Monday, November 30, 2009

pieces from the past

The other day when I was at a friend's house, while I was waiting for her to get ready for us to go out, I took some photos of this little quilt I gave her several years ago. She keeps it in her living room, across the back of a chair. I hadn't really looked at it in a long time. I recognize pieces from my husband's wornout ties, old prom and party dresses that I bought at thrift stores for my girls to use for playing dressup, some bits of reupholstery fabric left over from recovering dining room chairs.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

colorful mix

He doesn't like this piece so I moved it to a wall no one sees. It's a wire and bead and paper bead mobile sort of thing that I orginally made to fill an empty spot. I used a stick (that I guess he would prefer to use for kindling) and wrapped it with some fabric strips.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

jars of embellishments

A favorite part of my studio. Jars of buttons, yo-yos, ribbons, found objects. I particularly like the green glass jars that my brother-in-law found when going through my mother-in-law's estate and I was lucky to receive.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

and now there are nine

Finally! This is a process I did not enjoy nor am I particularly impressed with the results. So I'm glad I planned to make only nine blocks. I think I got a better result with simply appliquing another circle on top of the existing circle, the technique I used for "Bohemeian Circles." Each of these background squares are 4" and I do like the colors. Now, on to the fun part, the embellishments.


I'm still working on the circles posted "in the middle." Seven down, two more to go. Sewing the center part is tedious but once I've finished the last two, the fun embellishment begins. In the meantime, here's a pic of one of my early log cabins. It's about two feet by two feet, and I think I gave it away as a gift because the photo is all I've found.

Monday, November 23, 2009

in the middle

These started out as a series of circles for a project that a friend and I were working on together. My friend changed her mind but I was glad that we had started because otherwise this would have been fabric that I was reluctant to cut. These are evolving into circles with the centers cut out in freehand style and then appliqued on blue backgrounds with little snippets of other fabrics slipped in to cover the holes in the middle. I have several circles to work with but my plans are to use nine for this small project.

otedama directions

It's a Japanese game using bean bags! I have not found the directions I originally used but this otedama tutorial by melyndahuskey looks good and the technique is the same one I used.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

ote dama

Ote-dama bags. These sachets are made from new material and filled with cedar chips, cedar and other essential oils. I've made these bags for what seems like forever. The first ones I made were pincushions and I usually used vintage fabric. When my children were little, I made them as bean bags.

Friday, November 20, 2009


I like to use wire as an embellishment. Often I will coil colorful wire and sometimes add beads to the coils. This one is a little bit different because I used a finer gold wire that I crocheted. There are also beads among the crocheted wire.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

over the top

Eva asked about the technique of folding the backing over the top of the quilt and hemming it to finish a quilt. It is probably not the best way since the edges get most of the wear and tear, but it is the way I have usually done it. It's also the way my grandmother, great-aunts, and great-grandmother did it. But after she asked, I started wondering about it.

I grew up with their quilts (and am lucky enough to still have some of them) but I did not learn how to quilt from them because I had moved away from home. I learned how to quilt by studying library books and then after I had made a couple, showed them the quilts. At first I only made tops and I paid one of my great-aunts to quilt them for me. She and my grandmother shared patterns and books and they gave me advice. In the first photo, "Grandmother's Fan" was one of the first quilts I made that was quilted by my great-aunt. I'm also particularly fond of it because I worked on it during a trip through Europe (England, France and Germany).

One of the books that I did own and study was Polly Prindle's Book of American Patchwork Quilts by Alice Gammell. It was first published in 1973 and I have the 1982 copy. According to this book, the usual procedure is to attach a binding, however, it does state: "If your quilt has a sashing and a separate edging is not desired, make your quilt back larger than the quilt top. Turn this extra material over the top, fold under 1/4 inch for the hem and hemstitch into place." (page 34)

a small group

You've seen a couple of these before and two of them are still under construction but sometimes I like to look at them grouped together.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

a closer look

A couple of closer looks at reckless embellishing that is saving this little piece from becoming a permanently neglected wip. Some of the Japanese yarn, beads, and embellishments are secured underneath the netting and some are on top. Some of the embellishments are upside down tulle yo-yo's.

Last night's MLBS's meeting featured a program on photography by jewelry designer Kristen Colvell. She shared tips and techniques and provided a couple of light boxes for us to practice using to take pictures of our jewelry pieces. I love to play with beads but mostly they end up on quilts and not in jewelry pieces. I did, however, recently make a couple of bracelets, one for a friend's birthday, and one in the first photo. As in my quiltmaking, I used both vintage and contemporary beads and crystals.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Because of the flaws in design such as insufficient contrast, faulty construction, and due to the smallness in size (it fits well within a piece of 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper), this was a prime candidate for reckless embellishment.

Monday, November 16, 2009

too interesting to resist

While not really looking for more yarn, I came across this package that looked too interesting to resist. It was among a cart full of a variety of yarns, mostly angora and silk, at Goodwill. I could use it for knitting or crocheting but will most likely use it to embellish quilts. I may try separating the fibers.

sunset revisiting

Last night's sunset inspired me to revisit this small pinwheel wip.

All this time I've been spelling her name incorrectly.

She was my daughter's cat and Laura named her Princess Amidala, from Star Wars. (I just looked up the correct spelling.) We usually call her Pretty Kitty Dalla or Dalla.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

sometimes a section

Sometimes a section of a piece gives an entirely different impression than when looking at the whole.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

moving on

Often when working with blocks I will set them out and experiment with placing them.I'll arrange them and rearrange them, sometimes soliciting opinions from other family members. These small blocks were carefully organized, studied and were almost ready to be sewn. I left them, purposely not looking at them for awhile in order to check my perspective. But as is sometimes the case, while not caught in the act this time, my furry assistant did her own rearranging and this time I just decided to go with it and not agonize over trying to replicate whatever placement I had at one time had in mind. Sometimes it's better to just get on with it and move on. Now I'm ready to add a border, backing, and quilting.

Friday, November 13, 2009

adding to the joy

These are a few of the pieces I'm working on incorporating into what I'm currently thinking of as the Joyful Jumble. Often I'm unaware of the makers of the fabric that I use because I generally use small snippets gathered from a variety of sources but I do know that some of the snippets here are from Mary Engelbreit's line of fabric.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

what it is

A wip component featuring a little piece of fabric, beads and embroidery. (A scrap, maybe, but is it considered a scrap if it is intentional?)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

harvesting what we have

I've been busy harvesting rosemary, sage and lemon verbana. Usually there is more, but this was an unusual year. I went to a craft show but purchased only a few tiny old tins and this small blue bottle that's about two inches high.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

joyful jumble

This is my current project. Instead of completing them as individual small quiltlets, I decided to start sewing the whole joyful jumble together. This is my progress so far.

Barbara Barrick McKie

Last night's guild meeting featured Barbara Barrick McKie. She shared information about her techniques and inspirations as well as showing us and letting us touch about fifty pieces of her lovely work. I don't know the names of the nice ladies in the photo below who were kind enough to walk around with the quilts so that we could study them.

Monday, November 9, 2009

wire and mystery beads

This tiny little quilt is embellished with coiled wire and beads. The beads in the bowl are a mystery. They were available at last month's MLBS meeting and no one knows what they are made of. In the photograph they appear to be made of wood but they are not. They are very light.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

leftovers or spare parts?

Apparently I went through a phase where I produced a number of these curvy pieces. There are a few other shapes as well including circles, spirals and hands. Many have already been incorporated into finished quilts and wips. Recently I came across this nice little stash of leftovers or spare parts for new projects.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

lodge show

A few of the quilts I had displayed in an annual art show.

Friday, November 6, 2009

a familiar theme

A small wip with a painted spiral and beads. The color blue and spirals seem to be favorites of mine.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

quilt for my brother

Not a good image because this is a photo of a photo, but this is a full-size quilt I made for my brother. Not an original pattern or even original choice of colors because I used a pattern and general color selections shown in a magazine. I am pleased with the way it turned out, however. It is entirely made by hand, including the quilting.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

fall shadows wip

Playing with beads and leaves.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

the moon as a rose

Or a rose as the moon? I took this photograph of a rose in our garden a couple of evenings ago. The wip has a pocket that has been appliqued with some flowers. A yo yo is tucked inside the pocket.