Tuesday, March 14, 2017

After several days of trying to quilt the sky in my Girly Girl Goat I finally got it right. For those of you who think "Professional quilt artists" never screw up, I'm here to tell you - WE DO.....Or, at least I Do! 

I was stitching along, thinking everything was hunky dory, only to discover the back of my quilt looked  a mess. Everything was fine at first and then it all went to hell! So, I started down the list of things that I recommend to my students:

  1.  I pulled out all the quilting stitches which is a pain in the you know what!
  2. I cleaned out my bobbin casing area, getting rid of all the lint and threads, etc.
  3. I oiled my machine
  4. I adjusted the top tension on my machine
  5. I adjusted the bottom tension on my machine
  6. I put in a fresh needle
  7. I used a heavier weight thread in the bobbin
  8.  I adjusted the top tension again
  9.  I adjusted the bottom tension again
  10.  I tested on a like sample and everything looked fine but it was just an illusion!
NOTHING WORKED
  1.  I reversed sewed (I pulled out the quilting stitches again)
  2. FINALLY, a light bulb went on! Maybe the type of sewing machine needle I was using was the culprit!
  3. I took out the Metafil needle
  4. I replaced it with a top-stitch needle and Voila, IT WORKED! 
TIP
It's really difficult to keep your quilting lines horizontal WHEN QUILTING SKIES,  so her's what I do:
Using your ruler, mark chalk lines in two inch intervals. In this case, I used a white chalk marker because it blends in with my sky fabric. If you just eyeball it, it's easy to get off track!

Now, I'm off to continue rewriting my quilting genre novel and finishing up the quilting on my girly goat!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Girly Goat, etc.

As you can see, my Girly Goat quilt is coming along but alas, still not done. I've quilted the bottom in swirls and will be moving on to the sky in a day or two. I've been working steadily with my new Web Master, Holly Knott to redo my web site. My son, Shawn, spent an entire day with me rephotographing old quilts and photographing new quilts using his amazing camera. The high resolution photographs will be clear and sharp. I've also written new text for my site and we are reorganizing pretty much the whole site. It's been hard work, but will be well worth the effort.

In the meantime, my focus has been primarily on rewriting my quilting genre novel with a new plot or focus. It's been going well and I think the final result will be one quilters enjoy. I've been a bit of a recluse lately, as a result but that's O.K. We've had such cold weather here I haven't really wanted to go out much anyway. Today, we had snow on the roofs and grass again but now it's melted. Our high in Kent, WA, will be a cool 42 degrees!

That's it for today. Happy quilting to each of you.
Until next time,
Joyce

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Hey quilters out there, here's a short video of me applying binding to a small quilt. There's a little trick I have up my sleeve and I hope it helps you in the future.
I've been working on something new!
A goat. I've been having a blast!
Eventually, Ms. goat will be in a landscape scene but for now, I'll share some photos of her and how she has progressed. I still have work to do on her but she is coming along. Thank God I saved all
my floral prints over the years. I was inspired by the talented artist Laura Heine, however, I am using different techniques in the construction - mainly glue stick application of the flowers. Enjoy!

 Goat almost done!
 Goat beginnings
Some of the fabrics
Goat in progress



I'll have another quilt to show you in a few days.....until then, happy quilting!
xxoo
Joyce

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!
xxoo
Joyce

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



BLOCKING YOUR LANDSCAPE OR WALL QUILT

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.








https://1drv.ms/v/s!AmIotDz4Jbp8hQCbUx8uUwispi3M