Independence Day Weekend

July 6th, 2010

So the visit with Harriet & Nicholas was a resounding success.  Though it was hot out, we knuckled down and got the Mega quilting process done in one day.  Working together went really well, we stabilized the machine’s tracking together and were mesmerized by the psychedelic variegated purple thread from Canada which changed color as we sewed.  We got going on 4th of July morning, fortified by Peet’s lattes and by a nice break for a late brunch with Sarah Stengle.  We got back to it and finished the first pass over the whole piece in time to head up river for some wing dam boogie boarding fun up near Scudder’s Falls.

The next morning we figured out the piecing for the finishing, and made four sides of binding with one side stitched on for reference.  Harriet’s got lots of work to go, but it’s coming along BEAUTIFULLY.

Here are some pics:

Mega QuilterFront side of Harriet’s quiltReverse side of Harriet’s quiltHarriet and Nicholas

Harriet and Nicholas’ First Quilt

July 3rd, 2010

Harriet McCaig and I met during a year long Teacher Training program for meditation in 2006.  The hectic pace of her life in NYC, where she lives and works, is a stark contrast to my bucolic and relatively slow paced lifestyle, but we share numerous interests and especially enjoy art world events together.  When I visit her, a much appreciated cultural infusion takes place.  Nicholas Croft, her boyfriend, brings a deeper level of inquiry to all that we see.

We spent a fun weekend at my house last year, laying out George’s quilt.  That lit a spark in Harriet, who came up with a plan for a quilt of her own.  True to her exacting high taste, she located a number of gorgeous fabrics and cut all the pieces for the front and back panels, and in a whirlwind weekend we pieced two sides, as Nicholas documented our efforts photographically.

On my recent visit to NYC we went to MoMA, the Met, the Brooklyn Museum and saw a Rick Owens furniture show in a private residence, and still found time to layout the backing, batting and Quilt top layers which we pinned together in preparation for the next step.  This holiday weekend I’m SO excited that they’ll be here: in between forays to cool off in the river we’ll Mega quilt the piece in preparation for the final finishing touches.  The diagrams Harriet made are as follows:

Harriet’s Quilt Plan

Red Cross

March 25th, 2010

Red Cross

Dona Warner and Jon Lash have recently celebrated their 23rd anniversary.   We’ve known each other since 1995, when I moved to the east coast and started at the Johnson Atelier.  We live nearby- their jewel box of a cottage on the canal in Yardley is the sort of place which is both exquisite and comfortable, with a rambling English garden and a moss roofed guest house inhabited by their talented and perceptive son Sawyer.   Over the years, a lot of refinement has gone it to making the house a true home, and Dona resolved to make over their bedroom when Jon was away on a business trip.  The results are a lovely as the rest of the house, and my “Red Cross” quilt (first exhibited at Art All Night in 2008) has pride of place.  Congratulations on the anniversary!

Miss Sushi

Merry Christmas, George!

December 25th, 2009


George Davison was first encountered by me on a rooftop at a party in downtown Santa Barbara, CA in 1985.   There was a colossal sky full of stars. We were looking at the Milky Way, and had both recently read the “Electric Kool Aid Acid Test”.  He has a way of being in interesting places at interesting times.  As a raconteur, he is unparalleled. When I came home to SB he was one of the people to track down.   If anything interesting and worthwhile was happening in our sleepy beach town, he’d be in on it, would tell me about it, and often I was welcome to tag along.  His musical talent is undeniable: while I knew him, he played lead guitar for the aptly named Bitch Magnet, but his legendary status long preceeded that incarnation.  When word came that he’d been fighting cancer I figured it was time to rally.  A number of our mutual friends contributed fabric to the project.  Scott Williams, a Bay Area artist, created a number of amazing stenclied blocks which elevate this quilt to the fine art level.  Katherine, William and Cecil de Mille joined Patty Smith, Simone White and Robin Robinson in giving fabric.  One fun weekend found me, Harriet Mc Caig and Nicholas Croft in a fabric blitz, sipping champagne and listening to tunes while figuring out which block should go where.  All I can say is, the best projects have serious meaning attached.  The intent all along was to make something from all our disparate parts, something useful to keep our friend warm and to remind him we love him, near or far.

Post/Carrow quilt

December 2nd, 2009

My favorite thing to do in quilting is to make something specifically for someone I care about.  Recently I have been fortunate to work on a few of these sort of projects.  The idea of adaptive re-use is one shared with a number of artists I know, notably my dear friends David Carrow and Michelle Post.  Both are incredibly talented, accomplished makers in their own rights, and their combined forces have resulted in an evolving collaborative process which is an inspiration to all who know them.  Tuesday evenings are a time for friends to work on creative projects together at my house- often we have a jigsaw puzzle going, and once completed they go to Post for incorporation in her work.  We decided to barter- she’ll do over a(n) Hoosier cabinet I have which needs her wild and wonderful treatment, and I’d make a quilt for her & DC.  The process was great fun- I have a lot of fabric with fish patterns, and Post is a Pisces.  Carrow is a Sadge, (like me) a fire sign.  He served in the Navy and shares a love for sailing with Post, so we chose a number of nautical themes to work into the design.  I always encourage participation in fabric selection for custom pieces- Post was clever in hunting down some good stuff from her local Millville fabric store, including the backing and border fabrics.  This is the quilt in progress:

 Post/Carrow quilt in progress

The finished piece is shown under “Custom” in my website.

Hawaiian Quilt

October 14th, 2009

This one is made from mostly Hawaiian fabrics, with the red cross I like so much drawing the focus to the Hula ladies in the center.  The four directions are represented by different fields of color.  Apart from repeating the white fabric with the bold black floral pattern, and the single Hula ladies block, this is a find the match quilt.  It is made with heavy cotton batting, so it will be super warm, and the quilting pattern is “freestyle”- a totally loose line of loops and whorls which hold it all together.  The backing is a happy stripey single fabric, folded over and handstitched around the perimeter.


Here are the Hula ladies…


Details of the “South Sea Island” quilt

October 7th, 2009

This is just a short note to test and demonstrate the linking of images into a blog post.  The images here are details of the “South Sea Island” quilt.  This is a large quilt composed of 5-inch squares that has a Hawaiian or “south seas” theme.

First we have a detail of the quilt, illustrating the colors and patterns of the fabric making up this quilt:

south sea island detail 1

Okay, the image above is shown in full and is “embedded” in the post.  Now I’m going to add one more image that is probably too large to easily embed in the text below, so I’m going to add a thumbnail that is linked to a larger, external image (to be viewed separately).

Here’s a closer look at some of the fabrics used in this quilt.  Just click on the “thumbnail” below to see a larger version of the image.

quilt fabric image 2


October 6th, 2009

Massive thanks to Dale Cardin for setting up his blog, Signals & Noise, our ally in the quest for world domination.   This space will be devoted to the alchemy of adaptive re-use:  searching, culling, cutting and sewing the way to a better future.