Sunday, January 27, 2019

Retreat Quilt

It's never too early to start gathering fabric and ideas for our annual PTA retreat project. This year I've decided to make an easy strip pieced quilt for the Carolina Hurricane Quilt Project. The idea behind this project is to create a bedsize quilt or a finished top. Tops will be sent on and quilted by a long arm quilter. If you donate a top, they request backing material to be enclosed also. I love the sewing part but not necessarily quilting such large pieces on my small Bernina so this is perfect. So many people were affected by hurricane Florence and Michael from the Carolina coastlines, this seemed like a very worthwhile project. For more information go to  and thanks to a very wonderful lady - Carole who got this whole thing rolling.
After looking through my scraps, I'm finding so much of the Moda fabric I purchased years ago. I have made 3 quilts from this stash; this will be my 4th. It is sweet and I picture this in a little girls room.
Years ago, while in a home improvement store with my husband, I happened onto this "fabric" in the plumbing dept. It's called soil separator cloth and used to line large pipes to create a barrier and prevent dirt from getting in. It also resembled pattern duplicating material found in sewing stores. You might recognize it better with a grid of red dots...It's basically a very thin nonwoven synthetic fabric. I use this for everything and in this project will serve as a base for my strips. The best part is it runs @ 11 cents a running foot so a yard is 33 cents. I think I originally bought around 100 yards so I'm still using that.
Also at the same store, I was able to get some plexiglass scraps for very little money. My husband is a woodworker and has lots of power tools, so I cut several different size squares to use as a template. Not everyone has access to power tools but I know many stores will cut pieces to size for a small fee.
I speed cut squares bigger than what I needed (@ 1/2" bigger all around...wiggle room). Soil separator cloth is so thin, you can do 10 at a time...
then cut fabric strips in several widths, pinned likes together and hung them on a hanger with large pins.

I've made several sample blocks (which I highly recommend doing) to see what works and what doesn't....anyway, this will need lots of tweaking. It's a soft palette so I think the dark colors need to go...also not sure of the blue, don't think that works it's 30 degrees out and a good day to stay inside and play.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Organizing my way into 2019

After the fun and craziness of holidays, my company gone, I was inspired by my daughter to do some cleaning out.
She was busy making room for new TOYS...My granddaughter finally gave up her little "my little ponies"...Just marking another step in her journey to growing up. They were adorable and I will miss them. After talking to my daughter, I decided it was time to take a closer look at my studio.
 I think I'm the Queen of scraps even though I don't do much with them. I'm a cleaner-outer, but when it comes to fabric...not so. I had bags all over the place.
  They had outgrown the bin I kept them in and I was constantly tripping over them.
 So a trip to my local "everything" store (you know the one I mean), I came home with lots of new bins...all sizes to have choices. I have a walk in closet in my studio so I rearranged some items and was able to fit all my scraps - all neat and tidy. Feels to come up with some projects to use all these scraps.

Friday, January 18, 2019


For 2 days in a row, I have been lucky to see so much beautiful work from my quilting friends...PTA yesterday and SAQA today. This group which is a regional chapter of international SAQA has grown from 4 people (for a long time) to around 16 today. Show and Tell has become more and more fun and inspiring.
Susan showed us a lovely table runner she has been working on...
 I'm always impressed by beautiful and precise pieced work; the 9 patch blocks are the real deal.

Lynn showed us a piece she is making as a gift for someone in of my favorite states. This so depicts this beautiful state and her choice of fabrics are wonderful. Lynn did a wonderful job of value placement also, making this such an interesting and lovely quilt.

Julie is working on a commissioned piece for a couple who want some family quilts completed. I have a few of those myself and it's quite an undertaking but also nice to have a piece of family history.
This is a floating frame which you can purchase at a store like Dick Blick. They come in standard sizes as well as several finishes. Over the years I've had my pieces framed using a floating frame; it was worth the expense. The profressional framer who did them was fabulous but it is an investment. I'm willing to give it a try and do it myself.
Shirley used a prestretched canvas in the same size, covered it with her quilted piece and then inserted it into the frame. It's a lovely way to present your work. I have a tutorial on my blog to show how to cover a canvas. Check out Mounting a quilted piece on canvas under tutorials on my blog.
Agatha has done a lovely job on this new quilt
along with such a pretty back.
Lynda showed us a beautiful scarf she made out of crepe du Chine silk. She used a finished "blank" edges already finished and ready to be painted or dyed. Dharma Trading Co or Thai silk carry blanks in all sizes along with the paint. 
Lynda went on to say that she doesn't dye fabric but is very comfortable using paints. She used Dye-na-Flow. In my teaching days, I used a lot of these paints in my workshops; they are so user friendly, easy to set (a hot iron for a few seconds), washfast, colorfast and good for all fabrics - synthetic and natural.
I also love this new piece - last one in a series of 4 depicting the seasons. Lynda once again painted fabrics to use on the top portion of this piece.
I love her piecing and use of color and value distribution. The pops of color are wonderful.
This is a piece that Kathy made from scraps...took her a day to make..Wow!

Mary made the piece on the left on dealing with Americana. It's made from photos printed from her to study up close.  On the right is another piece by Kathy B. I wish I had a better picture to show the beautiful work that she has done. Gauze was used to create the waterfall. A layer of silk organza was used on top; it was printed and altered to make the underneath fabric base more mysterious.
Tricia created this beautiful pair of wall hangings. The pop of orange really works so well.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

PTA - A New Year

The first meeting of the year with any group is always refreshing. It gives us the chance to reflect on the past year and also move forward with new ideas and plans. It's a clean new slate. Our January meeting of PTA was held at Lynne's house; lots of enthusiastic gals. 
We talked and ate and laughed and showed our latest projects.
Can't say we had an overabundance to things to show...with holiday celebrations and all but what we got to see was great. Mary is always showing new work and I really liked this floating piece made with batiks and white fabric. The binding was also batiks.
A pieced quilt from Connie, made from a kit from the Asheville Quilt Guild. Our guild like so many guilds donates many lovely quilts to the community.

I loved this very patriotic quilt with circle quilting...a nice pattern to use with rectangle blocks.
Connie was out driving with her husband Ted when she suddenly yelled STOP....She saw out of the corner of her eye, quilts...yes quilts... at a garage sale. Wow what a find and since Connie is an AQS certified quilt appraiser, finding these wonderful old quilts made it even more special.
We were all very taken with this beauty...
and a detail. We are all anxiously looking forward to our retreat - our 11th year. We are planning projects and meals and the wine will be here before we know it. Happy 2019 everyone...hope it will be a really good one for all of you.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Fiber Junkies Ringing in the New Year

Happy New Year everyone...hoping 2019 brings lots of good things your way. We had our first FJ meeting of the year at Sues house; we decided to work through Jane Dunnewold's Improvisational Screen Printing book- the revised edition....but before that a wonderful show and tell. 
 Denny showed us this really clever Caddy Pad for irons created by Sister's Common Thread. Denny has made several out of her beautiful hand made fabric. They are lined with heat resistant fabric so you can pack a hot iron in them.
 Lines for folding are stitched....
  making it easy to fold up neat and tidy....
 like this. Is this adorable or what!
  Denny's year for making big quilts and using different kits has come to an end. Sometimes we need lots of sewing time without the intensity of designing a "one of a kind" piece. It has been a year of surprises, ooohs and ahhhs and we've enjoyed every minute of it.
  More beauties from Denny although as she says NOW...she does have to quilt them. Mary.... below showed us a lovely smaller wall hanging with the background worked in much more effective in person. She really found the knack for working foiled fabric into her design. The piece on the right is for her sister in law...lucky gal!

  So here is sweet old gal who's as mellow and gentle as they come...just wants to be with us. Once in a while she'll come over and put her paw on your leg...hoping you'll give her a little head rub...I'm eating it up!

  So into the studio and onto the first lesson in the book...working with screens. Denny developed a method years ago...we all called it Denny's screens. She takes apart a regular screen (usually in 2 parts), removes the screen and cording and replaces it with silk screen fabric. Any sheer - usually synthetic curtain fabric works best. Using the original cording and a roller made for screen replacement, the fabric is inserted in. It's important to develop a feel for how tight is too tight. Too loose and it will be difficult to use, pulling the fabric too tight and the screen will buckle.

 Once the fabric is in place, duct tape is placed around the edge on both sides of the screen. We all brought wild colors and patterns so we could distinguish ours from others.
 Next we worked with iron on vinyl. This is a wonderful material - vinyl on one side and peel away paper on the other. Lay the vinyl over a design...a lightbox or window is helpful here and then trace design with a sharpie marker.
  Next you're going to flip it over and "paint" the back with a bright colored Sharpie marker...sounds funny right ?...but you'll see why in a moment. I started cutting before I realized I was supposed to do this but best to do it before any cutting. Below, the design on the left is cut out and ready to go...flip it over (right picture) and you're able to see the edges of the design because of the bright color marking. This is important because the vinyl is clear and hard to see once it's ironed onto the sheer silkscreen fabric.


Iron the vinyl onto the sheer fabric. It works easiest if pulled tightly so I put it in a hoop. Lay the stencil down and cover with parchment paper. Iron with a dry iron until vinyl adheres permanently to fabric. I remove it from the hoop, peel away the paper backing, trim it down and tape the edges...and VOILA...ready to use.