Friday, February 27, 2015

Progress

I finished the improv quilt for our family room, sewed the backing pieces together and then I pinned the top, cotton batting, and backing together. Hurrah for a finished top!

 I'm hand quilting it with white pearl cotton # 8. Hand quilting is quite relaxing and I find myself really enjoying the rhythm of my needle moving in and out of the quilt.

I made a spring postcard (okay, I'm early) to brighten someone's day using raw edge applique.


Our crocuses are putting on a lovely, cheerful show. Don't you just feel the cheeriness radiating off of these flowers?




















And some of our roses are waking up, which is like seeing good friends once again. I've been wandering around my flowerbeds, putting down compost, and just enjoying the sunshine. If it's too warm to ski at least there's hiking and gardening!




Here's hoping that you have time for fabric/fiber today,
Judy

Thursday, February 19, 2015

An Bland Oatmeal Quilt Transformed

Before I forget, I wanted to share with you the wonderful Valentine's postcard that Linda made for me during the swap that Sheila organized.

 Don't you just love the vintage looking flowers? Linda has a cool stamp that she uses on the back of her postcards.

And I thought that you'd like to see the Canadian stamp.

I forgot to take photos of the Valentine's postcards that I mailed out to Linda and to Sheila, but if you go on their blogs, you can see photos. I painted the background fabric using textile paints and then appliqued hearts over that, which was a lot of fun.

Okay, I know you're thinking, what the heck is an oatmeal quilt? This past week I started an improv quilt for my family room using a variety of fabrics from batiks to prints to solids. I pieced ten blocks, put them up on my studio wall and I realized that they reminded me of bland oatmeal because just about every fabric had the same value. You know what gloppy oatmeal looks like and you eat it because it's good for you, but it can be rather uninspiring by itself. 

I don't know about you, but when I'm stumped with a quilting/weaving project I either go for a long walk with my dogs or set out for a bike ride. And while I'm out enjoying the fresh air, I'm thinking about color/texture/design and how to solve the problem that I'm facing. It came to me about four blocks from my house that I needed to add more color and I needed to add different values for visual interest. So I started scrolling through the color wheel in my head while I'm walking home and I decided to add bright orange, acid green, sunny yellow, and plum. I fairly ran home to start quilting again-I cut up all of the previous blocks into smaller units and remade each one.

This is where I am so far and I can tell you it's much, much better :-)



It went from boring oatmeal to oatmeal with cranberries and orange zest. Okay, no more talk of food-I'm not starving, honest.

On the weaving side of things, I'm still playing with the long 8/2 cotton warp that I put on for weaving twill kitchen towels. This time I'm using a navy 8/2 cotton weft and the weave structure is crepe weave from A Handweaver's Pattern Book by Marguerite P. Davison.



The other day my husband and I were out hiking in the foothills with our two dogs and we noticed this bird's nest swinging in the breeze.

 I saw a few small mushrooms growing in amongst the sagebrush.

And an interesting erosion break in the hillside close to us.


Well, I'm off to create more improv blocks. It's a rough life, but I'll soldier on ;-)

Here's hoping that you have time for fabric/fiber today,
Judy

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Creative Time

My husband, Marshall, just finished carving a spoon out of Bradford pear wood. In the evenings, he sits and carves while I knit or hand stitch. The spoon has a lovely, smooth feel to it with an interesting grain pattern on the handle.


I decided to remake a Sunshine and Shadow quilt that I had originally made in 1988 while we were stationed in Southern California. The fabrics are various calico prints that were cotton and cotton/polyester blends (ick).

This is my 2015 version made with batiks and solid cotton fabrics. I'm hand quilting it now with pearl cotton thread size 8.

I got a huge thumbs up from my youngest son, Seb, who loved the bright colors. How cool is that?

The other day I was out hiking with my husband and two dogs. We were on one of our favorite trails where we can let Sam, our huge golden retriever, run off leash. 

 And boy, can he run and run. It was a sunny, warm day so it was just awesome being outside seeing the wonderful Idaho scenery.

We saw 20-30 mule deer and I was able to get a photo before they took off running.


Here's hoping that you have time for fabric/fiber today,
Judy

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Creative News From Our House

When my husband, Marshall, finds a spare moment in his busy schedule between work and going to school, he slips out to our garage where he's set up his shop. He loves working with wood and right now he's exploring turning on his lathe. He has stacks of wood-walnut, ash, cherry, maple-that he pulls a chunk from. I asked him how he decides what form each piece should take and he told me that he decides as he's working, so each item that he creates is unique.

This is a Bradford pear bowl turned from wood from a downed tree recovered a couple of blocks from our house.


This is another bowl turned from a Bradford pear tree, with a much different shape to it.


Okay, I hate to admit this, but I use this next to my sewing machine to store pins in when I don't want to use the bowl with a magnet. It seems rather like an unglorified use for a such a lovely bowl, but on the upside, I get to see it everyday while I'm sewing!

Marshall just gave away a wonderful walnut bowl with a unique shape, but it whizzed out of the house before I had a chance to take a photo of it. I did catch a photo of this stunning walnut plate, with the flowing grain lines and the special color changes.


This just went out of the house to be given as a special farewell gift for someone. The background fabric was handwoven by me using a wool boucle yarn that I dyed in various blues, from turquoise to deep blue, and purples ranging from lilac to plum.

What have I been working on? Thanks for asking! Recently I found out that a friend had lost her canine companion that had been her close buddy for years. I asked her husband, Don, to email me a photo of Zach, who was a gorgeous husky, so that I could make a memory quilt for Amy.

Well, I have to admit to feeling rather daunted as I had never tried anything like this before. So I broke the project down in small bites-first tracing the outline of Zach, then building the background piece, then tackling filling in the shadows and details with thread painting. A few dots of white paint in his eyes and he was done. What do you think?



We had a maple quilt hanger on hand that Marshall had made, so that will make it easy for the quilt to be hung where Amy and Don can see it. I hope that this quilt helps ease the sorrow just a bit. I know just how much you can miss your dog when they are no longer with you. Years ago we adopted a Sheltie while we were living in Okinawa, and he was with us until he was 15. He was an awesome dog and I still miss him years later.

I added a label on the back with dog bones on it which I knew would make Amy laugh. You see, each year at Christmas, she makes a batch of special dog bones and drops those off for my canine buddies. They love them!


Well, I've been inspired to tackle something new after finishing that project, so I'm starting a large landscape for my family room. I've never done one so large, 51 x 55 inches (130 x 140 cm), but I'm breaking it down piece by piece. I love quilting!!!!

Here's hoping that you have time for fabric/fiber today,
Judy