Friday, February 9, 2018

Snowflake quilt


If your inspired by snow, inspiration is abundant in Michigan.
As someone said "now I know what's it's like living in a snow globe".

My girlfriend gifted me a collection of batik snowflake fabrics, enough to make a queen size quilt! Last weekend I went on a quilt retreat and pieced the top. This weekend the borders and then I will machine quilt it.
Thank you Deb, the fabric is wonderful!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Herb of the Year- Hops

Hops would not be the first thing to come to mind when you think of herbs, but this is 2018 "herb of the year" so my Herb Society's first meeting of the year was to begin to learn all it's secrets.
A side from imparting a bitter & tangy flavor to beer, hops has a rich tradition in medical use, mainly for anxiety, sleeplessness and poor digestion.
Hops tea is recommended as a mild sedative and remedy for insomnia. A pillow filled with hops was used to encourage sleep.

Hops are the cone like, fruit bodies (strobilles) of the plant, a large vine, the female vine is the one that produce the flowers.
These were from last fall, they are so cute!
In the manufacturing, the hops extract is used in skin creams & lotions.
At our meeting we made hops flower toner! Very refreshing this time of year with the dry houses. Here's a simple recipe to make your own.
1/3 cup of hop flowers
1/2 cup of boiling water
1 teaspoon witch hazel.
Pour boiling water over the flowers, let seep a half hour.
Strain out flowers, let hop infused water cool, add the witch hazel.
Dab the hop tea with a cotton ball onto a clean face for a nice facial toner. Store in tightly caped bottle in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

In our research it talked about the leave and flower heads had been used to produce a brown dye.
So I simmered some flowers and added alum mordanted wool to the pot,
this is the color I got, it's a little deeper yellow than the picture shows, the color looks like the delicate flowers.
I had a hard time getting a correct color picture.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Dyeing with Poinsettia flowers

The holidays were over and it was time to see what colors could be coaxed from my red poinsettia.

I laid them out on silk and wool (all premordanted with alum and cream of tarter).

Some of the red brackets I froze a few days ahead of time, I laid them out on silk. The dyes started coming out immediately.
Some I rolled up around narrow PVC pipe.
(not a great idea as the writing from the pipe printed on the fabric.

Some I bundled how I normally do. Some I dipped in iron water before bundling. I tried many different methods including spraying them with vinegar.

I lit a fire in my studio and put a large pot of bundles on to steam.

Steamed some of them a few hours then left them over night. Some of the silks with the frozen flowers I just left bundled placing them under a heavy bucket of water to process. I left them all a week before I washed them out.

These have been washed but are still wet.
The wool: the red brackets became dark green and the leaves yellow.
The colors remind me of how red maple leaves in the fall print.

This silk I believe I sprayed with vinegar. When it dried it wasn't quite so red, darn.


Silks with the frozen red brackets. I believe the one on the left was sprayed with vinegar. I didn't do well labeling them.

The collection.

Tuesday night as I drove home from Herb Society, what to my wondering eyes should appear but a Meteor falling from the sky!!
At first I thought it must be fireworks with the red glow, but no it was a meteor, when I got home the internet was lit up with people and cameras who saw it.
Last night I "recorded" it for my moon journal quilt. The background I indigo dyed with a resist moon, I hand stitched in meteor's path, the moon beams and crystal stars, with the meteor itself being a piece of mica I collected from the Black Hills of South Dakota.
(This is setting on an antique quilt for the picture).

Another journal piece I made from this summer's eclipse!

     They both will be added to the journal quilt. My first stitched moon recorded was in 2010. No plans yet to stitch it all together, I'll just keep stitching more blocks!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Mother Nature Weaving under the Super Moon

Who could ask for more from the moon, Full Wolf Super Moon to start the New year
with another full moon to end the month!

Early morning I went out, clear and cold, the moon just above our tree tops!

The solar lights on my loom twinkling.

And later in the morning with record snowfall and lots more to come I
bundled up and out I went to enjoy the world.

I didn't do well on my earth loom last year, but Mother Nature did

Miss Bittersweet wound herself all through the warp, and Mother Nature filled it with
clouds of snow. It looks perfect.

Close up you may be able to see how well the indigo wool held up through the long hot summer.
Also under the snow the "dyers coreopsis" held it's color too!
(not the cream wool, not sure what that was)
My loom faces south so it gets sun all day.

My dyers garden asleep under the snow.
We have another big snow storm coming in with bitter cold, perfect weather for hand quilting!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas quilts, family and fun

This quilt was first started in 1987 as a Christmas block exchange between my daughter (then 8 years old) and some of her girlfriends and their moms. For 3 years they made blocks and exchanged them at Christmas. I made her some, she made some, her grandmother made her one, two of my girlfriends (one who has since passed away) and my daughter's very first girl friend at age one and few more friends pieced her blocks.
 I remember how excited the girls were to find Micky mouse quilt fabrics and used Artex paints to sign their names!
Well, the blocks remained unfinished for about 12 years and then my friend and I spent a few days piecing her daughters and my daughters blocks into quilt tops.
Another 18 years pass, it was time to have the top quilted!
After 30 years the quilt was finished, signed, dated, wrapped and tucked under the tree for my daughter on Christmas morning! She had no idea it was made into a quilt.
Two of her other young girlfriend quilts were finished, the one, who's mother had passed away, finished piecing the quilt and had it quilted herself, and my girlfriend who secretly finished her daughters!  What beautiful memory quilts for us all.

This is it sitting in front of my girlfriend's beautiful Christmas tree with her
appliqued quilt hanging over the balcony.

Well, I'm still exchanging friendship blocks with my friends at Christmas,
and I still treasure them.
This is a group from one of my bees. Star blocks to go with our snowmen blocks we began 3 years ago. 

A 3D pinwheel 

My friend who hosted the party made us all quilted star candy dishes with her fancy embroidery sewing machine!
Thank you Jamie 

One friend had this cute snowflake ornament on our package,
I love the saying "wish upon a snowflake". 

They will be added to all the other snowmen blocks in another year or two. First another star block exchange next year. 

In my other bee we had a Autumn" block exchange. The long pieced block will have a wool pumpkin appliqued in the middle.
The 7 small blocks along the left and bottom side are friendship blocks made at a retreat in 1998, some of the same friends made them! (Deb Hardman do you recognize these?) They will be added with the new blocks once this bee is done with this Christmas exchange.

I made a few little quilted snowmen wall hangings/ pot holders for Christmas visitors. 

A couple for my daughter.

Our son had us all over Christmas Eve, he put up my parents original  1960's aluminum Christmas tree
with the spinning color wheel.

With my cute grandsons.

or green!
I hope you have a wonderful holiday season
and I hope I can be with you more often in 2018!
After the holidays are over I'm out in the dye studio seeing what color (if any) I can coax out of my red poinsettia!
I'll let you know.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Quilt Retreat on Lake Michigan

Off I went last week on my Bee's annual quilt retreat. This year we rented one a these cute cottages on Lake Michigan. A little shorted than usual (usually 10 days) but still 5 days of wonderful friendship, laughing, great food and quilting.

The color was inspirational.

                          A short walk to the beach for more inspiration.

    By the end of the week a cold north wind blew in. The waves were beautiful.

The following are a few of the projects we worked on.  I made this little Thanksgiving wall hanging. The photo is a reproduction antique postcard printed on cloth.

                      I added borders and a little machine quilting to it.

Deb C. made a wall hanging with her post card pieces. She now has it finished.

And she pieced this one too. Now finished.

My big project I worked on was putting together my Sun/moon quilt. I'm going to cut and piece the left over dark blue wool strips together and sew it on for the borders.

I needed one more block for the quilt so this "autumn" wool became...

a harvest moon.

I made a couple winter flannel pillow cases.

                       Kay pieced a graduation quilt for her grandson.

His favorite sports and memories of Grand Haven as the accent blocks.

Deb C.  pieced this wonderful vintage truck lap quilt with cute peppermint pinwheels.

I have to tell you the story behind this quilt Mary pieced.
Mary's good friend loved black and white fabrics/quilts.
A couple of weeks before ours, Mary and her other bee went on a quilt retreat. Her friend also went even as she was fighting cancer in the last days of her life. She made it a couple of the days and then went home to weak to stay and passed away a short time later. The black and whites of hers were gifted to Mary.  

Mary added her own soft green fabric and pieced this memory quilt.
The green doesn't show up to well in this picture.
The name of this pattern is disappearing 9 patch.

At night while watching Hallmark Christmas movies lots of hand stitching was done. Deb C. started a new hexie quilt which will be full size, all hand pieced and hand quilted. Each individual hexie piece is 1/2 inch in size!

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo