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

Monday, December 31, 2018

All love surround you

My son's photo of the North Cascades.

"May the Long Time Sun
Shine upon you
All love surround you
And the pure light
within you
Guide your way on
Guide your way on."

-- Snatum Kaur

On my way to California.

Our yoga teacher Katie sang part of that song today at the end of class to bring us out of final relaxation. She is an opera singer and has a voice like a silver bell.  The words touched me deeply, as I am experiencing a heavy, heavy, personal loss and need to remember that I have a guiding light within.

At the end of yoga class, we say "Namaste," the light in me acknowledges the light in you.

Some light from 2018:


Sunday, December 30, 2018

Makers' Mercantile field trip

My Sew Day group always goes to a fun quilt store and then has lunch for our Christmas get together, and last week we went to a fabulous place called Makers' Mercantile in Kent, WA. It has very colorful fabric, felted wool, trims, buttons, yarn, and even a cafe in the back.

Linda P.  zeroed in on the wool, while Carolynn admired a surface designed silk scarf and the dyes to make it.

Nancy was a happy lady when she found all the trims ...

... and our bag lady, Linda J., hit the jackpot with embroidered purses that would look great when she goes to Mexico.

I didn't buy this pouch, but it sure sums up my philosophy!

After two hours of shopping and talking, we headed to a three-hour lunch, gift exchange and girl talk at Stanford's restaurant. All five of us had chicken barbecue quesadillas.

For this year's gift exchange, we decided to make each other mug rugs. Linda P. gave us chocolate and wine to go with hers!

Carolynn embroidered the beautiful mug rug above, and Linda J. used selvages, ultra suede and a funky trim on hers.

Nancy made snuggly, warm wool applique mug rugs. 

They're all so nice that I don't know if I'll actually put anything on them. I may just admire them and let them remind me of our friendship.

Have a colorful day

Monday, December 24, 2018

Have a joyful Christmas

This is circulating on Facebook.
I wish I could attribute it, but I
haven't been able to track down the creator.
 I think it is the perfect message
for the holiday season and beyond.

Have a colorful day

Friday, December 21, 2018

Happy Winter Solstice

My winter quilt, "Waiting For Spring."

Winter Solstice is today -- the first day of winter and the point where we get a wee bit more light every day. There is light at the end of the tunnel in the long, dark, rainy days of the Northwest.


During those dark days, a shining light in my life is yoga with friends and wonderful teachers, like Joy, our Thursday teacher. After yesterday's practice, in honor of the solstice, Joy left us with this thought by Hafiz, a 14th-century Persian poet:

"I wish I could show you,
when you are lonely
or in the darkness,
the astonishing LIGHT
of your own being."


And today, Jillian offered this reading at the end of class:

"The winter solstice marks the longest night of the year. It is a turning point, signifying the rebirth of the sun and the return of light. 

"It is from darkness that inspiration, strength and life eventually emerge. It is in darkness that our inner light is lit.

"Let go of what is not needed anymore. Celebrate the power of faith, that your dreams and affirmations will come into manifestation.

"On this day, make a conscious effort to increase the amount of light, positive thoughts and love in and around you."
                                               -- source unknown

So, on this solstice, I will balance the light and the dark. I will rejoice in the light of friendship and then snuggle into the cozy cocoon of my home.

Orion, as seen by the Hubble telescope.

Have a colorful day

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Japanese boro jackets in Shibori Dragon

I wandered into the Shibori Dragon quilt store in University Place, WA, today to get some hand-dyed wool and was blown away by the boro jacket collection hanging on the walls. I got permission from Becky, who has been collecting the treasures for about 25 years, to take photos and put them on the blog.

Boro ("ragged") jackets are Japanese clothing mostly from the 19th and early 20th centuries that have been heavily patched and mended. The fabric is indigo dyed and the stitching with thick threads is called sashiko. 

These first few pieces that I'm showing you are from the 1930s-1940s and are from Northern Japan. I love the simple, loose, geometric shapes of the patches and stitching.

When the mending stitches are done with white thread on indigo fabric, they are said to resemble snow falling on farmhouses at night.

I found this additional information about boro at, the web site of a textile gallery in New York specializing in antique Japanese folk textiles:

"The diversity of patches on any given piece is a veritable encyclopedia of hand loomed cotton indigo from old Japan. In most cases, the beautiful arrangement of patches and mending stitches is borne of necessity and happenstance, and was not planned by the maker.
"Imagine that boro textiles were stitched in the shadows of farmhouses, often at night by the light of one dim andon, on the laps of farm women. This unselfconscious creative process has yielded hand-made articles of soulful beauty, each of which calls upon to be recognized and admired as more than the utilitarian cloth they were intended to be."

This next garment (above and below) is a fisherman's coat from 1868-1912. The sign beside it says the densely spaced stitches made the cloth thicker and warmer and provided a way to reuse old fabric, just as Americans do in patchwork quilts. The quilted coats were originally a necessity to keep fishermen warm and dry at sea in the days of sail and oar. Over time they evolved into ceremonial robes.

This garment half hidden by bolts of lavender fabric is a Japanese farmer's boro noragi coat from the late 1800s to very early 1900s in the Shiga prefecture of Central Japan.

It is sakiori loomed, which is a woven fabric produced from worn out cloth and garments torn thinly and then woven tightly into clothing and other products for daily use. As such, it is very heavy.

The sashiko (spellcheck keeps trying to change this to "sashimi") stitching on boro is often in geometric patterns, like this section of the fisherman's coat:

So, if you're near University Place by Tacoma, do stop in and view these beauties at Shibori Dragon, 7025 27th St. W. And buy some fabric while you're at it!
Have a colorful day

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Partying with STITCH

Our festive table exploding with gifts and decorations.

This week was our seventh STITCH holiday party -- hard to believe we've been together that long. It seems like just yesterday that we had our first get together at a coffee shop. For awhile there were 12 of us, then some moved away or dropped out and our dear Barbara passed away this year from cancer.

Karen hosts every December and decorates her home beautifully for us. I always get a photo of the quilt shop in her Christmas village.

This year I brought my selfie stick for a group photo. The top photo is the "good" one and the bottom photo is where I lost control of half of the group. Andrea and Delaine were both feeling under the weather and couldn't be there. 

We stuffed ourselves on good food,
and wine flowed freely.

Here are some of the gifts:

I made bookmarks with some of my painted fabric on the front ...

... and text fabric on the back.

Have a colorful day

Friday, December 14, 2018

Party time with the Woolies!

Monday was party time with the Woolies, and I managed to finally get myself in a group picture by taking it in front of Pam's mirror. Unfortunately, Pam is almost hidden -- that's her in the back row on the right, peeking out from behind Mary.

We started with fabulous food, like this raspberry Danish that Mary made with crescent roll dough. Google "candy cane raspberry crescent rolls" and you'll find recipes. Somehow I didn't get a picture of the counter loaded with food, but we had enough for breakfast and lunch and it was all delicious.

We also gathered around the table where we had laid out small presents to share -- cute little fabric mice, gobs of trim to use in our wool projects, beads, hand-dyed embroidery thread, needle threaders ... and Pam used cherry Kool Aid to dye some black and white wool and gave us each a generous piece along with green thread.

Then we spread out the needle cases that we made since Pam challenged us last month to use some of her patterns. Linda made the three on the left (the top one is actually a pin cushion) to give to her son's mother in law, who is just getting into quilting.

Here's a closeup of Mary's, which she made based on a pattern in Sue Spargo's Fresh Cut book.

She customized the inside to suit her needs.

Here is Donna with her gorgeous case and its delightful details:

And here is a detail of Pam's:

Judy showed her wool reindeer, which joins the herd that we started making last year.

And we DID sew, in addition to eating and gifting and show-and-telling. Pam worked on this little reindeer table mat.

As a bonus, the sun came out after a big downpour on our way to the meeting. Sunshine, friends, fabric and food -- a great day!

 Have a colorful day