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.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Mycopigments workshop

On Sunday I attended Alissa Allen's Mycopigments workshop in Bloomington. The beautiful colors shown above are Alissa's dye results made during the Sunday workshop using ethically harvested mushrooms and lichen. The workshop was lots of fun and so informative. More info on Alissa and Mycopigments can be found at You can also find workshop offerings on the Mycopigments Facebook page.

The workshop took place in the Indiana University School of Fine Art Textiles Area. Dye color samples lined the walls of the room and students were coming and going working on projects. It was wonderful to be in the midst of all the learning and doing - the humm of it all. I met some great people from Bloomington and IU Textiles. It was all pretty great. Did I say it was great? Thanks Alissa and IU Textiles. A walk in the woods will never be the same.

Friday, April 24, 2015

these live with us now

Tidying my studio is on pause. I am sewing some of the cloth I have found again into some things that can live out in the open with us now. The lighter side of the log cabin block is indigo from an online class with Glennis Dolce at ShiboriGirl. The indigo star in the center was also made during that class. The block on the right was made during one of Jude's Contemporary Boro classes. It seems like both of these learning experiences took place about 3 years ago, which is hard to believe. It makes me hesitant to put any of my favorite pieces of cloth back on a shelf or into the cupboard. Better to get them all out among the living I think.

Monday, April 20, 2015

color journal II :: a few blocks into April

 Green is here. The Redbuds and Virginia bluebells are showing off their pink and purplish blue buds.

A favorite green from our garden right now - the emerging lady's mantle leaves. Just fuzzy enough to catch dewdrops and rain.

These are the blocks I have so far - a seasonal gradation.

I finished the binding on the first color journal quilt this weekend and it has been through the wash. I will try and photograph it a bit better at some point. I was thinking as I looked at the April blocks I just made that the green and purple color combinations are a favorite, on the first quilt and also the new blocks. Noting that here to remember.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

10/100 blue paint blocks

I have been painting one 7" block each day since April 6 with an end goal of 100 total blocks. (Read more about the 100 Day Project here.) I am using Pebeo Setacolor transparent fabric paint and sometimes a Pitt pen here and there. The first block is painted in Pebeo "indigo" colored paint (which I almost immediately realized I didn't have as much of as I thought and could no longer order) and all other blocks are painted with "cobalt". Oh well, I like the cobalt color more anyway. These are my first ten blocks. The first 25 will make one big 5 x 5 block and so on until I have four big blocks to sew together at the end. I like the idea of keeping them in quadrants of time - to really see what if anything might have changed along the way. 

Simply painting and drawing on each block has made it easy to keep up even if I don't have much time left in the day to do it. 
They have settled into a negative then positive space rhythm that I enjoy working out along with whatever has come to mind to paint. 

I have found myself looking forward to sitting down to work on these each day, even at the very end of the day. The very quiet and centered blocks are my favorites so far.

I will post a new block each day over at my Instagram page if you care to follow along over there. No pressure though, because I have plenty more to talk about at this place too. 

As always thanks to all who visit. I have had a bit of a lull in posting as I try to catch up with Spring, but will be back to stitching soon. I find all my time spent with hands too busy to stitch leads to more daydreams of all the things I will stitch when I can.

Monday, April 13, 2015

color journal II :: yellow in April

The forsythia just off our front porch is in full bloom.

 The daffodils are going all out too.

I have been busy indoors with some serious spring cleaning. Hoping to wrap it up soon and get back to more stitching as there are so many unfinished projects being unearthed as I tidy.

I have managed to find time to paint one fabric block a day along with The 100 Day Project (began April 6) and have been posting these over at my Instagram page. It's been great fun and I hope to say a bit more about that soon.

Monday, March 23, 2015

color journal II :: another one for March

It's sleeting outside every few minutes as I type but this past weekend was beautiful. I have stitched a block inspired by colors I found on Sunday morning.

British Soldiers lichen. Lipstick lichen. Matchstick moss/lichen.

A miniature fairytale landscape.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

color journal II :: a few blocks into March

It snowed about 9 inches on the first day of March. Then, it all melted away under bluebird skies and a few warm days. Thank goodness for the blue in the sky...

because now we have some serious mud. I love this lone purple crocus in the middle of all the mud. It's kind of funny to post photos of mud, but this is how it is.

I am cutting squares of all the green I can find. I would like to make one more block for March and I would love for it to be made entirely of green and maybe a bit of blue sky.

Linda at Looktothisday is also working on color blocks by month. You can see her lovely March blocks here.

Monday, March 16, 2015

the middle of March

 I had been planning to start working with larger scale but got sidetracked with these little oak leaves. I made them specifically for this little basket...

which holds this little doll. I am sending them to my youngest niece for her birthday. My grandma gave the doll to me forever ago when I was already a bit too old for dolls. She had one similar that she used to let my sister and I play with when we were visiting. My mom gave it back to me a few years ago. I packed it away and it recently resurfaced. I want to pass it on to someone who will enjoy it now. The little quilts add some softness and spring is so near the leaves just had to be green. It was pretty gray out when I started them.

It's absolutely beautiful today. 72˙ as I type this around 4pm. This afternoon, just a few minutes before I photographed the quilted leaves…

the sandhill cranes flew over. I heard them calling from way up, through the open windows.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

color journal II :: February blocks

Oh well, I will tidy tomorrow. I decided to start this before February ends. White snow, gray shadows, blue skies and brown remains of the plants.