Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hope Springs Eternal

Every year Spring amazes me. How can it be that these branches that were bare and dead looking all winter are now busting forth with bits of color? It's a miracle of which I never tire.

Here's a quilt I made several years ago with the same name, Hope Springs Eternal. I had so much fun making this using some of my hand dyes, commercial fabrics and paper piecing. All pictures are clickable for a bigger view.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dyeing and a Correction

I dyed some fabric last night and washed and ironed it today. These dye powders (Procion Mx) are several years old so I was delighted to get such rich colors and nice mottling. These will be used in the quilt I started last Wednesday. I wasn't thrilled with the way it was turning out, so I am going about it in a different way. I had used up quite a bit of fabric and needed to dye some more.

This green is just yummy in person. It's one I dyed a few years ago. I had dyed it blue then over-dyed it with Strong Orange attempting to get a rust color. While it was wet and went into the washing machine, it was a deep rusty brown. Imagine my surprise when I pulled it out of the wash and saw this. It wasn't what I wanted, but was so gorgeous that I knew it would be perfect for something. And it is! It's just the right shade of green that I need for this project. This is just a section of the yard piece. It has a lot of variation throughout.

There was an article in Quilting Arts magazine about using Oil of Olay cleansing cloths in a quilt. Well, I've been using them to wash my face at night for many years. It always seemed a shame to throw them away since they are so sturdy, but they are pretty crummy looking after using. They remove every bit of makeup, including waterproof mascara (I need all the help I can get). I thought I would give them another try and I put them in my blue dyes after giving them a wash and you can't see the stains at all. I'll think of something to do with them and definitely will save them from now on. The orange piece is a dye grabber sheet, put in the wash load with the Golden Yellow batch of fabrics. It is also very sturdy and has a nice leathery texture, which doesn't show in the photo.

And last , but not least, is my portrait from the last post with a slight correction . Vivien left a comment , saying that the left side of his face (facing you) looked fatter than the photo and she was right. I used a Prismacolor pencil that matched the fabric perfectly and that quarter of an inch really helped, I think. Thanks, Vivien! Now I have to quilt it before Easter when I'll give it to my niece.

Now off to cutting strips of those blues and yellows and greens. Wish me luck. I hope this one is a success.

Friday, March 26, 2010

New Portrait

The past two weeks have been ones of false starts and disappointing results. I have made three attempts to make a portrait of my darling great, great nephew. He is the cutest little boy and I had wonderful pictures with which to work, but making a portrait was not easy. The first two attempts I wouldn't even show here and I was not thrilled with this one either, although it's much better than the first two. Since it is only 8" square, I decided to put a border on it.

I also started a small quilt using photos printed onto fabric. What I thought was going to be fabulous is just terrible. Stash that one in the circular file! Then I started another venture on Wednesday. Although my original premise is not working, I still have high hopes for it. It involves dyeing some more fabric today, since I used up so much on the false start.

I have a quote posted in my studio that I think is perfect for this situation:
"Art is the appearance of effortlessness and the perfectly right choices. What is hidden are the sloppy paint cans, the crumpled pages on the floor, the canceled ideas and promises."
I don't know who the author is, but I can soooo relate to it right now. How about you? Have you had periods like this?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sunshine Award

I was delighted to receive this from fellow blogger, Carole Grant, for positive and creative blogging. I was very flattered and honored. I often wonder if anyone is actually reading this blog, so it's nice to know that I'm appreciated. Carole is, what I call, one of my blog buddies. Although we've never met, I feel like I know her from our blog interaction.
So thank you, Carole and all my other blog followers. I hope I can bring some sunshine into your day.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

First Day of Spring

We've had some glorious spring weather for the past few days, cold in the morning and up to the high 60's or low 70's during the day and very sunny with little wind. Perfect! Today is the first official day of Spring and I celebrated by planting pansies. Here in CT I know it will get cold again with frost and possibly (Heaven forbid!) snow, but the pansies are so hardy that they will survive.
I have a big pot on my front sidewalk that I always plant with summer annuals, then put in the garage for the winter. This year I decided to keep it out all winter since it is so heavy and hard to maneuver. I put evergreens in it with some with painted branches and it looked very nice all winter. But it didn't look good empty, thus the pansies. They will get very leggy by June and I will replace them with summer plants.

This blue painted terracotta pot is on my front porch. My stone bunny was glad to get out of the garage and back where he belongs.

Don't you just love these pinky lavender faces? My mother was very fond of pansies and I always think of her when I see them

I had my quilt group here yesterday, just two days after St. Patrick's day so I took advantage of the color scheme. This glass basket was my grandmother's and it is just perfect for tulips, which I buy nearly every week when they are in the grocery store. I made Irish soda bread and served Dubliner cheese, a wonderful sharp cheddar, sliced kiwi, green grapes, and lots of fresh berries and my new love, Mango. Yum. I used white dishes to break up all the green in the tablecloth and a couple of green serving dishes and green napkins. I should have photographed the table before I cleared it.

A dear friend gave me this little blue Japanese style flower container (made in Maine), which has a built in frog (pin needle flower holder). You only need two or three flowers and a few twigs to make a simple arrangement.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Quilted and Bound

Here's my Recapitulation quilted and bound. I decided to quilt it mostly in straight line stitching, some free motion , some using the walking foot. I left the little strips unquilted so that they would pop out. I also bound this one, instead of facing as I usually do. I thought that the mottled mid gray that I chose was innocuous enough that it didn't interfere with the quilt.


Sunday, March 14, 2010


Finally, I have something new to show. Not that I haven't been working, but they are things that I don't want to publish yet, since some shows have that stipulation. This little piece is for a show at the Mahopac Library this June, put on by a fiber group I belong to, FANE (Fiber Artists of the North East). The pieces will each be mounted on 18" white canvases, as they were in our last show and can be no bigger than 14" on each side.

If it looks familiar, it's because it's a smaller version of one of the quilts I made for the Gray Pus One show, No Elephants Here. I so wanted to add bits of red to that quilt but was constrained by the rules, which said "gray plus only ONE other color." It was difficult to work this small. The original was 18" x 24" and this one is only 13" square. All those strips are about a quarter of an inch wide with the tiny inserts even smaller. I haven't decided how to quilt it. I can't do what I did with the first one, so I will think about it for a few days and post it when it's done.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Photos from Kent Show

Rather than posting all the pictures here, I will direct you to the Fiber Revolution site. When you get to our home page, please go the the News section and click on the first item. Please take a peek and if you are in the area, please stop in and see the show.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fiber Revolution in Kent

Yesterday was the opening of our Fiber Revolution show in Kent, CT. The original opening was scheduled for last Saturday, on which CT was recovering from a big snow storm. It was moved to yesterday, which couldn't have been a better day, warm and sunny and a good day for folks to get out and around. Kent is a lovely little CT town with several galleries, boutiques and restaurants. Lots of people were walking around town, a good thing for the opening, and we had good attendance. The show will be up until April 11, so if you are in the vicinity, please stop in.