Tag Archives: just for fun

Backyard summer

This is what I love best about summer…

Working on a project…outside

El Dorado? 1

Looking around the yard to see what’s blooming…

El Dorado? 2

I love lavendar…note: plant more!

El Dorado? 3

This is the best this coreopsis has looked since it was planted!

El Dorado? 4


El Dorado? 5

Project almost finished…

El Dorado? 6

And then we fire up the grill! Yummmmm!

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Filed under Art Quilts, Beading, Life

Easy improv lesson

I decided that I had been away from my sewing machine for waaaaaay too long and needed some machine therapy! I’ll show you what I’ve done and perhaps you can play with some of your scraps the same way.

You might remember this pile of scraps from a while back. A large pieced block, a few dyed and painted blocks and two colorways of hand dyes that coordinated with it all.

Scrap strips 1

Took the big pieced chunk and I cut it into strips and then 4 print pieces that I stacked and cut into uneven quarters. Those were my basic building blocks. And because most of my scraps were strips, that was what determined how I would construct my quilt.

Each block quarter had a pieced strip sewn to one edge. Press and trim–the method on this is to always have a straight edge to sew on.

Scrap strips 2

The next step was to sew a strip from one colorway onto one side of the block. Didn’t matter which side and didn’t matter what the width of the strip was. Press and trim again. And a little tip: have your ironing board and cutting surface away from your sewing machine. That way you have to get up and move around a little while you’re working. Helps to keep you from getting too stiff!

Scrap strips 3

Guess what the next step was! Yep–sew a strip from the other colorway onto one side of the block. Again, didn’t matter which side or how wide the strip. Then I chose the blue/green/turquoise colorway and added strips until each block had a complete frame in that color.

At that point, it was time to put the blocks up on the design wall and take a look at what I had.

Scrap strips 4

Oh, yeah–liking it a lot. I ran out of time to complete the next step, which will be to add a complete frame of the other colorway around each block. I’ll show you that and talk about connecting up these odd shapes next time!

Scrap strips 5

It felt really good to spend some time with that sewing machine again!



Filed under Art Quilts, Color, Designing Quilts, Quilting, Use Up the Stash

Do you dye?

Whenever I post results of a dye day here, I wonder how many people do their own dyeing. Do you feel like you know everything I’m going to say because you’ve been there and done that? Are you a meticulous dyer who records every gram of dye powder and every ounce of water? Or do you dip and dump, scrunch and twist and love the wildest pieces that come out of the dye pot?

To me, there is no reason to be a detailed record keeper unless you intend to be in the business of dyeing and need to have repeatable, consistent results. For the amateur like myself, basic “how to mix it and how to make it stay in the fabric” are the essential instructions and the rest is all fun and playtime.

Educating yourself on processes, materials and safety measures is never, ever a waste of time. The more you know, the more you can push the limits. Sometimes a little more carefulness and knowledge would prevent some do-overs and some “Can I save this?”  questions, but where’s the excitement in that?

I have learned that this is not my preferred rinse out procedure…

AJ rinseing

but when you have a helper, you work in the best way to utilize that help!!

For the first time, I tried dyeing some embroidery floss. I love variegated floss and wanted to try it for myself. Unfortunately, my helper and I did not have time to rinse that out today. I’ll show you those results next time.


Filed under Color, Dyeing Fabric, Fabric, surface design

Another dye day!

I love to invite lots of people over and dye stuff together! I try to do it once or twice a summer and this week–it’s happening!

I’m going to try something new. I “inherited” a bunch of embroidery floss and the majority of it is black–no dye love there! I’m taking the rest–pale green, pink, white and an unattractive brownish burgundy–and playing with color. Variegated colors are like heaven to me so I’m going to throw on some colors and see what happens, try to make them attractive at the same time! Experiments are just that, though. We’ll have to wait and see what happens!

Dye floss 1

I have lots of other dye failures that I want to play with also, to try and rescue them. I’ve never been able to make nice, light airy colors and these are no exception. So, as long as they are already dark and ugly, what do I have to lose? I could end up with a lot of black, but this is also a good way to remind myself of what colors do to each other, how they blend and overdye and I could end up liking these!

Redye fabric

I have some white fabric ready for dyeing, too, but I’m thinking that might interest me more when I’m ready to do some more deconstructed screen printing. Love doing it, but I still haven’t tried it on my own and I’m not really sure what I’m doing so that will be another big learning day…hope I get a chance to do it soon.

In the meantime, the dyes are sitting on the table, ready to go…

Back soon with the results!


Filed under Color, Dyeing Fabric, Fabric, Quilting, surface design

Loose ends

I’ve sort of been spinning my wheels for a day or two here. I need to make some decisions before proceeding with my City of Red/Gold piece. From a distance, you really don’t notice all the texture I’ve been stitching onto it.

Loose ends 4

There is a lot to see when you get closer. The purple section is the most noticeable, both because it’s large and dark and because it has higher contrast thread.

Loose ends 5

The other sections have stitching but it’s much less distinctive. Even though purple is my least favorite color, it is what it is and that’s how this is emerging.

Loose ends 6

The light areas at the top and bottom are not stitched yet. I believe I want to add my inner layer before I sew this part and then add beading to the whole piece. I’m not sure about the backing, when to add it, how to make sure it stays attached when this is hanging, which edge finish to use, quilting…those decisions have my thoughts spinning and my hands idle for this piece.

So I’m looking around at whatever else might capture my imagination…

A friend gave me some needlepunch acrylic yarn. It looks like wool so I thought I’d see how well it sews. I have a small piece of wool that I dyed, ready for sewing.

Loose ends 1

I picked out a colored area, squinted to come up with an imagined shape within the colors and started sewing. The yarn works just fine.

Loose ends 2

I might try it in the bobbin of my machine, too.

But what about my Weekly Specials, you ask? They were supposed to be always at the ready, to be picked up whenever there was idle time. Well…………..they are ready…and I have some idle time…I just haven’t picked them up! These are partially done.

Loose ends 3

They need some beads and finishing. I just haven’t been inspired to work on them. Perhaps I need to remind myself of the reasons I wanted to make these!

Or maybe I’m spinning my wheels ’cause deep down I’m feeling lazy and uninspired! It happens. But I’m a Pollyanna and I know I’ll be back in the groove shortly!


Filed under Art Quilts, Handwork, Quilt Design, Quilting, Thinking About Quilting!, Weekly Special

Black and white

Flipping back and forth between projects…

Last week’s Wacky Quilters worked with black and white fabrics on a colored background. I really thought I would like this graphic background.

KEQ BW May 1

Wrong! Hated it! And I am sooooo lucky. When I fused my pieces to that background, I must have known that I would want to change things, ’cause I only lightly fuse-tacked the pieces. There was only one piece that did not want to release and that actually came off the fusible all right. This also allowed me to rearrange one more time, though I tried very hard to keep the original composition in play.

I liked the idea of green, so I found a piece of my hand dyed fabric that fit the bill and used it.


It’s strange how pieces sometimes go together so quickly and we struggle at other times. As soon as I started placing these pieces on this background, I knew exactly what I wanted to do, including the quilting!

All that remains for me to do on this piece is finish the edge.


We decided on a common size for our projects, so this will be squared up to 16 x 20. I’m going to use my favorite edge finish–cording, but no unusual shaping. Just plain and square.

KEQ BW May 4


KEQ BW May 5

The only things left are label and sleeve and I may get that done later tonight. I love fun and done!

Right now there are chores to be done that just can’t be put off any longer—even though I always try to put sewing first!


Filed under Art Quilts, Color, Designing Quilts, Quilting

Wacky Quilters–fun!

Knot Even Quilters (aka Wacky Quilters) met this week and had fun with an old favorite exercise.  We started out with a nice round of show and tell. Some pieces had been in the recent Sauder Quilt Show and some were latest finishes. We really do have some talented women in this group! And, just in case you’re curious, I seldom show the people holding the quilts because we usually get caught mid-word or with our eyes closed and that is just not a good look!

May KEQ 9 May KEQ 8 May KEQ 7 May KEQ 6 May KEQ 5 May KEQ 4 May KEQ 3 May KEQ 2 May KEQ 1

Aren’t they lovely?

Then we got to work on the day’s project.

Rules: Have a colored background square—ish fabric. Bring fused black/white fabrics, cut in geometric shapes.

What we do: Walk around the table and add pieces to everyone’s background, in whatever formation you like.

May KEQ 10 May KEQ 11


May KEQ 12

Start to finish….

May KEQ 13

It takes us about half an hour for everyone to make it around the table and add enough pieces to the backgrounds. Then we take a break and edit/rearrange/re-work pieces on our own fabric. After that, we may or may not go for another round of  “piecing.”

May KEQ 14 May KEQ 15 May KEQ 16 May KEQ 17 May KEQ 18

This time we stopped at the editing phase. And that’s how we make interesting fabric! And what do you do with it, you ask?

This time we decided to go for a cohesive finished look, possibly for display in an upcoming quilt show. We’re going to use them to make a piece that’s 16 x 20, traditional style of front, batting, backing. Now, we don’t make or follow strict rules, so any type of batting/backing/edge finish is acceptable. Size is the important factor and no mounting on a canvas. Can’t wait to see what we end up with!


Filed under Art Quilts, Color, Designing Quilts, Fabric, Quilting