Saturday, November 16, 2013

Finally, A New Website

I finally made myself a brand-new website, it is at  , please go and take a look. It doesn't have everything I've ever made, just the more recent stuff.
Let me know what you think!
I'm torn on whether to keep my old website up, it doesn't work for me very well, and it is impossible to edit (which is why it sat there unchanged for so long!). But there's so much written on there and all those pictures.

Friday, November 15, 2013

PIQF Purchases

PIQF was great this year, so many familiar faces, new and old quilts. Noticed lots of birds and squids (?!) on many quilts. I didn't upload any of my quilt pictures this year, sorry.
And it's always a good excuse to buy some new quilting supplies because there are so many vendors all in one place.
I always have to get something Halloween related since the show is around that time and I'm in the mood, this time it was these great vintage Halloween postcards printed on fabric

A new ruler for shapes I hardly ever use, the Hex n More by Jaybird Quilts, I've been wanting to try block making with them. There are a lot of quilt designs that use this ruler and I'll have to pick one.

 Fun fabrics that I don't have a specific use for, just really liked them, especially this last torn newspaper collage print.
A swivel clip d-ring that I need to make a new bag at some point.

Wool thingies to take with me to China because they're lightweight and fun colors.Big felted balls.

As well as smaller ones. And wool circles, why not?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Note From The Management

Big News: I'm moving to China for a year with my husband, and I've set up a blog to capture all the day to day living in another country stuff. If you're interested you can check that out here at Travels With Scissors.  So far it's just pre-trip countdown activity.

I'll still be posting quilting and art related stuff right here. Yes, my sewing machine and related items are traveling with me, I didn't think I'd be able to last a year without them you know? It will interesting to see how and if living in another country influences my work. I can guess at how some things will be affected, but I'm imagining there will be other changes that I won't notice until after I'm back. Blogging has always been about documenting my process and evolution, so that will continue.

(All of the above assumes that I can figure out how to get past the Great Firewall and all that assorted fun stuff.)

Deciding what to bring with me to work on has been a real challenge, and I know that I'll be wishing I had one thing or another. But having to make do and figure out another way to get something done will be a good exercise and hopefully a good learning experience.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Screwy Explanation

Why the big gap in posting between September and November? I had this hardware removed, from my hip.

Don't look at the picture if you don't want the gory details!

And I guess it's taking longer and longer for me to come back to myself after surgery, part of getting older, and so many general anesthesia I think. Having something coherent to say is a challenge for quite a while post-surgery for me so I just went quiet for awhile.

It's kind of cool seeing the hardware in person, after just seeing it on x-rays. It's very heavy for its size (titanium I believe) and utterly smooth. It's surprising that something so small could hold such a major bone together. Looking at it and visualizing how it was situated there on the outside and inside of my bone explains a whole lot of why I had such pain going on the last nine months. Like my surgeon said, some people can tolerate these plates and screws with no problem, and some can't.

Now to figure out how to use this in a quilt somehow. (And put off a hip replacement for as long as possible...)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Wooly Kaleidoscope

Hadn't used Kaleidoscope Kreator program in a while, hadn't installed it on my new laptop (well, new last year), so here's one using a picture of some felted wool balls I recently purchased.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Another Notan Challenge

Another small-group challenge, Notan again, expanding the square was our assignment, along with some embellishment. I looked at my favorite of the paper exercises we did last time and took note of what I liked and didn't like. Didn't like how it went off the page.This was the new one. Whoops! Off the edge of the page. But I liked a lot of the elements and how the design worked together. But I did not want to try and copy it exactly, so this was a warm-up.

I decided to try working with leather and chose a nice deep black, rough on one side and fairly smooth on the other.

 The first two cuts, and it looks like a christmas ornament or maybe a lemon. I used gluestick to hold down the pieces in place.
 I tried to take a picture at each step so I could un-do something I didn't like.
 First one
 And then another.
 Ahhh, almost off the edge.
 Another ornament on the side, or chili pepper I suppose.
 Partially quilted, not free-motion, so the spirals are very wonky.

 And all done. I think I'll add some hand-stitches in white embroidery thread in the center of the square.
I really wanted the square to still be there in my final design and I think I achieved that. And I didn't go off the edge!
Others in the group made some great things, here's a picture of all four of ours together:
 Dolores Miller on the upper right, Maureen Lardie on the lower right, and Geri Patterson-Kutras on the lower left.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Day 3 of Labor Day Sew In

I finally finished the iron tote. Without benefit of the lost buttonhole foot, so please don't look too closely as they're half-assed satin stitched. It's not like I do a lot of buttonholes, so I really don't have a clue where it is.  I have a vague recollection of my machine foot/needle box getting dropped and the contents flew everywhere, so it is probably hiding someplace super weird. Maybe I'll find it when I rearrange my work space (a huge upcoming project).
So it fits, but the folds are goofy, turns out that the pattern I used (very unclear directions!) really could have used an overall diagram for the angled stitching lines for the corners. I don't want to un-stitch it because the stitch holes will be in the pressing surface that's on the inside.
So it's a little lumpier than it is supposed to be.  I think it looks mad in this picture.
I'm still glad I made one, but I won't recommend the pattern to you unreservedly. But next time I go to a class or a retreat, I will have a pressing surface in case there are no ironing boards, and I will be able to put my still-hot iron in the car without worrying about burning up my car upholstery.

I also made one set of ATC's which I can't show until after the Saturday CQFA meeting, and got a start on a largish new quilt made entirely from one of my scrap bins that is not at all ready for a picture  quite yet. More on that one later.
All in all, it was fun to participate in this sew-in, the people were really nice, making interesting quilts and other things, and even though I didn't chat all that much, it still felt like I had some company sewing along with me.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Day 2 of Labor Day Sew In

Sunday I started making an insulated iron tote, from a pattern no less. I'd had all the ingredients for it sitting on my worktable for quite a while taking up too much room. And I got it all done pretty quickly except for the fastening bits where I was stopped in my tracks looking for four largish buttons. First I tried non-matching but I didn't really like this look.

Then I got obsessed with finding four that matched and had to re-sort a large part of my button drawer. "Somebody" had dumped one of the larger containers and the bottom of the drawer was a sea of loose buttons.  An hour later I found these black ones that have lovely etched designs on them. But then I couldn't find my buttonhole foot, and gave up sewing for the day. So much getting tons done on the second day of the Labor Day Sew-In.

Another potential fabric painted for ATC's, this time with Tsunienko inks.

I really like having a colorful clothesline.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Warm September Sun Curing Paintstik Odor

Happy September!
Can you believe summer is pretty much over already?
My youngest kid starts college on Tuesday...

Did some Shiva paintstiks work on this last night, and it was too smelly to leave in my studio workroom,

So it's been hanging up on the clothesline all night and this morning to cure.

I'll iron it later today and see if the smell has gone down enough for me to work with it to make some ATC's. It is supposed to be in the 90's F today, so the warm September sun will undoubtedly help things along.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Labor Day Sew-In 2013

I'm trying something new this year since I'm not going anywhere this long weekend, inspired by friend Jaye:
The Labor Day Sew In 
A group of people communicating over twitter using hashtag #LDSI as we sew all weekend.
If you're interested, come find everyone in the tweetchat room.  People are making everything, quilts, purses, I'm doing ATC's.

So far today I've made this:

I'm calling it Warmed Up, it is 14x14"
It is made using a small portion of the scraps from cutting out a quilt with my friend's Accu-quilt.  As I was sewing I realized that I haven't actually sewn anything in a whole month! Yikes! Out of practice.
So I started out small.  It was meant to be the basis of some ATC's for next Saturday's CQFA meeting, but nope, it was its own thing.

Quilted with orange small satin stitch and lime green zig-zag.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Rim Fire

We were just in Yosemite last week when the Rim Fire started really going. Here is a picture of Yosemite Valley taken from up on Glacier Point with the fire on the horizon.  At first it just looked like a big Sierra thunderhead. This picture was taken Thursday August 22nd at about 1pm. I believe that the fire is around 25 miles away from the spot I was taking the pictures.

But then you look closer and see that  it is actually a huge amount of smoke underneath that white cloud.  The smoke is actually causing its own mini-weather system to form.And the smoke wasn't just contained to one spot it really spread wide depending on the winds of course, but thankfully didn't affect us in Yosemite Valley, or up on Crane Flat campground on Highway 120 (which was closed right after the turnoff for the campground).
 There were some better places to take close up pictures of the smoke the next day when we went up the Tioga Road to Tuolumne Meadows but my husband didn't want to stop, he said it was too scary as we were too close to it. And since he was driving at the time, that was that. He was right of course, because he knows how fire freaks me out because of where we live. Let's just say we were so close that I would not have needed the zoom at all to get some of these pictures because where we were driving was right on the other side of those mountains that you see. Also it was a day later and the fire had doubled in size.

I really hope that the fire is able to be controlled enough where there are homes and towns, and that of course the firefighters stay as safe as possible. But I also hope they let the rest burn, this forest needs it, there's been too many years without a fire. Also the sequoias don't grow unless there is a fire, the seeds don't come out of the pods, there's too much shade from other faster-growing trees, etc. Fire is part of what is supposed to happen in these mountainous forests,
 On Friday as we drove back down to the valley to leave on 140, we stopped at a pullout near the turnout to Foresta and looked back up the mountain towards the fire.  The halo ring was new.
All I could keep thinking was this is Nature's Terrible Beauty, unstoppable (at least for a time) by humans, necessary and vital to the ecosystem, and so aesthetically beautiful in a abstract don't think about the trees burning and the animals running and the humans in danger kind of way.

Monday, August 05, 2013


Happy Moon-Day
This is how she looked last month , being cradled by our trees.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Paint Strip Challenge

A Mono-chromatic paintstrip challenge for CQFA.
This is the paint strip that I drew. Not my favorite colors to work with, so it will be a challenge.

We used very simple rules: Blindly pick one paint strip. Trading was allowed.
Make an 11x17" quilt using only those colors.
Here was my process:
 I picked out all these wild materials at FabMo, velvet, silk, linen, vinyl, polyester, upholstery fabric. I used the paint strip to "shop", but had some color surprises once I got them home under my Ott-light and not in the not very well lit warehouse space that FabMo is housed in.  Quite a few weren't even close. So I worked with what really matched the paint strip colors.
 I quickly settled on a design that I liked, and had to figure out how to quilt it.

 All the vinyl rectangles were removed since I didn't want to pin them and have the pinholes to deal with.
 All the edges stitched down.

A lot of additional machine embroidery stitching added.
The stack of reptile-skin vinyl rectangles, cut and glue sticked together, ready to place back on the quilt surface.

 This quilt is all about the overlapping of edges.
 So here it is done, now titled Harvest.
 And a bunch of super-duper close-ups so you can see all the stitching.
 I like how the thread stays on the top of the vinyl, not sinking in at all like it does on the velvet.