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

Friday, May 31, 2013

Blue and yellow and a jelly roll quilt

I finally got around to quilting the jelly roll top that I pieced a year ago and found a home for it in my living room.

That's the top in progress, below. The jelly roll that I made it from was all soft blues and tans -- very soothing and beachy. I threw in the dashes of orange and green because I thought it needed a little zing.

These bright yellow Scotch broom flowers are actually considered a noxious weed in Washington state, but I think they look so cheerful blanketing the roadsides.

At about the same time that I put together my little yellow and blue vignette, our neighbor Rosemary had us over to her house for Dave's birthday, and take a look at her table, below! I was thrilled and decided the stars must be in alignment. She loves to decorate tables, and that day she used some very pretty blue hand-woven placemats, cheery yellow flowers, and her buttercup china. The pie is rhubarb and it was delicious.

(Click here for an old blog post about Rosemary teaching me how to make her flaky pie crust.)

Have a colorful day

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Comfort Quilt Day

Today was Comfort Quilt day again -- our monthly time to sew lap quilts to warm and comfort local cancer patients undergoing treatment.

We've donated almost 1,200 quilts so far, and each one is backed by a label that says:

"Thinking of You
Gig Harbor
Comfort Quilters"

They run the gamut from really bright and energetic to calm and soothing, but each one is beautiful and stitched with love. Carol, our organizer, knows to always give me the bright fabric to work on, although someone else made the bright ones in today's post.

Here are some that were brought in today:

This pile of batiks awaits cutting, and the pattern below is one that I started sewing after Kristin did the cutting and color planning. Lots of talking, joking and snacking always accompanies the stitching.

I think this is Carol's bag:

Have a colorful day

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Whidbey Island inspired scarf

This view from the kitchen window at our STITCH retreat on Whidbey Island is what started it all. The colors were so beautiful that I wanted to make something with them as soon as I got home, so I decided to make a scarf because it would be quicker than a quilt.

I laid out a strip of sticky Sulky Solvy and started layering bits of hand-painted silk and yarn from my stash, pressing them into the adhesive to hold them in place.

Some silk chiffon that I painted a few years ago.

After I was satisfied that I got most of the colors from the photo, I laid a piece of regular (not sticky) Solvy on top and safety pinned the layers together.

I stitched the layers with a gridwork using variegated blue-green thread in the bobbin and needle. The stitching went quickly because the adhesive Sulky was very stable, but I didn't like that it gummed up the needle. I'm not sure I'll buy more because of that. In the past I've used regular Sulky Solvy and it's floppier and you need to use a lot more pins to keep things from shifting. It's a trade off.

After swishing it around in a sink of water and squeezing it under running water, the Solvy and adhesive dissolved and I had an airy scarf that I squeezed almost dry in a towel and then hung for final drying.

Actually, most of the retreat had grey skies but I prefer to remember the day the sky and water turned blue and everything sparkled. I lightly pressed the scarf for its final photo, but I also like the rumpled look above.

Check out other fabric artists' work from this week at:

Have a colorful day

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fabric bowls at STITCH retreat

I just got back from our very first STITCH retreat on Whidbey Island, WA, where some of us churned out these coiled fabric bowls. The retreat was fabulous, fun, inspirational, colorful, and comforting, but today I'll just focus on the bowls because I want to link them up to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday.

Linda -- at the machine -- has been teaching how to make these bowls for years. She's the one who taught me a few years ago and I've been blogging about them and selling them and giving them as gifts ever since. But Carol (left) and Barbara were bowl newbies.

Here's Carol's first bowl as it progresses. She used a Washington Shop Hop bird fabric, but in some places she left the blue and white cording show because it goes so well with the fabric.

Here are a few starting to pile up. That's teacher's on the bottom with the handles. Speaking of piling up, look at those beautiful soft piles of sunset clouds over the water that we could see from our sewing area. Talk about color inspiration!

Here's the beginning of my bowl, which I made from a few batiks that my friend Sheila the Idaho Beauty gave me. Thanks Sheila! (Sheila is seeking advice on a quilt she's working on, if you want to stop over and throw in your two cents.)

Delaine's bowl reminds me of a garden, like our host, Anne's, garden. Anne was beyond generous and so gracious in offering the nine of us the run of her house for four days. (There are 12 of us in our art quilt group, but three couldn't make it.)

That's my blue bowl on the left and Linda's orange one on the right. Complementary colors and complementary personalities. I love being around Linda because she's so sassy (in a good way) and confident, and I tend to be too timid and cautious, so she gives me a needed confidence boost. 

Here's a bowl of another type -- one of Anne's gorgeous pottery bowls. We took turns making meals, and here Linda is making chicken salad for lunch. We had SO much food and it was all SO good and I gained two pounds but it was SO worth it!

I'll write more later about the retreat, but for now, hop on over to Nina Marie's blog and see what other fiber artists have been up to this week.

Have a colorful day

Monday, May 20, 2013

Book and beer clubs

Book Club lemon squares, brownies, fruit and cheese.
So here's what's been going on at our house the last two days: My Book Club inside and Dave's Beer Club outside.

Beer Club -- what more can I say?
Dave wants to become a certified beer judge, so he decided to have monthly "educational" gatherings involving a lot of beer sampling. The first meeting was Sunday on our back deck -- I told them they could NOT have it inside because I was cleaning for Book Club.

The first lesson was all about light lagers and pilsners, which they sniffed, analyzed, rated and drank. As the hours went on, their mood "evolved" from seriously studious to something lighter.

Bringing on the food at the end.
To keep this quilt related, note the beer placemats that I made for Christmas last year:

Jeannie -- glowing in turquoise.
Then my turn came this morning with these cute little colorful stacking coffee mugs that I just found at World Market -- perfect for Book Club! I made everyone pose to show how well the mug colors went with what we were wearing. Beth somehow escaped being photographed.

Yellow and coral -- great with blue shirts.

Matchy, matchy! Sherrie and Cheri.
Even our book, "Gossip," has a quilt connection. The author is Beth Gutcheon, who wrote "The Quilt Design Workbook" and "The Perfect Patchwork Primer" in the 1970s during the early days of the art quilt movement. Her husband, Jeff Gutcheon, was known for his quilts and his fabric line.

whether it's with beer or coffee.

Have a colorful day

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mother's Day dip-dyed gift wrap

My crafty daughter made some gift wrap for my Mother's Day present that was so cool I have to share it. She folded a sheet of packing paper (that cheap, porous kind) into a little package and then simply dipped the corners in food coloring! She tried computer printing paper first, but said that didn't absorb the coloring enough.

Here's the tutorial she used:

It reminded me of this fabric (above and below) that I dyed with a similar folding technique in a class about 17 years ago, but I like hers a lot better.

And look at what was in the paper -- a T-shirt from Goodwill that fits perfectly and is so true.

Then my son gave me a box of gourmet chocolates (also cheaper than a therapist) with this very artistic lid:

My son is far away and couldn't be with me for Mother's Day, but here's my daughter on the phone with him. Thank goddess for camera phones that let us share photos of us as we're talking. (She's babysitting the fluffy bunny for a friend.)

Doesn't get much better than this:

I hope the rest of you moms and daughters had a wonderful Mother's day.

  Have a colorful day