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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

DellaJane DyeCloth!

I dye fabric in my kitchen. To protect counter tops and cabinets, I cover *everything* with PFD (Prepared For Dyeing) fabric. The fabrics absorbs the inevitable drips and spills, and at the end of a dyeing day, are allowed to dry, then set aside for the next dyeing session. Fabrics are used repeatedly, accumulating an assortment of colors. The first photo shows a layering of color in DyeCloth 11-10B created over at least 5 dyeing sessions. When a fabric has enough color, it gets a soda ash bath and becomes a DellaJane DyeCloth.

I love the warm colors seen in a different part of DyeCloth 11-10B. Although all my fabric is for sale on DellaJane Hand Dyes , this piece may go into an applique project of my own!

Typically, I add leftover dye to the fabric to eliminate white space and blend the spots and drops and drips. DyeCloth 11-10A is just 35" long and, as it typical of smaller pieces, tends to get dropped into the dye bath sooner than larger pieces. Because they have less "random dye", they often have the typical look of hand dyes (lots of texture, lines and color veining). This piece has a wonderful green/yellow-green background, which does not photograph well!

I cut fabric to lengths between 2 and 3 yards when I plan to use it as a DyeCloth. Some of these pieces were cut to protect tables at workshops, so they are closer to 3 years long. These larger pieces are used for a long time. When I finally add left-over dye, the result can be wonderful serendipitous texture, such as the stripes in DyeCloth 11-10D. This piece, which is 98" long, has a large variety of color and texture over the length.

Not all DyeCloths are created equal! If I don't like the colors or look of a piece, it will get overdyed. This piece will definitely go back into the dyeing rotation. I'm not happy with the light areas - they are sort of blah grey - so another dye bath should help!

And there is always the piece which doesn't photograph well. DyeCloth 11-10C is mostly soft colors, fading and blending together.

Special offer for blog readers! Buy any of these DyeCloths and let me know you read my blog in "Note To Seller" at checkout. I'll refund 20% of your purchase price!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Black AND White? Black OR White?

When I decided to make a baby quilt for my brother's first grandchild, I knew I would use bright colors with black and white fabrics in a Nickel Quilt design. I chose to use TWO bright fabrics because I didn't have enough of either!

I paired one bright fabric with assorted black prints for the half-square triangle blocks and the other with white with black fabrics for the 4-patch blocks. Didn't like it! The bright colors didn't pop, the black and the white fabrics didn't work together. It looked like a jumble...

Plan B: I chose some black and white fabrics and made more 4-patch blocks. I didn't like the black and white either (no photos), so I made MORE 4-patch blocks using using black with white fabrics. Yes!! Much better!

Piecing is fast, even with the false starts and fabric/color changes. The backing is a cozy blue flannel and I quilted it using a fun panto which combines points and lines with curves and swirls. I used a bright blue thread which seems like an odd choice, but really looks great on both the black fabrics and the bright colors.

The finished quilt - the colors are subdued in this photo. Imagine them very bright! Like in the next picture!

I prefer dark binding as a "frame", so the binding is black with a bright red piping.

I hope Caleb likes it!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Ohio State Quilts - Go Buckeyes!

My Mom makes quilts. Since she is a avid Ohio State fan, many of them are OSU/Buckeye quilts. In between customer quilts, I quilt them for her at her special family rate! This is her latest. It got polite applause at Show & Tell at my quilt guild meeting in Nebraska! Those Husker fans are always loyal to their own team!

The quilting is a free-hand pattern - I love filling the space!

And in the inner black border, I quilted words from the second verse of Buckeye Battle Cry, one of The Ohio State University Fight Songs. (Across The Field is the other).

FYI, my favorite teams are the Arizona State Sun Devils, the Buckeyes and whoever is playing the University of Arizona!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Quilt Dundee

The last full weekend in July is reserved for Quilt Nebraska. It's a sort of religious holiday for Nebraska quilters, a time to take classes, renew old friendships, eat chocolate, make new friends, shop, talk and laugh. I went to my first Quilt Nebraska in 1998 (read a little about that trip here). This year, I had to cancel at the last minute. I decided to have my own private quilting time at home. To accomplish this, my family was to act as if I weren't there for two days. I would quilt, ignoring the kitchen, the telephone, laundry, chauffeur duties.....

Friend and fellow quilter Barb Rennard told her husband what I was doing. When he realized it was QNE weekend and that Barb wasn't going, Stephen said she should have "Quilt Dundee". No sooner said than done! Naomi and Deena sprung into action. Plans were formulated. Calls were made. Saturday morning, seven quilters showed up at Barb's house in Dundee for the First Quilt Dundee.

Julie, Claudia, Alice, Barb D, Barb R, Judy S, Judy M and Deb posed for a picture in front of a wonderful Quilt Dundee sign.

We had a blast! Door Prizes! Booby Prizes! Chocolate! A banquet featuring Zio's pizza and Graeter's Ice Cream! No workshops here - we all had projects: cutting fabric to start a new project, assembling blocks into a top, schlep bags, kumihimo and applique. My project was Caitlin's t-shirt quilt. It will be a two-sided quilt, so I can include as many shirts as possible. After one day of sewing at home and a day and a half at Quilt Dundee, Side One is complete!

I got a good start on Side Two, but I need another Quilt Dundee!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

This Is Going To Be A Long Season

Opening Day, 2010. St. Louis 11, Cincinnati 6. This is going to be a long season.

I did everything right. I wore my Reds jersey. My Cincy flag flew, as it does every day that the Reds play on tv (not very often), and every day they are in first place (not very often). This is going to be a long season.

Ok, so it is Cincinnati tradition for Adam Harang to start on Opening Day. Please! In this case, tradition sucks! The guy went 6-14 last year and struggled in spring training. (In his defense, he didn't have any run support in 2009). Is he really the best the Reds have to throw out there? Was there anyone on the Reds roster who was better in spring training? Maybe Bronson Arroyo deserved the start. At least he had a winning record in 2009 (15-13). Call up Chapman! This is going to be a long season.

Bullpen meltdown: Cards score 7 runs off Cincinnati relievers. Ugly. I love the name Yadier Molina. I wish he played for the Reds so I could walk around saying "Yeah!! Yadier went 2 for 4! Yadier hit a home run yesterday!" Instead, I have to say "Yadier hit a Grand Slam in the NINTH inning". :( This is going to be a long season.

ESPN broadcasters Brent Musburger and Rick Sutcliffe called the Reds the NL Central Dark Horse. From Merriam-Webster: dark horse: an entrant in a contest that is judged unlikely to succeed. This is going to be a long season.

Why does ANYONE pitch to Albert Pujols? Two home runs on Opening Day. First inning, two down, you pitch to the guy. 7th inning, one on. Dusty Baker, I love you, but please! Why didn't you give Lincoln the four finger salute - IBB! This is going to be a long season.

Reds vs Cards on Wednesday. Johnny Cueto. 2009: 11-11, ERA 4.41. At least the Reds don't play the Cardinals every day, or This. Would. Be. A. Long. Season.

Bright spot: The Reds did have some offense, hitting two home runs, a third stolen when Colby Rasmus reached over the center field fence to catch what would have been Scott Rolen's 2nd home run of the game. I am Forever Optimistic. But it is going to be a long season.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Baptist Fan Quilting

I've quilted 3 quilts for Jackee B using Baptist Fan Groovy Boards. This classic quiling pattern looks great on almost any quilt! The first quilt is simply pieced log-cabin style using a variety of floral fabrics.

The 2nd quilt is for Quilts of Valor. The center block is a wonderful focal point. It isn't as complicated to piece as it look!. Jackee did a great design job as she surrounded it with red and blue and neutral string blocks.

The 2nd string quilt is made of scrappy blocks, each one a riot of color. I love the black and white borders! I also like how Jackee varied the piecing, some diagonal, some parallel. This small piecing variation makes the quilt appear more complex that it is! The fan quilting curves soften the straight piecing lines.

The quilting lines show up best on the black and white back.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

One-Handedness Sucks.....

Trigger Finger Release surgery has made my right hand unusable for a while. Being one-handed makes so many daily tasks difficult or impossible. Leave the top off my painkillers please! Once I am past the pain, I am going to be bored silly or very frustrated! Try washing ONE hand!

The reality of being one-handed for at least a week is much harder than when it was just something that would happen "after surgery". Typing one-handed isn't hard, just slow. Using a right-handed mouse with my left hand takes conscious and deliberate thought. Texting is easy. Evidently, I use both hands all the time!

I can't sew. I can't load a quilt on my HandiQuilter. I have squares for 3 Nickel Quilts cut, hoping I can piece in a few days. I can watch tv, although I already know that daytime tv was invented to make sick people go back to work. I have already re-watched Tuesday's LOST episode (Ab Aeterno) to see what I missed when I dozed off.

I can't cut vegies or make a sandwich. Haven't even thought about cooking. I'll take store-bought cookies to the Orchestra pot-luck. I may not eat there, as balancing a plate is not do-able! I don't think one-handedness is a very good diet plan. Too easy to eat Junk!

I can drive! Not the Mini, with a stick. My truck, with power steering, hands-free phone & on-the-wheel controls. I can't carry or lift, so shopping is out. I can take my daily walk with Casey. Please rain, hold off until after 3 pm!! Have to wear Crocs - no shoe tying done here!

I can't write. At least not legibly! I can print oversized, poorly shaped letters, not as well as most kindergartners. I have to stick with easy sudokus & crossword puzzles with larger squares. My daughter put my eyeliner on for me this morning!

May I have some cheese with this whine?

Monday, March 22, 2010

HandiQuilter 16 For Sale!

Author's Note added 3/27/10: Machine is SOLD!

Just one year ago, I bought an HQ 16. I've upgraded to a bigger machine, so want to sell my first baby. It is an HQ 16, on a Studio Frame (the best!). It is one year old, has the new handles with tilt screen. Comes with all the usual stuff - external bobbin winder, Front and Rear Handles, Stitch Regulator, laser light, Velcro leaders.

It is in EXCELLENT condition, and comes with a warranty! Yes, my warranty is transferable! Asking price $6000. Email me ( or leave contact info in a comment. Financing may be available. Price does not include shipping from Omaha, Nebraska.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Turkeys Today!

I know, it is St Patrick's Day, not Thanksgiving. And my birds aren't green. But there they were, within spitting distance of the street, so I pulled into Boy's Town and snapped off some quick shots. The turkeys are fairly skittish, so I couldn't get very close. They are at the far range of my camera lens! The toms all spread their tails, drawing attention to themselves and letting the hens move away from me. I wonder if that is what they were doing, or if I am just reading chivalry into turkey behavior?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Becky's Quilts

I quilted two cute baby quilts - for Becky's grandsons. The first was an I Spy quilt, so I quilted the alphabet and numbers, one in each block. I thought it was neat that the C was on the Curious George block.

The second quilt was a Maple Island pattern by Debbie Bowles called Carnival. Becky used beautiful fabrics, including some she dyed. I quilted a simple stars and loops all-over pattern. Several times in the quilting, I wrote CAMDEN, the little boy this quilt is made for.

You can see more pictures of the quilts and the quilting on flickr.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ohio Snow & Sew!

I visited my family in Ohio - we got over 16" of snow while I was there!


See more birds in the snow on flickr. We were snowed in for a couple of days. We had the two essentials: chocolate and electricity. I used the time to piece two Nickel Quilt tops which are graduation gifts.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Easy Schlep Bag - Natalie Made One!

During an Ohio visit earlier this month, my sister, Natalie and I worked together to make a Schlep Bag. I read the instructions, Natalie sewed. We used large "scraps" of heavy-weight "Save Our Planet" fabric for the outside. Because I just grabbed all the odd pieces of fabric when I packed, we only had enough for one bag. Natalie got to keep it - she will be using it for one of her many knitting projects.

Natalie contributed a cute smiley face cotton fabric for the lining. So bright & colorful! The bag is big and roomie - I can visualize it in a smaller size too. There are free instructions on the web - google "schlep bag" to find them. It took us about an hour to make it. I think the 2nd one will be faster!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Quilt for The Gathering

Teri Quinn, friend and fellow member of The Cottonwood Quilters took on the HUGE task of providing quilts for The Gathering, a fundraiser for a local private school. I agreed to quilt one of ten quilts which will be auctioned. Janice Lippincott and June Jensen combined blocks from a Houston class and made a beautiful top using colorful batiks and black and white prints.

I quilted it using a free-form spiral feather design. The thread is Superior Rainbows #821 - a multi-colored thread that was PERFECT with the batiks and showed up just as I wanted on the B&W prints!

Janice pieced a batik back that is as wonderful as the front! You can see more detail of my quilting in this photo of the back. I can't believe I didn't take a picture of the entire quilt! The quilt is in the hands of yet another volunteer, who is doing the binding. I will add a picture of the finished quilt when I see it again! You can SEE MORE detail pics of this quilt on flickr.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Jack Frost Stopped By

I woke up this morning to a beautiful white world. A hard frost produced white frosty needles on branches, sticks, even my scarecrow! The needles were on fruits, grass, even the fence around a rose bush.

Although it was harder to see, even the edges of the snow has sharp frosty needles!

A low-hanging fog shrouded the world in white, shrinking my world to a just a few nearby houses. See more Frost Pictures on Flickr. As I write this, the sun is shining, and Omaha is expecting temperatures above freezing for the 2nd day since early December! Our 24+ inches of snow is going to turn into a mushy mess!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

A Black Belt Quilt For Alyssa

To celebrate her First Degree, Level 1 and Level 2 Black Belts in TaeKwonDo, I made Alyssa a quilt. Each fabric in the braided sections represents one of the belts she earned as she worked her way to the black belts. The separator bands (sashing) between the braids represents the First Degree, Level 1 belt. The outer border represents her First Degree, Level 2 Belt. This belt has their name and rank embroidered with gold thread, so I quilted it on my HQ16 using yellow thread. In the braids, I did a free-form spiral-y feather.

In the outer border, I wrote the ten tenets of Ho Am TaeKwonDo - Honor, Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, Courage, Community, Strength, Humility, Knowledge. In the sashing, I wrote the dates she earned each of her color belts. The center of the quilt back is a straightforward look at the color belts, white, yellow, green, senior green, blue, senior blue, brown, senior brown, red and senior red.

You can see more pictures of the quilt, including closeups of the quilting on flickr.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Close Encounters with a Hawk!

We have snow. A LOT of snow. Around two feet fell in December, more already in 2010, and another storm is expected to dump 3-5" on Omaha tomorrow. When the snow started on December 8th, we made sure the bird feeder was full. The birds who come to our feeder include birds we like - cardinals, blue jays, juncos, finches and wrens, birds we don't have strong feelings about - doves and sparrows, and birds we could do without - starlings and grackles. One unexpected visitor was this sharp-shinned hawk.

He (she?) saw the birds around the feeder as a full menu buffet! We're happy he is catching just starlings (so far!). So revolves the circle of life!

He has been back a couple of times - see more of the pictures I took of our hawk on flickr.