Stitching Tomatoes

After placing my three tomatoes on a grey background it was time to quilt everything.  I knew I wanted to use contour stitching, so I pulled out my inspiration photos for reference.  I drew contour lines with a pencil first, directly onto each photo.  Once I was happy with them, I went over them with a Sharpie.

Quilting tomatoes. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog
Next, I marked lines on the quilt, and took it to the machine.

Quilting tomatoes. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Quilting tomatoes. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Did you notice my unusual quilting foot?  It’s actually intended for cording.  I like it because it’s transparent, giving me good visibility.  But, mostly because the edges flare up slightly all the way around.  This means the foot is unlikely to travel up underneath the tons of fabric edges I have on my quilts.  It works beautifully.

Here’s the right tomato quilted.  It still needs to have the quilting marks removed and it needs a haircut.

Quilting tomatoes. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Same for the center tomato.

Quilting tomatoes. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I stitched around the leaves and the edges of the tomatoes with black thread.  This added definition.

Quilting tomatoes. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Now, I’m finishing up with facing, a label, a sleeve, etc.  I’ll be finished soon!

Ellen Lindner

 

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Trying New Things

Do you like to try new things?  I do.  Especially as they relate to art and quilting.  Whether it’s a tool, a technique, or a color palette, I consider experimenting with such things to be adventures.  (As a matter of fact, that’s why I call my website Adventure Quilter.)

I recently discovered a new white pen.  It’s permanent and it works pretty well on fabric.  One coat is sort of faded looking, but two passes make a nearly opaque mark.

Trying New Things. Ellen Lindner, AdventurQuilter.com/blog

The pen is called Uniball Signo broad tip.  (The last is a misnomer, since the tip is about like that of an ordinary ink pen.)  Note:  The pen doesn’t cover quite as well as in this photo.

Do you have one of those favorite t-shirts or sweaters that’s so comfortable you want to wear it no matter how ratty it gets?  I have a t-shirt like that, which has been developing holes.  They finally got bad enough that I decided to do something about them.  Namely, mend them in a rather exaggerated way.

Trying New Things. Ellen Lindner, AdventurQuilter.com/blog

I enlarged the holes, patched them with contrasting fabric scraps and embroidered around them.  Now, I sorta feel like I’m wearing an odd work of art.  And I like it.

Have you done any creative mending?

Ellen Lindner

3

Design Class in St. Augustine – Part Two

More photos from my students’ awesome work during “Design Your Own Nature Quilt,” in St. Augustine.

I know you love the see the students’ inspiration photos as well as where they take them.  This was Victoria’s starting photo.  She planned to really play up the blossoms.

http://adventurequilter.com/old-blog/2013/03/design-in-destin/

And ended up with this.

Design Your Own Nature Qullt class, with Ellen LIndner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

This is a wonderful example of our class motto:
Be inspired by your photo, not owned by it.

Victoria did an excellent job of keeping what she liked, exaggerating it, and altering the other elements.  She also resisted the temptation to make the background so dramatic that it competed with the blossoms.  As a matter of fact, that dark brown really sets off the bright blossoms beautifully, doesn’t it?  That’s what contrast will do for you.

Both Kathy and Mary selected white flowers as their inspirations.  These can be quite challenging, since it’s hard to show depth and shadows.  However, they came prepared with very good fabric selections for shadows.

Here’s Kathy’s inspiration photo of gardenias.

Design Your Own Nature Qullt class, with Ellen LIndner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Here she is, at work.

WEB - Kathy at work

And her quilt, nearly complete.

Design Your Own Nature Qullt class, with Ellen LIndner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Don’t you think her composition is better?  And she used tiny slivers of tans and pale blue to create shadows.  Nice work!

Mary used a magnolia blossom as her inspiration.

Design Your Own Nature Qullt class, with Ellen LIndner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

She worked the background very loosely, but kept the flower very close to her photo.  Here it is, well along.

Design Your Own Nature Qullt class, with Ellen LIndner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Mary used white satin fabric for her flower.  The petals do look a little different, due to the grain of the fabric and the way the light hits it.  She’s also got some pale gray tulle she’ll add for shadows.

Mary often hand stitches her pieces down using a ladder stitch.  She plans to do this for the background and maybe the flower as well.  If so, it will add a great amount of definition to the petals.

Laura used a photo of – hmm, I don’t know – some type of blue/purple mountain flower.

Design Your Own Nature Qullt class, with Ellen LIndner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

As with Rosemary, we discussed the challenge of ALL THOSE little flower clusters.  She decided she would edit the number of flowers in order to keep the details manageable.

The mountain in the background was important to Laura, so she spent a good bit of time getting it and the foreground grasses just right.  This was time well spent.

As with Rosemary, we discussed the challenge of ALL THOSE little flower clusters.  She decided she would edit the number of flowers in order to keep the details manageable.

For her flowers, she cut a background shape, but then sprinkled on little contrasting bits of other values.  Although she has a bit more fine tuning to do, this is going to work beautifully.

Design Your Own Nature Qullt class, with Ellen LIndner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Yes, she edited her flowers down to only three.  It’s a great composition, but I forgot to get a photo.

By the end of day two, most everyone had shed their name tags.  I was mock complaining since I often photograph the work, and then the student’s “chest”/name tag, so I’ll remember what belongs to whom.  Laura asked, “Oh, you want my name of my chest?” and did this.

Design Your Own Nature Qullt class, with Ellen LIndner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Just one example of the fun we had.

Would you like to schedule this two day class for your group?  You’ll find a full description here.

Ellen Lindner

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Design Class in St. Augustine

“What do key lime pie and beautiful quilts have in common?”  Answer:  It’s the COMBINATION of ingredients that make it work.  This is just one of the concepts students learn in my “Design Your Own Nature Quilt” class.  The supply list for this class includes “artistic courage.”  And my St. Augustine students definitely packed theirs.

After a morning learning about design, they sketched designs inspired by their own photos.  Since they learned that nearly every photo can be improved, there were lots of changes and tweaks considered.  Finally, it was time to bring out the fabric and their compositions began to emerge.

Here’s Karen’s inspiration photo.

Design Your Own Nature Qullt class, with Ellen LIndner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

And her quilt, nearly complete (except for the quilting.)

Design Your Own Nature Qullt class, with Ellen LIndner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Isn’t it great?  She wisely moved the focal point off-center for more interest.  And the addition of orange and purple add a wonderful spark.

Sharon brought a photo of a favorite view in Yellowstone National Park.

Design Your Own Nature Qullt class, with Ellen LIndner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

She did an excellent job capturing the scale and drama of the scene.

Design Your Own Nature Qullt class, with Ellen LIndner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Celeste chose a challenging photo, due to the multitude of flower shapes.

Design Your Own Nature Qullt class, with Ellen LIndner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

However, she edited her sketch to include only her favorite parts and got to work.

Design Your Own Nature Qullt class, with Ellen LIndner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

She made good progress by the end of the class.  (She wasn’t crazy about the sky fabrics and intended to switch them out once she got home.)

Joanne worked with a great photo which needed very little editing.  I neglected to get a shot of her inspiration photo, but you can see a glimpse of it on her table.

Design Your Own Nature Qullt class, with Ellen LIndner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

The photo below shows her quilt after her first little bit of quilting.

Design Your Own Nature Qullt class, with Ellen LIndner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Joanne will add petal definition to her flowers with the addition of black stitching.  (Yes, she’ll need her artistic courage for that, but she can practice first on a sample.)

I really tried to disuade Rosemary from using the photo below as her inspiration.  Just because of ALL THOSE LITTLE curly doohickies!  (What is the plural of doohicky, anyway?)  However, after discussing it, she decided she was willing to spend the time it would take to manage all those tiny shapes.

Design Your Own Nature Qullt class, with Ellen LIndner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

It was looking really great by the end of the second day.

Design Your Own Nature Qullt class, with Ellen LIndner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

She’ll experiment with ways to work the little curly tendrils.  Maybe couched thread, bent wire, or some other invented technique.  She’s willing to put in the time to do the needed trial and error.  And, of course, she’ll add some pale twisted yellow (?) curly-Qs in the center.  I think it’s going to be pretty spectacular.

I do so love teaching this class!  And, if you’re interested, I have an online version going on right now.  We’re about half way through part one, the design portion, with two and a half weeks remaining.

Ellen Lindner
Related posts:  Cropping as a design feature. And more cropping  (Both of these are quick reads, and worth checking out.)

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Third Tomato

Are you getting tired of seeing my tomatoes?  Don’t worry: this is the last one.

This tomato, on the right, is only a partial one.

Photo inspiration for Vine Ripened, by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Still, I’ll need to build a little extra to allow for positioning and trimming.  This time I started with the lightest spots.

Vine Ripened, in-progress. By Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

A detail of that, with many little pieces of fabric helping the transition from very light to medium-light.

Vine Ripened, in-progress. By Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

This tomato has “cheeks” so a line of sharp value change will indicate this.

Vine Ripened, in-progress. By Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Vine Ripened, in-progress. By Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

And here are all three tomatoes, arranged approximately as they will be in the final composition.  I’m quite thrilled with them!

Vine Ripened, in-progress. By Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Next, I’ll need to decide on background colors.  Something neutral, I think.  Any suggestions?

Ellen Lindner

 

13

More Tomatoes

I’ve been a little tomato crazy lately.  I’m working on a new piece which needs three tomatoes.  I’m making them as stand-alone units, to be later added to a background.  Number one is complete. Here’s number two underway.

Vine Ripened, in-progress. By Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Once again, I’m constructing the tomato on a muslin base, lightly gluing fabrics into place as I go.  (Which is why I have an old cutting mat underneath in case it sticks a little.)

Vine Ripened, in-progress. By Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I’ve been loosely emulating Susan Carlson’s technique which she describes in her book.  However, she likes to tuck the little green leaf fabrics under the larger red tomato fabrics.  Which means the red fabrics have to be cut very accurately.  I tried that on the first tomato but didn’t really care for it.  So, on this one, I’ll add the leaves on top, later.

Here it is with the red completely covered (but not finished.)  Because I deviated from her technique I had to redraw the green leaves onto the red fabrics as I went.

Vine Ripened, in-progress. By Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Here’s the red part complete.  Little pieces of fabric have been added to soften the value transitions and to repeat little motifs throughout.  Can you see the difference?

Vine Ripened, in-progress. By Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

I added the leaves on top of the red tomato, in my usual fashion.  Sorry, no photo of the completed tomato, but there’s more to come.

Ellen Lindner

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“Florida Native #1”

You remember the leaf quilt I made, right?  Well, it has a companion piece which I recently finished.

Here it is, underway, as  I was auditioning fabrics.  You can see I placed the red squiggles of my feature fabric on a “sweet spot” and built everything around that.

In-progress art quilt by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Of course, the fabrics changed a good bit along the way.

Here’s the finished version of  Florida Native #1

Florida Native #1, a fabric collage by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com

Florida Native 1

And a detail shot:

Florida Native #1 - detail, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com

Why did the second quilt get named #1 and vice versa?  Because I thought they might hang together with this second one on the left, so I named them accordingly.  Here’s how they look together.

Florida Native #1 & #2, art quilts by Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com

I’m happy with them, but READY to move away from green!!!  (It takes a long time to make TWO quilts!)

BTW, I may have occasion to enter only one of these in an exhibit.  In that case, which one should it be and why?

Ellen Lindner

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“Cheerful Garden”

After selling one of the samples for my Floral Improv class, I needed to make another one.  No problem.  It was fun and went together quickly.

Here’s Cheerful Garden.

Class sample for "Floral Improv" with Ellen Lindner. AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Perhaps you can tell the background is composed of three different fabrics.  That’s because I didn’t have one piece of fabric large enough for the 13 x 16 background!  Of course, I like combining lots of different fabrics, which is why I mostly buy fat quarters.  After a cut or two, my pieces aren’t too big.

What size fabrics do you buy and why?

Ellen Lindner
P.S.  Floral Improv info.

8

Visiting a Creole Plantation

Our favorite thing in New Orleans was a visit to Laura Plantation, about 1 hour west of the city.

Laura Plantation, Valcharie, LA. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Our tour guide was EXCELLENT!  She made the distinction between a Creole plantation and a French one, saying that this land was a plantation before it was part of the United States.  That is, before the Louisiana Purchase of  1803.  Once this area became part of the US, president Thomas Jefferson “granted” the land to the first family owner.

As you can see above, the Creole homes were painted lively colors, rather than the white or cream typically seen on other southern plantations.  The crop was (and is) sugar cane and the matriarchs of the family often ran the business – from the bedrooms of this home.

Laura Plantation, Valcharie, LA. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

My photos didn’t turn out that well, but really, it was the STORIES that were so intriguing.  The plantation is now named Laura after a young girl who lived here in the late 1800’s, when she spoke only French.  Much later in life, she wrote her memoirs (in English) and these stories provide much of what’s known about this family and their lives here.  It was very interesting!

Our tour included slave quarters and our guide did a wonderful job of painting a picture of the hardship they endured.  Plus, we heard some touching stories about the relationship between the family and these slaves (who were later their servants.)

We all agreed this was the best historical tour we’d ever been on.  (When was the last time a tour guide gave you goose bumps and had you tearing up?)  I HIGHLY recommend this tour, especially if you get Rose (Rosie?) as your guide!

Now, for the educational part of this post.  Do you know what this next picture shows?  I didn’t.

Laura Plantation, Valcharie, LA. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

They’re crawfish holes.  The water table is so high in this area that the crawfish dig down to hatch their eggs (?) in water, throwing mud up as they go.  Who knew?

Of course, if you visit New Orleans you need to learn about the above ground cemeteries.  We met in the French Quarater and went on a walking tour.

New Orleans, LA. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

New Orleans, LA. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Because the land settles quite a bit in this area, the builders of yesteryear had to get creative when leveling things.  Like the liberties taken with the top row of this cemtery wall.

New Orleans, LA. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

The grotto and interior of the nearby church were also very interesting.

New Orleans, LA. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

New Orleans, LA. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

New Orleans, LA. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Later, we visited the St.  Louis Cathedral, in Jackson Square.  It was very beautiful.

New Orleans, LA. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

New Orleans, LA. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

AND THEN THERE WAS THE FOOD.  A local saying goes like this:
There are two times of day in Louisiana – mealtime and in between

Oh my!  Everything we ate was absolutely delicious.  New Orleans has many dishes it’s known for and we were sure to try those:  barbeque shrimp, bread pudding, shrimp po-boys, and more!

We even went to Emeril’s for dinner!  It was fantastic.  Both the food and the service were top-knotch.  I’d go again in a heartbeat.

New Orleans, LA. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

New Orleans is a very unique city.  If you haven’t had a chance to visit, I hope you’ll get to do so.

Ellen Lindner
P.S.  No, we didn’t eat beignets because the line was too long.
P.P.S. And we DIDN’T party on Bourbon Street!

4

New Orleans Botanical Garden

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know that my mom and my sister and I go on a short trip together every year.  Oh, we DO have fun!  This year we went to New Orleans.  It was fantastic!  Intriguing culture, amazing food, and good company!

A visit to New Orleans. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

Me, my mom, and my sister

We spent some time at the New Orleans Botanical Garden.  It was not that large, but it was nice.

New Orleans Botanical Garden. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

New Orleans Botanical Garden. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

The garden had a special display called “China Lights.”  It consisted of many fabric sculptures which, at night, are lit from within.  Even without the night time lighting they were pretty cool.

New Orleans Botanical Garden. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

New Orleans Botanical Garden. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

New Orleans Botanical Garden. Ellen Lindner, AdventureQuilter.com/blog

As you can see, the weather was perfect.

Ellen Lindner

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