In November I took silk painting classes with Bahama Dawn. I wanted to learn how to paint a sky fabric for my art quilts. If you have ever looked for sky fabric you know how difficult it is to find a good one. I wanted to be able to create the sky that I see with all the colors and random clouds that make life beautiful. 
What I discovered in that silk painting class was so much more!! Kim taught me different techniques with salt, vinegar, sugar & water. You're right, I know it sounds like salad dressing but combining these with the fabric adds flavor to the painting. I had so much FUN in class that I purchased paints scarves and fabrics. I made scarves for the women on my list for Christmas. They were the guinea pigs helping me learn...hehe
Here are the silk scarves hanging in my garden. It was really fun to make personalized gifts.
Watching the color flow on silk is amazing and almost addictive in how much I enjoy it. Color is what I love. Combining colors of fabrics to play with or play off of one another is what gives my art quilts depth and dimension. Now I am able to play with color in a brand new way. Mixing colors and watch them do their own thing on the fabric. 

Here are my first two art quilts using silk backgrounds that I painted.

Feeling Blue
I painted a silk background to showcase my mighty marlin. 

Arena was an old sponging sloop and this depicts a bit of Abaco history.  The sky is hand painted to get that vibrant blue and puffy white clouds.

I had so much fun playing with the paints that I decided to try some little pieces. What a great break from the long hours of art quilting. Now I am rejuvenated and inspired to create with color.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words so here is my photo story of International Quilt Festival. 
If you prefer words see the post before this one.

It was very exciting to take my quilts and techniques and share them with other quilters in Chicago.
On Thursday I was the first up in Open Studios so had to arrive early to set up and be ready for the crowds coming in at 10am. On my way to the building I got a sneak peek at the quilt exhibit all hung and ready for viewing. Some were winning quilts from all over the world. 

Over the next three days I taught 4 classes, shared techniques, ideas and answered many questions.  Some people were very inspired to go home and create a landscape quilt or try their hands at free motion quilting. I look forward to hearing from a few of them and seeing what they have done. At the least I hope they decided it’s ok to experiment and try a few new ideas. There are no “quilt police” who are coming to take your quilt away if it is not perfect or done a certain way. It’s ok to break away from the rules sometimes and create just for the fun of it.
I made a few new friends and learned from others. Judy Tucker had a great class on bindings and sleeves. Judy is also a Sheltie lover, how cool is that? There was so much we did not have time to discuss that I surely must meet her again sometime. I am going to try her two color binding on the next traditional quilt I make. 
If you are interested here is the link to her instructions. -

I fell in love with Robbi Joy Ecklow’s quilt hanging in the exhibit. Her free motion quilting is beyond words. I wish I had taken a detailed photo. I felt a bit intimidated when I saw she was teaching a class right after mine but I hung around and learned a lot. I know I would enjoy more time with her. Our motto is the same…relax, have fun, don’t worry about the mistakes just make them part of the design.

All the vendor booths were like candy to a child, it was hard to hold back on spending to what could fit in my suitcase. Frieda Anderson’s quilts and patterns were so colorful. Another booth had dyes to be used with shaving cream on fabric. I had to have a few of those to play with and try my hand at dying sky fabric for my landscape quilts. I also found some very pretty panels that will make quick colorful quilts that I can give as gifts. The amount of batiks and hand dyed fabrics were way too tempting but I held myself to a few special pieces. Dianne Springer’s colorful booth matched her colorful personality and I liked everything. I bought a panel and pattern for myself and her book with lots of projects for a friend to share the joy. Dianne how about a workshop in the Bahamas?
My friend and fellow quilter Kris Smoley flew from Minnesota to Chicago to spend Friday with me! It was wonderful enjoying something we both love to do together. We examined the quilts, shopped, talked and test drove sewing machines. The day went by way too fast.

I knew before I went to Chicago I wanted a sewing machine upgrade and decided to stick with the brand I love. I bought a Elna Excellence 720 and can’t wait to spend lots of time sewing on it, making many more quilts and projects. It is like the excitement of driving a new car with power steering and a powerful engine. Look out, if you see a crazy lady flying down the road on a sewing machine it just may be me!
The Chicago International Quilt Festival was a wonderful experience. Stimulating for the brain and breaking me out of my comfort zone (that seems to be happening a lot the past few years).  Friends took me sightseeing in the city on my extra day there. I must say I was impressed with the city of Chicago, the flowers everywhere, the buildings, Navy Pier & the Bean were all cool to see but the pride in the city itself was what I felt from the people walking by. I never thought a large city would be so clean and beautiful.

Goodbye Chicago
Until the next time

The photo was taken with me looking into the Bean with my reflection and the city.

I will put together a slide show soon.


International Quilt Festival at Chicago - here I come!

I will be demoing, teaching, talking, laughing and sharing my quilts at IQF in one week, June 19-21!!!!! Can you tell I am a little bit excited? Three days at an international quilt show with nearly 500 shopping booths, more than 1,000 quilts and art pieces on display, classes, lectures, events and did I mention shopping?!  Can you tell I am a little bit excited? The average attendance at previous shows in Chicago was 20,000 people. That's double the population of the island I live on! 
I will be in Open Studios on the main show floor where anyone can stop by to watch me work and ask questions. I will be teaching 2 classes. Free Motion Quilting - the freedom to play will be about following the fabric lines and design, adding details to a fish or waves in the water with the quilting process without worry, just FUN. The second class, Naturescapes - fabric choices and design goes hand in hand with the first, showing how unusual fabric choices can add interest, depth and amazing color to a nature quilt. I will be taking a few finished pieces for reference as well as these three to work on while I am there. 
Here is a sneak peek.....
Clowning Around
This piece will live up to it's name. A simple but playful art quilt to demo how easy it is to get started with free motion machine quilting when you can follow the lines and mistakes become a beautiful part of the quilting design. 

No worry - Just fun

Island Blues
This demo piece showcases the water and how choosing the right fabrics can give depth and tone to the water and make it very easy to quilt with a follow the lines pattern. 

Bahama Barrier Reef

This more detailed piece will show how to get into the "details" of choosing successful fabrics for naturescapes. How to look at fabrics for what they can become not just what they seem. 
Color, texture and tone.

I will share more on these soon and hopefully updates about my trip. 
Happy Quilting