Friday, February 27, 2009

Countdown...6 Days

Six days from now the Cotton Patch Quilt Show will have its awards night, and I will open my first major hand-dyed fabric vendor booth. It has been an incredibly busy month, but I've enjoyed it a great deal. Here are some photos from around the house/production floor...

This is the fold and price stack in the dining room.

Stacks of cool stuff...yards, half-yards, and multiple yards stacks, plus Bill's newly designed Ruler Racks and a beautiful sign he ordered for me.

More yards and half-yards.

Multi-yard pieces, quarter-yards and some fat-quarters.

These are some of the first wool felted pincushions for the show. I visited Main Street Yarns yesterday (I love that place!) for more lovely wool roving. Now let's head out to the garage/dye studio...

This is a 2-yard piece with the yellow at one end and the blue at the opposite end. Can't wait to rinse this one. This is low-water immersion dyeing with Procion MX dyes.

This doesn't look like much yet, but underneath the top layer is another mixed sunrise colored fabric. I layer my fabrics in the dye bath to conserve time and dye. The top layers will absorb the extra dye and will be a lighter color. The benefits are two-fold: more dyed fabric in the end, and less dye to wash out. Here's another dye bath where you can see the layers below...

If you'd like to know more about low-water immersion dyeing and dyeing in layers, check out Ann Johnston's book, Color by Accident.

It's time to create...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Brick Quilt

I taught a Scrappy Batik Bricks workshop this weekend (see last post) in which the students brought their own batiks, cut into bricks (rectangles), and swapped to make a scrappy quilt. They did a wonderful job! This is a fine class for either beginners or quilters who want a quick and easy project for gifts.
This is Phyllis' layout...

Can you see how the brights are distributed perfectly to make your eye travel around the quilt? Phyllis had a wonderful khaki colored fabric with golden orange and dark brown tones for her border, and she found a burnt orange fabric in the quilt shop for her inner border.

This is Danette's layout...

Danette had to leave early, but she had her rows sewn and some of them connected to each other. Danette is a brand new quilter and this was her first class! She did all of this construction in just over three hours.

Nice job ladies!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New Quilt

Today I was piecing a new quilt to use as a sample for the Scrappy Brick Quilt class I'm teaching on Saturday at the Dragonfly Quilt Shop. This blue quilt is an example of using the same basic "Scrappy Brick" pattern with "tiles" (squares) rather than "bricks" (rectangles). Here it is with four rows. Notice that there are no seams to match if the rows are sewn together as is...

Once I had all five rows sewn and had them up on the board, it occurred to me that the spacing between them added to the Asian look of the quilt. The indigo and white fabrics are from my Japanese and Indonesian collection and the light blue indigo is one of my hand-dyed fabrics.

So, I decided to add sashing between the rows. I've already cut the outer borders, but I wish I had made them wider. What do you think? The borders aren't sewn yet, so I may cut some wider ones (also, this photo is cropped a little, so check out the bottom photo).

Whew! High-use wall. I could barely squeeze the quilt onto the design wall.


I just checked out Melody Johnson's Fibermania blog and she had a wonderful YouTube video by Elizabeth Gilbert. It is 19 minutes long and is a wonderful talk concerning creativity. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Where does your creative inspiration come from?
Sometimes my inspiration comes from hanging an unfinished quilt on the wall. I will wait for the inspiration to appear, and it always does. Sometimes I go to sleep thinking about a creative problem and awake in the middle of the night with the answer...and have to get up to write it down. I always carry paper and pen to jot down ideas.
I love string piecing and see ideas for string quilts almost everywhere...the trees in the yard, leaves, wood grain, waves, movement, windows, mountains, photos, landscapes, water, sunlight. When I am ready, I never doubt that the ideas will appear.
I am disabled due to rheumatoid arthritis, and in many ways it has been a wonderful gift. I have the time to be creative, and a body that insists on regular breaks and good rest rather than constant activity. Constant activity kills creative inspiration for me. I would never have discovered this truth if I had not become disabled. This is one more reason that I believe in a Higher Power.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Signs of Spring!

Here are some photos of the early signs of Spring in Georgia...

This is the first neighborhood tree we've seen that is in Spring bloom!

...and the Univ. of Georgia babies are back! The lambs appeared outside for the first time last week and this is the first chance I've had to take a photo of them. The UGA agriculture areas are about five miles from our house, and we are privy to the new births.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Kid on the Couch

This will be a familiar scene this month. Our younger son, the Army Spc., shattered his ankle while at "jump" school at Ft. Benning (that's parachute jump school). The jump was fine...the landing was the problem. Anyway, following surgery in Germany he's back here for a month of healing. It's good to have him home for a while.

Rust Dyeing on Fabric

Well, my hubby, Bill, went on a search with his buddy Garnet a couple of months ago to get some rusted items for me. I wanted to try rust dyeing on fabric and needed some "junk". They found some great pieces including a wonderful rusted chain and other assorted items.
This week Bill decided that he was going to do the dyeing, so here he is starting the project...

Here's the dye pan (a mason's plastic cement mixing tub) with a layer of fabric, rusted items, another layer of fabric over the top and saturated with vinegar and water. See Bill smile.

See Bill's fabric.

Wow! Good job, Honey! Good husband.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Mid-arm Machine, More Information

I have received some requests for more information on my new mid-arm machine, and some closer camera views. Again, it is an "extended" Brother PQ-1500S machine which has a speed of 1500 stitches per minute. It runs very smoothly, like a well-engineered, well-made machine. There is no clickity-clack noise from this machine.
The dimensions without the extension table: 18" arm, 27 1/2" long, 12 1/2" tall, 7" deep.
Here is the extension table...

Of course, because the machine is extended specifically for mid-arm quilting, the feed dogs have been removed and the "reverse" has been disabled. The needle-down still works as does the needle threader. If you'd like to see the machine before it is extended, visit this site: .

One difference between this machine and other mid-arm machines, which does not matter to me at this time, is that is has a "regular" size bobbin. If you are interested in the very large bobbin, it did not come with this machine, although I'm not sure if it can be ordered with the larger bobbin case, etc.

I can change my bobbin without removing the extension table, which is very handy.

The extension table fits the machine even after the machine is extended, but the hole for its right foot is out of place. My solution: I just borrowed the center foot from another extension table and placed it under the right side of the table. Works fine! If you buy this machine, simply ask for another foot.

Below, the thread arm telescopes when needed.

This is the foot that came with my machine. My husband drilled the center so that the original hole was larger.

All in all, I am very happy with my machine. It did not come with a quilting frame, which is exactly what I wanted, the price was almost $1,000 less than other mid-arm machines, and I like the smooth sound of this machine better than the competition.

I purchased my machine from Southeast Sewing Products in Atlanta, Georgia. Their address is 228 Ottley Dr. NE, Atlanta, GA 30324. Phone number (404) 261-4240. My machine was purchased from their booth at the Georgia Quilt Show in Duluth in November, so they may have another booth and another machine for sale at the Sewing and Quilt Expo in Duluth the first weekend of March 2009.

I hope this was helpful.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Crumbs in the Path

My friend Frances has been blogging about "Crumb" quilts this week: quilts made with small bits and parts of scrap fabric. She's got some nice ideas and a link, so click on her name and check it out.

Last year I made this quickie quilt to put into a show in North was a quickie because they needed a few more pieces to fill out the show, and I really wanted another piece or two to hang. This one is called "Moonlight on Water".

While I was making that quilt, I used the scraps (they were pretty small) to make this quilt...

It's called "City Rooftops" and it measures 12" or 13" x 14". I sewed these tiny pieces between the string blocks and ended up with two quilts at the end. Who knew that this was called a "Crumb" quilt? Good name.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thrift Store Find

Here's a lovely find from the thrift store sweep last week; this baby was $10! It is hand made, hand quilted and lovely. It needs a little tender loving care because of one small tear and a frazzled binding.
We were in the city thrift stores looking for rusted items for rust dyeing and some building supply items for my upcoming sales booth. We found everything we needed. Thrift stores are the best!