Thursday, July 14, 2016

summer sewing

A deadline is often the thing that brings be back to sewing when other things have prevented me from giving it the time I would like. I have been posting a bit of progress on this one on Instagram. The ease of process in posting a photo or two over there is working well with our all over the place summer schedule.

This recent cloth is a table runner - roughly 14" X 90", made with vintage and repurposed fabrics. The blue fabric is from a little indigo dye session last summer, just a quick dip in a weakening pot.

The back is a thrifted canvas drop cloth. It gives a wonderful weight to the runner, enough relief for a nice crinkle after the wash, and a lovely fringe on a raw edge. Just the quilt top and the drop cloth are a manageable thickness for both hand-stitching and machine-stitching. I really love the weight of this combination.

That's a Buttonbush branch above, my inspiration for the leaves and circle blooms. I am eager to get another portable project ready to roll. Our summer has been full of bike races and although this runner project was portable during the appliqué and hand-stitching stages, for the most part it was made at home.

Because, sometimes a bike race looks like this. Maybe time to start a little mud cloth.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Thread of Days into May

I started working on this post when the title would have been "...into April" and then lost my hold on that whole month.

Many bicycle related things going on: My husband and I have become more involved in our boys' bike team and really enjoying meeting new friends with a passion for being outdoors and nurturing a lifetime love of bike riding. We have spent some time nursing our 12 year old's broken collarbone, also bike related. In his new place on the sidelines, he has become a contributing member to many conversations and I have learned so much about him by just listening. But, one boy a bit broken and slowing down seems to have resulted in our other boy just going faster and faster. Oh. My. 
It's a very busy time, and my absolute favorite season. I can't get enough of all the green and being completely worn out from digging in dirt all day is really the best kind of tired. End of the year school activities are near, summer trips and visitors inching closer, and the garden growing faster than we can keep up with. These threads of days continue into green.Thanks so much to all who are still following along here, despite all my gaps in communication.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Thread of Days

January is gone! I started this in November right around Thanksgiving. A day spent in the creek at my parents' house started the fossils. Then a tangle of things after that.

I was inspired to work on a sort of journal kind of stitching after following the last few months of Lynn Harrigan's daily calendar project on Instagram. For one year, Lynn beautifully documented the weather and experiences of each day in thread.

This project of mine grows by week rather than by day. I really wanted to work on something about process. No pulling threads out or worrying too much about how it turns out, I will just keep drawing and stitching.

I wanted to put things I might put in a sketchbook directly onto the cloth and then stitch them into it. I have been using a bit of walnut ink saved from fall for the occasional shading.

My firstborn had his 12th birthday last week and on we go. I thought I would say a lot more about all the imagery, but I don't really need to now. January is gone and it's all I can do to keep up. It's all in the threads and that's the point.

Maybe just a bit about the most recent stitches...a memory of last weekend's walk by moonlight through the pasture and woods. An idea of my wonderful park ranger at heart husband. We had friends, kids, and dogs along with us and could see well enough with the moonlight reflected off the snow. 

The little drawing of the woven bits = just a fragment of some recent developments.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Solidago and the Pollinators

This is the most recent quilt I have made - finished and photographed about a month ago. Those green leaves in the background are long gone.

The fabrics are a mix of cottons, including repurposed clothing and some indigo bits. The denim above was from a pair of outgrown jeans once worn by both of my boys. I thought about making this quilt for awhile and then it rather quickly came together with a few late nights spent cutting and then machine piecing.

I drew and then hand stitched goldenrod plants with wasps, bees and beetles along the bottom edge. I used a piece of flannel as stabilizer for the hand stitches. When I attached the back panel the flannel also became the batting.

I machine stitched around and between all of the hand stitching for that crinkle that I love.

This quilt is for the buzzing little lives of our late summer garden. The warm, welcoming golds and yellows of the goldenrod would draw you in for a closer look. We put our faces so so close to the starry structure of the blooms. Each bloom head was crawling and buzzing with pollinators too busy with their task to even notice us. This quilt will be our winter buzz.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

golden greens

Just over three months have gone by since I posted here last, and wow it went so fast. I have been watching the garden grow and my boys too - trying to keep up with all of them - the boys and the garden. 

The late season bloomers in our yard are gearing up for their show. We have several varieties of native goldenrod, most abundantly - Solidago rigida.  It's not at all picky about soil or light or anything so has been a prolific self-seeder, so it seems the perfect choice for dyeing.

So far I have only used the stems and leaves with cottons and raw silk fabrics. No luck with the cotton, which was not surprising. The raw silk has been wonderful - celery green, pale yellow and most recently gold.

I tried painting with a bit of likely tannin-rich mud from our pond. It didn't affect the dye so much as just make a mud stain, but I like it. Like everything else, the mud preferred the silk. I am excited to work more with the mud. I love the raw nature in this process - making marks with wet dirt. On the silk it's kind of amazing really, and these are shown already machine washed and dried.

Before going much further with the dyeing I am thinking about what I would really use. At first I liked the greens, but that green and gold variation - especially in the middle block - is just beautiful.

Next try I will be working on repeating that.

I am also thinking about how beautiful these colors might be with walnut browns.

Friday, May 29, 2015

little Bur oak whorl tablequilt

This one's done, washed and dried, crinkle and all. I learned a lot. This was a kind of test for a few construction issues before working towards something much bigger.

The biggest leaf is just barely attached to the whole.

We can also always use another surface-saving welcome spot for handmade ceramics. If Eva finds it unoccupied we can just start calling it a cat mat.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Burr oak leaf whorl

I started this little tablequilt inspired by a few large Bur oak leaves I had pressed from last season. Spring arrived as I worked on it and I decided to show the way the leaves grow as they emerge. All of the leaves are from a tree in our yard that my husband started from an acorn five years ago. The acorn was dropped by gigantic and ancient Bur oaks that stands at the edge of a favorite park in our town. Now our little tree has already set acorns and is well over six feet tall.

The leaves are attached to each branch in a beautiful radial whorl pattern. This is very noticeable at the ends of the branches. It's really beautiful. So this little quilt has turned into something to honor this young tree and what is just the very beginning of its' timeline. 

A sensitive edge has been sketched in so that it will follow the shape of a few of the larger leaves. I am going to push the limits of what I have done so far with a shaped edge and see what happens - trying to work a few things out to make something on a much larger scale.

We really are so impressed with this little tree - proves it is well worth it to plant an acorn or two in a  special spot and see what happens. The squirrels took all of the acorns last year but more are on the way.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

the color journal quilt

It was beautiful out yesterday. I had been waiting for a day like that to take photos of the color journal quilt. It is really and truly finished and officially into chilly morning usage in our home.
This quilt was a bit of a test on construction. I had stitched the diamond pattern running stitch on each individual block with just a light piece of fabric on the backside to support the stitches. I used a flannel sheet as batting and cotton as the back and quilted the large diagonal lines to hold all of the layers together in the end. I was so happy to pull the quilt out after washing and drying and see no distortion between the unstitched and heavily stitched areas on the front. With not a lot of quilting through all the layers it has more of a comforter feel and the weight of it is really nice. Creating dense areas of stitch on each block as I go along adds texture and pattern with not a lot of bulk to stitch through. This frees me up to quilt the layers together in more of an open pattern for the comforter feel in the end construction. 


This is one of many funny attempts to photograph the quilt outside by myself using the timer. I just had to show the redbud trees. I met someone recently who had moved here from the west and didn't know about the redbuds. They are a favorite of mine.