Alternate Grid – Success

October 26, 2014

What a difference a day makes:


My 12″ x 12″ blue alternate grid quilt is pieced. After I pieced the first few rows, I realized this would have been much easier if I’d fused the triangles onto the background fabric. Not only would it have been easier, I think the negative space would have read better as negative space. I stupidly didn’t dye enough fabric, so couldn’t start over.

And a note about dyeing these gradations. I’ve dyed gradations for all the pure MX dyes available in the USA and keep the fabric strips neatly in a binder. You’d be surprised that cutting it down sequentially – 1%, 2%, 3%, 4% did not give me a good gradation. These were dyed at 12%, 3%, 1.5% and .25% DOS – depth of shade. It really doesn’t take much time to dye a lot of DOS swatches for each pure dye, and I find I refer back to them frequently.

Now to decide how to quilt this piece.


Alternate Grid – Attempt # 1

October 22, 2014

Sometimes when I make something it goes together beautifully. Sometimes it doesn’t, and I thought I’d share with you the starts and stops of a really small, should be easy to create, but has turned out to not be, Alternate Grid quilt.

I spent 3 days drawing arrangements on graph paper as I am totally inept with EQ-7. Hopefully that will change in the future, and you know what? Sometimes I want to use a pencil and graph paper. My computer is not always with me.

alternate grid graph

Simple design, true? I wanted to make this in 4 shades of blue so it could be posted to the international art quilt blog I belong to for the Blue challenge.

Blue is not the predominant color in my fabric collection so I thought I’d dye the four shades I’d like to use for this quilt. We were having unseasonably warm weather last week, so out came the dyes, scale, and chemicals. Strained my brain doing the math, measured everything correctly, (Yahoo), got the exact depth of shades I wanted, BUT I managed to pick up the wrong dye container, and dyed the wrong blue. That was misstep #1.

The weather got back to normal – too cold to batch my fabric outside, and I was too lazy to dig out my dedicated dye microwave, so the blues I dyed are being used for this 12″ x 12″ quilt.

Today, I started piecing it, and it’s simple half square triangles – 3 different sizes, 3 different shades of blue. Easy true? Measured twice, cut once, made a mistake – misstep #2.

Recovered, pieced a few more sections, and I sewed the wide blue strip to the wrong side of the skinny pieced strip – misstep #3. Corrected that, and decided I needed to step away from this “simple” project as I was complicating it beyond words.

This is what I have done so far:

Partially pieced

Tomorrow is a new day, and I’ve reached my quota of 3 things going wrong, so I’m hoping for smooth sewing in my future.


Mother and Child

October 15, 2014

Waaaaaay back in January, a relative had a baby who’s arrival I wanted to celebrate, and I also signed up to join the Bead Journal Project for 2014. A lot late, but finally completed, is my January Bead Journal Project – Mother and Child:

Mother and Child

I used some of my hand dyed fabric, my embroidery machine to sew out the image of a mother kissing her baby’s head in rayon thread, then it sat, and it sat, and it sat around waiting for me to decide how to bead it. A friend was making the Oh My Stars! necklace from Shaped Beadwork & Beyond by Diane Fitzgerald, and I thought the stars would look great as flowers. I ordered the book, made a star/flower and it was way too big and solid for this small 8″ x 10″ piece. Back to the drawing board.

Being a crazy quilter, I have a lot, and I mean a lot of embroidery designs, and thought some of the simpler ones would work well for a beaded project. An antique embroidery book was available online, so I looked through that, selected some designs, resized them, rearranged elements, eliminated some, and came up with the design I beaded on this piece.

It’s simple backstitch beading with Mill HIll glass seed beads in colors 479 and 2017, with luster Miyuki SB in Pale Moss Green size 11/0. The flower centers are double French Knots with 6 strands of DMC rayon floss. The braid came from the wedding department at JoAnns – purchased ages ago. It was sewn down the center of organza ribbon. Out came my seam ripper. Now I have some organza ribbon in my ribbon collection, and the braid is on the piece. Can you tell I save everything?

This piece was stretched over an Artist Series archival quality stretched canvas. They are very reasonable at JoAnns, and just so happened to be on sale this week. Yeah for me!!!

If you’re in the Rochester, NY area, this piece will be included in the Rochester Gem, Mineral, Jewelry and Fossil Show and Sale at the end of the month. I hope some of you will be able to see this in person.


Hopping Around the World

October 6, 2014

I was honored to be asked by my friend Judy Warren to participate in the Hopping Around the World blog hop. The purpose of the blog hop is to answer some questions about our art process, and to introduce us to some new blogs. It’s a great way to meet kindred souls, and learn more about art making.

What am I working on?

Actually, quite a few projects. On the quilting front, I’d like my Disappearing Nine Patch to speak up and tell me how it wants to be quilted. I look at it every morning, it remains stubbornly silent, and I then walk out of my sewing studio. That’s fine because if I force this step, invariably I’m not happy with the final piece, and life is too short to be unhappy with what you make.

My mother and baby beaded project is coming along nicely. It will hopefully be completed in time to be entered in the Lapidary Show at the end of the month.

A painted textile project is on my kitchen table waiting for me to mix my colors. It will be titled Child’s Play and is a whimsical look back at the 50’s.

And last but not least, is a knitted counterpane I started years ago, and am finally getting round tuit. There are hundreds of little triangles knit on size 0 knitting needles to put together, and it will be finished.

How does my work differ from others in my genre?

I combine multiple textile disciplines wtih abandon, and have been doing so, way before I believe it was commonplace. It’s a bit like cross pollination – take something from one field of interest, and apply it to another unexpected one. It’s an awful lot of fun for me to do this, and I highly recommend trying it.

I’ve been quilting since the 70’s, and been hand knitting, and machine knitting for ages. In the 80’s, I came up with the idea of knitting a lap blanket, covering a quilt batt with flannel, layering the two, and then quilting it. Was it a knit blanket? Was it a quilt? Whatever it was, it was warm, cosy, and a big hit at the local baby store that sold them for me. I lost track of how many I made.

When I purchased my first embroidery machine, I started embroidering on machine knits, and wrote a series of articles for a machine knitting publication sharing the technique. My oh my, did that cause a stir.

I’ve used copper wire to use as sewing thread – way hard on your fingers by the way, but I do so love the glint of copper. That piece sold at an exhibit at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY.

Paint, paper, beads, tatting, embroidery, macrame – remember that? – kumihimo, soutache, leather, wood, found objects, you name it, I’ll use it on my fiber art.

Why do I create what I do?

Because I want to.

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of sewing. Some of you might remember those little cards with numbered holes, where you were to outline “sew” the images with shoelaces. Well, I wore out more than a few sets of those cards.

Cross stitch and hand knitting were next. Then my grandmother taught me how to machine sew with her treadle sewing machine – which is proudly residing in my home.

Everything to do with textiles appeals to me, and has ever since I can remember. Working with textiles satisfies my soul.

How does my writing/creative process work?

I don’t know. It’s always been present, and it’s always been an easy, natural part of my life. I did get a BS degree in Business and Economics, and worked as an accountant for a few years because it was the only way my parents would pay for half my college education. Guess who spent a lot of time in the Art Center though? Oh my, those looms were calling my name. The only good part about that degree is that I got a job right out of college during a difficult period of finding employment, and I can do my own business taxes now.

For 25 years, I wrote technical articles for machine knitting publications, and created over 80 orignal designs. I would dream about a design, remember it when I woke up, and start making it the next morning. If there was something about the design that wasn’t working, a solution would invariably come to me while I slept. Go figure.

For art quilts, I like pencil sketching. Now these are rough sketches, but they are enough for me to get proportions correct, and an idea of where I want to go.

It would be very nice if I could quantify my creative process, but I can’t.

Linking to Talented Artists

Kathi Everett is a member of 2 local art groups I belong to. Her blog Pearl Street Road always has something of interest on it. Creativity bubbles out of this woman. She has had an art quilt shown in Houston, and I’m sure there will be more in the future.

Ellen Lindner at Adventure Quilter is not only a wonderful artist, but also a wonderful teacher. It’s really difficult to be both, but she’s talented that way.

On closing, I hope many of you will visit their blogs, and go back to visit some of the previous blogs on this blog hop. It’s a wonderful opportunity to find some new artists, and support textile arts.


Casa Larga Show

October 4, 2014


Thursday, October 2, was the opening for the most recent art exhibit that had one of my pieces included in the show. The reception was wonderful and very well attended, and this is the piece I had in the show:

rectangle study with leaves<

It was started in a class I took with Ellen Lindner. This quilt was constructed by tearing my snow dyed fabric into rectangles, then rearranging them to create areas of light and dark across the surface. An accent color was added to guide the viewer’s eye towards the light, and I machine embroidered free motion lacy leaves, then appliqued them to the quilt. Machine quilting echoes the rectangular shape of the background fabric to add another layer of interest.

If you get a chance to visit the show, it will be hanging till the end of the month, and the address is:

Casa Larga Vineyards
2287 Turk Hill Rd
Fairport, NY 14450


Disappearing 9 Patch and Hopping Around the World

September 29, 2014

Our garden has been producing like crazy, and I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen blanching, freezing, dehydrating, and cooking zucchini, tomatoes, green beans, corn, carrots, butternut squash, and sweet red peppers. The Brussel sprouts and chestnuts are just starting, and there will be some leeks being used for soups and pizza.

Amid all the veggies processing, I have found some time to add to my Disappearing 9 Patch piece:

Disappearing 9 patch

Now to decide how to quilt it.

I have also been honored to be asked to participate in Hopping Around the World by a fellow artist and friend, Judy Warner If you click on the link, you’ll be treated to viewing some wonderful fiber art.


Disappearing 9 Patch and Finished a Bracelet

July 31, 2014

Yesterday, I hosted a small group of creative friends at my house, and we explored Disappearing 9 Patch as shown on this site. Yes, I’m venturing into the modern quilt genre.

As usual, I skimmed the directions and didn’t follow the 4 + 5 rule. In my defense, I started sewing at 11:30pm, and I’m not all that cognitively with it at that time of night. Some blocks had 4 prints, some 5, some 3, and this is what I ended up with:

9 patch wonder

My version was made with Moda fabrics from 1999, and I ended up with a very soft, very romantic looking disappearing 9-patch.

Fabric choice is everything with this technique. Batiks would be great, Asian inspired designs, solids, just about anything would look great with this. If you used a large print, I’d cut 10″ squares or larger though, so you wouldn’t lose the design when you quarter the 9-patches.

This small piece was made from 6 blocks, and I will make another 3 blocks today so I’ll have a nice sized square. It will be the center for a Comfort quilt. I used 3″ squares as I had a stack of them already cut, but everybody at the meeting was cutting different size squares – all larger. It will be interesting to see how different they will all look.

On the jewelry front, I finished a bracelet I started in June:

random bracelet

This was really easy, and the delay was caused as I was having problems locating beads in my collection with holes large enough for 2 strands of leather cording to pass through. I had to resort to making some tubular peyote stitch beads – which took a little time to make. After making two of them I decided if I wanted to wear the bracelet this year, I’d better go bead shopping. JoAnns had the perfect wooden beads on sale, and a few other goodies, so they came home with me – not quickly.

Here’s what happened. I purchased the beads, paid for them, got home, and they were not in my bag. I didn’t realize it till 11:30pm. What is it with me and feeling the need to be creative at 11:30pm, but having issues at that time of night?

I digress. Of course, I couldn’t sleep after realizing my lovely beads were MIA, so called the store as soon as they opened the next morning. Yup, they had them behind the counter. The sales clerk didn’t put all my purchases in my bag. My husband had our car, so I couldn’t hop in it to go get them. By the time he got home, the store was closed, and then I realized, it was a 30 minute drive to go get those beads, and I’d wait till I had to do other shopping in that area. It was a week before I got back to the store.

Then my natural predispostion to procrastinate set in. The only reason this bracelet got finished was because I had to clear the ktichen table for yesterday’s meeting. And that is the end of the story of my very easy to make 6 week bracelet.


More Dyeing and Finished Table Runner

July 27, 2014

Ater painting that “ugly” fabric using gathering stitches, I wanted to see what would happen with a piece of silk fabric I had in my collection. This time I sewed straight lines 2″ apart on a fat quarter:

Silk Original

I gathered it down to 2.5″ and used some thickened Procion MX 8147 Deep Purple dye on one side, and a mix of Procion MX 8147 and Dharma 300 New Black on the other side:


I can’t stop myself from saying, is that not gorgeous?

I added soda ash to the thickend dye, and painted on the fabric while it was dry. Then it was wrapped in plastic, and put outside to batch in the sun for 5 hours.

There is virtually no color run off when you rinse silk – gotta love that – and the result was the beautiful fat quarter. Now what to do with it? It’s too lovely to go back into the fabric collection, and quite frankly, my fabric collection is going to outlast me. It’s about time I use some of the lovelies.

And speaking of lovelies, the table runner is finally completed:

Finished spicy tablerunner

It took awhile to complete the quilting as I used a decorative stitch on my sewing machine. All that double stitching takes longer to complete, but it was worth it. And if anybody will be in the Brockport, NY area, you will be able to see this is person. It will be on display in the A Different Path Gallery from September 5-26, 2014, along with my First in Flight piece.


Ugly Fabric Challenge 2014 – Wrap Up

July 25, 2014

Playing with this fabric is a bit like eating potato chips. You can’t stop with trying one technique.

After soaking the fabric overnight in cold water – to get the excess dye out of the floral screen print – I was pleasantly surprised that the flower actually was visible:

Dyed floral

Now I pursposely placed that screen over the lightest part of this dyed fabric, but when it was wet, it was not visible at all. I should have waited for it to dry and then ironed, before I said it disappeared. Live and learn. Please double click on the picture, and look on the right side. You should be able to see the floral design well.

I was very unhappy to discover that soaking this fabric overnight in cold water – to make sure all the screen dye was rinsed out – drastically changed the deColourant Plus colors. If you compare this photo with the one from yesterday, you’ll see the green is almost totally gone, the red is much lighter, and the blue is not visible at all. Now I know that deColourant Plus can’t hold up to a long cold water immersion. This is actually a good thing to learn on this project, because I like this product, and now know what order to use it when putting multiple layers on cloth.

There was still lots of fabric below these techniques, so I drew some lines 1.5″ apart from each other, and stitched them with a basting stitch:


Then I pulled the stitching to create these gentle gathers, and painted over them with a foam brush, using 1 part Cobalt Turquois Golden Fluid acrylic to 4 parts Golden GAC-100:


The fabric was a little over 12″ long scrunched down to 2″. After drying, I removed the stitching and this is what I got:


I absolutely love the randomness of this. This is a technique I will most likely do again with soda ash soaked fabric and thickened dye. By the way, the white lines will disappear when washed. I use Prismacolor white pencils to draw on dark fabrics, and they wash out easily, leaving no trace behind.

Am I done with this fabric? For now, yes, but if I use this is an art quilt, I can see adding some beads, and some thread work. I do love the turquois against this purple, and think it would be lovely with some copper metal, or that gorgeous rose gold look. Sheesh, now that I’m writing about it, you know I’m going to have to try it.


Ugly Fabric Challenge 2014 – Addition

July 22, 2014

This time around, I decided to add color. Some theories were confirmed, and one surprised me. Since I was experimenting with thickened dye paste, I thought I’d also work on some white 480M sateen fabric. The sateen is on the left and the “ugly” fabric is on the right.

This first test – on the “ugly” fabric alone – was using Jewels DeColourant Plus – emerald, fuchsia, and navy blue:

Thickened Dye Paste

As you can see from the photo – the top row – the emerald and the fuchsia did just fine, but nothing happened with the navy blue. I used a stamp and painted a good sized swatch so you could see the colors clearly. All the bottles were purchased at the same time, but I think the navy blue chemicals expired.

Then I moved onto using Procion MX-308 Fuchsia. A dash of that was mixed with 2 tsps of thickened sodium alginate, and 1/4 tsp soda ash. It was pretty thick, so I added a bit of water, and used a katazome screen made years ago. The screen worked great, cleaned up beautifully, and that is the faint floral design you see on the second row of the “ugly” fabric. Please double click on the image, as it’s pretty hard to see against the purple fabric.

And believe it or not, the same stencil was used with some Aloe Vera gel and 3 drops of Liquitex ink Naphthol Crimson. It showed up when wet, but this photo was taken after it dried. It totally disappeared. That was the big surprise with this experiment as I thought the ink was opaque.

That was it for experimenting with the “ugly” fabric, but I had left over print paste and used it on the 480M sateen fabric:

First print was with the same stamp I used with the deColourant Plus, and the second print was with a tree screen I made with sheer drapery fabric sandwiched between interfacing, and sealed with latex paint. It’s not very clear, and I’m not very happy with this screen. It will require a do over.

The third print was made with a Mod Podge screen I made a few years ago. This was also made with the same drapery fabric, but Mod Podge was painted around the design, and the print quality is outstanding. Clean up was also a breeze.

This second photo of the 480M sateen was after it was washed and dried:

480M Thickened Dye

Big difference in color, isn’t there?

I didn’t take a second picture of the “ugly” fabric after it was washed, as I totally lost the dyed floral print. I figured I would, but stubborn head me, had to confirm for herself that you really can’t overdye an already dark piece of dyed fabric with another dark dye. Some of us have to learn the hard way, and others take the wisdom of the dye gurus, and don’t waste their time.

My take on the 2014 Ugly Fabric Challenge was when you get a dark fabric, discharge it, then start layering. If you want to leave the dark fabric in place, then use OPAQUE paints, and stencil or draw designs all over it. Or texture it with stitching. Hmmm, now that actually sounds like a lot of fun. Maybe after my table runner is quilted, I’ll tackle that idea. Sounds like fun, true?



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 35 other followers