Sunday, August 30, 2009

Memere's Curtains

Memere is the Canadian French word for grandmother. My Memere was from Quebec but moved to the U.S. in the early 1900's when she married our grandfather. We were not allowed to speak English in our Massachusetts home until I was about 16, so French was my first language. I spoke only French until I was 4 years old, at which time my 5-year-old sister started to teach me the English words she learned in kindergarten.

My old life in New England is on my mind today...twenty-three years ago last month my Memere passed away after a long, good life, and three years later, 20 years ago today, my mother passed away suddenly. I am remembering the two matriarchs of our family who are dearly missed.

Memere's curtains came to me last week from my sister. She knew I loved them and would find some way to use them, although they are well worn. They symbolize my Memere; sweet, soft and lovely. Here's to our matriarchs!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dyed Fabrics

Boy, I can't wait to get further along on the AJ quilt so that I can show it to you. Dye, dye, dye every day is boring for a blog, but alas, it's almost all I'm doing until the big quilt show. Here are some of the fabrics I dyed earlier this week from the black batch. The colors are lighter because of the flash, but you can see detail...

Here's one that shows you how well I wash/rinse my fabrics after dyeing...these are draped on the couch when damp to await the iron. This is our 2-year-old, sea green couch, so you know that dye is rinsed out very well!
I'll post some of these sunset fabrics later.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Today our Athens Sugar Bees met and I had time to finish a hand-sewing project and make two felted pincushions from felted wool sweater pieces...

The fabric under the pincushions is one of the over-dyed black pieces I worked on this week. This particular black dye has a blue hue, which I like much better than the red or green based black dyes. I'll get some better photos of those dyed fabrics tomorrow, but here's another one...

It's pretty obvious what the fabric looked like before I over-dyed it. Not so attractive "before", but lovely "after".

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I Get By with a Little Help...

Today is, again, another dye day...still working up to the vendor booth in September. I stacked all of my fabrics in groupings and my blacks/grays/silvers were the shortest stack, so today is black dye day.

I've been over-dyeing some pieces that I didn't like, and black is a good color to over-dye with. The old color will show through in some places and the piece will have some wonderful depth of color. I'll have some photos soon.
This week my friend Frances will take these two small quilt tops, samples for my booth and a couple of classes, and quilt them for me. This is like when your mother finally realized that she didn't have to bake 4 pies, a turkey, turnips, mashed potatoes, sweet peas and everything else for Thanksgiving dinner and be exhausted; the realization came that she could actually buy Mrs. Smith pies (yumm) instead and sit on the couch for a break now and then. Frances is a wonderful machine quilter (much better than I am) and I'm nearly out of time, so she is saving me like Mrs. Smith! Friends are wonderful!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Direct Dye

Last week my friend Eileen was encouraging me to try dipping my ready-for-dye fabrics into soda ash solution (the dye fixative) first and then dyeing them. I have done some pieces before, but when I saw Martha Lever's direct dye pieces on her blog a couple of days ago, I was inspired to try that method again.

Here are the results:

Foam brush and lightly diluted dye...
Foam piece, painted on the side and used as a stamp...
Wood block with strips of weather stripping glued to it for use as a stamp.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

From the Mountains to the Sea

It was a whirlwind week as we traveled through the Great Smokey Mountains to Asheville, NC and home to Athens for one day before visiting friends in the Pensacola, FL area. We lived in lovely Navarre, FL for almost seven years and it's a treat to go back. Here's why...

Wonderful friends like the Killer Bees of Pensacola : (top left) Agnes, Ann, Jolene, Joyce, Eileen, Joyce, Anita (that's me), (bottom left) Barbara, Pat, Wynnell, Mary Elma and Dorothy.

Beautiful views: Perdido Key near the FloraBama line

Terrific show-n-tell by the Killer Bees
Wynnell's piecing with Pat's red string blocks

Dorothy's Louisiana bee's blocks

Dorothy's lovely rail fence with a star point.

And the Santa Rosa (County) Quilters Guild show-n-tell
This quilt was adorable and was made with a wedge template. (I took 4 photos of this lady and her work trying to catch her name tag and I had no such luck)

These last two were my contributions to show-n-tell. These are variations on string quilts.

I have truly been blessed by participating in these two groups. I miss you all!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Same Trip, New Town

On Friday afternoon we arrived in Asheville, NC for the annual Asheville Quilt Show at the Arboretum and now also with a Rotary Club sponsored venue at the nearby mall.

This was one of my favorite quilts (above) because at the center of each rectangular block was a hand-made fabric bead. Deborah A. Morgan made this quilt and I believe she also has similar pieces hanging in a lovely gallery in Waynesville, NC.

Ruth Powers made this lovely quilt entitled Lazy Afternoon in which the horses hugging each other. You know there was stiff competition because this quilt did not win a ribbon.

Dee Werner and...
...Sharon Smaldone made these quilts for the AQG silent auction following the string quilt workshop I taught for the AQG in June. How exciting! I love the border applications Dee used to spice up her piece, and Sharon used a metallic thread with a hint of red for some zing!

Sunday, August 9, 2009


This week we enjoyed a lovely trip through the Great Smokey Mountains as we traveled from Cherokee, NC to Gatlinburg, TN and then down I-40 to Asheville, NC. Cherokee is a fine, peaceful town on the Cherokee Reservation with a beautiful, shallow river running through downtown where fishermen take up the early morning hours, and children play during the day.

The smoke-like mists of early morning in the mountains were gone by the time we got to a higher altitude, but the views were lovely...

I could enjoy some of the walking sites on my scooter. This scooter causes a stir everywhere we want one, and folks who have been in a cast before love the idea of it. It's a lot better than crutches (available at medical supply stores).

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fabric Day

Today I am working with a lot of fabric for different reasons...

This morning I started out dyeing fabric for my upcoming vendor booth at the East Cobb Quilt Guild Show (Sept. 18 - 20 in Marrietta, GA), so I decided to try another direct dye technique. I bought some Elmer's Gel School Glue and used it to make designs on fabric yesterday as discussed in a recent Quilting Arts Mag. article.

The glue dried overnight, and this morning I mixed a small amount of Procion MX dye solution with its fixative, soda ash solution, to make dye paint. Here's how the experiment turned out.

When it dries I'll rinse it with my other dyed fabrics to remove the water-soluble glue.

I have also been collecting fabrics for a string quilt for my nephew AJ's freshman year at RIT (Rochester Inst. of Tech.). Gotta start sewing because he moves into his dorm room on Aug. 30th! The school colors are orange and brown but some of the sports uniforms are orange and black, so I'll use all three colors for his quilt. These shirts from Goodwill (re-used fabrics can be wonderful) will go into the quilt to add a "male" touch...

And I found these fabrics in my stash...

The colors will blend in the quilt to make an overall look of orange, brown & black. That's the beauty of string piecing.

Duh, it just occurred to me that I can use this direct dye technique to add words and rough pictures to AJ's quilt! Fellow crafters and artists, this is why we write our ideas down!