Thursday, December 18, 2014


Some bits of holiday sewing from this year:

Back in June, I found some really great ocean fabrics at the shop on Sanibel Island. I sewed a few gifts for my husband's aunt and uncle, who so graciously hosted our family at their beautiful home there. For his aunt, I used a pretty seashell print to make a tree skirt:
Beachy tree skirt!
I added some watery and sandy coordinates and meander quilted all over it. Pattern is Over Under by Swirly Girls Design.

And for his uncle, my tried-and-true shirt pattern!
Nautical shirt!
 I was particularly pleased with the alignment of the pocket:

Merry Christmas, Mary and Jim!!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Gonna make it...

Miss me? This is how I have felt this semester:

(If you can't see the embedded here.)

But the last exam is written, the grading is all caught up, estoy lista para my Spanish test, and so I have a few moments for some stitchery. I chopped up all the little bitty pieces for a Pixel Pop quilt, using some periwinkle fabrics that have been canoodling in my Strategic Fabric Reserves for quite some time. I guess it's time for their love to be out in the open.

Pixel Pop -- neat name for a fun modern design
I'm making the smaller (45 x 55") version with pops of the little Tula Pink charm packs that I got when I sewed the shirt for Ms. Pink's brother.

The sewing for this quilt is simple, but the challenge is keeping the bits organized -- I'll see how well I did as I work through each block. The accent fabric is just slightly darker than the main background, with a little shimmer that doesn't photograph well but looks really fun in the sunlight.
Block A, Pixel Pop

Friday, September 19, 2014

Color Journals: Grey for Lisa

I couldn't wait to get my turn at this project. Lisa chose grey as her color, and rather than making a book, she asked us all to make small panels that would hang together in her meditation room. I'm next-to-last on this project, so I had the delight of looking at her amazing collection of pieces for the whole Aug-Sept month. I didn't want to presume to photograph other people's work for my blog, and I am sorry that you, my Faithful Readers, can't see it. It's astonishing how much color variation exists within the realm of "grey."

I used 1" diamonds in 36 different fabrics to build a hexagon, then I quilted it with -- what else? -- the flower of life motif that works so well with this pattern. I added a little swirly feathering in the grey border, and some beads for some sparkly contrast along the edges.
Lisa's grey hex panel
I wasn't sure what to do for the back, but just as I was getting this project together, Urban Threads offered a free (!) pattern that was perfect for the "healing" theme that Lisa requested. Serendipity!! The border fabric is a text piece with words like "zen", "wabi sabi" etc.---another bit of serendipity brought to you courtesy of the Strategic Fabric Reserves.
Reverse of Lisa's grey hex panel
In the lower photo, you may be able to make out the snowflake obsidian beads that I used to attach it to the neighboring piece. I'm sure she'll be sharing this next summer at the Greater Hartford Quilt Show -- don't miss it!! I am super jealous (not in a Deadly Sin sort of way, just in a Profound Appreciation sort of way) that I didn't come up with this idea for my own project.

We're in the last round now, so I have to make a green garden page for Holly...and then I can post photos of my own spectacular orange hex book!!

Color Journals: Blue and Brown for Rose

I made this page earlier in the summer, but since Rose was on vacation when I showed it, I held off on blogging so she would see it in person first. Her colors really aren't "mine" although I do appreciate the sky/earth concept that she has mentioned several times. I know that Rose's family enjoyed a trip to Alaska several years ago, so I started with a Google search for "Alaskan art." The native motifs of salmon, bear, and orca jumped off the (virtual) page at me, and I fine-tuned the search for some clipart that I could replicate in fabric.
Within the bowels of the Strategic Fabric Reserves, the perfect fabric was lurking. I must have purchased it specifically for this very project; the colors were spot-on and the motifs looked like they were lifted directly off a totem pole.
From the Andover Facets collection
I started with scrappy strips of the focus fabric and other coordinating browns and blues to make a frame, then I created the whale on a piece of ultra pale blue batik that had a very faint chunky swirl print, just the right background for this style. I fused every piece separately and satin-stitched around the edges. I used a Micron pigma pen to draw in smallest eyes (in the brown diamonds on the dorsal fin and tail), free-motioned spirals all over the background, then added a beaded plume.
Rose's orca journal page
Detail, Rose's orca journal page
For the back, I used another of the Facets print:
Alaskan orca journal page (reverse)
 My husband has requested a copy of this project to hang in our house.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Museum pieces

The New Britain Museum of American Art is opening a quilt-related exhibit next month, and for the holiday season the lobby tree will be decorated with small art pieces by the Studio Art Quilt Associates members (that's me, finally!!), for sale to museum visitors. These are the ones I have prepared so far.
"Ave" (5.25 x 6.75")

"Maypole Dance" (8.5 x 11")

"Wavelengths" (8.5 x 11")

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Gypsy Wife quilt (top), September 2014
Assembling the ten segments of the quilt was a process that required, above all, organization. I laid out 63 1.5" strips across my entire ironing board and cutting table so I could keep them in the correct order through the whole assembly. I also numbered the strips on the pattern before cutting anything, to make sure a single fabric ran the entire length of the quilt (even across three different segments). I don't know how I would have done this if I didn't have a dedicated space where I could leave the strips out for the entire time. Having the big wall was also critical. Due to the space hogging reality of this quilt, it practically demanded being finished rapidly. I can't live with that kind of mess for too long, and I need the wall back so Cedric can finish his Settlers of Catan quilt and Ingrid can get her Cloud Nine rows together.

If I did this again (?), I'd do a few things differently. First of all, I'd put together a big chart with the complete cutting requirements (width and length, subdivided into piece lengths) for each strip, cross referenced by segment. I can do that in Excel. Second, as I made the blocks I'd sort them into ten envelopes, arranged by segment . It would be a lot easier to just pull out one segment at a time instead of sweating over which piece belonged on which area of the wall. It got a little confusing sorting out which blocks were 3" v 3.5" or which width border belonged in which position.

Ultimately, I think of this project in three ways: (A) a test of one's ability to complete a jigsaw puzzle, (B) a clear testament to one's shopping prowess and preferences, and (C) a spectacularly eye-dazzlingly beautiful thing.

My mental processes are now considering how I could achieve this kind of effect on the isometric grid (hexagons!) at a larger size...

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Our Guest Bed

Cleaning closets. Unfolding quilts. I like to store my finished projects on the bed in our guest room so they won't get permanent creases. Here's how I "made the bed" yesterday. Gulp. I'm starting to worry about the ceiling collapsing onto our family room.

Rapid City in autumnal scraps

California Kendra Cousin Challenge from 2012

Nouveau New Wave

Log Cabin a la Lewitt

Northern Lights - full spectrum

Just Can't Cut It

Comic tumblers

Grad Plaid

BQ Intrepid Explorer quilt

Taupe batiks


Tracking Sandy

Perfect Square in black and white

Bright scrappy triangles

Modern Sochi!

Seahorses in hexes

Holiday Grand Opening

Pink Rink

Batik Challenge -- my first attempt at FMQ

Made but not submitted for Keepsake's Nine-Patch challenge

Hunter's Star

From class with Carol Taylor

Cheddar No Crackers -- Tula Pink charms

Ghastlies meet the Bard

Serenity Now!

I made this in high school (1988?). Candlewicking blocks, bad hand quilting.

Forest Floor Lotus

Mister DJ in cool scraps

Cloud Nine in Floragraphix
 And then, quilts happily stacked, I basted up another:
I scream!!
OK, maybe it's time to start an Etsy shop...