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