Monday, October 6, 2008
What a kick! It will take me a while to learn, but this morning with the book open in front of me, I downloaded pictures of some Amy Brown fairy blocks and some fabric I recently purchased and began playing.
I wanted abstract. The recipient is not a traditional kind of gal. I scrolled through layouts until I found something that came close. Then I added fairies and fabric and came up with this:
I liked the blocks being offset, but the rest was a bit dull. So I moved fabric around.
I like this so much better! If I use the other new toy I got, the Wave Edge Ruler, on the straight edges, I'll like it even more.
I wasn't sure how to get rid of the little block and sashing lines in areas that won't be broken up, but I can visualize them not being there. I have a few more weeks before I'll actually make the quilt, so I might change my mind all together!
What do you think?
Monday, September 8, 2008
I first tried to needle felt some leaves with some orangish roving I had, but that turned out awful. I took the brown felt I had planned for backing and felted some baby camel wool onto the front. Loved the look, but since the brown felt is acrylic, the camel wool didn't stay attached. Thank goodness the silk yarn I sewed on for veins held most of it, and the beads and tag words helped.
My encouraging words are:
I think I like the "art is" group the best. I might have to do a series of pieces with those words.
The words are written on painted lutradur. It's a stiff but semi-sheer product with many uses. I wanted to see how it took paint from some paint pens I recently bought. It ended up a bit more opaque than I wanted. Next time I'll try thinned-down acrylics for a hint of color.
Another project I am working on is a quilt for my younger daughter to give her mother-in-law for Christmas. My daughter found a pattern online, then found some fabrics she liked. I ordered it all and this weekend, made a sample so they could see how it all worked. We (my daughter, son-in-law and I) agree that we like the dragonfly part, but not the borders. So, we've decided that an in-person meeting is needed to dig through my stash and see what we like best. I'll post another photo of what we decide!
Sunday, August 10, 2008
I finished another purse using appliqued drink glasses from Pat Sloan's "Five O'Clock Somewhere" pattern.
I used one of the embroidery stitches on my sewing machine that reminds me of streamers, it feels somewhat party-like.
Isn't this the perfect use for hunk fabric, lining a bag with it? Well, my daughter would say a better use is having it on the outside, but I'm thinking the older, more mature recipient of this bag will appreciate it's being inside where she can steal a peek with no one knowing.
I also got to cut and wind some fiber spools for a trade with the Fiber Art Traders group. The top left two are a mohair type and metallic blend, and next to them is a soy/wool blend. Bottom left is a silk/wool blend, center is wool, right is mohair. They'll go to 10 different swappers, and I'll get 10 in return. Can't wait to play with the new fiber I receive!
Friday, August 8, 2008
We filled Saturday with sight-seeing, as Andi, whose birthday we were celebrating, wanted to do more than just gamble and shop on this trip.
We started at Madam Tussauds.
When my younger daughter, Aspen, was in high school, everyone remarked on the resemblance between her and Cameron Diaz. When she smiles big enough, it can be shocking to suddenly see Cameron before you. I tease her and say she is channeling Cameron when she talks.
It is hard to believe I once resembled Lady Diana. She's only an inch taller than I, but she had on heels. (I wonder if I'll ever get my weight back down there!) My daughter Andi is a month younger than Prince William, and Aspen is a couple of months younger than Prince Harry, so I really felt connected to Diana.
I snapped this shot just because!
After Madame's, we wandered down to Sigfried and Roy's Secret Garden. At one time I had wanted to work with the big cats, so I really wanted to see what they had to show us. I was not disappointed.
They have a glassed-in enclosure where tiger cubs get socialized with handlers. There is a lot of glare on the glass, so getting a good photo can be hard. You are also aiming at a moving target most often, as they have the tendency to turn their heads at just the wrong moment.
This poor guy (gal?) had been trying to nap on a shelf, but a littermate decided it was time to play.
Finally, one of the white (there were 3 whites and one orange) cubs came over right in front of us and I was able to get a decent shot.
We wandered on to the large animal enclosures. Since it was 100+ degrees out and humid by Las Vegas standards most everyone was sleeping.
Won't this one make an awesome art quilt? These are white lions, as you can tell by the washed-out manes.
I sat down to rest by this guy, who seemed to sense my camera on him as he turned around almost immediately so I could catch his face.
We also hit the dolphin pools.
You can view the pools through plexiglass and watch the dolphins in action, or go to the second pool where a baby, his mother and older sister play.
At this point I was ready to all it a day. The misters and trees kept the animal enclosures somewhat comfortable, but the sun was just unbearable. We decided to head inside, the kids to gamble, and me to think about quilts to make from my photos.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
The results were amazing, don't you think?
She caught on to rolling the seams to seat them together, then pin, for a perfect joining.
On Sunday, she made a bag for her sister and added pockets, all with a few instructions over the phone by me. Talk about a quick study!
Monday night over the phone I introduced her to fabric acquisition. I gave her the URLs to my favorite fabric search engines, the FabShopHop and Quiltshops.com. Then I sent her over to Fabrics.com to check out sales. She ordered fabric for several Christmas gifts - tote bags, of course!
I don't know if I'll ever get her into quilting, but it is so fun to share my bag fetish with her. Watch for us to get an Etsy site soon, as our family isn't big enough for what we'll produce!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Read more about how you can help here.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
See the pretty flower? It's centered on the dark purple square. I left paper here and there to make it easier to find the stitch lines. You'll probably have to click for the larger photo to see it.
This is a motif out of the book, The Art of Feather Quilting by Judy Allen. Love this book!
The borders on this quilt are free-motion feathers ala Sharon Schamber. All four of the purple squares have the flowers, as do the small pale squares within the wheel.
The four lighter diamonds have an enlarged version of the flower surrounded by feathers. In the center, there is an 8-pointed star, each point of which will have a feather motif from the book.
The outer light area is free-motioned with the curls seen in the first photo.
I have to decide tonight what to do in the wheel itself. I would like to do something that winds around the circle but am limited in the amount of room I have to work in. I'll probably do a vine with heart-shaped leaves, since it's something I know I can do. I am hoping to get this done and in the mail this week, so it can be displayed at a show, advertising a cancer auction coming up in October. I just hope it turns out good enough.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
I've shown some of the photos here, but I have a stack of fabric waiting to be molded and shaped into the magic my muse has in store.
The most recent step was to make curtains for the little windows in one wall. The big windows all have white wooden blinds. I couldn't do anything that drab for these little ones.
Aren't they loud and wonderful? I want to do one project a week or so (it might take longer to figure out a slipcover for my chair) and I promise to add photos as I do.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
An online quilt group I am in traded gifts for the summer solstice. These are the goodies I received from my birthday-twin Susie.
Such fun stuff, and all perfect for me!
That flip flop fat quarter was just screaming "new purse" so I found a coordinating lime green in my stash (I have almost as many lime green prints as I have lime green shoes!).
At my LQS, The Patchwork Penguin, I rummaged through the sale room and found those darling star buttons. The packaged set was called "Island Sunrise" which made it perfect for a summer flip flop purse. I had the bamboo handles waiting for just the right purse. I combined elements from some of the patterns I have made recently and came up with this.
While rummaging through the sale room I also grabbed some bolt ends of Jane Sassaman's Floral Fantasy fabric. Wait til you see my studio when I finish! I'll get photos of the curtains up here tomorrow, and the rest as I finish things.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Meet Clyde, my house bunny. He's litter box trained and we recently came to an agreement that his run wasn't big enough for a playful young bunny, so he now has the run of my studio apartment. The photo shows him having discovered he can get on top of the mess under the quilting frame. (I am rearranging everything, slowly, so there is a lot of chaos.)
I had to do some interesting things with cords, like the iron, and pick up the sewing machine foot pedal when not in use, and crawl on hands and knees to be sure no pins were lying around. My floor is cement, so at least they won't get buried in carpet.
Clyde has toys that he plays with. He loves anything he can toss in the air, or move with his nose. I gave him an empty plastic spool yesterday and could tell where he was hiding by following the sound of it repeatedly being dropped.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Hey, what mom can deny her offspring when they like something she made them?
And what mom can resist a bit of a prank when it comes to choosing the lining fabric?
Obviously, not this mom!
I sewed down the last inches of the binding on the maple leaf quilt. I do have to make a label for it still, I always forget that step. But after a quick wash to get all of the thread bits left from all the frog-stitching I had to do while quilting this, I can fold it up and put it in the gift box.
I chose a meandering vine with heart shaped leaves. For some reason I can do heart shapes well, so I have a feeling a lot of quilts in the future will end up with this design.
Tonight I need to make one more bra bag (see the shopping bag photos) for my daughter, then work on some swaps. And take a photo of something, anything, so I have something to write about!
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Thanks to a UFO challenge, I have made some progress on one of the quilts I have in various stages of unfinished.
It surprises me to see how gorgeous some of these projects are, and I wonder how I kept setting this one aside. Another group I am in is collecting comfort quilts for a cancer center, and I will be giving this one up when I get it finished. As much as the colors please me, I hope they comfort someone in need.
This goes on the quilt frame this week, so by next weekend I hope to mark it "done"!
Monday, June 2, 2008
I finished the June bag last night. Isn't it cheerful? I decided I needed to use it as a purse. It only has a cell phone pocket, though, which isn't enough organization for me. I made a glasses case for my sunglasses, and next weekend I will make an organizer like this one. Isn't that handy? Then I can easily switch from bag to bag to match my shoes, or my mood, or whatever!
Sunday, June 1, 2008
A friend detailed her quilting list went step by step, including sashing, binding and label. (Hey, I might remember to label quilts that way!) I am trying that now and find I get a lot more done, at least on paper!
The first project today is a new shopping bag made from the scraps from a spring charm swap last year. The red square is from the swap, and will add a nice "pop" to the softer colors.
The rest of my sewing time will be divided between the quilt on the frame and the jeans quilt. I have a UFO that has to be finished by the end of the month for a challenge, so I will get at least one step done there.
I also list the cleaning and gardening and such that needs doing, because otherwise I would forget them until I see dishes in the sink at 9 pm, or a poor potted plant withering in the early morning light as I run to the car on Monday morning.
My life has gotten rich enough now, though, that I don't have to pad my lists with things like shaving my legs and washing my hair. Not that I remember to do those all the time, but my lists are now long enough that I don't want to get overwhelmed.
Off to start my sewing!
The lefthand three in the back were already done. My daughter has a fun sense of style, so the loud ones and the bra fabric are for her.
I then checked my list. I was supposed to quilt the project on the frame, and work a few steps more of a UFO that's in a challenge. But when I got to the cutting tabe, this bag sat glaring at me.
It contained the jeans circles and flannel squares that I had cut out over the last few years to make a quilt for my daughter.
Organizational tip of the day:
If you finish a project or use up some fabric, you don't have to find a place to put it.
It's going together rather quickly, I think. I didn't draw my squares big enough and had sewed the first seams before I realized why that was a problem. Some of the flaps might not be the same size, but this is a throw-in-the-car-just-in-case quilt made from my daughter's old jeans, so it's not worth stressing over.
On to Sunday!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I got bored last night so I went ahead and refolded a tote-full of fabric. I now have room to spare in the tote, and I have the fabric grouped for easier access. One stack is stuff to be used together, one stack is miscellaneous pieces, and the third stack (yes, I get three stacks in my tote!) is backing pieces.
I have some shopping bags to get mailed this week, but as soon as I do, I will start folding my remaining tote and adding it to the rest. In theory, this means I'll empty a tote-full of fabric sooner than if I sewed it all up. Does that mean I can start buying fabric that much sooner?
It was tempting, but instead I made a list of what makes up most of the "goes together" stack. When I finish with those, plus a few other already-planned quilts, then I'll let myself shop.
On that list I wrote down the name of the pattern I planned to use with the chosen fabric sets. Now I have now excuse to spend my day browsing for a pattern when I could be sewing.
Hmm, I think my next list should be the patterns I have printed to make someday, and see what fabric I have that would work with them. When I get ready to make one I will know what fabric to buy already.
Wow, this is starting to get scary! What will happen to the world as we know it, if I become completely organized in my quilting? I shudder to think.
I admit, my first project, a table runner, was made with purchased 5" charms, but the fabric was perfect for a Christmas gift. I did find the binding and backing in my stash.
I did the last three rounds on a Roosting Robin (made like a round robin, only you do it all yourself).
This is a bit scrappier than the designer had in mind, but I like it anyway. The pattern is from Quilts by Kos. The top is done and it's waiting for quilting. How long can it go before it's considered a UFO?
The other project I finished is the May bag in the BQL Challenge. (I'm not putting their link here as they aren't accepting new challenge members).
This bag is made using Insulbrite so you can carry your cold and frozen items from the grocery store. It has a zipper closure. The bow ties are 3-D, which give it a really fun look!
Thursday, May 1, 2008
The quilts made by friends, or round robins made with friends, are a special treat. Favorite fabrics, quilts made for special occasions, they all have a calming effect.
My first quilt that I made for myself is now in the possession of my dog. A lot of people might find that odd, but they don't understand.
Look how he is lying, almost as though he can't touch his bed, only his quilt. That blanket has been his constant companion in each of the six places we've called home in the last four years. I take it with us when he and I go visiting, so he knows his place.
This dog has been the only constant in my life for the past twelve years. Well, he and the brown furry tiger blanket my brother gave me for Christmas almost thirty years ago. I'll do everything I can to see to his comfort as he has mine. Everything short of offering him the tiger blanket.
One day he'll be gone, but I'll still have his quilt to warm me and comfort me when his loss weighs me down. The memory of its use won't outlast me, but maybe the quilt will bring comfort to someone new when I am gone. Whether two-legged or four, the feeling is the same.
I am home, I am loved.
Monday, April 28, 2008
We were mourning the loss of an online quilting friend, Jennie Sherlock. Neither Kay, nor I, had been able to attend the large gatherings in the past with our quilty friends, and Jen's passing has made us realize how important it is to make that happen next year at Jamboree '09.
The recent movie "Bucket List" has people talking about the things you want to do before you die. I was having a hard time forming a mental list, as there aren't many experiences or places that are of major importance to me. The trips I would take revolve around people, either friends I want to meet in person, or visit the places that my ancestors called home.
Kay summed it up best, though. My bucket list would include the friends who share my life but who live too far away to sit down to coffee with. The people whom I must hug in person to have felt my life is complete.
Monday, April 21, 2008
I buy two categories of fabric. No, three. First, fabric for a specific purpose. Second, a print so wonderful I can't live without it. Third, a great sale that is bound to be useful someday, or would make a perfect backing.
The specific purpose fabric gets used, of course. Most often, it's used for its original intention, unless something else comes along before I finish the intended project.
The second bunch is the hardest to use. Once sewn, it's gone. What if later I find a better project for it, and I don't have it anymore? I have a few totes worth of this fabric.
The last bunch seems like it would be the easiest to use, but sometimes it's much harder. Again, I worry about a better suit in a later project. If I was thinking backing, I am afraid to use some and not have enough for backing later. It's as if I think there is a limited amount of fabric on the earth.
This tote is made of second and third group fabric. The main print was a discount bolt, 50% off if you buy the bolt. I loved it, so I got what was left. I was saving it for a gorgeous quilt someday.
The blue was bought with another had-to-have fabric as the perfect coordinate. I made a purse of out of some of the other fabrics but was saving this to make a small quilt with the leftovers of the other.
The green was a sale print that goes with many of the colors I normally buy.
I love how they work together, and I have large enough pieces left to do something with.
As I finished that tote and looked at the overflowing remaining stash, I realized I could cut down a good portion of it by making quick and easy 1-yard shopping bags. Then I could organize what I had and maybe find some wonderful pairings for an amazing quilt.
Then I took a deep breath and calmed myself back down. Don't you realize how much energy it will take to cut into some of these fabrics? What if I find the perfect pattern two months later, and don't have enough fabric left?
Pattern, that reminds me. I have a box full of perfect patterns printed off the internet, just waiting to be used. The problem is, I no longer remember what fabric they were perfect for, and I probably have cut into some of those bigger pieces...
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Have you heard about Collage Mania II? Virginia Spiegel is holding her annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society on May 5 & 6, 2008. Two of my collages have been accepted by Virginia to be available to donors. You can read more about how it works here.
Single Breasted Suits
Years ago while watching a talk show, I saw a breast cancer survivor who had gotten a beautiful rose tattoo over her mastectomy scar, and often wore garments to show off the tattoo. I was in awe of this person who realized her body was more than the sum of its parts, and she embraced what must have been a painful memory.
After my mother's mastectomy, she didn't go so far as to get a tattoo, but when she almost lost her prosthetic breast at a junior high concert, she decided that empty pouch in her bra could be put to much better use, such as holding her cell phone.
I dedicate Single Breasted Suits all breast cancer survivors.
Size: 10"x8". Mounted on bristol board, signed, dated and ready to frame. Materials: hand-dyed cotton, polyester, rubber stamp, ribbon, llama wool, pigma pen and watercolor pencils.
While working in Springfield, MO, I met a vibrant young man who welcomed everyone into his life. He was a chef, but his bold laughter and omnipresent smile nourished our souls as much as his food did our palate.
Dan recently lost his battle with throat cancer. He's gone from our sight, but his memories will sustain us until we can gather around his table once again.
Thank you for allowing me into your beautiful life, Dan.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I started Friday after work and got most of the sewing done on some pillowcases. Running out of top thread and then bobbin in quick succession told me it was time to sleep instead.
Last year, a friend passed along some fabric from a woman who was retiring from quilting (can it really be done? retire from quilting?), with the stipulation that it was to be used for charity. I work with a group who makes quilts for veterans, so my friend sent masculine colors. I got these cut out last year, but it took until this weekend to actually finish two almost identical quilt tops. They can now be sent off for quilting. The vertical sashing is a border print that I received already cut into 4.5" widths. 4 10-yard pieces of 4.5" strips!
These are four fabric post cards I made for a swap with a great group of fiber artists who inspire me to try new things. I haven't had time to actually try those new things yet, though. I was down to the wire and the theme was tea, lace and roses with Victorian tea party mentioned. Since I was working too close to the deadline, I went with crazy quilt.
To be honest, I had to finish the embroidery on Monday night after work, so it made for a 4-day weekend.
The quickest project I worked on is one that is also close to my heart. Three years ago my baby girl got married. Although I had only been quilting for a few months, had made only a couple of quilts, I had to make her a wedding quilt. A Double Wedding Ring wedding quilt. I thought, I sew curves all the time in garment making. I can to this!
That quilt turned out rather sorry, but was filled with love. In the ring opening, I used a template with a Celtic chain of hearts. The one smart thing I did was test my quilting before I started on the quilt.
I saved that test, and this weekend I added a binding to it. It shows my lack of experience, and some of the blue marking pen lines that I didn't wash off. But it will always be special to me as a reminder of my baby girl's big day.
Monday, March 10, 2008
In the current (February/March 2008) issue of the magazine, there is an intriguing article by Natalya Aikens on recycled quilting. She suggests making weekly journal quilts from repurposed materials.
I decided to try my hand at using found items for a few weeks, then entering one in the magazine challenge. Here's the first:
I used rummage sale ugly fabric for the backing, green dryer lint for the batting. The green was so pretty I didn't want to hide it, so I added small trimmings of cotton fabrics from my waste basket, some pink used gift wrap and shreds of gold, copper and raspberry paper from chocolate wrappers.
To help hold it all in place, I added a tea-dyed crocheted doily from an estate sale. (Oh, I just looked at the photo again and realized what I need to do with the other half of the doily!)
My doctor has advised me I need to be kinder to my body to the tune of 50 pounds (well, 40, now!) and the chocolate was smuggled into my body after my last check up. I decided to include the wrappers in some art, as the beautiful packaging is not helping my packaging become more beautiful.
I call this quilt "Waist Not."
I use cotton batting most often, mainly because I love the feel. Cotton is renewable, but if it's not organic, you have tons of chemicals involved in growing it. I used to live next to fields and would be so sick when defolient was sprayed just before time to pick.
Alongside organic cotton batting made by several companies, you can now get bamboo blend batting. Fairfield has a line of 50% bamboo, 50% organic cotton. I used that batting in this quilt:
I have to say, when I pulled the batting out of the roll to let it air before using, it was the softest stuff! I wanted to just curl up with the batt, forget putting fabric around it.
When I got over that urge, I put the quilt on the frame and got to work. This batting is as thin or thinner than 100% cotton, has a light scrim that kept its shape beautifully. The quilt itself is very lightweight, a nice spring feel on the bed. I think this might become a new favorite batting, although I have a cotton/silk blend and cotton/wool blend to test still. There is also a line of corn-based poly that I am curious about.
Fairfield's bamboo products are available through Joann's; use your coupons to bring the price down, as it costs a bit more than cotton and poly lines.
YLI has a new line of organic cotton thread, although it's only available in white and natural that I can find. Maybe if we all start buying and asking for more colors, we'll get them. I found it for sale at Keepsake Quilting.
Next I want to find organic cotton fabric. The more we use, the more they produce, right? If quilters start demanding organics, the prices will come down and the variety will go up. And we'll all live a bit better without the chemicals. (Sorry, my SoCal nature-girl is showing)
By the way, the pattern for the quilt above is from Paula at Coffee Time Quilt Studio. Isn't it a fun design?