I’ve been dyeing clothesline again and totally having a blast. While I’m working to accumulate enough of a selection of “line” for my June 24 Fabric BOWLing workshop with the Lighthouse Quilters in Racine, WI, I do have some extras if you’re interested in stitching up some fabric bowls yourself. Supplies are limited, so don’t wait to order.
Using my hand-dyed clothesline to make “fabric” bowls means you won’t be using any fabric, which I know sounds a little strange. I don’t have a good answer for that. Oh wait! I DO! Wrap some clothesline using my PowerWrapper, the only quilting tool you’re supposed to sit on.
Yes, you can see Scooter’s portable kennel in the yard up in the top picture. When he was in there, he was under the shade of the “underpants” tree. (I dyed some panties too.) Then I let him out so he could help. Oh, what a big help he was.
Since so many of you commented that you miss Scooter, here’s a video of what goes on here most days.
Last time I mentioned my love of containers. I am a huge fan of those aluminum frame baskets. I have a growing collection, but I’m looking for a smaller model that I can bring with me on short car trips. There is absolutely no room in the car to put things, at least things I can reach from the front passenger seat without pretending to be a contortionist. I think I’ve found something that will work! I just have to pick which fabric I like best.
Red? Purple? Red? Purple? (Why is this so hard!) Click on the one you like best and get one for yourself.
I gave a lecture in Sarnia, Ontario last week and had a wonderful time. The guild president was commenting on how nice it was to see so many people come to the meeting. I was impressed too, so I attempted to take their picture. There was no way I could fit them all in, even after they all leaned to the center, so I did the next best thing. You may want to pop a Dramamine before you press play, or just hold onto your chair. Not to worry; it’s over quickly.
SEW & TELL
Before Sarnia I spent two days with the Sunbonnet Sue Quilting Club in Sequim, WA. Sherry Nagel, one of my “Freedom to Feather” students went all out and took one of the many designs she whipped up in class and then painted it with Liquitex’s Dynaflo paints then she quilted it! What a great job!
This is SO COOL! Seriously, in class we just draw feathers until our fingers fall off. I rarely get to see what students do with what they learned.
Finally, for people who lack friends or enemies, but like to cook and want virtual interaction, there is a web page you won’t want to miss. You can sign up for virtual compliments or insults, and very odd recipes emailed daily or weekly. I already get enough email, but it was fun to click and sample insults, compliments, and recipes. My sample insult was, “You’re nothing but a laughable wagonload of road kill!” (This is so true, and I’m just sick about it). My pretend compliment was, “You are a stellar instance of perfection!” (I feel much better already.) Thank goodness the recipe was just as phony. Who wants to make Pan-Fried Buttermilk?! Go have a look at: http://www.supersilly.com/cgi/automated.cgi?email=&name=&recipe-
See you next time!
I’ve been bowling again and having so much fun! I’ve always wanted to try “thread painting” a clothesline bowl, so I did! I made two and I’m really pleased with the way they turned out. (Click each image to see it larger.)
I started with a 100-foot length of clothesline and a 3,000-yard spool of variegated cotton thread (30 weight) which I used as the “top” thread for the entire project.
I zigzagged the clothesline from one end to the other three times emptying a dozen or more bobbins with leftover thread on them from all sorts of projects. Some had just a few yards, others were full. I reloaded about 10 more spools from spools of thread that were at least three-quarters gone. I couldn’t believe how much thread that clothesline ate!
When I coiled and zigzagged the bowls together I kept the bobbin thread somewhat consistent. I used a variegated blue for the bowl first bowl pictured which gave me a lighter inside and a darker outside. I’m loving the two-toned bowl idea, something else I’ve been wanting to experiment with more.
I also used the same blue bobbin for the sides of the second bowl. I used a variegated orange/pink/green thread in the bobbin for the bottom of the bowl. It kind of reminds me of my Revere-ware copper bottom pots in the kitchen. You know, the ones I never use.
And, because I’m really hoping the weather warms up (and dries out) so I can dye the first batch of clothesline of the season (and the underpants) I started prepping the rope. It won’t be long now!
Meanwhile, I’ll be teaching the Fabric BOWLing workshop for the Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Club in Sequim, Washington on April 25th. There are still a few spaces left. Check AmiSimms.com for more details.
Everything is soggy. We’re growing a lake in the back yard. And a small one in the basement. Towels are doing the trick downstairs for now. I’m not worried. (I’m leaving on a teaching trip tomorrow.)
It rained again last night. One of the sump pumps died (yes we have TWO) so the plumber is coming to install a new “spare” sometime this morning.
I was concerned because the surviving sump pump was spewing all the water out into the front yard. The pipe ends about a foot above the edge of what could be a flower bed, if I ever cared to make it one. The incessant torrent of water created a small pool in the dirt about a foot deep. Then it overflowed across the front walk making the front door distinctly out of bounds.
I found a chunk of PVC pipe in the garage and stuck it over the end of the pipe, balancing it on a tree trunk that floated by. That got me about four feet. Not long enough. The pumped water was still feeding the walkway pond. Then I got a brilliant idea while making room for the plumber downstairs. (I only pick up when company comes. ) I found a huge bundle of bubble wrap!
I tried sewing the bubble wrap together, but the feed dogs on my Bernina aren’t used to the bubbles. I tried popping them and then sewing. No go. I dropped my feed dogs and attempted to free-motion quilt the sections of bubble wrap together and broke my needle.
So, I resorted to using clear packing tape on the short seams and duct tape on the long seam. I slid my bubble wrap tube onto the free end of the second pipe and secured it with zip ties. As long as the duct tape was on the top there was very little leakage and I was able to divert the water about 12 feet down the driveway. Success!
I am so proud! Here’s a mercifully short video of the water flow.
I was entertained by my little “diversion.” Warm and DRY thoughts to all who are dealing with serious flooding. Stay dry.
No “PhotoShopping” here. My friend Claudia Comay took this picture on a farm about two hours north of Auckland, New Zealand in 2011. She’s the main driver and photographer in the family, often making U-turns, she says, “to capture gems much to the groans of other passengers in the car. “
Claudia says, “I’ve gotten quite good and fast at these U-turns and my family now shouts ‘Where, where’ when I announce U-turn!!”
In life we sometimes think of U-turns as punishment for making a mistake, like making a wrong turn. (In quilting the equivalent is “un-sewing.”) It slows us down, and that’s bad.
Wouldn’t it be better to think of them as “do-overs?” Aren’t U-turns opportunities once lost and now found?
On this Valentine’s Day (or any day) slow down and purposely take a U-turn. Explore a missed opportunity. Life shouldn’t be a straight shot. Occasionally it’s a good thing to meander (hey another quilting term!) and backtrack a bit. See what you missed, and then move forward again.
Barbara is making some strawberries and wants to know what the commercially made pincushion strawberries are stuffed with. (She’s stuffing hers with coffee grounds.) I’m so glad she asked. I know this! The little strawberries are stuffed with fine sand. I googled it just to be sure and found a very interesting short little history of the tomato pincushion here:
Excellent! Now I know that fine grain sand is called “emory.” Except that the person writing the very interesting short little history of the tomato pincushion probably spelled it incorrectly. I think it should be “emery” instead of “emory” mostly because that’s also the stuff that emery boards are made of.
Not being able to leave that one alone, I checked “emory” on Dictionary.com thinking maybe it is a British spelling of “emery.” Alas, no. “Emery,” however, is as “a granular mineral substance consisting typically of corundum mixed with magnetite or hematite, used powdered, crushed, or consolidated for grinding and polishing.”
So, perhaps “sand” isn’t quite right, but I think it’s close enough.
Be that as it may, I would now like to step up and correct a common misconception. These little strawberries are NOT to sharpen your needles. Seriously. If jamming the tip of your needle into soft fabric dulls it, how would jamming the tip of your needle into sand sharpen it?! Note the word “polishing” in the above definition?
An old hand quilter from way back, I have my own theory. When you hand stitch with the same needle over time, it oxidizes. That is, the nickel plating on the steel needle tarnishes. You might even have noticed that it turns black. It sticks a bit as you attempt to push it through a quilt, especially if the quilt has been sandwiched with a dense batting like cotton. The perspiration on your hands is responsible for the tarnish.
And how would you remove the tarnish? Stick the tarnished needle into the strawberry! Holding it by the needle end, pinch the strawberry, and slide the needle in and out, rotating it every so often. Tarnish removed! I rest my case.
Well, not completely. There’s one more thing. I think my little theory is further strengthened by the fact that, proportionately, the strawberry is usually way smaller than the tomato, except in Barbara’s really nice pincushion picture. If it were bigger you’d loose your #10 between inside the strawberry never to be seen again. Or, maybe it’s just because back in the 19th century strawberries really were that small. They were not the genetically engineered giants that we’re used to getting in the grocery store today. They probably tasted better too. The real ones. Not the ones with the sand inside.
I love this picture of Debra Voight with her granddaughter Lucy Ann. They’re playing on a quilt called “Funny Bunny, Bears and Honey” (great name)! And it’s one of the patterns in my Picture Play Quilts book.
Is that not the coolest thing? Just look at the two of them!
I included 24 games to play with the quilts in the book. A quilt stitched with novelty fabric can be a great learning tool.
OK, now check out the quilting! Meander quilting is perfect for the busy conversational prints. I love the loop-di-loop in the birdie border. Now look at the quilting in the pink borders. It’s planned, but serendipitous, all at the same time. And catch the cool asterisk “star” in the yellow boxes. It not only provides a highway to travel from one pink border to the next, but the straight spokes are a nice contrast to the twists and turns of the quilting throughout the quilt.
Debra is a big fan of Picture Play Quilts. She said, “Hands down it is THE MOST USED book in my quilt library!”
Here’s an overall photo of “Funny Bunny, Bears and Honey”.”
To start 2013, get TWO copies of Picture Play Quilts at the Happy New Year price of $20.13. (Get is? 2-0-1-3?) Not only will you get a book for you and a book for your quilting buddy, but you’ll both save more than 50% off the regular price. Get 15 great patterns and 24 games to play with the little ones in your life. The book comes with plastic auditioning templates so you can easily harvest appropriately sized pictures for each patch, and cutting templates too. (Tape them to the bottom of your rotary ruler.) Order Picture Play Quilts before January 5th to get this great deal.