Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Thinking of Comfort Food or Comfort Quilting?

First off, I'd like to share with you two fall textile postcards that came in the mail. The first one is from Lin, who blogs at St Victor Quilts, and who created it using one half inch hexies. Yes, 1/2 inch hexies! She's one patient woman to hand sew those tiny hexies together.

The other fall postcard came as part of Sheila's postcard swap and it was sent by Selina, who blogs at Selina Quilts. It brought a smile to my face with the cheery bright orange fabrics  and the fun stitching.

Thanks so much for the lovely postcards!!

I came across a ball of handspun corriedale that I decided to dye using orange drink mix. I filled an old pickle jar half way with water, and then added vinegar along with four packages of orange drink mix. I didn't stir it once the yarn ball was in the jar and then I microwaved it to set the color. The result was a soft mottled look to the yarn which was just what I wanted.

The title of this post talks of comfort food and comfort quilting. Do you find yourself sometimes craving comfort food? There are times when a bowlful of homemade mac and cheese just hits the spot. I find that traditional quilting-with the steady process of precisely cutting out the pieces for each block and then seeing each block build slowly one by one-gives me the same feeling of eating that delicious homemade mac and cheese. Sometimes it just satisfies the creative urge like nothing else.

Twenty years ago I made a bow tie quilt using traditional methods with a plastic template, studiously cutting out each piece by hand and then hand quilting it using tiny stitches.

This past week I cut out the pieces for another bow tie quilt using a rotary cutter with the plan of making a small quilt, but I was having so much fun piecing these bow ties that I just kept making them! I used a variety of scraps and fabrics that I had on hand to make this. I had the blocks on the floor ready to sew together when Sweety, our little cat, came along and did a spin on them. Ugh. Back to the drawing board for placement....

This is the quilt with the border, and it really was comfort quilting to me.

I'm hand quilting it with *big* (hurrah!) stitches using perle cotton thread in variegating neutrals. One of the things that I love about quilting is the diversity-traditional, modern, art-and then the lines can blur between them depending on the vision of the person creating the quilt. What's not to love about having so many choices?? And from where I stand I think they all merit appreciation.

My family and I took our dual sport motorcycles out the other weekend, loading them on the trailer and driving across town to the foothills. We drove up Eighth Street which went from being in a country club neighborhood to dry foothills then on to the treeline with plenty of pine trees. It was a lovely day to be out with the sun shining but with just a hint of a bite to the air. We rode for hours just enjoying the Idaho views and spending time together as a family. I should have stopped more to take some scenic photos but I was having such a good time I just stopped once near the summit to look over the view of the valley below. I love Idaho!

There's a nip to the air in the mornings now, and I read where there was the first snowfall in the mountains. It's almost time to strap on the skis-oh, I can hardly wait....

Happy stitching,

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fun With Textile Postcards

Can you believe that it's Saturday already? Wow, where did this week go? A couple of weeks ago I signed up to participate in another fabric postcard swap sponsored by Sheila (thanks, Sheila!). This one had a fall theme which motivated me to start dreaming/thinking about what I wanted to create. It's funny how you can be out doing something mindless like pedaling a bike, and if you let your mind wander over color or design the ideas just start to flow.

I started with some sky fabric that I had previously painted using textile paints, then I added some brown batiks to the bottom and I was on my way. I had on hand some white fabric with black streaks that I thought would make great birch trees that I cut out and used a short zig-zag to sew down. Then I was stuck-how to do the leaves the way I wanted them to look? I thought about that one for days-more cycling-and then it came to me that I have a wonderful stash of wool and alpaca that would make the tops of the trees look just how I wanted them to. So I pulled off some Cormo wool and alpaca wool, added bits of cut up orange batik fabric and then sewed that down using monofilament thread. Ah, sweet success.

A couple of weeks ago I was playing with bright color strips, making a small quilt when I stopped to make a couple of postcards. One just flew over to England to visit Cathy who creates unique ceramic creations with quilters in mind.

I think that it would be fun to do a series of small quilts exploring this technique. I need to add that to the list on my whiteboard.

I realized the other day that the closet where I store fabric/vintage sheets for donation baby quilts was stuffed to overflowing. Hmmm. Well, I pulled out everything, sorted it by fabric type/color, and then neatly stacked it back in the closet. And I thought that I'd better sew more donation baby quilts to ease the pressure on those closet doors!

Aren't those large polka dots just fun??
My flower garden is putting on an awesome last show of the season and I thought that I'd share some photos with you. I so enjoy looking out my sewing room window and seeing the flowers.

If you want to learn a unique way of painting fabric, head over to
Egléa Senna's blog where she graciously shares how she creates her special fabric that she uses to make postcards. Thanks, Egléa, for taking the time to write that post!!

It's supposed to rain here all weekend, so I think that it's going to be a GREAT sewing/fiber weekend (plus football watching).
Happy sewing to you,


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Liberated Log Cabin Placemats

I was browsing in a local craft store the other day, looking at the jelly rolls of quilting fabric that they had for sale. I came across a jelly roll made up of bright and whimsical Moda prints called One For You, One For Me by Pat Sloan. They were just what I wanted for my colorful, liberated log cabin placemats! And they were on sale :-) The log cabin assembly was fast and fun and I threw in a few prints that I had on hand.

I hand quilted these using a large running stitch with perle cotton thread in bright colors. I love the texture that appears after a quilted piece is washed.

I made some cotton napkins to go with them from solid cotton fabrics that were cut into squares and then finished with a simple hem. The walnut napkin ring was created by my husband, Marshall, who turned it on his lathe.

That made me think of making some new potholders with the leftover scraps of fabric. I filled the center with one layer of Insul-Fleece and another of batting.

And I knit up some felted wool oven mitts which are so easy to make. I forgot to take photos of the mitts prior to felting, but they were huge. The yellow mitt had to be washed twice in my washing machine before I was happy with the thickness of the fabric, but the orange felted much faster. If you're felting something, don't forget to check on it, more often than not (please don't ask me why I know that ;-)

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

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Quilt Finishes

In the evenings I've been hand quilting my groovy grape quilt with bright yellow perle cotton thread and it's been so relaxing to be stitching once again. This will be hanging in my studio above my small looms:

I wanted to make my son, Seb, a new quilt for his bathroom and he had requested one in Boise State colors. I decided to go with a modern Dresden plate quilt which would give me a chance to play with improv piecing once again. I machine quilted this in a spiral pattern.

The other weekend my family and I headed to the mountains to have a picnic lunch and to do some motorcycle riding on the back roads. We decided to retrace the route up to the Thorn Creek Butte fire lookout, which was a blast on our dual sport motorcycles. The views were fantastic and it was just a perfect afternoon to be in the mountains having fun.

I have to admit after four hours of riding, I was so tired I could barely climb in my vehicle. I guess it must be from rolling through the sand and rocks, then climbing up some steep hills.
I'm off to sew some liberated log cabin placemats today.
Enjoy your day,

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Short Rant and Sewing Baby Quilts

I've been thinking of upgrading my sewing machine as I'm sewing on a 20 year old Bernina. I did some research on new Berninas and just about fell over. Oh, my gosh. When did sewing machine companies start asking $13,000 for their machines?? So I did some research online, and the funny thing is, those super expensive sewing machines get bad reviews for awful stitch quality, not just once, but over and over. So I went down a level to the 7 series and it's the same story. That's rather ironic don't you think given the steep price tag of the machines? And there are quite a few of the 8 series for sale on eBay-people trying hard to get most of their money back. What a heartache that would be! Anyhoo, that's my rant for the day ;-)

I've been sewing baby quilts to donate to the women's shelter in town. I love making baby quilts and these were created using large tumbler blocks and soft cotton flannel fabric.

I finished a small liberated medallion quilt for my studio in various purples, pinks, and just a touch of orange. I'm not sure what happened to the person who mainly worked with neutrals. If you find her, let me know!

Myrtle likes to follow me around the garden as I move from place to place. I'm thankful that she's too fat and slow to catch any of the birds that come to our feeders. Luckily she just yawns and stares at them.

Speaking of gardens, we have some flowers that are putting on a nice show. I thought that I'd share a few photos with you-
Don't you just love the vibrant colors?

I'm off to sew a liberated Dresden quilt for my son's bathroom in his college (Boise State) colors, bright blue and orange. They have their first football game this week. Yay, football is back!!

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