Nellie"s Needles

Sunday, December 15, 2013

"Boxes of Colors"

The title for this cuddle quilt is inspired by the pointy elements as well as the multitude of colors that sparkle against the neutral hues.  I'm reminded of a new box of crayons. I've couched chenille yarn around the squares ...its soft, fuzzy texture brings to my mind the kind of line that is drawn with crayons.

And here's the other side...

I stayed with neutral hues on this pieced back. The center diamond is a printed panel. The fabric on the corners feature Elvis ...

I made this quilt for my and Lee's bed ... the Elvis' are for him. It's the cover that gets displayed at the foot of the bed until it's needed for an afternoon nap or extra warmth on a cold night.

I'm off to celebrate the holidays and won't be taking my laptop with me. I'll be back to post in the new year ... I promise.  Cheers!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Another Trillium Patch

I had a bit of time to complete the two trillium pieces that incorporate the real birch bark before having to get busy with a big commitment before we leave here for the summer. Here is one of them ...
The trillium in these two have bright yellow green shading in their centers. They'll be mounted on the large leaf print to finish them. That will get done when I go to the cottage, since they're destined for Good Good's Gallery in Saugatuck, Michigan.

In the meantime, I'm knee deep in smocked clothing and boxes of "paper." A whole lot of my smocked stuff is being donated to the Lacis Textile Museum's (Berkeley, California) permanent collection. An exhibition featuring smocking is scheduled for early next year. Getting my donations documented, and packed to send off before we leave is taking a lot more work and time than I had imagined. I'm not having any fun with this and fantasize about dumping it all in boxes to let them sort it out. This means I most likely will not post here again until I'm relocated up north.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

"Remembering Mother"

This beautiful piece is not mine ... but it could be yours!

"Remember Mother" 9"x 12"

The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative is offering a special Mother's Day auction starting today and ending at 10 p.m. central time on Sunday night. During this special Mother’s Day weekend, they are offering just this one extraordinary quilt. “Remembering Mother” was made by Rhonda Dort of Houston, Texas. It is a tribute to Arline, Rhonda’s mother-in-law who passed in September of last year due to complications from Alzheimer’s.
  • All profits fund Alzheimer’s research.

Rhonda shares her thoughts about, as well as her process for creating this beautiful wall quilt on the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative blog. To read those and to see close up photos of each section, click on the link at the beginning of the paragraph above.

There were 34 bids with the winning one $335.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Different Kind of Orts

When I was at the Cliff Dwellers Gallery Theresa Tyler was stripping birch bark to make hand crafted baskets in her studio space. While we were talking she was discarding that outer papery white layer.  Before I left I asked if I could glean her waste basket of what I considered to be the "good stuff." This is what I brought home.

You'll note there's also some marbled paper scraps strewn among the bark pieces. Pat Thomas, another of the gallery co-op owners, does marbling. I emptied her wastebasket of those. The pieces with blues are now stashed with the bags of orts set aside to make lake pieces.

The two new trillium pieces have "birch sticks" in the foreground. Here's one of them with the first layer of orts trapped under yellow tulle ready to be quilted.
"Trillium Patch #4"

Sunday, May 05, 2013

More Trillium Patches

I've become enamored! There are two more trillium textile art quilts that I finished and delivered to the Cliff Dwellers Gallery in Gatlinburg this past weekend.
 Trillium Patch #2

 Trillium Patch #3

Both of these began with my dividing one of the pieces of fabric on which I had made rubbings of huge leaves that were collected along the Mississippi River with gold and silver oil paint sticks back in 2008.

Here are both of them with the first layer of bits and pieces of scrap fabrics, thread ravels, roving, and skeleton leaves
... before they were trapped with a layer of yellow tulle netting. I then machine quilted around the outside edges as well as the shapes and lines.

Here you can see I've added leaves, stems, and grasses that were shaped from fabric scraps and disassembled "silk flowers" (collected from thrift shops) to the quilted foundation piece on the right in the picture above.
The next step was to trap those pieces with green tulle by quilting around their shapes. The excess tulle was trimmed away between the leaves so as not to "muddy" the background.

The border fabric is linen that I discharged a number of years ago. Real fern fronds were scattered across it and then a strong bleach solution was spritzed over all. The bleaching action was stopped by immersing the fabric in a bucket of vinegar and water. At that time I discharged all the yardage I had of this linen with various patterns, some of which was used in "Come With Me to Kasbah" and "Fading Memories". I love the copper color of the bleached areas. I had gone back to the store to purchase more, but it was GONE.

The first hanging, "Trillium Patch #1" sold before it was finished to one of my blogging friends. There are two more foundations using another of those pounded big leaf fabrics layered and laid out to make numbers 4 & 5.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Happy May Day!

 "Trillium Patch" 18"x 18"

It's finished except for the hand-stitching of sleeves and pockets for the hanging apparatus. I like the contrast of the dry ashy colors in the border with the warm ones in the coming to life area. The contrast of scale between the border print and the trillium patch, as well as the contrast of the clean edge on the outside versus the fuzzy organic around the focal piece pleases me, too.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Another Quilting Gallery Show & Contest

This weeks theme is wall hangings. My "Bear Lake" is one of 67 entries from 9 countries, 4 provinces, and 22 states.

"Bear Lake" 45"x 34"

Viewers get to vote for 6 favorites this time. I rarely find choosing my favorites easy so it's nice to get so many choices. Go here to vote for the ones you like before Monday at 6pm.

I find it amusing that so very many people have pinned the tutorial I wrote when I made those shrubby trees in the foreground.

In fact, 49 people have visited my blog just today to read that post. Over the years I've used a number of different ways to make trees. The technique I came up for creating these is easy and most effective.

To read the story behind this quilt go here.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Trillium Patch

My little trillium patch is complete ...

The stamen are embroidered. I used several shades of yellow floss in the 6-ply strand to stitch a variation of the bullion knot. I opted for irregularity in those stitches to reflect reality of perspective and nature. Also, the trillium leaves have been highlighted with oil stick pastels as well as shaded around the edges with a dark blue water color pencil.

Now to decide on the finishing. I'm excited by this idea ...
This afternoon I'll be playing with the placement of the trillium piece over the yardage of batik that has the effect of discharged leaves. I'll consider making my own discharged leaf fabric if I change my mind about the scale of this one. Right now my thought is those large "dead" leaves in the border complement the focus piece and add to the story. After all, old dried leaves are what I saw most on my recent woodland hike ...

Thursday, April 25, 2013


I'm liking this piece a lot!
However there were moments I considered scrapping it ... which means eventually cutting the woodland floor background into pieces for something else. My problem was that every color of tulle I placed over it to hold the sprouting plants in place "killed" the woodland floor hues. The whole piece just "died."

The solution was to choose the tulle color that enhanced the new growth parts ... that one is the bright yellowish green one...
It was pinned to cover the whole top. I stitched/quilted around the greenery then trimmed the tulle away from the woodland floor sections.
Well, most of it. I see that some more needs to be cut away. Do you see how the color is lost in the upper left corner in the above photo? Think I'll be trimming that away. Pieces of white tulle were placed over the blossoms, then the excess trimmed away after free-motion stitching around the petals. That stitching also anchors the calyx pieces which are loose on the surface. Some new growth pieces float on the surface as well.

Now I'm really excited about this piece. Next the yellow stamen will get embroidered and I have an idea about framing to pursue.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sprouts on the Woodland Floor

I very much liked the foundation of scraps for this wild flower piece.

I have a lot of colors of tulle to select one to hold all these bits and pieces together ... and I debuted them all.

The grayed lavender is the one that worked best to my eye.
I quilted around the outside edges and just enough organic style lines through the center area to keep all those bits in place. Then I added newly sprouted plants along with real leaf skeletons and more scraps of fabric.

I have a huge bag of silk plant leaves. I kept digging until I found ones with the right hue, sheen, and veining. Very rarely do I use any "whole" leaves. You can see where one of the leaves for my plants was cut from that large one on the right.

Can you guess what the flowers will be from my leaf formations?

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Bit of Earth

I've had in mind for sometime to create small art quilts featuring spring flowers. A week ago after a picnic I took photos on a trail walk along the Clinch River ...

The coming of spring here in east Tennessee has been late. There were no new leaves on the trees and just a few sprouts of early wild plants.

Yesterday afternoon I got a start on creating the foundation for the first quilt. On the left is the first step of covering the batting with pieces from my scrap bag ... I think of it as "under painting"...

A second layer of thread and yarn scraps, plus scraps of tulle netting have been added. Now to do just enough quilting to hold it together, then I'll continue to build the picture. I still haven't decided which flowers will be growing through my woodland bed.

Just a reminder about the contest at the Quilting Gallery. Go here if you haven't yet checked it out.  Voting for 4 favorite quilts from the 37 entries and entering the fat quarter give-away deadline is 6:00 p.m. (EDT). Have fun and good luck!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Quilts With Just Squares and Triangles

That's the theme for this weeks contest over at the Quilting Gallery blog. I've entered the cuddle quilt I had made for myself with the only fabrics and I had ever hand-dyed. You may recall reading about it on in a previous post here.
Woven Together - 60"x60"

Click on the Quilting Blog's link at the beginning of this post to see 37 wonderful quilts. You get to vote for four of your favorites.

While you're there, you have a chance at winning a $25 gift certificate from the Fat Quarter Shop. To enter the give-away, leave a comment at the end the Quilting Gallery Blog answering:
Approximately, how many fat quarters do you have in your stash and how do you organize them?
You have until Monday, April 22, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. (EDT) to vote and enter the give-away. Have fun and good luck!

Friday, April 19, 2013

2013 Special Award Winning Quilts

Again this year I was in charge of making the special award ribbons for the Smoky Mountain Quilt Guild Show that took place March 22-24 at the Maryville College in the Cooper Athletic Center. Guild members were invited to create rosettes for the various awards. I then assembled them ... choosing the colored side grosgrain ribbons and printing out the award information on the satin ribbons. I've heard it said that these ribbons are coveted awards at our guild shows.

Best In Show Bed Quilt...
"Jacobean Dream"  by Linda Roy - Knoxville, Tennessee
Ribbon Rosette designed by Nellie Durand
$600 Award sponsored by It's Sew Mary Jane Quilt Shop

Best In Show Wall Quilt...
"it's SUNNY in Baltimore..."by Patricia Scheideler-Kern 
Whispering Pines, N Carolina
Ribbon Rosette designed by Nellie Durand
$500 Award sponsored by Smoky Mountain Quilters

Judges Choice...

"Circle the Block" - Patty Ashworth - Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Ribbon Rosette designed by Nellie Durand
$50 Award sponsored by Gene and Christine Glazar

Excellence in Hand Workmanship...

"Let's Go Home" by Rosillis Rosario - Davenport, Florida
Ribbon Rosette designed by Itsumi Sasaki
$50 Award Sponsored by Tuesday Bee

Excellence in Machine Workmanship...

"Making Waves" - Pat Hilderbrand -  Columbia, Missouri
Ribbon Rosette designed by Cyndi Herrmann
$50 Award sponsored by Shana Margrave

Traditional Design...

"Just FOUR Fun" by Sue Jones of Maryville, Tennessee
Ribbon Rosette designed by Terry Passon
$50 Award sponsored by Gina's Bernina Sewing Center

Scrap Quilt...

"Double Wedding Ring" by Yumiko Harada-Morristown,Tennessee    
Rosette Designed by Louise Ragle
$50 Award sponsored by Norm and Linda Roy

Just For Fun...

"The Salacious Secrets of Sam and Sue" by Teddy Pruett
Lake City, Florida
Rosette Designed by Pat Blankenship
$50 Award sponsored by Lynn and Marian Sykes

Surface Embellishment...

"Crosswalk 1,2,3" by Tone Haugen-Cogburn - Maryville, Tennessee
Rosette Designed by Bridget Matlock
$50 Award sponsored by FAC at FAB

Innovative Design...

"Unraveled VII" by Nellie Bass Durand - Farragut, Tennessee
Rosette Designed by Tone Haugen-Cogburn
$50 Award sponsored by Thursday Bee

Novice Quilt...

"Spared For A Purpose" by Chris Calhoun - Knoxville, Tennessee
Rosette Designed by Jane Dunham
$50 Award sponsored by Jennifer Wilkerson

Martha Odell Memorial Award...

"Directions" by Barbara Landau - Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Rosette Designed by Linda Roy
$50 Award sponsored by Tuesday Bee

"Viewer's Choice" seems to be a favorite even though there's no cash award to accompany it ...

"Friendship Garden" by Fran Oroson - Nashville, Tennessee
Rosette Designed by Nellie Durand


Go here for a tutorial for how I construct the award ribbons.
Go here to see ALL the ribbons (and the quilts they were awarded to) for the years I've been in charge of creating them.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Quilt Show Winners

I've been delinquent in posting about the Smoky Mountain Quilt Show that took place recently on the Maryville College campus here in east Tennessee recently.

It's a pleasure to report that my three entries were each awarded ribbons.

"Lavender Haze" 31"x 30"
It won 2nd place in the special category for the Smoky Mountain Quilt Guild challenge pieces made for this year's AQS Guild Challenge. If our guild's entry is accepted, you'll see this one exhibited in Grand Rapids next August.

"Smoky Mountain Sunrise" 20"x 16"
It won 3rd place in the Art Quilt category. To see the beginnings of this piece as well as others that present variations of my favorite view in the Smokies go here.

 "Unraveled VII" 24"x 40"

This piece got one of the special award ribbons, the one for Innovative Design (its rosette designed by Tone Haugen-Cogburn). I pretty much knew this piece would be controversial ... and it was. I had entered it in the "Modern Quilt" category because it fit the requirements:

— An interpretative quilt using elements which are simple, yet sophisticated. This hybrid form may include: improvisational techniques; an emphasis on negative space; a minimalist approach; simple shapes, patterns and quilting designs; clear, crisp colors with white or gray neutrals; graphic or large scale prints and/or an abundance of solids; asymmetry.

I was aware the texture of this piece was not what the "modern quilt" movement expected. There was doubt expressed by several viewers that this piece was even quilted. Granted it has the look of a woven tapestry piece. However, there's quite a lot of stitching and all of it functions as quilting.

I'm especially pleased with how the length of yellow rick-rack worked in at the top. A piece of the raw silk stripped from the background fabric anchors the rick-rack by being carried across it and stitched back into the base fabric.

To read more about this piece scroll back a few posts. The first post was February 8th.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hairy Mess Controlled

Trimming is a slow and rather deliberate process ... what to cut? where to cut it?
After two days of slow going I think this is it. The loose yarns are contained so the surface is no longer "wild and wooly" and controlled so there's a suggestion of the green triangle. Here's what was trimmed away...

I'm playing with the idea of this band across the top ...
It's a piece of large yellow rick-rack (found in one of the scrap bags given to me) interwoven with a piece of green suede. Not sure if it'll stay and if it does, if it will remain in one long piece. I'm still playing with the composition.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Big Hairy Mess

...of yarns sewn around the squares of silk.

Now to tame and control them into a balanced composition. This piece is entered in the "Modern Quilt" category of our upcoming quilt show, so the fringed surface of loose yarns will be much more contained and controlled than on the other art piece I made in this technique with the same materials.
Unraveled IV - 24" x 48"