Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas stockings done

My sister will be glad to know that I finished these stockings and they are going in the mail TODAY!
These two snow-people look so happy.

And here's another happy guy, Leo, visiting Santa Claus last Saturday.  The Lab Rescue of NC group does a fundraiser "Picture with Santa" that we love to attend.

Edited on Friday, Dec. 20th:
I originally made this pattern of stockings back in 2009, blogged about it here.  It was from an on-line pattern I found at
The stockings are so easy--you cut out four pieces, pile them one layer on top of the other, then sew the edges, and turn.  The cuff around the top is sewn on separately.   The snowman faces were my personal touch, but you could easily adapt to whatever you wanted to create.

Hooking up today with Off The Wall Friday.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December Blahs

Here it is already December 5th, where did 2013 go??  In the last week, we've had a dusting of snow, temps down into the teens over the weekend, and now it's almost 70 degrees out.  Hard to tell what season it is, it doesn't really seem like Christmas could be so close.

I've been working on a piece for the PAQA-South show, ArtQuilts Whimsey, with a submission deadline of March 1st, and a juried show in April.  Entry is open to everyone, check out the link for more information.
I'm trying out some things I haven't done before, so it's been an adventure--luckily I still have a couple of months to get this completed.
And been doing more rug hooking, working on a little Sunset piece that I might frame or make into a pillow.
And making some potholders using the fabric my little granddaughter Madelyn painted when she was here this summer.  I figure it's a nice gift for her Mom and paternal grandma, and they're easy to make--I've had the InsulBrite stuff for two years now, it's about time I used it!
 And more dyeing of wool, using a simple technique.. wool is so much easier to dye than cotton.

It's totally dark by the time I get home from work at this time of year--so it seems so much later than it really is.  But I do love the sun coming up early in the morning, as I wake up at 5:00 every day and work on something before leaving for work.  Another couple of weeks of going to the office, then we get some time off for Christmas.  Can't wait!

Updating this to include a link to Nina Marie Sayre's blog and Off The Wall Friday.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Color Magnet

I tried a new product called Jacquard Color Magnet over the weekend, and I love it.  Here is a piece of fabric that I first stamped with a slice off of a pool noodle that I dipped into the Color Magnet.

You let the Color Magnet dry completely, and it becomes a resist that attracts color.  I used some thickened dyes over the resist, let it batch for a couple of hours, and washed it all in the washing machine.

Very easy!  It's interesting that all of the color magnet areas turned blue, even though I used a blue dye, a tangerine, and an orange.  I would have thought they were going to turn brown...

One more day of work before four blissful days off!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Why my house will never be clean...

The past two weekends (Columbus Day and October 19-20) were spent on the road--traveling to NY over Columbus Day, then to Pittsburgh for a wedding on October 19th.  So I had very little time to do anything fabric/fiber related lately, especially since I don't get home from work til 5:30 every night and have a hard time getting motivated in the evenings.

I tried to make up for it this past weekend, first getting up early Saturday (as always) and soaking some fabric in soda ash solution to get ready for ice dyeing.  I first saw this method on this blog  and thought I'd give it a try.  Instead of using the dye powder, she made a strong dye/water solution.  (I have lots of jars of dye solutions already made up, since I don't always use 100% of what I mix, so it was a good reason to use it up!)  Thanks, Dolly!

Here are some of my results--which I think turned out beautifully! Colors used were Fuschia, Straw, Tangerine, and Sky Blue.
The one surprise to me is that the blue pretty much disappeared, turning into lots of purple, but not much green.
It was so cold over the weekend (for here) that the ice didn't even melt all the way after 24 hours.

I liked these so much that I started another bunch of ice dyes on Sunday morning using mostly blues & purples (Blue violet, Sapphire blue and Grape)
And then I did some screen printing on some fabric that I had dyed and painted previously, using some thickened dye solution.  This hasn't been washed out yet, I think I have to let it set for about 24 hours before washing.

And I tried stamping with a hand carved stamp I had made a while ago -- but my Setacolor paint was more like a gel (think it's getting too old) so it didn't turn out exactly like I had planned...

No time for house cleaning!  Oh, and the wedding I attended in Pittsburgh last weekend was for my niece, Karin, who lives in Florida.  I gave them a quilt for a wedding picture, and she was nice enough to send me a picture of it in their house--but I can't get the picture to show up here correctly.
And here's my former wild cat, Ferrell.  He has been hanging around since last spring, and he even lets me pet him once in a while now.  He has a warm bed to sleep in, lots of food & water, and has pretty much made himself at home.
 This is one reason why a cat is a valuable thing to have around--a baby snake.
This is Ferrell taking care of that snake--he played with it for a while then killed it.  I've seen quite a few snakes around my yard that are 6' long or more, which is kind of creepy but they do have their place in the ecosystem, I guess.
And a picture of my beautiful lab, Leo, who has been with me for about 1.5 years now and is a wonderful dog.  Thanks again to Lab Rescue of NC.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fractured Time this week

Didn't get more than two more blocks done on my Fractured Quilt this week, pretty sad progress--
I do have two more blocks all ready to be sewn up, so I'm really not going THAT slow.
This has occupied my last few evenings, trying to get a dalmation costume done for my 2-year old granddaughter to wear on Halloween (if she'll wear it, that is!) 
Linking up to Vicki Welsh and her Fractured Quilt Along, gotta check in on the progress everyone else is making...

Monday, September 30, 2013

Reveals today

Today is reveal day at Art Quilts Around the World--check out the pieces there!  The theme was The Road Less Traveled, this is my piece:
And the PAQA-South show opened Friday in Cary, NC.  The theme was "Freeze Frame" and our quilts were supposed to be based on a photograph.   Here is the picture I used, taken in May or June in my garden.

From that picture came these two quilts: 
 Detail shot:
Combination quilting and rug hooking:

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fractured quilt link-up

I got a few more blocks done on my Fractured Quilt this week, and am linking up to the Fractured QuiltAlong. 

Here it is taped up on my front door, as it was too tall to fit on my design wall.
This is a column of "A" and "B" blocks down the middle, with some "C" blocks on the sides. 

I still need to sew some "D" blocks together, they're all ready and waiting for me to get home from work this evening.

Here is the start of this quilt from last weekend.  Not too much progress, but I'm doing a little every night.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A second post in September

I've been a lazy blogger lately, posting only about once a month.  I'm not sure if I really like blogging all that much, but it's more of an on-line diary for my own use so I think I'll continue with it.  My life is so boring that there's not much worth noting most of the time, however, I like to be able to look back and see how long it's been since I've either started something that it STILL a UFO, or how long a completed quilt top has been done and waiting to be quilted!

My granddaughter Madelyn turned two at the beginning of September, and I got to spend a long weekend with her and her wonderful parents in Monroe, New York.  Isn't she a cutie?
On to quilty things--my latest project is called "Fractured" and there is a quilt-along going on that I just haven't gotten it together enough to post pictures on yet.  Vicki Welsh is hosting it, and there are a few brave souls participating.  This is the start of the quilt, lots and lots of took me a quite a few evenings to get these cut, a mindless chore good to do after a long day at work.
I've finally sewed some of the pieces together, and am ironing them, then sewing into blocks.  What a mess--my ironing board is actually under there somewhere.
This is the very first row, too tall to put on my design wall so I had to tape it to my front door.  The quilt in the book is king size, I think I'm going to modify it so it's only queen size.
Trying desperately to use up fabric in my stash--this is putting a minor dent in it!  The book is Making Quilts by Kathy Doughty and there are some other quilts I may make after this in the continuing (never-ending?) attempt to de-stash.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Time flies!

My two entries for the upcoming PAQA-South member show were accepted, more information about the show is here.  I was going to post pictures of my entries but no longer have them since my computer at work got a virus and EVERYTHING is currently gone that was on it (and that's where my pictures were).

So, only a few little pictures today, after not posting for a MONTH.  

A couple of baby quilts, for my niece Taylor's new baby, Emma.  Emma was born about a month early, back in August, so these aren't too late, she just arrived too early. 
 Simple straight lines, and simple diagonal line quilting.
And this one I just fused flowers on a blue background, then quilted flower and leaf shapes all around.  I seem to be getting lazier as I get older...

I've been working on some other projects, but forget to take pictures.  My goal is to try to clean up and use most of my commercial fabric stash by the end of the year.  Not realistic, but gonna try!!

Oh, and some hooking practice with some wool that I dyed last month, just trying to get a feel of how the strips look when hooked.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A week off work

Last week I was off from work, and attended a "color theory" type workshop in Asheville, NC on Thursday & Friday.  It was presented by Wanda Kerr, a rug hooker from Ontario.  The workshop was wonderful, and even though it was presented primarily for rug hooking, the lessons can definitely be applied to quilting!

Now, if you are an Asheville lover, please don't be upset, but I don't really find too much that is charming or quaint in that city.  (It has almost a mythical reputation here in NC).  The traffic is horrendous, even mid-week, and the town seems full of people with way too much money and not enough to spend it on.  There is a "frantic-ness" about it that is hard to take, especially if you appreciate a quieter, slower, and definitely less materialistic lifestyle.  The one store I like there is called Earth Guild, and they carry all the supplies necessary for dyeing, batik, knitting, felting, etc.  I couldn't make it to the store during my visit--I tried one evening after class, but the traffic was just too much for me to try to navigate and get there before they closed at 6:00, and I gave up.  Glad to be back home Friday night!

So, I finished up this T-shirt quilt yesterday for a friend of my daughter.  The T-shirts were from baby clothes, so the pieces I ended up with were a little small, but I added borders around them to try and get a bigger finished quilt.

Some of the borders were from pieces that I shibori dyed a couple of weeks ago--I have a tutorial posted on my blog about it, if you'd like more information on how to do your own.

Here's the back, mostly with hand-dyes.
Have to throw this in the washer and dryer after work tonight, and it's done.
 And here are two wild looking pieces of wool that I dyed, for rug hooking.
 Classes start next Monday, August 19, at the university where I work....not sure if I'm ready for that.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New sewing machine!

Well, I've used the same sewing machine for many years now, and before that I had the same one for over 30 years.  Both were Pfaffs, and both were wonderful--the 1525 I have still is, I use it every day and is great for free motion quilting.
I bought this "new-to-me" one recently on a yahoo group, called SewItsForSale.  The person selling it ended up living only about 45 miles from me, so I met her husband yesterday at a quilt shop in Greensboro where she gets the machine serviced, and brought this home with me.  My Pfaff is in the background, and looks like a baby machine compared to this one.  It's really HEAVY, and it's a mid-arm size.  It only does straight stitching, but has a large area so I can get some of my larger quilt tops quilted up.  Now I just have to figure out how to use it!

Friday, July 12, 2013

First post of July

Wow, I can't believe how fast this year is flying by!  Already half-way into July, how did that happen? 

I've been busy, both with work and at home in the sewing room.  The bumper pads and dust ruffle all ready to be shipped off to Long Island to my niece.  Lots of sewing goes into these, even though they look pretty simple!
A small hooked rug I've hand sewn onto a dark piece of fabric, the border is ready to be quilted.  Never tried anything like this, so I'm figuring it out as I go along. 

And here's another rug, now about 90% complete--I need to dye some more of the blue wool.  We've had so much rain that I haven't been able to dye much this summer!  Not complaining, though, after drought conditions for five years now.
Here's a baby blanket that is going to be sandwiched up and quilted this weekend.  I made some dresden plate circles a while ago and appliqued one of them on a piece of blue hand-dyed fabric that I had.  It's simple, but will be a great background for some free motion quilting.  I am piecing another one, and they will both be sent to my niece (along with the crib bumper pads) for her upcoming baby shower!
My daughter and granddaughter visited me for a few days late in June, and since granddaughter Madelyn is 21 months old, I took some small pieces of fabric and made a glue resist on them with Elmer's gel glue that I let dry thoroughly, then had her paint the fabric with Jaquard textile paints using a foam brush.  It was fun for her, and we ended up with some funky pieces of fabric that I'm going to use to make pillows with.   I had to let the paints cure for a week, since I couldn't heat set it due to the glue, but it all turned out nice.  Here's one small sample, the rest of the pictures weren't in focus that I took before work:
And here is that felted vessel I made earlier this year, now filled with dried silver dollars.  It doesn't look as bad as I thought it did.

I'm linking up with Nina Marie today!