Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Still Stitching

I am having the kind of week that I love and rarely have. Hardly any social or otherwise obligations, other than going to the gym and getting in my morning walk. No meetings, no lunch dates, no doctor or dentist appointments. Monday through Thursday. Just a few piddly errands and making a big pot of soup. Lots of time to work in my studio. I have finished a baby shower project that I can't show yet because it is a surprise, but I will show it next week. I'm well on the way to finishing two baby quilts for twin boys soon to be born. Again, I'll show them when I'm done.

And every night I'm stitching in front of the TV on my denim jacket that I showed you here.

I finished the center back panel and it was so much fun to do. I did decide to fill in the background with the variegated thread and I like the way it looks. I have to decide how much more to do, since it has to be finished by the end of February to go in the Woman's Club Arts and Crafts completion.

For now I have started on the front right yoke. It, too will have more French knots in the paisley and a background fill with seed stitch as I did on the back.

Maybe I'll do that big back yoke next. I'll decide as I go along, but in the meantime it is wonderful to have some handwork to do. Prior to this and since the demise of my hand quilting, the only hand work I've done is stitching down the binding on a quilt.

Stay tuned.

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Cute Purse

I finished this little purse today. It was made from a pattern that I bought last spring at my local guild's quilt show. The pattern, by Material Girlz of Florida, also came with a link to a video showing an easy way to do the prairie points. I will enter it into the Woman's Club Arts and Crafts competition at the end of February.

The blue fabric is one of my hand dyes that I free-motion quilted in a variegated thread. The checkered is a commercial batik. It's just the right size for going to the movies or out to dinner.

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Shibori Pillow

Here's one of my shibori velveteen samples made into a small pillow. I wasn't sure if it was the right shade of blue for my family room, but look how nicely it is playing with a pillow that's been there for a long time.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Velveteen Shibori

I saw some velveteen shibori pillows in a catalog recently at a very high price. I thought they were gorgeous and also thought that I could make them. I like to do shibori and dyeing and have done a fair amount, but never on velveteen. I ordered the fabric from Dharma Trading and I finally got around to trying it. I would like to make some big pillows for my sister's white couches in her new home and they have to be fairly large, about 20" square.

I thought I'd better do some samples on smaller pieces before tackling the big job, so I made three pieces about 16" square. I cut them a bit larger, allowing for shrinkage. They didn't shrink much, but there was a lot of fraying.

Here are the results.

This one was the easiest to do. I accordion pleated it and then clamped it in six rows with plastic clothespins.

This was the hardest to do because it took six rows of hand stitching, which were then pulled tightly and knotted. A very subtle look, much more subtle than if I had done it on plain cotton.

This one was accordion pleated in two directions then clamped using metal canning jar lids and C-clamps.  I was able to get a very tight clamp, thus the stark white circles. Not sure if I like this for a pillow. Of course they will look different and better when rounded out on a pillow form.

The velveteen was very easy to work with, unlike velvet. I could steam press it on the wrong side with no ill affects. My sister's couches are actually off-white, so I'm not sure how these will look. I don't think I want to dye the fabric first, but that is a possibility. 

Next is what can happen if you buy cheap rubber gloves at the dollar store. Don't, I repeat DON'T use them when dyeing fabric.

There must have been a hole in one of the fingers. This picture is after scrubbing with some scouring powder. It was pure navy blue when I first took off the glove.

Palm side, also after some scouring. I know that it will eventually wear off in a couple of days, but I certainly have learned a lesson. Ah, how were suffer for our art!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year

I once heard or read that what you do on New Year's Day sets the tone for the whole year. So this is what I did yesterday. I took a good brisk walk in the morning, went to Mass, took down some of the Christmas decorations, did some reading, went to a party at a neighbor's house, came home and did some stitching while watching TV. Not too bad.

What I am stitching is a jeans's jacket. I had a lot of fun doing the one with the buttons last year, but I wanted to do something different. I am a sucker for paisley so I went online and looked at a lot of patterns and then did my own thing.

This is just the beginning. I'm using six strands of embroidery floss. I'm not sure if I will do any stitching on the two side panels, I'll decide when I finish this panel. I will enter it in the Woman's Club Arts & Crafts  competition at the end of February. That will also determine how much stitching I will do. Deadlines are good for me and if I do an hour or so every evening, as I did last night, I should be able to get a fair amount done. I'm also debating filling in the background with seed stitch in a variegated blue floss. What do you think?

I'll post more pictures when I have some more done.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Home for the Holidays

I was fortunate to have my sister, my son and my niece here for Christmas Day. My son lives in Portland, OR, so he only comes home once a year. My sister lives so close to me now and her daughter came from elsewhere in CT to spend the day. It was so nice to be able to entertain her for a change.

Yes, I made Santa Claus martinis again.

The day after Christmas Kurt and I went to the Bronx Zoo. Neither of us had been since he was in third grade and I was a chaperone. It was a cold, damp day and a lot of the animals were missing, but we did get to see some interesting ones in spite of the weather.

Of course the weather didn't bother the polar bear. He was very active, roaming all around his large enclosure and carrying this scrap of paper around. He dropped it a couple of times and then would pick it up and roam some more. Maybe it smelled like fish? Anyway he was quite entertaining.

 We tried to do as much as possible inside the buildings to stay out of the cold. This huge tree made from origami elephants was intriguing.

"nuff" said

After the zoo we went to nearby Arthur Avenue. If you are from anywhere in the NYC area, you know that Arthur Avenue in The Bronx is famous for its many restaurants and shops specializing in Italian food. Who doesn't love Italian? Well, we certainly do. My son is a foodie and likes to cook so after our delicious lunch we perused a few of the stores. We brought home some pastries, and pasta and  other delectables.

Kurt, at the far end of store that specialized in pork. Check out all those dried sausages hanging from the ceiling.

It was a fun couple of days. He goes home tomorrow. It was so good to have him here, however briefly.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

And all through the house......

Here's a little tour of my house all decked out for Christmas. I love to decorate for the season and I start right after Thanksgiving so that I can enjoy it for the whole month.

Front door

Living Room tree

Dining Room. The first time I ever used a red tablecloth and I love it.

Side table in dining room using a few of my glass basket collection.

Kitchen table

Family room tree with all Santa ornaments.

Powder room. Its red walls are perfect for the season.

Santa cookie jars in the kitchen. Don't have them all out yet.

Succulents brought in from the garden decorated for Christmas.

Santa on top of the armoire in the family room

Christmas quilt hung over the foyer.

Santa teapot sitting among part of my blue and white teapot collection

Christmas quilt hung over the mantle in family room

Santa and sleigh on hall table.

Mercury glass trees on coffee table in Living room

End table in family room

Kitchen window sill over the sink. Yes, I really loved those sparkly lanterns and I bought three.

Pantry door in kitchen
Santa quilt over couch in family room.

Baker's rack with part of Santa collection.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Holiday Cheer

I had a few friends over for a Christmas luncheon. Here we are sampling the Santa Claus martinis I made. They were so cute and very delicious. The glasses were rimmed in flaked coconut and the drink was vodka, red apple schnapps and cranberry juice.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Finished wrapping

A preponderance of stripes and dots this year.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

New Book

I order quite a bit on line, especially at Christmas, so I wasn't surprised to see a package at my door, altho I didn't recognize the sender. When I opened it I was delighted to see a copy of Martha Sielman's latest treasure, Art Quilts International-Abstract and Geometric. According to Martha's introduction she received more that 1,300 entries from 461 artists. From these she chose 97 gallery and 19 featured artists. I am one of the gallery artists.

 Pat Pauly, another gallery artist, had her quilt Mummy Bags Influence, on the cover.

I am on page 51 with my quilt Salsa City. It has always been one of my favorite quilts and I'm so glad that it was chosen. The photography is good (although I did have my issues) and you can see all the free motion quilting. The colors are also true, often a problem in publishng.

I must confess that I haven't had time to read it. I have flipped through it briefly and now I'm going page by page and then I will go back and read it all, especially the interviews with the featured artists. I see a lot of familiar names and some that are new to me.

Wouldn't this make a nice gift for someone interested in art quilts? It is available on Amazon.