Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Blast From the Past

While looking for a quilt in my storage area I came across this quilt that I made in 2004. I don't work this way anymore, but I sure had fun making this one. I called it Roller Coaster. It won a second place in its division at our local guild show.

It was mostly paper pieced and fused. That checkered part was woven.  I remember quilting in Jeans thread because I wanted the quilting to stand out. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Shibori Do-over

I had made a shibori silk scarf awhile ago, just turquoise and white pole-wrapped, pretty, but not very interesting. Sorry that I didn't take a picture. I decided to overdye it and clamp it with big jar lids that I held in place with spring clamps. I over dyed it in sun yellow, hoping that the turquoise that was exposed would be lime green with the circles staying turquoise and white. Here is the result.

Again, pretty, but not quite what I expected. The circles were very blurry, which made me suspect that the spring clamps did not clamp down tight enough and allowed dye to seep in around the edges. It was also a much brighter green than I expected.

Sooooo, let's do it again.

This time I used metal can lids and clamped down very tightly with C-clamps and chopsticks tightened with rubber bands. I used Olive Green for the dye.

Much better, don't you think? I liked the sharp edges to the circles and the somewhat dulled down color of the green.

I'm not sure what caused the brown halos around part of the circles or the little pig tails, but I like it.

I want to do some more, now that I know the secret to sharper edges. I would like to get some acrylic shapes. Squares would be fun, too.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Sun # 11

For this month's challenge our group decided to have everyone use the same prompt......make something in the Impressionistic style. I knew right away that I wanted to use paint and Pointillism, using either a pencil eraser or a small brush for my dots. While it was fun to do using a small stiff stencil brush and I thought I liked it close up, when I put it on my design wall and saw it from a distance, I wasn't so sure.

So, I made one with just stitching, going round and round with a variegated thread, hoping for a shimmery effect.

 Still not sure if I liked it. Maybe the thread was too dark, so I proceeded to do a third, using a lighter
color variegated thread and a darker fabric for the background.

Hmph! Think I like the second one better. Also, even though I backed each stitched piece with a soak-away stabilizer, there was still some distortion.

So, what do you think? Do any of them bring Impressionism to mind? Have I completely mixed the mark?

I am linking up with Off the Wall Friday. Please go check it out.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Almost Wordless Wednesday

A few people have said that they missed my "Wordless Wednesdays" in which I would post a picture that I had taken of something pretty in nature or interesting at a museum or other things and no words. I don't know why I stopped but thought I would take it up again. This is not the time of the year to be taking good pictures outside, so I thought I would offer some things from my photo library or maybe some quilts that you may not have seen.
This first one is closeup of the beautiful bouquet of orchids sent to me by my son for my recent birthday. They really were that incredible color. After this words on Wednesdays.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Surface Design

One of the fiber groups of which I am a member puts on a special exhibit at the big annual guild show in the spring. The exhibits have always been three dimensional. We have made kimono shaped pieces on T-shaped wooden forms, hung totems from the ceiling, made 12" cubes covered in fabric, hung fiber falls from metal racks. This year we purchased heavy black poster boards 15" x 20". Jane, our fearless leader, cut two three inch slits on each side.
They are to be covered with surface design fabric on both sides and then they will be stacked together like a house of cards.
I finished my pieces this week. I started each with a piece of hand dyed, parfait dyed, or ice dyed fabric. Then I used stencils or rubbing plates and Shiva Paint Sticks.

This first one uses two different rubbing plates with gold and silver paint sticks.

This one uses one stencil that I moved around and changed the colors of the paint sticks.

This also uses one stencil moved around and different color paint sticks.

Here I used two different stencils, one with those big shapes that look somewhat like dried lotus blossoms and one with tiny circles.

It was hard to get just two of them to stack, but you get the idea. I think there are about 25 of the group participating, which would make 50 pieces, so it should be very interesting. At out last meeting we did a lot of brainstorming to come up with a name, the winner was Architextile.

I'll be sure to show you pictures from the show, but that's a long way off.

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Languishing Lilies

About 20 ago I saw this quilt in Quilter's Newsletter Magazine and fell in love with it. It was a paper pieced pattern for a queen sized bed, which I had in my former house, named Luscious Lilies. I now have a double bed in this house. It involved a LOT of piecing, 25 pieced blocks for the center, plus dead blocks with no piecing. A triple border, the inner one with a gazillion green half square triangles, a middle border with lots of pieced lilies and an outer border with a gazillion more of those little half square triangles. It took so long that I renamed it Languishing Lilies. Then I marked all the dead blocks, using a stencil with a #2 pencil (more on that later)

I hand basted it and proceeded to hand quilt it, which I used to be very good at. The background fabric is a white on white, which is basically paint on white and very difficult to hand quilt through. I only quilted four blocks. Then I had elbow surgery and could no longer hand quilt without a lot of pain. Maybe that's what put my elbow over the edge in the first place.

Sooooooo, it has been folded up on the top shelf of my studio closet. I couldn't send it out to be machine quilted because I had already basted it and had done some hand quilting. I didn't want to spend a fortune having someone finish the hand quilting.

Last Friday one of the members of my weekly group, FiberWorks, showed a large quilt top that she had pieced several years ago and now was going to finish and quilt on her Sweet Sixteen. A light bulb went off in my head. Why had I never thought of that? I have a Sweet Sixteen that I have used very little. It's like the little girl with a curl right in the middle of her forehead.....when she was good she was very, very good and when she was bad she was horrid. I have so much trouble with the machine with getting the tension right and not having the thread break. After a LOT of fiddling and watching videos, I finally got it going. It did not get tangled up in the hand basting, as I had feared and it looked pretty good.

I quilted and quilted and quilted.....on and off for most of the week.  Hooray!! I have finished the inner part of the quilt, the inner border and have started on the middle border. It is far from perfect and it will never go in a show, but I think it will look pretty on my bed with a little redecorating to have it fit in.

I have an extension table to the right of the machine and brought in another four foot folding table for the left to support all the weight of the quilt. Works perfectly. The great part of the Sweet Sixteen is having all that room in the harp. No need to roll up the quilt and throw it over your shoulder as you would with a regular home sewing machine. I just smooth out one block at a time and quilt.

As I said before, I had marked the quilting design with a #2 pencil, a little too dark and it shows, especially if I have strayed off the line. I am going to try to remove it with a formula I found.....3/4 cup of rubbing alcohol, a few drops of dishwashing detergent and 1/4 cup of water. If anyone knows of a better solution, please let me know.

Part of the borders. See what I mean about all those little half square triangles. I will quilt on it some more this week, but I also have a couple of other deadlines to meet.

How about  you? Have you resurrected a UFO recently?

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday. Please go see what some talented artists are up to.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Happy Birthday

to me!  Today is my birthday and I spent it with my sister and three other friends in NYC. The Russian Tea Room, a New York City institution, has been on my bucket list, so I can check that off. We went for brunch and I had borscht. Every restaurant we went to in Russia had their own version and this was different, too, but so delicious. It came with a pierogi and sour cream. For dessert I had their famous cherry cheese blintzes with vanilla ice cream, equally delish, accompanied by wine and cappuccino.

Mary, Claire, Me, Ruthie and Mickie

Part of their samovar collection.

After brunch we went right down the street to a Downton Abbey exhibit. We were all diehard fans and were so sorry to see it go. I did not miss one episode, thanks to DVR. It was so well done with talking holograms, room setups, lots of the clothes, those magnificent clothes, and little videos all over. The first floor was the kitchen and the help quarters, second floor was the "upstairs" and the third floor was all costumes. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I forgot to take any pictures and so I snapped this one on the way out in the lobby.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

More Stamping

I had so much fun stamping all those t-shirts that I made for the Woman's Club Conservation sale that I decided to make a shirt for myself, but not a t-shirt. I bought this very nice no-iron white cotton shirt on Amazon. I like the fitted style and the no-iron look, so very crisp. I used my favorite ginkgo stamp, four different ink pads and emphasized all the lines with permanent markers.

Be sure to click on the picture for a bigger view. I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Sunday Morning Sun #9

I know it's been awhile since I made a new sun, but the project was on hiatus over the holidays. For this one I drew the  card "use complementary colors". That was the easy part, choose two colors on opposite sides of the color wheel. When these two colors are combined, they cancel each other out and produce a gray. I chose purple and yellow. Now to do something with my sun that I haven't done before.

I made double faced rays and twirled them around before sewing them down by hand. There was quite a bit of pinning and unpinning before my final sew downs. I made this "girly" face to go with the wavy rays. The face was sewn with a free-motion satin stitch in a very narrow width. 

I sent pictures of my previous 8 suns to CBS Sunday Morning about 5 months ago. I hadn't heard back and was going to write when lo and behold I got a reply a couple of weeks ago. She said that she liked them and that they would be put in a file to be used in the future. So I will have to keep a close watch. I do watch the program if I am home and record it for when I am not. 

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Monday, January 22, 2018

After Christmas Bonus

I know that Amaryllis are usually considered Christmas flowers, but I usually like them after Christmas because then they aren't competing with all the other decorations for attention. I did have one this year that bloomed right around Christmas only because they were so inexpensive at Shoprite, already potted and ready to bloom.

A couple of weeks ago the store had them again. I bought one that had two stems about 6  inches high with big buds. It continued to grow, both stems at the same time. Right now I have eight fully opened flowers and another big bud to open. I have it on the end table in the family room where it really stands out against the off-white wall. It's about two feet tall.

I usually like yellow and pink flowers in the house after all that Christmas red, but I am happily enjoying this bonus.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Coiled Chicken Basket

This little chick was a big pain in the neck to make. I had written instructions that were very confusing so I borrowed my friend's chicken and used hers as a model.

                          Barbara used scraps of yellow, orange and tan. So cute!

I used four different prints of white and black. I made the tail shorter and fuller, making six loops instead of three. I also made the handle thicker and a little further back so that it was more balanced. 

I will be linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Coiled Fabric Baskets

Finally something new to show you. A member of my FiberWorks group gave a demo a few months ago on how to make fabric coiled baskets. I thought that it looked like fun, but somehow never got around to trying it until this week while stuck in the house with frigid weather and a blizzard.

They really are easy to do. I made this blue one first. Strips of fabric cut on the cross grain are wrapped around clothesline then sewn on the machine. If you go online you can find a lot of directions. There are different variations and you have to find what suits you best. For this one I wrapped a lot of clothesline while watching TV, using blue and yellow print scraps. I rarely use prints in my quilts anymore, but I have bins of them stored under the guest room bed.

The base of this one is eight inches wide and uses a straight side technique. It makes a pretty big basket, good for fruit or balls of yarn.

I made coiled handles separately and glued them on with acrylic medium. 

This one was made with a 3 1/2 inch base and I wound the fabric as I sewed so that I could get a striped effect. I changed thread color as I changed fabric. I tipped the bowl as I got to the top so that the edges turn in, sort of like pottery. This is narrower and taller than the blue one.

Here you can see the different fabrics I used. I sent away for a book from Amazon, which has some good directions. Next I want to try a square. My friend also made a very cute chicken that I am going to copy with some color variations.

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday. Please go see what some talented people are doing.