Bamboo Hawaiian aka Monochromatic

Bamboo complete90×90
My Monochromatic Challenge in the Starry Eyed Art Quilters group.  Maybe not so “art”; I did buy the pattern, after all.  But once I got this idea to do a Hawaiian with an Ombré I had to do it. Needle turn Applique, quilted with McTavishing on my domestic machine.  I like the effect; the shapes look like bamboo leaves.

The constraints.. 13 yards, only 1 color, single gradation side to side (as contrasted with a light-dark-light that has the same color on both salvages).. meant there were not many options.  I had to pass up many beautiful alternatives.

I cut 45° salvage to salvage, getting 4 triangles with dark salvage and 4 with light salvage.  to get the quilt larger than just the double width of fabric, I made the background more of a “trapezoid”, with about a 10″ flat top.  I mitered both sets, and patched in the little empty center of the background.   I marked the cutting line with Pigma pen and a light box, and thread basted it to the background.

This was such a pleasure to work on it went quickly.  I finished it several months before the deadline, but refrained from posting it before the Sept. reveal at the quilt guild.

Of course, once you climb one hill you can see another, and I became obsessed with the idea of doing a huge mandala ice dye to be Hawaiian quilted… my next big thing 🙂


Hibiscus Barn Quilt – Spring 2017

Hibiscus Barn2’x2′

None among us had experience with barn quilts.  I took lead on research and procured the boards cut to 2×2 or 4×4.  Kitty & Becky did big ones that look fantastic.  I was  envious afterwards of their impact.

The internet said it was hard to source the MDO; and they were right.  None of the big boys had anything, but a Ideal Building Supply did a great job.  Used acrylic house paint over MDO.  Takes lots of coats.. 3 coats of white primer.  People used several techniques.  Ann did a Hawaiian with a stencil.  Most taped off each geometric section of color.  For mine, free hand paintbrush worked best.  Ann gave me a little gold so I could add stamens.

The weather that day in early April was cold & rainy, so we spread out in Kitty’s garage.   Even with the humidity, hair dryers let us do coats without such a long wait between.  Here’s a couple of Kitty’s process pictures copied from facebook.

Still Life Wallhanging

Still life35×25.  In the dog days of August, our Starry Eyed Quilters had a “life drawing” session in the local library.  Quotations, because there was a still life rather than a nude, and fabric & scissors rather than pencil &paper. (The session pictures in the mosaic are Loretta Twiford’s)


I chose fabrics based on the background without any foreknowledge of what Kitty would compose. I needed greens and my browns were just wrong for the stand under the baby.  Fortunately,  my friends were quick to share.  At the end of the morning, I knew the baby needed lots of work.

For the moon I added shimmering sheer for highlight, overstitched with copper metallic thread.  The cotton lamé in my stash with  turquoise and greenish patches made much better glass bottles.   I added a navy sheer in several layers to get some shading for the tall bottle in the rear.  The glass is much more reflective now.   The baby?  I printed the photo the right size to make a portrait pattern as usual.. kind of cheating for this project.  I used the ‘wrong’ side for the highlights and a little thread painting for the face features and the arm shadows.

The borders are more cotton lamé, and fussy cut outer border carefully matching the background color fade.  That piece of fabric now has a huge hole in the middle where I cut the bottom border.

I finally used my Ricky Tims Stable Stuff for real.  Now I know what becoming a “soft poly layer in your quilt” means.  Don’t soak it before it’s encased in the quilt… I have fluff everywhere now.


Seattle Chihuly

chihuly painting final

26×25.  Acrylic painted from my photo at the Chihuly museum in Seattle.

The Starry Eyed Quilters, the art quilt group in our guild, booked a private session at the Bargain Barn with Marietta to learn to paint fabric.  This happened last fall.  At the end of the day, all I had done was the tedious pencil tracing and the painted background.  There it sat for months as I worked through the more urgent backlog of projects.

The paint is mixed with textile medium to make it adhere to the fiber, and adding water lets the colors blend.  The quilting with silver and dark metallics catches the light to recall the light reflections pretty well — although not much in a photo.  I’m pretty happy with this, although the acrylic messes with the fabric hand.  Now that I’ve wet my brush a bit, I want to tackle something like this with Tsukineko ink to see of I like the behavior on fabric better.


Bear Lake quilt

BearLake CompleteBear Lake in the Rocky Mountains

Hand stitched needle turn, mostly hand quilted.  92×96

Gary’s head is in the picture for scale :;

After 3 years Elizabeth’s new bed quilt is complete.  After quite a bit of email/dropbox back and forth we settled on a scene, the color story, and the silhouettes to add for foreground.  Most of the fabrics are Hoffman 1895 batiks or similar selections.  I found a luscious single yard of a super dark hand dye that I used for the tree line at the back of the lake, and the orange sherbet is a Ricky Tims hand dye.  At first I chose more purples for the mountains, but decided to shift to gray.  I probably should have replace the purple sky with a gray, but I just too attached to that piece of fabric.  I like the tree line and mountains best.   The bottom large rocks and water are murky.  The cattails make up for that.  The backing is a mottled grey/brown Stonehenge.

bearlakeFor comparison, here is an actual photo from that vantage point.  She specifically wanted deep browns (espresso) and grays with orange accents to suit her master suite.  Deep brown is surprisingly hard to buy.

The purpose of the border is functional.  It will be tucked under when the bed is made.  This gives a nice sturdy edge without any fragile needle turn seams, as well as preventing the actual scene from hiding.

This one has been to guild show & tell, and will get it’s chance at the Salem Fair.  Then it’s headed for its home in Colorado.

My Last Hand Quilting?

In the end, I machine meandered the last of the rocks and water at the bottom and all of the border.   Hand quilting is just no longer comfortable enough.  My hands ache, my back aches, and it takes forever.  My comfort level with machine quilting.. even a big one like this.. has finally grown enough that I feel no compulsion to embark on another.  Perhaps I might for a Hawaiian pillow.



Especially now, with my larger throat Bernina 765.  I actually enjoyed quilting Stashy Blues with a improvisational mix of McTavishing &  Hooked-on-Feathers.  McTavishing on a monochromatic ombre Hawaiian is going swimmingly — I’m on the last foot around the outside — but you’ll have to wait till the September reveal to see that one.

2017 Guild Show

My Childhood HomesJPGThe 2017 show Pieces of our Lives was a big one at the civic center once again.  I entered all my work over the last 2 years as “display only”.  The Starry Eyed Quilters fractured landscape project was judged, and I received 3rd place for my “Window into my Life” challenge quilt.

It had to have a max perimeter of 80″.  My Childhood Homes was  27×13.  I uploaded pics of the houses for  Spoonflower to print and mounted them much like Mom had them in little frames in her hallway.

This was so simple; by the time I got around to figuring out what to do there was little time left.  I feel almost guilty with this ribbon.


Windows completeFractured Window (29×45) in the Art category got useless judges comments; she applauded the fabric and colors and criticized the (gorgeous) quilting & binding.  Betty put mortar lines on the lower segment, added trailing foliage ‘leaking’ into the border, and transitioned to a fan pattern for ‘sky’.  The binding is a hidden facing.  Contributors: myself, Barbara Badger, Betty Tyree, and Loretta Bedia.

Chihuly in Fabric was based on my Chihuly picture from Seattle got a 2nd placed ribbon!   Sue Berry, Linda Badger, Donna Kittleson, Kristin Farwig, and Ann Weaver made it.  They finished each portion independently and joined them temporarily for hanging in the show.

315 Chihuly in Fabric

We added an information table for Starry Eyed Quilters to show what  we play with in the art quilt mini-guild.  Kitty & I used  artifacts from everyone to showcase our  activities.  The table had displays, 2 notebooks with samples of fabrics we’d made to flip through, and a digital picture frame with lots of “party” pictures of us working.




Olivia’s Quilt

Pattern: French Roses

A wonderful cozy baby quilt for the first “next gen” in my side of the family; due in June. Momma made a rose colored nursery with a shabby chic vibe.   This quilt seemed like it just had to be.  Cotton batting.  Quilting,  with glow-in-the-dark thread, follows the applique lines of the roses to give another securing stitch to the appliqué and has random leaves and curlicues filling the rest.   Bound with satiny binding, a perennial infant favorite.

It’s the first quilt in ages I haven’t put a sleeve on; it’ll hit show-n-tell at the April meeting, then onto it’s destination.

Buying cabbage rose fabrics was a challenge; they aren’t exactly trending in quilting cottons.  I used some cute stitches for the binding, including my signature.

Glow in the Dark Thread Sucks.

The INSANE challenge of this quilt was the free motion quilting.  I was determined to complete it, but no way was it worth it.  I spent more time burying threads from start/stops every foot  than I did quilting.  Sometimes the thread shredded  after the take-up lever, sometimes before.  Sometimes it  snapped at the needle.  One time the machine completely stopped sewing and after removing the bobbin case and the hook mechanism I found a bunch of top thread snarled behind there.  I tried heavy bobbin thread, fine bobbin thread, lower tension, higher tension, size 18 needle, size 19 needle (recommended on the packaging).  Nothing really made much difference.  I got better and better at using a crochet hook to fish out the snarl from under the head cover — removing the head cover each time it broke would have been impossible.  I spent quite a lot of time researching on the net to find any reviews or tips; no hits.


This is so depressing. I’m appalled at so many of the initiatives flying through Congress.  There’s too much!  I can’t handle this. LBGTQ rights, the environment,  education, civil liberties, immigration, healthcare for the poor, the arts. Then, having an administration whose presidential are actions inextricably entwined with their private profit.  And, oh yeah.  Russia.

I have to choose my battles.  I want to HELP. I’m not a doctor; can’t  treat poor women.  I’m not a lawyer; can’t help people detained by ICE.  I’m not a scientist who can study or remedy. I do have some money, but I don’t want my money to pay for lobbying.

I reorganized my charitable giving to try and hit the most urgent areas:

  • Quadruple my annual charitable amount.
  • Redirect all giving away from the Arts
  • Concentrate on giving money to Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the NDRC.
  • Move Amazon Smile matching to a Planned Parenthood in Texas; a place with few women’s health care clinics.
  • Move Kroger Community Rewards to the local Planned Parenthood.

I joined Jen Hoffman‘s weekly action newsletter.  I get an email each week.  Here is a sample.  I think this is a better vetted list of issues and activities than the random “sign this petition” posts that fly all over social media from who knows’ where.  I register my constituent position each week on anything relevant.  Both my senators mostly represent my views, but congressman Bob Goodlatte, is a total toady yes man supporting whatever position the Republicans choose.   I don’t expect him to change his mind, but I will not let him forget that I am a constituent, and he *should* be representing my interests as well as the party bosses.

A Permanent UFO?

wedge workshopLate February I took a glorious trip to Savannah’s Quilt Con with 3 friends.  It should have been 4 friends, but one had to drop out and I took her place in a Wedge Play workshop.

I couldn’t make sense of the fabric requirements.  She was advocating 3 yards, or 6 yards… 2 fabrics, or 5-6, or as many as you wanted.  She suggested 2 yards of background, but cautioned that you might need more depending on what you made.  There was no suggestions on value, or scale, or contrast.  Finally, I just pulled all the same things as I used in the Mystery Retreat.

Several ideas in her presentation sparked my interest.  She showed an improv version with multiple fabrics that I liked.  She show how the colors floated if you sashed between the wedges with background.  She always used consistent wedge widths, but I though it would be fun to let the wedges vary in width and to let them go wonky rather than obsession about squaring them to the grain.  What you see is what I got.

It just doesn’t speak to me.  I think the wedges have too many fabrics, and too similar a thickness.  I needed wedges with just a “dash” of other colors in them.   And, with all the multi-colors,  the sashing didn’t yield the floating effect I sought.

I think I’ll just tuck it away for a while and wait for an epiphany.

wedge complete[Update August 2017]
I did finish this up after unsewing the wedges in half and concentrating the colors some more.  I did a faced binding so the arcs were uninterrupted.  No joy; but done.

Mystery Quilt

Back in November Barb Badger led us Starry Eyes in a mystery quilt retreat.  She had us bring what for me was SO many fabrics.  We had about a dozen people show up, including a good smattering of guild “visitors” to Starry Eyes.  So much fun!  I was smarter this time and brought my own chair.  My back still got tired, but not so early as last time.

I got all the blocks done in the retreat; finished joining, borders, quilting later.  I put a micro-piped binding using the digital print.  Quilted with a gold mylar for sparkle.  I deconstructed an old necklace for the venetian beads dangling from the bottom left block.


shown n tell at Dec guild mtg

Upcycled Fabric

Inspired by our improvisational piecing workshop back last winter, I decided to try a new tack on my burgeoning scrap bin.  I started randomly piecing fabric scraps, keeping each piece a single color.

I first thought I’d just sew them together in a rainbow design, but  I got more ambitious.  I pmadefabric-quiltaired light & dark, and made half square triangles for a log cabin style coloring.  I set them simply in a fields & furrows, and quilted it with random diagonal lines.  For the back, I used an extra wide batik that was designed never to become a Hawaiian quilt.

Along the way, I had another thought .. why scrap-shirt-front2notscrap-shirt-back2 make some clothes?  I did a camp shirt.  To protect all those seams, I foundation pieced it on muslin.  That makes it a little heavy for summer, so I made 3/4 sleeves with a little vent.   I used mismatched buttons in the general color family to extend the idea.  I wish I’d made the angle in the back more sloped; maybe have chevon-ed.  That would have looked more intentional, and I wouldn’t have needed such long pieces.  Now I just need convince Gary or Elizabeth that they need one of these, in *their* colors.   There are oodles of scraps left.