Friday, April 15, 2016

Table runners keep running

A commission for Vikki, this is 14" by 45"
Some upcycled shirts and also fabrics from my stash

I had these three fabrics in my stash, two from Nancy,
and one from the batch I bought from Leslie Schmidt when she moved to Switzerland (aqua).
I wanted something swirly and abstract.

These fabrics were such fun playing together.
Upcycled shirts, stash fabrics, some from Babsy,
some from Leslie.
I have been better at making items for us to use, thanks to Babsy's encouragement. Table runners are great, because they sew up quickly, and they add a pop to daily life.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

A scrappy baby girl quilt

Well this is probably my favorite quilt yet. The process from beginning to end was blissful.

A friend commissioned this quilt for her brother's first baby. She is the same friend who commissioned wonky Mother Goose log cabin baby quilt for her friend's baby, below:

Quilt for Adelaide, made about a year ago

I kick myself that I didn't take photos on the weekend, before washing the quilt, because I ended up having to take pictures in artificial light. Except for this first one below, of the binding, made with Alisse Courter fabric.

In this closeup you can see the Sujata Shah wonky flying geese;
also, the half square triangle blocks were pieced by stash sister Nancy's former daughter-in-law

The parents like owls ... apparently ..

There are scraps from every which source ...

.. scraps from thrift clothes, from a special friend's stash,
from Nancy, from a quilter who sold me her stash before moving to Switzerland ...

scraps from my dear friend Susie .. 

.. scraps from my old vintage stash ..

I just had to document every square inch. As I quilted over each inch of this I enjoyed it more than I can express. I wish I could have kept it. I hope Eveyln and her parents will love it.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Susie's scrappy girls pillow

I made this 20" pillow for Susie before we went to visit her and David a month ago. She loves it. She says she hugs it a lot.

Susie gave me the girl fabrics: matryoshka dolls, silhouettes in the wind, talking girls with birds.

I will be making three of these for Christmas gifts in the next couple of weeks, but smaller: 16".

I pieced the back with some of the fabrics Susie has given me: matryoshka dolls, bees and flamingoes.

before quilting

after machine quilting

Friday, November 13, 2015

Holiday table runner

I've been under the weather. I was chatting with my Instagram buddy Babsy about heading for a nap while I was home sick, and she said she hoped I would be snuggled under a quilt. Funny thing is, I have only once made a quilt for us, that is, not for one of the kids. It was in Istanbul, and it got threadbare, so we don't use it now. So I was going to snuggle under a store-bought whole cloth quilt.

Babsy makes beautiful pieces for her home (like this), and she inspires me to sew more for our own place. I just seem to always be making a quilt for someone else, either for a gift, or to sell. Because I work full time, there isn't much time for other projects.

Well, getting sick is a not-so-great way to find time you don't normally have. I had this weekend all set aside to work on a quilt order for an "Andrea" quilt. (I will treat it as second in a series.) When I got sick with a sore throat, I knew I couldn't get through appointments all day with students, nor did I want to spread the illness to them. But I haven't had a fever, and I have a certain amount of energy to sew something at a slow pace. (You should see me normally, I jump up and down from sewing machine, to design board, to cutting table, to ironing board, back to machine, etc.) Who wants to just sit or lie around all day?

I had pulled out holiday fabric Nancy gave me that I absolutely love. I had no idea what to do with this old-fashioned print with scenes that look like Currier & Ives prints. I have 4-5 yards of it! After posting the photo below at Instagram, I thought about a table runner for the kitchen table in our little farmhouse. We don't have a formal dining room.

I didn't end up using any green;
it wouldn't stick!

I have been inspired by Victoria Gertenbach at Silly Boodilly ever since getting into modern quilts, and I used her table runners as inspiration. Her work is A MA ZING.

I thought I was going to use only large blocks, but that never seems to happen, no matter how hard I try. Little dots, checks, swirlies or plaids have to nudge their way in.

So there! I made something for us! When Don got home from work yesterday, he was appreciative! Now he can make toast for breakfast and look at something besides whatever is sitting on the kitchen table, because this piece inspires me to keep the table tidy. (How long will this last?)

Isn't this fabric the sweetest?
Both Babsy and another Instagrammer said they have this fabric in their stash also!

Monday, October 26, 2015

kimono scraps art quilt

This was the most interesting commission I have had yet.

At the study abroad fair a couple weeks ago, I was chatting with a long-time colleague about her upcoming retirement. She told me she plans to learn to quilt. Well that was a fun conversation!

Sitting next to me was a professor who is taking a program to London summer 2016, and he was listening to us with growing excitement. Understand, "excitement" is very measured in professors, generally. He said, "I have a commission to tell you about when you're finished!" And then Cindy and I chatted a bit longer.

I have tried to upload a better photo of three gold slivers, but I'm having technical problems.
You can see one here. A wonderful friend suggested doing something
with the Japanese tradition called Kintsugi of filling cracks of broken crockery with lacquer dusted with gold.
What a beautiful concept.

He proceeded to tell me that when he lived in Japan, he would go to the Chion-ji temple market regularly and pick up silk kimono scraps. (How fun is that!) He collected them week after week, not knowing what they would become but loving them all the same.

For years he has been looking for someone to sew them into some sort of small quilt. He asked if I would do it, and I could barely hold in my excitement. On my laptop I proceeded to show him the art quilts of Debra Smith I had recently discovered, all made with kimono silk, and I told him I had recently made an art quilt of Indian silks. Never had I dreamt of using silk in sewing quilts before. The fact that I was somewhat prepared for his request is just very serendipitous.

Here is an image of the scraps after I photographed them with my iPhone and saved them in a Pantone app, to match the colors for buying silk. This is actually one group of scraps. There is a second one with a decidedly different palette, so I separated them.

I stopped at the VOA thrift store a couple of days later to find silk blouses to fill out the design. I used three: taupe, lilac, and gold.

I struggled with the challenge of arranging these scraps in any satisfying way.

Below is one start.


But at last, after several arrangements on the design board, I started improvising in a way that felt right. I used one of the eight silk blouses I found thrifting for the background, first affixing it to featherweight interfacing. The interfacing took time to iron on, but it was worth it for ease of sewing and quilting.

I ran out of taupe silk for binding,
so I used this cotton Hawthorne house fabric
called "fronds" in golden canyon.

I also used pieces of the lilac and gold silk blouses I found.

I wanted a medallion on the side, like in ancient Japanese art.
This grew larger all on its own.

I plan to give him his art quilt tomorrow. Of course he is paying me, though we have not set a price. He seemed to think money was no object. Maybe I should charge $5000. :D

Let's see if he wants a second one with the other group of scraps.

This art quilt measures 24" x 27"
silk, with cotton binding

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Urban garden modern improv wall quilt

"Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself."

London. Virginia Woolf. Map.

Art quilt measures 32 x 31"
From upcycled clothes

Saturday, September 5, 2015

"conversational geese" finished

When I finished this quilt top and posted it on Instagram and Facebook a while back, an old blog friend of mine in Oregon asked if it was for sale! :)

Well yes!

So I finished quilting and binding it today and will send these geese off to their new home with her next week. She plans to hang this on her bedroom wall. I think that is SO COOL.


Almost all the fabrics are either from Nancy's stash or mine. Only recently I purchased a few of them, like the Charley Harper cardinal print, which I love. The red with white dots was a dish towel in Nancy's stash.

This blue print is nostalgic and cottage-y. So sweet.

The goldenrod in the meadow is happy for the geese to fly nearby.