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

Friday, January 29, 2016

A dream ironing table

Big shakes down in the studio. Dave finished the ironing table that he's spent the past year designing and making. It's as sturdy as Fort Knox and will fold up vertically and roll away on locking wheels if I want to store it out of the way. I've been quilting for more than 30 years, and this is the first ironing table I've had!

He made four drawers to hold my ironing paraphernalia (and maybe some fabric). It's the perfect height for me, which means I'll probably use it as a work table in addition to an ironing board. It's 28 by 80 inches.

Dave staples the cover to the back of the board.
Since I didn't have any tablecloths that needed to be ironed, my first project was ironing freezer paper templates onto wool for more bird appliques.

I'm putting together a little packet for each bird so I can take them on this year's trip to Sedona. I have about eight more birds to do to complete the thirty in Sue Spargo's bird book.

I wish I had more to report on, but I haven't been working on much since finishing the baby quilt. I'm thinking of making another wonky log cabin using my own painted fabric, but first I have to clear off the cutting table so I can use it as a paint table and I've been too lazy to do that. These rainy, grey days make me really sluggish.

Have a colorful day

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

First quilt of the year finished

"Robert's Quilt," by Sherrie Spangler

I finished the wonky log cabin baby wall quilt today -- my first completed project of the year!

It was commissioned by a friend to give to her new grandson. Her only request was that I include blue, yellow and red; she left everything else up to me. I decided on the log cabin block, with the traditional red representing the hearth of the home. It seemed a fitting design for bringing a baby into his new home. 

The quilting spirals out from the center, representing the path he will take starting at home and circling wider and wider into the world. The colors reminded me of blue skies, sunshine, water, fields, grass, trees and snow. (Most of the fabrics are from the Grunge line.)

Have a colorful day

Friday, January 15, 2016

Barbara Lee Smith exhibit

Barbara Lee Smith with her "Oyster Light."
There's a phenomenal show of fiber art by internationally known artist Barbara Lee Smith through Feb. 5 in Tacoma, WA. GO. It's at Tacoma Community College's Gallery from noon to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, free.

Tacoma Community College Gallery entrance.

Barbara, who lives and works on Raft Island right here in Gig Harbor, has landscapes that capture the essence of the Pacific Northwest's light, atmosphere and water, as well as abstract pieces that convey much emotion.

"Daybreak" by Barbara Lee Smith.

She works with Lutradur, a nonwoven fibrous synthetic material, rather than with quilters' traditional cotton or silk. She paints, collages, fuses and stitches the layers, producing a stiff piece of work (no batting) with no borders or binding. She mounts these pieces with Velcro to wooden frames; the effect is of the art floating in front of the walls.

Stitching lines resemble topographic maps.

She uses an industrial Bernina for the "quilting," which resembles contour lines on topographic maps.

Below is one of her abstract pieces, "Unsquare Dance," which I found quite quilterly. The colors glow -- it is mesmerizing, as are all of her pieces.

"Unsquare Dance" by Barbara Lee Smith.

You can read more about Barbara and see much more of her work at her website, She also has a book, "Celebrating the Stitch: Contemporary Embroidery in North American (Taunton Press 1991).

Besides being a wonderful artist, she's a calm and gracious person. She and her husband plan to move to North Carolina soon, which will be Gig Harbor's loss. See her work while you can.

Have a colorful day

Monday, January 11, 2016

Sew Day inspiration

Detail of Linda J.'s painted, coiled bowl.
Linda J. wowed us at Sew Day yesterday with some new coiled bowls that she painted and formed into interesting shapes. Instead of wrapping cording with fabric, she used a fabric ink to spray paint white cotton roping and then stitched it into coiled baskets.

This first basket incorporates knot details. The second one has a rim that folds over. You can see the bottle of ink spray here:

We were also wowed by Carolynn's elegant quilted table runner and placemats. She used gold thread for the quilting to pick up the gold highlights around the red berries.

Birds always seem to find their way into Sew Day projects. Above are some of  Linda P.'s wool Sue Spargo birds. Below is another wool bird that Nancy is appliqueing.

Linda J. worked on this hooked rug:

She also brought three different sizes of purse organizers for show-and-tell. The pattern is the Suzi Purse Insert by

Nancy had this cute supply bag:

Here's the gorgeous view of water and snow-capped mountains from Carolynn's window. We also had the Seahawks game on and we won!

It was a good day.

 Have a colorful day

Friday, January 8, 2016

Cabin construction continues

I squared up the wonky log cabin blocks and am making decisions about joining them. The colors remind me of blue skies, water, plants, sun and snow, plus red for the hearth.

First I tried some wonky strippy pieces to join the blocks, but I think they get lost into the blocks:

Next I tried some chunkier ones. I think I'll go with those. Onward!

Have a colorful day

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New year, new wonky log cabins


My first quilt of the year calls for no procrastination because it was recently commissioned by a friend for her grandson, who is due this month. I'm making one of my favorites, a wonky log cabin.

She requested blue, yellow and red, plus anything else I want to throw in. So the centers will be the traditional red to represent the hearth. I cut them off kilter to start the wonkiness.

Then I added strips, either straight or wonky.

 Here they are after three "logs" were added.

... and four

 ... and seven

... and nine.

Now I'm taking a break to go out for Mexican food.
Have a colorful day

Sunday, January 3, 2016

A soft snowfall

It snowed today!

Soft flakes rested on Buddha and the bunny, and snow blanketed the interlaced branches above.

A little kid coming out of a store when the snow began spread his arms wide, turned his face to the sky and asked, "Why is it snowing? It's not Christmas anymore."