Tuesday, December 22, 2015

return to hidden lake

Hidden lake was a quilt I made a number of years ago. A really nice quilt with a great story. I was hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire one summer. The trees were green and lush. The trail delightful--just enough of a challenge to make it fun but not so hard that every step was a trial. We had a destination--a lake--and kept getting glimpses of it as we turned a corner or hit a high clearing. This quilt is about that experience.

Lovely isn't it?

hidden lake--quilt--Ann Brauer

The quilt is long since sold but I just got an order from a major health care facility in Minnesota to make one like it. It is one of those orders that while I may not like repeating the past it is such an honor that of course I will.  The quilt ordered is smaller which will require its own issues but first I constantly get requests for explanations on my basic technique of quilt as you go. So I decided to use this as an example as my holiday gift to you.

In this case, because it was an order, I created a sample card that needed to be approved before I began work. This is the cheat sheet.

hidden lake--quilt--Ann Brauer

Was I remembering the quilt in all its green glory? I am not sure. Do I have all the fabrics--nope. But what can I do. I go through my stash and pull out what I can find. Is it enough? I am not sure. Is it too dark--I am not sure. The quilt does start off dark green. I always tell myself to make what I know.

I cut fabric for one row of the quilt. If I cut too much, it becomes hard to find just the piece I need. If I cut not enough then I am constantly getting up and searching for more. This is my pile for now. The light was not good for photos but you get the idea. This helps me see what greens I have for the quilt.

hidden lake--quilt--Ann Brauer

I then sew the first two pieces together. In this case I am starting at the bottom. I have a layer of cotton batting on top of the back of the quilt. I then spend time finding just the right fabric to add next. How bright should it be? I am not in the swing of things yet and the quilt as not absorbed my mind so it takes a while.

hidden lake--quilt--Ann Brauer

hidden lake--quilt--Ann Brauer

I always estimate that I reject at least five fabrics before finding just the right one. When I do I lay it with the right side of the strip against the right side of the pieces I am working on.

hidden lake--quilt--Ann Brauer

Then I sew a seam.

hidden lake--quilt--Ann Brauer

The stitches go through onto the back.

hidden lake--quilt--Ann Brauer

I press it open and keep building.

hidden lake--quilt--Ann Brauer

Eventually I finish the block and pin it on the design board to begin the next one.

hidden lake--quilt--Ann Brauer

Are the colors right? Does this have the liveliness of the original? Sometimes it is much harder to make a piece that I have already made since I must absorb the quilt as it was taking into account the effect of photography and the different fabrics that I have now. I also have to listen to the desires of the client. Time will tell. In this case, I will keep building the quilt until I see the whole. This is where the fun begins. One block at a time.

And for those who ask, this is my most recent variation of a tutorial how I make my quilts. As you can see much of it is intuitive. It requires practice and looking at what you have made before to see where to go next. It also requires getting into the mindset of the quilt that you are making. What are you trying to say? Where do the fabrics lead you? How do they work as a whole? Sometimes the only way through is to start. How do you begin? What tips do you have?

Happy Holidays to you.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

the quilts of Ann Brauer--almost solstice

Yes--I am late. As usual. I have been working hard at the studio. As usual. Trying to finish a few more orders that I promised and then get a start on the new year and the work I need for the Baltimore Craft Show in February. However, as tonight's supper is cooking in the slow cooker (homemade spaghetti sauce--yum) I am sneaking a few minutes to write a quick update. For those who don't know up here the afternoons will start very slowly to get longer. Yeah!!! The solstice itself is later in the month but by some bend in the orbit, afternoons lengthen before the solstice and mornings shorten until early January. Don't ask me to explain but this is a detail of my quilt "sunrise" to celebrate.

detail--sunrise--quilt--Ann Brauer 2015

I will be doing the Holiday Morristown Show in Morristown NJ December 11-13. This is such a fun show. There is work for any last minute stocking stuffers and also some absolutely fabulous artists who will be there. And if you print out this coupon and fill it out you can get Complimentary Admission. You do need one form per person.


And I am the cover girl and featured artist for the Winter 2016 edition of Art Quilting Studio. This is actually a wonderful magazine that I had not known about previously. There are lots of amazing artists and great articles inside. I can't wait to read it cover to cover.

Finally I am continuing to list items on my Etsy shop. In particular after lots of people requested it, I have begun making a few smart phone cases. They are 3.75 by 6.75 inches exterior dimensions and should work for most phones and also large wrap around sunglasses. Do measure to make sure the size works for you.
smart phone case--quilt--Ann Brauer

Of course I will be in the studio most days except when I am doing the Morristown Show so do drop by if you are in town or e-mail me first if you are coming from out of town.

Here's hoping you all have a great holiday season enjoying the return of light, friendship, peace and others.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

new quilts to brighten a winter day

OK--it is grey and raining here. I keep telling myself that at least I do not have to shovel and we probably do need the rain but I miss the bright sunny days we had been having so I decided to show off some of my latest quilts. I just got the images back from my wonderful photographer John Polak.

This quilt I call "pluto is a planet." I made it this past summer as NASA was beginning to release some of the images of Pluto. Call me old fashioned but I do believe that they were wrong to declare that Pluto is a planetoid or whatever they are calling it. Oh well.

pluto is a planet--40x40 inches--quilt--Ann Brauer--2015

"Sunrise" is a hard quilt to display in my booth or even in my studio but I love the shape and colors and think it would be perfect over a sofa or bed. It was a challenge to keep the lines straight and the the two sides balanced but alive with differences.

sunrise--30x80 inches--quilt--Ann Brauer--2015

"Distant fire" reaches up to the sky. It was fun to make three panels which had to be similar but different and then see the effect of joining them together. I love this quilt and vertical quilts are actually easier to display in my booth.

distant fire--80x37.5 inches--quilt--Ann Brauer--2015

I will be bringing them to the Holiday Morristown Show next week-end in Morristown, NJ as well as lots of smaller items. This is the show where you need to download and fill out one pass for each person and you can get complimentary admission. Some great work--some fun crafts--and plenty of items to have on hand as stocking stuffers, hostess gifts or just because. Here is the link to get your pass:


And of course I am slowly getting the new work listed on my Etsy shop as well as filling the holes as work sells.

Here's hoping the sun is shining where you are.