February ufo done

In spite of everything, I did get this finished this weekend.  I laid in bed and hand quilted while being very sick.  I would quilt a little then watch a long movie on Showtime (we had a free weekend of Showtime).  I’m still sick but slowly moving to the vertical world.  I will write more when I feel better and do a more complete wrap up.

friday night sew in-finished quilt top

I finished the top!  Yesterday, my husband and I went to Joanne’s and found this fabric. The bonus of having a husband who is an artist is getting out-of-the-box color advice. I knew I would be using orange in this quilt, but I never would have picked this peach color.  I think I would have used a rustier color, but  I love the way the peach makes the quilt glow. I had the intention of adding a frame of pieced squares, but I just liked the fabric I bought so much I went with it.  I was able to get the top completely sewn last night.  Hopefully, today or tomorrow I will get the quilt basted.  I think I am on track to have it done for February, my second ufo done for 2011.

Finally a use for snow…

 I am no fan of snow.  But finally I found a winter sport I could get behind.  I saw some posts for snow dying and I got really excited.

Here’s a picture of my project right after I assembled it.

If you want to try it yourself there are two links:

Bloom, Bake & Create Snow Dyeing Part 1

Bloom, Bake & Create Snow Dyeing Part 2

I laid down several layers of fabric under the snow.  First, one of Eliott’s white t-shirts.

This turned out very well. There is nice blending, but the colors came out pretty intense.  The next layer I did was some plain muslin.  My son had stencilled on it: a flame, a staff and a snake; but besides that it was all off-white.

The blue line is the snake stencil.  I still had pretty intense colors and some blending, some sharp edges.  In this next photo, you can see the flame, the staff and the snake.

The bottom layer was some random white fabric.  I think it was a lining for a skirt.  It is probably a cotton/polyester blend.  It really didn’t accept the dye very well.  I believe this is the fiber content that caused this, not the process or the fact that was on the bottom.  Here’s the photos in any case:

I did like the process. It was very clean for a dyeing process, and I ended up with some intense colors.  Next time I will be more intentional about how I lay the dye down on the snow.  I also want to experiment by melting the snow more quickly to see if I get distinct snow-like patterns.

silk quilt ufo 10, problems and solutions


Thanks to Deanna for noticing that the quilt has an Amish palette, I’ ve overcome my initial confusion about the palette of the quilt.  I’ve also overdyed the most obnoxious colors. I didn’t get as big of color change as I would have liked.  I think there must be a special technique for dying silk with Procion colors that I have forgotten, because I got intense colors in college.  However, even though I wasn’t able to radically change the color, I was able to tone them down to an acceptable range.

I began this quilt as a crazy quilt.  I was sewing small bits of silk on a base of a worn sheet. Now, to speed things along I have been making some squares all one fabric.  The nature of silk makes me want to stabilize these squares, to increase the possibility of ending up with a quilt that is rectangular. I still want to have the great drape that silk has.  I’m thinking in the interest of speed of picking up some fusible interfacing to put on the back of the solid squares. Sewtropolis  sells a fusible muslin that would not really affect the drape. Part of me is resisting doing this.  I love the way the back of the quilt looks with the worn, nearly sheer sheet parts and hand stitching.  Yet I also know that I will add backing and batting to the quilt so besides my own knowlegde and any photos, there will be little evidence of this extra work in the finished quilt.

The second question is the white thread.  I happen to have some large spools of very thick thread.  If I don’t have any thread that I am saving to use for basting, I always use that thread because it is too thick to use in my sewing machine.  I can use it for my serger but I don’t serge very much and I have a ton of it.  When I was initially working on these blocks, I liked the way each block was outlined with the white thread.  Now as I start to think of the quilt as whole, when I put the blocks together I think the white basting thread will be distracting.  So if any shows outside the seam allowance I will have to pick it out.  I am switching to darker thread so if a little shows I won’t have to remove it.

Corn Water and Wood-ufo January wrap up

Singing we seek the soul, of all that is good
We come bearing corn, water and wood
Stop and behold, all that is good
Give thanks for the corn, water and wood

Corn, Water and Wood by Michael Martin Murphey 

I finally named the corduroy quilt.  After much thought, I realized that this song really reminded me of this quilt.  There is the corn motif in the block, and the wavy lines that remind me of water.  The bleached fabric reminds me of wood, especially with the texture. The rough nature of the fabric and the homemade feeling of the quilt makes me think of me of cowboys or at least a ranch.

Corn, Water and Wood, 61x76 inches, fabric, thread, 2011


Here’s the tied area.  This picture really shows the colors.

Here’s a close up of one of the bleach resist images.  Again, to get this image, I clamped two wooden cutouts together and then dipped black fabric in a bleach and water mixture.  I just quilted around the motif.


Well, it is done. I count that as a major success.  Considering that last year I think I completed two quilts, completing the quilt in one month is a success.   I also had great results dying the flannel for the blue frame.  I am always amazed at how beautifully my Bernina handles machine quilting, so there are no little pleats or puckers on the back. 


The quilt is not rectangular.  It probably would be best described as a trapezoid.  I’m not sure how important this is to me, however, it isn’t going to win any quilt show awards.  I think this is due to the stretchiness of corduroy, a feature of corduroy I really wasn’t aware of until I made this quilt.  Also, the blue frames are wobbly.  Even though this wasn’t intentional, I kind of like it.  It already vibrates strongly with the contrast between it and the black and red, and then the varying line intensifies that vibration. 

Lessons learned:

Flannel is the best thing ever to dye.  It accepts color with great intensity.

Corduroy is super stretchy for a woven fabric.  That combined with the nap makes it kind of tough to deal with.  I’ll still use it although, because I do love texture.

The Bernina really can sew anything.

So that sums it up.  I know this post is a little disjointed but I wanted to tie up my loose thoughts on this quilt.

Mom lessons

I have to tell you how talking to my mom always cheers me up.  I called  her the day before yesterday.  “How cold is it there?” she asked me.

“Oh, Mom, it is so cold here.  This morning it was 0 degrees.”

“Well, my thermometer on the side of the house, I think it runs a little hot,” she told me, ” but it was -22 degrees.” Yes, that is actual temperature Fahrenheit, not wind chill. 

There is nothing like knowing there is a place 20 degrees colder to cheer you up a little bit on a really cold day.  That’s how my mom teaches me to count my blessings.

neckline alterations

As I get older (and a little heavier) I am noticing that shirts that fit well elsewhere, drive me crazy around the neck.  I remember my mom saying the same thing, so it is probably hereditary.  (Will they ever isolate the gene that makes a person feel like she is choking with any collar that rides above the collar-bone?) I can’t stand turtlenecks or mock turtlenecks, but even regular t-shirts make me feel like I am choking.  Here’s three ways to finish necklines.

This was actually Paul’s shirt.  He’s now big enough that I can fit his cast offs!  Anyway, I liked the tie dyed background.  The neck was just too tight. So I cut off the neck part plus a little extra.  Then I turned the edge under and sewed it with a wobble stitch.  A wobble stitch is a zigzag with a regular length and a width of one half.  It will be just enough stretch so the stitches won’t pop.  Since I sewed it really crooked and didn’t match my thread, I sewed twice around just as crooked to make it look like I did on purpose.

On this sweater, I did the same thing.  It was a mock turtleneck.  I felt like the neckline just made me look  heavy.  I cut off the turtleneck.  Then I tucked the edge under and hand sewed with perfectly matching thread.  I tried not to go through the front and I really ended with an invisible hem.  The neckline is now jewel.  It it acceptable, but I wish I would have made it a little deeper.  I make sure when I do hand sewing on knits that I no longer need the stretch. One way to do this is to make the neck hole large enough to put my head through without stretching so I don’t pop my stitches.

This third one is influenced by the Alabama Stitch Book by Natalie Chanin.  I used very thick thread in a contrasting color.  Again I just folded the edge under and sewed around the edge. Again, I made sure my neck hole was very big so my stitches won’t pop.

These are really simple changes that make my clothes a lot more comfortable.

ufo number 10: the silk quilt

My number 10 is the silk quilt.  It is made from several silk blouses I had from the 1980-1990s.  They are washed silk and they are all in jewel tones. 

I know why I stopped working on them.  The color is the first problem. My husband says they look like a flag. Also, I have completed only eight.  Eight blocks completed is very far from a quilt. Sigh.

You can tell I am not excited about the quilt.  However, there are several things I like about it.  First, I like the silk.  I have never made a silk quilt and I love to touch these things.  I used some of my very sheer worn sheet for backing and they are completely hand sewn.  I love the contrasting basting around the edge.  They are completely soft and have a beautiful drape.

I’m thinking about dying them.  I have some doubts about dying something that is partially completed.  I believe I will paint them with dye. I’m concerned that they may fray with all of the rinsing.  I’m also not sure what color to use. 

So a lot of problems.  It should be an interesting ride as I work through these challenges. I am excited to see what will emerge, especially after seeing what happened with last month’s ufo.  I really pushed myself, and I’m quite pleased of what I achieved.

first day of light

I am an early morning worker, so I am intimately involved with the sunrise.  I never used to be, but since having a shift that begins at 7 am, I monitor the morning light with intensity.

And TODAY, TODAY, the sky as I was pulling up to work was half  indigo. Indigo, as opposed to black. I almost started to cry with joy that God blessed me with the view. First, because the indigo sky is so beautiful and, second, because it is the beginning of the end of this particularly bad winter.

I know that winter always affects me so strongly that I actively have to work to keep my head on straight.  I know that I have to keep myself especially warm to improve my mood, work out consistently, get enough sleep, and eat right.  I’ve been doing that all winter, while watching the sky every day since December when the last little glimmer of indigo in the morning was gone, replaced by black night.

So, happy First Day that Roberta can see Indigo Sky on the Way to Work!  You may want to make it a holiday, because it is the first sign of spring.