Monday, September 26, 2016

Local Lectures and Featured Artist, Northwest Quilt Expo, Portland Ore

Joyce Becker

I had the rare opportunity to be a Featured Artist at the Northwest Quilt Expo in Portland, Oregon this past week. I have to say that it warmed my heart to hear so many compliments on twenty of my quilts. When there are quilters out there that follow you or like your work, it's an amazing thing. I probably had a half a dozen or so quilters say they came to the show just to see my work. Talk about feeling so blessed, WOW. Some quilters came back several times to look again. It's funny when someone tells you what a talented artist you are - I don't mean funny, I mean the way I feel about it is that I love creating these type of quilts and if they give joy or happiness to someone, that's what counts to me. I love quilters that are inspired from my work especially if it means it sparks their creativity!
After several requests, I have decided I will do some local lectures or lectures within driving distance. I can't bring myself to teach again because of the ramifications to my health (rotator cuff issues and arthritis) but lecturing is something that is fun. As long as my husband or a friend can come along and help me haul my quilts and books for a trunk show, I'll do it!

Here's the literature from the Quilt Expo in Portland:

A prize-winning landscape quilt artist, Joyce R. Becker is the author of four quilting books focusing on landscape quilting. Three of her books and a DVD were published by C&T Publishing, including her most recent book, Quick Little Landscape Quilts and she has authored over twenty articles in quilting magazines, including Quilting Arts.  Joyce was a featured guest on the Quilt Show with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson and the PBS Series , Simply Quilts, with Alex Anderson.  She also appeared on “M`Liss`s World of Quilts.
Joyce has taught and lectured throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, New Zealand, and Hawaii for guilds and large conferences such as the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas, and at the Empty Spools Seminars.  Joyce’s quilts have been exhibited nationally and internationally and she was a founding board member for the Association of Pacific West Quilters. Joyce has enjoyed teaching and lecturing on several quilting cruises throughout the world for Quilt Camp at Sea and is currently, writing a “spicy” quilting novel.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Mt. Rainier Reflecting in Tipsoo Lake

Mt. Rainier Reflecting in Tipsoo Lake

Duh.....I forgot to include the photo of the finished quilt. Please read my blog that I posted just before this one which will tell you all the trials and tribulations of creating this quilt plus details about the Northwest Quilting Expo where I will be a featured artist!

Featured Artist at the Northwest Quilt Expo and my new quilt, etc.

Mt. Rainier Reflecting in Tipsoo Lake

After much trial and error, ripping, struggling, burning holes in tulle, etc., I have finally finished this quilt! Let me tell you, I am ready to be done with it. I can't tell you how many darn things went wrong this quilt but the one that took the most time involved the machine quilting! Originally, I hand-painted the sky and the water. After machine quilting the half of the water I wanted to barf. I hated hated hated how it looked. So, even though I knew it was a thankless task, I begin ripping out the stitching. NEVER NEVER NEVER do this on hand-painted fabric. Yikes, what was I thinking? When I picked out the quilting, the original white fabric showed.
Here is a photo of what it looked like during the removal of the quilting stitches:
Here was my solution: I cut away the fabric, the backing and the batting and it ended up looking like this:
Next, I Placed the quilt on top of a piece of backing fabric with a nice folded edge (to stitch down by hand later), a piece of batting, and a piece of hand-painted fabric by Mickey Lawler that just happened to be a good substitute for the one I hand-painted. Then, I had to stitch the trees and mountain down to the new sandwich. To make sure the value was correct, I added a couple layers of colored tulle but then went on to burn a couple holes in it with my iron, necessitating the adding of foliage on the right side of the shoreline of the quilt! DUH. I guess I can blame everything on my stupid thyroid as my levels were low during most of the process. Or, I can just blame it on old age. OR WHATEVER!
I decided to face my quilt instead of doing a regular binding, but again, was foiled! After applying the facing I could not get the 1/4" seam allowance to fold to the back because the machine embroidery on the trees was to bloody thick! So, on to plan B, a regular binding!

So, what have I been doing since I finished this piece? Sewing like a mad woman. My son is getting married next weekend so his fiance and I made her Celtic themed peasant wedding dress. The overdress is made of a lovely forest green batik and we are both delighted how it turned out. I can't show it yet as it will make its' debut at the wedding.
I can, however, show you the dress I made for my granddaughter to wear. I do have to share with you, pattern sizing is the Pitts! I had to alter this dress big time to get it to fit my granddaughter. The top was too big, the waist too tight, so I let in and I let out but the darn thing turned out so cute on her. Here's a photo of the dress:
I will post photos of the wedding so you can see the wedding dress modeled and my granddaughter in her dress.

Until then.......Happy quilting


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Blocking your quilt on insulation board


I do not give up easily. So, I am attempting to post this link showing you how I blocked my latest quilt. As it is very difficult for me to get on the floor any more, and we now have bamboo flooring, I decided to try plan B.......I went to Home Depot and had them cut an insulation board in half. Using the shiny foil-type finish on top, I placed a layer of the Teflon ironing board fabric on top of that followed by a vinyl, flannel backed tablecloth, with the vinyl side down. 
Next, I pinned the quilt face-down on the apparatus, using t-pins. Using a dry iron on a medium-high setting, I took a piece of muslin, dipped it in water, and placed it on one edge of the quilt and ironed the muslin until the muslin was dry. All the moisture and the heat actually go into the quilt itself, making it one cohesive unit instead of a top, batting, and backing. I continue dipping the muslin into the water (squeeze it just enough so it isn't dripping) and go over the entire circumference of the quilt, paying attention especially to the edges where quilts often wobble. I place this sandwich under a ceiling fan to help the quilt dry. Depending on the weather, it can take one day or even three days to dry. Once the quilt is dry, square it, and then bind it. My friend Sonia Grasvik taught me the basics of blocking quilts and I just enhanced the method doing it on the insulation board.  See the link below to watch me blocking a quilt.!AmIotDz4Jbp8hQCbUx8uUwispi3M

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Video of Blocking quilt

So, I am going to try one more time to post the video of how to block a landscape quilt. My attempt yesterday didn't work but hopefully, this time it will. Live and learn. I hope it works this time. It was the easiest method of blocking I've tried and I will use it from now on!

Joyce R. Becker
Landscape quilt artist, author, web site


Video about blocking your quilts by Joyce R. Becker

I am not sure if this is going to work or not, but I am going to give it a try. I have a new way of blocking my quilts and I thought I would share a video with you about how I do it now. My friend Sonia Grasvik initially showed me how to block my landscape or wall quilts and trust me, it has been a life saver over the years. 
If you have never blocked your wall or landscape quilts before here's why you should:
Blocking your quilts results in quilts that lay flat without wavy or wobbly edges. What you are basically doing is marrying the three layers together so they are one and you do it with heat and water.
Previously, I blocked my quilts on the floors which were carpeted. Since we now have hardwood floors, I can no longer do that. Also, my arthritis prevents me from getting on the floor anymore anyway!
Go to a hardware store and buy a piece of insulation board. I bought one and then had it cut in half at the store.
Cover the shiny top of the insulation board with the Teflon fabric you can buy at the fabric store. 
On top of that, place a vinyl, flannel backed tablecloth, with the vinyl next to the Teflon.
Place your quilt face down on that sandwich and pin into insulation board with t-pins.
Dip a piece of muslin or a tea towel in water and squish out some water so it is not dripping.
Place it on one corner of your quilt
Heat your iron to cotton setting, dry heat NO STEAM.
Iron the muslin until it is dry, pressing down at the same time
Move muslin and repeat until you have done that do the whole quilt. 
If possible, place board under a ceiling fan or project a fan on the quilt so it dries quicker.
Once the quilt is dry, square it, add your binding, and Voile, You are done! 

Monday, June 20, 2016


Well, as you might know, sometimes when you try something, it doesn't always work! In this case, I quilted the bottom of my quilt, Mt. Rainier, reflecting in Tipsoo Lake with a variegated thread. While I was quilting it, it looked fine. When I hung it on my working wall, it looked like KA KA. The darker portions of the thread stood out and didn't look pretty. So, I said to myself, "Well, I guess you'll just have to pull out all the quilting threads."

Have you ever "reverse stitched" quilting threads or tried pulling them out. Maybe things would of been fine if I were yanking out quilting threads on a commercial fabric but I was in fact, pulling them out of a fabric I hand-painted. As I pulled them out, my cloth starting looking like it came from another planet and the blues became almost white. So, half-way through the process, I bagged it.

Of course, I hadn't painted enough matching fabric when I initially painted my sky and water fabrics, so what to do?????? Digging through my stash, I found a perfectly lovely hand-painted fabric by Mickey Lawler that  sorta kinda "went"  with the sky fabric. I dug out my wax pastels and did some shading to reflect the sky and voila! it looked pretty darn good.

In order to remove the fabric I previously quilted, I cut away the backing, batting, and hand- painted fabrics. Luckily, I had enough backing fabric leftover, so I hand-stitched it to the back of the quilt, placed another piece of batting inside, followed by the Mickey Lawler fabric. The major issue was the trees and the mountain reflection were then twice as thick so it was kinda sorta touch and go stitching them down to the new fabric and backing and batting. It also required more machine embroidery and a pretty large needle to go through all of the layers. Before stitching those layers down, I slid in three layers of different colored tulle to make the reflections on the water a bit darker than the sky. 

I am now "re-quilting" the bottom portion of the water with a different colored thread! Lesson learned, always test your quilting on a like piece of fabric before going to the actual project!
Here's a photo of the quilt prior to quilting it with the wrong thread. I'll post a new photo once I finish the quilting!

Happy quilting!