Monday, January 30, 2012

Back to the shore

What's the next best thing to an actual trip to the beach?  Designing a quilt inspired by the beach of course!  I had blogged about ideas for a shore bird quilt last year after a visit to Mexico Beach, Florida, but got a little side tracked, um.... writing a book.  While the book is not finished, I need to keep moving so to speak.

Using my gazing ball for color inspiration, these are some of the fabrics I've pulled out to work with.  What will the quilt pattern and applique be?  Not sure yet, but I'm playing with the traditional "Lady of the Lake" quilt block as a base.  There will be shore birds and flora, and whatever else develops from there.

And, I decided I will have to make a full quilt from my "Moon Glow" block.  I love it!  My sister informed me there is a vintage button line named Moonglow.  She is correct and they are beautiful. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Go for the quilt

What do you think?  Moon Glow expanded into a large wall hanging.  I love it!  Thanks to Electric Quilt and a few clicks, this is what it would look like. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Moon Glow

Here's my supervisor Leo checking out today's project. 

Most of the text for my book is finished and I'm working up a few small projects using applique design elements from some of my larger quilt patterns. I want quilters to know that applique is doable by anyone at any level.  An applique pattern can be altered a little and come out looking completely different and the size of an applique design can be adapted to fit almost any project.

Remember Camellia?  This is a smaller quilt but it includes a lot of applique and it looks like, well, Camellias. 

I took Camellia's center flower motif, two of the outer leaves, enlarged the design and just started playing with it.  The applique stitching, which adds a lot of dimension, has not been done yet.  It looks a bit different, doesn't it?

I read in the January 12th Wall Street Journal:  "Astronomers said Wednesday that each of the 100 billion stars in the Milky Way probably has at least one companion planet..." and that "planets are as common in the cosmos as grains of sand on the beach."  "One can point at almost any random star and say there are planets orbiting that star." 

I feel pretty tiny on this earth to begin with. Every time the moon is visible at night, I have to stop and stare at it.  And a clear night sky filled with stars is another sight to behold.  I never noticed this beauty living in the city. 

I honestly had no thought in mind, other than color, when I started arranging this block.  I knew I wanted to have it look completely different than my original Camellia, so I used the grey/black/white color scheme.  Adding the bright green was fun.  But as I moved pieces around, those stars in the Milky Way and those billions of planets were in the back of my mind I guess, and this is what developed. 

It will finish as a pillow maybe.  Now, if I appliqued 9 of these blocks and joined them to make a quilt with a neat border....  but then, I'm trying to create SMALL projects. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Lily takes a snooze perched on the back of our couch.  She looks like she doesn't have a care in the world.  Or she maybe needs a rest after finishing a big project. 

No, that was ME who just finished Bittersweet Too! The machine quilting and binding are done.  I always do enjoy adding the binding; I guess it's a time to bond with that quilt I just made as I sit and do the hand stitching. 

I really feel like I've accomplished something by completing the machine quilting. It was not exactly a breeze.  But I  really taught myself a lot and by the time I was almost finished, I actually began to like my stitches, tension, and quilting design.

I always add a label to the back of my finished quilt, printed on inkjet fabric with a few appliques just to spice it up.  The sleeve and label are also stitched by hand.

By the way, the Gingher rotary cutter I raved about (and still do) is VERY sharp.  Just beware.   I'm just not used to such a sharp cutter! 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Wool and Winter

We're in the middle of a winter snow storm and it is welcome and beautiful.  Yes, that's me out on the lake in front of our home.

What is it about winter and wool?  I have always loved wool - wool sweaters, socks, blankets and of course working with wool fiber.  There is nothing like the feel and look of hand dyed wool felt and I dye my own wool for applique. 

While the recent holidays took time away from working on my book and doing applique, I didn't let it go completely;  I can accomplish a lot in short time periods. 

I started my 9" x 12" little quilt for the Alzheimer's Quilt Project and have most of the hand applique finished.  I will add embellishments and an appliqued leaf border maybe, but I haven't decided on that yet.  It's nice to have a small project to work on.

When I first started doing wool applique, I used DMC Perle Cotton to hand stitch my appliques.  Now I use  DMC Broder Medicis. It's wonderful to work with.   DMC had discontinued making this thread, but a substitute is now available.

 This is a traditional blanket stitch, but you can also just do an overcast stitch when working on wool felt as the edges will not fray.  I have also stitched wool applique by machine.

A pillow I designed and appliqued using hand dyed wool and medici wool thread.