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,

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Lovely Unique Postcard from Lin and Other News

The other day I opened my mailbox and in it there was a lovely postcard from Lin. It had traveled all the way from France, which is so, so cool! Swapping textile postcards is like having a penpal, only a lot more fun as you get to display the neat postcards. Lin's postcard is made from fabric that she created herself and she talks about her work here

Lin created this multi-layer fabric that is quite interesting to look at. Thanks so much for swapping with me, Lin!

I've been working on a small, 10 x 15 inch (25 x 38 cm) improv quilt in greens. Yesterday while working on this quilt I took a photo of my studio which is how it usually looks when I'm working with fabric stacked on every available surface, including my looms. So now I feel better sharing this as this is really how my workspace looks ;-)

My green improv quilt is ready to be hand quilted and for some reason the color on the border is off in my photo. The color is actually a medium spring green, not an olive like it's showing here. Sorry.

I was looking around my studio and noticed the vibrant cones of 10/2 mercerized cotton yarn from Lunatic Fringe (they call it their Tubular Spectrum Gamp Kit) that I had purchased to weave bookmarks on my inkle loom. The colors are intense and the yarn has a nice sheen to it, so I'm using these yarns to quilt my improv quilt.

I'm exploring the liberated method of creating quilt blocks after reading a couple of books by Gwen Marston. Thanks, Gwen, for introducing me to a different way to look at quilting. I love it. I just finished a liberated log cabin block valance for my kitchen in bright colors. 

I'm off to go hiking with my dogs, Max and Sam.

Have a great weekend,

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Few Finishes

I finished hand quilting the hexie quilt for my studio and I used various colors of pearl cotton thread to quilt it. I decided to go with a simple black border and it's now hanging right above my sewing desk where I get to see it each day.

I finally finished hand quilting the lady of the lake quilt and I like it so well that I decided to put in on our bed! I thought that the wool batting would be too hot for summer, but it actually feels quite nice. Now that I have new colors in our bedroom, it gives me an excuse to make new quilts for the walls. Not that I needed an excuse, mind you ;-)

I've been solar dyeing some corriedale wool and alpaca that I had on hand. I put the fiber in an old recycled mayo jar, poured a spruce acid dye solution over the top and then left it in the sun. After hand carding it I spun it into a thin singles on one of my spindles, then Navajo plied it on my spinning wheel.

I started hand quilting the improv groovy grape quilt and I decided to go with a bright yellow pearl cotton thread. What's happening to me? I like the bright colors now so I'm going to just go with it.

Do you frequent thrift stores? Here in Boise, there are many of them and my son and I like to visit them now and then to see what treasure we'll find. You have to sort through a lot of junk, but it can be worth it. One day Seb was jazzed to find some huge Sony speakers which disappeared into his workout room. Now he can shake the house when he cranks up his stereo. Okay, maybe I could have done without those....The last time I was digging around, I found a roll of something. Hmmm. I unwrapped the plastic covering the roll and discovered linen fabric. My first thought was who would drop off a large roll of linen?? And then I happily loaded it into my cart and brought it home, all 13 yards of it which had a $6 sticker on it. I pulled out my old serger and I've been sewing linen pillow cases, along with a bed sheet for us to use, which seems so decadent, but the linen feels so awesome.

I've wanted to sew a new valance for Seb's bathroom (this has been on my to do list for a couple of years now) and he requested Boise State colors which are bright blue and orange. Another improv piece came to mind which would give me the chance to use up some of the blue scraps that I've been saving and it would just be fun sewing.

Speaking of improv, I tried a liberated block for a textile postcard. It's not quite finished yet, but I thought that I'd share it.

I like to sit on our back patio in the mornings before it gets too hot, and just listen to the birds while hand stitching or knitting. We have a constant stream of hummers that visit the feeder which is so neat to see.

I have sunflowers that are growing in my backyard and yesterday an industrious squirrel decided that one of them had grown enough. He shimmied up the sunflower stalk, chewed the head off, and ran off with his prize.

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

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Textile Postcards and Other News

For some time now I've been thinking about textile postcards as I wanted to swap cards with Lin and she does such nice work it really challenged me to create something special. Her card is done and its winging its way to France, so I can't share that photo just yet. I did create another postcard for someone who I don't think reads my blog, so it should be safe to share. I used batiks and cotton fabric that I had dyed along with silk ribbon embroidery to embellish it. It's 4 x 6 inches (10 cm x 15 cm) and it was just a lot of fun to make!

 I've been sewing hexies in the evenings, using batiks and solids, and I wanted two coasters to go with the new colors in my studio. The fronts of the coasters look like this

 and here's the backs. I've not really used much gray fabric in the past, but it's growing on me and I'm starting to like it more and more.

I've been reading Gwen Marston's book Liberated Quiltmaking ll and also her book Minimal Quiltmaking. She's a great author who challenges you to think outside the box (is that allowed??) and to find your own creative voice. After reading those books I decided to do a improvisational medallion quilt for my studio using batiks, solids and hand dyed fabric that I've dyed over the years. The top isn't finished yet, but I thought that I'd share what I've done so far-

Switching subjects to one of my favorites, the great state of Idaho, I recently drove my parents to a forest fire lookout, the Thorn Creek Butte lookout, which is 25 miles (40 km) from Boise. I meant to drive up forest service road 203, but I didn't have my GPS on and I was chatting with my parents, so I missed the road. Darn. Rather than drive miles back, we chose to drive up forest service road 304 which took us past the Bald Mountain campground where we stopped for a picnic lunch. Then we pushed on towards the lookout which was a very scenic drive, a bit challenging in spots which made me rather thankful for a four wheel drive vehicle. My old Landcruiser that I drive did just fine :-) I was glad that we didn't meet any other vehicles as the road is quite narrow. We drove around the last bend in the road past a lovely field of lupines providing a wash of a soft lavender color

to arrive at the lookout, elevation 7550 feet (2.3 km). It was boarded up since there was no one using it but the stairs were available to climb up.

The views were outstanding once we climbed up the stairs with mountains as far as one could see from every side of the lookout.

Max had a great time running around, exploring the area.

On the way back home to Boise we stopped in Idaho City at Trudy's Kitchen where we had some coffee with some wonderful huckleberry cheesecake. Mmmmm. Outstanding. Someone told me the calories don't count if you're with friends or family ;-)

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