Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Friday, September 20, 2013

Flower Garden Quilt Finished

As promised last week, here is the finished quilt.  I ice-dyed several fabrics before I decided on this one as the best backdrop for my little flower garden quilts. The overall quilt is 30" x 30".  The background was quilted in a loose allover meander and the little quilts are machine sewn down. To see pictures of the little quilt up close, go here and here.

Also as promised here is the antique quilt that inspired it. It is very old, I think from the 1700's and the oldest quilt in the museum's collection. I am amused by the one flower that is blue and white and yellow, as opposed to the rest of them that are pink and red and green. I'm guessing that it was a group quilt and the maker of that block either didn't get the correct directions or she didn't have the correct colors in her stash.  Did women have stashes in those days? Or maybe it was made by one person and she ran out of fabric or just wanted to add an element of surprise.

My quilt will be part of an exhibit at the Windsor Textile and History Museum in Windsor, CT.   The show, titled "Then and Now" will feature twelve invited fiber artists, each making a contemporary quilt inspired by an antique quilt.  These quilts are not due until January and I'm not sure what dates the show will be, but I will certainly post about it closer to the date. I just have lot going on in my life between now and then and I wanted to get it out of the way. Actually, don't expect to see any more sewing from me for awhile for various and sundry reasons.

I titled my quilt "Snapshots from the Garden" and have linked up again with "Off the Wall Friday". Please go over and see what everyone else is up to. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Three Times the Charm

Now that all the little quiltlets are finished for my flower garden quilt, I have to quilt the background, which will be about 30" square.  In the original ice-dyeing session I made this fabric that I thought would be the perfect setting, but I had two half yard pieces that would have to be pieced.  Not that that would be too horrible, but I wanted it to be one piece.

 I had kept some notes and I knew that this piece had been been made by first ice-dyeing it in Wine and then over-ice-dyeing it in Olive and Lemon/Lime.

So I thought I would ice-dye a yard using those three colors all at once, and this is what I got, too muddy, too dark.  Rats!

So I went back and dyed another yard, first in Wine, then washed it and ice-dyed it again in Olive and Lemon/Lime.  The colors were better, but I still thought it was too dark.

One last time!  I did it in Wine first, washed it and did it a second time with the greens, but this time around I was much more stingy with the dye powders and, Voila!, it worked.  I am very happy with this piece.  Although it is "busier" than the original, it has the same amount of darkness and I think it will be a perfect foil for all those little impressionistic looking quilts. I will try to get it quilted in the next couple of days and then I can add the little quilts. All of these pieces are one yard and have been folded in half, so I have plenty to work with.

Then I did a piece trying to replicate the fabric that gave me the flower garden look. I used Wine, Grass Green, Sun Yellow, and Amethyst, and used the dyes very sparingly on one yard of white fabric, which is shown in full here.  I wanted to have a lot of white spaces, as I did in the first one.  I thought the results were satisfactory.  I don't think there are quite as many gardens as the first one and you have to use your imagination, perhaps turn it upside down or sideways, but there are enough to make some postcards,  or perhaps even another quilt. I might try this again, maybe putting in more purple or a little blue.  What do you think?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Flower Garden part 2 and Exciting News

I've finished the last two little quiltlets that I showed you last Friday. This time I took before pictures.

Here is a before.  As you can see the designs are very indistinct.  This one may have been one of the "fuzziest".

And after the stitching.  You may notice that I've done a lot of tulips because they were easy to stitch and many of the shapes suggested tulips. It measures about 6" x 15"

Another before with some of the brightest colors in the batch.When I stitched those tulips I had to use an even darker pink than before.

 The after with some more tulips and some "Norma" flowers.  This one is 11" x 12.5".

I finished the edges with a machine buttonhole stitch in light green.  These little pieces had no backing, just batting, and the edges weren't stiff enough to sew without tunneling.  I tried putting tracing paper behind but then when I tore it out it pulled at the stitches and left little whiskers  My solution was to brush two coatings of Acrylic medium around the edges. It dried clear and is not noticeable and made the edges stiff enough for the stitching.

Be sure to click on any picture for a bigger view of all.  I am planning to finish the whole quilt this weekend and will show it next Friday.  I hope!  I've linked up again with Off the Wall Friday.  Go over and see what everyone is up to.

And now for my exciting news.  I got an email on Wednesday that one of my quilts, Brown Planet, a Collaboration, that was juried into the IQA show in Houston is a winner!  They don't tell you what prize you won because they want you to be at the Winners Circle Ceremony on Tuesday night when the winners are announced.  I was planning on going on Wednesday, but I was able to change my airline tickets and get an extra night at the hotel so that I can be there Tuesday night for the ceremony.
I am very excited and will be happy to share my prize with Kathy Loomis who designed the quilt.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Country Chic

That's the term that my niece used to describe what her son's wedding would be, an outdoor wedding on the bride's grandparent's farm in New Hampshire. This was last weekend and the term was so appropriate.  Weather-wise it was a spectacular, warm and sunny with no humidity.  We were so lucky because the previous weekend was hot and oppressively humid and two days after the wedding it was miserable and rainy.

This was an antique door found in the barn on the property, where the seating list was posted.

Another treasure from the barn, this antique bird cage where guests could put their envelopes.

The theme for the wedding started with the invitations with the tan craft-paper envelopes that were lined with navy-blue and white stripes and addressed in navy blue calligraphy.  That blue and white striped theme was throughout out the wedding.   The round tables had navy floor length cloths, topped with burlap cloths with blue and white dishtowels at each place setting.  The flowers in the center of each table were arranged in assorted antique bottles and jugs. The flowers were blue hydrangeas, coral roses, white baby's breath and coral zinnias. Each table arrangement was slightly different.

The tent was huge, with a wooden dance floor, a live band and a bar at either end. The music was great and we danced and danced.

The head table was made up of rustic wooden tables draped again with those dish towels and flowers marching down the middle.

Here is Courtney, the beautiful bride.  She had that ear-to ear-smile all day and gave a new meaning to the word radiant. The gorgeous gown had a train that is tucked up here.  She also had a lovely veil that she wore for the ceremony.

Ally, the groom's sister, was one of the bridesmaids. I loved the dresses, which the girls could certainly wear again, being polished cotton and so cute.  They all wore tan wedgies, perfect for walking in the grass.

It was a Jewish wedding and the couple was married under a chuppah,  It was made by the groom and his father out of birch trees found on the property.  The mother of the groom made the lace topping and it was gathered in the corners with big bouquets of hydrangeas.

It was a wonderful wedding, one that will last in everyone's memory for a long, long time.

Monday, September 9, 2013

SAQA Auction

Today is the first day of the SAQA silent auction and this is my offering this year. I am on page 1a which along with page 1b will be open for bidding starting at 2PM EST today, Monday, Sept. 9.
You can go to the SAQA page here to see the other quilts, all of which are 12" square, and see how the auction works. On the first day, the bids start at $750 each and the price goes down each day, until the lowest price of $75.  You can take your chances of having the quilt you love be snapped up by someone else or go big on one of the first days.  There are so many beautiful quilts this year. Be sure to pop on over and browse through the gallery.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Flower Garden Quilt

Back in May my FiberWorks group had an ice dyeing session.  Some of my pieces in one batch looked like little flower gardens.  I always thought that I would do something with them and do some stitching to emphasize the flower look. You can see a couple of photos here.  Then came an invitation to be part of a group of twelve who would use antique quilts to inspire  contemporary quilts at the Windsor Textile and History Museum at an exhibit called Then and Now. My assigned quilt is a very old peony quilt with pink and red flowers appliqu├ęd against a white background. My first thought was to use those ice dyed pieces and that's what I worked on over the Labor Day holiday.

I'll show you more later, including that antique quilt, but for now I have five of the seven pieces finished. Each one is a little quiltlet ranging in size from six inches square to about 7" x 21". They will be attached to a 30" square quilted background to form a collage of sorts and more about that later, too.

I wish I had taken pictures of pieces before stitching, but I forgot.  I did take before pictures of the two I have left and I will show them when they're finished. I experimented on a scrap and tried different methods of stitching. First I matched the thread to the fabric and that was a big nothing.  You could hardly see where I had stitched.  Then I tried outlining in charcoal gray----interesting, but not the soft look I wanted.  I finally settled on using a much darker version of each color, dark pink on pale pink, orange on yellow, purple on lavender and a variegated green for all the leaves. I liked the effect.  I wasn't trying for realism, but just making doodle flowers to match the shapes made by the dye. I filled in each background with echo quilting in cream colored thread.

I've quilted them using just cotton batting, no backing.  Each small quilt will be buttonhole stitched around the edge with light green thread. I don't want them to have too much bulk since they will be attached to a quilted background.

I've linked up again with Off The Wall Friday.  Go see what some talented people are doing.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sunday, September 1, 2013


Alright, I admit it.  I m a sucker for sunflowers! As soon as the grocery stores have them out early in the summer I buy a bunch weekly to put on my kitchen table. I cut the stems very short and put them in a chunky vase with just the heads peeking out.  They are like a ray of sunshine in the room.

Last week I went to a local nursery/farm stand and they had a wide variety to choose from.  I fell for these shaggy petaled ones.  At the grocery store you get five flowers to a bunch and I always look for the biggest heads.  At the farm stand there were four to a bunch, but there were several buds included which proceeded to open through out the week, a real bonus.

In my previous home I had a lot of garden space and a large vegetable/cutting garden and I grew them there successfully.  In my current home I have limited garden space so I tried to grow them in a big pot outside of the deck. I was moderately successful.

Thanks for stopping by.  May you have a sunny sunflowery day!