Round Up: Playful Fabric Printing Blog Hop

As you know, Carol and I are hosting a blog hop to celebrate the release of our book, Playful Fabric Printing. Today’s post is a Round Up of each participant on the hop, with stories of how we met, why we chose each person to participate with links to their websites and social media hubs. I highlight four hoppers on my blog and Carol is highlighting the other four on her blog


Lisa Chin and I met through social media and have become in-person friends as a result (who doesn’t love making friends in this way?). Lisa’s web presence is called Something Clever about Nothing, a pithy and fun name for the great explorations found within it. Lisa has published articles on topics pertaining to Gelli Plates and Sun Printing, has contributed to books on Zen Doodles, and made an appearance on QATV series 1700. I have been watching Lisa grow and expand her skill set and I am amazed by her commitment to the progress, she has made such strides in such a short time. Please follow Lisa on Facebook, insta and Pinterest.

Judy Coates Perez and I met in the green room on the set of Quilting Arts TV many years ago. We have become teaching roomies whenever we travel to the same event. I have come to love her like a sister and can honestly say her daughter, Indigo, is just as talented as she is (Indigo Perez was the photographer for Playful Fabric Printing and her photos are luscious). But, back to Judy… Judy’s art is amazing. Although I have visited Judy’s home twice, this last visit was the first time that I have touched both these pieces of art. The detail Judy is able to convey is amazing. Judy has self published two books, both of which I highly recommend, Alternatively Bound and Stitched and 10+ Techniques with Acrylic Inks. Please follow Judy on Facebook and insta

Judy Coates Perez

Judy Coates Perez

Chris Dodsley, whose brand is Made by ChrissieD, is a local friend and fellow member of  NYC Metro Mod Quilters. Chris is a firebrand of creativity and is quick to contribute to Call For and requests for help. Each time I have made a call for help in our community, Chris is ready and willing. Her work is strong, her voice sings through and her presentations and images are tight and professional. Well they should be, as Chris is a sample maker for fabric companies that we all know and love! Chris has been blogging for a long while and has some great tutorials on her site. Please friend her on Facebookinsta and Pinterest too!

Chris Dodsley


And now, we turn to Pokey Bolton. Patricia Chatham Bolton, that is. For this stop on the blog hop, I may just go a bit poetic. I first met Pokey while attending Quilt National 2007. Where Repose had gained entry. While there, Pokey asked to speak with me and proceeded to ask if I might be interested in writing a book based on the techniques used in my winning entry. I said yes, and Inspired to Quilt is the result.

 

Similar to Charlie's Angels

In preparing to write this post I asked each Blog Hopper for two photos to feature in this post. I told each that it could be of a connection between us or it could be a favorite project. Pokey sent this image of ‘The Gang’, or rather from left to right: Jamie Fingal, Judy Coates Perez, Leslie Tucker Jenison, Pokey Bolton, myself and Jane LaFazio. This is a small grouping of Pokey’s Angels. Pokey’s Angels, as I am currently calling all of us, is an ever growing, expansive and amorphous group. 

I am unsure, but I think this is Long Beach 2009? Correct me if I am wrong.

See where I am going with this? Pokey’s Angels makes me think of Charlies Angels. Maybe because we are all gorgeous? 😉

Anyway. Pokey brings together people of diverse artistic background. She gathers people up and creates events, publishes magazines and books, Pokey is a passionate whirlwind of great accomplishment. When Pokey asked if Carol and I might be interested in publishing with her, we felt honored. Honored to earn Pokey’s loyalty. Honored to trust that Pokey would make our content shine. I am confident in saying that every person in the Long Beach photo would say the same were they in our shoes. 

Last year Pokey had her inaugural Craft Napa event (January 2016):

and we recreated the photo from so many years ago. The second annual Craft Napa Retreat just unfolded, read Pokey’s recap here. I am happy to say, I want to return to Napa to experience Craft Napa retreats for years to come.

In the meantime, Pokey began publishing again! Playful Fabric Printing, coauthored with Carol Soderlund is Pokey’s first title under the name, Crafting a Life, LLC.

 

Playful Fabric Printing by Melanie Testa and Carol Soderlund

I know as an author, I am tooting my own horn here? But tootin’ needs to happen.

This book is photo and content rich. There is a 28 color triangle of repeatable color, in 4 values, combined with thoroughly tested techniques including the use of Fun Foam, Carving Rubber, Stencil and Thermofax Screens. We present all of the information with an eye toward small space printing, because we know that many of us do not have gads of studio space in work in. Then we go on to present six quilts made with handprints! 

Melanie Testa's quilt

This book is huge! And pretty. And it feels nice. It’s a dream come true.

Also? Playful Fabric Printing is published in the U.S.A. <—— This is really important. Pokey has chosen to employ U.S. workers to provide her content. A win for everyone!

Pokey and Melly Hug

This tender photo was taken at Houston Quilt Festival a few years back, when a group of ‘Angels’ honored Pokey’s 40th. We met up for a dinner that included friendship, dressed up Barbie dolls, wine, awesome food, and a whole lot of love. Every time I look at this image, I mist up.

It was my first Festival after a year long slog of breast cancer treatment. I went for no other reason than to be among friends and give myself a treat. And to heal. Because that is what we do for one another. As friends. And community. The very thing Pokey is so good at creating. 

This picture, these memories, and so many more, encapsulate what Pokey means to me. Thank you Pokey.


Blog Hop Schedule

Remember, each blog hopper will give away a copy of Playful Fabric Printing, you must comment on that post to enter your name in the giveaway. Comment on every post!! (Most hoppers will close comments in one weeks time, which brings us to February 7. Check each blog for specific dates. My blog comments will remain open until the 7th). Please keep hopping!!

ALSO: Carol and I have also begun a Playful Fabric Printing Facebook Community page and would love for you to join. This will be a space for you to share images of work inspired by the pages or our book, ask questions, receive feedback and participate in print-alongs. 

January 23: Melly Testa
http://melanietesta.com/blog/

Jan 24: Carol Soderlund
http://www.carolsoderlund.com/blog/

Jan 25: Lisa Chin
http://somethingcleveraboutnothing.blogspot.com

Jan 26: Julie Fei-Fan Balzer
http://www.balzerdesigns.typepad.com/

Jan 27: Judy Coates Perez
http://www.judycoatesperez.com

Jan 28: Carrie Bloomston
http://www.carriebloomston.com/blog/

Jan 28 Chris Dodsley as made by ChrissieD

Jan 29: Lynn Krawcyzk
http://smudgeddesignstudio.com

Jan 30: Leslie Tucker Jenison
http://leslietuckerjenison.blogspot.com

Jan 31: Pokey Bolton
http://pokeybolton.com

 

Playful Fabric Printing Blog Hop!

 

Please join us in celebrating the release of Playful Fabric Printing through a blog hop! Scroll down for a complete list of blog hop participants. Each hop participant will discuss motif making, quilting with handprints and/or review Playful Fabric Printing itself. Each blog hop participant will be giving a copy of Playful Fabric Printing to a commenter, so please comment for a chance to WIN.

Carol and I have also begun a Playful Fabric Printing Facebook Community page and would love for you to join. This will be a space for you to share images of work inspired by the pages or our book, ask questions, receive feedback and participate in print-alongs. 


There are many ways to go about making multicolor cloth and there are no right or wrong ways to go about it. While we discuss the creation of nestled multicolor printing sets that fit one inside the other, this is not always the way you might want to proceed. Instead, you might choose to create free-form motifs and to print them in a tossed pattern.

As you can see, working in this manner leaves a bunch of white fabric. Never fear, on page 86 of Playful Fabric Printing, we discuss Monoprinting with Masks.

In this case, I chose to use freezer paper, whose shiny side makes a temporary bond to cloth with ironing. I traced the motifs I wanted to reserve, cut and ironed the cutouts in place before preparing to monoprint. 

After rolling thickened dye out in a pleasing manner, a texturizing comb was used to create a grid like pattern in the thick dye.

The cloth was laid atop the texturized surface and pat in place, before lifting the cloth off the print surface.

Freezer paper is the first resist I began to explore upon learning to print with dye. It is quite a versital crafting material that can be found at grocery and big box stores. Freezer paper comes in several widths, my preferred width is 18″, which can sometimes be difficult to find. While freezer paper is a great resist material, we also discuss some much more ingenious ways to use flat objects to make multicolored prints.

However you choose to make marks on cloth, there is always a way to reserve specific areas, color the background, overprint, and add more design elements. It’s the experimentation that’s the fun part.


Next, I discuss ‘hacking’ your copy of Playful Fabric Printing in order to make it a user ready workbook. 

Most of the books I love and use often, get a spiral binding. I bring them to the copy shop, ask that the binding be removed and a spiral binding be placed in its stead. In the case of Playful Fabric Printing, I wanted to push the idea further and make the book even more studio ready.

First, I took a trip to the office supply store to purchase Better Dividers and Corner Lock Three Pocket Binder Pockets. I specifically wanted to place a tab at the color triangle on page 48 and a pocket at the back of the book in order to store tracking sheets. Additionally, I bought Expo Dry Erase Markers.

Then I took a copy of Playful Fabric Printing to my local copy shop, additional items in tow, to have them remove the binding, place the tab and pocket and laminate both the front and back covers prior to placing a spiral binding. I know this book will receive lots of use and I think the spiral binding turns Playful Fabric Printing into a very useable workbook that is ready to be wiped down when spills and drips occur.

In retrospect, I wish I had asked for the 1.25″ plastic spiral, rather than this tight fitting metal binding. I did not know there was an option, and although this works perfectly, I would have preferred to have the larger spiral.

Another change I made to my copy of Playful Fabric Printing was to move pages 57, 58, 59 and 60 (the Value Bands) to follow just after the color triangle on page 48. This will cut down on flipping back and forth between the pages when choosing color palettes. 

Then I asked the copy shop to make a two sided print out of the tracking pages (pages 138 and 139) and a two sided print out of pages 130 and 131 (the dye recipes) prior to lamination. Used with the dry erase markers, these laminated sheets provide a temporary surface to write notes and track your mixing adventures. Later, when your print session is complete, you will want to transfer the essential information gathered to a hard copy.

OR, if you would rather not have separate sheets that may get lost, you might consider placing a second tabbed Better Divider between pages 138 and 139. My one hesitation with this idea is that the Better Divider pages are textural. The dry erase maker does indeed erase from this surface in a preliminary trial, though a very slight smudge remains. While this is not a problem immediately, I do wonder if, with time and repeated ‘off-market’ use like this, the page will become much more smudged and blurry. I cannot answer this question as yet.

And, of course, tracking pages and design notes can be tucked into the added Binder Pocket at the back. 

Perhaps you too might consider moving into and making your book wet studio ready! I think this is pretty snazzy.


Blog Hop Schedule

Remember, each blog hopper will give away a copy of Playful Fabric Printing, you must comment on that post to enter your name in the giveaway. Comment on every post!!

January 23: Melly Testa
http://melanietesta.com/blog/

Jan 24: Carol Soderlund
http://www.carolsoderlund.com/blog/

Jan 25: Lisa Chin
http://somethingcleveraboutnothing.blogspot.com

Jan 26: Julie Fei-Fan Balzer
http://www.balzerdesigns.typepad.com/

Jan 27: Judy Coates Perez
http://www.judycoatesperez.com

Jan 28: Carrie Bloomston
http://www.carriebloomston.com/blog/

Jan 28 Chris Dodsley as made by ChrissieD

Jan 29: Lynn Krawcyzk
http://smudgeddesignstudio.com

Jan 30: Leslie Tucker Jenison
http://leslietuckerjenison.blogspot.com

Jan 31: Pokey Bolton
http://pokeybolton.com


Also, I would like to announce that Judy Tucker has won the fabric giveaway I announced on the Focus on Fabric Florida Style post.

Art Quilt Collage: A Creative Journey in Fabric, Paint and Stitch, Book Release Blog Hop with Video Chats!

First, I just want to say, I love Deborah Boschert, her art and her person. I feel blessed to know her and great gratitude that her talent calls her to write about her process. Deborah is just releasing, Art Quilt Challenge, A Creative Journey in Fabric, Paint and Stitch.

Deborah asked me to read Art Quilt Challenge and to have a discussion with her about symbols, which really turned into an eye opening endeavor for me.

Deborah and I both use symbols and symbolism in our work. Deborah clearly lays out how to find and access symbols that resonate with you, helps you attach meaning to those symbols and then illustrates different methods to using those symbols in your work. 

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Within the pages of Deborah’s book she uses chairs, a bowl, a ladder. These all have very different meanings to Deborah, than they do for me, or you-probably. Symbols are a means of visually communicating idea. As we learn to express ourselves artistically, it is a good idea to apply meaning to the symbols we use, even if we never tell anyone what our intended meaning is! And, of course, the viewer of the artwork brings their own history, interpretations and personal connections to what they are seeing.

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Chairs, in my own artwork, speak to the human form. Chairs are made for humans. Walking into a room with chairs lets you know, you can relax. There is symbiosis between people and chairs. And so, when it comes to my art, when I use a chair in artwork, I am working with ideas related to people, bodies, and -who- might use that perch.

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Deborah thinks about the -activity- that can be done in a chair when she describes ‘quietly embracing the opportunity to be restful, but not idle or inactive’. This was an ‘aha moment’ for me, that illustrates, symbols really do have a wide array of meaning, artistically speaking. And each of us applies meaning in ways that are meaningful to us individually.

So, if you are feeling like you would like to explore your own use of symbols, and would like to unpack and use some innovative and fresh techniques, I do hope you will purchase a copy of Deborah book. Deborah’s book covers design, composition, collage, surface design, stitch by hand and machine, as well as finishing techniques, walking you through the entire process, while helping you understand it with deeper meaning. Beside which, Art Quilt Collage is eye candy!

I am happy to be giving away a copy of Deborah’s book! Leave a comment here on the blog telling us about symbols that you often use in your artwork. I will choose a lucky winner on October 7. ________________________________________

Check out the other participants in the blog hop:

September 19: C&T Publishing and Editor Lynn Koolish

September 20: Teri Lucas, Generation Q Magazine

September 21: Susan Brubaker Knapp 

September 22: Sue Bleiweiss

September 23: Lyric Kinard 

September 26: Lori Kennedy

September 27: Maria Shell

September 28: Jane LaFazio

September 29: Judy Coates Perez

September 30: Melanie Testa

Patchwork+Quilt Maker+Craft NAPA 2016 Blog Hop

It is so much fun to piece and use my hand printed cloth.

The nature of the printing process dictates that I print small pieces, fat sixteenths-I think, which is somewhere around 9×11″. I rip two yards at a time, and print all as quickly as possible. So when it comes time to begin piecing, I have many similarly colored squares, scraps really, all of which relate to one another color-wize.

But, they are small!

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My attention span for cutting and piecing blocks is short. This ‘attribute’, if I could call it that, plays into my ‘quilt building skills’. These skills are reprehensible by anyone else’s standard!!

My bottom lines:

  1. It must lay flat
  2. Use as much of the handprinted cloth as possible, even if this dictates wonky cutting or piecing… ‘techniques’! (Yeah, that’s it!)
  3. My quilt, my rules. My friend Teri reminds me of this often and I like it. 

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So I make blocks in batches, I might cut as many 3″ squares for Half Square Triangles as possible, given the tiny size of my scraps. I sew, iron, and join these together and then, maybe I will cut some 4″ squares for Half Square Triangles, in slightly different colors.

My process is willy nilly. And fun. My blocks never match up, or sometimes they do and I don’t care either way. I just build them out and keep on sewing! Because it is so much fun to do! I have been so deeply immersed in piecing, I am thinking deep thoughts. I like the term Quilt Maker. I am a Quilt Maker. I like this better than Quilter. What do you think? Do you think about this at all?


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Here is a shout out to the wonderful CRAFT NAPA sponsors, BERNINA and Meissner Sewing and Vacuum Centers

BERNINA Made to Create Right

 

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I am participating in a blog hop that starts today! Comment on every post and your name will go into a hopper with great incentives. I will post my contribution on the 5th and will be giving away a copy of Dreaming from the Journal Page! Below is a list of participants, and it all starts with Jane LaFazio.

The grand prize is a $500 Gift Certificate from eQuilter.com! WOOT! And do not hesitate to sign up for a class!!!


Nov 30- Jane LaFazio – http://janeville.blogspot.com/

Dec 1 – Lynn Krawczyk – http://smudgeddesignstudio.com/blog/

Dec 2 – Judy Coates Perez – http://www.judycoatesperez.com/

Dec 3 – Jenny K. Lyon – http://quiltskipper.com/blog/

Dec 4 – Jamie Fingal – http://JamieFingalDesigns.blogspot.com/

Dec 5 – Melanie Testa – http://melanietesta.com/blog/ (Here you are!)

Dec 6 – Elizabeth St. Hilaire – http://www.paperpaintings.com/

Dec 7– Leslie Jenison – http://leslietuckerjenison.blogspot.com/

Dec 8- Carrie Bloomston – http://www.carriebloomston.com/blog/

Dec 9 – Cheryl Sleboda – http://blog.muppin.com

Commenting closes on:

Dec 10 – Pokey Bolton – http://pokeysponderings.com/

And do comment, because the prizes are snazzy!

Gather your Sew-plies, Quilting Arts Holiday edition.

I am happy to have published in the Quilting Arts Holiday gifts issue, which showcases my Gather your Sew-plies purse. 

 This sewing purse is the Bee Knees, if you ask me. These purses were designed with movement in mind. The bag itself embraces a reverse pack pack styling, so, it sits at the front of your body, safe and secure, as you move around your sewing studio.

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The pattern in Quilting Arts Holiday has directions for a scissor pocket, though you need not stop there! As you can see, I have also included a tiny pocket to hold my thimble.  

Sew-plies2

Sometimes the purses themselves become a canvas on which to stitch and embroider.

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And sometimes I include fancy bits of fabric in the lining. I have also been known to clip rounded bits of plastic from milk bottles and juice containers to tuck into the scissor pocket-which protects the fabric from being punctured by my embroidery scissors.

Sew-plies4

See? You can even swing while ready to sew. 

All in all, I can’t live without these little functional bits of beauty. So far, I have made about 15 of these purses, each has thread, embroidery floss, some Thread Heaven  (An Amazon link, I LOVE Thread Heaven as a thread ‘conditioner’), and the pattern has evolved over time. Sometimes I make them with flaps as you see in the above photos, sometimes I make them with a fold of fabric that flips over and closes the purse (this is the pattern that Quilting Arts Holiday has published). I also like to thread string through the bias straps, which strengthens them.

I would love to have a Gather your Sew-plies sew along if you are interested!?? Please post a comment below and tell me know if you would like to do this. You will need to purchase the magazine to access the pattern, but I have many additional ideas and notions that will make this quite the fun sew-along. 

Check out these other posts on the blog hop too!

Friday, September 12, Vivika Hansen DeNegre, http://quiltingdaily.com/

Saturday, September 13, Lyric Kinard, http://lyrickinard.com/blog/

Sunday, September 14, Claude Larson, http://randomactsofpiece.blogspot.com/

Monday, September 15, Linda McLaughlin, http://notesfromstudiob.blogspot.com/ 

and Kathy Kerstetter, http://artndl.blogspot.com

Tuesday, September 16, Lori Miller, http://lorimillerdesigns.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, September 17, Melanie Testa, http://melanietesta.com/blog/,

and Liz Kettle, http://www.textileevolution.com/index.php/our-journey

Thursday, September 18, Susan Brubaker Knapp, http://wwwbluemoonriver.blogspot.com/

Friday, September 19, Lisa Chin, http://somethingcleveraboutnothing.blogspot.com/

Saturday, September 20, Sarah Ann Smith, http://www.sarahannsmith.com/weblog

Sunday, September 21, Catherine Redford, http://catherineredford.com/

 

 

Lynn K and her new line of stencils, a Blog Hop!

LynnK

I am really happy to be a part of Lynn Krawczyk’s Blog Hop announcing her upcoming line of stencils called ‘Marked’ by Artistcellar. While I wish I could have found my own set of Lynn’s stencils to play around and make some samples for you, moving and time constraints have gotten the better of me.

What I can tell you is this, I have long admired Lynn and have both been able to support, mentor and be mentored by Lynn. You may also remember that I reviewed a copy of Lynn’s book, here. The fact that Lynn was able to get a line of stencils with her name on it does not surprise me. Lynn knows how to print and layer cloth effectively and having a line of stencils is an extension of her commitment to printing cloth as well as her love and exuberance in being a surface design artist.

When I want to Quilt Market this last May, Lynn and I met up several times, she made an appearance in this video, I am happy to say I was able to get a signed copy of Lynn’s book, Intentional Printing, as she was doing an author signing in the Interweave booth, but I am happier still that Lynn stopped by my Windham booth where I had set up a studio to print and entice folks to get to know me and how I went about designing Meadowlark.

Lynn and I spent time talking and Lynn printed with dye using my tools, while I printed with dye using her stencils. As you may know, Lynn’s preferred media is paint, so having her in my booth, using the media I know and love was a special treat for me. More than anything else, I love having friends use my tools. I can only imagine what it might be like for Lynn to be releasing a line of stencils, and wondering how you might use them…


The participants in this blog hop are listed by order of date posted and one lucky commenter on each post in the hop will win a set of Lynn’s stencils, so please post comments on every post possible! I will choose a winner from my blog hopping post one week from today on July 6.

June 28th – Lisa Cousineau – www.artistcellar.com/wp
June 29th – Melanie Testa  – http://melanietesta.com/blog/
June 30th – Lisa Chin – somethingcleveraboutnothing.blogspot.com
July 2nd – Belinda Spiwak http://alteredbelly.blogspot.com
July 3rd – Kristin LaFlamme – http://kristinlaflamme.com/musings
July 4th – Ingrid Dijkers – http://ingriddijkers.blogspot.com/
July 5th – Guadalupe Cabal – http://guadasartplace.blogspot.com/

July 6th – Lynn Krawczyk – http://smudgedtextilesstudio.com/blog/

Winners announced.

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Before I announce the winners from the Meadowlark Blog Hop Winners off my own web site, I would like to talk about moving. Please pardon me while I prattle on.

David and I moved to Brooklyn 5.5 years ago, renting an apartment not far from where I live now. Many things happened during this time. Soon after arriving our beautiful cat Monk passed away. Within a year, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and signed a contract to write Dreaming from the Journal Page. Three years after that, Arrow passed away, feline keeper of my heart that he was. So, as you can imagine, these events were pretty major for both David and I. That apartment served us quite well, contained our tears, growth, love, friendships and supported my efforts to move myself forward creatively to create a portfolio, get a fabric line and sssshh… (write another book). 🙂 But I can’t talk about that yet. 🙂

I did not allow the amount of space in that apartment to hold me back creatively. I made a rule that I would be tidy. I would not gripe about needing to put things away and take them out each time I wanted to create. I made it work. The above photo is a testament to making it work, all that dirt that left a ‘resis’t of dirt and shows a smear of dye was left after taking down a punched tin switch plate that we put up. It was the plate that turned the bathroom light on. I washed all my dye items in the bathtub over the last 5+ years… (I bet some of you might think this a bit gross and I apologize if that is the case)

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And now we have moved into an apartment that is a bit smaller. Crazy, I know. I am setting up shop here and I must say, this set up is even less conducive to my preferred medium of Procion MX dye. Of all the studios I have ever had, this is the least among them. If I could afford to, this would be a great time to rent studio space. But alas, I cannot. So it is again time to have a talk with myself about having a good attitude and making this ‘studio’ work for me. 

I often hear comments from students and blog readers that they cannot work with dye because they do not have space. I chuckle inside when I hear this type comment, I try not to comment about it because I know I am car-cra. I bet I will end up loving this space too, as I have every other creative space I have been able to conjure. I am not feeling it yet, but I am willing. I do remember the first sewing machine I got, the corner I was able to take up, the first bathtub I washed dye out in, the first studio I was able to create, and all the different types of creative space I have been able to maintain.

Really, all I really care about is being able to make things, so not having space, taking up too much space in our home, is just a side effect of honoring the artist within me. I am grateful that I have a good man, I am grateful that my art comes first, I am grateful for all the hours in all the spaces I have called a studio. Without them, I would not be where I am today and this is pretty darned good, if you ask me.

I will post pictures once all of our boxes are cleared. As you can imagine, my inner OCD neat freak is in panic mode right now, but I keep soothing that part of me, and telling myself it will all come together soon.. And in the meantime? I will keep on making things. No matter what.


 

Now for the winners of Fat Stacks of the Meadowlark line! There were three posts on my blog, so three people will win Fat Stacks of fabric and one will win a copy of Dreaming from the Journal Page. I am also going to give away two more books randomly off the other blog hop posts (please be a little patient as I try to find the books I am giving away. I know I saw that box recently). Thank you for hopping, commenting, and following along. 

The winner off my blog post, Meadowlark Blog Hop Giveaway is TX Creatrix. Please check your gmail account and send me you snail mail address, ASAP.

The winner of Jacqui’s post, ‘Jacqui Holmes Calhoun on Meadowlark’, is Jane Howie. Please check your email and tell me where to ship your fabric.

The winner of Helen’s post, Confessions of an Alleged Quilter is Diane Miller, I have sent an email off, please check you inbox and send me your snail mail addy.

A randomly chosen commenter, named Andy won a copy of Dreaming from the Journal Page and a charm pack of Meadowlark. Please check your email and  send me a snail mail address.

Two more book winners will be announced just as soon as I figure out which blog posts among the hop had the most comments.

Congratulations to all for being such a support and for leaving great comments about the line and my sample teams efforts to show it off!

 

Confessions of an alleged quilter

(Helen is a quest contributor to the Meadowlark Blog Hop giveaway. The art piece that Helen made using trapunto features one of the 6 Common Birds in Decline seen in the Meadowlark bird print, the Greater Scaup. She will tell you about the making of the quilt below. I can tell you, Helen is a treasure, I am quite happy to get to know her and to call her a friend.)

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Sometimes you just have to say yes.  When Melanie Testa put out a call for help getting projects sewn for her Meadowlark launch for Windham Fabrics I instinctively said I would help.  Well, that was my first reaction.  My second was “What am I thinking?  Why did I say yes?  Now have to show up, meet new people, talk to them, be creative…oh my, what have I gotten myself into???”

The day arrived.  I had mixed emotions approaching City Quilter, arriving at the same time as Melanie.  We introduced ourselves and I was relieved to discover that she was as sweet and approachable in person as she is online and in her books.  I met the others in this crew of talented quilters and was excited to see the work that had been done the previous week as well as projects that individuals had designed and sewn.  It was intimidating.  But I was there and I was going to help.  All I had to do was help sew blocks together and then rows for the gorgeous string quilt as well as assist sewing the beautiful bird quilt together.  It was fun and a relief to get lost in sewing and chatting and doing.  Not worrying about work or life or anything – just putting one stitch after another.  Nirvana.

Helen1

The day ended too quickly.  I volunteered to bind the string quilt and make a sleeve.  There were scraps of fabric left and I asked Melanie if she needed any small wall hangings.  She did.  Again, I said yes.  I would make a wall hanging.  I pulled some fabric, said goodbye, and was on my way.  And then realized that I had committed to completing these projects in just about three weeks.  Here’s the thing.  I am an “alleged quilter”.  I start projects. Some of them get completed; most get almost completed.  It took me two years to put the binding on a quilt my sister made.  I began my first quilt in 1981 when I was working summer stock and my cat Maggie was born.  I finished it in 1998, the year Maggie died.  And lately, I hadn’t even been sewing.  I was drawing and painting and playing around paper.  Well, ok then.  Oh, hell.  Why not?  I said yes.  Now I had to do it.  

I work better if I don’t think too much so I took a bird square and centered it on a muslin backing.  Then I cut 2-1/2” strips of the other fabrics and started building out from the bird.  Once the muslin was completely covered machine stitched around all the elements in the bird patch, then I embellished the fabric around the center square with orange, purple, and aqua rayon thread to help marry the birds to the surrounding fabric.  This, of course led to the center not laying flat because, well, all of the stitching caused distortion.  The fix?  Trapunto.  I’d never tried this padded and raised quilt design before but thought it was worth a shot.  Why not cut the muslin and stuff all the elements in the bird square?  It might take care of the distortion and would make the birds really pop.  So I did. And it worked.  And I was excited.  I didn’t have enough scraps to make a border so I stitched it like a pillow cover.  And then pressed like crazy and added a sleeve.  Lastly, I made the pieced binding as well as the sleeve for the string quilt.  In less than three weeks.  All because I said yes.

Helen2

Melly’s Meadowlark fabric is a joy to work with.  The design, the color, the feel and quality of the fabric – everything about this line is exceptional.  And I got to play a small part in the launch.  I also met and worked with one of my design icons and other really talented women.  All because I said yes.  I can’t wait to do it again. Thanks Melly for letting me be a part of this adventure!

Please let me know what you think.  Just leave a comment for a chance to win a Fat Stack of 10” squares of all 26 fabrics in the Meadowlark line.  Melly’s also giving away 3 copies of her wonderful book “Dreaming From the Journal Page”.  If you missed any of the other posts in this hop just head over to the links below.  And don’t forget to leave your comments there, too. 

Melly – June 2 
Vivien Zepf – June 2 
Chrissie D – June 3 
Sue Bleiweiss – June 4  
Leslie Tucker Jenison  June 5 
Jamie Fingal – June 6 
Lyric Kinard – June 7 
Jen Eskridge – June 8 
Jacqui Holmes Calhoun – June 8  <——-Jacqui will be guest posting on Melly’s blog!
Stephanie Forsyth – June 9 
Victoria Findlay Wolfe – June 10 
Teri Lucas – June 11 
Scott Hansen June 12
Helen Eckard – June 12 <——-Helen will be guest posting on Melly’s blog!

Jacqui Holmes Calhoun on Meadowlark

Before Market, Windham Fabrics sent me two yards of each fabric in my line, Meadowlark. They asked if I might have a sewing bee in order to make samples. I agreed and after a call to Dale and Cathy, set up two consecutive Tuesdays at The City Quilter. Then I contacted the two guilds I am a member of, and asked if anyone was interested in helping out. Jacqui, the author of the following post was one of the people who showed up. Jacqui and I immediately hit it off and I am happy to say, we are already making plans to go to museum shows and to have lunch. 
Here are Jacqui’s words on working with Meadowlark…
 
Meadowlark Scrap
 
Hi everyone, and welcome to my guest post for Melanie Testa’s Meadowlark Blog Hop!
 
Jacqui Holmes Calhoun here —artist, quilter, book and papermaker.
It was great fun working with Melly’s  new line, Meadowlark. This  fabric is very painterly, with a block printing-on-paper quality that was fun to play with in fabric form. The patterns are full of  rich color and the whole line has an energetic vibe. 
 
Check out my “Four by Four” nine patch quilt I made. 
I used 2.5″ squares to make the pattern- in- pattern. 
Love the dots…and the birds….and the grid….
I’m seeing  a book cover in my future.
 
JCH4x4
 
I love the 9 Patch block in all its many variations.
Did you know that the 9 times table is the only set that can be written
in reverse and upside down and always come out right?
 
From the top: Write down the right side #9 in descending (down) order…9,8,7,6, etc.until you get to 0.
 At the bottom next to 0 on  the left side write 9,8,7,6 etc. in Ascending order (up) and voyla! The 9 times table re-made as play!
 
For someone who is SO NOT a math person I  never forgot that game… and play I did with Melly’s Meadowlark stack. Oh, and then added a few more pieces for more fun. 
Speaking of adding….
If you add each line of the 9 times table it always adds up to 9!
  9,  18 (1+8=9),  27 (2+7=9),  36 (3+6=9)…..You get the idea,
so you see I just had to add those  purple dots. I couldn’t help myself.
 
——–
 
To win your very own Meadowlark Stack of 10″ squares (10 is a great number too don’t you think?) just leave a comment by JUNE 10, 2014.
 
Melly is also giving away 3 copies of her fabulous book “Dreaming from the Journal Page”, for even more inspiration.
 One will be given away on her blog and 
the other two will be given away at the end of the Blog Hop. You have to leave a post to have a chance to win.
 

Melly – June 2 
Vivien Zepf – June 2 
Chrissie D – June 3 
Sue Bleiweiss – June 4  
Leslie Tucker Jenison  June 5 
Jamie Fingal – June 6 
Lyric Kinard – June 7 
Jen Eskridge – June 8 
Jacqui Holmes Calhoun – June 8  <——-Jacqui will be guest posting here!
Stephanie Forsyth – June 9 
Victoria Findlay Wolfe – June 10 
Teri Lucas – June 11 
Scott Hansen June 12
Helen Eckard – June 12 <——-Helen will be guest posting here!

 

meadowlark blog hop give away

I am so friggin’ excited to finally be working in the textile industry and to have a line of fabrics coming out with my name on the selvedge. I mean, so, friggin’, excited. 

Spring Quilt Market 2014 served to ‘launch’ my premiere fabric line, Meadowlark by Windham Fabrics which will be officially release this coming October 2014. It is used to create ‘buzz’.  Talking about buzz, check out my ‘look book’! Or this video that Victoria Findlay Wolfe did at Market (she is part of this blog hop too)!

Being the interactive, show and tell driven person that I am, I set up shop at quilt market to demo the techniques I use in the printing of the Meadowlark line, and I surrounded myself with the most awesome, beautifully created samples that I possibly could. And I must say, I hardly sewed even a single stitch of the beautiful work seen in my booth. I feel absolutely blessed to be able to work with some of the most driven, detail oriented artists and quilters in this industry. 

I have been told that my sample team and I used the most fabric ever, in preparation for the launch of a fabric line. Woot!! If you ask me, too much is just about enough.

Market was a whirlwind of activity. I invited many of the superstars in our industry to come to my booth and print or to say, ‘Hello’.  I had so much fun and smiled so much that my face hurt at the end of the weekend. 

In celebration of the launch of the Meadowlark line, we are giving away Fat Stacks (10″ square of each of the 26 fabrics in the line) and 3 copies of Dreaming From the Journal Page. I will also be giving away some 5″ Charm packs from my own ‘stash’ (Windham cuts these as giveaway at Market and I nabbed some). I will give away one copy of dreaming here, the other two will be given to whichever blog on the hop that receives the most comments. We will use the hashtag #MellyMeadowlark, so if you want to spread the word on Facebook and other social networking sites please use this tag. Leave a comment to enter a chance to win some of my pretties and don’t hesitate to ask your local quilt store to carry my line. In fact, you might just forward a link to this post:

http://melanietesta.com/2014/06/meadowlark-blog-hop-give-away/ ‎

I honestly cannot wait for you to get your hands on my fabrics and show me your skillz. In the meantime, check out what my design team has to say on the matter…

Melly – June 2 
Vivien Zepf – June 2 
Chrissie D – June 3 
Sue Bleiweiss – June 4  
Leslie Tucker Jenison  June 5 
Jamie Fingal – June 6 
Lyric Kinard – June 7 
Jen Eskridge – June 8 
Jacqui Holmes Calhoun – June 8  <——-Jacqui will be guest posting here!
Stephanie Forsyth – June 9 
Victoria Findlay Wolfe – June 10 
Teri Lucas – June 11 
Scott Hansen June 12
Helen Eckard – June 12 <——-Helen will be guest posting here!

 

Meadowlark Blog Hop

Meadowlark Blog Hop Image
 
I am organizing a blog hop fabric giveaway to celebrate the release of my first line of fabrics! Please stay tuned for your chance to win!!! The ‘hop’ kicks off, here, at MelanieTesta.com on June 2.
 
 
Melly – June 2 
Vivien Zepf – June 2 
Chrissie D – June 3 
Sue Bleiweiss – June 4  
Leslie Tucker Jenison  June 5 
Jamie Fingal – June 6 
Lyric Kinard – June 7 
Jen Eskridge – June 8 
Jacqui Holmes Calhoun – June 8  <——-Jacqui will be guest posting here!
Stephanie Forsyth – June 9 
Victoria Findlay Wolfe – June 10 
Teri Lucas – June 11 Blog-TBD
Scott Hansen June 12
Helen Eckard – June 12 <——-CHelen will be guest posting here!

 

Kass Hall’s Zentangle Untangled

Kass Hall just came out with Zentangle Untangled and I have to say, her book made me understand Zentangles. They really are inspirational and ever so meditative. For me, drawing is meditative, but to do it purposely to that end is a very healing thing indeed. For this fact alone I recommend Kass’s book, but I recommend it for many other reasons as well.

I like Kass. We began talking last year before her book was released and we share an experience of using art to heal the self through cancer treatment. Kass is another strong woman, so I honor her for just this reason alone, as if I need a reason!  😀

We caught up on Skype last night and then continued the conversation through email. Where she said, 

‘Personally, Zentangle has been very therapeutic for me and has helped me a lot through my cancer last year and prior to that. Having that to focus on (and be so portable) has been a real benefit to my coping with illness. I find I really am able to zone out from the world and even my own thoughts when I am drawing – sometimes I haven’t even noticed the phone ringing!’

I couldn’t agree more. I used writing Dreaming from the Journal Page as a catalyst to get me through treatment. It helped me to switch my doctors appointments into interruptions from writing, so that writing, making art, drawing, painting pages, was the goal. Going to doctors appointments were needed but not the all consuming goal it could have been had the universe not given me a contract during the same week as being given a major diagnosis. Kass found out she had her 4th bout of cancer 6 weeks before her book deadline. And she traversed those waters with grace and gave us a fabulous text in spite of and because of her experience.

 

Zentangle Untangled: Inspiration and Prompts for Meditative Drawing is a great book. If you would like to begin using art as a means to heal, as a balm for the frenetic energy of our crazy fast world, this book is for you. 

Here is the list of Blog Hop Links: 

Redux of Redux

I am participating in a blog hop while I am away, it starts tomorrow, Monday, July 23.

Here is the list of Blog Hop Links: 

Please don’t feed the hipsters.

Once a week my Man and I walk up to our favorite coffee joint and help open it. And now, as the weather improves, I have begun to walk afterward. I love walking. I walk fast enough that you might call it running, I can’t slow it down.

Brooklyn, NYC

But when I bring my camera, that will make me stop long enough to enjoy cobblestoned streets.

Brrooklyn, NYC

Oh! Pigeons meet wet cement.

Brooklyn, NYC

And, please don’t feed the hipsters. That stencil looks like Woody Allen, right? He is the ultimate hipster. And that red down there? Roses? I am inspired by this.

Brooklyn, NYC

This church door reminds me of the embroidery I am doing on the Female Mag blouse

Brooklyn, NYC

And finally, the reason for walking down into Red Hook, this Duke Riley poster. Maybe a year and some ago, I went gallery hopping with the Journal Study Gals. Pat pulled a strip of paper off a telephone pole, tore it in half, handed me a section. I went home to glue it in my journal and made a page featuring it (see the last image in this post).

But I had no way of connecting the scrap of paper to the original artist. And you know I have a thing for posters and poster art, you can’t restore vintage posters for 6+ years without acquiring an affection for paper, posters, and wheat paste.

Brooklyn, NYC

So this morning I went back into Red Hook, photographed the poster in-situ and then took it off the wall. 😈 I brought the poster home, in pieces, and washed it in the tub, it is drying now. I don’t know what I am going to do with it, but I like this man’s work and I think I might need to meet him. I bet he lives in Red Hook. He is a tattoo artist, he makes me want a tattoo.

Different poster, collaged and completed in my 8" journal, melanietesta.com

I saw a real rat today, running from a dumpster into a building that is being renovated. I love seeing rats in the city. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Beside which, they clean up after us!

_________________________

So, there is a blog hop going on and I am just now catching up with it, you should too.

April 30 – Tracie Lynn Huskamp
Stenciled & Stitched: A Special Occasion Greeting Card

May 1 – Traci Bunkers
Gelatin Printing

Script Lettering/Tattoo style using Sakura Calligrapher Pens

Fun Little Resist

May 4 – Melanie Testa
Thimble Cinch Sack

May 5 – Lyric Kinard
PSE for Thermofax Screen Printing

May 6 – Jill Berry
Pop-Up Heart Map