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Friday, December 31, 2010

Project QUILTING – An Interview with Lisa Penny, Our Newest Judge

I am so happy to be sharing with you an interview with one of season 1’s participants – Lisa Penny of PennyFabricArt.  Due to other commitments, Lisa didn’t feel she would have time for this season’s challenges but gracefully offered to be our third Judge for Season 2.  I think her works speaks for itself in showing her qualifications but I do hope you enjoy the interview as well!PennyFabricArts Project QUILTING Season 1 Creations

What made you decide to join Project QUILTING?

I love Project Runway, and I admit that a few times while working in my studio I imagined that what I was working on was a Project Quilting style challenge. When Kim announced that she was creating this on her blog I knew instantly that I wanted to do it. For me, the elements of problem-solving, competition, and a deadline tend to put my work into high gear.

What is your favorite part about Project QUILTING?

I'm always amazed at how different people will solve the same challenge in such different ways. While I loved doing the challenges, the most fun for me was seeing the incredible variety in how all of the competitors interpreted the themes. It was exciting to check the Flickr page as the week closed, and see the range of creativity and skill.

What are you looking for when people complete the challenges?

I judge work based on 3 key characteristics. First, the concept - how the artist makes the leap from the challenge parameters to their design plan. I look for that unique creative spark. Although much of my own work is quite contemporary in style, this doesn't limit my appreciation of traditional quilting concepts. It's about how the individuals make that artistic leap into their own designs, with their own personal styles.

Second, I look at how successful the artist was in executing the design. Designs change over the course of working on them, so I want to see if the end result meets the challenge requirements, communicates the artist's unique interpretation of the challenge, and uses color, light, movement, and good design sensibilities.

Third, skill quality is obviously important. This doesn't necessarily mean that beginners are automatically out of the running though. Clearly, this is an area where advanced skill levels will give a competitor an edge over others, but there's plenty of room for the appreciation of smart application of the skills you have. Simple stitch work done beautifully is better than highly complex work done terribly. I love to see people try new things and push the envelope with their skills, but it's also important to know when a technique deserves a bit more practice before putting it out there.

How has Project QUILTING made you a better Quilter?

In my past life in publishing and advertising it was important that all design work was clearly focused on the goal. In my art quilting over the years I've noticed that as I've gone further out of the box it's been difficult to hold that focus on what the design is actually trying to communicate or achieve (besides being a warm blanket!), which has resulted in a pretty good stack of unfinished objects (or UFO's as quilters call them).

Project Quilting was an excellent experience for me personally in that it forced me to go back to my design roots of being very attentive to what each piece is really about, and directing the design toward that end. Doing this on a deadline each week really helped to refresh smart working practices.

Just how difficult is it to critique someone's work?  Be honest.

I think it's quite difficult. I've been involved in organizing a juried art show and had the fascinating experience of watching a renowned artist jury a show. My work has been in several juried shows (and been rejected from several too!), and it's never really clear to the artist what the judges' criteria are. I've tried to provide my criteria above in this post.

It's important to judge work on its merits, not just on subjective personal preference. But it's not always easy to compartmentalize your own likes and dislikes, to perhaps recognize excellent craftsmanship in a piece that you personally would never put in your own house. Art and artisan craft are subjective by nature, and are sometimes even intentionally ambiguous, which makes it hard to judge what the artist is trying to do and whether they accomplished it.

What was your top piece that someone else created for the Season 1 Project QUILTING challenges?


My favorite was LoveBugStudios' winning piece for the Road Trip Challenge. The entire concept of the 3-D roll of film with individual pictures was just fascinating. That was so incredibly creative, and Ebony's skill level really carried it off beautifully.

Is there anything you’d like to add or comments you’d like to share with me and my readers?

I think the best aspect of Project Quilting is the camaraderie of the competitors and the viewers in the Comments on the blog and Facebook page. The competitors range from beginner to advanced skills, and from traditional to modern styles, but every one of them brings great creativity to the projects. It was wonderful to read the comments, where everyone really appreciated each other's ideas, and gave sincere encouragement when it was needed. This environment of genuine esteem and enthusiasm truly makes Project Quilting open and fair to everyone, which is what makes it so much fun.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Spark Four

Handmade Spark Challenge 4

To Teach Us Something


I had a really difficult time coming up with this challenge but I realized as I made Friendship Tea this morning that this was one of my favorite recipes and it needed to be shared (and it happens to fit the 4th challenge). 


Friendship Tea

1 cup Instant Tea

2 cups Tang (yup, the Astronaut’s drink)

2 pkgs of presweetened lemonade** (if unsweetened add 1 cup sugar)

1 tsp. cloves

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Mix Together ingredients and store in covered jar.

Use 1 heaping tsp. or more (to taste) to 1 cup boiling water. 

**I prefer pink lemonade just because it’s prettier.


   Step 1:  Dump in the two cups of Tang in a container big enough for 3-4 cups of dry ingredients.

008 Step 2:  Add your Instant Tea 009 Step 3:  Pour in your lemonade (pink if you prefer)  010 Step 4:  Add your cinnamon and cloves. 012 Here’s a side view of my double batch of Friendship Tea – Pre-mix.

013 I used a knife to do the mixing…seemed to work pretty well… 014 See, it’s still pretty after it’s been mixed! 


Next I warm up some water in one of my favorite handmade mugs (of course) and add the Friendship Tea.




be Comforted.

Treasury Wednesday

Created by Me:

'Poppy Acorn Lime Marina' by KimsCraftyApple

this collection was inspired by KitzieG's Paint Palette Typography Postcards for the nonteamchallenge 11:


Triple srand cuff bracelet i...

Acorns ACEO Watercolor Origi...

FREE SHIPPING - Colors - Tur...

The Petal Wristlet in brick ...

Paint Palette Typography Pos...

Cypress Spurge Flowers - fin...

SALE Teal Blue Plaid Upcycle...


Last Minute Gift Set of Four...

Knit Crochet Cabled Moccasin...

The Charlotte

I Love BIRDS crystal necklac...

A Long Trip To Tea Time- 13x...

brown acorn infant bodysuit

MARINA, vintage aqua blue gl...

Generated using Treasury HTML code generator by Whale Shark Websites.


Lucky to be Included in:

'4 looks + One Night= NYE decisions!' by redtilestudio

Here are four different styles to choose from for your special New Year's Eve party. Enjoy!

Earrings - Cascade of Vintag...

ABIGAIL one of a kind, seaso...

Hedgehog Ring, in Black Whit...

Gray Handmade Strapless Dres...

Pout Dress

Clutch Purse. Silver embroi...

ON SALE Garnet, Lucite and S...

Shoes - Black Mesh Peep Toe ...

Dark Grey Leather Wristlet W...

ON SALE - 50% OFF - Holiday ...

vintage 1960s Golightly sequ...

ON SALE Red Vintage Glass an...

vintage RASPBERRY RUFFLE vel...

Vintage 60s 70s Striped Mult...

Mini Phaedra in Roi Bleu lea...

Hydrangeas, Shabby Chic Felt...

Generated using Treasury HTML code generator by Whale Shark Websites.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Project QUILTING – An Interview with Barb Raisbeck, a Judge


What made you decide to join Project QUILTING?

I have judged a few quilt show before and participate in getting many of my own quilts judged.  I have considered going to be a certified quilting judge, but WOW the time and expense to get your certification.  I was so excited when Kim accepted my begging to be a judge.  I am a full time long arm quilter,  host a quilt retreat weekend each year and teach quilting classes at venues and Expos throughout Wisconsin. This was a wonderful mix with my business, Quilts by Barb.

What is your favorite part about Project QUILTING?

Even though Diane Lapacek and I are sisters, I have NEVER discussed the projects with her before or after she comes up with them.  Any talk we have done has been AFTER the judging.  I just can’t wait to see what new she comes up with every two weeks.  I imagine in my mind what  I would do if I made a piece.  I am just blown away with what is submitted.  Checkers anyone? I would like to make a few pieces this season.  They won’t be judged but I will have Kim put them up with the other pieces.

What are you looking for when people complete the challenges? 

  • I believe all pieces should have a purpose along with following the rules.  Where will the piece be displayed?  Will it be sold at a craft sale or on Etsy? I feel this is important.  I have been to many quilts shows and thought, just what will they ever do with that quilt.  I believe all pieces should have a purpose.  Tell us what it is in your story.  Sell us on your piece.
  • Did the contestant follow the rules?  I think this is VERY important.
  • I also believe the piece has to be finished.  That means the binding, edge treatment, quilting and EVERYTHING must be completed by the deadline.  If not, I do mark down on the score.
  • Is it original? An example from Season 1:  The first few bags were fine then when I got to another bag; not so original.  If it is going to be another bag, it had  better really be a WOW bag!  Keep thinking outside the box.  Be original.  Show us something we haven’t seen before.  Twist those rules to the max BUT follow the challenge rules.

How has Project QUILTING made you a better Quilter? 

Since I have started judging I make a point to really think before I start a new piece and I use my favorite pieces of fabric instead of saving them for later.  I love red, black and brown.  These are the colors I use the most often.  The different techniques and shapes and sizes and textures used and introduced in Project Quilting always get me thinking, what if I incorporate these with my favorite colors and fabrics.  It has really gotten me more excited about the “artsy” side of quilting.

Just how difficult is it to critique someone's work?  Be honest. 

I believe critique is important.  I have a lot of my quilts judged and I don’t only like the “fluff.”  I never want to hurt anyone’s feelings when judging their pieces but I do try to be very honest.  I will try to include more “to improve” this season.  BUT there are many times when the piece doesn’t need any improvement (we are only looking at pictures) but still may not be a “winning” piece.  By the end of Season 1, the pieces got to be FANTASTIC.  Because you didn’t get any negative feedback doesn’t mean your piece wasn’t good.  It probably was, but someone else may have been more clever.

We can’t really judge on the workmanship because we can’t see the actual piece.  Photography is very important.  Try to take at least 4 or 5 pictures.  I look at every picture when judging.  Also, the written story is important.  It tells your story.  As I mentioned in an earlier article, I love a piece to have a name.

What was your top three favorite pieces that someone else created for the Season 1 Project QUILTING challenges?

Route 66 quilt

My number 1 favorite was Moran Quilts from the Road Trip challenge.  I thought this Route 66 quilt was PERFECT for the theme.  This is the only piece that I gave a 10 all season AND the piece came in second.  Loved this wall hanging.  I can just see it hanging in a den or office.


My second piece I really loved was from Kelsey Rose, “The Monkey Who Fell Off the Bed.”  My grandson, Joey’s nursery is done in a monkey theme and it would look as adorable in his room as it does in Kelsey Rose’s nursery. Congrats to Kelsey Rose’s new baby.

Rows of Circles -Project QUILTING Office Store Challenge

My third piece was from Kim’s Crafty Apple and was the “Rows of Circles.”  I thought the grommets were so original and the rod that ran through the back of the quilt to make it hang straight was so fun.  I got to see this piece in person long AFTER the judging and it is even more creative in person than in photos.

A side note to these three pieces:  They may not have been my highest scored pieces in their challenge but I just have a special place in my heart for them as some of my favorites.

Is there anything you’d like to add or comments you’d like to share with me and my readers?

Don’t worry too much about winning with the judges.  Prizes are also given randomly and also with viewers votes.  You will get a critique that will make you a stronger, better quilter.  If you have questions for the judges after we have judged your piece, submit them through Kim.  We will be glad to try to answer them.

And, finally, remember this is all fun.  Everyone is a winner; you have a new, fun quilted item every time you enter.  See you in Season 2 of Project Quilting!

Barbara Raisbeck

Owner of Quilts by Barb

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Houndstooth Experience

il_570xN.194491856A while back I purchased this Houndstooth Quilt Pattern from StudioCherie.  When I had seen it I just had to know how it went together – I just loved how it looked!

il_570xN.194491857 The pattern called for just two fabrics.  Now, if any of you know me or my work at all – that’s a pretty much impossible request of me.  Also, if you know me I like to use patterns as a ‘suggestion’ or a starting point.  So, instead of using just two fabrics I used LOTS of fabrics – hand-dyed fabrics for that matter.  Here’s what my Hounds tooth quilt turned itself into:

Houndstooth Quilt with Hand Dyed FabricAs you can see…same pattern – two completely different effects or looks.  Each are fabulous in their own way, reaching different audiences.  I think this is a perfect example on how two people can start at the same place and end in two way different ends.

The other reason I bought this quilt was because in the end you can make a really fun square block out of your ‘scraps’ from the houndstooth.


Which you can either piece as part of your quilt back (shown above) or use them as an inspiration/starting point for a second quilt (shown below).

Wonky Squares

Geometric Madness

In the end, all I can say is that I am so happy with what Studio Cherie’s pattern inspired me to create – not one, but two heirloom quilts!

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