Friday, January 31, 2014

Found Objects

Being a long-time seamstress (both home and work), my mother has a basement full of "stuff". She worked in factories, and when the last one closed, she brought home lots of materials they wanted to dispose of. I was going through some of it today and came across a box -I knew this wasn't factory stuff. It was assorted crochet cottons and bits of crocheted laces and started doilies, things I assumed my mom had done. However when I asked her about it, turns out it was my grandmother's. 
This is the pile of crocheted items. The colored pieces are little 3D pansies. Cute!
Above are a variety of crochet and perle cottons. Some are labeled "silkasheen". I especially like the rounded shape of the wooden spools.  It's a little hard to see in the picture, but they all bulge out in the middle.

Maybe some of these goodies will find their way into some of my projects!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Box

Today my mother pulled a small shoe-type box out of the closet and revealed some things I'd never seen before.  It was like opening a time capsule.
It contained pictures, report cards, postcards, newspaper clippings, even a miniature dictionary. These were keepsakes she had saved from her youth and young adulthood.

It was so fascinating to see my mother in a different light, glimpses of her life as a girl and single young woman, before marriage and children. I suppose my own children may say the same about me some day.
Above, her first grade photo and report card along with a certificate for 3 consecutive years of perfect attendance. She attended several one-room schools and skipped the third grade.
This collage is a mixture - the bottom section is the only school dictionary she ever had. It is about 2 x 4 inches and can be seen in the open box above with the black cover behind the pictures. The booklet is for World War II savings stamps for use in buying bonds. And pictures at different ages - as a teen with her accordion and on the beach at Atlantic City. What a treasure! I'm so glad she hadn't thrown these things away.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Photo Quilt

I am visiting my mother and thought I would share this photo quilt I made 16 years ago for her 75th birthday, which hangs in her living room. Photo transfer printable sheets had not been developed yet, in fact, this was before I was proficient with computers, so it was a completely hand done, very time-consuming process.  Each photo was copied on a color copy machine as a mirror image so the transferred image would be the same as the original. There was a transfer medium, I think it was called "Picture This", which was brushed onto the photo, and then placed face down on the fabric and allowed to dry. That probably took about 24 hours. After that, they were soaked in warm water and the paper rubbed off, leaving the transferred image on the fabric. It was a lengthy process and there are lots of pictures! I'm so glad it can now be done digitally!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Quilting Winter Oaks

Since I was still in quilting mode and had some time today, I decided to get started with the quilting on this Winter Oaks piece that has been on the design wall since last summer.

The painted tyvec leaves like the one I'm stitching above were already stitched to the quilt top.  I am going over the previous stitching (through all the layers) with a different color that shows up better.  Some of the leaves are photo transfer, done with Transfer Artist Paper by Leslie Riley, and some are done with discharge medium through a thermofax screen.  These are supposed to be "ghost" leaves, the ones that are most decayed and are less visible except for the stitching that outlines them.

More to come later.  I'll be away for a week so will get back to this project when I return.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Quilting Done!

After 5 days of work the quilting on this project is finally finished.  Binding is attached and ready for hand stitching.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Snow Dye Results

Snow dye results are pretty unpredictable - the snow we had this week was very light and fluffy, not high water content, so the dye was less diluted as the snow melted than it would have been with a wetter snow.  Anyway, you never know quite what you're going to get!
 The piece above is the black cherry that was a low-water immersion dye.  It has some very dark and very light areas, and interesting color separation.
 This piece is a combination of parakeet and kingfisher blue snow dye. There is more blending of the 2 colors than distinct areas, except for a few streaks of the kingfisher blue.
 This snow dye was a combination of dragon fruit and black cherry.  Both lengthwise edges of the fabric have white areas where the dye didn't penetrate, which make some interesting patterns.
The piece above is a rayon scarf that was in the ice dye.  The colors I used were baby blue, elephant grey and watermelon.  I was really expecting more blue but the watermelon dominated.  There are some large areas with very little color, so I will be adding some more to this one.  It does have some very interesting patterning though.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Snow Dye 2014

We got about 5 inches of snow today with the winter storm, so I got a chance to do some snow dyeing.  I had some new colors from Dharma Trading that I wanted to try out. 

Here is an overhead view of the 2 pans I set up.  On the right, a mesh screen is tacked to a frame and sits on top of a large kitty litter pan to catch the drips.  2 yards of soda ash soaked fabric are scrunched under the mound of snow (like the pan on the left).  The left pan has a mesh sleeve (made from a grocery store produce bag) slipped over a smaller kitty litter pan.  The clothes pins hold the ends tight so it doesn't sag.  Both pans have a fat quarter of fabric in the bottom to catch the drips of dye as the snow melts.
 Here the dye is poured over the snow.  Above colors are parakeet and kingfisher blue.  Colors below are dragon fruit and black cherry.

I also put a yard in low immersion dye of black cherry, and an infinity scarf is being ice dyed in the larger container.
The ice dye has 3 colors - baby blue, elephant grey, and watermelon. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014


I am finished with 3/4 of the quilting on this project.  Thank goodness!  One or 2 more sessions should do it.  Quilting the second direction is more challenging, since this dimension is longer and results in more overhang to the left and right of the machine.  I will be happy to be finished with the quilting.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


After about 4 hours of quilting today, I am a quarter of the way finished quilting this project.  Yeah!  I thought it would take much longer.  I'm very happy to say that I figured out a way to maneuver a large quilt through my sit down HandiQuilter, and a way to keep the excess rolled up.  This is the first time I've done a quilt this large on the HQ (double size).

I purchased the black clamps above to use with Shibori dyeing, and the Clover jumbo clips without a particular purpose in mind.  My first thought was to use the Clover clips to keep the quilt rolled, but they were only big enough to hold the ends in place.  So then I went to the clamps from the hardware store - you never know what tools you'll need for quilting!  They were perfect to keep the rolled up fabric in place.
Then, knowing I needed more table space to support the excess quilt, I decided to move my domestic machine off its desk and clear the end of the cutting table next to the HQ.  Perfect!  That more than doubled the work space and made it much easier to move the quilt - very little wrestling required!
The stool also provides added support, and can move to either side, depending where the bulk of the fabric is.  So happy I figured this out!  I was thinking I needed a different configuration of my space to make the HQ more usable, but this is a much easier solution.
Above is the back side of what I did today.  Hard to see unless you click on the picture to enlarge it.  The wavy lines will go in both directions to create a plaid effect.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Getting Ready to Quilt

I have a commission quilt to finish, which I've shown parts of last fall.  It is layered with backing and batting and pin basted, and ready for quilting.  I've been pondering how to quilt it and have come up with a plan so its time to start. 

This is a double bed size quilt, and its been a while since I've quilted anything this big.  Or used my HandiQuilter.  So I did some practice to get warmed up and try out my plan for stitching.

  The wavy blue lines are my practice, kind of a plaid effect.  I'll get started on it tomorrow.