Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wiggly Strips

I thoroughly enjoyed myself today doing something I love to do, wiggly piecing. I find this process to be oddly tedious and freeing at the same time. Last week I posted some pictures of fabric I had snow dyed with turquoise and browns and said I would pair them with some yummy batiks I had found. I did two units here, one with a tan background and one with turquoise.

A detail here showing how small the pieces are, some only an eighth of an inch wide.

I plan to include some of these scrumptious Dupioni silks in the quilt. I will make some more units of strips and then play with them on my design wall with sections of the snow dyes.
I'll post more when I have more to show.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Oh, no! More snow!

Let's hope that this is the last of the snow for this season, although we may get more on Wednesday. Actually in this little corner of south west CT we have been very lucky. While NYC got 20 inches and parts of CT and upstate NY got up to three feet, we only got about 5 inches. We had heavy rain for two days while they had snow. It snowed here all day yesterday while they had a third day of the white stuff.

Right now the roads are clear and I'm going out this afternoon to take down the Gray Plus One show at the Redding Library. I did put my "stuck inside all day" yesterday to good use and did some much needed cleaning out and straightening up in my studio. Now I can start a new project and mess it up all over again.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Another Portrait

Here is my sister, Ruth, done in purple. We did not get the snow yesterday so I went to the quilt store and got some new fat quarters. One of the hardest parts of doing this is picking four values of the same color. I thought I had four perfect ones and when I got home and put four small pieces on my design wall, I realized that the lightest color was not light enough. Fortunately I had one in my stash that I used on the wrong side and that worked.
I was going to put a border on it, but nothing looked right, so I just satin stitched the edge.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Self Portrait, quilted

I bit the bullet and quilted my portrait. I fused it to Peltex, which gave it much needed stability and just echo quilted each section with matching thread. Then I satin stitched around the edges. We are having another spell of bad weather so I am doing another portrait tomorrow, this time of my sister. I don't want to go out in the yucky weather tomorrow, so I'm going to do it in the same colors since I have them left.

Friday, February 19, 2010


When my sister and I go to a big quilt show, we have a running joke where we say, "Remember, we're not buying any jacket or purse patterns". Well, invariably, we do since we both like to make jackets and purses and there's always something we can't resist. This darling pattern, The Silver Frame Purse, was one of those and we both bought it.
The vendor was a lovely young Korean woman who had the biggest selection of purse patterns and findings (handles, etc.) that we had ever seen and many samples made up to entice you. Of course you had to buy the silver frame to go with the pattern. The neat thing about it is that you can remove the purse from the frame and use it with different fabrics. Ruthie made three; two out of different cotton prints and one out of a lovely silk print. She used it every night on our trip as it seemed to go with everything.

If you follow my blog, you will know my penchant for turquoise and lime green. This is pieced out of several shades of Dupioni silk and embellished with a piece of velvet that I embossed with a rubber stamp.

You can buy the pattern here and see a lot of other purse patterns and findings.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Self Portrait

Awhile ago I ordered Maria Elkin's DVD, Making Faces. The art quilt group in my guild is having a display of self portraits at our show in May and I thought that this would be the perfect time to try it. It's an excellent tutorial and I was rather pleased with the results. It's not quilted yet. That's the scary part.

This is my second attempt, the first one is below. You turn your picture into a grayscale with four levels in Photshop Elements. On my first one, I didn't have enough dark tones.

The photo I started with.

My first attempt with no darkest tone.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Snow Dyeing Results

Here they are washed and ironed. The first five are from the Blue/Red/Yellow dyes. Even though these dyes were old, they had urea added to them since they were left over from an Ann Johnston class. They came out quite bright with a hippie-dippie look to them. They're alright, but I think they would be hard to use in a quilt. You can click on each one to see more detail. I don't think I got the crystallizing effect that some people did.

These next four (don't know what happened to the fifth picture) were made from the Turquoise/Strong Orange/Chocolate Brown dyes. The orange doesn't show up at all. I did get a little lavender showing and I like the mixture of turquoise and brown. I rather like these and I can see myself using these in a quilt.

Sometimes I like to incorporate commercial batiks with my hand dyes and I like this combination.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Snow Dyeing

To those of my readers who are not on the Quiltart list or a reader of Quilting Arts magazine, you may be saying, "What on earth is snow dyeing?" Someone (not me) came up with the idea of using snow as a resist when fabric dyeing. Some people had fabulous results, so I just had to give it a try.
This is what I did. First I soaked my white PFD (prepared for dyeing) fabric in a solution of 9 T soda ash to 1 gallon warm water.

Then I wrung out five pieces, each 1/2 yard, scrunched across the short end of a Rubber Maid wash basin and let them cool. I did two wash basins for a total of 5 yards of fabric. Not pictured here, but then I packed each basin almost to the top with snow.

On this one I drizzled Procion MX dyes (about 2T to 3/4 c water) over the snow. Top to bottom: Turquoise, Strong Orange, Chocolate Brown. I did this at about 10 AM and when I went to bed at 11 PM, I still had a coating of snow that had not melted. Maybe I used too much snow.

This is what it looked like in the morning. Click to see a bigger picture and all the turquoise bits on top. I don't know why this happened.

In the other basin I used some mixed dyes that had been in the refrigerator since April. I used them full strength since I didn't know how much oomph they would have left. Top to bottom: Bright Blue, Mixing Red, Sun Yellow.
Here they are melted in the morning. Please come back tomorrow to see the results.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Gold Museum

This will be my last post about my trip to Panama and Costa Rica. On our last full day in Costa Rica, one of our stops was the gold museum in San Jose. It's much more than a museum dedicated to gold, but also has fine art , sculpture and more. But we only went to the bottom floor , which was devoted to precolumbian gold jewelry and artifacts.

The solid objects were made in wax molds and are a mixture of gold and copper. I was surprised that these shots came out as good as they did, shot through the glass cases.

The flat disks were hammered and made of solid gold.

There were many items of stylized frogs, lizards and other things in nature common to the area.

The picture of this shaman is a bit fuzzy, but I wanted to show the similarity to the one below.

I really like jewelry and usually buy something from countries I visit, if there is a distinctive style. The museum had a great gift shop with reproductions of things seen in the museum. I bought this little shaman pendant. He's about 1 1/2 inches high and his head and shoulders are articulated.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Irazu Volcano

Costa Rica sits atop the Pacific Ring of Fire whose colliding tectonic plates are responsible for the country's spectacular volcanoes. Irazu Volcano, which we visited, is one of the five active volcanoes on the country

Since it is about 11,000 feet above sea level, it is usually very cold up there and often drizzly and windy making the visibility very low. We were told to dress in warm layers and bring an umbrella. We were so fortunate to have spectacular weather when we got up there, about 60 degrees. clear and sunny. Our tour guide told us that this was the first of his many trips there that he did not have a cold windy, wet day.

Since the park is above tree line, the wind and volcanic activity conspire to give it the effect of a moonscape. There are several craters rimmed by gnarled, scorched trees and lined with brilliantly colored rain fed mineral pools.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tropical flora

Although I didn't see as many flowers growing in the wild as I had hoped on my trip to Panama and Costa Rica, we did see some and they were beautiful.

This tall tree with gorgeous, fuzzy, bright red flowers is the Water Apple. It does bear an edible fruit, not on the tree at this time.

Passion flower

The orchid is the national flower of Panama.

Emperor Stalk

Torch Ginger

Coffee Beans


Tuesday, February 9, 2010


The Embera People that I wrote about yesterday make these beautiful baskets. The weaving fiber is extracted from a palm called chunga. After the dance demonstration, the women set up tables and mats on the ground to show their wares. Again we had about 20 minutes to shop. There were so many to choose from. The tighter the weave, as in this one, the better. It can actually hold water. The price also went up as more colors were used. This simple black and white design appealed to me and it was only $20, a real bargain I thought. It's about 5 inches high by 6 inches wide.
Bottom of the basket.