Thursday, January 19, 2006

January Journal

The journal quilt project has been challenging and fun. I felt free to try new things, since, if it didn't work out, I wasn't going to ruin a large major piece. Here's the front side of my finished page:

Here's the flip side:

Each side features a photo of my hand, which I manipulated by pasting it into a Word file. When you do that, a menu of effects appears, and I tried different ones until I found two that I liked. The manipulated images were printed onto transfer paper and then ironed on to fabric. The one on the back didn't transfer very clearly, so I machine quilted around it. I also framed that one with jute rick-rack.

The front side was foundation pieced and then heavily quilted. The idea of this image came to me in a yoga class.

I composed the words I wanted to use, and then tried writing and stamping them on strips of fabric and ribbon with gel pens and fabric paint. I settled on using my alphabet stamps and acrylic pain.

I also added gold buttons.

The foundation for the back side came out of my stash of itty bitty scraps.

I picked browns, and spread them end to end on a scrap of denim. I covered the whole thing with tulle and then quilted the heck out of it. I added the photo and trimmed it. At the last minute, I got daring and stamped some copper colored leaves on the top part. I think it came out nicely.

My major experiment with this piece was the photo manipulation. I intend to do more of this as the year goes on. I also intend to reflect on my dreams and visions.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


I've been impressed lately with the number of cats that appear in sewing room photos. They are really drawn to piles of fiber--just like us--and bring with them that calm meditative air that induces creativity. My #2 cat Fatty has made it her business to claim the best spot in my sewing room: the desk top near the window. I conveniently put my king-sized quilt there after getting it back from the long arm quilter, and then covered it with a towel to keep the cats from getting it dirty. Of course, it became the cat bed of choice, and my #3 cat Bunny kept trying to lay claims to the professionally quilted cat bed.

Fatty is nothing to be trifled with, so she has kept her claim until yesterday, when I was making my bed and looking for a decent quilt to put on it, I suddenly remembered that I have a perfectly quilted king sized quilt in the sewing room cushioning a very cushioned cat body. Much to Fatty's confusion, I have moved the quilt to the chair in front of the sewing machine so I can put on the binding and then put the quilt on my bed. To cinch the deal I bought a new bed skirt and new pillow cases. Fatty is not happy, but she will get over it. To appease the Cat Muse, I may assign her her own cat quilt for the desk.

I've finished a new knitted purse. Awhile back I started using up my odds and ends of yarn to make purses in a totally improvisational way. This one is wool and is one of the most successful so far. I think I'll save it for a gift.

I've put some quilt blocks on the wall that I started to make some time ago with a totally different project in mind. Now I'm playing with the different values in the white fabric, just to get a sense of how it works. Working with white is a warm up for the winter Madonna quilt. I'm challenging myself to use white, a color which I usually avoid. Interestingly, I picked up the Jan/Feb 2006 issue of Somerset Studio, which has the most wonderful projects in white. I think I'm starting to get some ideas. If you're interested in using transferred images, meggiecat is posting a gold mine of links to antique images in her wonderful blog. It's definitely a must-see.

Here is my finished Pineapple Blossom quilt top. It's a quick and fun pattern. I've also recently completed the top below, which I was adding to in rows over the last year. Guess what? My scrap drawers are still full. Maybe it's the cats' doing. They do, you know, have those claws.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Dark Days of Winter

We were hit by a chain of windy storms over the weekend, and so we spent two days without power. When the lights came on last night, I sent many blessings to the dedicated Pacific Gas and Electric crews that brought us back to the 21st century. Practically our whole county went dark, and some people, including Michael, still have no power. At his house this is a big deal since he has a well that runs on electricity--so no power means no water as well as no lights at his house.

There are downed trees all over, and this morning we saw a number of downed power lines. I've been meaning to take my camera out to get a picture of an uprooted tree right near the freeway on-ramp. It's huge, and yet it was yanked up roots and all.

So we played cards and board games and played our walkmans and ipods through some tiny speakers that the kids use on their computer. On Saturday Allie went to visit at a friend's who has a generator at his house. Folks in the more rural areas are more prone to power outages in the winter, so they often have them. Everything was closed, including the gas stations, and we were all caught with low gas tanks, which was only a problem because we are feeding the cats of a friend who's out of town. Michael and I were invited for a New Year's Eve dinner party at my friend Susan's, but this has been postponed until next Saturday. I guess it's not so bad to have the holidays extend another week. All in all, we survived and have kissed the t.v., computers, refrigerator, and washing machine many times.

Here are some pictures of what I was doing before the power went out. I finished this black and white quilt for Alex, my 15 year old. I think he likes it, it's even on his bed face-up.

Last week I also made a dent in my scrap drawers by making this pattern from quiltville called Pineapple Blossom. I'm going to add another row to mine at the top before I put on the borders.

And look at this fabulous fabric I found at Joann's. I saw a cut of it that one of the employees has set aside, and then immediately bought 2 yards, without a clue as to what I will do with it. It was just too beautiful to pass up. I seldom do this, maybe once or twice a year, but this fabric spoke to me.

Blessings to all for a healthy and creative new year. Join us at the Quilter's Lounge (follow the link in the index) for a head start on the healthy part.