Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Quilt Retreat

The weekend before our quilt retreat Kay, Carla and I got together and natural dyed wool as gifts for the girls on the retreat. We thought they could use the fabric for our next years quilt challenge.It rained all weekend but stopped long enough for us to do the indigo dying outside. This is a picture of our blues and greens (Osage orange bark over dyed with indigo).

I always machine wash my fabric after dying it (if the color doesn't make it in the wash I don't want to use it for making quilts). After washing all the fabric I didn't know where to hang the large amount so I put up lines in my studio. As I looked at it when I finished, it looked like the prayer flags the Buddhist monks hang in Tibet. This shows some of the wonderful colors we got.

This gave everyone a nice color selection for their quilt.

This was a few pieces we dyed at the end when we mixed dye pots and over dyed. I love how all natural dyed pieces go together. Only "nature" can accomplish that!

This was my piece for this years bee challenge (I'm in the up in a balcony photographing it). You were suppose to make a block for every month. The block was to tell a story of your month. I had started making a quilt like that before and just continued on. My blocks were different dye plants and other plants that I use in that month. I designed and hand appliqued and embroiderd each block using my dyed wools. Some of the block stories are of the plants I picked with my grandchildren in Michigan and Florida, another one is from when I went to the dye workshop on the Navajo reservation (wild carrot). The ceder I embroidered when we we're in Seattle on a Native reservation. Ceder is so important in their lives, from the canoes they carve to the hand woven hats they wear.
When I look at this quilt I am reminded of so many wonderful times spent outdoors with my family and friends, hiking to pick the dye plants, simmering them in the studio early mornings, learning ancient family dying techniques with a wonderful Navajo woman and her family in Arizona, and embroidering the blocks while we traveled around America. My wool quilts are so much more to me than making something to keep warm with (although their very warm and cozy), their my way of telling my family stories.

The day was so beautiful I took my quilt out for a "photo shoot"! Lake Michigan in the background. (I still have to quilt this top)

This is Judy's piece, she button-hole stitched all the felt pieces by hand.

Mary made a "base" of crazy quilted blocks (her sewing machine did all the stitches, they almost look hand embroidered). She then sewed on Velcro to hold the small quilts she made to change for every month. This is a few of her months, she tried different techniques on the pieces.

May, she did hand applique and yoyos.

January, hand embroidery.

And November, a pieced "taco salad". Every year Mary makes a taco salad for us to eat while at the cabin.

Lillian made four pieces to represent the special things of each season.

Kay, "recycled" a piece she made in 1984. It was a group piece from a different bee. Everyone made 12 of the same blocks, each representing a different month. Then they got together and exchanged them and each put their on tops together.

We were at the cabin for almost a week so a lot of projects were made. Quite a few were snowmen quits. How can you not love a snowman quilt! This is a few of them, Kay made the red and black one and the little wall hanging (they still need to be quilted). I machine quilted a piece I started a few years ago. Lillian had given us all a large panel of snowwomen having a quilt show. I cut mine apart and pieced it with flannel sashing and added flannel boarders. It made a nice lap size quilt to curl up with this winter.

Close up of the blocks.

I did have a few pictures of the sunsets we had while there but somehow I deleated them, oh well, my camera never looks as good as in real life.


Kathie said...

your quilt is amazing, I just love it
the fabrics look like suede , wow I am impressed with you dying your own.
just beautiful.
thanks for sharing

Deb H said...

Kathy, the fabric is wonderful, & the quilts are stunning. It looks like the rest of the group is finally starting to "get it"!

Yours of course is my favorite! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!
Miss you so much!

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