31 December 2013

It is SO good to be back

I know you have all been wondering about Judith's and my play date. WELL... does nivana mean anything to you. My Muse was back. It had been 6 months and lots of hugs ensued!!

We were SO excited and Judith created like a whirlwind and I took photos. BEST of all she is coming back this Friday for more fun. I have a few new toys to add to the table

 Exhaust vent and washing machine hosing.

These will be shared Friday and the chain below was Judith's offering from last week.

Without giving too much away, Judith was so excited about what we had (she had) done that she wanted to be the February guest artist on the FIRE blog. Good going Judith!!

So on Jan 2, you can check out what Judith will be doing and I know, I will be playing along and adding my take on her work. Please feel free to add your own work as you try these truly unique techniques.

27 December 2013


Today is the day and I used my random selector

The Japanese Quilting piece by piece goes to Upstate Lisa

Bobby Britnell's New Book
Stitched Textiles: Flowers goes to Marjay

The winner of Sliver quilts is Marjolin

And the winner of the Fabric Dyers Dictionary is Mia

If you don't know my email address just use the contact form at the bottom of this page and your new books will be winging their way to your homes around the world.

Happy New Years to you all!!

24 December 2013

Two more books to win

Here are two more books for anyone to comment on.

This seemed interesting and had some good improvisational ideas:

The Fabric Dyers Dictionary is fairly new and filled with recipes for getting just the colors your are looking for.

SO to recap. The Japanese quilt book is a US only book because of the heavy weight but the other three books are up for grabs by any followers in the world.
Best of luck and a Happy Christmas, Solstice and New Year to all. 

Winners announced Friday Dec 27th.

22 December 2013

End of year give-away

I have 2 really wonderful new books. Since one of them is VERY heavy, I am asking for comments from US followers because of the cost of postage. SO the other book will be for followers from outside the US only. Here they are:

This book is packed with quilted bag projects including full sized patterns. You can get a great description on the Amazon website.

This is for followers from outside the US only:

Comment away and at the end of the week I will pick a recipient. I may even add another book or two so stay tuned. Final selection Dec 27th.

17 December 2013

Judith is coming for a playdate

Finally after all this time, I feel confident that I can "do a day" with another human.  Six weeks of Chemo left and I am so chuffed!! Can't wait to be normal again.
Now to really get your interest going, this is what I bought for the play date.

Oh Yeah!! and more to come.... Dock rope and bilge hosing.

12 December 2013

Preview of coming attaractions

36 circles done. These are SOME of them on my bed just to preview and I have to say I am very pleased. I have spent countless hours agonizing over assembly. I want as few joins as possible yet keep the pieces to be joined small enough to quilt as I go.

My plan so far is to seam 6 across, cut oversized batting and backing and quilting the entire strip to within an inch of each edge. This way I would have 6 six foot strips to join. I can use the strip method from the tutorial

Or maybe just seam them without a strip. I am "planning" on adding an olive 2" boarder then a purple 3" boarder and finishing with 1/2 binding since they are replaceable with wear.

Each circle will have it's own free motion quilt design and you KNOW the spider web with the black shiny spider with be in residence!!

06 December 2013

Blocks done ...almost

I finished sewing all the curved blocks then while stacking them in units found I was 9 short.

Best thread EVER

Remember this is the fabric I ran out of which I dyed pouring random unmeasured amounts of dye in a cement mixer.

cement mixer (BIG) from Home Pot

I HAD to make more so I went down without a camera  but with the cement mixer and starting pouring random amounts. The purple came out great (four yards) but the olive green ( 3 yards) was a challenge and the colors I was adding kept striking so it came out fair. Not really a matchy-match but good enough to use as sashing with the purple as a buffer.

You can see the random colors in the olive on the left

I cut out 2 olives and 18 purples and will sew them together, organize the  4 block creations and sew them tomorrow.

 Today I am going to Bangor, Maine (45 minutes away) to get a few things including a leather foot for my Bernina. Expect some amazing this to be done with that. I have 4 big bails of leather.
My REAL up front project is finishing the wool piece for the fire blog. I must have that done, photographed and posted through December THIS WEEK.

The upside of making another 4 yards of purple is that I can use the QAYG method now that I have strips to join with. More about this "plan" later.

03 December 2013

kitchen finished finally

When my parents moved in with me 7 years ago, their apartment was my former kitchen. I took the small dining room in my house and extended it out making a huge kitchen which you have seen as my "wet studio" in many blog post.
About a year and a half ago my brother painted the long empty wall this darkish blue with plans to add open shelves later .
Well, this week that day finally arrived when our carpenter Dan, came  and did a few small home repairs one being the addition of the much awaited shelves. 
Over years I have collected various pieces of pottery, most from Germany where I lived with my first husband. Some of these pieces I bought at age 18 and many although very cheap in price have great sentimental meaning . One is a small cobalt tea pot I bought for a mark (at that time 25 cents) but it means the world to me. 
Here is the process:

I sanded down this butcher block top of my dishwasher (IKEA) because of multiple burns and stains. The latest burn was dark and deep and although I did a good job, the burn is still a bit visible. To sand deeper would have left deep grooves so I am happy.

See the little cobalt tea pot in its place of honor? I love that little tea pot. There is an entire story about that day. It was an amazing day.

Preparing for Thanksgiving day dinner.

01 December 2013

Free 6 month membership to the Quilt Show"

Both taken now!

I have 2 free 6 month memberships to the Quilt show to give away. The show is a mix of traditional and art quilting but is moving closer to the art quilt genre. It is online so anyone can view the shows. I have been a member for years and even though there may be a show with traditional quilts, I rarely fail to learn something.
If you are interested. contact me via my contact form at the bottom of the page.

22 November 2013

A peek at a circle

Had a bad weekend so this MAY be the only thing I have for Friday.

 Four blocks in formation.

I will try to get 16 done and set up as the traditional 16 square Drunkards Path. 
If I do circles, there will be 36 circles and if I do the traditional Drunkards Path, there will be 9.

I also received a 3000 yds cone of periwinkle for the top quilting. I love Superiors "Bottom Line" thread. It's a fine 60 wt thread, eliminates bulk and leaves a nice smooth flat finish. Hopefully I will be adding to this later in the week.

OK, now I really feel silly. I did the 16 blocks and when I went to arrange them realized that I was supposed to have had a different cut out pattern if I was going to do the traditional drunkards path. I cut half green pies and half purple L's. For the traditional I would have to have cut 1/4 green pies, 1/4 green L's, 1/4 purple pies and 1/4 purple L's. Oops. Guess I am committed to a circle  quilt which WAS the original idea. With the circle quilt I can do a quilt as you go design which will be far easier than trying to quilt an entire queen sized quilt under a home machine. So I guess I'm good to go!

19 November 2013

The felted bag is finsihed

This project was a bit of a lark and a way of using up some of the smelly wool I purchased last year. Surprisingly most of the smell left after the dyeing process. After all the color choices I made, I wasn't that thrilled with the effect of the two yarns combined but what the heck. Another problem was not really knowing how many stitches to cast on. I did a gauge swatch and all was good until I ran out of yarn. This cute square bag ended up looking like a clutch.

Here I sewed the sides with double yarn on the outside because I wanted a tightly felted seam.
Next I popped the entire piece into a pot of boiling water for a while and stirred. I then added the knitted piece as well as all the boiling water to my front loader (lots of pounding motion for the felting process) and set it on the "sanitize" cycle - boiling!!

I didn't even realize this was inside out but I actually like this side better.

The felting process really blended the colors much better than I anticipated. 

Right side out is a bit boring. Think I will stick with purl side out.

So now I have an oddly shaped purse but what I did learn was 
1) Use 17 needles with 2 strands of yarn, 
2) Knowing the finished size of the piece I can plan an appropriate number of stitches to cast on,
3) Dye more than one skein of each color

I am going to try to make some sewn on leather handles.
Expectations were low since this entire project was a lark but I have to admit, it looks pretty good. The handles are pigskin with clothesline as piping.

15 November 2013

Squares Cut but...

Here I thought I was way safe by dyeing 4 yards of purple and 2 yards of green. Oh well. I needed 196 squares to get 49 blocks done but I ended up with 144 squares of purple and less of green. Fortunately I use so much olive I had a few scraps left around and managed to get just enough (144) to make 36 blocks.
Thank goodness for that.

So now my 7 ( 12") block by 7 (12") block has become a 6 (12") block by 6 (12") block with a 6" boarder. It could have been much worse. I will still end up with my 7 foot square quilt. The only thing is that now there is no room for mistakes.

Another thing is that I have been rethinking the circles in favor of the tradition layout of the Drunkard Path. When I get the blocks cut and sewn, I will do a final layout on the floor and make my decision. Remember this is going to be a quilt-as-you-go project.

Now on to the circle cuts, yikes!!

12 November 2013

Telling it like it is

Recently a friend of mine posted about her health crisis and that her way of posting might change.
Well, many of you know about my breast cancer diagnosis this past summer and to tell you the truth, the chemo has really got me down for the count. Tomorrow I start a new chemotherapeutic agent which I hope will be a bit kinder. Between the nausea and fatigue I sometimes don't make it out of bed and my ambition has gone out the window.
I am the guest blogger on the And then we set it on fire blog for December. I am so excited about the project but can't seem to get out of my own way. I am also looking at the fabric I dyed for the circle quilt and can't seem to move. I think unless you've been on chemo, it is hard to imagine the extent of the fatigue.
I am telling you all this because I too will be continuing to post but the posts may be less frequent and not connected to one another. It's the best I can do now.
Now to add a picture. This is the hat with a brim I knitted all blocked and ready to wear. Hope to see you here soon. 

08 November 2013

Answers to Tie-dye Judy's question

Wow! I have never tried dyeing wool because I thought it had to be boiled... now that I know it can be done like silk, I might just have to give it a try! I found a gal not too far away who raises llamas and sells her yarn... can't wait to see what you do with yours! BTW, did you have to use anything after to soften the yarn, or did it stay fairly soft? 

The only difference is instead of soda ash I use 1 cup vinegar (white) to a gallon of water for a mordant. The dye is a ACID dye which will last a year (or more) mixed in bottles so it is so easy to grab and go. I had this mixed, heated in the microwave on half power for 10 minutes. I covered with plastic wrap the punched about 10 slits with a sharp knife. All these are must does. Mordant, acid dye, microwave, half power for 10 minutes (that's for a skein) and punched slits in the plastic wrap or you'll burn your material (ask me how I know). I use a dedicated corning ware pot and then I can go directly from the microwave to the sink and rinse in cold water. Squeeze and rinse til water is clear then squeeze out and hang to dry. I hang them in the shower. It takes two days to dry thoroughly. I use a swift to roll into balls. This is the one I bought. Didn't think I would use it much but I'm actually surprised how often I do use it - four times this month. It breaks down into a thin box and you can just slip it on a shelf.
The yarn did stay soft but still smells a bit. I am going to knit a boiled wool (felted) hand bag and THEN I will wash it in Woolite.
Wool dye (acid) does have to reach boiling but the microwave can do it in 10 minutes. The acid dye must be mixed with boiling water as well. Boil in- boil out.

Easily fits in box for easy storage

Sets up in less than a minute

I will be using the two strands together to knit the felted bag

05 November 2013

Side Tracked

Today is senior day at the Co-op where we buy most of our food. When I returned and put the food away I was overcome by a compulsion to dye wool. Go figure! 
A few weeks ago I went to a craft fair and bought two cute felted handbags. A local teacher knit them and they were so cute. Now the long story. A friend told me about a friend of hers who had sheep and was learning to spin wool. She said this woman had a large amount and wanted to sell it cheap. I bought it sight unseen and this was the bag of wool.

At the top of the bag you can see the one skein I wound into a ball. Well, I thought knitting a bag with double strands on big needles might be a way of using up some of this wool. It really smells bad. So today the dyeing bug bit and this is what I did.

I picked out 2 skeins

Look like ramen doesn't it? I poured in vinegar water and blue dye on one side.

I mixed yellow and blue for green

I added that to the other side

Ask me why this is a dye only microwave? I ended up burning some silk while trying to dye it and the microwave instantly became my dye only microwave.

Now I see that I should have flipped the skein over for better color saturation so I made sure I did on the second skein.

This time I just mixed it in the pot

It is actually purple

As you can see here