Tag Archives: fabric

Thankful for Leftovers

Over the years I have received many arts and crafts leftovers – fabric, thread, paper, paint, frames, patterns, books, quilting rulers, etc. This Thanksgiving I’d like to thank the donors, and especially three people who have given me a lot of goodies.

First, Penny has generously shared any collage bounty that’s come her way – papers, wallpaper samples, and less than perfect monoprints she’s made. She’s also given me lots of fabric, plus other crafting supplies. Some of the fabrics can be seen on the fronts and backs of my quilts. I’ve used her castoff monoprints in many collages. The wallpaper samples are great for rubbing textures, backgrounds, and even holiday cards.

Monoprint rejects and torn magazine pages
Cut up monoprints, stitched together
Cut up wallpaper mixed with monoprints and other remnants, sewed onto a wallpaper sample

Then, Felice, a talented embroiderer and quilter, gifted me large scrap bags of felted wool, left over from her many quilts. The scraps have spoiled me for hand stitching. I don’t want to work with anything else. Many of the scraps are in an incomplete project, but I’ve used a few in mixed media pieces. As a bonus, many pieces already had fusing on the back.

A paper/fabric experiment
Organza and felt scraps stitched together with Sulky water soluble stabilizer

Finally, all my glittery fabric desires have been fulfilled by Jasen, the costume designer at Weathervane Playhouse, where I volunteer. Occasionally he’ll save leftover hand dyed fabric for me as well. In return, I’ve made him art quilts that used his fabrics.

“Nebula” used many scraps from “The Little Mermaid” costumes
“Disco Woks” is made almost totally of costume shop scraps.

Many others have shared their bits and bobs with me through give away tables at quilters’ meetings, online giveaways, or “here, would you like to have this?” casual conversations. I have been inspired by and used much of the bounty, and have in turn shared stuff that I know I won’t use. Still, my fabric/textile closet is full, and then there’s the chest of drawers that’s also full of fabric.

My thanks to all of you.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.


Filed under collage, Commentary

Weird Fabric Finds A Home

Several years ago I snapped up a yard of odd mottled rose/gray fabric because it was just $5. Ever since it’s been hanging with my yardage, being passed over each time I look for a new quilt palette.

Finally I had two project palettes that actually worked with my long overlooked fabric – a bowl and a small quilt.

My second fabric bowl has subdued colors and I couldn’t find anything to cover the rim until I remembered that fabric. It slipped in nicely with hand dyed fabric from Vicki Welsh, hand painted pole wrapped shibori, and batik scraps.

My small quilt, named “Concrete” because of its inspiration, used some of that fabric as well, mostly in the column near the right side.

The inspiration? This magazine photo of Boston’s City Hall. The building is considered an outstanding example of Brutalist architecture, which features lots of poured concrete.

My piece doesn’t capture the depth of the photo and the receding diagonal lines, which are probably what attracted me in the first place, but I can always make another version. Maybe I’ll use less pink next time.


Filed under Art quilts, Commentary, In Process

Fun With the Sun

Cyanotypes, which are actually photographs, are yet another way to create designs on fabric. A cyanotype “is a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print. Engineers used the process well into the 20th century as a simple and low-cost process to produce copies of drawings, referred to as blueprints. The process uses two chemicals: ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide.”

You can coat fabric with those chemicals yourself or you can buy fabric already coated. After that, the process is the same. You choose materials you want to photograph and lay them on the treated fabric.

Then, you cover them with glass or some other clear object to hold the materials in place and expose the fabric to the sun for 10 to 15 minutes.

After you bring the fabric inside you remove the materials and rinse the fabric in water. Then you admire your results.

I had bought a packet of assorted color pretreated cyanotype fabric squares with a gift certificate from Dharma Trading, and was waiting for sunshine and warm weather. When those events aligned I set up my work area on the roof of my screen porch.  Why the roof? Because I can access it through a door from my bedroom. I suppose the people we bought our house from had visions of night star gazing, but it’s three stories up from the driveway and the railing isn’t very high. Also, wasps love to build nests on the railing. So I was happy to find a use for that roof.

I was pleased with my results, and have found many breathtaking examples of this technique online. How about this delicate piece by Linda Sterner?

I have no idea what I’ll make with my crocheted pieces, but I still have eight more treated fabric squares to play with.




Filed under Fabric Printing, Techniques

Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programs

Enough of these nature photos. Where’s the quilting, you ask. Your wish is my command.

As any quilter knows, road trips have to involve a stop at a quilt store. I managed to abstain from fabric through Indiana, Illinois, Nebraska, and South Dakota; but succumbed in Bozeman, Montana at the annual Crazy Days sale. That’s right, the magic word for me is sale.

Bozeman is an attractive town of about 40,000 people that’s home to Montana State University and close to good hiking. It boasts a downtown with a diverse array of shops and restaurants and the aforementioned Crazy Days. Almost all the stores put out tables on the sidewalks and offer goods at least 50% off the original prices. The Main Street Quilting Company offered four four shelf movable racks filled with fabric bolts at $5 a yard. They also offered thread and notions at 25% off.

I sent my husband off to a bookstore and got busy shopping. I hauled away seven yards of fabric, mostly the Stonehenge line, plus Aurifil thread and Valdani perle cotton. In addition, I was so taken with some fabric printed antique postcards of Glacier National Park I paid full price. I was told these are printed locally.

Glacier poster printsNext door to the quilt shop an import store was selling Thai silk purses for only $10. I bought one of those, too, obeying my policy that it’s always cheaper to buy a purse than to make one.

silk purse 1


Filed under Commentary

Buttons and Furbelows

My Oklahoma costume construction adventures have continued, with the promised promotion to serging. Wow, those machines are fast, which was a good thing since I was sewing the edges of 14 yard long strips of synthetic organza for these cancan outfits. I love how serging with black thread adds a decorative touch.

serged rufflesOf course, I continue to sew on lots of buttons.

buttons and ruffles

And I did score more fabric scraps, the leftovers from these sequined bodices.

sequined bodice

By the way, according to dictionaryreference.com, a furbelow is:

1. a ruffle or flounce, as on a woman’s skirt or petticoat.
2. any bit of showy trimming or finery.

verb (used with object)
3. to ornament with or as if with furbelows


Filed under Commentary, Techniques

Will Work For Fabric

Recently I started helping with the costumes for a community theater production of Oklahoma. So far I’ve been trusted with some hemming and pressing, though I have hopes of a promotion to serging soon. But the busy work is fine by me as I get to watch the costume designer work magic with the unlikeliest of fabrics. His attention to detail shames me.

My reward for hand hemming skirts with six gores (think a 3/4 circle) was to rummage through fabric donation boxes and carry off whatever took my fancy. So here’s my haul.

I have no idea what disordered mind combined leopard skin print and sequins, but here’s the result, and I have over 2 yards. The silvery side looks like chain mail.

leopard skin with sequinsContinuing with the sparkly theme, I also brought home some turquoise knit covered with sequins in a meander pattern.

turquoise knit with sequinsAnd still more synthetics, this time lots of organza.

synthetic organzaMy favorite is this dark green velvet that is so pettable. My camera refuses to get the color right.

green velvetI also got some lime green flannel and black wool suiting material. I may felt the latter.

I have no particular project in mind for this stuff, but it’s great to have fabric to play with that I won’t worry about wasting, as it cost me nothing. (Yes, I realize I did actually work for it, but it was an unexpected bonus.)



Filed under Commentary

About That Fabric

At the beginning of 2013 I had resolved to use some fabric that had been aging in my closet for some time.  How did I do?

old-fabricI think I’ll adopt the “we use no fabric before its time” slogan.  Starting from the right, I’ve made no progress on using this African type fabric.  I had hoped to merge it with African wax batik prints, but that was a disaster. Maybe it would make a good backing.

The next fabric, the scratched up looking one, has been used twice, though I still have some of the yard left.  It goes well with solids and modern designs, and works in big pieces or really cut up. Here it is in Boxed Up.


The blue fabric is still a favorite, and a bit has been used with other blue prints, but a big hunk remains.  You can see it below in Blue Hexies. When I bought it around 2006 I had thought it would make a good border, but since I make few quilts any more with a recognizable border I think that plan’s out.

blue hexies

I actually have a plan for the black/cream/taupe leaf print on the left.  I found other fabrics that seem to work with it, and have picked out a Zen Chic quilt design I hope to make from a photo. (Warning: bad music alert.)

So, here’s my fabric challenge for 2014.  I really like all of these, which is why I can’t bring myself to cut them up.

old_fabricFrom the left, a batik type fabric I bought at NQA about 7 years ago; Martha Negley twigs fabric; some delightfully weird fabric called Migratory Lace by someone whose name I don’t recall; and some Jane Sassaman fabric. Please note, no flowers on any of this.

Only the batik fabric qualifies as old. I’ve been waiting for a project where I could use that border, which is on both edges.  The others are fabrics that don’t even make it out of the drawer when I’m selecting fabric for a new project. The aqua in the Martha Negley doesn’t play well with any similar colors in my stash.  I love the Jane Sassaman leaves but haven’t been able to figure out how to use their color gradations. And I want to be able to use a large enough piece of the weird fabric to show off those curves.

I’ll let you know how I do this time next year.

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Filed under Commentary, In Process