two quilts hanging there this year.  My quilt Eucharistic Prayer C: Convergence is in Quilts: A World of Beauty, and my quilt Peering Out of the Darkness is part of the Quilt National 2015 exhibit at IQF.

My mom also has a quilt in Quilts: a World of Beauty, hers is called Conflagration, Desolation, Rejuvenation, Jubilation.  She also has a second quilt in the brand new SAQA show "Turmoil" called Flying Geese (sadly I don't have a picture of that one).  If you make it to Houston, definitely check these out, they're so much more interesting in person than in pictures.

Shannon Conley, Eucharistic Prayer C: Convergence

Shannon Conley, Peering out of the Darkness

Vicki Conley,  Conflagration, Desolation, Rejuvenation, Jubilation

Mom and I also both have quilts in Art Quilts XXI: In Stitches.  This annual show is opening November 18th at the Vision Gallery in Chandler, Arizona.  My dog quilt is going to be hanging in the show, and my mom's fabulous donkey quilt, Shocked, is also going to be there.  Super exciting, her quilt is on the show postcard!

Shannon Conley, The Dogs

Vicki Conley, Shocked #2

It's really exciting to get to have pieces hanging at these venues, and I encourage you to check them out if you're in the area.

Monday, October 24, 2016

New Fall Decorations

It feels like I've been sharing lots of little projects lately rather than big projects.  Partly that's because I've taken a break from big stuff after pushing through my Dahlia quilt, my Eucharistic Prayer C quilt, and my Anonymous quilt in the spring/summer and it's partly because I'm holding off a little on sharing the new things I'm working on. 

In any case, last week I got out my fall decorations and decided that they didn't go well with my regular blue placemats, so I snagged a bunch of this floral fall colored home-dec fabric at JoAnns and made up some new ones.  I love the way they look with the warm wood and the copper candle holders.  Our everyday cloth napkins are a light green, so I tried to pick a fabric they would continue to match.  Unfortunately the ivory crochet doily that had been in the middle of the table was too big with the new placemats and all the other old doilies I had were stark white.  I wound grabbing one of them and just tea-dyeing it.  It took up just enough color to be a pale brown and now blends in fine with the rest of the decor.  The table would probably look better with not-white candles, but I'm not willing to spend any more money on this endeavor....

Then while I was cleaning out my sewing room desperately looking for a lost very important something which I had put someplace "very secure so I wouldn't lose it" (who knows where), I found this silk screened bird panel.  My mom made this silk screen a couple years ago, and at that time she and I both made several prints using it.  She finished hers into several small quilts (which have since all been sold), but my prints were just crammed into a drawer.   I decided to stitch one up into a little fall wall hanging which is now in my office.

One of the most fun things about this print is that I actually printed it twice, once in black on the navy fabric and then once, offset, in gold.  As a result when you look up close, there's more depth to the print and the black almost looks like a shadow.

Mom's prints were mostly black on a grey background and their ominous look led her to title the pieces Something is Coming... I liked that, so to make mine a little more interesting I drew out words and then free motion embroidered them.  On an aside, is anyone else addicted to calligraphy/lettering videos on instagram?  They're mesmerizing and have been popping up in my feed a ton lately.  Hand calligraphy/lettering is a field I've never really explored, but I tried a little here.  The whole thing isn't really quilted, I just backed it with some stabilizer to give it a little more heft for the stitching on the letters, and then bound the whole thing.

It was just a quick fun project, but I love getting cool things out of drawers/UFO piles and onto the wall!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

New Crochet Project: Black Shawl

Earlier this year I shared my small blue-green crochet shawl.  I've really enjoyed wearing it- it seems to be the perfect thing for cold offices in the fall and winter.  I decided to make a second crochet shawl, this time using the black alpaca yarn my aunt gave me.  The pattern is the dragonfly shawl which I found on ravelry.  I loved the lacy look, and it looked like about the same size as my green-blue shawl.  The pattern itself was wonderfully written with a very clear diagram/chart (that's pretty much the only way I crochet), and it was fun for me to learn a new crochet stitch, the solomon knot. 

 Unfortunately I underestimated how big it was.  By the time I realized how big it was getting I was in the middle of a multiple row repeat so had to finish several more rows and then a 10-12 row border.  This is in no way the fault of the pattern, but basically, it turned out huge.  You can see in the picture below, the central point falls below my knees.  Much larger than the little shrug/shawl I was hoping for.  I wore it the other day and it wrapped around my shoulders twice.  It wasn't quite cold enough for it- the alpaca is really very warm, so I was roasting by the end of the day.  I do love the pattern, and the witchy-spider-webby vibe seems very seasonally appropriate.  Next time I just need to remember that triangular things get big fast and I shouldn't underestimate the size added by the borders!  Ignore my weird look in the pic below, I have no idea why my eyes are closed.

And while we're on the crochet note, I have to share this absolutely fabulous amigurumi my friend Rahel made me.  She's crocheted me wonderful things before, notably the carrot potholders, but I think this takes the cake.  She's moving back to Switzerland in a month or so, and in spite of the fact that I'm sure she has a million things to do, and that usually presents go the other way, she made all of her friends crocheted going away presents.  You guys!! She crocheted me an amigurumi crochet hook!!  You cannot get any more wonderfully fabulously meta than that.  Hooray for Rahel!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Wallhanging for Grandpa Wilbur

About a month ago I went home to New Mexico to celebrate my Grandpa Wilbur's 90th birthday.  He and my grandma live in the same town as a lot of my extended family, and everyone else made a big effort to come for the party, so it turned into a de facto family reunion.  It was really great to see everyone and celebrate.  My Aunt Susan was organizing the party, but I volunteered for two projects.  
The first was the invitations which I designed in illustrator and had printed at vistaprint.  I've used them for lots of print-on-demand things and have usually been very pleased.  It always helps to find a coupon, and the shipping is a bit much, but the quality is good and reliable.

The second project was to do something with this sign.  My aunt rescued it from my grandparent's garage many years ago.  My grandfather had written this message on a piece of particleboard and had always meant to do something with it, but never got around to it.  We all loved his handwriting, so I took some pictures and after a bit of editing, got it in good enough shape to print at spoonflower. 

When it came back I stitched some simple borders on it, added a little topstitching (with a couple layers of buckram-like material underneath to add a bit of stiffness, and then stretched it around stretcher bars.  

I think he appreciated it, and he's hung it up in the house.  Luckily there were extra prints of the center panel in the yardage from spoonflower because now both my aunt and uncle have asked for one.  It was definitely a fun and easy, but meaningful project.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Rocky Mountain National Park Handbag

A couple months ago I got a surprise package in the mail from my friend Barb. As an aside, there are very few things more satisfying than an unexpected package in the mail. Barb and I are science and quilting buddies, you may remember her as the microscopist who took the picture that inspired my photoreceptor quilt.

Evidently her friend Forest purchased a bunch of these small Rocky Mountain National Park panels based on vintage park posters and pictures. They ranged from about 3x3 to 5x7 inches. Barb had more than she had stuff to do with so she kindly sent some to me!

I'm a big national park fan, I hope someday to visit them all, but I've not yet been to Rocky Mountain.  Initially I wasn't sure what to do with the panels since they were so small, but after looking at them for a while I decided the vintage styling would be great as a mid-century inspired handbag. 

I'd purchased some wooden purse handles online a while back with no particular project in mind, but figured this would be a great chance to use them. I sketched several different shapes, but the maximum size was limited by the panels. I wound up piecing them together and adjusting my pattern a bit as I went to be able to fit the panels. 

The exterior is interfaced with automotive headliner fabric and the lining is interfaced with sf101. I put only a single zip pocket inside and a magnetic closure, so it's a fairly simple bag. 

I think it turned out really cute, and it's the perfect size for the amount of stuff I want to carry, a critical aspect since the amount of stuff I carry expands to fill whatever receptacle I'm dragging along with me.