Saturday, December 21, 2013

Photo Doodles

Our snow is melting but has not lost the ability to delight:

Warm solstice wishes to you all!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Had to Find Time to Do It

What a joy to take these beauties out of the washing machine on a cold, gray, wintry day!

It had snowed two days before--just a couple of inches but enough to call it the first real snow of the season and I realized I had to seize the moment before the sun melted it. I prepared the fabric but when I found a place that had enough snow to scoop up I realized this was the light, fluffy stuff, the kind that did not usually produce the typical petal patterns I love. So I created an experiment--the green/blue one was covered with the fluffy snow and the purple one got snow from the car windshields that had melted and refrozen a bit so that it packed better. And you can see the difference: while I will easily find a use for the first one, the purple one is definitely more dramatic and petal-ly.

Of course, neither had just one color. The top one had very dark green, with a bit of gold, strong navy, azure and better black added. The purple one had, of course, purple with added bits of gold, azure and better black. I mixed a new batch of purple (and this may of skewed the results, but I don't think so) but all the rest were old dyes that I needed to use up.

Definitely worth taking time out to do this! I am two yards of fabric richer for doing it.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Art Trade

From a quick survey of the Internet, it looks like just about everybody has made artist trading cards, called by those in the know ATCs, but I had never tried my hand at them until one of the members of our local art quilt challenge group suggested we make them to trade at our meeting this month, a suitable challenge for the gift-giving season.

I first of all had to figure out how to make one, easily finding the dimensions (2 1/2 x 3 1/2") thanks to Google. I knew they should be somewhat stiff and thought Peltex would make a suitable batting only to discover my leftover Peltex was in MA and I was in PA. But in my search I uncovered some Roc-lon that had been on my shelf for several years and in my quest to use something up rather than buy something more that must be moved I discovered an excellent backing for quilty ATCs. I still added a bit of thin cotton batting but the Roc-lon gave stability without stiffness to the cards.

I decided to go with the exploded shapes that I have been playing with the past couple of years and opted for basic circles or squares cut from hand-dyes on a pieced background. Originally these were going to be raw-edged attached with hand stitching but the Thanksgiving weekend was fast approaching with the meeting immediately after and fusing them down was a surer guarantee I would have something to trade. The hand stitching with perle cotton was added during the long drive to MA for the holiday.

What took the most experimentation was finding an acceptable way to finish the edges. The Roc-lon was just thick enough that a close zig-zag stitch did not cover the edge well and a full-fledged satin stitch was going to take too much time. So I opted for couching perle cotton around each edge and tying the corners. Luckily I only had to do six.

But in return for my work I got six lovely and totally different ATCs, along with a bookmark from one member who felt she did not quite follow the rules and was assuaging her guilt.

So I got to add one more thing to my Thanksgiving list of things to be thankful for--gifts from creative friends. And, of course, I am grateful for your company, as always.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Fruits of Denial

So here is this innocent-looking iron.

Hard to believe it could wreak such havoc, although I'm afraid I bear the brunt of the blame. About two weeks ago I pulled out a piece I have been working on for a couple of years in order to quilt a section of it. Since it had been rolled for a while a couple of small wrinkles had grown right in the middle of the piece that a quick ironing would remove. When I turned the iron on I noticed a couple of drops on the ironing board but I had just cleaned it the day before and I thought those drops might be left over from the steaming process it goes through and would be fine when it got up to temperature. Wrong conclusion! The quick swipe with the iron that removed the wrinkles left two small ever so slightly discolored circles of water on the white/light blue fabric.

I ran for a dampened paper towel and began blotting and sighed with relief when I held the piece up to light and the stain seemed to have gone. Two hours later it was almost dry and I was not so happy.  The small circles were no longer there but the stain had migrated to the edges of the larger blotted wet spot so the edges of two beautifully shaped circles were faintly inscribed on the piece about three times as big as the original small stains.

After considering abandoning the project--it is an experiment but I have spent quite a bit of time on it and it could turn out to be something interesting--I decided to try one last thing. I would wet down the whole light blue section, hoping the migrating stain would just migrate right off the edges of the piece. Several hours later I breathed a sigh of relief.  The stain was gone except for one small bit that I must not have thoroughly soaked and that will end up in the top seam allowance.

But I was still in denial about the iron, assuming that the whole incident was related to the cleaning process and moving on to the long list of things that must be done before the holidays.  I had used the iron several times on minor jobs and it did leak a couple of drops as it was heating up but seemed to work okay after that UNTIL my son-in-law came to visit.  He was working on a white worsted wool waistcoat that he was sewing by hand (he is a National Park Service ranger and wears this kind of 18th century stuff on the job) and asked to use my iron. I showed him how to turn it on, waited to let it get up to temperature before he used it and left, only to hear my daughter say, "Oh, no" a few minutes later. And, to my horror, there were two small stains on that beautiful waistcoat.

Our first blotting effort did not even completely remove the stains and migrated part of them to the edges of the blotting circles. Jim was handling this better than I was but we were both upset.  My daughter suggested a little soap on the original stain and I suggested wetting the whole thing down, hoping the wool and the silk lining would handle it okay. By the evening it was looking good and by the next morning it was dry and clear of stains!

And the iron began to regularly leak just a little. So am I ready to swear off this brand forever and write a nasty blog post about the company--or am I ready to swear off steam, as Ricky Tims has done because "all irons become incontinent"?  No to both of those. I still find steam very handy in a number of situations and about eight years ago I did extensive research when an iron failed shortly after I purchased it and I read some words of wisdom from a consumer researcher who said that the average life of any iron, no matter what you pay for it, is 2 1/2 years. His advice was to buy a medium priced iron that does the things you want.  I love the Black & Decker Digital Advantage--it heats quickly and well, has lots of steam, and is a good weight for my hand and shoulder.  And this iron (ordered Oct. 29, 2009) that costs about $44 lasted over four years! I have just ordered another.  Not sure what I can do about my ability to deny reality. . . .

And if you are still with me, thanks for the company!

Saturday, November 9, 2013


My grandson decided he wanted to be a raccoon for Halloween, for reasons that only a four-year-old can appreciate, and my daughter, armed with a vision of the many raccoons she has seen in her life and some fake fur, set to work:

I am proud to say that I taught her how to thread a needle many years ago and supplied her with lots of bits of fabric that were sewed together into innumerable animals, dolls, and elves. She doesn't focus on quilts (although she has made some), but I could be an enthusiastic supporter when she started a small online business several years ago selling clever draft stoppers in the shape of cows, dogs, whales that she had designed and sewn.

Her older sister also has made a small quilted piece or two but her love affair is with 18th century period clothing that she makes for the interpretations she does as part of her job as a national park historian:
That's her husband next to her, who is also a national park ranger and who now, thanks to her influence and instruction, makes most of the clothes he wears on tours he leads.

It is interesting how our passions/obsessions get passed down. The kind of stitching I do is often a solitary venture but it is reassuring to see such strong connections. 

And, if you are still with me, thanks for your company as well!

Monday, November 4, 2013

An Artist

At the invitation of a friend, I spent yesterday afternoon at the Ithaca (NY) Modern Quilt Guild listening to textile artist Hilary Gifford. It was well worth the trip. She has for years made a living selling one-of-a kind scarves created out of bits and pieces of fabric gathered from many sources, but her real love is creating her own fabric by painting with dye on silk, cotton, or whatever strikes her fancy. She then pieces these unique fabrics together into dynamic quilts or joins smaller pieces into framed collages.

Her work was inspiring, but her words connected with my own journey:

     --There must be "discovery in the making" or she loses interest in the piece.

    --"I make the art that I am drawn to make."  It may not be the most beautiful or the most easy to sell, but "it's what I have to make."

Friday, November 1, 2013

Careful what you give up on

Twenty-three years ago we planted a Chinese chestnut tree to shade our walk from the driveway to the house. But raking up those chestnuts that it bears each fall is literally a pain:

and I grumble that this was not the best decision we ever made.

This morning--a gray, blustery day when my energy level kept registering empty-- the tree redeemed itself.
I sat down for breakfast and realized the kitchen was glowing gold. There was the chestnut tree outside the window:
Almost all the color on our hills has become brown mulch, but the chestnut with its prickly personality decided not to follow the crowd and instead put on a show when it was ready. It has my gratitude. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013


I am approaching the end of another in what I have come to call my scrunching series.  It's not ready for a total reveal but I can show you a bit:
And yesterday I had the gift of a whole day without a major house-related task to do. No one was scheduled to look at the house (which may not be such a good thing but it's too soon to panic) so I did not have to scurry around cleaning and ferreting away all the little piles of stuff that seem to multiply like rabbits on any horizontal surface. I decided it was the perfect time to begin some serious work on a new piece.

I had been thinking about this for a while--another in this scrunched series to see how a different pattern will react as it begins to curve across the background.  So it was time to start pulling out fabrics. It didn't take long to find a backing piece, a looser weave than my hand-dyes and batiks so that the needle will at least slip easily through one layer. My vision for this piece began with varying shades of brown and I ran smack into a problem--the first time I have gotten really frustrated by this living(and thus working)-in-two-places lifestyle. For some reason, I had neglected to leave any browns in the PA studio. Well, there was one beautiful brown piece that measured about 5 inches on each side. Here I was--finally with enough time to work but nothing to work with.

After a cup of tea and trip outside to rake up chestnuts (guess I did have to do something around the house), I was ready to try again.  After all, poets who work within the restrictions of a sonnet can produce memorable poems, so I should rise to the challenge of working with a restricted palette.

Try as I might, I could not switch the colors of that next piece--which did teach me something more about this series:  Color is particularly integral to the design. So I took another deep breath and remembered an interesting piece of fabric I had come across in my desperate search for brown. I put it up on the design wall and soon began to see possibilities for another in my raw-edged applique series and I was well on my way to turning a disaster of a day into something quite satisfying.  Can you hear the music swelling as the day closes on a happy ending?

And if you managed to keep reading to the end, thanks for the company!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Ode to a Barn

On our property on Pennsylvania (the one we will be leaving) is a barn, well over a hundred years old.  Inside is a great echoing, arching, hallowed space, filled with shadow slashed by light. I have, over the years, tried to capture my feelings when I stand in that space but never found a way to put them into fabric until I created a little challenge piece  (click to see my post on it) based on the word "light." One of the people who commented on that piece thought it looked like standing inside a barn and I realized that it did--it was what I had been seeing all those years.

And so I made "Barnscape," a bigger piece:

And this is a much better photo of it than the one you saw in the last post. It is roughly 58 x 37" and I mean roughly because it is not a true rectangle (the photo makes the sides look more squared up than they are)--nothing in an old barn is level or square. 

Aside from the black and white, the fabrics are my hand-dyes and I suggested the rough textures of the barn wood with the machine quilting and hand stitching--

This may continue in a series. We shall see. And if you are still with me, thanks for the company--and check out what's happening at Nina's Off the Wall Friday post.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


I had meant to bring back a few photos to share with you from the PA National Quilt Exhibition but between worrying about running out of power with no way to charge my phone and the quality of the photos, I didn't have much to choose from and I will only give you a very small taste of what I saw.

The judged portion of the show included such delights as Rachel Derstine's "Rousseau."
I love that glowing piecing in the sky.

The show always includes a good number of pieces from the World Quilt Competition and there were, as usual, some impressive works among them.  I was looking at techniques, and things like the tiny hand stitching on "Scenic Splendour" by Jenny Williamson and Pat Parker of South Africa caught my eye:

But I probably spent the most time at the SAQA exhibit Color Wheel of Emotion--many eye-catching pieces here, like Louisa Smith's "Synchronicity,"

and lots of inspiring techniques.

And, if you are still with me, thanks for the company on the very brief tour.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Unexpected News

"Congratulations" read the subject line of the email.  This was the day before I was to get up well before dawn cracked to ride a bus to see my two quilts (and many others) that were juried into the Pennsylvania National Quilt Exhibition at the Philadelphia Expo Center.  With the chaos of the summer I almost didn't take the time to enter them but was very pleased when both "Unexpected" and " Barnscape" were accepted.

And now this news: Unexpected had been awarded 2nd Place in the Innovative Category.  I let out a whoop and luckily Terra (the only one home at the time) did not knock the computer off the table in her desire to celebrate with me.

And, of course, since I did board that bus yesterday morning, there are pictures:
The first and second place winners in each category were all grouped together near the entrance. And so here is "Unexpected"--
and here is a picture of Barnscape--it's an unbelievably lousy photo but I was relying for the first time on my smartphone to take photos and learned that it is worth carrying around a camera. I thought I had taken several photos of the quilt but this is the only one I had at the end of the day.  

Barnscape did not show up well against the black curtains.  Oh, well.  . . .

And, if you are still with me, thanks for the company!

Monday, September 9, 2013


And I am not referring to the relative darks and lights of the colors we all work with. And then again perhaps I am. But for the past couple of weeks I have been waist deep in trying to figure what things I value.  This is not about the big intangibles, like the relationships with my family and friends that I hold so dear, but this is about things.

I have been sorting through "stuff," deciding what to put in our barn for the moving sale.
Since we are moving to a smaller house and the goal is to simplify, any argument for keeping something must be based on something stronger than pure sentiment, a process that is perhaps a good exercise for making design decisions in a quilt. The chair, for example, that I have had since I was a teenager has lovely carvings on it but is downright uncomfortable to sit in for more than fifteen minutes. It is among the items in the barn picture. 

Some decisions are easy: things like dishes and silverware are coming with us because we need them and we like the sets we have; things like the dining room set will not come with us because they simply do not fit in the new space. But there are so many items where the decision is more difficult--and then there are the surprises. As I cleaned out a small (about 2 feet long and about a foot high), old (antique may be too sophisticated a word for it) wooden chest that held an amazing number of videotapes, all but three of which were headed for the trash, I planned on dusting it off, having Tom repair the piece of trim on the lid that had fallen off once again, and carrying it to the barn.  But when I closed the lid on the empty box, I ran my hand over it and felt the smooth, well-worn wood and the place where someone had, at one point in its life, hammered a series of circles into the top for some reason. And I really looked at it.

I had already begun to evaluate it from the moving sale point of view and was not sure anyone would buy it or pay much for it. But I felt deeply that I wanted to keep it. And I began to see just a bit more clearly what I value--not what the market values, or the majority of people or even my best friends--but what connects with me. It's old, it's well used, it's wonderfully textured, it's made of something that changes, disintegrates, and will continue to do so, the color is rich and mature but not uniform--all these things contribute to why I value this piece; yet each falls short of a complete explanation. Ultimately I can't put it into words but it's a very important understanding, particularly when we are all so constantly battered with other people's opinions urging us in directions that may be good for someone else but may not be the best ones for us.

"Do what you love and the money will follow" goes the too often repeated maxim. But first we must come to know what we love. So perhaps when I am finally finished culling my life's detritus and can return to focusing on my stitching, I will bring just a small bit of new wisdom to it.

And if you have managed to read these ramblings to the end, thanks for the company!

Monday, August 19, 2013


My four-year-old grandson wanted to see some of my quilts during a visit last week, which I took as quite a compliment since often, if it doesn't have wheels attached to it somewhere, he doesn't stay interested for long.  And we spent a while looking at a few of the quilts I had with me and talking about what the primarily abstract pieces looked like or what he liked about them. He finally looked up at me and quietly said, "I want to make a quilt." And, of course, I did not let this opportunity slip by.

I showed him my drawer full of novelty prints and he was thinking about using a leopard print or a bear print until--he saw the construction vehicles. I suggested he might want to use some other color or pattern and he immediately said, "I want brown for dirt." So he chose five vehicles, I drew a square around each, and he cut them out with scissors. Now my vision for the layout was something resembling a nine patch, but the designer had another idea.  He liked a horizontal arrangement with the brown patches underneath (where the dirt belongs, of course). So I sewed them up, sandwiched them (there are frogs on the back), and we discussed quilting. He wanted minimal quilting around the vehicles, but then he suggested we could do tire tracks in red thread in the dirt.  So he sat on my lap and sewed the first tire track (he was doing a wonderful job making a straight line and I suggested he might want to make it meander a bit) and I echoed it for the second track. 

No hand-dyes, hand stitching or embellishments on this quilt, but still a very satisfying project.

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

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Definitely Not My Favorite Color

Well, green can certainly be my favorite color but this particular manifestation has not ever been on my favorites list. As if there were not enough distractions this summer, I managed to give myself a behemoth case of poison ivy about two weeks ago and while my eye is no longer swollen and my chest and arms no longer feel like ants are establishing a colony on them, I do still occasionally have a spot that I have to remind myself not to itch. I hope my efforts to eradicate a small patch of this truly noxious weed in our yard were successful.

You may notice that I was able to finish the texture piece I described in the last post--mainly because it was one of the few things I felt like doing.  Certainly couldn't go out anywhere in my socially unacceptable state!

Friday, August 9, 2013


 In the midst of our moving madness in March I began to experiment with taking my hand-stitched texture in a different direction.  I pinned together a top layer, batting, and backing, ran a couple of quilting lines across it to hold things in place and began stitching down strips of hand-dyed fabric, scrunching and wrinkling as I went. I was using three or four rows of perle cotton, # 8 or 5 on each piece, although I ultimately decided 8 was better with an occasional 12 thrown in.

I wasn't exactly sure where I was going with this, although I had originally been inspired by a photo of amazingly colorful hardened lava that I discovered in my search for volcano images for that little commission last fall. As the rows of color grew, I began to be motivated to see what the next strip of fabric would produce--and the quiet stitching was a great ballast as my world rocked and morphed around me and my definition of home shifted eastward.

Of course the texture is a big part of this piece so a photo doesn't capture it fully, but here it is:

And here is a detail that gives you some of the feel of it:

When my five-year-old granddaughter asked to see what I was doing, she looked at it and then got up and came over and kept running her hand over it--an appropriate response I thought.

My original vision included letting some of the background show, but I fell in love with the texture.  I had always planned for the stitching to show, hence the perle cotton, but I had also planned to include more stitching in some of the flat valleys, a plan I abandoned as the piece took shape. It ended up being 20 1/2 x 19 3/4".

This is my contribution to Nina's Off the Wall Friday, so you might want to check out the other postings on her site.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

My Favorite Color

Rose of Sharon beside our house

Friday, June 28, 2013

Three's Company

Time keeps flying and I perhaps need to put a priority on posting. The settling in process keeps being interrupted with crises like a leaky roof--not a great surprise, but we thought we would be able to wait at least a year to tackle this project. Not only did we have to choose a roofer but we also had to decide on a color for the shingles--not an easy task for someone who likes to actually see a fabric on the working wall    before she makes a final decision.

But I have been doing some work as well. Sitting and stitching at my studio window has restored my spirits on many afternoons. And I finally have something to show for it.

I had begun with a piece of intriguing snow-dye up on the wall and then I kept adding bits of hand-dyes until I got that zing that told me it was working. I am still experimenting with just fabric stitched to fabric--no fusing involved.
  So stitching all the pieces down gave me lots of that quiet stitching time.
I have always liked working with threes for its symbolism and design possibilities and that is where this piece began to take shape. It ended up being 19 1/2 x 13 3/4" and I christened it "Trinomial." Photographing it proved a challenge since my tripod and photography lights are still in Pennsylvania, but the color is not too far off.

And if your life has been quiet enough that you are still reading this, thanks for the company! And check our what's happening at Off the Wall Friday.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


Last Sunday we officially made the move and after a seven-and-a-half hour drive that turned into ten with the UHaul truck, we found ourselves in our new home amid towers of boxes.  Organizing my studio looked daunting every time I (or Terra, who is always willing to help) looked in the door:

But today the studio looks like this--

still a little disorganized but it is beginning to feel like a good place to work. A working wall is up--and I actually did some quilting work, not just organizing work yesterday. Today Tom got the shelves for my hand-dyes put together so I can empty more boxes of fabric tomorrow--and tomorrow the weather wizards have promised an end to this mind-numbing heat wave that has been smothering us. So I have big plans for the morning!

And if you are still with me in this new space I am creating, thanks for the company!

Sunday, May 12, 2013


My mother would never have described herself as a quilter--or a textile artist, for that matter, but she did make a yo-yo quilt that she began in the early 1940s. As I was packing and cleaning today, I came upon her quilt and decided it was a good day to air it and then refold it.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 3, 2013


Among the packing for our move, the cleaning for possible buyers, and the decision making, I have made time for fabric--and the proof is in the local challenge piece I finished--well, the facing is not sewn down yet, but you won't notice that. The theme this time was "creatures," and I finally settled on one of my favorite subjects--butterflies.  But, for a long time, a subcategory of butterflies has fascinated me: caterpillars. I have always loved the little surprise of finding a brightly colored and intriguingly patterned little critter crawling up a stem or leaf and, while some are clearly pests and wear out their welcome very fast, it is worth sharing some parsley, dill, tomato or milkweed leaves with others. So I have been photographing them for a while and wondering how I could abstract them into a quilt.

When the challenge came up, I decided that this was the time to give it a first try. I had also been wanting to revisit using photos in a quilt. I decided on a Black Swallowtail Caterpillar, described as "charismatic" by one photographer, here shown chomping away on my dill.

For the background, I took several photos of some parsley, another favorite of this little guy. In manipulating these in Photoshop, I liked what happened when I applied "Colored Pencil" to the original, but the idea of movement, change, narration in the piece began to grow in my mind's eye so I decided to combine the original with the manipulated version and then place references to the caterpillar between panels of parsley. I printed the photos on EQ Printables Cotton Satin, took a deep breath and began to cut. And here is what I came up with:

I was going to create the yellow dots with a resist but one try convinced me that this was not the time to work on discovering how to get a pure solid black so I opted for commercial black with the yellow octagons fused on.

For obvious reasons, I named this "Metamorphosis"--a big name for a piece that measures only 9 x 14 inches. But it also honors the transition I am going through.  Time will only tell whether I turn out to be a butterfly or a beetle but whatever the outcome it certainly is an adventure.

And if you are still with me, thanks for the company!

I am linking this post with Nina-Marie's blog.

Friday, April 5, 2013


My husband and I are now the very happy owners of a house in Massachusetts and I have been spending too much of my day throwing away half burnt candles and broken flower pots, donating books to the library that I am finally admitting I will never read again, and resigning that cheese tray that I used once in 42 years to the garage sale pile. There has not been half enough working with fabric and thread going on around here.

But I have been doing some, thanks to some big projects I have been working on and to a dear friend, who caught the fabric dyeing bug from me a while ago. In January we made a pact to get together at least every other week and try some form of fabric manipulation/transformation. And I finally suggested we should try glue resist, a technique I had decided was fairly useless to me in a class I took with Jane Dunnewold a couple of years ago. It just didn't seem to do much resisting against dye or paint.  But this time I took my time, carefully cut out stencils with what turned out to be a dull X-acto knife (no wonder I had so much difficulty), applied Elmer's Washable (it's gotta be washable) School Glue with a kind of squeegee process and got some results good enough to keep me interested. I painted the first round with dye paste:

For the second I decided to do an immersion dye process, even though the "books" cautioned that glue, being water soluble, was not a good candidate for immersion dyeing. But images appeared as I rinsed the fabric and I like this one much better:

And so I continued on with just some doodles, directly applying the glue with no stencil guide, that I painted over with dye paste, with a bit more seriousness this time, since I had begun to believe in glue resist. Now I know I can do more complicated designs with this glue stuff.

Then I tried a double dyeing process that began with applying thin lines of glue to white fabric and immersing it in a yellow dye, followed by more lines of glue and immersion in a blue dye. If you look closely, you can see these intriguing, ghostly blue lines that hover in the background:

Finally I tried to a bit more organized composition, which combined stencils and brushed on glue, which is obviously begging for more layers of something:
At the end of her week of classes, Jane divided the leftover supplies among those attending the classes, using a lottery system. I went home with a large bottle of Elmer's glue and a couple of other things and tried very hard not to covet the beautiful paints other students were lucky enough to win. Now I thank Jane for the glue. I finished that bottle and am working on my second.

And if you are still with me, thanks for the company. If you have a bit more time, hop over to Nina-Marie's blog to check out what some other bloggers have been working on this week.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Why do you, we, I make art is a question that comes up now and again when artists get together over a cup of tea or over the Internet--and sometimes when an artist is by herself and having a bad day. The other day as I sat stitching at the window I was reminded forcefully of one of the things creating art has done for me--it has taught me how to see, observe, be aware, wake up.

I looked out the window and smiled to see all the red-winged blackbirds below the bird feeder (our official sign of spring here in northcentral Pennsylvania) and then realized there were more grackles than blackbirds in this flock of almost thirty birds. Grackles are truly birds of many colors, as I discovered when I made a quilt last year based on a dead grackle I found in the yard after a windstorm and thus had the opportunity to see all the purples, blues, greens, reds, even yellows that the feathers of this seemingly black bird contain.

I looked for all those colors on these living, moving birds and was seeing glints of purple changing to blue when the sun came fully out from behind a cloud and what a show! Colors changed and danced from one bird to the next as they pecked and turned and bobbed and as the sun and clouds changed the light.

This day came in the middle of a chaotic week--and all that was forgotten for a few glorious minutes. Later in the day I took this picture of part of a group but a photo can't capture the myriad colors or changing sunlight.

And if you are still with me, thanks for the company!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It's All About--Me!

Last December it was my turn to suggest a theme for the local challenge group that I belong to and I finally decided on a letter or letters of the alphabet used as some kind of design element. I had what I thought was a good idea at that point but by the time the holidays were over and I actually sat down to do some sketching, something entirely different leaped into my mind. I had been having some discussions with friends and with myself about identity and egos and so I started playing with a "Me" concept and here is what finally came together:
Once I had gotten the idea I had to come up with a way to translate it into fabric before the March deadline, and after rejecting fusing and hand applique, I decided to start with the E's and see if I could piece them.  When they seemed to work, I set about putting the top section together. And then, in case you missed it, there's the tiny addition:
I, of course, had to call it "It's All About Me."

And if you're still with ME, thanks for the company!