Saturday, June 25, 2022


 I have been dyeing my own fabric for at least twenty five years. I rarely use commercial fabric, altho I have a huge stash. Dyeing can be a bit of a crap shoot or very precise. Mine is usually the former. I can make a decent six way gradation using the zip lock bag method that I learned years ago in Adriene Buffiington's Hand Dyed Fabric Made Easy.

I have played around with snow dyeing and ice dying with some great results, but they are not very predictable. And thus my adventure this week. I am ready to put the binding on my big quilt and thought I would choose one of the blues in some of the squares, since I plan to hang it over the couch in my family room, mostly blue and white. I like the blue/green fabric that I had used on the back, but didn't have enough left and I really wanted it to be more blue with just a little green.

It would have been helpful if I had kept a record of what colors I had used. I have several different blues and the same with green. I held my little color swatches next to the quilt and thought I had picked the right ones. I wanted mainly blue with just a touch of green. 

While this is interesting and very pretty it is sooo not what I wanted. Where did all the purple come from? It must have been in the blue, which after all is ROYAL Blue. The dye crystals do separate when you dye this way, sprinkling dye powers over the ice that covers the fabric.

  I then just plain dyed a piece of a better blue( Bright Blue) but was quite solid and rather boring. (Sorry, no picures) so I ice dyed over it, using the same new blue.

Much better. I did not take the chance of adding green this time.

I do have some of this fabric left and I think I will piece it in here and there. 

I had another sympathy card to send this week. One of the bad things about aging is that we keep losing our friends or their husbands. I didn't have any sympathy cards left, so decided to use one of my water colors/pen and ink cards. I like sewing them onto blank colored cards. I plan to take more of these with different pen and ink drawings and water color additions.

Summer is really here this week, with temps in the 90's. I like walking in the morning when it is a lot cooler. Enjoy your summer wherever you are!

I'm linking up a little late with Off the Wall Friday.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Finished, almost

All three of the segments are now pieced together. When I pieced them together I used a quarter inch seam and then pressed them open. I then fused a 1 1/2 " strip of fabric to cover the seams. I probably should have taken a picture, but I didn't.  I did a fair amount of piecing for the backing, but I think it makes it more interesting (or is that a cop-out for not having one big piece.) 


I'm not sure what I'll use to bind it. Although I have plenty of fabric left, it is mostly green. I'm planning on hanging this over the couch in the family room, which is mostly blue and white. The quilt is 77" x 46". I will have to make a wide sleeve and buy a piece of board. I did this with the big quilt 50" x 50" that is hanging over the couch now. I had a carpenter cut it to size so that it was about an inch from each end. Then he put a big screw protruding from each end. Then he put 2 big screws in the wall so that the board could just sit on it. A very easy way to hang a big quilt. but there's no way that I could do it myself and be sure that it us perfectly level. I also try to avoid ladders in my advanced age. I will use a handyman.

It has been a nice June here, so far. In view of all the terrible weather going on in parts of the country, I feel very fortunate. I bought this beautiful Hibiscus and put it in a heavy blue pottery container. It will be treated as an annual here in CT because it would never survive the winter. But I will enjoy it all summer into the fall and the first frost. 

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Saturday, June 11, 2022


 A big thank you to my blog reader, Wanda, who told me about the Schmetz  Super Nonstick needles that are meant for sewing fabric that has adhesives. I found them on Amazon and they came the next day. 

Thank goodness....they work. No skipped stitches! 

It was a big mistake for me to wash the first panel, not only once, but twice. I think the washing made it stickier. My seams had originally been pressed open but the washing had them all scrunched together. It was a real chore to unstick them and press them open again. 

I have finished two panels and ,hope to get the third one finished this weekend. Then I can sew them all together. If I had know about these needles, I would have had the whole thing done and in one piece. Live and learn.

This carpet where I photographed the quilt is light beige, so the colors in the quilt are much lighter.

I did not want to do anymore spray basing on these panels, so I had to do safety pin basting. Fortunately the panel fit perfectly on my work table so I did not have to do it on the floor and my hands and knees. I taped the backing to the table to keep if from shifting while pinning. I did not close the safety pins until they were all in and could un-tape the backing. It worked out just fine. I took out the pins as I went along with the machine quilting.

I also had to make/remake new backings. Thankfully I had plenty of the blue/green ice dyed fabric. I'll show you the backs when I am finished with all the quilting.

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Friday, June 3, 2022

The best laid plans of mice and men

 often go astray. And they certainly did this week. Last week I showed you my whole quilt of embroidery squares ready to be quilted on my dining room table. My plan was to quilt a quarter inch away from each seam, using my walking foot. I started with my #1 Bernina and it was skipping stitches. NOT GOOD! So I brought the very heavy machine back upstairs to my studio and brought my very heavy #2 Bernina downstairs and SAME THING.....skipped stitches.

Went to Youtube to see if there was any help and the only suggestion was to use a new needle. Did that.....still skipping stitches. Tried stitching on other sample quilt sandwiches and it was fine. So I thought that perhaps it was because it was too heavy, even though I lifted it as I stitched to avoid drag. And even tho I had quilted other big quilts with no trouble.

Soooo I laboriously picked out the bad rows of quilting and then picked out stitches to make it into three smaller pieces, about 25" wide and 42" long. I had to cut the backing to fit the smaller sizes,  resprayed with the basting spray and went back to quilting. Argh*&%%$#$%^&. STILL skipping stitches.

Now please understand that I have been spray-basting for probably 30 years. All sizes and shapes of quilts and I have never had a problem. Basting used to be my least favorite part of the quilt making process.  I hated thread-basting and I hated pin-basting, so when spray-basting came along, I was first in line.

But I thought that that might be the problem. I had spray-basted my flannel to my fabric squares and then spray basting the backing to the sewn together squares.  Also I had never used flannel as a batting.

Sooooo, I laboriously again picked out the rows of machine quilting and, held my breath and put the one section and its backing in the washing machine....cold water, gentle cycle. I did not put it in the dryer, but hung it to dry over the shower curtain rod. No damage to the embroidery, but I thought it still felt ever so slightly tacky on the back, so put it in the machine again. It looks OK wet, but I have to let it dry again and see what happens. With me luck.

On a happier note, I just bought this beautiful book. I have missed having my little squares on which to embroider and I saw this book on Mary Corbett's website. One thing I really like is that the backgrounds are watercolored right onto the fabric. Her instructions are fabulous. She tells you everything you need for each project and one is prettier than the other. I can't wait to start one, but I have to deal with the aforementioned problem with my quilt.

I am linking up with Off the Wall Friday.