Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Japanese Farmhouse

Here's the third square I've made from my new Japanese quilt square book.  

All but the main  part of the house is fabric from Japan. The "mountains" are from fabric I got at St. Theresa's in Cincinnati. I will really miss that store! I think they will be open through January, with sales on what fabric is left, but when they close it will leave a vacuum, just like the closing of Baer's did in Louisville.

The mountain fabric is an ikat-like print, and I have used it in several bargellos. It is one of my favorite fabrics of all time, and I have it in two colors. 

If I were to make a New Year's resolution, it would be to start cutting into the special fabrics that I have been hoarding.

If I were to make any reflections on the year just ending, I would say that I made some strides in  exploring new techniques. I have several projects to show for that, including my orange baby gift with the Haida Art images on it, and the Prague quilt, just finished, and on its way to Prague next week.

Happy 2010, everyone!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It Takes a Village

Here's the second square from my new book.

In English, the name of the square is "Village," and it is a companion square to the one I posted yesterday.

All of the fabrics are from Japan. What I learned, and I have mentioned before, is that when I order fabric from Japan, if you choose to have your package come over in a container, the postage only costs about $2.00 !

They tell you it might take up to 45 days to get here, but in fact, it usually arrives in about 4 days! A package of fabric is so small, it can be
 tucked in the big containers, and gets here quicker than an order from, say, Colorado, and for about 1/3 the cost of shipping.

I love these indigo fabrics, and I like the red accent and the flowers, too.

I used a few more of my dichroic beads on the butterflies, but they don't show up very well...


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Meditation in Fabric

One of my Christmas gifts this year was a beautiful little book, Japanese Quilt Blocks.

It has wonderful illustrations and over 125 Japanese quilt blocks. Some are very simple, and some require learning new skills.

I have picked out several very appealing squares, and plan to use my collection of fabrics from Japan to complete them.

I made some Japanese quilts years ago from the East Quilts West books. But that was before I had three drawers full of fabric from Japan.

The first square, shown here, was just a practice piece, but my next two will use Japanese fabrics exclusively...

Yes, it is very difficult to cut into some of those "special"  fabrics, but I realize that they are not accomplishing anything resting in my drawer. I have collected them for years, and it is time to get them out in public.

So the next two pieces will do just that.
I have quite a collection of indigo fabrics, and will try a square using those, if I can get enough contrast with them.

I used some of my treasured dichroic beads for snow on the mountaintops here. Again, what am I saving them for?

Most of the patterns in the book finish to 9" squares. Right now, I just plan to do a number of squares, and then decide how to finish them, whether to combine them, or let each piece stand alone.

With all the fusing I have done lately, and working from photographs, it is a little surprising for me to be working from traditional patterns, but the book really caught my imagination. I think it will be a wonderful exercise in choosing and combining  fabrics, and give me the opportunity to be a little more disciplined in my work. 

I have already cut the pieces for the next square, and have gathered my indigo fabrics for the third square, so I will post photos of those soon.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Farm Animals

Things have been a little unsettled here for over a week, while I got a new kitchen floor to replace the old one that had been ruined because of a plumbing leak.

The new floor is beautiful, and I am slowly getting things moved back into the kitchen, and trying to get back to "normal."

So I haven't done much sewing until yesterday and today.

I added a cow to the "stack" of animals I did several months ago, and did this little piece.

I added some machine stitched "vines" for texture, and then added some beads. The beads are lime green, and they add some life to the piece. 

Recently, I splurged on some dichroic glass beads, and I used them for the eyes on the cow, the sheep and the hen. They have a sort of milky iridescence that I really like. I found them on line from a place in California, and when they came, I was surprised at how tiny the tube was. So I have used them sparingly so far, but I really like them.

I have two more animal pieces ready to work on, a silly dancing pig, and a cartoon-type dog. Right now, I have no "assignments", no challenges, and no deadlines, so I am just playing with fabric in my "spare" time. 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My little Chia Pets

Since I posted pictures yesterday of my new little primitive quilt, the sheep have acquired wool!

I didn't like the look of the button holes, so I found the perfect yarn in my yarn stash, and Bob, the perfectionist, applied it in time to the sheep buttons just in time for the delivery to the new owners.

The people I gave the quilt to were just getting ready to leave for their farm, and were delighted to have this to take with them. It will be added to
 the other two small primitive quilts I gave them earlier.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Finished a little Primitive piece

I finished my little primitive piece.

I really enjoyed the thread painting. My windows still need to be trimmed, but I am happy overall.  

The little sheep are ceramic buttons that I got from Busy Hands in Michigan. They had all sorts of novelty buttons and art buttons, all from South Africa...734-996-8020

After doing the Prague quilt, in which creating perspective was an important feature, I enjoyed this piece, done in the primitive style of no perspective.
The "flat" look is intentional, and was fun to do.

I really enjoy applique by fusing, and have plans to do some more primitive pieces...

Thursday, December 10, 2009


After finishing and delivering a big project, it is fun to "coast" a little now, and work on some smaller projects.

I am back to this little 9 x 11 scene for a friend's farmhouse kitchen. I am practicing some thread painting, and I love the simplicity and peacefulness of the design...



I have three of these trees to do, and it gives me a chance for some much-needed practice.

I also treated myself to some new acid dyes for silk from Dharma, and bought some habotai silk to play with.

A year or so ago, I took a class on dyeing silk with  a vinegar and microwave method.

The habotai silk takes the dye so beautifully, and I like so many of the colors I got.

A few are disappointing when compared to the Procion MX dyes I use with cotton, but I really loved the teal and some of the other colors when paired with black.

I have no other pressing deadlines right now, and I just look forward to organizing my workroom and playing with some new thread and new fabric...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Finished the Prague Quilt!

Well, I've been talking about it since August 1, and I have finally finished the Prague quilt. There are more details from the photograph that I could have added, but I was ready to stop.
It was a great experience for me - I have been enjoying doing quilts from photos lately, but none has been as challenging for me as this one!

I was glad to do something that involved perspective, and I think that part worked.

It gave me lots of practice in free-motion machine quilting. I was able to get to the point where I didn't become tense doing it.

I printed a Prague crest on Extravorganza; I originally thought I might put it on the front to break up that big expense of cobblestone, but I decided to just put it on the back, on the sleeve...

I put a copy of the original photo on the label on the back.

I took it to my favorite quilt shop last night for Show and Tell. Coincidentally, there was a young woman shopping there who had lived in Prague for four years, so she took a look, too.

Well, this will get delivered soon, and I'll move on to some other projects,