Detail from "Rain Dance," an original quilt by Sherrie Spangler

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New business cards

Voila, my new business cards!

I started an art quilters group a few months ago in Gig Harbor, and we decided that we should make business cards to exchange in the style of ATCs -- artist trading cards. So that was the impetus, the kick in the pants I needed.

I started with pieces of blue and orange collaged fabric left over from a project about six years ago. I cut them a little bigger than 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches (the size we agreed on), and printed some business cards on card stock. Then I cut Peltex -- the kind that's fusible on both sides -- to the finished size of the cards. The Peltex is thick and stiff, so the cards will hold their shape. It's easy to stitch through, although I didn't do that.

I fused the fabric on one side and the cards on the other, then trimmed the excess. I love snippets of leftovers, so I took this photo before I threw them out. It's really hard for me to throw out colorful scraps of anything.

Then I started arranging them in different designs and decided they'd make a cool quilt. So maybe I'll collage some more fabric and cut it in rectangles for a tile-like quilt.

Thanks, art quilters' group, for giving me the incentive to move on this!

Have a colorful day

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Nuts eat

I forgot to report on the Nuts' latest sewing day. I know you're all waiting to see what we ate this month, so here it is! (Everyone should have friends like the Nuts.)

Nancy made lattes for everyone, then served us a healthy breakfast of yogurt, fruit and nuts, and muffins. I forgot to get a photo of lunch, but the highlight of the day was this spice layer cake with buttercream frosting topped with, appropriately, more nuts.

There was a lot of crazy quilt embroidery going on. Here's Nancy's very colorful block. Plenty of movement:

Carolynn was just getting started on her red block:

Linda worked on another embroidered tea towel. This one incorporates three things you see a lot of here -- lighthouses, evergreen trees, and seagulls.

And I made a few pillowcases for our quilt guild's ongoing project of donating colorful pillowcases to local hospitalized kids.

Have a colorful day

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Breezy scarf and Rayna strips

I needed a color fix last night after days of rain, ice, gray ... so I made this scarf from the silk scraps on my studio floor.

It wasn't exactly a quick project, but that was OK because it provided hours of machine time blissfully soaking in the bright colors. I sandwiched my hand-painted silk scraps and some other glitzy fabric and yarn between layers of Sulky Solvy (see my post here about the technique) and sewed all over with angles to mimic the shapes of the scraps. I used YLI metallic gold and a variety of other colors.

Note: I didn't have any problems with the foot sticking this time, probably because it's so dry in the house now that the heat has been on.

This morning was the exciting part, soaking it in a sinkful of water (above) and seeing what emerged after the Solvy dissolved away. This only took a couple of minutes. I squeezed out the excess moisture in a towel, and it's almost ready to wear!

I say almost, because I think I'll give it a quick press with the iron so it doesn't look quite so raggedy. The power was off again part of today, so I didn't get around to the ironing yet.

Here's how it looks with a green background (my ironing board cover).

And here is what's going on with the free-form strips I'm sewing using Rayna Gillman's technique from her new book, "Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts." I'm still rearranging segments and adding more sections. This is a warmup for tackling the ugly-fabric challenge that I wrote about earlier.

You can read about the challenge here.

Hope you're all either weathering the storms or enjoying sunny weather!

Have a colorful day!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Color in the ice and snow

I ventured into the snow and ice yesterday to see what I could see in our yard. I was on the lookout for color.

I found red berries and branches sheathed in ice.

A woodpecker's red head popped against the gray world.

From the kitchen window (when I came inside for a chocolate fix), these yellow flowers glowed against the muted woods.

No, I'm not hallucinating from the chocolate, but I did have a flashback to this summer scene (above) as I took a photo from the same spot yesterday:

This is also the scene of the devastion below, where a tree fell during the storm and landed on my little seating area.

Here's another flashback to that same spot last summer, when I was sitting in that same chair. My embroidery supplies were on the table now covered with snow. 

More branches bow under the weight of the ice, above, while sturdier trees, below, stand majestically in the snow.

Our neighbors made a snow fisherman, and my Kokopelli yard art did an ice dance.

How's the weather in your part of the world?

Have a colorful day

Friday, January 20, 2012

Hot strips, cold drips

If you're following the weather, you might have heard that the Northwest is socked in by snow, ice and wind. It's true. So in between power outages, I've been working on my "Rayna Gillman strips" to give me something bright to look at.


I think it was a giant hunk of snow or ice falling off the roof!

Anyway, I'm working on blocks and strips in my favorite bright colors to get in shape for Karen Musgrave's ugly fabric challenge, which I blogged about a few days ago here. You can pop on over to her blog, here ,where she has links to everyone else participating in the challenge, including Rayna herself.

Here are some of my hot strips and nature's cold drips.

The purple X means "NO MORE GRAY!"

If you're familiar with this part of Washington, you might be interested to know that they have closed the Tacoma Narrows Bridge today because of falling ice that was damaging cars. That's the only link between here and Tacoma.

We just had two more giant crashes on the roof. Better post this before the power goes out again.

Have a colorful day

Monday, January 16, 2012

Tea to the rescue

Tea dying the ugly fabric.

Not a pretty site.

I decided to tea dye some of the ugly challenge fabric to tone it down. I also threw a piece of white fabric in the tea so I'd have a coordinating strip.

Now it's REALLY ugly ... at least to my mind, because I don't generally like anything brown or beige unless it's chocolate. I may end up using the original.

From left: original ugly, tea-dyed ugly, tea-dyed white.
So I browsed my stash and found the chocolate bunny fabric that coordinates colorwise with the tea-dyed ugly. Then I pulled out some vegetable fabric (since rabbits eat veggies) that picked up on the brown and pink. The green and purple help jazz things up.

But once everything is sliced and diced with the Rayna method the rabbits and veggies will probably be lost, so I may just use them as color inspiration ... or I might go in a totally different direction. More later ...

Have a colorful day

Friday, January 13, 2012

Ugly fabric, fun book

Fabulous book,
hideous fabric

This is the "ugly fabric" that arrived in the mail this week from Karen Musgrave, kicking off her internet challenge.

The mission, for us fearless (foolish?) quilters who signed up, is to turn Karen's hideous, vintage fabric into fabulous art quilts using the techniques in Rayna Gillman's new book, "Create Your Own Free-form Quilts." (Click here for Rayna's comments on the ugly fabric.)

Rayna slices and dices ugly blocks and hideous fabric and combines them with other fabric until she has sizzling, fantastic art quilts. I just got her book this week and started practicing her techniques with my own fabric while I waited for Karen's to arrive.

Here are some of the scraps I started with, and below are my first few baby steps using Rayna's free-form, no-stress techniques.

Thankfully, Karen is allowing us to paint, dye or use other means of surface design to help in the transformation.

Stay tuned

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Rainy Day is done

Detail, "Rainy Day," by Sherrie Spangler

Here's my first finished quilt of 2012!

"Rainy Day" got done in record time, about four days from the start of painting the fabric to pulling the last thread tail through. The motivation was panic that I wouldn't have any new work to show for a jurying appointment later this month.

Today there was some sunshine, so we took the photo outside along with a SUNNY DAY piece of yardage that I bought earlier today at 40% off. Those are the colors I REALLY like.

This is how a rainy day looks from my part of the Puget Sound, with the Olympic Mountains visible sometimes when the clouds shift. The toned down yellow is the color of the sun diffused by midafternoon winter clouds, but more often the clouds are a purplish gray.

I left all of the edges exposed and raw (top, batting and backing), and slipped some slivers of painted fabric behind the top and left edges to square things up and add a little more layering.

I like side shots the best.
Parting shot: late afternoon sun highlighting the tree in our yard.

Have a colorful day