Thursday, January 31, 2013

Baby Quilt

It's been a long time since I've made a baby quilt, but when my son's best friend, Will and his wife Emily, had a baby a couple of weeks ago I had this one already made.  Several years ago the Bethany Reynolds Stack and Whack quilts were all the rage and I think I even taught a class in it.  I made this quilt and just loved it, but it never seemed to be the right color for any ensuing babies.  Either they were boys  and I thought that this coral was too feminine or the parents had a specific color request.  This baby is a girl and the nursery has teal carpet, so I though this would be a good fit.  The colors in these pictures  are a little off and are more like the colors in the last picture.

To make the quilt you start with a cute all overprint like this one, and fussy cut it to make kaleidoscopes.   You can see an excellent tutorial online here.

 You end up with some interesting patterns.  The coral fabric with the white dots was a companion print and I added gold and teal borders.

This is more like the real color.  I remember being so pleased to find the flannel for the backing in the perfect color. I always make a label that gives the baby's name and birth-date and my name.

So a big welcome to Molly, as her nickname will be.  I hope you and Mom and Dad like the quilt.

 In the box where this quilt was stored I had another partially made quilt.  Six blocks, out of eight, are already pieced and the triangles are all cut out, but I don't have any of that cute backing fabric.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


I've been trying to tick off the projects that are due for different groups of which I am a member.
My FANE group had an exhibit in a separate room at my guild's quilt show last year titled, Totems. They were 8 feet by 18 inches and hung from the ceiling. The exhibit was a huge success so Jane Davila, our fearless leader, came up with the idea of kimono shaped art.  She is making T-shaped stands on which they will be draped.  They don't have to be quilted and can even be just surface design cloth.

I immediately thought of shibori, thinking that I would make something new, but I got out all the blue and white shibori that I had done on my own, way before the Jan Meyers-Newbury class that I took last fall.  I played around with a lot of different patterns and designs and this is what I came up with. This is the piece open with the center section being 16" x 54"and the side panels 9" x 22".  The circles are stitched shibori that are pieced in. The center panel will make a great table runner and is just the right size.

This is how it will look draped over the T-shaped stand.  I am in the process of hand stitching circles in a running stitch in white thread, sashiko style, around the shibori circles on the side panels. I am not going to quilt it, but will just line it with dark blue on the sides and white in the center.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Gallery Show, part 2

 Last night was the opening of the show, Close Knit--A Group fiber Art Show, that I blogged about yesterday.  I was so pleased for several reasons.  I thought the show was well hung with excellent lighting, there was an array of diversity, the show was well attended,  the wine and food were delicious, and the live music was terrific (and they played nonstop for the whole two hours).

Be sure to click on any picture to see a bigger view of all.

Me standing next to "Houston Reflections"

And me with Fern Dance II, Of Cabbages andKings, and City Lights. I had another quilt that was mounted on canvas and that was hung in the window.
Paula Renee's beautiful tapestry.

Also by Paula. Gorgeous!

Ellen Schiffman's incredible  framed felted sculptures

Arle Sklar-Weinstein's fiber montages on layered printed organza over cotton.  She was not at the reception.  I would have liked talking to her about her process.

June Myles' hooked creations.  She also had some pillows on the couch and her book to peruse.

Liz Alpert Fay's stunning large piece made of hand stitched wool circles.

Joy Wofse with her interesting woven and macrame jewelry.
Lisa Furman and her group with their hauntingly beautiful Celtic and American folk music.

Part of the crowd

Pat, Claire , and Nike

I have put links to the artist's websites when available.  Be sure to check them out to see more of their work.

I was enjoying myself so much, chatting with friends and new acquaintances, sipping wine, and listening to the music that I didn't want to leave, but I was meeting friends at the movies to see the new "Quartet" with Maggie Smith.  It was the perfect ending to a great evening.  

Friday, January 25, 2013

Gallery Show

I have five quilts in this show which opens this Saturday.  There will be a reception with wine, yummies, and live music so if you are in  the area, please stop by.  There are a total of seven artists in the show with a wide array of fiber art, including weaving, hooking, fiber sculpture, and art quilts.  I've only seen a sneak preview and what I saw was terrific.  I'll post pictures as soon as I can.

The address is:  60 Newtown Road, Rt. 6 Plaza,Danbury, CT 06810

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

To help me forget that it's 10 degrees outside.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Sneak Peek

Just a peek at my current project.  These are all Dupioni silks, in shades of reds and purple. I will keep piecing until it gets to be about 14" x 18".  Then all sorts of interesting things will be done to it. I hope to finish it this week, so please check back.
The colors are even more knock-your-socks-off in person. It's hard to beat Dupioni for vibrancy.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

Productive Weekend

At the beginning of last week when  I looked ahead to the weekend, I gave a silent cheer when I saw that Saturday and Sunday were blank, as in no appointments and no social commitments.  My friends who are not involved in art find it hard to understand how I could like this, but I saw it as free time to spend in the studio.  I turned down an opportunity to go out to dinner Friday night, go the movies on Saturday night and go to a film festival and dinner on Sunday afternoon/evening.  Other than my morning walk, Church on Sunday morning followed by a brief trip to the grocery store, I stayed in all weekend and I did accomplish a lot.

I made this pretty little evening bag out of silk dupioni, one more entry for the Woman's Club Arts and Crafts competition. It measures about ten inches long, including the leaves on the bottom, by eight inches wide.

It was rather simple construction, being just one quilted piece thats wraps over onto itself.  The pokey parts were making all those little leaves (double sided, seamed and turned) and sewing the bottom together by hand through all those layers. And it took me three tries to get the handle right.  It's a good thing that I had a lot of that blue.  Isn't this magenta a pretty color? I considered having that on the outside, but went with my original plan of having the periwinkle blue be the focus. 

I dyed the fabric for the binding for my big Itajime shibori quilt and got that sewed on. I should tell you that after I had dyed the fabric, I didn't think it was a good match, even though it was the same black that had been used in the shibori, so I dyed two more pieces using two different blacks.  I ended up using the first one anyway. I started the hand sewing last night while watching TV and it's about half done.

I also finally wrote my letters asking for better gun control to my Senators and Congresswoman, paid my estimated taxes and did some other paper work.  I even found time to do some reading and made some headway on The Round House by Louise Erdrich.  I have a lot going on this week, but I also have more things on my list to check off.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


 My weekly fiber art group usually meets at members' home, but since we have several links to the Brookfield Craft Center, we decided to hold our meetings on the second Friday of the month there with one member giving some sort of demonstration or tutorial.

Barbara, our Kumihimo expert, kindly offered to lead the first session.   Kumihimo is a Japanese form of thread braiding.  You can watch a terrific tutorial that I found on U-tube here.  This is the little foam disk that is necessary.

Barbara helping Susie.

Gwen and Nike trying to figure it out.

Margaret and I hard at work.
My finished braid

Detail, showing the pattern.
Once you got the hang of it, it was quite easy. I forgot to take my camera (Paula took the first four pictures with her iPhone) or I would have been able to show you the many beautiful things that Barbara has made......bracelets, necklaces, key chains, belts, etc. We used a thin rat's tail cording, but you can use all sort of ribbons, cords or yarns.  Barbara had bracelet findings for all of us and some of the gals finished their bracelets, but I just kept on braiding.  I can always cut it to length later. The braid is good for hanging a pendant, too.  I like to make purses and this would be a good way to make purse straps.

You can also use beads and that's what Barbara is going to show us next month.  I'm really looking forward to that!

Great job, Barbara! Thank you so much!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


It is quilted and faced and measures 17" x 16 1/2".

Fractured II

I toyed with different quilting motifs and decided to just go with straight line quilting with white thread.  I tried not to quilt on the red lines, but just crossed them. From two feet away, you can't even see it.  I debated doing a cross grid, but for the same reason, I did not. I also debated binding it with red, but went with the facing instead.

Now on to the next project.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Finished Piecing

I think I did as much as I can do with the piecing.  Those few diagonal lines that I had put in at the very beginning made it difficult to put in any more lines.  Hitting an intersection that already had a diagonal crossing was very hard to avoid and those are murder to piece with these very narrow strips. I had thought that I would make this 12" square, but I hate to cut off any more that I have to, so it will be about 17" square.  Now I have to decide how to quilt it.  I don't think that my usual free motion quilting will do. It's just too busy, so I will probably quilt it in straight lines, maybe a grid.  Not sure what color thread to use, maybe white. I only have one narrow scrap to practice on.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

As much as I love Christmas decorations, once they are put away I need something to fill the void. When I saw these today in the supermarket, I knew they were just the thing to brighten up the family room. As an added bonus, the white stock and pink carnations have a delicious aroma that fill the room. The purple asters are just pretty with no discernible scent and I like this color combination.

Making Progress

I worked on this on and off all day yesterday and it's not finished.  As you can see I decided to go with the one great print and I think that was the right decision. I started with a piece that was about 22" x 20" and is it shrinking down a bit.  I plan to do a lot more red inserts, ala Kathy Loomis, who has done of whole series of these fine line piecing quilts that she calls "fault lines" or "crazed". Hers are huge and I don't know how she does it because even doing this little piece is very tedious.  But then I love to piece and often choose the tedious.   

The widest of the pieced inserts are 1/4"wide and others are 1/8".  I'm striving to keep them narrower.  I'll work on it some more tomorrow and will post the finished results.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Black and White Plus One

 My quilt guild's challenge this year is Black and White Plus One.  I know it's been done before and I was rather surprised when I found our what it was, but I wasn't on the committee, nor did I want to be.  Been there, done that, more than once. The rules are quite specific.  It must be pure black and white.  Your prints can't have gray or spots of another color.  Strictly black and white.  Your one color can have several shades if you wish.

This is due this month and I haven't even started.  My first thought was do do something similar to the two quilts below.  Use a lot of black and white prints, pieced together for the background and insert skinny strips of one bright color.  I'm thinking red.

8 1/2" x 11"   Made in Jane Davila's Art Quilt 101, several years ago,
as part of a Hens and Chicks series

"Fractured"  12" x 12"   Made for an Ugly Fabric challenge (the ugly fabric was that purple polka dot) and put in the SAQA auction where it sold.

So I got out all my black and white fabrics, excluding any that had grayed tones and laid them out on my table.

Looking from one end of the table.

And from the other end.

Then I separated them into categories.

Black backgrounds

White backgrounds.

Equal black and white.  Oops! Now I can see that the middle one in the bottom row
should be in the white background pile.

Or do I just want to use one gorgeous print and do no piecing, other than the skinny inserts.

I really love this one, but not sure if I have enough.

This one's pretty cool, too.
And then there's this one.
So now I have to make the decision.  Do I piece the background using random black and whites? Do I use all dark backgrounds or all white or do I gradate from dark to light, or use just one fabulous print?
Fortunately this does not have to be be big.  The maximum size is 80" perimeter and the minimum is 48".  I'm thinking of making it 12" square and then I can use it for next year's SAQA auction.

I have so many things to complete before I take my annual March vacation (Hawaii this year!) I should just lock myself in my studio.  I plan to be in all day tomorrow.  Let's see how much I accomplish.  Stay tuned.

I got to see my article Thursday night in the In Stitches E-Mag and I must say that it looked pretty good.  I'm in very good company wth some very interesting articles and art work.  I can't wait until I can have it for keeps on my new lap top.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


I was asked by my friend Jane Davila, a while ago to write an article for Quilting Arts In Stitches, an e-magazine of which she is editor. The article is about how I quilt my big quilts by dividing them into sections, quilting each section and then putting them together.  That's one of my quilts in the lower right hand corner of the cover, showing my article "Divide and Conquer" 

I'm sorry to say that I have not been able to read the magazine because my Mac at four years old is too ancient to download it.  Imagine that!  I know that I can upgrade, but I  plan to get a new laptop soon and in the meantime I will be able to read it on Jane's laptop at our next FANE meeting in January.

But hopefully you can download it by using this link for iPad users,  or this link for Mac users. or
this link for PC users.  If you do purchase it, please let me know what you think.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


I thought I would start out the new year by showing you some new work from my studio.  Every year our Woman's Club has an Arts and Crafts competition in February.  Last year there was a very poor showing, although there was some lovely work there, just not very much.  This year I am co-chair and I vowed to talk it up and get a bigger turnout this year, starting with myself. Last year I was just as guilty, exhibiting only one small quilt. This year I hope to have a few things to enter, starting with this purse made from an old felted sweater. I will enter it in the Recycled category.

Even the ribbon trim is recycled because I cut it off an old jacket.

I lined it with a pretty batik print in the same colors as the ribbon and put two pockets in.

The felting was fun to do.  I had purchased this lamb's wool/angora blend sweater at Good Will.  I put it in the washing machine with very hot water and a little dish detergent, then dried it in a hot dryer.  I did this three times and what was once a sweater that fit me turned into a very thick sweater that might fit a baby. It was very hard to sew through by hand.  To weave those ribbons through I had to use pliers to pull the needle.  I purchased and fleted six more sweaters (just got carried away) and have to decide how to use them.  I'm thinking of a Kindle cover and more purses.

I wish you all a very happy, healthy, prosperous and creative New Year!.