Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Faerie Forest Revealed

"Faerie Forest"
20" by 20" 

 I made this for the SewBatik Challenge at this year's NQA show.  I used the challenge fabric for the big tree.  The background is one of my hand-dyes that looks like a forest.

The door and window boxes in the stone cottage are also from the challenge fabric.  I hand embroidered the flowers for the trumpet vines above the stone wall next to the cottage and the little flowers in the window boxes.

I hand embroidered the bunnies and little purple flowers.

The birds were also hand embroidered, then appliquéd to the quilt.  

Monday, June 27, 2011

Where's Karen?

Karen has not been a very good blogger lately.  But she has some very good reasons.  I know you all have been just sitting around and wondering what is going on here in Wisconsin.  Well, wait no more!  Karen went to Omaha!  For a quilt show!

My friend, Chris Daly, who is the creative genius behind Dye Candy (here) and blogs here, invited me to come along and help at the Omaha show (here).

Here is the booth shortly after our arrival.

And in almost no time, it looked like this -- that's Chris's back side.  There is a picture of both of us together in the booth, but it's still on Chris's camera and she hasn't sent it to me yet.  I'll post it or a link when I get it.

This was the Chris and Karen quilt show -- we brought examples of our work and set them up on one side of the booth.  A lot of people came in and asked about techniques used in some of them.  
The women who ran this show went out of their way to provide support for the vendors.  They had ladies assigned to come and provide "vendor relief" -- they would watch the booth while we got sandwiches or went to the "necessary room."

It was a lot of fun to go to Omaha -- my father grew up there and the last time I was there was the summer I turned 16.  Of course that was longer ago than I'm willing to admit...

I fell in love with this quilt.  It won a couple of ribbons.  I usually don't work with such traditional fabrics and therefore decided that  it would be fabulous made from our colorful hand-dyes.
Chris gave me a lesson in needle-turn appliqué.  I did the heart and first two leaves Saturday afternoon.  I'm all ready to start on my version of the quilt above...

This will have to serve as my entry in Design Wall Monday -- because my design wall hasn't changed since last Monday.  Go to Judy's blog (here) for more traditional entries.

This juvenile Bald Eagle lives near Chris's Shady Grove Studios in southwestern Wisconsin.  What a magnificent creature.  

And this is a rare picture of me -- I'm usually behind the camera and therefore very camera-shy.  The necklace and bracelet are jewelry my daughter made and presented to me the morning I left.  They went perfectly with the hand-dyes in our booth.

I have lots of news coming up in the posts I'll do later this week.  I promise!

Monday, June 20, 2011

More BOM Progress

This is my design wall for today -- I finished the compass and got everything cut out for the "Hands All Around" block.

For a peek at other design walls, click here to go to Judy's blog.

I know that I'm way behind on answering emails, so anyone who is owed -- I will get to you.  Just not right now.

I have stuff to say about this, but no time.  Hopefully, I will find time today or tomorrow, but if I don't, I'll write about it next week because....
 Of this! I'm leaving town on Wednesday and not sure if I'll have computer access so I will just have to leave it a mystery  (cue: Twilight Zone music here....)!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Back to the BOM

My design wall shows a little progress on my BOM for 2011.  No, I didn't abandon it -- I've just been busy.  New are the fans block and the New York beauty.  I didn't sew the NY beauties together because I'm going to use them in the corners of the quilt.

And that's a compass in progress.

For other people's design walls, click here to go to Judy's blog.
This was going to be my journal quilt for the May/June Color Palette Challenge.  I thought about using it for my Nook cover, but it didn't look right where it was going to have to be cut down.  So I didn't use it.  Now I'm not sure what to do with it.  I  could just finish it and have another mini-quilt -- but I was trying to make something more useful than that.  It's the wrong size for a journal cover.  So I suppose it's going to move to the "hmmm..." pile for now.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Too Hot to Dye?

As a group, fiber artists and quilters are pretty hot.  As anybody who's ever been to Festival, or to one of those wild evening guild meetings or retreats can attest, nobody parties like a quilter.  However, in my not-so-humble opinion, no one is hotter than a dyer.

Now I know there are quilters who don't think of themselves as artists, and there are fiber artists who don't quilt, and of course, there are dyers who don't quilt or even consider themselves artists.  But there is enough of an overlap between the three that I can consider them all together.  And the hottest are the dyers.

Except for snow-dyeing, which most of us agree is kind of a novelty thing that we do when it's too cold to do the regular kind of dyeing, the procion dyes like it hot.  Especially turquoise and the other blues.  And, of course, that includes all the colors that include blue: purples, greens, browns.  Basically all the colors that aren't red, orange, or yellow -- which are pretty hot all by themselves.

Unlike some quilters, dyers aren't afraid of color.  We have all made mistakes when learning to mix colors -- some turn out to be happy accidents, and some, well, not so much.  But there is no bad hand-dyed fabric -- there is probably no bad fabric either, now that I think about it -- one person's ugly is another's "gotta have it."  But I digress...

The weather has been really hot this week.  Lots of people have been whining about it (not me, but that's another story).  So I decided I better get out there and enjoy it.  I had some dyes aging in the dye studio (also known as the northeast corner of the garage) and since I hate wasting stuff, I figured I would use them up.  If they weren't strong enough to create the rich saturated colors I crave, I would just over-dye the pieces with fresh dye another day -- over-dyeing is another reason there is no bad hand-dye.

I recycle plastic lettuce boxes, among other vessels, to do my "tray-dyeing."  So I scrumpled in the fabric, dumped on the dyes, and stuck the whole thing out on the front walk to bake in the sun -- also known as batching.

This morning, when I got up to wash out the dyes, I noticed a large teal-colored stain decorating the front walk. Imagine my surprise when I picked up the container and saw that it had gotten so hot, it warped and leaked!

I posed it next to a fresh box to show the difference.

The piece on the left is the culprit.  Even with those old dyes, I got amazing, beautiful, rich color!  I will have to over-dye the purple and the pink to make them periwinkle and fuchsia for a special order; but I just have to say... I am hot!

Oh -- and that piece at the top of this post?  It was a present from the hot dyers at "...And Then We Set it on Fire"  to celebrate their topping 100 followers.  Pretty keen, huh?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Finishing Up May

 My design wall this first Monday in June has three different projects going.

The stuff on the far left has been there a while.

The fabric in the middle is Jenny's.  It's part of the Round Robin of surface design that I joined at "...And Then We Set It On Fire".  I'll have more to say about that soon.

The stuff on the right is for my new Nook cover.

The cover closes with Velcro.  I made a pocket -- but it's mostly for looks.  I have a couple of business cards in it.

I made little loops on the sides in case I decide I need a strap.
I pieced the back side and quilted it with a swirling feather motif.  I had some really cool new thread -- it was supposed to be cotton, but I'm guessing it's really rayon.  It kept breaking, so I had to change out the needle and have the spool unwind from next to the machine.  But I finally got it to work.

From my Sparkly friend, Donna, I received this beautiful composition book with extra fabric.  Donna knew that blue is my favorite color and hibiscus is my favorite flower. Her daughter made this.  It's just wonderful!

And my Sparkly friend, Jean, sent me this little chicken potholder.  It's too cute to use.  But it will be happy living in my kitchen.

To see other design walls, click here to go to Judy's blog.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Spring's Coming Up All Over!

 I've been waiting seven years for these to bloom.  I liberated them from my previous house when we moved.  Every year they come up and withstand the onslaught of basketballs, soccer balls, and bouncy balls.  And every year, beautiful green spiky leaves, but no flowers.

I fertilized, watered, and sang (really!) to them, but no flowers.

Imagine my delight to see buds shooting up through the leaves this spring.

It has taken weeks, or at least it seems like weeks, for the buds to bloom.

I think they're spectacular!

The peony was all buds yesterday, and today, almost all the buds opened into flowers!

The poppies are looking gorgeous!

And the columbine are sweet.  We had almost no spring this year.  The weather went from cold to hot.  We had frost warnings last week and this week it's almost 90 degrees.  I am lamenting the loss of spring -- I love those 70 degree days and cool nights.  But I LOVE these hot temps.  Even with the humidity.  Although, I'm guessing the mosquitoes are coming soon.  Sigh.