Nellie"s Needles

Monday, September 28, 2009


That predicted storm arrived just at sunset last evening. The first raindrops are splashed on the window.
We awoke to winds gusting up to 60mph. It's impossible to walk on the lake side of the cottage. Those are 16 foot waves out there.
The view from behind my machine is still spectacular!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

...and Now There Are Five to Go!

In the two days since I last posted, the panel I was beginning to work then is finished ... including cut to size and the yarn couched on the edges. It's the one in the lower left corner. I'm set up to begin layering onto the one above it.
Whew! Getting this level of realism near the bottom usually takes three days. I've been working until 10:00PM and then up and at the machine by 7:00AM the last few days.

The view today from behind the machine is spectacular!
By the end of the day a big storm from the northwest will move in with much cooler temperatures accompanying it. Brrrrrrrr!

PS: There's another "bit of Elvis" hiding in the just finished panel. If you need a hint, it's near an edge close to a Blue Aster.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Working In A Gift

The prairie flower installation project is "getting there". The first of the six panels left to get flowers was worked on today. This is the set-up in my studio to get the details placed so they flow into the surrounding panels.
Part of those details came from this box of yarns. They were a gift from a friend whose wife was an accomplished needlework woman.
I'm honored to received this supply of wonderful yarns and threads to work into my art pieces. Here are the ones used in this panel.
And here are the flowers. leaves, and grasses laid in place.
The next step is to add the layer of tulle and get the machine quilting done ... tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Strange Laundry on My Clothesline

Finally I've gotten to the point of applying the final spray of Krylon fixative to the prairie flower panels ... at least to those in the vertical center row.
This is the second time for the spraying. The first was to the "underpainted" layer. This product not only sets the oil stick pastel work I've done to blend or accent design elements, but protects the surface against moisture and fading UV light rays.

The next step is to mount each in this row to the especially prepared MDF boards seen here. A local carpenter prepared them. He routed out some of the material from the back to lighten their weight, sanded, and painted them.
Then onto refining the details in the rows of panels on each side of the center, treating them with the Krylon fixative spray, then mounting those onto the solid boards.

When all that is finished, I have only six panels to build the flower details over the underpainted layers. There are no expected guests here at the cottage for the next three weeks. I'm projecting that I'll get this project finished before the end of October so we can head south for the winter.

Monday, September 14, 2009

An Empty Pause!

LOOK! My studio is empty! Today the carpets and rugs in our cottage are being professionally cleaned.
This is what it looked like yesterday. Lots of stuff ... lots of work going on!
The room is not large, it has three doors and there are traffic paths through it ... one to a bedroom behind the design board, another from the lower level into the living room, and still another to the third floor bedrooms. It's necessary to block that last one off with my set-up of panels.
This is my arrangement so I can get the flowers and foliage to flow from one panel into the next to make one BIG picture.

I'm not waiting for the rug to dry before I roll my chair out of the bedroom behind the door to the machine and continue quilting on the current panel. I'm just waiting for the guy to leave.

Friday, September 11, 2009

In Rememberance of September 11th

The Smoky Mountain Quilt Guild members made this quilt in 2004. It honors the victims of that infamous day, September 11th of 2001, as well as the new found spirit of courage and unity of the American people that resulted from this tragedy.
It was created in conjunction with an exhibition of September 11th quilts at the Knoxville Art Museum (those quilts were part of the collection that was gathered immediately after 9/ll and exhibited at the Houston show by Karey Bresenhan and can be viewed in this book).

The individual blocks for this quilt were made and donated by guild members. The quilt was designed and hand-quilted in the museum gallery over several Sundays during the exhibition by SMQ members. When members were not quilting at the big frame, they were docents for the exhibition.

Following are close-up photos.
The writing around the center block reads, "The legacy of September 11, 2001 is one of strength, compassion, determination, resolve, and a new spirit. We honor the victims in NYC, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC."

The upper left corner blocks...
the top center blocks ...
the upper right corner blocks ...
the blocks on the right side ...
the lower right corner blocks ...
the bottom center blocks ...
the lower left corner blocks ...
the blocks on the left side ...

The center block is my contribution. To read how the lettering was stitched go here. To view the 9/11 quilt, "Out of the Rubble" I created go here.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Labor Day Weekend at the Cottage

There's been lots of activity with 15 people at the cottage this Labor Day weekend. The weather was perfect even though the lake was cold. Most meals were served out on the deck.
Many conversations to catch up with the goings on in each others lives took place there as well.
And the sunsets were fabulous.

Here are two younger Durand women, Diane and Lucy joining me in my studio.
I was quilting that panel of lofty bits and pieces you saw in my last post.
Elvis's name makes an appearance in that one.
The furniture was moved out of the way so I could lay the completed panels out for a viewing by all were here plus the neighbors.I laid down on the panels with my feet placed about where the floor will be when this piece is installed. The scale of all these panels put together still boggles my mind.

All the photos except for the studio shot and close-ups of the one Prairie Flower panel were taken by my son.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

"Lofty" Work

Our older son was fascinated by the loft of all the bits and pieces layered on the prairie flower panel I was working on last evening. He got out the camera and snapped a few shots.
He had a hard time imagining how I know all these raised ... lofty ... floating pieces will look when they're flattened out with netting and lots of quilting.
Really, I don't know. However, after creating many pieces with my "ortwork" collage technique for a number of years, I have a pretty good idea what combinations will give the effect I'm after. This piece is now layered and pinned, so it's back to the machine work.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Center of Prairie Flowers DONE

The five panels down the center of the Prairie Flower installation piece are completely quilted with finished edges. The last steps for them will be to lightly quilt a plain piece of canvas to within a 1/2" of the edges and then to upholster them with staples to the mounting boards. Also, a bit of highlighting with oil stick pastels may be in order to pop a few things forward ... such as the main stems of those flowers growing from one panel into the next.

I got a bit more bold with Elvis. He appears at what will be my eye level in the very center of this piece. I wonder how often he'll be spotted when he's installed in the lobby of the hospital.
Next, the three panels between the finished top and bottom ones of the vertical row to left of this set will be worked on from now through the Labor Day weekend.