Monday, February 8, 2016

February potpourri

Winter hasn't been all that bad here this year, no leaking roof from the snow buildup on my roof! I'm taking a pottery class on Wednesdays, I've found that working in another medium helps me with creativity slumps!

A dish/platter I made using a branch from a Japanese maple tree. 

And a wall plaque that I pressed real branches into.

And of course some quilting.  I made a blanket for Ethan, my grandson who will be two in April:

It's backed with fleece, which was easy to sew on my Tiara.  I made one before on my regular sewing machine and found it difficult because all the twisting and turning needed to quilt it caused the fleece to stretch too much!

And here is the beginning of a baby quilt for my niece:

Lastly, have you tried couching? I did, couched some crazy eyelash yarn down, not sure yet if I like it or hate it....

Friday, January 22, 2016

New York beauties

Feeling slightly less bitchy than I was last week, which is a good thing. I went through my books last week, and found one that's probably my favorite:

I go back to this book all the time, I just love New York beauties and this book was my first introduction to them. So many fabulous ideas in here!

I'm making a patternless wall hanging, just kind of sewing all my scraps, and so far it's turning out nicely.  But I'm going to add some "beauty" pieces here and there, just have to figure out where and how... 

A big snowstorm is supposedly headed up to the Hudson Valley of NY this weekend, as well as most of the east coast.  So far we've had almost no snow this winter, which is fine with me, but snow does mean snow dyeing.

Oh, and speaking of NY beauties, how about these two cuties (Madelyn and Ethan) from a trip we took to NYC last weekend--

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

It sometimes seems to me that quilters are crazy

Lately I've been kind of negative on the whole quilting thing.  Don't get me wrong, I love to spend hours dyeing fabric, painting fabric, doing some deconstructed screen printing, more dyeing, and of course, sewing and quilting my pieces.

But so many quilters just seem to buy, buy, buy, and accumulate so much stuff they will never use! I belong to several Facebook groups that have members interested in free motion quilting.  People who try to free motion quilt for the first time, and it doesn't turn out perfectly, so they begin searching for the perfect sewing machine that will magically make them quilt like a pro, and ask for recommendations from total strangers on which machine to buy.  How many hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent in pursuit of those perfect stitches, when in fact they could quilt beautifully on any machine if they just put in the hours and hours of practice needed...

I see the endless need to buy-buy-buy the latest fabric from this designer or that designer, and buy in all the available color ways, not just one. Buy more, don't worry about ever using it, because you can also sell it at a reduced price on other Facebook and yahoo group sites that specialize in getting rid of your stash of fabrics, books, magazines, DVDs, patterns that you never used, jelly rolls, rulers, templates, kits, and of course those sewing machines that you bought in the pursuit of perfect stitches that you now keep stacked in the closet or the extra bedroom...

And those that take one workshop after another, signing up to learn every technique ever thought of. Now there are even workshops that let you bring all the samples you've created in other workshops and use them to make something!

My quilt guild had tickets for Quilters Take Manhattan last fall, just hop a train into the city and spend all weekend being bombarded by this quilting star or that quilting star, all of whom are introducing their latest fabric line, or pattern, or book, or color coordinated threads, or the perfect  workshop or online class that will teach YOU how to make quilts just like theirs! No thanks.

Or what about the "famous" quilter who is advocating clearing out your stash, and adopting the slow stitch movement and being more mindful of your work. Sounds good until you realize he is creating more of the usual books, fabric, online subscriptions and merchandise you will absolutely need to buy in order to subscribe to his way of thinking...

My grandmother moved to an apartment in the mid-1980s and we cleaned out her house of 50+ years and found bags and bags of polyester fabrics stashed in her attic that she bought, I'm sure, with the best intentions.  Now I look at what I've accumulated, and wonder what my daughter would do with it all if I died tomorrow.  So I've been slowly and quietly finishing up my UFOs, quilting some tops that I've made over the past few years, and using only fabrics I have on hand for everything.  I have only bought some new threads, since quilting those tops has used up a lot of what I already had on hand.

My goal for 2016 is a simple one, to be productive.  I'm also not buy anything new, and will not be seduced by new fabric, books, gadgets, machines, etc. I don't want to be an accumulator, I want to be a maker.

Linking up with   Off The Wall today!

Monday, January 11, 2016

January - deep freeze

This year, I have intentions to post here more frequently, and to use up some of the piles of scraps I seem to have EVERYWHERE.

Been working on a quilt top the last few days just to feel productive and to use up some scraps...

This is my sewing table after a few hours of sewing.

And here is the area next to my machine:

But I have made several blocks, not sure what I'm going to do yet, but I'm slowly forming a plan...

Can you tell that these are pinned to curtains? I moved my sewing room from one bedroom to another recently and my design wall is still in the other room.

I had been working on some posts for the "And Then We Set It On Fire" blog, I was supposed to post the last two weeks of January, but due to communication issues, three different people had been scheduled, so I'm now doing them in July! 
Happy creating!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

It's been so long

I've really gotten out of the habit of posting here, mostly because I don't have a computer anymore, just an iPad, and it's a bit of a pain to use for blog posts!

Been doing lots of sewing, making a crib bumper set for my niece in Colorado, who is due any day now; dyeing and sewing some linen and rayon scarves for Christmas presents; making some pillows; doing some printing with thickened dyes, just been all over the place...

Also been making some smaller machine embroidery pieces with lots of hand stitched additions:

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  Here in the eastern US we've been experiencing record-breaking warm temps, but it appears that we may be getting some real winter weather this week.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Almost winter already??

Hard to believe that it is nearly Halloween...been doing some stuff, just not any blog updates for a while.  I sewed some coloring pages for my granddaughter to paint, she did a pretty nice job with some Peobeo Setacolor and Dynaflow paints on this:

She did most of the flowers, when dry I finished it off with the light blue background.  We had fun!  I tried to get her to work on some more, but she lost interest.

I free motion quilted a lap quilt that had been in my UFO pile for a long time, just have to bind it and then start using it. 

And I'm going to do some posts for the And Then We Set It On Fire blog in January, I'm taking pictures now for some upcoming projects...

Linking up with Free Motion Mavericks this week!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Art retreat on Martha's Vineyard

A self-directed Art retreat sounds better than babysitting my daughter's dog for a few days! I packed up the car with my dog Leo and lots of dyeing supplies and headed to Martha's Vineyard for a week.  Spent some time with the grandkids before they headed off to a weekend family reunion in Minnesota.

Playing with your toes is serious business

Here's a pile of fabric I washed out today

I did some ice dyeing in the 95 degree heat over the weekend--

And some sun printing using seaweed

This was my view from the deck where I was working

Very inspirational

I had a great time, now to get some sewing done!
Linking up with Off The Wall Friday  today, haven't done that in a long time!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Free motion quilting!

It's been a busy month, with foster kittens who are into everything around the house, but I've been able to get some free motion quilting done during nap time.  I tried some "Off The Edge" quilting--the first one I made I fused a print fabric down on a larger piece of fabric then quilted around the edges--

The only problem was that the fusing didn't stick at the edges all the way around, so I had to stitch.  So, I tried again, and this time I stitched the edge, adding a border, then added enough fabric to make a baby blanket for a baby shower that I have tomorrow:

I'm a lot happier with this version!

Latest foster kittens--two sweet little boys:

They look like angels, but they are little devils!

I'm linking up  Free Motion Mavericks today

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Kitten chaos, no quilting!

I've been fostering four kittens for the past two weeks, and as babies, they eat every 3-4 hours.  At first they had some trouble switching from milk to solid food, but are food experts now.

These two sweeties were adopted on Thursday:

And these two are still with me for another week or so:

If you are ever considering a new pet, check out your local shelters.  These and hundreds more cats are available through the Hudson Valley SPCA.

My daughter, granddaughter, and me took a train to NYC yesterday.  I live pretty close now, so it's not a long trip (less than an hour) but involves switching trains in Seacaucus, New Jersey, so I wanted to do a trial run before attempting it on my own.  We walked around Manhattan, went to some fabric shops, and found a street fair.  

Here is Bryant Park, a beautiful oasis.  If you watched Project Runway, you've definitely heard of it!

Check out the potential quilting design on this building:

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The weather is finally hot

Hot enough to do some sun printing.  Madelyn, 3 yrs old, helped me out one Sunday.  We used some Setacolor and Dynaflow paints on wetted fabric, then put leaves on the fabric, and waited about 1/2 hour.

Here is Madelyn's first piece:

We also used a big stencil and some purple and white fabric paint and stenciled some flowers on some purple fabric.  I'm free motioning it now, I hope it will become a pillow...

And finally, I did some color blocked screen printing with thickened dyes.  I'm not sure about this 
piece, I like the colors, but do I cut it up or leave it whole and quilt it?  Right now it's draped across the back of a chair where I can look at it and figure out what to do with it.

I've been taking pictures with my phone, it updated automatically yesterday, now the pictures are HUGE if you click on them.  If anyone reads this blog, I'm sorry, I don't know how to fix them.