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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Eating at Sew Day

Linda J. served us a hootenanny for breakfast at Sew Day today! A hootenanny is a big pancake baked in the oven, and it tasted absolutely delicious. Served with turkey bacon and a fruit salad, it was a great way to get started. The breakfast table, below, was colorful, as usual.

After breakfast, we all sat around the dining room table doing hand stitching. Four of us were doing wool appliqué and Linda was doing regular turn-under-the-edges appliqué with cotton. I didn't get good pictures, which is why I'm focusing on the food and the garden.

Carolynn, Linda P., Linda J., and Nancy at lunch.
Lunch was on the patio, celebrating the return of the sun and warm temperatures after a long, grey winter and spring. Everything was blooming and looking beautiful.

Okay, to make this post a little sewing related, here's a chair and foot stool that Linda covered after taking a class at a local fabric store.

And here are some very small buttons that Nancy bought over the weekend at Button, Button in Vancouver, B.C.

 Have a colorful day

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Why I whip stitch wool appliqué first

Just embellished a flower pot with perle cotton cross stitches and outlined it in a chain stitch. Next, I'll add some veins to the leaves. Everything is whip stitched down in the bunny block below, awaiting embellishment. 

Why whip stitch?

A friend recently brought up the subject of whether whip stitching wool appliqué pieces is necessary or if it makes more sense to just tack everything down with embroidery stitches or other means. Here's why I like to do a tiny whip stitch first with one strand of embroidery floss:

* It holds everything very neatly in place, with no pokies.

* It allows me to embellish with embroidery without having to worry about catching in the edges of the appliqué to hold them down. I also don't have to worry about being stuck with appliqué pins.

* It tends to "gather in" each piece so it looks almost like trapunto, especially after it's surrounded by embroidery.

* Most important, to me, is that it's mindless and meditative. I love whip stitching as much as I do embellishing. Sometimes the mindless, no decisions needed part is even better than thinking about how I want to embellish.

Not trying to change anyone's mind, just offering my reasons for loving the often overlooked little whip stitch.

Have a colorful day

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

Hope you're all having a Happy Mother's Day. My mother is in California, so I talked to her on the phone and then went back through my photos to pull a few of my favorites of her. She loves doughnuts, which is why she looks so happy in the first photo. The second one is of her and my dad celebrating her birthday.

I did get to spend the weekend with my daughter, who drove six hours, mostly in the rain, to see me! My son is in Wisconsin, so that was another phone call.

Julia and I went to the botanical gardens in Tacoma this weekend.

Keith and his wife, Rachel, in Florida.

And of course, Julia brought my grandchildren home for the visit -- Bunners, Charlie and Bailey got a lot of snuggles all weekend.

Last but not least, the guy who made it possible for me to become a mom:

Revisiting our marriage site.

Have a colorful day

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

STITCH and pink projects

Lemon squares, strawberries and grapes await.

I hosted STITCH yesterday and got photos of color in my kitchen before the meeting but ended up not getting pictures of all the colorful, inspirational show-and-tells. 

I kept wanting to take pictures, but I didn't want to interrupt the flow by asking people to stop while I clicked. Pieces get passed around and then quickly tucked away, and before you know it the next person is up. Now I'm kicking myself because there were so many exciting pieces. Oh well, next time. It was a nice, relaxing meeting with good friends and sunshine.

I put out some flowery placemats that I made decades ago and clipped some lush, pink rhodies from the yard.

Continuing the pink theme, here are the two wool appliqué blocks-of-the-month that I'm working on for my Woolies group. I'm whip stitching the pieces down and then I'll embellish them with embroidery and beads.

Have a colorful day

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Port Gamble quilt show and Sujata Shah talk

View from my lunch table at the General Store!
The Port Gamble Fiber and Fabric Show is where I spent Saturday, and the weather cooperated with sparkling sun and beautiful views of the water.

After browsing through the quilts at the show, I headed over to The Quilted Strait, in the photo above in an old stable, for a lecture and trunk show by Indian-American quilter Sujata Shah. It was great!

Sujata grew up in India, surrounded by glorious colors. (When she moved to the San Francisco area at age 22 she said she struggled with the grey.) 

Her talk focused on the influence of these colors and patterns on her current art. She loves the beauty of the imperfection of hand work, so her quilt blocks are purposely not perfect, with points that are cut off and curved lines instead of straight. This creates a wonderful sense of movement lacking in many perfectly geometrical quilts.

Here are a few of the quilts she showed during the talk.

I bought a copy of her book, "Cultural Fusion Quilts," and eagerly devoured it while I waited for my almond-crusted French toast at the General Store restaurant.

Next, I wandered through the vendors scattered throughout the little town. I hit the jackpot for wool because Darlene Sabo of Olympic Wool Works in Port Angeles was there with stacks and stacks of luscious wool that she hand dyed. She sells on Etsy at

I couldn't decide between her spring and tropical bundles, above, so I bought both! I also bought a fat quarter of marbled wool, below, which I'd never seen before. It was really hard to pick out just one color, but I use orange a lot so I went with that.

At The Quilted Strait, I had a $25 credit to use so I bought a selection of hand-dyed perle cotton embroidery thread by Weeks Dye Works I use that for embellishing my wool appliqué.

From a local vendor whose business card I lost (she was really nice, so I feel bad about that), I bought   a length of hand-dyed silk ribbon, also to use in embellishing quilts.

Another vendor was selling little pieces of wool for 45 cents, so I selected a few. But the biggest thrill of the day was being given my very own pink pussy hat at the Artful Ewe II. The woman said she was giving them for free to anyone who would wear one, so I put mine on and didn't get a second glance (as far as I know) as I walked back to the car with it on. She's given out more than 300 so far.

p.s.  Here's my quilt, "Just for Fun," which was in the show. I heavily embellished it with hand embroidery and beading, "just for fun."

And here is a view looking out from inside the quilt show. It's a popular wedding site in the summer.

Have a colorful day

Friday, May 5, 2017

Feet & Forks at Fort Steilacoom Park

The Feet & Forks ventured out today in the rain to hike the trails at Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood. We needed umbrellas a little bit, but then the sun started poking through the clouds.

We hiked about three miles and then celebrated Cinco de Mayo at a Mexican restaurant. Ole!

Have a colorful weekend

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Replacing grey with color

This ... 

This morning's view from our deck. That's Fox Island in the fog.

... is why I do this:

When the world outside is grey, grey, grey, day after day, it's necessary to create your own world of color. So my next appliqué block has a pink sky, a purple tree, and orange rabbits.

The pattern uses brown and beige backgrounds, but I don't do brown or beige ... or grey or black. So I'm using two pink Grunge prints as my backgrounds and really bright colors of wool for the appliqués. I'm also going to give the blocks extra motion by curving the stems and branches more than in the pattern. And maybe (probably) add some sparkle with beads.

My Woolies group chose this pattern to do a block-of-the-month project, so it'll be interesting to see everyone's different color choices. 

I also was gifted last week with this fabulous collection of embroidery thread from a friend who got it from another friend who got it from a man whose wife passed away and was cleaning out her craft room. The bins of floss didn't sell at the estate sale and were headed for Goodwill. I'll use single strands of it to whip stitch the wool pieces down.

Have a colorful day

Friday, April 28, 2017

More details on wool applique

I keep going back and adding more embroidery and beading to my wool appliqué flowers -- it's hard to know when to quit! Plus, it's so addictive and meditative that I don't want it to end.

I've decided that the herringbone stitch (blue thread in photo above) is one of my favorites. It looks more complicated than it is and it goes very quickly.

I started out planning to use oodles of colors of beads but ended up mainly using gold. I used some gold in every single block to act as a unifying element. Love gold beads!

Here's another herringbone detail in the orange thread below. I like using it to fill in spaces like this. 

I have one block left to go, and I've been saving it for Sew Day tomorrow. I always used to bring my sewing machine to Sew Day, but for the last year or two I've mainly done hand stitching -- and my thumb joints are sure feeling it.

For a look at what other fiber artists have been doing this past week, hop over to off-wall-friday.html

Have a colorful weekend