Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Happy Holidays

The boarder fabric on the wallhanging was our first bee challenge fabric. Its full of pink and purple santas, what a challenge. I decided to do a "city" quilt as most of my quilts have more of a wilderness feel. This is called "Christmas Eve in the City" All of the people are rushing home as Santa is coming down from the North Pole in his train. I hand dyed all of the buildings, train, and tree fabrics. The cars are quilters lame, the tracks are a wire edge ribbon. The rinestone tree was a vintage pin of my mothers. The wheels on the train engine are very old buttons. I also added lots of beads. This was such a fun quilt to make.
Here we are all packed (over packed) and ready to leave to Florida, to spend the holidays with our kids, grandkids and my parents. I think we're the only person in Michigan with a canoe on their R.V, ready to go.
This is a quilt I made called "The Florida we know". We have been traveling to Florida for the past 25 years for a break every winter. My parents winter on the Gulf coast. Now, our daughter lives in Jacksonville and our son lived in Miami and we love to snorkle in the Keys. This quilt shows our canoe as we canoe through the mangroves looking for little shells and secret beaches. The upper left water shows two little Horseshoe crabs I found dried up on shore. The four little Nemo fish represent our four grandchildren, my friend Deb made them from Fimo (I'm not sure of the correct name) clay. I used my wool fabric for the palm tree, mangroves, blue heron and alligator. Then I added glass fish and beads. This also was a fun quilt to make.
I hope you have wonderful holidays and will be back January 8.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bee fabric challenge

Every year, my other quilt bee, picks a fabric at the beginning of the year and we have a year to make a project, then at our Christmas party we show them. This years fabric is the big flower print shown in the purse above. Mary (the over achiever) made this Ying/yang purse in addition to the wallhanging below.
Mary designed, pieced and appliqued this exciting piece.
This was my piece, I showed it before with my hand batiked pieces. I didn't plan on using my batik fabric with the challenge piece but they happen to lay next to each other and they went together wonderfully. It was a great opportuntiy to show comercial fabrics with my hand batiked fabrics. The batik mask panel was a piece my friend brought home from Africa for me. In all of our fabric challenges I have used my own hand-dyed fabrics, except for the 30s fabric challenge.

Lillian made this tote bag.
Kay pieced this quilt, she still has to put on the binding. Two of the bee members weren't able to be at the party, hopefully I'll get their quilt pictures. It's fun to see how the same fabric looks so different when put with other fabrics.

This is a wonderful bag Lillian made us. The black is a sturdy nylon mesh, with a fun quilters print fabric and a zipper. I'm packing it up with my hand projects to take to Florida over the holidays. We spend to weeks there with our children, grandchildren and my parents.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Beginning a new wool quilt

This is my first block for my "family tree" quilt. I'm using my natural hand dyed wool, blanket stitching the pictures on and adding some needle felting and embellishments. This is a picture of my childhood home (without the garage, woods and creek in the backyard) my father and mother built. In the lawn area I am going to embroider my parents names and birth dates, their wedding date, me and my brothers birth dates, the year the house was built, our address etc. Next, I'm doing my grandmothers little neighborhood store, I'm setting it at Christmas. Then I'll do my husbands childhood home, his grandparents, ours, and then our childrens, embroidering in all the family history. This is so much fun, it's like playing with paperdolls. My favorite quilts to make are story quilts.
Last night I met with one of my quilt bees for our Christmas party, my friend Cathy made us all these little sea turtles sewing kits. I love it. Under his tumming is an opening for scissors etc. I believe this is a comercial pattern.
My friend Jody made us a wreath, she used wire edge ribbon and looped it around a ring.
Every year I make up a different arrangement on our porch. This year I picked a lot of Christmas greens and holly branches. The white branches are the sumac branches I picked last summer and peeled the bark off them for a dye pot. The branches were so white I saved them for my arrangement. The little white snowflakes are metal. I also tucked in little white lights.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Quilting with friends

Lillian knitted the sleeves of her sweater and pieced the rest, its much cuter in real life.

My girlfriends and I spent the day at the local quilt shop, quilting together. The name of the shop is Quilted Memories and she has a wonderful, huge classroom that she lets us use for the day for $5.00 each. Below are some of the projects.

Kay with a quilt she brought for "Show and tell". The batiks are from Moda with no two alike and the pattern is from Laundry Basket.
Kay with a top she pieced today, it's from Ricky Tims book, Convergence. I believe it's his fabric line also.

I pieced this "Schlep" bag for my "adopted" daughter, Vicky for Christmas. She loves lizards, turtles and frogs, so I used them on both sides, all I could find, my friend Deb even sent me some of hers from Alaska. This is a wonderful, easy, big tote (it holds a good full size quilt), and its reversable. I can't remember who made the pattern, but I made a made a lot of them. My friend said they think its on the internet now, but I'm not sure . If you can get a hold of the pattern, try one, their like potatoe chips, you can't make just one. This is the reverse of the bag.
Mary with a simple table topper, from the Take 5 pattern. Makes a nice Christmas gift.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Our daughter-in-law Alka with her almost completed wallhanging. Alka is a engineer and works for Catapiller out of Puerto Rico. She had never really done any needle work growing up. Since she has been dating and married our son I have been teaching her some quilting and knitting (when shes home she starts the project then takes it with her to finish). She loves it. This bird is a pattern from "African Folklore Embroidery" (as seen in Fons and Porter magazine). The embroidery is designed in Africa by the Ndebele women and part of the profits go back to them. You can make the panel into a quilt, tote bag, jacket back etc. Alka made it into a wallhanging for her sister for Christmas. Every year I teach an after school quilting class and this past winter I taught this. There are a lot of different animals to choose from. The kids loved them. We made them into pillows. Alka also started a wool pumpkin penny rug, she saw the picture of Joni's and designed her own.
Every year I grow bittersweet and in the fall I pick it and wrap it around my kitchen window. I love it and it lasts a good year before the berries start to fade in color.

This crazy quilt was made by our quilt guild members to donate to "Tempting Tables". One member pieced all the blocks and then passed them out to different members to embellish. The quilt was raffeled and the proceeds went to breast cancer research. (Tempting Tables is held at Maranatha on Lake Harbor Rd. every other year).
Well, our family has all left, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving for two weeks, lots of laughing and eating . This is Grandpa taking the grandkids and our daughter on a "hay ride" in our back yard, into the woods. The kids love it. Now, maybe I can get some quilting done! Friday, I go all day quilting with my friends, so hopefully I'll get some inspritional photos.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Quilt bee show & tell

The past 3 years, two weeks before Thanksgiving my husband flys down to Florida and drives back our daughter and grandchildren, then her husband flys up for Thanksgiving and drives them all back. One evening, while they are here I have my girlfriends over for supper and "show & tell". (Our daughters were in dance and gymnastics together for years, starting when they were 5 yrs. old). I taught all of them and their mothers to quilt. Now our daughters are grown with children and us mothers still meet and quilt about once a month (we've been meeting around 20 years). This is some of our "show & tell". The 1st. picture is our daughter with my last year Christmas present from her. It was such a surprize. For some reason the little grandchildren started calling me "Sunshine", (it so cute, I hope it lasts) so my daughter made me a Sunshine wallhanging. I was shocked she had time as the twins were 2 and the baby 6 months and her husband works long hours. I think the 9 year old helped out a lot. She had never paper pieced before and ended up calling my girlfriends for help. On Christmas eve she went to "bed" early. I later found out she was still hand quilting it. (she learned to quilt before machine quilting was an accepted like now).
My friend Laura made this fish backpack for her granddaughter for Christmas. It is so cute. This is my grandson modeling it. He loved it and immediatly put in his toy cars.
Another picture, this is a pattern but I'm not sure of the name.

Another friend Joni made this pumpkin penny rug with natural dyed wool I gave her. I believe it was a pattern in last falls issue of American patchwork and quilting.
Cathy made this sock monkey quilt for her granddaughter for Christmas. I'm not sure of the pattern name.
She also made these two jackets, one for herself and one for her granddaughter.
This is my oldest grandson curled up reading with a bear paw quilt I made several years ago after we came back from canoeing the "Boundry Waters" between Minnesota and Canada and "ran into" a bear.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Tempting Tables

Tempting Tables is a volunteer organization that showcases exquisite, elaborate and creative Tablescapes. It also spotlights very unique collections. It is open to the public and every cent of the admission goes to breast cancer research, even the volunteers pay to get in. This year there is 32 tablescapes and 21 special collections. I loved the tables and have a few pictures to inspire you for your holiday tables!
This tablescape was called Reflections of Autumn.
If only my Thanksgiving table looked like this.
This table was called "The Cats Meow" and the volunteer who did this table donated it to Tempting Tables . You could purchase raffle tickets to win this table.
This was a cute table called "Sweet and Spicy Divas". The two lady's made the table cloth, chair covers, everything, even a painted floor mat under the table.
This table was done as a deer hunters table, the silverware handles and legs of the table were covered with birch bark. I don't know if I've ever saw a hunters table look like this in Michigan.
This table is called "Blue Autumn" and was different look for an autumn table. The dishes were a beautiful pottery.
I thought this table cloth was cleaver, they sewed ribbon loops along the bottom under the fringe. I have a few more Christmas tables I'll show you next week.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Neddle Felting

My friend Deb from Alaska, sent me a wonderful needle felting kit and wool roving for my birthday this past April. This past weekend I decided to try it out, it was very easy and fun and could be very addicting. (Deb does fabulous things with needle felting, check out her blog site: Akquilter1.blogspot.com). I used a piece of my indigo dyed wool and played around with a lizard design. In the new wool quilt I've started I'm doing our family homes and I want to embelish the blocks with needle felting.
This is a piece I did a couple of years ago for our bee challenge. The challenge was to use the boarder and lattice fabrics, which none of us liked but that was the challenge. I made the attic windows block and in the windows I used my hand dyed/printed fabric that made when I was in Alaska at Deb's house. We had spent the afternoon dying fabric and the plastic table cloth had dye spilled all over it when we finished, so we went outside and picked some leaves and rubbed them in the dye and printed our cloth. When I made the quilt I didn't want to cut up the fabric to much so this block seemed perfect. I machine quilted the leaf designs in and hand- embroidered a spider web and added my new spider from Sarah in New Mexico. (You can see the details better by double clicking on the picture)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A little trompe loeil from Florida

Our daughters friend, Kim Miller does wonderful trompe loeil (I hope I'm spelling this correctly) painting. This is her, painting a Northern Michingan scene in our daughters home, its on a peak near the ceiling between her great room and kitchen. It now looks like a window to the outside.
My husband made this birch bark canoe for Melissa and her husband for Christmas. It's 5 ft. long and very authentic, (although I don't think it would carry many passengers). Their going to hang it so it looks like it's part of the scene. Kim also painted the wall behind the canoe, it has a wonderful "Venetion" finish, a lot of layers with metallic paints. (my picture is a little fuzzy) This is their piller in their entrance way, Kim gave it a wonderful marble finish.
This is our daughter and son-in -laws wedding quilt I made 4 years ago. They now have taken it off their bed and are using it as a wallhanging in their bedroom. It's their "family tree" quilt. I started with the palm tree since they started their marriage together in Florida, every immediate family member is represented by a block, mine is the my handprint with a needle and thread. The maple leaf represents Michigan where Melissa grew up and they met. The other hand prints are their children's, cut out of fabric I bought in Africa. I still have to add the newest childs (under the palm tree). There are wonderful strips of my son-in-laws traditional outfits. The long purple and orange, was hand-woven in Africa, I keep the shirt (I hung it in my living room) and cut up the pants. The gold panels were embroidered in Africa. I love using different ethnic fabrics.
The "antique" world map fabric completes the story as they will be traveling and living all over the world. Every block has the name of the person or story written on it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Halloween

I made this last year from a paper piecing pattern in Quilters Newsletter Magazine. I enlarged the pattern to different sizes to represent my 4 grandchildren. I love the pattern, little kids dressed as ghosts "trick or treating".
It's really hard to get a good picture of all 4 kids at once. This is the neighbors display that we visited everyday, the twins called it "Arts garden".
They weren't too sure about this witch!
We had lots of fun carving pumpkins and roasting the seeds. (my daughter, her children and cousin)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Some more pictures of my wool

Ok, I really did do some weaving, I was just beginning a center pattern when Sarah pulled out the dye pots, then I couldn't focus on weaving, hopefully I finish it this winter, if I'm ever home. (Good thing I love hand work). The dark center color is my indigo dyed yarn, the salmon is madder root. The grays and cream are commercial yarns. The picture is dark and doesn't show the colors well. (Double clicking on the pictures seem to give a much truer color).
The ball on the left is Navajo tea, the second is dried wild carrot root both with Sarah's alum.
I dyed this fabric at home with Rabbit Bush we picked on the way home.

The balls of yarn were dyed with Sage at the workshop, the one on the left Sarah put in her "desert" alum and the one on the right her "cave" alum. The yarn is the most beautiful sagey greens. I wanted that green on my fabric but I had to use my "dyers" alum and it turned a bright yellow.
Same thing with osage orange. The yellow ball I dyed, the olive green balls we're with Sarah's alum she collects in the desert (and I don't know the secret to finding the "cave" alum). Also, as Sarah has no running water, we used rain water for all of our dying, from her rain barrel.
I wanted to get graduated color shadings with black walnuts, They are very easy to dye with.

On our drive home we went through the Rockie Mts. in Colorado, and camped in them one night. The Aspen trees were at peak color and sooo beautiful, it took us 5 hours to go 100 miles because we couldn't help but stop continously and take pictures (of course my pictures doesn't do it justice). This is a picture of a stream running through the mountains, it was early morning and rainy. Also, the wind was very cold with snow on the mountain tops.
A lake in the Mountains.
Aspen with Spruce trees.

I made this wallhanging last year, I had leg surgery and appliqued and quilted it while I had my leg propped up above my heart. I natural dyed all the fabrics except for the black. The orange and green was a cream plaid which I dyed yellow than overdyed with cochineal and indigo.
Well, Saturday I fly to my daughters in Florida, she is having surgery and I'm flying down to take care of my grandsons for two weeks. I can't wait to see them. The oldest is 9, then twins will be 3 Monday and the baby who is one and a half but thinks he's 3. I don't think I'll have time to do much sewing, but we'll see. I'll "see" you the end of October. Have a wonderful fall, it's my favorite time of year and I'm off to balmy Florida, which is still very hot and muggy.

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo