Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"Making Fabric Jewelry"

I just found out that I won this book from Beading Arts.  Since I work with fabric, I had been thinking it would be fun to use fabric to make some jewelry pieces. Then I saw the drawing for this book and won!! 

Maybe this will help me make what I see in my mind. Can't wait to get it and start reading.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

4 Circles Quilt

This is the latest circles quilt that I've been working on. The top is fused together then mounted on a background quilt. I had fun making this one. I used colors that I don't usually use for my quilts. I had a bunch of  silk clothing that I had collected and they were all in these gorgeous fall colors. I used these for my starting point then went through my stash to get colors that went with them.

Here's a close-up of the quilt.

Monday, November 05, 2012

A Quilter's Gathering

Had a lot of fun at A Quilter's Gathering. I think it worked out well at the new venue in Manchester. Although I had never taken a class when it was in Nashua. I went down Thursday with Marilyn and Susan from the Fiber Divas. We met Carmen and Anita down there for lunch. Carmen and Anita were in Diane Hires "Come Play with Me" class. Then Susan, Marilyn and I took a quick look at the quilt show and meandered through the merchants mall. It was nice having the merchants in 1 big room instead of several small room. Much more space. 

Friday I drove back down for my class with Diane Hire. I took "Vivacious Curvy Squares" Diane was a fun teacher. By the end of the class, I had the separate components done. I had the green strips sewn together and the curved pieces. Yesterday afternoon, I sewed all the pieces together into these blocks. Now to figure out how I will finish it. Some type of border. Gary wants me to make more blocks and make it into a bed quilt. 

I also spent more time looking at all the quilts at the show. Took some pictures of some quilts that I thought Kara might like to see. There was one that won best of theme, "Just by Chance". The quilt was a fish and it used pop tabs from cans for scales on the fish and bubbles in the water and other embellishments on the borders. I had always wondered what could be done but always thought any quilt I did would look tacky. This quilt wasn't tacky. The pop tops really fit in nicely. Then spent some more time wandering around the merchants mall.

This class was just what I needed with all that has been going on with my mom and with Gary. It was a nice getaway.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Kara's Landscape

It's taken me a while to post Kara's latest quilt. She made this before she went back to Houghton. It is now hanging up in her room there. A while back she made a drawing and decided that she wanted to make it into a quilt. She decided to frame it like you were looking out a window and each section would be a different season. She'd been collecting fabric for it since last March or so. To go to the orthodontist, we have to drive right by Keepsake Quilting. We usually end up stopping on our way home to see if there is something we just can't live with out.

I just realized a couple of days ago that A Quilter's Gathering starts this Thursday. Sure came up fast. Guess that's what happens when life gets out of control!!! This year it is being held in Manchester instead of Nashua. Only 1 hour and fifteen minutes instead of an hour and a half to get there. Thursday, the Fiber Divas are going to go down and look at the show and wander through all the vendors. Friday, I will going back down to take a class. I'm taking "Vivacious Curvy Squares" with Diane Hire. I need to start collecting my supplies for the class. This is the first class I've taken where the sewing machines are provided. Be nice not to have to lug my machine around. Just hope there are no problems with the machines.
 Looking forward to it. I need some time away to relax and have some fun.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Back in September Gary had surgery down at Mass Eye and Ear in Boston. While waiting, my mom, dad and I spent a lot of time in the dining room looking out at the view. We were on the 7th floor and had a great view looking over the Charles River. Watched the boats and Duck tours go by.  In my bag of stuff, I had included my camera just in case I saw something inspirational to take pictures of.  I think I might be able to get some good ideas from some of these. Since we live up in the boonies of NH, most of my inspiration comes from the woods and nature around me. 

There was a beautiful sunset that evening while we were eating dinner.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Here are some glimpses of what I've been working on. This first one is the leftover squares from another circle quilt I'm working on. I used this small piece to try out ideas on how I wanted to quilt and finish the larger quilt. These are not my normal colors, but I had picked up a few silk shirts from the Goodwill store that were fall colors. I thought the colors looked really nice together so I looked through my stash for other fabrics to go with them.

I made this with leftovers from the pillows I made. I thought the little squares in the pillows looked like windows or doors. I made the "doors" on this piece separate and will sew them onto the background

Here's a close-up.

                         and a glimpse of the flock of turkeys that is hanging out around our house.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Jean Wells New Book

I bought Jean Wells new book, Journey to Inspired Art Quilting. I just love it. I read through it right away and was really inspired. I've been working on some drawings and ideas but haven't started anything from those yet. When I saw a picture in her book of a chair cover she made, my first thought was that it would make great pillows for my living room. I've been looking for pillows for a long time and just haven't found anything that wowed me enough to spend money. So this isn't my original idea or color scheme but it is just the sort of project I need at this point in my life. Something to keep my mind and hands busy so that I don't have to really think while life around me goes out of control. 

I set out just making strip sets and what I think of as doors units. Then I put it all together in a square for the pillow. This was also great practice in sewing free hand cut curves. I feel a lot more confident sewing these now. I also practiced sewing in narrow strips.

Here are a couple of close-ups of the quilting.

 I would really suggest getting Jeans new book. (Her first one was really good also) She starts you out with getting ideas and inspiration and growing them into a quilt.  Where to look for ideas and color inspiration. She shows you how she came up with the concept for one of her quilts from start to finish. I know my writing doesn't do the book justice.

Now I just need to think of some hand work to take with me to Mass General in Boston when Gary goes in for surgery. I know from experience, I'm better off having something to keep my hands busy while I'm waiting!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Unscientific Comparison

My friends Susan and Marilyn from the Fiber Divas use a 50% bamboo/50% cotton fabric for dyeing and other surface design. They get it at Joann's. I decided I wanted to try it out. Since the Joann's near (relatively near) us doesn't carry it, I ordered it online. They call it a drapery lining muslin and it is a 200 count weave. I decided to try ice dying with it and a piece of  PFD Pimatex cotton for comparison. The Pimatex is what I've been using for quite a while. 

Below on the left side is the Pimatex piece. The two longer ones in the middle and on the right ore the bamboo/cotton fabric. They dyed really well. They have a softer hand than the cotton after being rinsed. Almost a silky feel. Susan likes using this fabric for stamping and other surface design because of the tighter weave.

I bought the bamboo/cotton when it was on sale for 50% off. Regularly it is $12 something a yard. I paid $6 something. I also bought it over the 4th of July holiday when they had 4 cent shipping.

This bottom one is another piece I dyed. I think it is one of my favorites. I used a variety of reds and yellows.  Will have to think of something special to do with it. This one is Pimatex cotton.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Challenge Quilt and More Ice Dyeing

Recently on the Quilt Art list, there was a discussion on how you work. Do you work on one project at a time and finish it before you move on or do you work on multiple projects at once? I'm definately in the latter group. When I start a quilt I will almost always reach a point where I have to stand back and figure out what the next step will be. This could be a matter of minutes to days. While I'm waiting for inspiration to hit me, I will either start a new project or move on to an old one. I was at that point the other day and sandwiched 3 quilts to be quilted. This is the first one. It is now quilted and bound. I need to find something to go in the center circles to hide where the quilting lines meet. It looks a little sloppy there.
 This is what I made for the Divas challenge where we all received a 1/4 yard of fabric from everyone and had to create a quilt with it. I had trouble adding Susan's fabric to the quilt. Hers was the last one I received. I  kept trying things and didn't like them and my piece of fabric was getting smaller and smaller. I finally decided on the circles in the center of all the squares.

This piece of yellow was the yellow piece here. I overdyed it the other day and think it looks much better.

These are some new pieces that I ice dyed. The one on the left was on the bottom and the one on right was on the top. I mixed some intense blue and sun yellow dye powder together before I put the powder onto the ice. I wanted green not yellow and blue. I forget what red I used.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

New Quilt

This is a new quilt I've been working on. I started it using Rayna Gillman's book, Create Your Own 
Free-form Quilts. Using Rayna's technique you just start cutting strips and sewing them together. With my schedule right now I just needed some mindless sewing. I really like the colors in this. I didn't like this first layout as much with the purple strips on the bottom. 

I replaced the purple strips and came up with this. Don't like this orientation as much. It's really nice to be able to play with Photo Shop Elements and see the different orientations with out having to keep rearranging the pieces.

This is the way I like it the best. Tonight that is. When I look at it again tomorrow that might change or I might decide to move things around some more. Think I need to add a little more of the black fabric to balance the quilt a little.

This is the orientation on my design wall. Which is the back of two bookcases right now. I really need to get up a real design wall. Since I have the nice new painted walls, I don't want to stick push pins into it. You can see the pieces of scotch tape I've used to stick the different pieces up. I don't really like this vertical orientation. Something about it just doesn't work for me.
 It's getting late so I'd better head to bed so I can get up for work in the morning. I hate having to stop when I just want to keep working.

Good Night All!!!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

More Ice Dyeing

After doing the ice dyeing at Susan's house, I wanted to do some more. I managed to fit in 3 more batches before I had to go back to work a week ago. I finally found time to put the pictures up on my blog. 
These first ones were yellows and reds. The top picture shows all 4 fabrics in the order that they were dyed. The one on the left was on the bottom. All were fat quarters except the one on the right which was a 1/2 yard piece. 

 Here are some closer pictures of a couple of them. Love the colors!

I forgot, this wasn't a pfd fabric, it was a cloth napkin that I picked up at the 2nd hand store. I dyed a couple of these before and find that they take the dye very well. 

This is the 1/2 yard piece. This one I just used yellows, it picked up a little red color from the ice underneath. I think I want to cut it in 1/2 and over dye the right hand side. There is just a little too much plain sun yellow and white showing up. I am thinking of adding some golden yellow to it. It looks brighter, a lot brighter in person!

This was a batch of blue that I did. Once again, the left was dyed on the bottom and I added a little bit of raspberry dye to the blue. The piece on the right was another 1/2 yard piece and I used only blues on that layer.

Here is the whole 1/2 yard piece, unfolded. It came out really neat.

This was the third batch I did. I added a little yellow to the blues. In this picture the fabric on the right was  on the bottom and the one on the left was on the top. I'm not sure why the center piece came out so much lighter. I know the one on the left was on the top because I used a piece of bamboo/cotton fabric that Marilyn gave me. It has a slightly different feel than my pfd fabric. I purposely put it on top so I'd know which piece it was.

Some of the blues came out lighter than I thought they would. I don't know if it is a result of how much dye powder I used or because all my dye powders are around 10 years old. But I always have a hard making myself dye lighter colors so I can't complain.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ice Dyeing with the Divas

 Yesterday Susan, Carmen, Marilyn and I got together to try the Ice Parfait Dyeing from the June/July issue of Quilting Arts. It was lots of fun and so easy! I meant to take my camera yesterday to get pictures of us doing the actual dyeing, but forgot it. This morning I rinsed the fabric out and here it is drying on the rack.

 These first two were the first two fabric layers in the container. I can't remember which one was on the bottom. I think the first one was on the bottom. One of them, I loosely twisted before putting in the container.  The next one I scrunched into loose fan folds going diagonally across the fabric.

This one was the third fabric in. I loosely scrunched it.

And finally this was the last one in. I did the loose fan fold on it. This one had the most effect from the ice melting. I'm not sure what you would call it.

It was a fun day but we missed Anita and Lynn. 

I soaked a few more pieces of fabric in Susan's soda ash solution so I could dye some more pieces at home. Those are now sitting in the container in the basement. 

I'm most of the way moved into my sewing room now. Still have a few things to rearrange and reorganize and sort through but I can now use it again!!! Just in time for the hot weather. It's so nice to be able to hide away in the nice cool basement. Which is where I think I will head to now! Just have to think of something simple to eat for dinner. 

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Moving Back In!

The time has finally come. My sewing area is finished, it's painted a nice green and I am moving my stuff back in. Gary is helping to move the big stuff. My fabric cabinets, the ones with the doors, used to be on the other side of the sewing table. I decided to move the to the other side to make a partition between my area and the messy part where the laundry is and the utility sink. It also gives me more wall space to put up a design wall.

We moved this stuff yesterday before we went into work. Just waiting for Gary to wake up so we can finish moving stuff and arranging (He works a later shift than I do). Then I can get down to the actual organizing. I need to go down to the local second hand shop and see if they have a small table top ironing board. I've saw some there the last time I was in. I want to put on up to the right of my sewing machine so I don't have to keep getting up to iron seams each time I sew. That was one thing I found annoying the way the room was set up before. It is really nice to have actual outlets now!!

Better get moving. besides working on this, I also have to make a birthday dinner for Alex and Gary. There birthday is tomorrow but Gary and I are off work today and will be working tomorrow.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Pop Up Quilt Show

If anyone is near Plymouth, NH today, 5/25, or Saturday, May 26, stop by the Pease Public Library and see the quilt show. It's open 10am to 5pm both days. Susan, Anita and I from the Fiber Divas put this together for the library. Marilyn also has some quilts in it along with some other local quilters. My daughter, Kara, also has one of hers in the show.  There is a nice variety of traditional and art quilts. I took some pictures this morning. the ones here show the Fiber Divas quilts since I don't have permission to put up the others quilts on my blog.

I'm finally back to actually write something about the photos. I had meant to get the names of everyones quilts when I was at the show Saturday and of course forgot to. These first 3 just show general pictures of the room and how we set it up. It was an adventure figuring out how to hang the quilts since we couldn't put anything in the walls. Also figuring out how to group the quilts so it made sense. For the bigger quilts, we put 2 folding tables next to each other and used fishing line on the back to hang them. You can see Marilyn's quilt the top photo set up this way. We had 5 quilts displayed this way.

We pulled one of the room dividers out part way and hung some of the smaller quilts from it. The top photo shows my leaf quilt and the next photo shows the other side of the divider with 3 of my quilts and Anita's flower quilt.

Here's a closer look at the 4 quilts. I should have taken a close-up of Anita's since this doesn't show all the thread stitching Anita did the background. I had meant to take my camera Saturday when I was watching the show for 2 hours and get some close-ups. Her piece is a whole cloth quilt.

My leaf quilt 

Three of my quilts that hung in a window. I think all my quilts have been posted at various times on the blog so I won't go into detail about them.

The top left quilt is Anita's. in this one I think she wove fabric strips together and then added the sheer strips on top. Then she added embroidery. It looks really cool close-up. On the top right is Marilyn's quilt. It had some nice 3-D leaves on it. Anita made the quilt of her house. It is a gift for her exchange student to take home with her. 

Here is Kara's and my, mother daughter quilts. Kara's the the top quilt. She made this in the 6th grade after hearing her teachers daughter talk about her time in the Peace Corp in Africa. This was one of Kara's first quilts and she designed it herself. and did most of the sewing herself. We had fun looking for embellishments she could use on it. The bottom is my first non traditional quilt that I designed myself. 
This Quilts is Susan's.Once again the picture doesn't do it justice. Susan uses lots of layering techniques. Sun printing, dyeing, stamping, layering sheers and metallic, quilting and other techniques. I spent a long time looking at her quilts and I still don't think I saw all the details.

Here is the purple display. The top on is my Construction quilt. The bottom left is Marilyn's Lupine quilt. Once again, this picture does not do the quilt justice. Bottom right is my quilt. The idea for it came from a small painting my Grandmother did in her 90's. The assisted living home she was in had craft times. One day, they had painting. The hard part for Grandma was she could only see blobs of color by this time. But she went ahead and made an abstract flower that looked like a flower. So I took that idea of blobs of color and made this quilt. Grandma put her painting in the auction at our family reunion and I ended up with it. The bidding was quite fierce but I eventually won it. At that time, I didn't have a place to put it so it's been tucked away, but now that I have a place to hang stuff up, I need to frame it and get it up.

On the table we have Marilyn's crazy quilt which was a big hit, two of Anita's cards and Susan's tote.

These are two of Anita's pieces. Once again you can't see the quilting in them. The cross piece she made for her husband.

. We had a lot of people come through. They really enjoyed the mix of traditional and art quilts.