Friday, February 26, 2016

Susan's little dresses

     My friend, Susan, remembered me saying something about making little girl dresses for girls in Africa a while back. Somehow, she decided to involve her different fiber groups in making some. She gave me over 90 dresses. A group from my church is going to an orphanage in Costa Rica over Easter break, and they will take them to the girls.
     Susan, herself, made over 20. She is a true artist. Her dresses are breathtaking. She used her stash of batiks to make these. Her friends urged her to sell them, not donate them. Susan really wanted to give them, and I think they were stealing her joy in giving. She lives on disability (due to head trauma from a car accident- hit by a semi) which is very little and I do understand their concern, but Susan loves to give. I thought I would show some of her creations. I took photos of her work before I took the dresses to the missions trip leader. These are only a few of them. They are the pillowcase style. There is a group called Dress a Girl around the world that has a pattern and sends dresses out continually. Our church group will carry them in their suitcases in individual ziploc bags.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Snowballs slower than the weather is making

     A while back, I started to make the flowering snowball blocks. I used made fabric and yellow with a black center. I need 194 made fabric pieces cut. I have been making and making fabric, but because of the odd shape, a lot gets lost in cutting out. I need 45 more. I have plenty of scraps, just takes loads of time, unlike the snowfall we had last week (although it hit 54 on Saturday and it is rapidly melting). So here is my progress so far.
Spokes pinned in groups of 10
4 Complete blocks
More made fabric going on

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Reluctant snow dyeing

     Apologies to Vicki Welsh, dyer extraordinary. I have a friend, Susan Marie, who is a dynamite fabric artist hampered by traumatic brain injury (not in her art) who is a most generous woman. She invited me over to her studio apartment for lunch, but was having a snow dyeing party for friends. She doesn't mind slopping up her apartment if her friends are working and having fun. I love hand dyed fabric- to sew- not make. She coerced me into trying- giving me all the supplies. 
     We put racks in plastic storage bins held up by cans or yogurt containers. Then, we added soda ash treated fabric. I just twisted mine all up and into a ring. Then we piled on ice cubes covered by 2" of hard packed snow. A friend brought two coolers of it from the country as Susan lives in the downtown Buffalo area. We sprinkled Procion dye from teaspoons in different areas all over the snow. I did not bring my camera as the section of the city is iffy and I did not want to risk carrying the camera from the trek from my car on Main Street. We put a bag over the whole bin (mine did not fit, just over the top). I sloshed my way back to my trunk and put the bin in the basement for 24 hours. Then, I dumped the dye in the stationary tubs, rinsed till they ran clear, threw it in the washer with Dawn, dried it, ironed it and I had what you see. (Try not to wince, Vicki.)
    The colors in the photos are off a bit. They are not big pieces, so I will cut them up for use in my quilts. One problem with the hand dyes, is that the dyed design is very nice, but once you cut it into pieces, it gets lost. I don't know how people handle that in quilts.
Covered in bin 
First look
In the wash

Monday, February 22, 2016

Denim Valentines

     It is always a struggle to come up with a unique card for Valentines. I don't silk screen anymore, so I have to figure out something innovative with fabric. I don't fuse either.
     I love denim and collect old jeans to make quilts. I thought of using the seams that don't normally get used in the quilts and I have loads of funky yarn when I made funky scarves. I still make some occasionally, but still have great yarn. I cut the denim and heavyweight interfacing the same size and sewed on a whole handful of yarns with a stepped zig zag on the trusty Singer 401. Never made even a cough or sputter, went through like butter. I did use a jeans needle. Then I used a blindstitch on the edges to hold the denim and interfacing together, no glue. I did use double stick tape on the cardstock. I wish I could have made more, but after 30, I wore out. All are given away, so all I have left is the photo. Super fun.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Quilted not bound

     I have been able to only get two quilts done on the longarm. I have so many to do. These two are done, but need binding. I usually wait until I have at least 3 until I bind them because to drag fabric choices out, cut, iron, and glue- it is easier in groups.
     The first is one made from blocks that were in a bundle of scraps and fabric donated to me.

The back- the stripe is actually bright pink, not orange
Detail of quilting by block on back
     The next one is Bright Birches, using made fabric for the strips. I varied the quilting the long way, using a pattern for each long space from top to bottom, and then using a different pattern for the next long space after the Birch strip.

Details of quilting 
Details of quilting 
Details of quilting 

Back of quilt

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Plastics and organization

     When I was a public school art teacher, I was the plastics queen. Because I had so many classes and grades, I used plastic bins to set everything up, store everything, and organize materials. I spent hundreds of dollars of my own money to do this. I saved some of the bins for fabric. I stored a yard and over in large flat plastic boxes. However, it is getting harder to lift these in and out of my closet when I am searching for bindings and backings.
     An expensive trip to Target bought some new plastic into the plan. I must say I bought these because they are made in the USA and the brand is Sterilite. Actually, my husband had bought some plastic bins for his work shop and I absconded with them to try and see if they were a good size. They were and he did not get them back. I bought more. I bought the rest in the store and now he has none. And he still loves me, go figure.
     I bought some bins for smaller pieces and it is slower going because anything smaller than a fat quarter, I am cutting into set sizes with the Stripology ruler and filling other flat bins with those sizes. The Calico Rose quilt, Fading Charms, Film at Five all used squares that had all been previously cut up. 
     I finished the large pieces, but am chipping away at the smaller yet. Here is the progress so far.
Early on, big boxes removed from closet. New bins in front, mess all around
New bins in closet, labelled, could still use shelves. Will hubby build them for me if I buy him some new boxes?
New boxes for smaller fabric by color 
Closet part way done, blue handles are new boxes.
Other old ones need sorting yet.

Binding in Bunches

     Bunches of quilts, not bunchy binding. I find it easier to cut, make, and glue bindings in groups. I get warmed up and they turn out like I want. I do glue binding as seen in Sharon Schamber videos. I also machine sew it all, both sides. No apologies. It is on secure, neat, durable, and done. The machine I use to sew on bindings is a Singer 15-91. It has a potted motor and can sew through layers like butter. It is strong and steady.

Batik Rail Fence- dark green binding
A kit from Connecting Threads- I changed the pattern and borders. This comfort quilt went to a young woman in California who is battling aggressive melanoma. Her dad works with my husband.
An Emma's Star quilt ready for someone
Small Lemoyne Star with made fabric inspired by
Victoria Findlay Wolfe. The other blocks were found in a scrap bag someone gave me.

A great finish and great store

     After the last post, I am trying to be more upbeat. And still trying to beat the migraines. I have had shots in the neck, lidocaine down my nose, and other lovely things that get dreamed up medically. 
     But, I was so thrilled to finish Calico Rose!! I got the checkerboard on and I just love it. It looks instantly at home. Thanks Deanna for the quiltalong! Now, I am trying to determine a backing for it.

     One woman from blog space told me about a store called Delta Patchwork. They had an unbelievable clearance sale- top quality fabric like Marcia Derse and Frond for around $4.00 a yard. I ordered a whole lot of scrumptious fabric I never see in stores around me. The shipping was free. On Monday, a white box was delivered and inside were two bundles. In my migraine haze, I was disappointed because I did not order cutesy woodland fabric that I saw. However, each package was in a plastic bag and individually wrapped in beautiful paper. The taping was impeccable. It had a sticker on the front and a color postcard from the company with a personal message that said thank you for shopping. I was stunned. I waited a whole day before unwrapping as I was enamored with such beautiful packages (think My Favorite things song). The fabric was as I ordered and I was overjoyed.

Awesome, huh?

My most unsuccessful quilt ever

     If you have followed my blog for a while, you have seen the appointed quilt tester, Tugger (the Terrible). This cat will appear at any moment when fabric is laid on the ground, lay on it, scuff it up, burrow, and leave copious fur. He lays on my bed all day in one spot. I have a Heart bargello quilt there and I intend to never make one again. After looking at a woman's blog where she sells cat quilts (Gizzy's quilts) and reading the glowing testimonials of her customers, I decided that is what Tugger needed and I needed for my bed quilt to be spared. 
     I found an orphan block that came with some scraps that was too pretty to be cut up and enlarged upon the theme, quilted on my 301 (very rusty at FMQ on domestic), and bound it. While he was sleeping next to the fireplace (other favorite spot), I laid it down next to him. He promptly got up and left the room. I then put it on my bed in the spot he sleeps. He walked in, saw it, and headed for the guest room where he has slept all week. I guess he didn't get the memo how great it is for a cat to have their own quilt. Whatever room it is in, when he sees it, he turns around and leaves. 
     Trying hard not to feel rejected. By a cat. Yikes.
The offending quilt