Thursday, May 28, 2009

Work Space

I've been preparing to teach two days of demos at Georgia Sewing and Quilting in Buford, GA (northeast of Atlanta) on Friday and Saturday. The event is in celebration of their first full year in business. Happy Anniversary!

As usual when I'm preparing to teach, the dining room is a collection site and a disaster area, haha.

Some of the dining room mess has to do with the pressing and cutting of fabric for dyeing. Bill's been rust dyeing too and has some pieces cooking in the garage right now.

Well, at least a portion of my samples are in fine order...

and I'm ready for a day of fun!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

String Blocks

Each day of vacation I worked a couple of hours on string blocks for an upcoming class. The blocks aren't sewn together yet. They will be combined with other blocks and some of them will be further manipulated, but this is the fruit of my labor.

These blocks are 8 1/2" square...

These are 4" square...

My favorite yarn shop in Northampton, Mass. carries all kinds of yarn (including weaver's yarn on cones), books, tools, and accessories plus wool roving, which is what I bought there. The store is called Webs. For perspective, one of these balls is nearly the size of a basketball.

The center fabric in each of these four blocks is a lovely print that I found at Valley Fabrics in Northampton. I'm hoping that our quilt shop here in the Athens area has more of the same fabric because I only bought a few fat quarters of it.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Spring in New England

We have been in Massachusetts, my home state, for about eleven days visiting family (son, sister and S-i-L, nephew) and friends, going to a Red Sox game, taking "Sunday" drives nearly every day and enjoying Spring in New England. It was beautiful! Here's a quick recap...

Love the rock walls that are all over the northeastern U.S. This one was in Williamsburg, MA.

Also in Williamsburg, the General Store. Every inch of this old fashioned store is covered with lovely and yummy things: ice cream, maple sugar candy, baked goods, fresh spices, unique kitchen tools, handmade soaps, jewelery, local pottery, post cards, penny candy, gifts of all types.

Just up the street is the Williamsburg Blacksmith shop.

We can't go to Mass. without a trip to the Red Sox. There's nothing like the aroma of Yawkey Way...sausage, peppers and onions, roasted peanuts, hot dogs, and spring air.

The Sox won Thursday on a perfect baseball day. Here's the famous Citgo sign on Kenmore Square in Boston. If I have the story right, Ted Williams called it the "C it go" sign because when he hit a ball from home plate, and it was high enough to pass in front of the sign (from his point of view), it would be a home run.

We always arrive early to the game to absorb the atmosphere. Fenway park opened the same week that the Titanic sank in 1912, so its 100th anniversary is fast approaching. Bill is wearing his gardener's tan already.

We were lucky enough to be in town for a photo shoot prior to our nephew A.J.'s senior prom. That's my sister Cecile (Cil).

It was a great week. Next up...I'll give you a sneak peek of the blocks I made on vacation and some fabric finds.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Playing Around

Not all of my experiments work out well (it's usually 10 duds per good idea), but I made two items while playing with fabric and dye this week that turned out well.

From a new Shibori folding method I developed came this lovely piece. It would make a wonderful scalloped-look border. I'll have to try this one in different color combinations.

This piece came from playing with fabric strings. I sewed two blocks with strings on the diagonal (strings = tapered fabric pieces), cut them randomly, and then sewed them back together. It might look better in a hand-dyed color scheme, but it's a fun piece. The next time I'd like to try sewing the strings horizontally and then cutting up the blocks. The fractured look is so appealing.

P.S. Foot surgery is on for late June, but I'll be only 12 weeks in a cast compared to the last one at 25 weeks in a cast. What a relief!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mango Sunset Borders

It didn't take long for an idea to form about the Mango Sunset's borders. I placed the original sunset-look fabric and a piece of avocado colored fabric on the design wall and decided that the border would look like one of the "windows" too.

I trimmed the top and right side lime borders on quilt top and then applied the mango borders to those sides.

Then I auditioned the avocado border pieces on the design wall. I wanted the border to also have the tapered string look of the small "windows", but the outside of the finished quilt would have to be on the straight of grain. This meant that the inside seam would be on the bias. Here's how I did it...

I placed the border along a horizontal measuring line on the cutting board to keep it straight and then I placed the quilt top over it and overlapped them at the border. I made sure that the quilt was also on vertical measuring lines. This will make more sense when you see the next photos...

In this photo, the quilt overlaps the border by a few inches. In order to get the border on straight, I had to make sure that the border and quilt were at perfect 90 degree angles.

Once I knew that the pieces were straight, I used a couple of rulers to make a slight diagonal cut in the overlapping sections. And here's the result:

...a slightly tapered inner border, with a straight-of-grain outer border. As most quilters know, a bias edge outer border is a nightmare to quilt because it will stretch from here to St. Louis.

Whew! Okay, now the borders were on and they needed to be squared. I placed two sides on the cutting board lines (left and right) and laid out three square rulers along the top. Cutting along the edge of the flush rulers gave me a nice straight edge.

Be sure to always square each of the blocks in a quilt, then square the center of your pieced quilt, then square the quilt with the borders on. It's the only way to get a nice square quilt, which will save you hours of headaches as you quilt it.

I'm not totally thrilled with my's not all perfect...but I'm happy with the finished product. Voila!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Fabric as Inspiration continued

It's time to ponder the pretty quilt and figure out what to do next. I have an olive colored mottled fabric that looks good as the outer border, but, honestly, I liked the look of the inspiration fabric to the right of the blocks (see 5/8/09 entry). It had an interesting (although accidental) asymmetrical design. Also, the current border may be too wide if another border is added. Hmmm.
Anyway, the piece is entitled "Mango Sunset thru Avocado Windows". It just seemed appropriate.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fabric as Inspiration

Today I am working on a string pieced wall hanging. I started with this lovely piece of my hand-dyed fabric (right side) and wanted to create a contemporary version of attic windows from it. Here's what I have sewn so far...

These blocks are not yet trimmed to size, but they turned out better than I imagined. Love those yummy colors!

Current Events

We were in lovely western North Carolina this week where I attended the Fiber Arts Alliance meeting on Tuesday. We did some country road driving so that I could take photos for fiber art pieces I am planning. There's nothing like the mountains in the Spring.

I'm working on small projects this week for String Quilt samples for my lecture and class. Hand dyed scraps will come in handy for today's work...

I also have to do a lot of "sitting" or at least non-standing for a while. About 7 years ago I had a total reconstruction of my left foot due to rheumatoid arthritis, and now my right foot has blown a flat. The last surgery had a 1-year recovery time: no closed toe shoes for a year, hard cast and pins sticking out of my toes for 6 weeks, walking cast for 6 months, then months of learning to walk with crutches, cane and then alone. Marathon recovery.

Hopefully after 7 years some things have changed in the world of surgery, but there's probably no chance that this surgery will ever be done with a scope. At the end of it all, I got a "pretty" foot that worked like it hadn't worked in 28 years. It was well worth all the trouble. I'm trying to remember that as I limp around this week.

Love your feet today.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

String Water continued

Finally got back to the String Water quilt today. I was terrified all week after sewing the blocks together...

...and laying the borders around it.

Oh no! New territory...odd angled mitered borders. That's enough to keep the studio vacant for a while.

Today I couldn't take it anymore. I had to get back into my studio, so I got to work and took frequent breaks to relieve my scalp from the hair pulling. The borders are on and they're rounded. These babies are not perfect, but they're as done as they're going to get.

Honestly, what do you think? I thought about making this a border-less quilt with a pillowcased backing. Humm. It's about 30" wide, by the way.

Now it looks like I need some very low-key embellishment; perhaps some copy-cat odd lines in the border applied with some luminescent Paintstik.

Should I apply barely noticeable beads to some of the water lines?

Derby Day

Yesterday we went to a Kentucky Derby party to enjoy good company and to watch the big race. Sadly, my camera stayed at home and I missed some wonderful photos of ladies covered in hats. Picture "My Fair Lady" in Athens, GA. Beautiful, isn't it?