Monthly Archives: February 2017

Around Here Week 8

I’m sure I’ll be posting more snow photos, but for now I can’t resist showing that early harbinger of spring, the witch hazel shrub. I came across this one opening up while on a walk at a local park. Ooh, I said to my husband, I think it’s a witch hazel. He replied, I know it is. How, I asked, as my husband can’t recognize a hydrangea bush. That’s what the tag says, was his response.



Filed under Inspiration

Beatles Challenge Is Done and Dusted

I mentioned my guild’s Beatles song challenge as one of my projects for 2017. I chose Paperback Writer, and had great fun researching old pulp paperback covers.

dark-street-murders-coverThe legs encased in seamed stockings drew me to this cover for my inspiration. It was one of several that featured women’s gams. I changed it up a bit, added other bits appropriate to a pulp mystery story, and drew it out.  Since books need titles, I picked a 1964 Beatles song, Baby’s In Black, as suitable to the occasion.

Once I sewed together the green/yellow/black ombre fabrics as the background, I fused the figures and shadows on.

baby-partsI used black organza and black netting for the shadows. The red title piece was sewn on and then the fabric in back was cut off to reduce bulk. Drawing the gun gave me some difficulty until I simplified it. According to my husband the barrel is too short, but he wasn’t the one who had to cut it out. BTW, my husband also asked where the blood was. I told him the guy sustained a head wound.




Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects

Around Here Week 7

I have a lot of ferns that I haul into my house each winter from the porch. The thing is, once you have one fern you have the potential for multitudes. Think Mickey in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” with the brooms. All you need is an axe to chop up a root bound fern. Right now I have six, and I think at least three need to be divided next summer. In the meantime I enjoy the sight of the new fronds uncurling. The green is such a fresh color.



Filed under Inspiration

On Top Of Old Smoky

While the weather here bounced around from 12 to 50 degrees I was revisiting the Smoky Mountains in fabric. I settled on an arrangement of my faux paper strips, sewed them down, and cobbled a way to finish the edges. I used no batting, but fused Decor Bond to my foundation fabric, and it’s a good thing I did. The finished product is heavy and might buckle without that extra firmness.

Because the fabric strips were three layers thick (top fabric, fusing, interfacing) I elected to trim up the side edges and sew some twill tape to them. I pressed the edges to the back and hand sewed them down. The top edge got the same treatment, while the bottom edge, which is only one layer thick, got turned under.


This project came with a bonus. I bypassed my scraps bins for the trimmings and created another small piece with them for this month’s scrap quilt. The base layer is fabric I had silk screened with thickened dye.

interwovenThe finished product, The Smokies, measures 20 by 25 inches.



Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects, Techniques

Around Here Week 6

I’m amazed that an ordinary cotton curtain can look so mysterious. I love the texture and the cutwork openings that hint of something behind the curtain. The wire filament like threads look like they’re about to dissolve. Then there’s the cable pattern. I used my camera’s black and white setting though it might look good in sepia.



Filed under Inspiration

Fabric Paper or Reverse Engineering

Traditionally, fine paper was made from cotton rags, hence rag paper. It’s more durable and far less acidic than paper made from wood pulp. So you could say that fabric and paper have a long history together. However, my conversion of fabric to paper began quite recently.

I was intrigued by Eileen Searcy’s article in the February/March 2017 issue of Quilting Arts magazine  about making a “faux torn paper” quilt. It was different, didn’t require quilting and, except for the dimensional paint, I already had the supplies. A grub through my interfacing drawer turned up some very lightweight non-fusible interfacing and I had a bolt of Wonder Under. Once I dashed into WalMart for the paint I was good to go.

To create the 2 by 22 inch fabric strips the directions called for I pulled out solid or mottled fabrics in a gray to green to blue range, with a few light beige neutrals thrown in. To speed up the strip process I cut my fabrics into 4 inch wide pieces and fused as many of them as I could fit onto my interfacing pieces. Then I cut them into 2 inch wide strips. If I had been thinking I would have cut them into 4 inch wide strips and separated them with the jagged edge cutting that simulates torn paper. Oh well.

Next, I dabbed the ragged cut edges with the dimensional paint. The idea is the white paint will give the effect of torn colored paper, which has a white core. This piece of real torn paper gives an idea of the look I was going for.

element_tornpaperI could have painted my strips faster, but I wanted to try different ways of applying the paint and different thicknesses of the paint. The magazine instructions turned out to be on the money – paint from the front to back of the fabric and hold the brush perpendicular to the fabric, though I decided to apply a lighter coat of paint. I can always go back and add more.

Rather than use batting I decided to fuse my foundation fabric to Decor Bond for extra stability. I’ll be sewing the fabric paper strips to this and the backing fabric at the same time. My “sandwich” will be my strips, the foundation fabric, Decor Bond, and backing fabric.

After the prep work I got to my design wall and began to play. I ended up with a design that reminds me of the Great Smoky Mountains, so I emphasized earth and sky components. Of course I took some artistic license.


Here’s my version so far in black and white. I was checking my values range.



Filed under In Process, Project Ideas, Techniques

Around Here Week 5

Despite the dearth of snow so far, winter temperatures still help create unexpected beauty with wild grapevine and water, plus a bit of sun. My neighbor has let the grapevine take over the bushes, but the bare vine catches the water from the downspout and turns it into prisms.icicles-and-branches


Filed under Inspiration

Mini Designs

By mini, I mean about four inches square, practically drink coaster size. I made seven tiny designs with a small group that is now exploring Deborah Boschert’s “Art Quilt Collage.” The author suggests quick fabric sketches to get familiar with her eight design guides.

Armed with craft felt squares and lots of already fused fabric scraps we arranged our bits and spent some time squinting at the effects. Once we were satisfied we pressed them down. The author says this should be done fairly quickly and spontaneously, but it took us the better part of two hours.

My gallery reflects my love of bright colors and diagonal lines.

mini-designsMaybe I’ll quilt them, zigzag around the edges and use them for drink coasters. I suspect they’d stimulate some conversation about the state of the hostess’ mind.


Filed under Art quilts, Books, In Process

Around Here Week 4

Northeast Ohio isn’t known for endless sunny days, so I love to watch the shadows when we actually get some sun. This art glass on my mantel casts rippled colored shadows, while fronds of the house plant add stripes. Somehow the right hand blue vase looks like it was drawn with colored chalk. I like the blobby circle shadows.



Filed under Inspiration, Project Ideas