Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cloth Shop, Take Two

Back home at last:  Here are the finds from The Cloth Shop that I was unable to share on Wednesday:
This little package did not have any identification on it,  There was a quilt and a full quilt kit available, I think it was called Marrakesh... but I can't find any references to it anywhere.  Each piece is only "8 x 20", but each has a different gold pattern on it.  I have no idea what I'll do with it.  The quilt in the shop was a simple pattern of randomly arranged 2" wide strips.  It probably will be best appreciated in a simple pattern.  

These pieces were bought with Katie's place mats in mind.  Of course when I talked to her, I suggested lime green with yellow white and gray accents.  I had a modern patterned fabric with those colors in my head, but this particular shop didn't have anything.  This reminds me, it's 25% off weekend at my two favorite shops, I'd better go look there! 

These two sweeties, are me being restrained, and only selecting two of at least 12 beautiful William Morris Fabrics displayed together with this book:
William Morris in Applique: Six Stunning Projects and Over Forty Individual Designs
SOOOOO tempted to buy it, but I didn't.  I need some good basic applique practice first!  I also picked up a couple nice batiks and these fun crazy buttons.

Sorry for the bad phone photos.  I'll redo them if I have time.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Cloth Shop

Why can't I get a keyboard to show up on Android? I have persevered in my determination to create a blog post from a mobile device. Unfortunately, the photos I wanted to post were taken on my Android "smart" phone, and it was not able to give me a keyboard to type a post on. So I had to email them to myself, then download them to the iPod, which does have a keyboard. But it also has a warning about not being supported. We shall see about that!

What I set out to announce is that I have discovered that they have fabric shops in Canada! Who'd a thunk? Nothing spectacular, but The Cloth Shop had a nice variety, some new stuff I had not seen before. I'd love to show you but I still can't upload the photos. I admit defeat. Good night!

FFFC comments

I have only had two comments on my Ephemeral Landscape, and I don't think anyone really "got it." Although there are a number of people who don't read until they have finished their own pieces, and the pieces are not due until Saturday morning. We were challenged to look at the work of Andy Goldsworthy, much of which is ephemeral, in that it is done out in "nature" and only lasts as long as the water, wind, rain or passersby allow it to.  That was my intent, to create something from natural materials, that obviously wouldn't last forever, so that the completing and posting of it was the end result.  But both comments encouraged me to try preserving natural materials.  I wouldn't mind trying that approach.  But I guess either I didn't explain my intent well, or taking the challenge literally was not really appropriate... or art quilters just aren't into "performance art."  Oh well.  I found it fun and exciting, which is good enough for me.   

Here's how it's looking now.

I wonder at times if I should be trying to be more about what I perceive as current and trendy in art quilting now instead of whatever I feel like doing.  It's not that I can't see what the "in crowd" is doing, just that I don't really want to follow someone else's muse.

I'm heading out of town this afternoon for three days at the Living Futures conference in Vancouver.  So no quilting/blogging.  But I will be back for the weekend, hoping to have some time for fun then.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Invasion of UFO's

Alert readers (yeah, right!) will note that the UFO list has grown rather dramatically of late.  There are a couple reasons for this.  I've added some projects just so I don't forget them entirely, like the 15-minute play fabric, or Katie's stuff that I promised her last week.  I've also added the "finishing" some some items that were formerly declared finished already.  The were done enough to meet the deadline, but not as done as I intended them to be.   There are also some ongoing things that either don't have a real "finish" date, or that I don't have control over.

My reason for sticking them on the list, is so that they will all be there, conveniently available whenever I'm in that all-to-frequent "don't know what to work on now" mood.  So it's not so much pressure as it is reminder.....   Right?

In other news, I'm officially totally sick of all the announcements about who got in to Sacred Threads.  Am I the ONLY one that DIDN'T get in?  I know, I know, I'm really new at this, and these are famous art quilters... it just would have been a little ego boost  - it's such a little piece, couldn't they find a corner somewhere??

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bouncing Around

I couldn't seem to make up  my mind what I wanted to work on today.  I spent the morning cleaning upstairs, and got a whole lot of crap out of my library/office/dumping ground.  It almost looks as though it could be used for a small art studio now.  Of course the crap is now in the living room instead, but that's only because it's on the way to the used bookstore, resale shop, or Goodwill.  

Then I promised myself the afternoon free to quilt.  But what??   Straightening up piles of fabric, I found a quilt block pattern that I had agreed to make for the "President's Quilt."  She loves thirties/retro fabric (which seems pretty common.  Why is it of all the eras of quilt-making everyone seems focused on either Civil War or Thirties?  But I digress.) 

 So I made the block.  I hope this is 30's enough.  I'm not sure where this came from, but the only other 30's I have is what I used for the last (only) friendship block I made - coincidentally, for the same person. 

Then I decided to tear into the striped shirts.  I cut one sleeve off the least attractive one, and cut out a six and a half inch square, then cut the square into quarter-square triangles.  I discovered that you can't make a nice square block out of one block, you need two, cut exactly the same place in the pattern repeat.  I prefer to just try things and see if they work, rather than actually thinking sometimes.  

Craftsmanship is not my strong point.  This was a really stretchy loosely woven cotton, so I'm surprised the didn't turn out worse, actually.  I still don't know where this is going - pillows, quilt, art...  ?

Next I decided to pull apart the City Hall quilt and "finish" it properly.  I did some free motion quilting on the sky, which turned out okay, then got bogged down in trying to quilt the stone pattern... four stitches, stop, raise foot, rotate, four stitches, stop, raise foot, rotate.   Blocks are boring!  Right in the middle of all that, I decided, if I'm going to do  FFFC challenge #56 I have to do it NOW.  So I did.  

The challenge was to study the work of Andy Goldsworthy.  Many of the works he does are made out of leaves, branches, rocks, flowers... some of them last only as long as the wind doesn't blow...  So I decided that I would use natural materials in a quilt.  I wandered out into the yard to see what was there, and first went for some fuzzy stachys (lamb's ears), and then beside them, some copper fennel, a complete color contrast.  Moved on to the front yard where grape hyacinth is in full swing.  So I grabbed a handful of each and went back to the sewing machine.  Suddenly there was a huge sense of urgency to execute and photograph a piece before the plants wilted or disintegrated.  Must be just how Goldsworthy felt when his leaves were swirling around in the water.   Before I'd even gotten back to the work area I knew the two fabrics I wanted to use.  (Because I've been re-folding and fondling all my fabrics they were fresh in my mind).

Here are some process shots:
So far so good...

Getting the whole assembly under the machine without breaking stems became problematic at this point.

The final row went on with the help of the extension table, and  my biggest ruler

Turning it over to trim the stems was a mistake!
The process was a lot of fun, anyway.  The limited time frame made me work harder.  (I seem to work best with deadlines hovering).    The difficulty of working with the plants distracted me from being able to think about the composition - In my mind there was more space between the plants, and a more rhythmic or patterned layout. (This was another element of the challenge).  So here's the final result:

I like the color and materials, I'm really pleased with the way the branch-y motif in the dark fabric echoes the featheryness of the fennel, and the beige/green colors of the spotted batik really echo the stachys.  I didn't notice until I looked at the photograph, that there is a deep purple element in the brown fabric.  Serendipity.

If I were to do it again, I'd use only a few plants and feature the fabric more. But it was fun.  Outside the box, for sure!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I Must be a Real Artist Now...

... I received my first rejection letter.   Not unexpected, but disappointing, nonetheless.  At least it was somewhat personalized.  
Dear Sharon,   
We know you are waiting for information about Sacred Threads.  We are gratified by the 
numbers of entries received for Sacred Thread’s initial showing in the DC Metro Area.  
A greater number of quilts were entered this year than were ever received before.  
This rally of support for the exhibit convinces us that the show continues to 
fill a need in the quilting community for a safe venue for our most sacred pieces.
We are saddened that we will be able to exhibit only a percentage of those quilts 
entered into the exhibit.  Each of the quilts has its poignant message and many 
brought tears to our eyes.  Your quilt, Cloister , was not selected by our jurors 
for the upcoming exhibit.  Please don’t be discouraged. We found that it was a 
difficult task to choose pieces that worked together, balanced the themes, and 
fit in the incredibly limited space.

Lots of other bloggers are posting about their acceptance, and I see some well known names, so I'm sure that the competition was stiff.

In other news I think I'm over the lethargy.  I think my mental health was somewhat screwed up as result of my physical health problems.  I've been trying to reduce the dose of one of my medications, but it seems every time I do, problems flare up.  Oh well.  I'm better today.  I spent eight hours out in the yard, weeding and chopping up shrubs that we pulled out.  I got rid of several overgrown messes, that should have been pulled out years ago.   

Friday, April 22, 2011


I've been in a funk for the past week or so. I'm bored at work, but not really excited about any quilting projects either.  I can't seem to get motivated by any of my existing projects, or even to start new ones.  Now THAT's bad! I'm even bored with browsing blogs.   I am still ruminating on the stripes/pillow covers.  Do I want to make a quilt with stripes or an art quilt, or throw pillows?  Or all of the above? Or none?

I guess I just need to go with the flow, get caught up on sleep, and see what comes up.
There's a FFFC challenge out today, but since I'll be gone three days next week, I'm not sure if I should bother attempting it.

 I did take a two-session class on Photoshop Elements this week, Monday and Wednesday.  That was really good, and informative.  The program is not very intuitive, at least I didn't think so.  I used to be able to just pick up a piece of software and run with it, but I guess I'm old or something, I seem to just get stuck.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Stripes and Inspirations

Here is the post I mentioned last night, from Quilt Inspiration:   
Quilt Inspiration: Waste not, want not... how to make a mitered pillow from a man's shirt.

I'm excited to try it, but I also want to hoard the shirts for whatever this stripes project becomes.  This morning, just as I was scooping up dog food into Milo's bowl, an inspriration struck me.  Why then?  Who knows.  The inspiration was "Stars and Stripes."  That sounds like some sort of 4th of July quilt, and who knows, it might be, but I'm not into Red White and Blue.  (My bedroom was completely decorated in that theme in 1976 when, thanks to the Bicentennial Frenzy it was everywhere).  
Anyway, back to the inspiration - I'd been thinking about and looking at all the fun wonky stars showing up on 15 Minutes Play...  like the site logo...  so why not put together some stripes in the 1/4 square way, and some stars, in the wonky way, and combine them into a quilt?  

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I think I mentioned that I've become a bit obsessed with stripes, lately. But I didn't post the evidence.  Here is my current stash of stripes.  A couple of them were already in the stash, but most of these were purchased on my trip to Seattle.  Aren't they luscious?

I had a few spare minutes this morning while in the vicinity of the Salvation Army store so I just had to pop in and browse.  I was thinking of a blog post I saw a few days ago (I'll have to search out the link later) about making a pillow cover from a men's striped shirt.  I didn't intend to make pillow covers, but might change my mind now....  Here are my finds.  20 minutes and $22.50 for seven shirts and a flowered sheet!  (I also promise to work on editing the photos to be more color correct).  Take my word for it that the four purples actually look wonderful together and with the sheet.  So I may or may not use them for the other stripe project, I might just make a big bunch of pillows.  

The pink and the aqua certainly belong in The Stripe Project, whatever that turns out to be.  The machine embroidered white thing - was just "why not?"  I can see pieces of it in something cute with the pink stripe.  

I hope tonight I can find those links again!

More Bumbling Yesterday

 I got a bit of work done yesterday on the improv. playing over at 15 Minutes Play.   I won't repost, but here are a few photos...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday morning

The sun came out on Sunday, so gardening and dog walking took priority over sewing.  I'd planned to get at it after dinner, but the motivation was just not there.  I'm realizing it's good to have some busy-work no-brainer tasks set aside for days and times like that.  So I cut out the applique piece for the DJ block.  after doing so, I understood why I should have made the freezer paper template the size of the finished piece, not the piece-plus-hem.  Then the extra edges could have been folded over onto the template.   Oh well.  This simple shape should be ok as it is.   

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bumbling Around.

My "made" fabric, so far.
Since Victoria from Bumble Beans was kind enough to let me join the 15-minutes Play site, I've been feeling a little guilty that I had no time to play.  Guilt is a good motivator.  Friday at noon I came home and engaged in some scrap therapy, making fabric from the bits and pieces in the scrap bin.   Here's what I came up with....  not bad for 45 minutes or so.

So I'm about to get off the computer and onto the sewing machine.  But I'm not sure if I'm working on the scrap therapy, or maybe my latest Dear Jane Block, D-3.  I have been working on making a pattern and printing it onto freezer paper, I think I've got that taken care of now:

so I could get the pieces cut out, and ready to applique later tonight.  This will be my first attempt at needle turn applique, and I'm not very skilled at handwork, to put it mildly, but hey, I've done and learned a LOT of things I never thought I would or could this year, so why not this?

But then I'm dying to jump in and make a Big Little George in the quilt along on Lily's Quilts.  It looked like a fun and scrappy idea, but I have not been able to start, and now the tutorial is done... maybe I can still play, if I start today!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

...and Trois

I finally finished my DJ block, but it took a lot longer than I expected.  Lots of very careful sewing and aligning and measuring.  Probably because I didn't use a template or pattern, just measured from the book as I went.  I could never have done it without my new best friend, the Pilot Frixion.  Supposedly it erases from paper with a regular eraser, but for a quilter the handy thing is that it disappears from fabric when ironed.  So you can draw whatever construction lines and guides you want right on the face of your fabric.

I had a few other lessons to learn, as well.  Like don't try to cut the pieces to the exact size you need, overcut, then trim down the seams once you have the thing assembled.  I'm sure this is all wrong according to the experts, but hey, go ahead, send the quilt police after me, I don't care!

I ripped out several seams before figuring out methods of aligning things that worked for me.  Here's the result (although the color's off, it's really a nice teal):

I'm still drawing a complete blank on the Round Robin.  The piece I received has no suggested theme, and the only direction is no hot glue or paper-type items.  It's an interesting dyed fabric with colors from coral to pale yellow.  And three diagonal tucks.   The tucks sort of remind me of striated rock like you see in Utah and Arizona...    or here.

Good thing I have until the June meeting to figure out what to do.  I don't want to make up a theme that others are forced to live with, but without a concept of some sort it's just a bunch of ornaments on a piece of fabric...  sigh.

Wednesday Part Deux

I didn't get the block done at lunch.   I had to run errands, and buy a new notebook for quilting info!  I got about 30 minutes in, enough to cut the white strips and make two sets of square-strip-square pieces.  Another 30 minutes should do it.  A lot of the time was spent figuring out the best way to mark and align the pieces.  Using the wonderful iron-off marker I got Monday.  I can't recall the name, but will come back tonight and provide a link.  

Did discover a great new site -  Quilter's Pastiche on Tumblr.  (Discovered via Pinterest.)  She just posts lots of photos of quilts.  Mostly art quilts, it seems, many by well known quilters.  I don't know anything about Tumblr. Guess I need to find out.  Between Pinterest and Flickr I'm not sure I can absorb anymore quilt sites, but this one is worth looking.


Ever since the rush to finish the big quilt on April 1 I've been in sort of a quilting lull.  It's a natural cycle and I'm not stressing about it, but don't want to let precious time slip away either.  I have been cleaning up and reorganizing supplies and equipment, which is always necessary after the chaos of a projects' final days.  I'm refolding and reorganizing fabric which gives me a chance to discover things I'd forgotten I have.

In preparation for the idea of doing some 15-minute scrappy play with the Bumble Beans group I had to admit that my little scrap box was WAY to small to contain many more scraps, so I dumped it into a plastic bin more than twice as big, and fluffed them around randomly, rather than having them all folded neatly, so I'd feel free to root around without "messing."   My OCD tendencies sometimes cause me to spend WAY too much time trying to define in my mind what constitutes "fabric folded and organized by color"  (i.e. the bulk of my fabric, fat quarters - halves).  What's then a regular scrap, or a "teeny scrap?"  Teeny scraps just go into a zip lock baggy.  Why? I guess the bigger scraps were thought to be enough for some projects.  See what I mean about OCD?  I also need to start thinking about strategic packing for this trip to Ohio, and what I might just buy there rather than worry about transporting.

I spent a nice lunch hour yesterday cutting out different inspirations I'd saved and taping them into my sketch book.  Then I added the goodies from this week's Moonlight quilters workshop night to my binder of instructions and patterns.  (FUN!  Learned 5 new things in one night, with handouts as well!)   At that point I really NEEDED to sew something, so I ended up pulling out Dear Jane and working on my next block.  That turned out to be just what I needed, I was ready to sew, but not to design.  

I also got three books from the used book sale at the Guild meeting Monday, including one on reverse appliqué, which I'd like to learn (along with forward appliqué!)  So I tried doing something like that on block B-5 but I didn't do it anything like the suggested method.  I just cut out and folded back the openings and sewed some white fabric behind them.  I did it in a sort of "topstich" way on the machine, and it's not so pretty, but it's going to be acceptable (to me) and I'm going to move on and complete the block at lunch today, I hope.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rockin' Robin!

I usually don't get too into givaways - but when I discovered that I have a chance to win a map quilt made by my current idol - mentor - girl crush? -  Valerie Goodwin  - I had to follow instructions.  It wasn't hard,  and I'm really interested to know that there is another architect/art quilter out there, just down the road in Seattle.  I am looking forward to browsing Louise Wackerman's blog, I'm Feeling Crafty,  and read more about her art quilt work.  If you want to get in on this giveaway, head over to her blog and leave a comment.

In other news, through a bizarre accident, I missed out on the first meeting of the Moonlight Quilter's Art Quilt (Rockin'?) Round Robin.   The organizer's last name is Daily, and all her e-mail messages got dumped into my "Quilting Arts Daily" folder.  These are e-mails I don't want to see every day, but like to browse through occasionally.  I only found out Saturday morning that the first round of trades, where each person brings in their base quilt, was due on Monday - tomorrow!    I didn't have much of an idea, but as I was obsessively re-folding  brown fabrics yesterday the idea suddenly came to me that I should do a "tree of life" quilt.  

From there it was just a matter of creating a base - and putting together a little journal of ideas and inspirations.  I am not sure if others were taking the base/theme step this far -it seems like they were just making a piece of fabric, but the instructions did say that you could choose a theme.  So- whatever!  Here's my base piece:
Flash Only

(The lighting is so much different with the incandescent bulbs on!)

I found several great examples of Tree of Life quilts, from Ann Fahl, Susan Shie, Jane Sassemann and Judy Coates Perez - so I'm in good company.  It will be interesting.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I had such a great day in Seattle shopping yesterday, and just being in the "big city."  I went down for a meeting that only took about 1 1/2 hours, but the timing was such that I wouldn't have been back to the office before 4 pm anyway, so I decided to stay and play.   I checked out two quilt shops that had been mentioned on the Janome Yahoo Group.  One was Undercover Quilts right next to the Pike Place Market.  Their website is under construction but this link to their Ebay store shows a great picture, or  you can visit them on Facebook.   In addition to a great collection of fabric they have many finished quilts for sale, and on display.  

After that I found my way to the Quilting Loft, in Ballard (still part of Seattle).  They have a large selection of very nice modern quilting fabrics.    Not having a particular project in mind, I just wanted to see what their selection was like, and I wanted to buy EVERYTHING so it was hard to narrow it down too much, but since I've been on this thing about stripes lately and they had a very nice selection, I grabbed up a few fat quarters, and a couple half yards of some fun stripes.  Now... to decided what to do with them all!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Stolen Moments is Done!!

I was so busy trying to finish "Stolen Moments" in every moment of spare time, that I had no time for blogging.  Besides I'm starting to feel a little silly blogging away to myself.  I figure people will eventually come if I have anything interesting to say, but there are SO MANY quilting blogs out there.  I click "follow" whenever I see one that seems interesting, but there are now over 100 on my list.  I need to pare this down a bit.  Anyway, without further ado, here is the finished Brown Bag quilt, now officially named "Stolen Moments."

Greg was kind enough to stand on a chair and stretch his arms full length, but I still couldn't get the whole thing!  If the yard dries out I'll take it back out there tomorrow.  The indoor shots always have more of an orange tint to them than reality.

It's not as long as I'd expected, so it has to be folded down at the pillows. I guess I'll just have to make some matching pillow cases and curtains.  

Hard to photograph such a big thing!  Not to mention hard to quilt it.  Even though it's "done" I'm going to go back and quilt more inside the squares.

I was happy enough with the back, though there are a few wrinkles here and there.   This picture shows the left over 6x6 squares, I combined three colored ones with one white in each square, then put them together with the whites in the middle.  

The final bits of the four "gift fabrics" are on the right.
I'm happy with it, and happy there was the pressure to actually finish it!  Now I can take it to the guild for show and tell next week, too!