Thursday, December 29, 2011

Chocolate and Pink

Here is a quilt I designed in EQ7. The block comes from the Quilters Cache and is called Octagon and Twist. It is a 12 inch block which is made up of four 6 inch blocks, really two different blocks. The Octagon is more familiar as the Snowball block. The "Twist" makes up the rings. I got the idea to look for a block Eleanor Burns demonstrated on The Quilt Show. She calls her quilt "Fabric Frenzy" and it is made with the center square and partial seams. She said it was a traditional block, but I don't know what her block is. In looking for a similar block I found this one on Marcia Hohn's quilt block website.

My quilt measures 60 x 72 including the 6 inch borders. I have some lovely brown fabric that I won at our quilt chapter auction that I had in mind for this quilt. Now to search for the perfect pinks. I've found in
playing with colors for this quilt in EQ7 that I like a good contrast in colors to emphasize the interlocking rings.

I'm not sure that this quilt will ever get made, but I had fun designing it and wanted to share it with you. My quilt group will be meeting soon and I will have to see what is planned for the coming months. I may want to put my limited time into one of the projects in our line up.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

On the first day of Christmas...

Look what my DH gave me for Christmas! The Art of Elegant Hand Embroidery, Embellishment and Applique by Janice Vaine. Published by Landauer in 2011. What a gorgeous book! Kudos to my DH for bravely going into our local Joann's to find this book for me. He talked to a male employee (I think it really was an angel because I have NEVER seen a male employee at our Joann's) who showed him where to find the books. 

The book includes how to do needleturn applique, embellishment techniqes including embroidery stitches, fabric techniques, ribbonwork, and stumpwork. The book includes a DVD which lets you print the patterns for the many 4 inch blocks, the 8 inch blocks, and the 16 inch block and a swag used in one of the quilts. The quilts include one done in redwork. Excellent photos and drawings showing the stitches and techniques. 

Here is the chickadee block I worked on Christmas afternoon. The branches are Encroaching Stem Stitch. The berries are beads. The leaves (using variegated embroidery floss) are done in Fishbone Stitch. The Chickadee is outlined first in split stitch and then filled in with long and short stitches. The eye is a black bead. He's pretty cute, don't you think? I love the Fishbone stitch, very effective for the leaves. 

So, now I'm enjoying my day off and am going upstairs to stitch and listen to an audiobook from Audible. I'm listening to Time and Again by Jack Finney.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Tangerine Tango

Tangerine Tango, the color of the year!
Wow, 2012 is going to shake things up! 

Monday, December 12, 2011


I've signed up for TAST! TAST stands for Take a Stitch Tuesday. Sharon Boggon of PinTangle is hosting this year-long event again this year. Every Tuesday she will post a new stitch and participants will have a week to learn and play with variations and threads. If you have never looked at Sharon's "For the Love of Stitching" band sampler, currently 74.8 feet long, then take a look. Want to sign up? TAST begins January 3, 2012. It's free and if you don't have time one week, well just hop back in when you are free. That's what I like, no pressure, just some fun. 

So, in preparation for TAST I made this strip. The center strip is 7 inches. That will be the width of my sampler. The side pieces are also 7 inches and will give me room to put my work in an embroidery hoop. At some point I may fold those sides in for a backing. The very bottom center stip is a piece of cotton print. Next up is a 6 inch x 7 inch piece of Aida cloth. Then a little checkerboard strip made up of 1 inch squares. Above that is a piece of linen, another fabric strip, more Aida cloth, and finally another fabric strip.

This is enough to get me started and I hope it works so I can keep adding fabrics and Aida cloth as the year progresses. 

Here's a sweet little heart I made today. I saw the inspiration for this heart on Stitchin Fingers. A whole lotta  darling hearts done Crazy Quilt style! Mine has silk ribbon French knot flowers, lace threaded with silk ribbon, embroidery with "Wildflowers" thread embellished with beads. What fun!

Sunday ramble

Here's a Christmas ornament I made recently. The embroidery pattern comes from an old Erica Wilson book from the library. Amazon has used copies for sale, wow you really can find everything on the internet.
Embroidered with cotton floss on a delicate polka dot fabric. Felt frame and backing. I machine embroidered the felt to the red backing and then used a wavy blade in a rotary cutter to finish the edge.
Another ornament, same method but this is a motif from Christmas fabric. 

Sunday, Bill and I went for a hike. We left Tonks and Weasley lazing in the December sunshine. 

Bill at Morse Mountain beside a cliff in the woods.

View of the estuary and out to sea

See those holes and all that pitch? I suspect a pileated woodpecker did that. 

Old saltwater farm. 
This old house is on the path to the ocean. 

Shadows on the wall.

A view of the sea.

Shutters closed for the winter.

This metal pipe is growing right through this branch. The pipe goes all the way to the ground and must be 10 feet long.
If only that tree could talk.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Quilt Show!

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These slides show some of the quilts I have made over the years, some finished, some not. These are pieces that have been stored away in a trunk. I think you will enjoy looking at them, some will be familiar, some not. I quickly took these pictures so my DD can choose which one or ones she would like me to send to her for her new apartment in North Carolina.

The last two slides show what I have been playing with lately, silk ribbon embroidery and regular hand embroidery with cotton floss. I made the base, meaning the solid fabrics with the rubber stamped images, a number of years ago when I did a lot of hand dyes. That little hanging has been sitting and stewing all this time! I'm just having fun with it now. 

I've been working on some other pieces, too, but those are stealth projects. Christmas is coming!

I hope you enjoy the show, lumpy quilts and all. :-)  Do you have a favorite?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It's A Beautiful Day

I watched this on LuAnn's May Your Bobbin Always Be Full blog and just had to share it with you. It is the season of love and it all begins with loving yourself, doesn't it? When we open our hearts with gratitude, we shine with love. Enjoy....

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Over the river and through the woods
Trot fast my dapple gray.
Spring over the ground
Like a hunting hound
On this Thanksgiving Day, Hey!
Over the river and through the woods
Now Grandmother's face I spy.
Hurrah for the fun,
Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie."
-   English folksong, It's Raining, It's Pouring 

Happy Thanksgiving!
I'm grateful for all my wonderful quilting friends and readers.
Enjoy this holiday-make some memories!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

"November comes 

And November goes, 

With the last red berries 

And the first white snows.

With night coming early, 
And dawn coming late, 
And ice in the bucket 
And frost by the gate.

The fires burn 
And the kettles sing, 
And earth sinks to rest 
Until next spring."
-  Elizabeth Coatsworth

Picture from The Graphics Fairy

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Crazy Placemat

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Here's what I've been doing this weekend...having fun! I was inspired by a placemat I inherited from my mother which was made by her friend Fran. I'm still fine tuning this. The corner or "theme" fabric looks a bit busy so I am trying it with a hand dyed solid. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Five of us from Backroad Quilters worked on a new banner for our chapter over the summer. Carolee came up with the idea and I was enthusiastic right from the start. I read about "slice" quilts quite a few years ago and always wanted to try it. Just Google "slice quilts" and you will find other images that will amaze you. 
Karen and her husband Joe came up with an image that was Photoshopped to create a typical house and barn in our rural area. The house, barn, mailbox, and other details were all from different locations. From that picture we had a full size poster made and cut that into five vertical strips. We each took a strip home and recreated the image in fabric over the summer. We did not confer with one another as to what we were doing, what fabrics we were choosing or methods we were using (well Karen and I talked a little bit since our pieces were side by side, but you wouldn't really know that we did!). The idea is to have the strips fit together to make the whole image but each strip is individual. I really like the differences in these quilts! The differences really make the piece so interesting. 
Here Carolee is placing a vinyl overlay over her poster slice and fabric slice to show how she put it all together. I did the same thing with mine. You place the vinyl over the photo and trace the outlines with a marker, that makes it easier to line up all the elements and get the right shapes. 

Carolee painted her flowers. We all had the same road fabric and the same sky fabric. That brings some cohesion to the final quilt. Carolee and Lori had two halves of the barn and they both chose the same fabric!

I had the far left slice. I used a batik for the mail box that came out quite well, don't you think?  I made the house twice, the first one just didn't work out. I pleated the fabric to make the clapboards and it looked really good, but the peak at the roofline just came apart. It's funny that Karen did the same thing and hers looks great. The rock wall behind the mail box was a challenge for all of us. Interesting to see how others handled that. I did not paint any of my slice, but others chose that method quite successfully. I used fusible web for my appliques. The yellow daylilies are waiting to be sprinkled among the leaves around the post. 

Lori sewed the slices together. Doesn't she look happy? We all met at the snowmobile clubhouse and worked together one weekend to put it all together. 


We got it done in time for the Backroad Quilt show which was held last weekend. I think it looks awesome, how about you? 

See the little piece above the barn door? That is our old banner-printed from a photo on fabric.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Santa Fe Sunset

Santa Fe Sunset!
I made this wall hanging for the living room to hang above my new loveseat which is a sandy gold color with black wood trim. I've never been to Santa Fe, but this is how I imagine sunset would look like with a thousand stars in the night sky.

I used Eleanor Burns Radiant Star Quilts book for the basic layout and used her strip technique to sew the star together. EQ7 helped me audition colorways. Believe me I came up with a hundred different colorways! The quilt measures approximately 52x52.

I embroidered the black squares and triangles with DMC #5 perl cotton. Then I added the gold sequins and beads. Lots of sparkle! It really twinkles when the lights are low.

The quilting was done on my domestic Janome sewing machine. I made another lone star quilt a few years ago and quilted it the same way. I used the free motion mode zig zag and stitched through the center of each diamond. 

A few more sparklies in the center...

My DD took some macro shots with my camera. Cool! 
I free motion stitched the borders with some loopy loops  and spirals. 

Santa Fe Sunset will be shown at the Backroad Quilters show in West Gardiner, Maine next weekend. Come and see!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

October Blessings

Today DD and I went to beautiful Popham Beach. Apparently it was bring your horse day as we saw at least eight horses there. The horses were beautiful, the day was beautiful. Today was the last breath of summer in Maine and a good day to take in the sun, sand, and sea.

Here's my latest project. I'm calling it Santa Fe Sunset. Never been to Santa Fe, but I would love to go there. I used Eleanor Burns' book Radiant Star Quilts for cutting instructions. I tested many, many colorways on EQ7 before coming up with this one. I made the star and then chose the black background. Black really makes the colors pop! 

We bought a new sofa and loveseat this summer so I thought a new wallhanging was in order. The sofa is black leather and the loveseat is a dull gold with black wood trim. When I stand in front of the wood stove in the kitchen this winter I will be able to look at my Santa Fe star. 

I've been wanting to add embroidery to a quilt and decided to try it on this one. I used a special pen from Clover that works better than anything I have ever tried before. I love my Chaco chalk marker, but I really like this pen from Clover, too. It is just like an ink pen. You don't see the white line immediately, it takes a couple of seconds for the line to appear. To remove simply run an iron over the lines and they are GONE!

I made a one inch square grid with the marker. I used DMC perl cotton #5 to make lazy daisy Xs in each square. Next comes the sparkle! I am going to add gold sequins and beads. I finished the machine quilting today and added the binding. Now I will sew on, well, best not to count how many, the sequins and beads.

I am trying to get this done for the Back Road Quilt Show in West Gardiner, Maine on Saturday Oct. 24 and 25. I think I can get it done!

Oh, I've also signed up for a silk ribbon class on Quilt University. Lesson 1 started Friday. Behind already, ha ha!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends in Canada!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Silk Ribbons

 Ooo, this is fun! I bought a spool of beautiful white silk ribbon  and Colorhue instant set liquid dye from Dharma Trading recently. Here is the setup in my kitchen. The tray is filled with plastic cups. I cut 2 yard lengths of ribbon and put the ribbon in the plastic cups.

Pink, rose, greens, lavender, mauve, pretty! I put a few drops of dye in a cup of water and poured the dye over the ribbon. Voila! Lovely silk ribbon for embroidery.

I use these Floss Away baggies to store the ribbons as well as various embroidery threads, cotton, linen, and silk. The bags are all slipped onto a metal ring for easy storage and access.

I dyed some squares of silk fabric and organza, too.

Silk ribbon flowers and leaves. I'm just learning how to do these, so they are less than perfect. Some are french knots, some are made using the ribbon stitch. The green stitching at the top of the photo is chain stitch using a variegated thread and sequins. The idea for that came from Sharon B of Pin Tangle.

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!