Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The End of March

This month has gone by in a blur. And I'm glad to see it nearly over because April is such a wonderful time in Baltimore. Every day something new is blooming. While I was in Chicago over the weekend (where it had the audacity to snow) my daffodils began blooming. I can see blooms on the new hydrangea bush I bought last year, day lilies are poking up, and buds are swelling on all the trees. Another winter has bit the dust. Hooray!

I've been doing something I haven't done in a very long time - sewing clothes. I want to wear something arty to the Quilt National opening so I thought that a shirt made out of some hand painted fabrics would be perfect. But since I haven't sewn for myself in so long, it would be a good idea to test out the pattern (and my garment sewing skills) on some not-so-precious fabric first. In my stash was some batik fish fabric that I bought years ago and would be perfect and with only a little bit of searching I found it. There was more than enough to make a shirt so I pinned, cut, and sewed and finished it in only a few hours. Originally it was not going to have buttons because I've never been very good at doing buttonholes, but at my retreat in mid-March I learned how to use the automatic buttonhole maker on my Janome. OMG it's so easy, why didn't I try it out before? So the shirt has buttonholes. And cute little fish buttons that you can't see in this picture.

The pattern has a collar but that got left out. So now I'm ready to paint fabric and make the shirt again. I have an end cut of fabric that I got from a shirt factory and decided this would be perfect for making a shirt. Painted several yards with yellow/peach/orange paint over some soy wax batik designs. Then screened a spiral shape with gold metallic paint. I was so impatient that I couldn't wait long enough for the paint to cure and washed it. Well, bad move, most of the metallic paint rubbed off. I had heat set it but really didn't give it enough time to cure. And I think the shirt fabric might have some kind of finish on it. Pulled out more fabric and paint and did it again, along with the metallic gold. Except I went ahead and made the shirt without washing the fabric and I've let it cure for 10 days now. This is the shirt before it's been washed. I'm going to wash it by hand and hope that the gold metallic paint stays put.

There is a carrier for a belt and I have a twisted fabric belt that Elizabeth helped me make while on our retreat. Not sure what I'm going to do if all the gold washes off again. Maybe I'll go with the antique look.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

EXPO 2009

This weekend is my local quilting guild's biennial show. The membership in the Baltimore Heritage Quilter's Guild runs the gamut from very traditional workers who only do handwork to people like me who do all their own surface design and only use machines. This weekend we have more than 270 on display at Goucher College, Towson, Maryland. I've always volunteered to help with this show and this year I planned and oversaw the layout and hanging of the quilts. It's a very detail-oriented job that involves alot of blood, sweat, and tears trying to fit everything into the limited space that we have and also trying to make a pleasing presentation. It takes a lot of time to plan, but the plan only works when there are alot of volunteers who help make it happen. Yesterday the poles and standards arrived at the venue around 3:30pm.

This is what the gym looked like at 3:30pm. Empty.

This is the lobby area, nearly empty.

Here is the gym at 9:30pm, looking down one of the aisles. Show quilts are on the left and vendor booths are on the right.

Looking down the central aisle with all show quilts. I think that getting this put up in 6 hours is a tribute to organization, cooperation, and volunteerism.

This is part of the lobby area. These quilts are part of the Buy It or Bid event. Visitors can put down a silent bid on a piece or they can purchase it outright for a pre-set price. No waiting, take it home now.

This is the Guild's Raffle Quilt, titled Chesapeake Bay Treasures. You can read more about the design and execution of this original design here. I can't sell raffle tickets online but if you contact me directly we can arrange it. The quilt measures 107" L by 97" W. The drawing is next December; tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5. Email me

Friday, March 06, 2009

SAQA Auction 2009

I shipped off my donation to the SAQA Benefit Auction for 2009 the other day. I'm hoping it's one of the early bird donations and will be displayed at the IQF show in Chicago next month. The first 32 will have that honor and on the SAQA Auction page, mine is number 29, so chances are pretty good, I think.

Ventanas #17 ©2009

I am really taken by how the thread color can change the color of the fabric beneath it and have been playing with that on this one and the other 5 I did.

And I've been painting some cotton duck fabric to make purses these past few days and it's not quite as successful as I would have liked. First off, the paint on the duck is resulting in some very stiff fabric, which I don't like. Also, the pattern I used turns out to have a shape that isn't pleasing to me - it's too wide for its length. Picky, I know, but purses are very personal. I'll finish the stitching on the first one and then wash it to see if it softens up some. Then I might take some tucks in the side to decrease the width. It needs a big button for the closure and I'm thinking I'll get out the Fimo clay and make one.

Monday, March 02, 2009


By the weather, that is. I'm looking out the window at 6-8 inches of snow that as far as I'm concerned, has no business being here. It can't melt fast enough for me.

But I have finished dyeing my sweater and here it is. This is pretty much what I had in mind, so I'm happy with the result. The colors are a little more intense in real life, but not too much.

This is the back.

And this is the front.

I spent at least an hour last night and this morning looking for some instructions for knitting childrens' sweaters that I have. I know where they are - they're with the size 8 double pointed needles that I was looking for in January. And there is probably a pair of size 6 double pointed needles along with them. After I finished knitting the kids' sweaters, I must not have put the stuff away and it's been shuffled around and is now at the bottom of something or has fallen behind something. My heirs will probably find it when they dismantle my studio.

UPDATE: Bingo! I found them. The stuff was in a basket that was in my bedroom. I've moved that basket around a gazillion times but never bothered to look inside it. Not only were the instructions and the needles there but also some scissors, a tape measure, and a pen and paper. And in the searching process I found a ton of stuff that I should toss. I would have a whole lot more room if I got rid of this stuff. Of course, the day after it gets hauled away, I will realize that I need it.