Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Look what was in my mailbox yesterday morning hidden among all the requests for support for worthy causes, the junk mail, and the catalogs:
Three postcards from the postcard swap I entered last month!  They are all on the theme of "A summer's day" but each of the creators (Frieda Oxenham from Scotland, Julie Wolkoff from Florida, and Laurie M.) has a very different interpretation. They certainly brightened up a dreary fall day.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Favorite Colors

It happens every year but it still comes as a beautiful surprise to see the fields glowing with the yellow goldenrod with blue purple accents from the field asters.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

PNQE Thoughts

It's been a very busy week since I dragged myself out of bed at 4:30 AM to catch a bus for the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza XVI (In a contest for titles of quilt shows, that one would certainly not win a prize). And I treated myself this morning to a few quiet moments of looking over the photos I took there.

When we first arrived I started my tour of the quilts and was moving fairly quickly, noting an interesting one here and there but nothing that pulled me in until I happened upon the SAQA exhibit, Layers of Memory, and I found myself standing and staring for a long time at one quilt after another. There is a bit of the maker in any quilt and particularly any quilt that gets juried into a show but some seem to me to so clearly display the mind, heart, skill that created this piece that I just want to spend some time with those quilts, to try to give the meaning, intention, or whatever the maker was trying to put in this piece time to connect with me--and I found several of those in this show.

The theme challenge Bridge produced some amazingly thoughtful and skillful pieces from the Quilt on the Wall group. And the international quilts were a delight. New Zealand nurtures some very talented quilters, and the quilters in South Africa must eat the full spectrum for breakfast every morning. Did I say it was a very good day?

I have become more conscious about posting photos without checking with the artists, and I even looked for some e-mail or blog contact with some makers of my favorite quilts today but could find none. So I must settle for the inadequacy of words.

And, if you are still reading, thanks for the company!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


This has been a week of preparation: gathering quilts for a talk I am giving at our guild on Monday, harvesting veggies from the garden since a frost is due tonight, beginning a quilt for the birth of our granddaughter sometime in late October (I know I should have started this sooner--seems like I have said that before), and gathering things to do on the bus trip tomorrow that will take me to Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza outside Philadelphia. I haven't been to this show in a few years, but I'm expecting to come back inspired and humbled.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Of Snow-dyes and Silks continued

Sorry this took longer to continue than I planned. We got an extended visit from my daughter, son-in-law, and our two-and-a-half-year-old grandson as the flooded rivers in Pennsylvania and New York prevented their return trip home on Thursday and I was worrying about them on their second attempt on Saturday. But now they are safely back in their own territory and there is no one playing cars on the couch in our house when I come down the stairs in the morning. . . .

But back to my wall hanging that I left you imagining. I had thought about just sandwiching it and beginning the quilting, perhaps adding some kind of wandering pathway of quilting lines joining the three shapes with trees. But then I gave one more try at adding a pointy shape to all those rounded ones and knew I was on to something when I added a few triangles.

So here it is:
I finished it up by quilting around all the shapes and then adding some irregular horizontal quilting lines and some perle cotton on the triangles. It's about 17 x 27 inches and is called "Happenstance."  And so I did find something to do with that wild snow-dye.

And if you are still reading, thanks for the company!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Of Snow-dyes and Silks

I thought for sure I had sewn myself into a corner--or more appropriately, when you see the final version, a sinkhole. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of this wall hanging at this stage because I wasn't sure it would be worth preserving a memory of it. Someday I will learn to take more pictures. . .

I had just finished my goldfinch quilt, which created a design using reverse applique and I wanted to play around with that technique a bit more. I had also come across a snow dye from last year that was a bit wild and I wanted to challenge myself to do something with it. Ultimately, I decided to do a reverse applique where the fabric underneath had some texture to it. The only fabric that even remotely seemed to go with the snow dye was some blue-purple and red-purple silk. So for texture I pleated some squares that were around 10 inches and added some iron-on interfacing on the back to stabilize that silk that is always wanting to return to bits of thread  and to hold the pleats in place. I created a template that was an irregular organic shape that fit each of the pleated pieces, cut the snow-dye in those shapes to reveal the silk, and machine stitched the edges of the opening.   As I was finishing these up, I happened to notice that wonderful heavy thread made out of sari silk that I had bought in NYC and that I had been dying to work with. It was a perfect color and so I machine couched it around each of the silk shapes.

Now I had hanging on my working wall a piece of fabric with three fuzzy-edged blobby shapes on it and I had no idea where to go with it. And so it hung there for a long while. I would occasionally try something on it but nothing worked until one day I tried that sari silk (love the feel of that stuff) in a kind of a scribble shape and left it there over night. The next morning that scribble looked exactly like a tree and so three trees grew in the three pleated silk shapes. But it needed something more.

To be continued. . . .

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Can This Be Saved?

Last week, along with several pieces of fabric that I really like, I produced this:
I had been playing with flour paste resist that can produce great crackly images when it dries and has paint or dye applied to it. And here I was experimenting with adding shapes to it, obviously circles this time. The other two are ready for the next step of overdyeing, but this one. . . . My first thought was that it looks like moisture rings left by a glass on your favorite table. Aside from overdyeing it with black, I have so far not come up with anything to save this.  Any suggestions?