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

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Comfort Quilt Day

It was that time of month this Tuesday -- Comfort Quilt Day! We gathered at the quilt store here in Gig Harbor to work on more quilts for cancer patients, eat chocolate, and talk and laugh.

Since it was sunny, I had Carol (who started the group more than 10 years ago) hold up a few tops outside for their photos. The breeze kept whipping them around her legs, but you can get the idea. They were VERY colorful and fun.


Inside, the chaos gradually came together to form more quilt tops.

A few more on the design wall.

I finally finished my four-patch top, which I started last month and worked on at home. I can't believe I matched all those corners!

Have a colorful day

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Earth Day and quilt acceptance

Detail, "Spring Meditation" by Sherrie Spangler copyright 2013
I got appropriate news for Earth Day -- my "Spring Meditation" quilt was accepted into Sacred Threads 2013! The quilt celebrates the renewal of spring and how in the dark of winter I meditate on the new growth, warmth and sunshine that comes with spring.

"Spring Meditation" by Sherrie Spangler copyright 2013
I painted all of the fabric except for the face and some of the sheers that were used in the side borders. The face is a photo of my daughter, which I printed onto cotton after I warmed up the colors in Picasa. The last thing she said when I asked her to close her eyes and pretend she was meditating was, "I don't want to be on a quilt!" And I said, "I won't use your face." Oops. Well, I did run it by her while it was in progress.

In other Earth Day happenings, I volunteered yesterday at the Harbor WildWatch booth in Gig Harbor during the Paddlers Cup event. Like our sign says, "Ask Questions. Touch Stuff," and this dog tried really hard to touch the giant sunflower sea star in our kiddie pool.

The sunflower (Pycnopodia helianthoides) is the largest sea star in the world, with a maximum arm span of about a meter. We didn't measure ours, but I'd say it was pretty close to that.

Kids (and adults) love to touch the sea stars -- we tell them to use one finger and to be gentle. The star below is called an ochre star (Pisaster ochraceus), and it can be either ocher in color or purple, orange, pink and all shades in between.

Our divers and naturalists (that's Naturalist Rachel below) collect the creatures from the water near our booth and return them to the same spot after we close up. We make sure to keep them in the shade and to aerate the water or change it periodically. Our main purpose is to educate the public about the rich marine life of our area in the hope that they'll want to protect it.

"Just kidding just hurts!"
So true.
Meanwhile, the Paddlers Cup drew hundreds to watch the kayak, canoe and paddleboard races in the harbor. Here are some paddleboarders lined up and ready to go:

Have a colorful day

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Felting with Irina

Irina sprinkles soapy water on the wool fibers
before we felt them.
Last night, a friend and I took a felting class at a little fiber studio here in the harbor. In just three hours, we went through the whole process of selecting our colors, laying out the unspun wool fibers and beating, rolling, vibrating and massaging them into felted scarves.
I pulled off whispy pieces of wool in different colors
and arranged them on the long table.
I had never felted anything by hand before. My only experience with felting was years ago when I knitted a giant wool tote bag and then felted it in the washing machine.

Detail of wet, soapy fibers during the process.
Irina explained that the wool fibers have little barbs on them that open up when they become wet. When the wet fibers are manipulated, the barbs hook together and cause the fibers to felt together.

Cheri uses an electric sander to work on the fibers.
With my tote bag, the washing machine did the manipulating. In our class, we manipulated the wet fibers by covering them with plastic and going over them with electric sanders and rolling pins. We wadded them up and hurled them against the table 90 times. We rolled them around pool noodles and then rolled them back and forth for 15 minutes, leaning on them with our forearms.
Don't mess with teacher!

Almost done!

After a rinse in warm vinegar water and then cool water, we squeezed them dry between towels and they were ready to wear! 

Cheri models her scarf beside Irina.

My scarf in my favorite turquoise-coral combo.
Irina's studio is packed with her gorgeous felted scarves and FUN hats. She's moving to Florida in a few months, but she said she's thinking of doing on-line tutorials. Here's her info, in case you'd like to check out her beautiful work.

One of Irina's felted hats.
Have a colorful day

Monday, April 15, 2013


I just got my copy of this new booklet in the mail -- with my article titled "Framed Fabric Collages" on pages 36-37! It's a reprint of my article that was in Quilting Arts Magazine's gift issue some years ago. This time, they pulled together 17 fabric projects that might make good teacher gifts.

If you're interested, it was supposed to hit the stores in March. It's part of a new series of booklets by Interweave Press called Craft Tree, and you can see them all here:

Have a colorful day

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Art quilts at Gig Harbor Library

"Water, Earth and Sky" by Sherrie Spangler
If you're in the Gig Harbor, WA, area this month, stop by the library (see hours below) and check out the art quilt display. It was put together by Janet Larson and Pat Rosenthal, who have been hanging quilt shows at the library for years. This year they decided to focus on art quilts and put out the word among local quilters to bring our stuff. Here's a glimpse ...

"Best Buds" by Barbara Kadden

Detail of "Best Buds"

"Pastel Stars" by Janet Larson

"Vintage With a Twist" by Carol Arnold

"Mount Rainier" by Carol Arnold

I love the way the quilts seem to float over the books. They did a fantastic job of organizing and hanging everything in lickety-split time.

"Blossoms In Spring" by Janet Larson, front quilt

"Marigolds In Motion" by Pat Rosenthal

Detail of "Marigolds In Motion"

"Garden Gone Wild" by Sherrie Spangler

"Village Crossroads" by Sherrie Spangler

Gig Harbor Library
4424 Point Fosdick Drive W.
Gig Harbor, WA 98335
Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday 1-5 p.m. 
"The Chocoholic's Food Pyramid" by ... guess who?
Hope you enjoyed the show!

To see what other fiber artists around the world have been up to this week, hop over to Nina Marie's Off-the-Wall-Fridays post by clicking here.

Have a colorful day

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

White balance and photos

I'm taking a digital photography class at the local community college, and our first assignment is to play around with the white balance settings on our cameras. I've never liked learning anything technical, so I've always just used the auto setting and been happy, but now I'm going to have to face the buttons and dials and modes and all that scary stuff that I can screw up.

I've been working on these strip-pieced blocks and thought I'd photograph them under different white balance settings -- sunny, cloudy, fluorescent, incandescent, etc. I've never been able to get accurate colors in my quilt photos unless I take them outside on a sunny day and use the auto setting, so maybe this will help me get better color indoors.

So far, none of these accurately portray the colors, but this one comes closest:

We're also supposed to shoot from different angles, so I did my favorite side-angle shot. 

I'm doing the blocks for my STITCH art quilt group's monthly "creativity prompt." The person hosting the next month's meeting gets to issue a prompt, like a certain color, and then we each make something inspired by that. I decided to do a few strip-pieced blocks based on each prompt and then put them together at the end of the year. 

The prompt for this month is "backyard." I took photos in the backyard last week and realized that the colors lean heavily toward green and yellow, so I used those colors in the latest three blocks.

Have a colorful day