The Heavens Declare the Glory of God…

As many of you know I have an ongoing deep space quilt series.  I am deeply moved by the glory of the deep space photography that shows what is out there we can’t really see with our human eye.  And yes, I am aware they enhance it with colors and merge many photos to come up with the pictures, but the fact is, they are real.   We are very blessed to be able to “see” some of this through the efforts of astronomers and NASA.  I can just imagine there are even greater things in deep space than we will ever be able to see in this life.  Sometimes when I look at such photos, I mentally hear the passage from Psalm 19, set to music by Haydn, that I sang so many times with several choruses. (Here is the Morman Tabernacle Choir version of this anthem)

The other day I saw this fabulous picture of our Earth home:

content_earth_and_limb_m1199291564l_color_2stretch_mask2048p

 

King David wrote this psalm specifically to be sung, according to the Bible.  “For the director of music. A psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”  During the time of the birth of our Lord, there was a “Star” that caused men (and probably women and children accompanying them) to take a long journey from Today’s Azerbaijan to Bethlehem to see Jesus and what had come to pass.  (my personal belief…I have no question that God caused this space event, whatever it was, to happen in conjunction with the birth of Jesus).

NOEL...completed in 2012. This quilt is currently missing, possibly stolen. I'm going to make a new Nativity quilt.

NOEL…completed in 2012. This quilt is currently missing, possibly stolen. I’m going to make a new Nativity quilt. This one had some design issues that I would like to correct anyway. (Good news:  Since posting this blog, my quilt has been found…the church had it in their Christmas decorations…so now I can get it appraised and give it to the church).

Almost every week I see some picture showing a space scene I would like to create a quilt from.  Do I think my quilts come anywhere near the photo–no I don’t, but I do enjoy trying.

butterflyblue_hst_3919

The Butterfly

 

Pillars of Creation

Pillars of Creation

 

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has trained its razor-sharp eye on one of the universe's most stately and photogenic galaxies, the Sombrero galaxy, Messier 104 (M104). The galaxy's hallmark is a brilliant white, bulbous core encircled by the thick dust lanes comprising the spiral structure of the galaxy. As seen from Earth, the galaxy is tilted nearly edge-on. We view it from just six degrees north of its equatorial plane. This brilliant galaxy was named the Sombrero because of its resemblance to the broad rim and high-topped Mexican hat. At a relatively bright magnitude of +8, M104 is just beyond the limit of naked-eye visibility and is easily seen through small telescopes. The Sombrero lies at the southern edge of the rich Virgo cluster of galaxies and is one of the most massive objects in that group, equivalent to 800 billion suns. The galaxy is 50,000 light-years across and is located 28 million light-years from Earth. Hubble easily resolves M104's rich system of globular clusters, estimated to be nearly 2,000 in number - 10 times as many as orbit our Milky Way galaxy. The ages of the clusters are similar to the clusters in the Milky Way, ranging from 10-13 billion years old. Embedded in the bright core of M104 is a smaller disk, which is tilted relative to the large disk. X-ray emission suggests that there is material falling into the compact core, where a 1-billion-solar-mass black hole resides. In the 19th century, some astronomers speculated that M104 was simply an edge-on disk of luminous gas surrounding a young star, which is prototypical of the genesis of our solar system. But in 1912, astronomer V. M. Slipher discovered that the hat-like object appeared to be rushing away from us at 700 miles per second. This enormous velocity offered some of the earliest clues that the Sombrero was really another galaxy, and that the universe was expanding in all directions. The Hubble Heritage Team took these observations in M

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has trained its razor-sharp eye on one of the universe’s most stately and photogenic galaxies, the Sombrero galaxy, Messier 104 (M104). The galaxy’s hallmark is a brilliant white, bulbous core encircled by the thick dust lanes comprising the spiral structure of the galaxy. As seen from Earth, the galaxy is tilted nearly edge-on. We view it from just six degrees north of its equatorial plane. This brilliant galaxy was named the Sombrero because of its resemblance to the broad rim and high-topped Mexican hat. At a relatively bright magnitude of +8, M104 is just beyond the limit of naked-eye visibility and is easily seen through small telescopes. The Sombrero lies at the southern edge of the rich Virgo cluster of galaxies and is one of the most massive objects in that group, equivalent to 800 billion suns. The galaxy is 50,000 light-years across and is located 28 million light-years from Earth. Hubble easily resolves M104’s rich system of globular clusters, estimated to be nearly 2,000 in number – 10 times as many as orbit our Milky Way galaxy. The ages of the clusters are similar to the clusters in the Milky Way, ranging from 10-13 billion years old. Embedded in the bright core of M104 is a smaller disk, which is tilted relative to the large disk. X-ray emission suggests that there is material falling into the compact core, where a 1-billion-solar-mass black hole resides. In the 19th century, some astronomers speculated that M104 was simply an edge-on disk of luminous gas surrounding a young star, which is prototypical of the genesis of our solar system. But in 1912, astronomer V. M. Slipher discovered that the hat-like object appeared to be rushing away from us at 700 miles per second. This enormous velocity offered some of the earliest clues that the Sombrero was really another galaxy, and that the universe was expanding in all directions.

 

V838 Monocerotis

V838 Monocerotis

Merry Christmas my friends.  I send this even to those of you who do not celebrate this time as the birth of Jesus, I hope you have an especially beautiful time during this time.  Consider the heavens…

 

Artistic Applique

Applique is a big part of my work.  I use multiple styles within the raw edge and turned edge machine applique methods to help achieve the look I want.  I am currently writing a book about this and working up samples to go with the book.  This book will deal with how I decide which method and style I need.  I have as many as four or five styles of applique on some of my quilts.  I sometimes have joined machine applique with machine embroidery and come up with some interesting results.

In The Storyteller, my Hoffman Challenge quilt from 2013,  I embroidered the tree trunk off quilt on brown fabric, using my own digitized tree trunk, and cut it out with about an eighth of an inch turn under and appliqued it onto the quilt with turned edge machine applique. This gives the tree trunk almost a 3D appearance.

The tree was embroidered and then appliqued.

The tree was embroidered and then appliqued.

The sun and island are a combination of piecing and applique.  Sharon Schamber calls this piece-lique, and Carol Bryer Fallert calls it appli-piece.  Whichever you call it, it is a technique that is wonderful for certain looks that are difficult to achieve any other way.

turning the back over freezer paper and starching the turn- down.

turning the back over freezer paper and starching the turn- down.

gluing the sun into place ready for stitching.

gluing the sun into place ready for stitching.

Then there is the stitched raw-edge applique.  This can produce many different looks, depending on the stitch, thread, and stitch size one picks.

Stitching down a broiderie perse cutout from the Hoffman challenge fabric.

Stitching down a broiderie perse cutout from the Hoffman challenge fabric.

And here’s the quilt.  Some of you may have seen this quilt in person since it was shown throughout the year of Hoffman Challenge 2013.

The Storyteller

The Storyteller…this picture shows a little distortion from the camera lens, but I assure you it is nice and square and flat. This quilt is currently on sale in my shop for $1050.00. It is 38.5″ x 37.5, which is a nice size for a home or office wall.

I hope I can finish my book in just a few months, but realistically, it probably won’t be ready until mid 2016.

Sew happy everyone!  Try your hand on applique, however you do it.

Tackle Those “High Tech” Tools and Software and Soar…

 

App 9 from Outer Space (my personal app quilt for R2CA))

App 9 from Outer Space (my personal app quilt for R2CA))

A lot of you know I love software and high tech machines and gadgets. I have found them to save me time and give me additional abilities I don’t have on my own.This is to all of you out there who have a piece of software, an attachment for your machine, or a tool (or even a high tech machine!!!) that requires figuring out how to use it and you just haven’t, It’s time to pull it out of the closet or from under the bed or fire it up on your computer and learn to use it. I just saw the comment again on Facebook in response to one of my friend’s posts “I’ve had [whatever] loaded on my computer for a couple of years now and haven’t used it – fear of the ‘unknown’ I really need to find some courage and tackle the fear…” My response is yes, yes you do! You will be rewarded for doing so.

Most everything comes with online manuals and videos these days, and there are a plethora of videos on YouTube or for purchase for nearly every activity. Take this approach:

 

  • Decide you are going to learn to use “THE THING IN THE CLOSET [OR ON THE COMPUTER]” using simple practice or test projects for starters.  These would be items you would be willing to throw away or could put in a notebook for future reference…not a present, not something to display. I’m not going to tell you to sit down and read the whole manual,  because I never do and I know from my mother that this is a barrier.  So I say read the first chapter that has step by step instructions or watch the first how-to video and skim the rest.  If THE THING is a machine, you need to look through the manual and see what help it has.  You don’t have to read it in depth, just find the helpful pages and maybe put a sticky note on them.

  For instance, even though I took the free classes for my Bernina 830, I still needed additional help in learning to run it.  I found a whole set of videos on YouTube and over the course of a few days I watched every one. Then I made some test projects for future reference.  They were enormously helpful.  By the way, I still make test projects before I start a major show quilt, and write on the test with a Sharpie what settings, batting, thread, etc. I used.  I also keep a notebook handy with additional reference thoughts.

  •  Take your project one step at a time.  Tell yourself that each step is fairly easy and focus just on that one step.  When that is finished do the next.  It’s when you start thinking about the whole big picture that you might get bogged down.  This may seem intuitive, but you would be surprised how many students and friends I have had that have to make themselves look at one tree (step) at a time rather than the forest (completed project).  This is how I learned to tailor men’s suits.  I can make a tuxedo that is as fine as any fine tailor in Hong Kong or London can make, and it’s almost all self taught from books and trial and error.
  •   Let yourself have fun and just play.  “Playing” is really just practicing only it sounds more fun…and it is.
  •  Once you have sort of got a beginning understanding of THE THING…make a simple project for keeps that is just yours…no one else’s.
  • Don’t tackle anyone else’s until you are really comfortable with THE THING.

 

I hope you will try this.  I hope you don’t feel I am talking condescendingly to you.  I really want you to find comfort with the tools you have at your disposal.  These advanced software tools, attachments, and machines have magnificent features that can speed up your work and allow you to accomplish things you would be very surprised that you can do.  You can soar, but only after you practice.

Please put a comment on my blog if you have THE THING hiding out in your closet or computer or some such.

Sew happy everyone…and go take out THE THING and let yourself play.

My Mentors

107

On a trip earlier this year, a friend of mine asked me who I considered my mentor.  I was driving and the traffic was heavy, so I didn’t give a very good answer to that question.  I have had many mentors, the chief one being my mother.  Sew I decided to pull an earlier post from my archives of my old blog, but looking at it, I realize I have added several additional mentors and so I put those into the post in blue text.  I am so thankful for all the wonderful quilters and sewists who have taught me so much across the years.  Many of them I have never met.

 

AUTHOR: BJ Tatum
TITLE: Let us now praise famous women (and men)
DATE: 8/7/2011 9:35:54 PM
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I don’t quite know why, but I have been thinking a lot lately about the
wonderful women and men who have handed down their skills and forged
paths in sewing, engineering, painting, fabric weaving and printing, and
development of all manner of tools and notions  that have brought us to
the fantastic opportunities we have now spread before us.   I thank God
for them.


Let us now praise famous men [and women], and our fathers [and mothers] that begat us.
The Lord hath wrought great glory by them through His great power from the beginning.
Such as did bear rule in their kingdoms, men renowned for their power,
giving counsel by their understanding, and declaring prophecies:
Leaders of the people by their counsels, and by their knowledge of
learning meet for the people, wise and eloquent are their instructions:

Such as found out musical tunes, and recited verses in writing.
Rich men furnished with ability, living peaceably in their habitations.
All these were honored in their generations, and were the glory of their times.

There be of them, that have left a name behind them, that their praises might be reported.

And some there be, which have no memorial; who are perished, as though
they had never been; and are become as though they had never been born;
and their children after them.

But these were merciful men, whose righteousness hath not been forgotten.

With their seed shall continually remain a good inheritance, and their children are within the covenant.

From Ecclesiastics 44, King James Version

Several quilters and sewers have had a huge impact on my appreciation and love of sewing and quilting.  And you know, I’ve only actually met one of the most impactful of them besides my mother.

Zephana Bivens:  She was my dear incredibly brilliant talented mother, who was an advanced sewist and knitter.  She never made quilts to my knowledge, but she taught me to sew and knit and embroider from the time I was about 4 or 5.  I honestly can’t remember exactly when I began, but I do know I made my first dress, with a lot of help from her, at age 6.  Late in her life, she got interested in intricately carved woodworking using a scroll saw and made some wall art that I can only characterize as “wood lace”.  Sadly, she passed away at age 79 from cancer just as she was perfecting her woodworking, and she never got to see my quilting development.  How I would have loved to share it with her, but somehow I believe she knows about it.  She was not famous, but she was clearly an artist.

Martha Pullen: The other day, I was watching  “Martha’s Sewing
Room” where one of her guests (sorry don’t know her name), was showing a
way to sew something and turn it that was remarkable in its result and
simplicity, but required an engineering mind to figure out in the first
place.  Martha has provided some remarkable teaching from her program and I have learned a ton of new methods especially for heirloom sewing.

Sharon Schamber:  The first time I realized that quilts might be a fascinating “hobby” for me was about 7 years ago when I attended the Chantilly Sewing and Quilting Expo where they had one of Sharon Schamber’s quilts on display.  I was astonished and fascinated with her piecing and quilting techniques and, oddly, I didn’t even particularly like her overall quilt.  I realized, though, that she has a remarkable talent.   Since that time, I have studied many of her how-to videos on her network.  She taught me to improve my piecing, my quilting, and especially my binding. [Sharon’s videos are now available in DVD form on her daughter’s site Purple Daisies]

Alex Anderson:  Alex’s TV show Simply Quilts, which never seemed long enough to me but which introduced me to many new concepts and techniques piqued my interest.  Now she and Ricky Tims and their families and colleagues produce The Quilt Show, which has provided me with a huge amount of teaching through the shows, the classes, and the access to other quilters online.

Nancy Zieman: Over the years I have watched every Sewing with Nancy episode I could find and have bought a number of her dvds and books.  I improved my basic sewing skills from her teaching.

Diane Gaudynski: 
Diane is relatively new in my unmet masters.  I bought a couple of her books on machine quilting using a domestic sewing machine and they helped me to vastly improve my quilting. She helped me to realize I don’t have to have a long arm machine to do high-end quilting.

Laura Wausalowski, who I took a workshop from a couple of years back and she taught me how much fun quilting should be and how to improve my fusible applique.

Recently, I have developed a lot of interest in the techniques that are used by Caryl Bryer Fallert, which, remarkably, closely relate to many of my favorite methods, though our quilt subjects are so different and she, of course is the master, and I am just an explorer at this point.

Pepper Cory, from whom I have taken several workshops and with whom have an ongoing friendship.  Now Pepper is mostly a hand quilter, but her knowledge of quilt history, sense of design, and ability to deal with stencils (and other quilting design sources) have been an enormous help to me in seeing some directions I need to take in my future quilting.

Pat Holly and Sue Nickels, and their books Stitched Raw Edge Applique and Machine Quilting: A Primer of Techniques along with their video appearances on The Quilt Show.  I have only briefly met Sue Nickels at her lecture at The Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival this past February, but they are both such effective teachers that their books and videos have been enormous help in improving my quilts.

Everyone develops their own styles and methods, and often they are a mix of things learned from others…but it’s just wonderful how much is out there today to help us get there and we don’t even HAVE to go to their workshops to get that advantage…though it is much more fun if we can!

Have a great week everyone.

Cheers,

Betty Jo

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From the Archives: First entry –5/29/2011 Let Me Introduce Myself

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AUTHOR: BJ Tatum
TITLE: Let Me Introduce Myself
STATUS: publish
ALLOW COMMENTS: 1

DATE: 5/29/2011 10:19:53 PM
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BODY: 8

Hi there.  So glad you stopped by to pay me a visit.  I have established this website to share my quilting and sewing journey and techniques with anyone who may be interested.  Eventually, I may sell my quilts and other items I make from this site, but not yet.

I love fabric art of all kinds, including art quilting, traditional quilting, wearable art, bags, heirloom sewing, and even basic sewing and tailoring.  I love looking at it, making it, wearing it, hanging it on the wall, photographing it, and studying it. 

Years ago, I had my own fashion design and tailoring business where I designed and made clothing for both men and women.   I made everything from men’s suits and tuxedos to bridal gowns and tailored women’s clothing.  In more recent years, I have taken up quilting at the urging of my delightful daughter-in-law, Beth, who is also a quilter.  It was a wonderful solace for me following my dear husband Marvin’s passing a few years ago.  I now find that I have a real and abiding passion for making wall art quilts of various sizes primarily for competition and have spent the last couple of years honing my techniques and turning my fashion making skills into quilt making skills.

I have a long background of work with fabrics and threads, having learned to sew from my mother, who started teaching me when I was 5 or 6.  She also taught me to knit, hand embroider, and crochet, though I was never very good at the latter.  She was a very advanced fabric artist herself, although she trended toward the traditional highly advanced needlearts.  I wish she were still here today to share our needlework.

Now, I love the new techniques, supplies, and technologies that have enabled me to go so far beyond what I ever thought I could, even though I have a full time job elsewhere.  But I am nearing my retirement, and hope to dedicate a lot more time to play with fabrics and thread and even paint on fabrics.

I have a bit of an art background, though not as much as I would like.  I took many art classes in both high school and college and occasionally private lessons.  Perhaps I will take more such classes after I retire.  I studied music at the University of Iowa and also graduated from George Washington University in International Affairs.  I have traveled all over the world and the United States to many interesting places over the years  But now, my favorite place is at home in my small, but almost adequate, quilt studio, or at quilt shows.

I have two wonderful grown sons, one of whom is married to Beth, and one who still lives with me.  I have a grandson, Kevin, who is eight at the time of this writing.  I believe that the Lord has given me the talents and the opportunities I have to be creative, and that belief is often reflected in my art quilts in particular.  Some of the quilts I have made are actually banners designed for churches.

I hope we will have a lot of fun together, and I will be able to provide a little help to other fabric artists and also hope I will learn from you all.  My favorite websites for these pursuits include The Quilt Show, MQResource, and Ravelry.

I also love photography and writing.  Oh my, there just simply is not enough time in a day!!!

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