Friday, December 7, 2007

Friday Photos

I got a new camera lens for my birthday last Sunday and have been playing around with it quite a bit. I took my camera with me everywhere today with the idea that at the day's end I'd post some of the shots. I didn't really venture anywhere particularly exciting, but these photos are from both inside and outside my house as well as around town. I also thought I'd post them in chronological order. That's me. Always having to organize things to fit in with my personal sense of logic.

New knitting. It's not for me though it is out of Inspired Cable Knits. In all honesty, I'm not a big fan of the patterns in this book, but the friend I'm making the sweater for chose the pattern. I do love the Debbie Bliss yarn she picked out, so all's well.
She doesn't have something in her eye. She's doing an imitation of the face I make when I look through my view finder.

Rachel and her new socks. Sadly, not handmade, but, in this house where 4 out of the 5 people wear the same size socks having new ones that are definitively your own is something to cheer about.American Beauty Berry. A top ten native Texas plant. It grows well in the shade, has beautifully arched branches, and produces these amazingly colorful berries which attract and feed local birds. What more could you ask for?

The answer to the question, "Why do you want a zoom lens?"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

One Hundred

So, this is my one hundredth post and I feel like I should be doing something monumental with it. I could list my hundred favorite sites to visit on the internet( and there are at least that many), or a hundred places I'd like to visit before I die, or maybe my top hundred favorite songs. But I don't have time to do any of that. I've been super busy lately with my shop and upcoming shows. So I'm going to devote my one hundredth post to celebrating all the incredible images and people I've encountered through my involvement in blogging and flickr and etsy.
This has been an unbelievably inspiring year. Before I discovered this online community I often felt that my eyes were hungry to see new work. It just seemed like new books and magazines couldn't come out quickly enough for me. All that has changed. I have this incredible access to more images than there are hours in the day to view them. Even better, though, is the opportunity to put my work out there and get feedback on it.
When I was in Art School one of my professors declared to the class that we should enjoy the attention we were getting as students because once we graduated no one would care about our work. That may have been true in the past, but I don't think creative people have to accept that reality anymore. Some may lament the changes the internet has wrought, but I am so grateful to have beauty and inspiration and another set of interested eyes just a few keystrokes away.
And, because I've never posted without images...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What up?

Well I tried to answer that question last night, but blogger had other ideas. They were happy to let me add words to my blog, but no visuals. And, I can't imagine a post without pictures.
OK. Here's what up.

I finished the custom order I was working on and happily am working on another custom order.

That necessitates a fair amount of dye work, so I've also been working on that. Unfortunately, I'm not one to have my camera ever at the ready, so I don't have images of the fabric in progress, but I'll probably add the fabric and anything finished from it to my flickr page. I tend to be much better about updating that than I am this blog. It's the words, I think. I don't have to write much to update my flickr page, not even a description. Its not that I don't like writing, its just that there's always someone talking to me and writing takes the kind of concentration that demands quiet.
Anyway there's more.
I've updated my shop with this and more. I'd post pictures of those as well, but once again blogger is giving me a hard time with pictures. So, I guess that will be all for now(whether I like it or not). I'm a visual person and without the images, I'm more than a bit lost. Hopefully, I'll be able to upload pictures soon, because I have some news about this book .
Until then, have a terrific Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Pillow Talk Too

I have been in serious pillow production lately. Part of it was spurred on by the new fabrics I've made and my desire to not just sell them, but get to play with them too.

And part of it has been fueled by a custom order I've been working on. This customer really liked the idea of mixing commercial fabrics with my hand dyes, but she had certain designers in mind and a specific palette. When I went to quilt festival, I bought some of the fabrics for her pillows and supplemented those with a few internet purchases. All the fabrics were new to me. I'd never bought or used them before. This turned out to be a great thing. By having a shopping list created by someone else, I was forced to look, think, cut and sew with fabrics that I might not have chosen on my own. I also discovered designers that I wasn't already familiar with...and found that I liked their work.

I still discharged some of the fabrics. I still blended in my own hand dyed and batik material. But it all seemed to feel a wee bit newer and fresher. And it spurred new ideas and possibilities.

And there's more to come...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

So much to say, so little time...

I do have a lot to say. Though, according to my kids, most of it is just a repetition of something I've already said but forgotten about. I don't agree, but that's neither here nor there. I do have a lot of things I'd like to write about, but not always as much time to write as I'd like.
For instance, about six months ago I was commissioned to recreate a kite. Yes, a kite. I'd never made one before and actually could probably count on my fingers the number of times I've flown a kite, but there I was remaking a much loved but worn out kite. The original kite belonged to my client's father. He had purchased it in the fifties in Vietnam. She had vivid memories of flying the kite with her dad when she was a kid. Unfortunately the kite had seen better days. The woman wanted to have the original copied and give it to her dad. The entire thing was supposed to be a surprise. And apparently it was a very successful and emotional one at that. A few days ago the woman sent me these pictures of it soaring through the air.

I've also been doing a lot of knitting lately, but, like the kite haven't had an opportunity to post about it. I'm almost completely done with the Hourglass Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts and I'm making one of Fiona Ellis' heavily cabled sweaters from her book, Inspired Cable Knits. The thermometer dipped below 60 here, so that means it's sweater time.

And... I've got a slew of new items going into my shop tomorrow. More coasters, baby items and lots more fabric.

And... I bought two new textile stamps at the quilt festival and have been making lots of new fabric with them. I ordered another new stamp from this etsy store .
And...I'm finally back at work on this .
And... I actually had more, but I forgot. That's all for now.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


I came back from the quilt festival Sunday afternoon, but I think the most amazing quilts I saw that weekend weren't on display at the convention center. Well, at least not this year. A few years back, there was an exhibit of Indian rallis or quilts included at quilt festival. I remember seeing them and just being bowled over by them. The color palette on these quilts was pretty limited, but they were intense and saturated. The patterning was graphic and the surfaces were heavily stitched. There was an energy to these quilts that was raw and very powerful.
Ralli quilts didn't make an encore appearance at this year's festival, but I did find a terrific book about them and their makers.

There were so many inspiring quilts in this book that i really had a hard time deciding which I would photograph. The book features quilts that are patchwork, applique and embroidered.

And they're all big because they're all strictly functional.

Check out this two page spread!

This one is an example of an applique ralli. I couldn't get over how much it reminded me of Matisse's cut paper works.

I could have included so many more quilts because they're all terrific. If you're interested in learning more I found this website where you can view some of the quilts and even purchase a ralli for you very own self. Also, the book is available at Amazon. Happy reading!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Two Words

Two Words:: Quilt Festival.

When the dawn breaks tomorrow I'll still be in the pool. But right after that I'll be heading to Houston for the International Quilt Festival. This has got to be my favorite day of the year. This year, my almost giddy joy will be doubled as I'll be spending the weekend at my folks' house and will get to attend on Friday and Sunday. Usually, I drive up the first day of the festival and drive back the same day. This year, a wonderful confluence of events has allowed me to go for the weekend. Can you tell I'm excited?

Two Words:: New Coasters

The second photo is actually the backs of these coasters, but I liked the way it looked so I included it.

Two Words :: See Ya!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


It all began with that shirt. I dyed this tiny garment more than ten years ago for my as yet unborn littlest one. And she wore it home from the hospital. I really wanted her first clothes to be something I had a hand in making. For a while after that I dyed a fair amount of children's clothes, both for my own kids and to sell.

That was actually the beginning of my little business. I used many of the same techniques and certainly the same dyes to color and pattern these clothes as I did fabric for my quilts.

At the time making these clothes seemed so right. I had three little children and I wanted them to wear clothes that I had made special for them. It seemed to make sense to make a little more for fun and a little profit.
I don't have such little children anymore. In fact, my eldest, my Halloween baby, turned 16 today. But I've been thinking about these clothes lately and baby items in general.

I've decide to try my hand at these again. This time pairing them up with hand dyed flannel blankets that are bound with my batiked fabric.

I'm going to be adding these four items( I've made two sets) and some others to my shop tomorrow.

I have plans to make these baby items in colors appropriate to both genders.

These have been dyed into one color and are awaiting a second dip. Maybe in a blue?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fabric foursome

Abi suggested that I start offering four packs of quarter yard pieces of fabric in my store. Her reasoning was that people might want more than one color way, but not want to buy four separate half yard pieces. I was pretty impressed with her business sense and this grouping is my first follow through on her idea. I'm planning on making more color ways and more patterns, but, for now, this is what I have. I've also got some plans for new items. More about that later. Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tuesday walk

Every afternoon around 3:30, the girls and I get in the car for the trek to their various swim team practices. Through a confluence of events, the two older ones belong to one swim team and the youngest swims somewhere else. Luckily, one pool is on the way to the second, but neither is exactly around the corner. Most days, bringing the various swimmers home is not my responsibility. Usually, my husband retrieves the little one and the older ones get a ride from a fellow swimmer who lives nearby. This is the case most days, except Tuesday. And, most Tuesdays I drop off my charges and head home to get an hour's worth of studio time before going back to the pool. This Tuesday, I decided to do something different with time I had free while Abi swam.
Not too far from where Abi's team practices is a park. I used to take Abi there when she was little, too little to swim, and the older girls were at their practice. Most of my previous experience with the park involved the playscape, but I knew that there was a nature trail nearby. This Tuesday was a good day to explore.

The two year old in me has always loved the way bodies look in shadow. When you see yourself this way you're always elongated and exaggerated. It always makes me smile and think,"Hey, look how tall I really am."

I made a new friend.I got to enjoy a luxurious hour or so wandering the paths behind the swings and messing around with my camera. It was a lovely way to "wait" for Abi.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mola book bag...finally

A while back (and by that I mean months ago), a friend commissioned me to make a book bag for her using a mola she had purchased in Honduras. She wanted the mola to function as the flap to the bag.
Sometimes, when I'm asked to make something and then told that there's no deadline, I fail to make that item in a timely way. And sometimes, that's a good thing.

I didn't so much as ruminate over the design of this bag as put it out of my mind. But, like I said, that was a good thing. When I returned to thinking about this book bag, an event which was prompted by my friend wanting to know when it would be done, I realized I didn't want to make it in the same way that I'd made others. I opted to piece the flap, back, bottom and front together and then quilt them as one long piece. I quilted the side pieces and sewed them to the other, already quilted, parts.

I finished the seams on the inside with binding and then bound the flap, sides and front. All that means I didn't need to create a lining for the interior of this bag. It's quilted inside and out.

I really like this simpler construction. And there's something about the quilting line that reminds me of Japanese fireman's coats. Apparently, before the advent of fire retardant clothing, these garments were intensely quilted and soaked in water to protect the firefighter.
OK, it's possible only I see the connection, but, nevertheless, my friend picked up her bag this afternoon and seemed pretty pleased.

Friday, October 19, 2007

9 to 5

Here's my "work day" in pictures (and some words):

8:30 am: I came home from swim team to find this moth afloat in an orange dye bath. Despite my sympathy for the moth, I had to capture this beautiful image.

9:30 am: I spent about an hour or so waxing fabric. This was the first bit of stamping I did. I love how crisply this stamped image came out. I knew it was going to be a good day.

10:30 am: My fabric peaks out from the dye bath.

11:00 am: Washed, dried and folded, the fabric from last night's dye session is ready for use. In that pile are two pieces of flannel that I ordered from Dharma Trading and dyed with the intent of making baby blankets for a friend's new arrival. I spent the next couple of hours working on these blankets. My plan was to dye the flannel and then bind it with some batiked strips.
1:00 pm: (No Picture) I met some friends at a local yarn shop, Hill Country Weavers. Believe it or not, I didn't buy anything. I was there helping my friend and her daughter pick a pattern and yarn for a sweater I'm knitting for the daughter.3:30 pm: Back home and ready to finish the blankets.
5:00 pm : Posting here with a big smile on my face. I've had a lovely day and am looking forward to a great weekend. I hope yours is wonderful too.