No Country for Fools

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Big Snow, February 2019

Last week we had a huge snowstorm that went on for several days and in the end we had nearly 3 feet of snow on the ground. It was a record amount for this area and led to all sorts of cancellations. It’s also been so cold since then that not much as melted. Now, a new storm just blew in and we’ll get several more inches. I can safely say that just about everyone is kind of sick of snow. We live so close to the mountains that we’d be just as happy to have it stay there and not come down to town! Anyway, it does give one lots of indoor time to catch up on projects when you aren’t clearing snow.

Western Meadowlark

Western Meadowlark

No Country for Fools, 21” x 24”

No Country for Fools, 21” x 24”

One project I managed to finish is called No Country for Fools. it’s inspired by Temperance Creek by Pamela Royes. This book was chosen by QuiltWorks as an alternative to the Novel Idea book this year. In this case, the author lives in Oregon and she will come to town for the quilt reception and will do an author talk the next day. Here’s a link to the book trailer which is pretty fascinating. Maybe you’ll want to read it too!

The title of this quilt comes directly from the book and is a description of the area of eastern Oregon where it takes place. I took one line that the author had about a dream that she is reminded of just as she drives toward her new life in the wilds of eastern Oregon. Her dream was about a crow flying beside her car window as she drove.

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I used some old shirts that my dad was done with. I cut them into various odd shapes and saved a couple of labels that I incorporated. I combined the shirt fabrics with some Japanese taupes that were in the perfect colors. The background was pieced improvisationally. Then, I appliqued the bird down and added some hand embroidery with embroidery thread (some of which was hand dyed).

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This piece measures 21” by 24”. I machine quilted it around the embroidery. I would have liked to hand quilt it too, but that would have taken too much time and I am having arthritis issues again so I have to be careful.

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I really love the fabric that the bird is made from (you can see it up close below). I have this stuff in several patterns and colors and it’s really different from any other fabric I’ve used. I call it bubble fabric, but I don’t know the official name. The pattern is created with texture rather than printing. These fabrics were made by Diamond Textiles and I haven’t seen them in a long time, but they are really great for turned under applique because they are thin, but very sturdy and the turned under edge just holds a crease really well. I added the embroidery embellishment by just following the pattern on the fabric.

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I washed the old shirts from my dad, of course. But I also didn’t obsess about stains or holes as you can see below. They tell the story of the cloth and the quilt, so I actually highlighted them.

I have seen a few of the other quilts in this exhibit, but I am really looking forward to seeing them all up. It should be an excellent exhibit. If you can be there, the reception is Friday, April 5, 5-7 pm and the author talk is the following day. Contact QuiltWorks directly if you are interested.

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New In Shop :: Block Printed Ornaments

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A couple of weeks ago I played around with block printing on fabric with textile ink. I ended up making a bunch of these fabric ornaments from my hand carved stamp. There are several versions of the red one as I was decided on what colors I liked best for stitching. In the end I prefer the simple white thread. However, there are many unstitched ones as well for those who prefer just the ink.

Most of the green ones are unstitched, though if you really wanted them stitched, you can let me know and I’ll do a special listing.

Also, you can do the stitching yourself if you want to. The unstitched ones cost 1/2 as much, so it’s a cost saver and not hard to do because there’s batting in the middle. You’d just need to hide your knots as in hand quilting.

light green thread

light green thread

multi colored threads

multi colored threads

Do you recognize this pattern from my Christmas cards? There are still some of these in the shop. You might make a nice little hostess gift with a hand printed card and ornament to go with it.

New In Shop :: Original Art

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

This summer was quite productive for original art too. I have listed many new pieces in the shop. There are lots of critters, flowers, and some woman portraits. I also did some mixed media collage, including the pieces above and below. Thank you for taking a look!

Mixed Media Collage & Watercolor Blue Bird

Mixed Media Collage & Watercolor Blue Bird

Cat on a Bicycle

Cat on a Bicycle

Cat in a Wagon

Cat in a Wagon

Mother Earth

Mother Earth

Woman with Flowers

Woman with Flowers

Purple Cat

Purple Cat

Halloween Cat

Halloween Cat

Swan’s Flowers #1

Swan’s Flowers #1

Swan’s Flowers #2

Swan’s Flowers #2

10 Days in January

Ranjana's Chai, 26" x 17"

Ranjana's Chai, 26" x 17"

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This Year's Novel Idea book is No One Can Pronounce My Name by Rakesh Stayal.  While I was reading the book I had a hard time coming up with any quilt ideas for the QuiltWorks Novel Idea Challenge.  This year is the 15th year for the Novel Idea program at our local library, and it's the 8th year that QuiltWorks has done a special gallery show for Novel idea quilts and other artworks. I've done it every year and I didn't want to mess up my streak!  I like the book quite a bit, but have to admit to being a bit disappointed that there was barely any mention of nature and no birds that I can recall, my favorite subjects for representational art.  I did eventually find a passage that inspired me: 

"She had taken down a large assortment of cups and saucers, and a shiny silver serving pot presided over them like a proud parent.  Fancy, loose tea leaves, and containers of cardamom and ginger were at the ready.  The kitchen was made beautiful with their smell.  She was going to make true Punjabi tea." 

I decided to dig into my stash of silks for this project.  The silks reminded me of Indian sari silks and silk ties as evidenced by the cover (one of the main characters works in a men's accessories department).  My silk stash includes various types and weights of silks including silk ties and silks of unknown origin.  I first set out to sort the bunch and determine which colors to use.

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I decided to use a very warm color palette, perhaps influenced by the book cover.  Since I don't work with silks very often and I decided this piece would be machine appliqued, I started a sample piece to try out my techniques before doing the real project.  Below, you can see "It's Teatime!", the 12" x 12" sample the I ended up finishing as well.  The sample will be displayed with the finished piece above in the gallery show.  I learned a few things about the silks I wanted to use and how to finish the edges.  I had never done satin stitch applique edges so I had to try that and I also wanted to get a somewhat sketchy look to the design, so I played with the free motion lines in a dark gray.  After finishing this I was able to move on to the larger project.

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It's Teatime! 12" x 12"

It's Teatime! 12" x 12"

Let's also back up just a bit to that teapot shape.  I knew I wanted to do something somewhat authentic, so I did a google search for Indian tea pots and was astounded to find these vintage Indian teapot designs.  These pieces are so lovely and complex and even though I didn't try to duplicate anything like this, I did use them as inspiration for the shape of the teapot. 

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Once I was ready to create the large piece I used Mistyfuse to attach a couple of larger pieces of silk to a backing of harem cloth.  Harem cloth is a gauzy cotton fabric, very lightweight, that I've used for hand stitching projects that need a little stability.  It works well with the silks to add the stability, but little weight or thickness.  Then I took patches of various colors and patterns of silk and used Mistyfuse to attach them as a background that would sort of bring to mind a patchwork table cloth.  I did a straight stitch along the edges to keep them in place while I attached the objects.  

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I sketched out various styles of tea cups on cardstock to use as my patterns.  For these I used Wonder Under to attach them to the background.  Wonder Under is easier to use than Mistyfuse because it has a paper backing, but I really don't like the stiffness it adds.  I would probably stick to Mistyfuse for future projects like this.  

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I figured out how to use the satin stitch on my machine, then I machine quilted around the objects and created the lines in the background with free motion quilting.  To add details to the objects I used free motion quilting in dark gray or a matching color.  I also did the sketchy dark gray lines to go around the edges of all the objects.  When I do that I go around at least 2 times, sometimes three or four times if I need to restate a line.  To make the words for the containers I used free motion stitching on a piece of silk that was fused to another piece of harem cloth.  This made it stable enough to stitch on.  I practiced the words on some muslin and then just went for it.  My main concern was to get the words sized right for the containers.

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I then added some more fusible to the back of the words and cut them out to add them to the containers.  I added some more stitching around them for character.  All the photos below are of the finished piece, with binding, label and sleeve attached.  I did the binding with a lightweight shot cotton because I didn't know if the silks I have would be sturdy enough.  I really like how this came out and have more ideas for future projects.

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One last thing before I go, you'll notice I put a bird on it!  As I said before I was disappointed to not find a mention of a bird in the book, but when I saw the phrase "assortment of cups and saucers" I immediately thought of adding a bird to one of the teacups.  I then added the pink flowers and also decorated the teapot similarly for balance.  You'll also see my machine stitched signature in the last photo.  I don't do it on every project, but I probably should.  The Novel Idea quilt exhibit will be displayed at QuiltWorks in Bend, Oregon for the month of April.  The reception is on April 6, 5-7 pm.  

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Etsy Update

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Just an FYI- On Thursday afternoon I will be deactivating about half my Etsy listings for the show I'm doing on Friday and Saturday.  All of these are included in that, as well as all the ornaments and greeting cards.  Items that I am not bringing to the show will still be available in the shop.  I'll adjust the listings and reactivate unsold items on Sunday.  so, just be aware that some items may come and go over the next few days.  Have a happy, colorful weekend!