Thursday, November 19, 2020

Quilt of the Week

 I didn't post a quilt last week for a couple of reasons. I was quilting on the red quilt when I ran out of the variegated thread I was using. I have used Rainbow by Superior for years and was having a hard time finding it, even on the Superior site and then I realized that they are no longer making it and have substituted  Fantastico, which has two sizes of spools, a large cone and the smaller size that I want. So I ordered it and then went to the lavender and green quilt. I had a nice variegated Rainbow in the right color, which I have used on all of these charity quilts with great success. I was quilting merrily along when all of a sudden it started having a hissy fit....skipping stitches, terrible tension, breaking thread. I had to rip out a large section. This was on my trusty Bernina that I have always bragged about it being able to use any kind of thread without a problem. 

I have not had this machine serviced in a long time. Shame on me! So I packed it up and got it ready to go to the shop and got out my older Bernina, 1230. This was great machine for several years until it started giving me problems. It went to the shop a couple of times before they had to send it away to Bernina and I think they replaced one of the motors. It came back better than ever and had I known that I wouldn't have purchased the newer one, Quilter's Edition153. But I was impatient and couldn't stand being without a machine. 

Now I am using my 1230 and loving it! It is all metal, including two telescoping thread spindles, unlike the plastic one on the 153, which sometimes flies off. The walking foot is so easy to get on and off, unlike the 153, which drives me crazy. It is also so much easier to fill a bobbin and that is basically all I had been using it for, since it is set up on an L-shaped table next to the other machine. It free-motion quilts like a dream. This machine is well over 20 years old. I know that my husband was alive when I got it and he has been gone for 20 years. If I go to Florida this year I plan to take a machine and leave it there. I was going to take the 1230, but now I think that is the one I will leave here. 

Now onto the quilt. 

My patio furniture is put away so I am back to photographing it draped on a living room chair.

I have been able to find the right color for the bindings from my sash of my hand dyed for each of these quilts. You wouldn't believe how many greens I had to look at to get just the right color. More about green dyed fabrics below. I very seldom use purple or lavender, but I did have a six way gradation of this lovely Amethyst, a perfect match for the border. I did a very loose garlic design for the free-motion quilting in the border. I have used this motif so many times I could do it in my sleep, but I have never done it on such a large scale. Maybe I should have done it a little smaller, but It is done.

I used a commercial hand-dyed look fabric for the backing. It was OK for the backing, but not a good green for the binding.

This large quilt, Emerald City, is one of the reasons that I have a huge green stash. I dyed six different greens, each in a six way gradation. This was purchased by Yale New Haven Hospital for one of their doctors' waiting rooms several years ago.

This very large quilt, Big Green Diptych, was a finalist at The International Quilt Show in Houston, TX a few years ago.

That's it for this week. I'm still waiting for that red thread and if it comes on time I'll have that for next week.

I am linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Santa, Baby

Hand made by me last year.
One of my favorite charities is Ann’s Place, a local non profit organization that provides comfort, support and resources to cancer patients and their families free of charge. For more information, go to their website:

Every year Ann’s Place holds a Festival of Trees, where over 200 decorated trees are displayed and voted upon. Viewers buy tickets and put them in a jar next to the tree and the lucky ticket winner gets to take that fabulous tree home. It is also one of the social events of the year with a big cocktail party on the opening night with music and a silent auction in addition to the trees. There is a Teddy Bear Tea for the little kids, a boutique and much more. In previous years I have decorated and donated two trees.

Of course this year the festival has been cancelled due to Covid, but there is a virtual festival online. Contestants can enter a decorated tree, either made specifically for this year or photos of a tree at their home last year, as I did. People will vote on the tree for a dollar a vote with a $20 minimum. The tree with the most votes wins a cash prize. And unlike previous years you do not get to win the tree you voted upon. If I win I would give my prize money right back to Ann’s Place. I am late to the game because I just entered my tree yesterday. 

The easiest way for you to see my tree is to go to my Facebook page and click on the picture. It will take you directly to my tree and the voting. If you want to see all the trees, go here:  The name of my tree is Santa, Baby.

I am linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Quilt of the Week

 I'm still working on my charity quilts and finished another this week. I have two more tops that are pieced that need to be basted and quilted. 

After that snowy picture I showed last week, we are having an unexpected warm spell. It was in the seventies today, unusual for mid-november in CT. But I'll take it. I took advantage of the weather to get rid of all the annuals on my deck today, which were killed by a hard frost last week. I will be taking in my furniture soon and will lose my quilt prop. 
All of the center squares were cut from the same striated batik.

I had very wide borders on this quilt because of the amount of squares I was able to piece. I thought this swirly design was terrific and I was able to free motion machine quilt following those lines. Again I used the no-hand-sewing flanged binding. So far I have been able to find a complementary color in my hand-dyed stash. 

Arrangement of the week.There were no bicolored mums in the store this week so I bought a bunch of plain rust daisy mums and a bunch of yellow spider mums. I jazzed them up with some faux berries and orange leaves. If you are very observant you may notice that I have the same table cloth on. This is my favorite fall cloth and I bought it in the Provence area of France, where they make the most beautiful linens. I live alone and use a placemat when I eat, so I can keep a cloth on for a long time. I have a lot of blue and white ones for the summer.

Just got the news a couple of hours ago that we have a new President. Time to make America decent again. I am a happy camper!

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday. 

Friday, October 30, 2020

Another finished comfort quilt and a collage

 I could not photograph my finished quilt draped over the chair on my deck today because this is the weather we had this morning. The snowflakes were huge but it only lasted for a couple of hours and it is already melting. We are supposed to get a hard freeze tonight and that will be the end of the annuals. I will have to do a lot of work one day this week to get everything out. I still have a lot of annuals in the front of the house and they will be toast, too. I hate fall cleanup but it has to be done.

So I photographed it draped over a chair in my bright living room. Aren't the colors so pretty?

I used the same flanged no-hand-sewing binding and loosely free-motion quilted around the patterns in the fabric of the border. I like to use variegated thread for the quilting and have quite a collection of Superior Rainbow thread. It changes colors every inch and this one had purples and greens, just perfect. 

And this cute purple butterfly fabric for the backing and binding.
I have the next quilt all spray basted and ready to quilt, so come back next week.

Our monthly collage challenge was due today at our Zoom meeting. I followed the same "formula" of using pages from the encyclopedia and dictionaries that I have done in the past. But instead of pictures, I used stencils with Distress Oxide Inks and an old Martha Stewart Stamp for the oak leaves. I had to dye a piece of white velvet and this time I got the right color of orange the first time. However I was surprised that it embossed white.

But if you want to see some really incredible collages take a look at these gems by Vic Munz. Check out this article by the New York Times and be sure to zoom in to see the phenomenal detail.  

I am linking up with Off the Wall Friday. 

Friday, October 23, 2020

Another finish

  I finished quilting my second donation quilt. I contacted the director of Ann's Place in Danbury and she will see that they go to the chemo ward at the hospital. She told me that patients are not allowed to have a friend or spouse with them during the pandemic, so a little extra comfort will be welcome. 

I photographed it outside so that you can see the true colors. All attempts inside made it too dark.

I was so happy to find this dragonfly print for the borders and backing. I roughly outline quilted the dragonflies and used that flanged binding again with no hand sewing. I'm rather pleased with the way this turned out and hope it will bring smile to someone's face.

I did something really stupid while cutting the binding. I have been sewing for umpteen years and using a rotary cutting for almost that long and I have never had an accident. I don't know how it happened, but  I rammed right into my pointer finger on my left hand. Ouch! I quickly ran to the bathroom and ran cold water over it, but it bled and bled. I kept putting pressure on the cut and finally stanched the bleeding and then saw that it was also bleeding from the nail. Yep, I had run right across the nail, too. It took a long time for it finally to stop and when it did I put a bandaid on it very tight, then another on top of that and then put on a finger cot. Since I wash my hands so many times during the day it's hard to keep a bandaid dry. The finger cot worked like a charm. It happened two days ago and I took the bandaids off this morning. It looks okay, but it still needs a bandaid and a finger cot. Good news! I did not get blood on the quilt.

This sign hangs on my studio door. 

I always have flowers on my kitchen table. They are so inexpensive at the grocery store and I pick up a bunch or two every week. I have been using Alstroemeria all summer. They are so easy to just cut down and plop in a vase and they last all week. But for the last three weeks I have been buying mums. I love the pretty color combinations, although they do have to be made into an arrangement with Oasis. My kitchen adjoins my family room and if I'm not in my studio, that's where I am and I get to enjoy them all day.

So that's it for this week. I have two more quilt tops spray basted and ready to go, so come back next week to check them out. I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Friday, October 16, 2020

This and That

 I finished quilting my first donation quilt. It will go to a friend of a friend who is going through a very rough time with her cancer. The charity to whom I was originally going to give these quilts requested flannel backs and I bought some very pretty ones at Joanne's. I washed them all, knowing that flannel shrinks but was dismayed by what they looked like after the washing.They were all pilly and looked terrible. I took them back to Joanne's and they gave me a refund. Then I had to go through the process of picking out all cotton for the backs. I am giving them to a different local charity to avoid a lot of mailing.

For this one I used the same pretty floral fabric that is in the binding. 

I free-motion quilted it in a variegated thread just following the wiggly lines in the striations. It was quite easy to do on my Bernina, working from the center out since the quilt is only 40" square.

I bound it using a wonderful method given to me by my friend, Barb. The two long strips are sewn together, then sewn to the back of the quilt, then brought over to the front where you sew it down on the machine. No hand sewing involved and I like the way that piping gives it a little pizzazz. If you want the directions, let me know.

One of the best things that happened to me this week was purchasing this fabulous little quilt from the SAQA Benefit Auction. It was made by Lin Elmo, a member of our local SAQA group. Lin was an art teacher for 37 years and is so very talented. I asked her her process and she told me that she drew the bears directly onto the white cotton with a sepia Fabre-Castell Pitt artist pen. She then added color with Derwent watercolor pencils. It is an original design. I wish I could draw like that!

This was her statement on the back of the quilt and the title is Partners With a Purpose.

I had fun decorating masks this week. I used a Tim Holtz stamp from his Flower Garden collection. I stamped it with a permanent ink in black and then used acrylic paints to color them in. I think they look like watercolors. The mask came from Joanne's and I think they are neoprene. They are very comfortable, fit close to the face and wash and dry like a dream. And they are very inexpensive....3 for $6.99.

For this one I used the same stamp, using white acrylic paint spread rather thick on my craft mat. 

Same as above, but this time painting the flowers in with more paint. It took forever! I had to go over and over with the white for it to cover. I would put the paint down and think it looked just fine, then would come back 10 minutes later to see that it had just sunk into the fabric. But I still think it looks pretty cute and I wore it out to dinner last night to favorable reviews. 

I plan to make some more of the light gray (they don't have white). I think they would make nice stocking stuffers at Christmas.

I am linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Friday, October 9, 2020

More Donation Quilts

 I finished putting the borders on two more donation quilts and I am happy to say that I think I have found a place where I can donate them locally instead of having to mail them. We have a wonderful organization in town that offers comfort and support to cancer patients, called Ann's Place. I still haven't contacted them but I'm pretty sure that they will want these quilts to offer to patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. I have one more that need borders and then I can start the quilting.

I was pleased to find this pretty dragonfly fabric that coordinates so well with the striated batiks. 

This striated fabric had a strip of these turquoise stripes and I scattered then throughout the quilt. I was hoping to find a turquoise and red print, but could not, but I think that this print works just fine. I will put a red piping in the binding when I get that far. 

I am linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Donation Quilts

 The plaid quilt that I showed last week is going to be part of a local auction to raise funds for hungry kids. While I am in the mood I decided to make some more comfort quilts to give away.

Several years ago I was taken by the striated batiks that were in vogue. I bought so many thinking that I would make landscape quilts or even mock Rail Fence using the stripes in the fabric instead of piecing in stripes as I had done before.  I went through my stash and pulled out ones that I thought would work and of which I had enough. I had purchased smaller pieces and I needed at least a half yard for this purpose. 

These are all going to be 40" x 50" and have to be backed with flannel because they will be used by cancer patients while undergoing chemotherapy. That was the request by the charity that will get these quilts. I went to Joannes this week to take advantage of their sale and picked some yummy flannels to be used as backing.

This is the first top that is pieced. I didn't have enough of that striated fabric to make it 40 x 60, but I had this scrumptious  hand-dyed-look batik in my stash that I thought was perfect. I will back it in a lime green flannel. The center is all made using the same fabric. I paid no attention to where the colors went, just putting them in as I picked them up. It was VERY easy piecing. I cut 5 1/2 squares and sewed them together with no pinning. I did pin when I sewed the rows together. 

Quilt top #2. I had cut those green squares thinking they would be a good border for quilt #1, but I didn't like the look.  So I looked thru my stash to see what they would work with.  Again I had a pretty hand-dyed-look batik for the border. 

The dotted flannel on the left will go with this striated batik that is mostly green with a little bluish  purple.

I thought this coral mottled flannel was a good match for this batik, which has a lot of colors.

Lots going on in this batik and again a nice mottled yellow for the backing. This quilt is on my design wall trying to decide the placement of the squares. Maybe you can help me decide.

Here they are willy-nilly. Just putting the blocks down with no paying attention to the colors. These all came from the same fabric

Here I tried to put the colors together in a pattern. What do you think? I am leaning toward willy-nilly.
This will also need a border, but I don't have anything in my stash that will work. I think I will get a soft yellow of some sort. 

This fabric is very vivid and mostly red with a little hot pink and a little turquoise. I didn't want to do red and thought this hot pink was a good pairing. 

You may ask why am I piecing all the tops and not doing any quilting, When I got into card making and paper crafting I had to bring another table into my studio to hold my BigShot, paper cutter, paper scorer, etc. The only place to put it was in front of my big design wall, which is one whole wall floor to ceiling. But with the table there I only had the space above the table which was not enough for a biggish quilts. So I put the table away for now and will piece all these quilts then I can put the table back and quilt these at my leisure. 

I am linking up with Off the Wall Friday. Go see what some very creative people are up to and leave some comments. We all love comments, including me.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Playing With Paper and a Collage

My friend, Beth, a member of my FiberWorks group, made a lot of handmade paper recently and generously gave out zip-lock bags full at our last and only in-person meeting a couple of weeks ago. I was thrilled to be a recipient and am combining them with some of my paper techniques.

We haven't met for the last two weeks because of weather so we Zoomed instead, as we had all summer. The weather promises to be perfect tomorrow and we will meet again in Myra's yard, socially distanced and masked. We so enjoyed our last meeting. Show and Tell is just not the same on Zoom.

For this first one I adhered the hand made paper to a rust colored card base after tearing it down slightly to fit. Then I adhered my paper which was made using heavy weight Bristol paper and Distress Inks, using the "smoosh method" I smeared some ink onto my craft pad, spritzed it with water then laid  my paper on top and pressed down. Dried with my heat gun and repeated with new or the same colors. After I had all the colors I wanted I used a stencil and more Distress Inks to get those tiny circles. Then I stamped the daisy design with VersaMark and used black embossing powder. Heat set that to get a glossy look.  Last step was to go around the paper with a buttonhole stitch on my Bernina.

Same techniques as the one above, except instead of using a stencil, I splattered some diluted ink onto the paper as a last step. Hard to tell from the photo, but instead of stamping the tree in black, I used navy blue, which I thought was not as harsh.

This one is a little different. Again I applied some Distress Ink onto my craft pad and picked it up with a brayer, blue one way and yellow the other, then used parts of three different stencils. The dandelions are a die cut, giving a little more dimension. If I do this again I think I will cut the flowers out of a darker color. 

I still have a stack of Beth's papers and hope to make some more of these. I am not putting a sentiment on the front of these cards because then I can use them for any occasion and perhaps someone might want to frame them. Thank you, Beth!

The prompt for this month's collage was Tree and I used my usual "formula" with pages torn from an old encyclopedia, 2 unabridged dictionaries and the online dictionary. Again I printed my images onto tracing paper so that you could read the text beneath it. I had quite a bit of that dark green velvet that you see in the upper left hand corner. It is a double shot velvet, meaning that is is woven using red and green threads. If you look at it from one angle it looks red, the other angle, green. For some reason I thought it would emboss red and that I couldn't use it. So I spent waaaaay too much time dyeing and over dyeing small pieces of white velvet to get the right color. Then, as it turned out, that original velvet embossed green so I decided to use all three greens. I am pleased with the results, another mixed media collage.
 I still have green fingers because my glove had a hole it it. I got most of it off with a wonderful product made just for that purpose, called Kresto. Got it online quite awhile ago, but can't remember where.

I am linking up with Off the Wall Friday

Friday, September 18, 2020

Finished Quilting and a Collage

 I had a pretty good week, productive wise. I finished quilting my Sun-print Plaid quilt. I wanted to quilt on my Sweet Sixteen, but that did not work out. I swear that I got a lemon with this machine. I purchased a Bobbin Case Tension Gauge for 50 bucks because I thought it would solve my problem. A friend swears by it. The gadget said to put the tension at 220, so I did and all I got was a big snarl of thread on the back. So I fiddled with it and ended up setting it at about 400. That seemed just fine for about 10 minutes and then the thread broke. Rethreaded it and I got terrible tension and puckering. I GAVE UP!  And I was using the thread that came with the SS, Superior Thread So Fine 50, on the top and in the bobbin. 

So back to my trusty Bernina, on which I have quilted many a quilt, and doesn't care what kind of thread I use. Since this quilt was only 42 inches wide, it was very easy to do. I quilted it block by block, working from the center to the side. I didn't roll the quilt at all, just bunched it lightly so there was do drag. I love doing this leaf patten, it was almost zen like. If you look closely you will see that the leaves are not all exactly the same, some a little fatter, some a little longer, but it all goes together and is part of the charm (or so I tell myself). Remember to click on each picture twice if you want to see the details.

I photographed it outside on my deck, hoping to get a truer color than I did in my studio.

True colors, pastel and pretty.

Not true color, but you can see the quilting.

I had to piece the backing, nothing fancy, just using what I had.

I like the way the quilting shows on the back.

Now I have to bind it and I'm not sure what to do. I can piece it with different plaids or maybe use a solid that will go with the plaid. I also have to find a recipient. Does anyone have a good charity to recommend?

Lastly is the collage I made for August. The theme was SUMMER. I used my usual "formula" with pages torn from the encyclopedia, dictionaries and online dictionary, which I enlarged. The sunflower is one of my photos and the sun was from my Sunday Morning Suns, both printed on tracing paper so that the words would show through. I also wanted to do a velvet embossed sun. I had no yellow velvet so I dyed a small piece  bright yellow and used a Hot Potato stamp that I had. I filled in the spaces between with a stamp that has script that is not really words and a sunflower stamp. Another mixed media  collage.

I am linking up with Off the Wall Friday.