Saturday, October 31, 2009

It was a dark and rainy Halloween night. . . .

If you follow my blog you may be wondering where I am. I am all packed and was supposed to fly to Florida today but had to change my plans.
So when I could have been blogging I was packing and trying to get all my ducks in a row.

I am sure many of you haven't seen the photo of my Halloween tree so I'd like to share it with you.
At one time I decorated a full size tree for each holiday. I got tired to doing it so all the decorations (and lights for each tree) are stored away. It was fun while it lasted.
I feel like I should get out Charley Brown's Great Pumpkin book and read it to myself.
My 3 year old grandson came over to show me his flying monkey costume. I gave him his candy last night. Tonight he went home with two more decks of Panda playing cards. (He also got 2 decks last night). I didn't have the camera handy but his head piece came off as soon as he made it through the door. Big sister was a cheerleader with long blond curly cheerleader hair.
His favorite thing to do here is my puzzles. He picks the one he wants me to do and I just do the auto solve. I have a set of family puzzles and he has a hard time figuring out who his older sisters and brothers and his Dad are in those puzzles. He also loves the quilt ones.

Each time he does puzzles with me he looks at Journey which is hanging in the family room and wants to do THAT puzzle. I guess it's about time I made THAT puzzle!
Click to Mix and Solve

Friday, October 23, 2009

More color influences in my life

This photo is a jumble of the serapes in my collection. I love the way colors change and repeat in them. Fortunately they are one of those things that are affordable to collect. I feel my collection is now complete so I won't be competing with you if you are looking to buy some! My passion for them was reignited when I visited Santa Fe, New Mexico and saw them repurposed to make gorgeous expensive clothing.

I grew up in Racine, Wisconsin, home of Johnson's Wax - at least that was what we called the company as I was growing up. It seems we drove by these buildings so often I didn't even realize how they had influenced me. They were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, another Wisconsinite. When I was almost done with "The Colors Of My Life" series I looked at the quilts and realized there was a definite influence from these buildings.

The Fourth of July was a big occasion when I was growing up. We decorated our bikes with crepe paper. We could go to one of the playgrounds and they would GIVE us the crepe paper to decorate our bikes for the bicycle parade. I loved that crepe paper as much as I love fabric today. I bought the crepe paper you see here at the same dime store I shopped as a 5 year old. It is still there and it still has the same wooden counters and many of the same items I bought way back when. Instead of spending my weekly 10 cent allowance when I visit, I now use my credit card and usually end up spending over $100. They have everything you can't find anywhere else so I stock up on those things.

Since I don't have photos of myself from those Fourth of July parades (they didn't even have colored film back then!) I'm sharing photos of my great nephews from the 2009 parade. I guess they no longer use crepe paper.

This is Roan who is very content riding in the parade.

Quinn and Kale, Roans big brothers are enjoying driving their car in the parade.

I was allowed to go shopping each week with my allowance and often bought crepe paper. My favorite color was American Beauty Rose. I have searched far and wide for a package of American Beauty Rose crepe paper to show when I lecture and I haven't been able to find it.
This is very close to the crepe paper color American Beauty Rose. It was a little darker and a little brighter. I have almost perfect pitch when it comes to remembering the color of something.

One of my first sewing ventures was making myself a flower costume for a program at the YWCA. I used American Beauty Rose and green crepe paper. I was 8 years old and able to use my mom's treadle sewing machine. It turned out great. When I wore it for dress rehearsal I perspired and the color ran down my face! A kind mother provided a dance costume she had and I wore that for the program.

If you're still with me after wading through this long blog I have a crepe paper puzzle for you!
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Felted Bag and its inspiration

I finished another felted bag. This one is slightly larger than my previous ones.

This is what it looked like before I felted it.
Before felting this measured 29 1/2 inches high and 24 inches wide. After felting it measured 21 1/2 inches high and 19 inches wide.

This sweater was the inspiration for the pattern on the bag.

This was also an inspiration for the bag. This vintage serape I purchased is a very important piece to me. It is very similar to the one my Mom had on our cedar chest and was one of the most important things that influenced the way I use color. This is about 1/4 the size of my Mom's but is uses colors in the very same way.

I was not copying either of these items, I just let them influence the way I used my yarns.
I also was working with a limited amount of yarn and had to "make it work" as Tim Gunn would say. I actually got out my gram scale when I was working on the I cord for the straps and weighted and divided the amount I had of each color to make a mirror image strap.

Since this is one of my favorite ways to use color and lizards is my favorite puzzle cut I just had to use it for this puzzle.
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Sunday, October 18, 2009

It's knitting weather!

I love the coloration of this Noro yarn. It is the perfect yarn to knit this scarf with the diagonal design which changes to form opposing triangles.
I got the Agate scarf pin at International Quilt Festival in Houston. If you didn't see me there it is because I probably got this at least 10 years ago. This is my first chance to use it.

This long skinny scarf is also knit diagonally but in only one direction. I had it about 80% done and put it away. When I took it out there was no pattern to follow. It is so simple I was able to figure out what I had been doing.
If I just throw it around the back of my neck it is long enough to reach my knees.
It is so soft and warm.

Here's another way I can wear this scarf. I had no one to model it so I hope you get the idea. (If I waited until tomorrow I'll have someone here but I don't think any of the men that are putting in the new furnace would be comfortable modeling it!

This is how I am wearing the scarf right now. I can also do a lot of other things with this scarf and can use the scarf pin with it too.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Enhancing commercial fabric with paint

I chose two pieces of fabric I liked. I spent an enjoyable evening or two painting on each of them to make them more complex and interesting. The squiggles, dots, slashes, commas, etc you see are what I painted.

Un Heuvo Grande 30"W x 24.5" H $400

I chose to cut the fabrics with gentle curves and sew them together alternating the two fabrics to form the design.
I added a lot of decorative stitching along the seams for another layer of pattern.

Although I had not intended the shape I used for the focal point to resemble an egg, it definitely does and that lead to the name.

Enjoy the puzzle.
Click to Mix and Solve

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

More decorating with fabric

This skirted table was most recently used in the guestroom as a bedside table. I moved it into the living room when I redecorated the living room. I kept the same skirt and topper on it and just added the lamp and floral arrangement.
As many of you know when I say redecorate it usually means I am just searching my house and moving things from one room to another!

This is the new table cover. It was not as quick and easy as I had anticipated. The fabric was 118 inches wide so I was able to cut a seamless cover in less than 5 minutes.

This is the cording that I used to finish the edge. That is where the fun began! I wasn't sure I'd have enough fabric to cover the cording so I cut it narrower than I should have. The cording itself was about 1" in diameter so it was difficult sewing close enough to it. It slipped and slid as I stitched. I broke 5 needles stitching it.
I ended up having so much fabric left I don't know where my brain was when I calculated what I'd need!

You can see the table and accessories in it's room setting here. It is a cozy welcoming room since I redecorated. We'll sit in here next time you come to visit and have a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.

The couch you see was originally in the family room. It's the perfect couch to take a nap on. It's looks like something Grandma might have had. It is covered in a mohair type velvet and is down filled. I have taken many naps on it and I usually only sleep about a half hour when I nap there - perfect.

And of course tonight's puzzle is a small version of the living room!
Click to Mix and Solve

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Dreamscape 14.5W x 15.5H $500

I fused several pieces of fabric together for a background for Dreamscape.
Did I know what I was doing? Did I have a plan in mind. NO.
I just added and subtracted things until I was happy with the composition.
The shape you see is the actual shape of the quilt although you might have thought I was shooting it at an angle.

In this close up you can see the details and you can also see the quilting. The quilting helps to emphasize the design.

Enjoy this crazy cut to put Dreamscape together.
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cut It Out!

This is another quilt that I made from pieces of hand dyed fabrics left from larger quilts. You may recognize some of the fabrics if you follow my blog.

Often I cut shapes while I am waiting for something and just keep them on a tray.
When it is time to make a composition I play with those shapes on a background that may be one or more than one fabric.
I also have a lot of other fabrics that I can cut more shapes from.

I am trying to arrive at a pleasing composition.
When I am pleased with the composition I fuse all the parts to the background.

I am then ready to quilt it.
That could happen right away. More often than not it takes time to come up with a quilting design that will complement the overall design of the quilt.
This quilt was quilted with the presser foot down and I moved back and forth, from side to side and at angles to the lines I was quilting. The quilting design strongly relates wo what is happening in the fabric design of the quilt.

Tonight's CUT for Cut It Out is bricks!
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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Moonlit Jacobean Garden

Moonlit Jacobean Garden 11"W x 13"H $350

This is the quilt I finished today. It was designed and assembled months ago. Today I quilted it and finished the edge.
I used a zigzag finish on the edge which is one of my favorite ways to finish the edge of a quilt.
It only works on fused or other firm quilts. Don't ask me how I know!
All the fabrics are either hand dyed or hand painted. I love the textures in some of these fabrics.
I back all of my small leftover pieces of hand dyes with a fusible and have them ready when the muse tells me "Kay, go design a quilt top!"

Like an Amish quilt this uses subtle colors and bright colors.

I hope you enjoy this puzzle.
Click to Mix and Solve

Saturday, October 3, 2009

For Never Plaid - finished!

For Never Plaid 34" W x 39" H $1800

I've finally finished For Never Plaid. I'm always happy when I take the last stitch on a quilt and I can put it on the list of quilts I've finished.

You did see this one as I was working on it if you follow my blog.

I have a drawer full of solid strips I cut when I have 6 inches or less of a fabric left from a project. It makes it so easy to start something when you don't have to stop and cut. This was one of those pieces where I just picked up pieces and started sewing them together with no specific design in mind. I just let it happen. I'm quite pleased with it.

I find it interesting that the last 2 pieces I've finished are blue since I hardly every use blue these days.

This is quilted with random curved quilted lines that are relatively close together. This adds some body to the quilt and helps it to hang better on the wall. It is 34 inches wide and 38 inches high.

The edges are finished with facings which give more body on a curved edge and it has a casing on the back to insert a hanging rod.

For those of you who are addicted to my puzzles I have now posted over 200 puzzles for you. I will continue posting them as long as you enjoy doing them. Let me know!
Click to Mix and Solve

Friday, October 2, 2009

This is what 50 looks like!

My oldest son is celebrating his 50th birthday today. How did this happen? I'm not old enough to be the mother of a 50 year old.

His office staff did a fantastic job decorating his office for this significant birthday. The arm you see holding the balloons belongs to Geri, his office manager.

Geri spent a lot of time doing research to make this poster of facts from 1959. I have left this as a very large image so you can click on it and are able to read these facts. His beloved Packers had their first winning season since 1947 in 1959 under the legendary coach Vince Lombardi.
That love of the Packers has continued throughout his life and he is a devoted Packer fan with a extensive Packer wardrobe and Packer memorabilia collection in his home and office.

This large birthday card allowed visitors to his office to add their greeting.

This shows some decorations in the reception area. The streamers, balloons, signs and other decorations filled every single part of the office. I know they worked on this for months and they did a fantastic job. Thanks Geri and the entire staff for being such special people.

Here he is heading down the hallway and getting back to work.

After the workday was over they treated him to a Mexican dinner at the office, presented him with a very special gift and took him to a comedy club in Illinois by limousine.

The birthday boy is today's puzzle!
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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Kimono Quilt

This quilt was made with several pieces of Japanese kimono fabric which is only 14 inches wide. Because of the size of the pieces I had to use several fabrics. It really made a much more complex and interesting quilt because I used such a variety.
I combined it with a blue hand dyed gradation. The unifying factor here is the color blue.

I started this quilt many, many years ago. I started quilting it and found what I intended to do wouldn't work. I had to remove a lot of stitching and after doing that I didn't want to see the quilt for a while. It got put away until this summer when I came up with a way to quilt it that complemented the quilt.

I quilted this with an undulating grid that was spaced to coincide with size of the divisions made with the hand dyed gradation. By clicking on this closeup you will see a larger version and be able to see the curved quilting grid. I am so pleased with this finished quilt.

It was a great feeling to finally finish this last night - my 347th quilt.

Enjoy this puzzle. I have given you a relatively easy cut tonight!
Click to Mix and Solve