Evelyn finished her Window View Challenge quilt and it’s a delight! Last January I spent 2 weeks with her in Arizona and wrote a few posts from her lovely home. You may remember the story about storing her UFO’s in the bathtub??? If not, click here to read all about it. I slept on the day-bed in her studio and this is the view from her studio window. She sent this picture as her inspiration for the challenge:
And here’s the quilt that view inspired:
She said she challenged herself to play with some new techniques. The window is actually a wholecloth quilt with oodles of stitching. I was particularly intrigued by the attached sewing machine. Too clever! Thanks so much Evelyn for sharing your view and your quilt!
This got me to thinking about how photographs can inspire us. That train of thought led me to think about some photo play I’ve been doing lately. My friend Di invited me to join a photography blog she runs for a group of friends. The idea is to take a picture every day and strive to improve your camera skills. She posts a calendar each month with a theme for each day (yes, we try to post a photo a day!). I’m really enjoying the challenge and I feel my skills are improving. I’d like to share my three favorite photos from the past few months to see if they might inspire you to do a little photo play of your own.
The first one is a winter scene from the beginning of March. We had 2 geese take up residence in our pond.
As the snow began to melt, I got this up close shot of the ice melting on the creek.
This next one was taken more recently. Mike and I went for a canoe ride just before sunset and the temperatures dropped enough to cause a mist to rise off the water. It was beautiful!
I can’t resist just one more – my most recent picture of Sommer Elizabeth (Grandpa and I are not only surviving daycare, but loving it!).
Have you taken any shots you’d like to share? Please email them to me and I might just share them in a future post!
PS Just a note on our Sew We Go Italy adventure. We have 21 people signed up and one of our quilters is looking for a roommate to share the fun. If you were thinking about joining us, but didn’t have someone to travel with, please let me know.
This was the post I intended to upload last Thursday:
To keep with the theme of quilting for Christmas, I’d like to share some of my students projects. In my Open Lab class at WCTC this past week Marie brought in a very cheery tree skirt.
The past few weeks I’ve been sharing some Christmas project patterns with the students in this class. Here are the coasters Judy brought in for show and tell:
Last week in class we printed favorite photos onto fabric and made ornaments. Here are just a few of the ornaments made by this talented group:
Making Christmas gifts for family and friends can bring us such joy. Since it’s snowing again here, I plan on staying home and doing just that for the next 2 days. What a blessing to have the time to do what we enjoy. I hope you’re finding some joyful stitching time too!
But I didn’t post it then because I’m so disappointed with the quality of the pictures I upload to my blog. I’m hoping some of you technologically savvy quilters might have a suggestion or two.
When I download pictures from my digital camera to the computer – they look great and I can print them out with very good results. In the beginning of my blogging I just uploaded them, was disappointed, and let it go because I’d rather quilt than deal with techy stuff, but recently it’s really been bugging me. Since then I discovered that I can save the photos in a web ready format using Microsoft Picture It Publishing. It allows me to save a picture at 320, 440 and 600 pixels. I’ve tried all three, plus the way they come from my camera and the results are crummy every time. Any suggestions??? I think I may need to break down and take a class.
I did it! I put bindings on both crib sized UFO and they’re ready to donate! But, before they go I’ve decided I had better take pictures for my records.
Here are my favorite tips using a simple, point & shoot digital camera:
1. The design wall in my studio is made from two 4′ x 6′ pieces of styrofoam insulation. Many quilters cover their design walls with flannel because the fabric “sticks” to it, but so does every loose thread. Because I want to photograph on these boards as well as design, I covered them with the cheapest charcoal gray polyester I could find on the discount rack at Joann Fabrics. The colors of my quilts read true against the gray and the threads don’t cling to the polyester and show in my pictures. These walls are easy to move outside (my next favorite tip) and when they are next to each other there’s enough surface area to hang a bed sized quilt.
2. Photograph with natural light (outside) if possible. The ideal weather is bright overcast with very little wind. Avoid direct sunlight/high noon. My garage faces north and the doors are recessed about 6″, so I lean the board(s) inside the recess to protect it from wind and the lighting is good in the afternoon even on a sunny day.
3. The camera needs to be steady, so use a tripod or, if you don’t have one, place the camera (safely) on the appropriate height step of a ladder. One extra hint that can make a big difference is to remember that the design wall is leaning and by tipping the camera to match the angle (fairly easy with a tripod), the quilt will remain square in the picture.
4. I usually take a few snaps with the flash and few without. Then I can choose the best result.
This is certainly not a comprehensive coarse in photography and I’m no camera expert, but my quilts have been accepted into some big shows using these techniques. Even if you’re just shooting the quilts for your own inventory, its a blessing to have good quality pictures.
Before I get to my new topic of the week, I have one more UFO comment. Cheryl Anderson and I were recently discussing Pam’s comment that she thinks of UFO as opportunities. Cheryl took this to another level and now calls her UFO – Utterly Fabulous Opportunities! I wish I’d thought of that! Please visit her blog for more of her insights (Cheryl’s Chatelaine in the Blogroll).
Now to something new: years ago my dear friend, Necia Wallace, gave me some excellent instructions for photographing my quilts. She had spent some time as a professional photographer and her advice has been invaluable.
Some of you may say you don’t need to take pictures of your quilts, but I beg to differ. Taking pictures along the path of your quilting life is a great way to keep track of how many you’ve made and how much you’ve improved. My memory is not what it used to be and scanning through my pictures is a happy trip down memory lane.
Speaking of a trip down memory lane – this is the only picture I have of my very first quilt. It was made in 1987, in a beginner sampler class taught by Sharon Grieve (now Grinyer). I entered it in the Sun Prairie quilt show and, even though it didn’t win anything, I was so proud (can’t you tell). This was way before digital and took a bit of guts to share :-).
I still have this quilt, but it was made to be used and it’s been loved into a much shabbier condition.
Many of us also need to take pictures of our work in order to enter competitions. This is when quality photography is very important, but no matter what the reason, if you’re going to do something, I feel its worth doing it right.
I plan to share my tips and tricks for quilt photography with a simple “point and shoot” camera in my Thursday post. Until then I’d love to hear from anyone who wants to share. Do you have questions on how to make your pictures better? Do you have a simple/easy way to get good results? Please comment if you dare :-)!