Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Slippers for Ryan

These were gifted and worn before I realized I hadn't taken a picture, so I caught up with him and took this picture.  They're from one of Cat Bordhi's books and knit with double strand of sock yarn.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holding Hands - Pastel Painting

Although I did complete this painting on Monday, I'm just getting around to posting it.  You know, it's that time of year when we are all busy...  Anyways, last week's challenge was LOVE, and the  only way I thought I could try to represent it with my limited pastel skills was holding hands.

My sketches:

The pastel painting:

With each painting I learn something new!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Amir's Ibis

This past week's challenge was "JOY", and although I had some ideas, I didn't know how to represent them in pastel, as I'm still such a beginner in the medium. For me, joy is time spent learning this new medium, and if I look at it that way, I did succeed, because I did a painting, and learned while working on it!

My husband took this picture of an Ibis on one of his photography trips, and I thought I'd try to recreate it in pastel.

Of course, it looks like a beginner's painting, because it is, but since it takes practice to get better, I'm practicing!  At least I can tell it's supposed to be an Ibis:-)

Details: pastel, with watercolor underpainting, on 12" x 16" on  Ampersand Pastelboard.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Current and Future Challenges

I'm continuing to participate in the Holiday Paint Out on Facebook.  This week's challenge is the word "JOY", and  I'm still trying to think of a way to represent it in a painting.

For next year, I've joined Take a Stitch Tuesday (TAST) which will be a year long challenge devoted to learning and using different embroidery stitches, as well as seeing what varieties we can come up with.  It's my hope that I'll not only learn from the challenge, but it will also inspire me to finish a large crazy quilt that I have in progress.  The crazy quilt blocks are finished, but need to be put together into a quilt, which is not as easy as it sounds, because they are very heavily embellished, and I know it all needs to be stabilized with more than the usual tacking stitches that crazy quilters use.  I'm thinking I need to be untraditional with it, using batting and hand quilting to hold it all together (machine stitching just wouldn't be right, and there is no way a machine could quilt the blocks anyways)!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Hurricane Ridge

People always seem to be amazed at all the different things I've learned to do, and although I've learned how to do some things from family and classes, I've learned even more from kits, books and videos.   This year I decided to participate in the Holiday Paint Out that CCP Videos is hosting. I missed the first prompt, which was COMMUNITY, so I'm starting with the second prompt, which is PEACE.  

In late summer, my husband and I took a trip to Olympic National Park, and traveled up Hurricane Ridge.  The views are spectacular, and when we hiked along the ridge it was so peaceful, and if it is possible, a more beautiful view around every bend in the trail.  So after thinking of several ways to represent peace, I decided I wanted to paint from one of the pictures I took when we were there.  It is painted in pastel.

Here's the first layer:

My finished painting:

The original photograph:

Details:  pastel on 9" x 12" Wallis sanded paper.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Block Party Quilters Raffle Quilt

I designed the quilt for the BPQ guild several years ago, and they decided to save it for the next APWQ show in Seattle, which at that time, was the bi-yearly APNQ show, and timed it's construction accordingly.  In the meantime, the show changed names, and did not occur last year, instead it was held earlier this year in Tacoma.

I've been stalking this quilt since it was finished, in an attempt to get a nice, full picture of it, and caught up with it again at the BPQ show held earlier this month.  Of course I knew it would be there, because it is their raffle quilt.  When the finished quilt was unveiled to the guild, I was one of the people holding the quilt, so couldn't take a picture, and although the other ladies tried to hold it up for me, it is so large, it was impossible to get a picture of the whole quilt.  I began trying to photograph it wherever I saw it, but there has always been a table or something in front of it, so I guess this is it, because I believe they will draw a winner soon.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

more baskets

This first basket is woven on a wooden base / handle combo that I ordered with a pattern.  It's a great size for office supplies in my booth, as it holds all the essentials!

Unfortunately, I did not check the wood on both sides until I was ready to weave, because I found there were blue marks on the other side (I think it is dye).  I decided since it was a basket that would be used for all kinds of things that may end up marking the interior, it was not that big an issue, and went ahead and used it.  I lover the size, and it was very useful in my show booth last weekend.

Another basket completed before the show to hold some of my hand dyed fabrics in the booth.  I believe the pattern name was a Cranberry Basket, and it is supposed to be a cat's head shaping, but being my first cat's head basket, it isn't shaped as nicely as it should be, but I love it anyways.  Since the show is over, I'm now imagining it being used as part of a Christmas floral arrangement!

Additional info 1/15/12:  I've been asked about the rim directions for these baskets, and thought everyone would like to know the patterns and rim information, so here it is with links.

The top basket pattern is called Remote Roundup (scroll down for pattern  0021-P085 , click on pattern name and you will see ordering info on base as well, but no picture), and was purchased from NorEsta.  The rim was supposed to be wrapped once with reed, the usual way, but when I got to that point, there wasn't enough space between the stakes to fit any reed, so I used waxed linen, going once around and then back to where I started and tying the ends together (on the inside, under the rim where it wouldn't be noticed).

For some reason, I had thought the name of the second basket was Cranberry Basket (don't know where I got that name from), but the pattern is called Cat's Head Market Basket, and it is from Baskets of Joy.  The lashing directions are in the pattern and is called a combination lash.  My basket isn't shaped as well as the designer's basket, and maybe someday I'll make another that is shaped properly:-)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gathering Basket - Finsihed!

The pattern for this basket is a bit different than the way it ended up, because I fudged to make it work.  There is a round reed between two hoops that makes the handle and center of the basket base, and you are supposed to just weave them over / under like the rest of the basket, but there wasn't enough space to do it.  Since this shape is a new learning experience for me, I ended up skipping over all three pieces in the lower part of the basket, but didn't want to do the same with the handle.  A friend gave me a book for my birthday that had the answer I was looking for, and I was able to adapt the instructions to make the decorative raised braid  on the handle.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Big Book of Patchwork

It's time for be to get back to doing book reviews, so here goes...

The Big Book of Patchwork by Judy Hopkins

So many beautiful quilts in one book!  Most, if not all can be made from your stash, because there are table runners which don’t take much fabric at all, 2-color quilts, quilts using multiple fabrics for each color, and of course, lots of scrappy quilts.  She begins with choosing your fabric and basic quilting techniques, then moves on to all the patterns – all 50 of them!!!

The samples for the projects in The Big Book of Patchwork are made of a variety of fabrics from 30’s prints to solids, batiks, plaids, and even Asian fabrics.  You could even make one design with fabrics that you see in another, and you could use this one book to make a gift for everyone you know.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Quilting Disk Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations Paula, the Quilter, you're the winner!!!  Please contact me with your snail mail address, so that I can get them in the mail to you.

If you're wondering how the winner was picked, I used the random number generator, which picked the number 1, making Paula, the author of the first comment my winner.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I Have a Design Wall!

Over a month ago, my husband helped me attach foam insulation panels to the wall in my studio, but it took much longer than I had expected for me to figure out how to stretch an attach the flannel by myself.  It's finally finished, with the edges neatly trimmed and covered with a pale green and white dotted ribbon!  (I know the ribbon can't be seen unless you are in my studio.  My husband said it didn't need it, but the cut edges bothered me, and I'm happier now that the edges look nice.)

Here's another of my UFOs, but it's now out of the bag and up on the wall so I can think about getting it finished (after the bed quilts - they have to be finished first)!  This is not my design, but I bought it because I liked it, and it is a foundation pattern that is great for using some of my fat quarter stash.  (I'll post the pattern information as soon as I find the pattern cover.)

After finishing the crazy log cabin panel (yes, it is waiting for me to make it into a bag), I had some blocks and partial blocks left over (and of course more scraps), so I've pinned them near the edge of the design wall for now.

Grip & Stitch Disks, BPQ Show and Giveaway!!!

These are the disks I love!  I always use them and now have 4 pairs, one for each machine station and another to keep in my class bag, because I love quilting with them and hate being without them.  They even help me grip and move the fabric or larger part of piecing and sewing projects much easier than my old way of grabbing  a handful of the fabric when I'm sewing.  If you've been to one of my quilting classes or free motion quilting demonstrations, you've seen me use these!  When I was at the Houston Quilt Market last year, a little video was made in the APQS booth when I was demonstrating quilting on the George (this is the long arm quilting machine I have - it's in a table, like my Bernina and Pfaff), and Clever Craft Tools has some U-Tube videos on their website.

Besides quilting and sewing, there are lots of other things I can see these disks being used for, such as when my husband is using his scroll saw.  Even though it's a saw, which is cutting the wood apart, instead of joining, the operation of the blade is up and down and the wood is moved like you move fabric when quilting, and I think it would give the woodworker an easier way to maneuver the wood they are cutting.  Now I just need to dream up a project that will get him to get out his scroll saw and try it.  Hmmm, I wonder if he will let me play with it?

Now here's the giveaway part.  I have a set of the newest version of the Grip & Stitch disks, which has even better quality foam and instead of the gray layer in the middle, it's now white.  Starting today, I'll be setting up my booth  at the Block Party Quilters Quilt Show with my booth neighbor, who is the manufacturer of these cool disks, Clever Craft Tools, and she has given me a pair to giveaway.  So leave a comment on this blog post and on Monday I'll use the random number generator to pick a winner!  

If you're local, come see us at the Block Party Quilt Show this weekend and say hi!  There will even be a machine so you can take the disks on a test spin.

(The fine print:  If you're the winner, I'll need a way to contact you or will have to pick a different winner if I am unable to get in touch with you next week.)

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Onion Basket - finished!

My onion basket waited for its rim, while I was busy doing other things, but I decided to finish it so it can be used.  Besides, I really like the size and texture of this one!

Inside, you can see how the extra filler pieces were split and tucked in before the sides were woven.

Coming soon another giveaway.......

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Pincushion Baskets

10 little baskets dressed up and ready to go to the Block Party Quilters show next week.  Each basket has been hand dyed before or after weaving, and there are no two exactly alike.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

No Second Sock Syndrome

A little Cinderella sock story...

Usually, as soon as the first sock is complete, the second is begun.  However, once it was cast off,  this toe-up sock fit a bit too tight for my taste, so I tossed it back in the knitting basket while I considered if I should rip it back to the foot and make it longer.  Since I hate to rip, it has been there quite a while.  

One of my sons loves to wear slipper socks I've made him (I can tell he loves them, because they're either on his feet or in the wash all the time, and I've already darned them - time to make new ones), and his girlfriend asked if I could make her a pair of socks.  Well, I had my lecture / class coming up, and this month my vendor booth at the Block Party Quilt Show coming up, with much to be done to prepare, so I wondered how to get everything done and also knit a pair of socks.  I realized she has TINY feet compared to mine, and remembered the single sock waiting in the basket, so had her try it on.  She liked it and it fit!  So the second sock was cast on and finished, and now she has a new pair of socks!  

Knitting is much more fun than ripping, and sometimes, you just need to search for the right foot!!! 

Friday, October 21, 2011

The ladies at the Pieceable Quilters in Lynden, WA enjoyed my trunk show and had lots of fun in the Sunflower Garden class.  Since they were Tuesday evening and Wednesday, they made a reservation for me at the Kale House in Everson.  This was my first stay in a B&B, and it was wonderful.  The B&B is charming!  

If tomorrow is bright enough, I'm hoping to take a picture of the newer Sunflower Garden.  It's the bolder, batik version of the original and everyone loves it!  Another difference, is that I free motion quilted the blocks after I appliqued the flowers, although it still has quite a bit of fancy machine stitching:-)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Field of Sunflowers

While the paint was still out, I painted the sunflower fat quarter quilt, so now it's also ready for binding and a sleeve! Although the discharge I tried in the background layer didn't seem to work as planned, maybe the paint to discharge paste was wrong, who knows, but it will require more testing to find out.  At least the background still worked for the sunflowers, and I'm happy with the way it came out!

This is the original fabric sandwich that was quilted:

The paint changed it to look like this:

It's fun to experiment with little projects like these, so I'm planning to do more in the future!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Daisies in Vases

Last night I had some fun with paint!  Using my limited palette of Jacquard fabric paints that came in little squeeze bottles, I mixed opaques, pearls and the metallic Lumieres to add more color to my little fat quarter, painted floral quilts.  I think the only thing left to do is bind and add a sleeve, and am considering an invisible binding, like I did on Janet's Influence, so the binding doesn't take away from the daisies and vases.

It started with a fat quarter sized fabric sandwich to be used to demonstrate free motion quilting on during our local shop hop.  As there were long breaks between groups of hoppers, I decided to have some fun and see what could be done with supplies on hand.  I used chalk to trace around my drink bottle, for the outer size for the daisies.  Once those were quilted, I decided they would be in funky vases and sketched funky outlines for the vases, stems and leaves.  All the sketched areas were filled in with free motion quilting and then the background, which ended up looking like this:

Up close, showing the real fabric color:

I wanted more color in the background, so this was painted with Jacquard's Dye-na-flow fabric paints, which flow more like a dye.  Now I liked the background color and it was ready to paint the daisies and vases, and the light was right, so I was able to get a better picture that showed the quilting off .  [I wish I could get the light to be like this for all my pictures:-)]

Friday, October 14, 2011

Lecture and Class Next Week

I'm looking forward to speaking at the Pieceable Quilters guild meeting and then teaching the Sunflower Garden class next week (October 18th and 19th).  Their guild is in Lynden, WA and it is going to  be lots of fun, but right now I need to finish sorting, packing and taking care of all the little details that need to be finished before I leave.

Basket Weaving Progress

My gathering basket is getting closer to being finished, with only the handle left to be woven!  It has been difficult following the pattern, and I think it is because of this double handle with filler.  Other than the wood hoops, initial weaving in the natural reed color, and spokes that are seen here, I decided to finish the basket in an improvisational manner using the coordinating flat reed.  There are things I would do differently in a future basket, adding more ribs (I didn't add all the ones the pattern called for), and only two hoops.  The double handle and two D-handles used for the basket rim do add more strength to the basket, however my two hoops were not identical, or perfectly oval, and trying to weave around the added round reed that is between them was impossible in the basket, but I'm planning to try again on the handle.

Overall, I think it came out ok, considering it's my first time weaving a basket like this from a book.  It is much more difficult to work with than the little melon baskets, which were a piece of cake compared to this one!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Watercolor Pumpkins

A couple weeks ago, we harvested some little sugar pumpkins from our garden, and I've been trying to paint them ever since.  I'm fairly happy with the first two, but the last one is still in need of help, but I think it will be left as is, because it is the best I can do at this time:-)

For the first two pumpkin paintings, I decided to paint first and outline afterwards, and being an experiment of sorts, I took pictures before inking, and although I liked the pumpkins without the ink, I really needed ink on the sign and decided to go ahead and ink them, so I would be able to compare them later.  I think in this case, the pumpkins looked more realistic without the ink.  What can I say, other than don't be afraid to experiment, live and learn!

This one was painted last week.  I did the outlines before painting and was very unhappy with the way I left it.  This weekend, I did the best I could to fix the sign, which was really bothering me.  No, the finished painting (above) isn't perfect, but it looks better than it did (below), and I learned a lot about the paper and paints I've been using for these.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Slow Progress

A couple more pincushion baskets have been woven and all the ends have been tucked.  Even though they still need rims, I've already decided my favorite is the multicolored one in the front left, and it was woven from scraps leftover from weaving the others.  Once the rim is on, I'm thinking I'll try dip dyeing the plain basket and see how it comes out.

The instructions for this Flower-Gathering Basket are from a Kindle book called Weaving Country Baskets.  It's progressing a bit slower than I'd hoped, although it's because I'm only following the structure and basics from the pattern, and have decided not only to change the colors, but also the reed size and style, trying to use up some earth colored #3 reed that has been in my stash for too long.  

As you can see, each side is a bit different, because I'm weaving the entire length of each piece of reed, however, I did try to keep the colors in the same order.  For the remainder of the basket, I'm thinking it will be random color changes, possibly using some 1/4" flat that I have in the same colorway, when I get the weaving even, but will make that decision when I get there.  The instructions said to weave around the round filler reed that is between the two hoops, I wasn't able to do it (maybe I should have spaced them further apart?), so am weaving the base as if it is one really wide reed.  I'll try again when I get to the handle:-)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fall Flowers in Watercolor

It's amazing what a little ink can do!  This little painting was begun with the intention of creating a traditional watercolor painting (without the black outlines), however, the painting had other ideas and I was very unhappy with it until I added them.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Madrona Collage

Using some of my hand painted collage papers, paint and painting mediums, on a larger than I've ever worked canvas, I've tried to combine abstract and realistic forms in this Madrona collage.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

These Delicato Mitts were finished a little while ago for my sister-in-law, but I didn't want to post a picture until they had been gifted, because I didn't want to spoil the surprise for her.  They're knit with sock weight yarn that I purchased because she is knitting a sweater in a similar colorway.  Fall is in the air here and I know her hands get cold, so am hoping these will be a colorful way to keep them warm.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tiny Baskets

These little baskets in progress will be finished and made into pincushion baskets for my booth at the Block Party Quilt Show in November.  Each is one-of-a-kind, and these include reed that was hand dyed by me in Sisters this past July.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

More Watercolor Practice

I'll probably add some words or something else when I get back to the teapot, cream and sugar.

Mystery Sock - another UFO finished!

After more than a year, they're finally done!!!  You know it really didn't take a year to do the work, but the pattern was dated 2009, and the last picture I took of one sock and the second started was in June, 2010, so they've been waiting to be finished for quite some time and now I have a new pair of socks just in time for the weather to be cooling down:-)

The pattern was designed by Kirsten Kapur for Through the Loops.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

When the cat's away...

While my husband went on a recent business trip, I pulled out my basket making supplies and got to work, it just took me a while to take pictures.  Someday, I'd like to make an antler basket, and I've been told I need to make a melon basket to learn the basic techniques that will be needed, so I used some of the reed I dyed in Sisters, OR, and a purchased pattern, to make two little melon baskets.  The small one was made with 6" hoops and the larger one with 8" hoops.

Once those were finished, I decided to begin work on a gathering basket pattern that was in my "to do" pile, along with the special base and handle.  This is the most beautiful basket I've ever made!  The only thing that bothers me is that it's too light and white looking, so I've ordered some Weaver's Stain and am thinking of staining it, after testing on scrap reed.  Yes, it was time consuming, but I love it!!!