Sunday, October 30, 2005

Here are two recent quilts I made to donate to charity. The strippy has as a focus fabric a beautiful toile that I had cut for another project, but then didn't use. I was glad to find a new home for these strips. I also used a large piece of vintage faux Pennsylvania Dutch fabric from the 60s on the back.

The pastel quilt is made from a commercial pattern called "Five and Dime" which makes up very quickly and is fun to use with novelty fabrics in the long center strips. It's amazing how fast this charity quilt endeavor has given new purpose to old fabrics in my stash. I still have some large pieces that I would like to find a use for, but now I can think up quilts that are not for people I know personally, but for someone out in the world who would be happy to get a homemade quilt.

The Days of the Dead are also upon us. The Mexican Day of the Dead (November 2) is a celebration that fuses the Catholic feast of All Souls with indigenous celebrations in which the spirits of the dead return to their family members to receive offerings of food and drink, sights, smells, and sounds, and to see that they are remembered. In both traditions, the living and the dead are in contact with each other because life and death are not separate planes, but a continuum of connected experience. The dead are always with us, and we are with them.

Here's a couple of pictures of the Day of the Dead quilt I made last year with some of the great fabrics in the Alexander Henry line.

I had long wanted to make a pineapple quilt, but four blocks proved to be quite enough for now, thank you. Luckily, they were the right size to make up the center for this quilt.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

If someone was pale or tired looking, my mother used to say they looked like "the last rose of summer." Well, these robust beauties are the next-to-the-last, if not the last tomatoes from my garden this summer. I put one cherry tomato plant in what was apparently the perfect place in my yard: up against the house, facing south. I live in a coastal climate, so growing tomatoes is no easy feat, but this perfect plant in the perfect spot rewarded me by turning into a tomato octopus. It took over that part of the yard, draping itself over the rose bushes, and producing bowls and bowls of wonderful tomatoes. The plant is turning brown and wilting now, but there are still some not-quite-ripe tomatoes, and even a few flowers, on the vine. If the weather stays mild, I may have a few tomatoes into November.

And since we've got a red thing going here, I've posted my directions for making this recycled sweater in my photo album under "Recycled Red Sweater." Use the link on the right.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I am an avid recycler. Nothing makes me happier than making do, and finding new life for old things. A couple of years ago I found what must've been a 10 pound bag of scraps in a thrift store, most cut into approximately 3" squares. There were fabrics in there going back to the 60s, and I have had the best time trimming and sorting them into piles, and remembering the times when certain prints and colors were in style. I've used these fabrics in several quilts and I think they really add a distinctive feel to my work.

Some of these scraps ended up in a quilt I called "Town Square," which was a wedding gift to friends who really loved it.

There was a lot of blue in the mix, and I also made this still-unquilted wallhanging, "Aquarium." It was fun to play with the values.

I still have a significant stash of squares in a brown, orange and pink range, and I'm looking forward to playing with those soon. All the reds ended up in a particularly scrappy quilt I made for myself.

I just had it quilted--it's the first quilt I've had professionally quilted, but given it's size (about 100x110) I just couldn't muster the enthusiasm to do it myself. I love the look of this quilt. As soon as I bind it, it's going on my bed. Of course, I may have to redecorate around it.

Friday, October 14, 2005

I was out of town when we got rain a couple of weeks ago, but now I'm here at home for the second rain of the season. I live on the far north coast of California, in the redwood forest, in the lungs of the world, so we get a lot of rain, usually from Halloween through March or April. The first year I lived here, I swear it rained non-stop through the month of February. Now that it's rainy and windy, I thought I'd take out some summery photos of this year's farmer's market.

There's something cheerful about sunflowers. They are so hardy and robust. And here's my Michael smelling the thyme.

I love this display of cherry tomatoes. They are indeed like paintboxes, a feast for the eyes, but they also taste as good as they look.

It's rainy and dark, but we did have a lovely summer.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Here's a quilt top I just took down form my design wall. It's for my 15 year old son Alex. When he was younger I made him a jar quilt, which he used for awhile, and then he "graduated" to putting it on his bed with the backing side up. Okay, I can take a hint. He's now a too cool and sophisticated for a jar quilt, so when I saw this black and white Alexander Henry fabric called "Adventures of Nina" (I think) it looked cool enough to me. In the detailed photo you can see some fun cityscape fabric that is part of a Spiderman collection. (I think I'll keep that information to myself.)

So I made this quilt loosely inspired by a commercial pattern. I called Alex into the room to look at the finished top and I think I got a shrug of approval, but I'm not sure.

Welcome to my blog! This is my space to discuss works in progress, and to share my experiences as an artist and writer in the world. I'm starting with a recent favorite photo of Violet, my honey Michael's kitten. She and Fat Bob, a littermate, joined his household this summer. Violet is a brave and aggressive little kitty. If I hadn't seen her do this deer kissing thing in person, I never would've believed that this photo was real. But I've seen her go up to deer, sneaking up to them like a tiger until they sniff each other suspiciously. If the deer get uncomfortable, they stamp their feet, just to remind her that even though she's related to big cat species, they indeed are much bigger than she is. Luckily, these deer are pretty used to human traffic, so a little cat is merely a curiosity to them. I love Violet's fearlessness. She's no shrinking Violet.

Sweater Genesis

  A few years ago I learned to harvest yarn from old wool sweaters.  I don't do it so much anymore, with the exception of if I find...