Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Green is the new blue

At least in my world it is. Blue used to be my go-to color and, while I still love it, green has been appearing regularly in the things I make lately.

I just finished knitting this scarf for my daughter's friend. The pattern is called Baktus and I'm absolutely in love with it. First it uses one skein of yarn, so it's perfect for justifying the purchase of a single, hand-painted skein. Also, this pattern is ingenious in how it uses the yarn. You weigh your skein and, based on the weight, determine when you'll switch from increases to decreases. That means no leftover little bits to nag at you and make you feel like you should come up with something useful to do with 5 3/4 yards of extra yarn. Add to that the pattern is simple enough to be meditative. How much more ideal can a knitting pattern be? I'd be making a second one for myself right this minute if it wasn't for the fact that I'm half a sleeve away from finishing a sweater I promised my eldest would be done before the end of 2009 (note calendar date).
I'm just saying, expect more Baktuses(Bakti?)in my future, maybe even adapting this shape to create a sewn version. Who knows?

A year ago I don't think I would have made this dress in green, but I must be growing up.
I have been thinking about making this dress for way too long. It's not that the pattern is especially complicated, but I guess I just needed the right green fabric. I bought this yardage from Bolt 44, one of my favorite online fabric retailers and the pattern is Simplicity 2846. This is an easy, straightforward pattern and I'm especially fond of the way the sleeves are added to the body. I think it's a standard raglan-like construction, but there's something so logical about it that the process made me smile. The only modification I made was sewing down the darts along the collar. They just seemed to poof out a bit much for me. Being that this is Texas, I made my version in cotton, but I could see this working well in wool should you live in a geographic region where people don't scamper and hide whenever the mercury falls below 50 degrees.
Part of the joy of sewing this dress had to do with a new, green addition to my studio.

After almost 20 years of sewing I have a "real" sewing table. By real I mean not some leftover table that was destined for Goodwill or rejected by one of my kids, but a genuine meant-only-for-sewing table. This table includes a feature to set the sewing machine below the table surface so the entire table functions as an extended machine bed. The insert that matches my machine brand and model is on order so for the next few weeks I'll be using it much like I did my previous table, but my table and I are very happy together.

And ready for more green crafting.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Year End Favorites:: Quilts

One of my favorite things about this time of year is the published lists of favorites from the past year. Whether it's favorite books, music, or people or events, I love reading through these lists and comparing them with my internal rankings of stuff.
Even though it came out a couple weeks ago, I still have this year's New York Times Book Review list of top 100 books by my bedside. I'm always curious to see what they selected as the best books of the year, though, truth be told, I really only pay attention to the fiction 50 because I'm not much of a non-fiction reader. Also, I should add that if one of my favorite books is missing from the list I find myself getting pretty irate at the powers-that-be at the NY Times. I'm not usually satisfied with consulting a single list though. I peruse the NPR books list as well. It's particularly fabulous because it divides the fiction favorites into additional sub-categories like mystery and youth fiction. That allows me more opportunities to either wonder whether I'm in agreement with the choices or, if I haven't read the book, contemplate adding that title to my to-read list.
That's essentially what's so great about the end of one year and the anticipation of another, so many possibilities and opportunities. Realistically, this demarcation we call New Year is pretty arbitrary, but I'm so glad it's there because I enjoy cataloging the previous year into what's thrilled and inspired me as well as planning for the coming year.
This year I've decided that the fun should not be limited to large media outlets. I want in on the favorites list making. I've decided to make several lists pertaining to stuff I'm interested in. I'm starting with quilts and, because I've never done this before, I granted myself a special dispensation and allowed myself to choose ten favorites from more than just 2009. My selections came from my many "faves" on flickr, all 67 pages of them. I've put them together in one online gallery, titled, "Love these Quilts!".
Taking on this task did make me empathize with the mass media "selectors". I had so many amazing quilts in my favorites that I did find my head spinning a bit. The spinning was only exacerbated when I thought about all the quilts on flickr I probably had never or will never see. After some deep breaths though I persevered and assembled my wee little gallery. I hope you enjoy it, but if you don't agree with my choices, try not to get too mad at me.

Also, if you haven't entered the Lark Books quilt contest, it's not too late. The holidays are a perfect time to sneak away from the family for a bit of self-indulgent, but let's face it, sanity-preserving, crafting. The deadline is January 5, 2010. Go ahead and follow the link in the right-hand sidebar to find out everything you need to know.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Slow Going

You know what they say about best laid plans. Especially mine.
Anyway, I had planned to have most of my book projects added to my store, but there must be some big holiday coming up because I've been seeing a lot of a activity in my wee little shop and that's been keeping me busy.
So, rather than a big deluge, I've added a few things everyday.
Yesterday I uploaded images of a some new fabric offerings.

What does this have to do with the projects in my book? Nothing, but I get distracted easily.

I've apparently regained my focus because today's additions do relate to my book.

Both of these quilts are minis made out of hand dyed and patterned stripes.

Really, the biggest difference in patterning the fabrics for these quilts is that I used a small calligraphy brush for one and a wide, house painting brush for the other.

There are a lot of design possibilities though in the humble line. I'm convinced that the simplest shapes offer the most inspiration. Oftentimes the more I try to impress myself and others with complex designs, the more I'm reminded that keeping it simple is really the best way to go. The funny thing about using a simple shape or motif is that it's open to so much manipulation that it can become complex. Maybe those two ideas are actually intertwined to some degree rather than being polar opposites?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Studio Sale

I'm finally done with the largest part of the project I've been working on for the past few months. I'll be posting about that later, but I'll just say that I'm incredibly proud of the work I did for this project and super excited to show it off.
Now that I've got a few minutes, I've stepped back and viewed the state of my studio and it ain't pretty. When I was knee deep in work, I kept saying that, once I was done, I'd straighten things up. Well, I guess I have to stand by my statement.
As part of that, I'm putting together an online studio sale. I'm planning on selling all the quilts, pillows, coasters, etc. that I've made this past year or so for various books and magazines, including most of the projects I made for my book. I"ll be uploading things to my store a little at a time. I originally had grand plans of adding everything in one sitting, but it's too big a project for that. I've already added a few items, many of which I've featured here, but there are a couple you may not have seen in this space.
Like this:

Or this:

They're both mini pillows, with one measuring about 10"x 12" and the other being 12" square.

I'm pretty sure all the other items have been mentioned here before, with the exception of most of the book projects. Since it's going to take me a couple days to add all these items, I'll be back tomorrow with images and information about those.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Giveaway Winner!

We have a winner!

twrightgirl wrote:
this is awesome. would love to try this out.

Please email me at with your home address and I'll see that you get your bundle of shapes.

Thanks to everyone for playing along and I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Hits...

...keep getting better. I have got so many deals for you today, I feel like I'm that furniture salesman in the Gallery Furniture ads (fellow current and former Houstonians get this reference, the rest of you, just smile and nod).
At the beginning of the month I introduced you to my lovely, new sponsor, r0ssie and her amazing supplies for all things itajime. Well, r0ssie has a special offer for you today and I've combined that with a dye tutorial and...Dharma Trading Company, home of more dye supplies than you could shake a turkey leg at, is offering my readers, that's you people, a special freebie. It's all so amazing I don't know where to begin.
How about a little encouragement for those of you who might be on the fence about trying this technique.

I finished this quilt earlier this week and like my Twinkle quilts both large and small, all the shapes are dyed not pieced.

And, lest you think I'm the only one whose piecing tops and making quilts using this dye technique, feast your eyes on this:

This is r0ssie's latest itajime venture. She's not only combining a variety of differently sized shapes, but an innovative shape she designed called the reverse twinkle.

The circle is cut out of the square. It's brilliant and practically makes my head swim with possibilities.

If you're still concerned that this craft might be more than you can handle then let me provide you with all the knowledge you'd need to clamp your own fabric sandwich, mix a dyebath and dye your fabric. I've titled this tutorial Clamping and Dyeing Fabric: A Basic Itajime Primer. If you click on the link in the right hand sidebar, it will take you there.

Are you ready to get started? Do you want to gather your supplies and dye like a crazy person? Good.
The first step is to get some of the essential materials you'll need to craft your own amazing fabric. Where should you go? I'm so glad you asked because I have a definite opinion about this. I have been a customer at Dharma Trading Company for at least 15 years. I buy all my dyes and undyed fabric there. I used to dye pre-sewn white garments and I bought those at Dharma as well. I love the place and I'm giving it my stamp of approval. You don't have to buy large quantities to purchase from Dharma. They sell dyes in 2 ounce containers. You could pick up a few colors and some of the auxiliary chemicals(check the tutorial for a materials list) and you'd be ready to go.
Also, because I want you to try this technique and r0ssie wants you to try this technique and the folks at Dharma want you to try this technique, Dharma Trading Company is offering a free 2 ounce jar of dye to anyone who places an order using this link.

The second step is to get some of r0ssie's wonderful shapes. You can do that by following the link on my sidebar directly to her online store or you can leave a comment here and be entered to win what can only be described as a smorgasbord of shapes including her newest offerings, Reverse Twinkles.
The shapes offered in the giveaway are the same ones r0ssie used to create the quilt top pictured. She calls this design her Kalka Quilt because, "it is half inspired by Kaffe Fassett and his lovely way of scaling blocks up and down and half inspired by Malka Dubrawsky and her twinkles."

I am so blushing.

An entire Kalka bundle is up for the taking. That's three pairs of 2" circles, three pairs of 3.5" reverse twinkles, two pairs of 4" circles, two pairs of 6.5" reverse twinkles, one pair of 6" circles,and one guide for cutting a 9.5" block with a 6" circle in the middle.

This is an unbelievable giveaway. There are no excuses left. Leave a comment, stop over at Dharma Trading, and let the fun begin.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Busier than... ant at a fourth of July picnic. So, I'm just dropping in here for a minute to share a few pictures from the book signing last Sunday.
For those of you who aren't familiar with Book Woman, it's been around Austin for quite a few years. It's also, as far as I know, the only independent feminist bookstore in town. I think it's a terrific store and I was so excited to have my first event there. Even my folks drove in from Houston.

See that bald head there? That's my dad. And do you see what section of the store he's facing toward?

Yep. My mid-seventies dad is staring right at the "women's erotica" section. It made for some interesting questions after the book signing.
I think that despite his bewilderment at exactly what kind of titles constitute women's erotica, he and my mom seemed to enjoy themselves.

I had, for one, had a blast.

Hey, but the celebration's not over. I do have another book event scheduled in early December, but, even as I speak, Erin from House on Hill Road, is showing off a terrific project she made with some of my hand dyes and hosting a book giveaway.Why not head on over there and share in the fun?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

In which I redirect you to other places

Oh, but you're going to be so happy I redirected you because you're going to pretty places with lots of bright colors and opportunities to win stuff. I mentioned last week that there was some fun online stuff happening in conjunction with the publication of Color Your Cloth and today I'm sending you off to three amazing sites run by three incredibly talented women.

The first place, Pink Chalk Studio, is Kathy Mack's wonderful blog. If you've picked up a sewing magazine in the past few years, you've seen Kathy's terrific designs. As we speak her work is on the cover of the Quilting Arts Gifts issue. Along with designing, Kathy runs a great online fabric store where you can find the latest from Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, and many of the new designers that are energizing commercial fabrics.
Kathy has crafted a set of lovely coasters from some of my hand dyed fabric and is offering a free book to one lucky commenter. Head on over there and check that out as the comments close on Wednesday.

Next set your cursor for Blair's wonderful spot on the internet, wise craft. I've long admired Blair's blog and, in all honesty, been a lurker there for longer than I've been a regular commenter. I love the projects she makes, her writing style and just the feel of her space. She too has crafted an inspirational project with some hand dyed fabric and offers her take on Color Your Cloth.

Don't head home yet because if you do you'll be so disappointed you didn't stop by Jennifer's blog. Not only does Jennifer write a wonderful blog by she also runs her own online store, JCasa Handmade , where she sells her patterns and creations. I'm a huge fan of Jennifer's and was lucky enough to get to meet her in the non-virtual sense last February.
Her post about the book not only features a giveaway of three items, but a free tutorial for making an adorable set of soft baby blocks. I'm at that stage of my life where none of my friends are having babies anymore, but no one is yet at that grandparent stage, so I am racking my brain trying to think who I can make these for. I'm so in love with them I might just make them for myself.

Finally, if you're interested in doing some real life traveling and you're local, I'm having a book signing at Book Woman this Sunday, November 15, at 3:30. I'll talk a bit about the book, show off some of the projects and offer a giveaway prize to some attendee. Best of all, I'm baking cookies!
If you live in Austin or nearby, I'd love to see you there.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Outtakes and Other Stuff


Before I get to the other stuff, I thought I'd post a few of the photographs that didn't make it into the book. I had the opportunity to shoot most of the pictures in the book. A very talented photographer, Gregory Case, shot the images of the actual projects, but I was lucky enough to photograph all the step-by-step and "romance" shots.

I obviously shot lots of pictures of fabric as well as images meant to help the reader find inspiration for their own pattern and color choices.

And just plain process shots.

My youngest was my hand model. Doesn't she have cute fingers?

Other Stuff:

The other stuff is really only one thing. Lark Books is sponsoring a quilting contest and they've asked me to help promote it as well as to function as one of the judges. All the information you need to participate in the contest can be found if you click on the link in the side bar. The contest sounds like a lot of fun and they're giving away some fabulous prizes. Just between you and me, I'm also giving a little something extra to the person who wins in the "Best Use of Hand Dyed/Altered Fabrics" category.
So, take a minute and check that out.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Color Your Cloth Today

Today's the day, the official publication date for my book, Color Your Cloth: A Quilter's Guide to Dyeing and Patterning Fabric. Yay!
I've taken some inside views of the book as well as the front and back cover and listed the copies I have for sale in my shop.

I'm planning a giveaway for later this week and I've got a few online helpers to giveaway books as well as present some amazing projects crafted from hand dyed fabric. There might even be a free pattern in there to get your creative juices flowing.
If you're local, I have two book events scheduled in the next few weeks and I'll give more details closer to the dates.
In the meantime, I've got a few inside peaks of the book to share and a big thank you to send out. I can't tell you how much your support and interest have meant to me. Before I discovered the world of blogs and flickr I often felt like I was creating in a vacuum. I couldn't really stop making things because that was so much a part of who I am, but other than the occasional show I didn't really have any one to share my creative ventures with. And that's a two sided activity. I didn't have a venue to display my work and I wasn't fed and excited by seeing other people's work because, like the opportunities to show my work, seeing other people's creations only happened once in a while.
All that's changed and I'm very glad. I hope to inspire, but I am, without a doubt, inspired by all the creativity I see now on a daily basis. So, thanks very much for that.

Friday, October 30, 2009

New Sponsor!

I'm happy to announce that I have a new sponsor and not only does she have a wonderful online store, but she sells something that can be hard to find and that I need and use daily. That's a pretty tall order, but it's true. My newest sponsor is r0ssie and along with selling her wonderful, handcrafted items, she's also just started carrying plexiglass shapes and clamps for itajime. Itajime is a Japanese dye technique that's a subset of a bigger group of techniques called shibori. If you've ever tie-dyed anything then you have done shibori. Itajime is a very specific method that uses clamped shapes to create patterning. Like in this quilt:

All the circles in the quilt are dyed onto the fabric, not appliqued. The process is amazingly simple. All you need to do is sandwich a bit of fabric in between two same sized shapes. You keep the shapes in place by using "C" clamps. When you immerse the fabric in dye the fabric covered by the shape remains unchanged while the surrounding fabric is dyed. Pretty cool, huh?
When I've mentioned this technique before, folks have contacted me asking where to get the clamped shapes. My best advice has been to contact a local plastics fabricator and see if they'd be willing to make shapes out of scrap plexiglass. Although I've not had a problem finding someone to do this for me locally, others have not been so lucky. That's all in the past because now we have r0ssie. Yay!
I wanted to introduce my newest sponsor in some significant way, so I decided to craft something special using her shapes and clamps to pattern my fabric. I thought a fair amount about what I wanted to make. I didn't really want to make another Twinkle mini quilt. That didn't seem unique enough. I didn't want to pattern and dye fabric for a pillow. I frankly didn't know what I wanted to make. And then fate and the weather stepped in. Fate in the form of this article in the latest issue of Stitch Magazine.

For those of you who haven't gotten a copy of the fall issue of Stitch, there's a wonderful feature on a San Francisco based designer and dyer who makes a line of clothing called Ocelot. I'd read an article about this women a few years ago in Fiberarts magazine and loved the simple, graphic patterning she dyes using itajime. Seeing this article in Stitch reminded me of how much I love her work.
Then it got a little colder. Not bone chilling or anything. This is Texas after all, but fall was definitely in the air. So I started thinking about scarves. Put the two influences together and you get this:

I clamped two lengths of black fabric with a pair of 4" circles and discharged(bleached) the background. I removed the clamps and over dyed the fabric green. The beauty of working with black fabric is that I didn't have to keep the shapes clamped in the over dye bath because the black circles, being darker than the green dye, were not altered by the dye bath.

I sewed the lengths together and backed it with a soft, homespun green plaid.
I'm in love with my new scarf and even more in love with my new plexiglass shapes. I've already ordered two more pairs of 4" circles.

Having purchased plexiglass shapes from a local vendor, I can tell you that the prices for these are really good. Even better is the fact that r0ssie's is one stop shop for itajime supplies because you can order your "C" clamps at the same time you buy your shapes. The selection of shapes includes two sizes of circles, two sizes of squares, a 3" triangle as well as bundles of squares, circles and mixed shapes.

This is perfect way for you to try this technique without spending hours searching for the supplies.
Go ahead. Order some shapes and clamps form r0ssie and then head over to Dharma Trading Company to buy a starter Procion MX dye kit complete with instructions. They even carry black cotton fabric suitable for discharge. By this time next week you'll have you very own Ocelot-inspired scarf.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

They Grow

I got my contributor's issues of the latest Stitch magazine the other day along with the return of the project I made for the issue. While shooting pictures of the project this morning I though about how interesting it was that today I was going to post about making a baby book.

On Saturday, my first baby won't officially be one anymore. She's turning 18. I've thought about this off and on over the past weeks, but I haven't really delved into what it all means. I tend not to deal with emotional stuff until it's right in front of me.
For instance a few weeks ago we were at synagogue for the end of Yom Kippur. For those that don't know, this is a seriously solemn holiday and most of it is spent at services. We were finally coming to the end and I was feeling that relief I always feel when I know that there's a full year's worth of days before I have to deal with Yom Kippur again. As we turned to leave the sanctuary, my girl was standing behind me and, when I saw her, I started to cry. Not, little tears, but all out weeping. Partly it was because I realized that this was it. Next year she'll be away at college and she probably won't be able to come home for the holiday and the other part was a sense of stupidity on my part. How could I have gone through Jewish New Year the previous week and now all of Yom Kippur and not thought about this until just this moment?
I hugged her and she seemed to know that I wasn't just happy to see her. She knew that this was a bittersweet moment and probably one of many to come in the next year.

When my girls were little I used to get a kick out of making books for them. They weren't fancy, usually just collaged pages with or without words. The books never lasted long, often becoming torn or stained, but that didn't matter. The fun was in the making. Actually, that's usually the case.

From the moment I thought about submitting a design I knew I wanted to make a baby book. The idea came to me almost fully formed and I knew it was meant to be.

I'm so glad I had the opportunity to share this idea and I really hope it will inspire others to make books for their kids. It's like chocolate and peanut butter, two great things together. You love crafting for your children and they love, love, love books.
You can't go wrong.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Me and My Stack

...of books.

Those are most, but not all, of the books I purchased so that I could sell signed copies from my shop. The official publication date isn't until next Tuesday, so I'm going to hold off on selling any until then, but I know that the books have been shipping out from Amazon and, I assume, Barnes and Noble already. I decided to wait because otherwise the publication date will feel like a regular Tuesday instead of a really exciting, amazing, I've never-had-a-book-published-before kind of day. I do have a few things planned for next week and I even have another giveaway planned for this week as well as a new sponsor announcement, so the fun doesn't need to end.

Which brings me to last week's giveaway. I'm happy to announce that Ann was the lucky, randomly chosen winner of Spike Gillespie's Quilting Art book.

Ann said,

It looks like a fabulous book. Congrats on getting your quilts in it.

So, Ann, if you'll email your address to me at, I'll send your book to you faster than you can ask, "Where's my book?"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Gratuitous Self Promotion Week

I'll bet you didn't realize we were celebrating self-promotion this week? Sure. It begins the day after National Bosses Day.
Well, not really, but I'm going to engage in a wee bit of self-promotion this week anyway. Before you turn the page or click your mouse, there's stuff in it for you, so, stay with me.
About a year ago a friend and author, Spike Gillespie, contacted me about a new book she was writing. Spike is a well-known local author and had written several books including one about quilting. She was now working on a second quilt-oriented book focused on art quilts and their makers. I mentioned in my last post that I used to make art quilts and that I'd had some success exhibiting them. Spike wanted to interview me and shoot pictures of some of those quilts for her book.

Her book, Quilting Art, was recently released and it is definitely worth a look. It's packed with wonderful quilted art from 20 contemporary quilters as well as studio scenes and interviews. Spike even included a sidebar with each interview featuring some bit of advice from the artist. The book is well laid out and and organized. There's even a photo of each of the artists.

I have 3 of my quilts included in my section, all of which hang in my house. Remember what I said about running out of wall space in the previous post?

Actually that last quilt was made as a bed quilt from my middle daughter, but it now hangs in our stairwell. I got tired of picking it up off the floor.

I hope you're inspired to take a look at the book through the link. It really is quite lovely. And, if you'd like to try to at win a copy, feel free to leave a comment and I'll award one to a randomly chosen person. Thankfully, I have two, one to keep and one to share.
Good luck!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

An Opportunity

When I first started making quilts I made them as a departure from the other art I was making. My background was in drawing and printmaking and there were several things that ended my infatuation with those media. The first was accessibility to the kind of space and equipment you need to make prints, especially lithographs, my specialty. The other was the price of framing and shipping large scale works to shows and galleries. I didn't have a wood shop and couldn't make my own frames, so I had to pay to have it done.
The third and probably most compelling reason why I changed media was that it just felt empty. I would make stacks of drawings or prints and, naturally, not all were great, but even the few that were OK really posed a dilemma. I didn't feel like I knew what function these "things" were supposed to serve. I could give some away, maybe sell a few, but that left plenty for me and I only had so many walls. I just didn't feel like they had a purpose beyond their making and that was unsatisfying.
I began making quilts. That might not seem like a natural transition, but I should note that I already had a longstanding interest in sewing and a lot of my drawings explored ideas in terms of grids or sections. I loved gluing bits of other papers on to my drawings, so the leap to making quilts wasn't that momentous. I made one "traditional" quilt mostly to learn the process, but soon after got swept up in learning about dyeing and patterning fabric and my focus was definitely art quilts. And I loved making them. But, after a while that functionality bug reared its ugly head again.
At the time I was passionate about African-American Improvisational Quilts. This was before the Gee's Bend Quilts were discovered. Rather I learned about these amazing quilts through books like Who'd A Thought It by Eli Leon, Signs and Symbols by Maude Wahlman, and a monograph about Anna Williams( the book, Anna Williams: Her Quilts and their Influence is unfortunately out of print). There were a lot of commonalities among these quilts, but one aspect really struck me. The women who made the quilts often made them to give away to strangers. I thought a lot about how I could do that in my own life and with my own quilts, but couldn't quite imagine pulling up to a stranger on the side of the road and handing him/her a quilt that I'd spent months working on. I liked the idea of it and I wished I was the kind of person who could divorce myself from my personal investment and just do the right thing. I realized that part of the problem was the labor intensive nature of the quilts I made. If I could simplify the making, then I probably wouldn't be so attached to the final product. But I didn't know how to do that without also feeling that the final product didn't meet my aesthetic standards.
Anyway, the short version of this(is it already too late for the short version) was that I relegated the issue to somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind and went about my regular life.
Until Jade Sims contacted me. She's a fellow Austinite and crafter and she runs an amazing website called Craft Hope. The focus of her website is to match charities with willing crafters to make much needed items for adults and children.
She asked me to donate a design for a book she was writing also called Craft Hope. Moreover, she requested that my design be geared toward adults as she already had several items for kids. I never really considered designing anything other than a quilt. I still wanted to make a quilt that was simple, but beautiful, and that you could happily give to a stranger. The difference this time was that I'd had a fair amount of design experience and I knew how to simplify my ideas.

I worked with big pieces of fabric, included some hand dyed cotton because that allowed me to put just a bit more of myself in the piece, and assembled a big, lap-sized quilt with an attached strap for portability. My idea was that this could be given to someone who is homeless and it would be easy for them to bundle up and carry.

I limited my palette to make coordinating the fabric easier and chose mostly yellows to make the quilt feel more cheery. I also used flannel as my backing for added warmth.

I didn't quilt or tie the quilt as I used a bonded batting and the edges of the batting are machine stitched to the quilt. Also, I wanted to make this a quick project so that folks wouldn't get caught up, like I used to, in feeling that they'd invested a lot of time in the quilt and were attached to it. If you'd like to tie or quilt your version I think that would be lovely.
Are you interested in making this project? Great. Go to Jade's website,, and check out her post about the intended recipients of the quilts and how to get involved.

Yesterday, my youngest daughter asked me if I thought anyone really led an exciting life that impacted others every day. She asked because it seemed to her like most of the lives she's familiar with were pretty steeped in routine and she can't think of anyone who flits from one adventure to the next making a big impact wherever they go. I replied that maybe excitement and meaningfulness is not about the next moment's adventure, but the accumulation of small acts that touch other people. As an example I told her that each meal I make her is not that special on its own, but when she thinks back to all the meals I've made her and the commitment to taking care of her that implies, I hoped she had a sense of how much I love her.
The same is true for these quilts. Each one is wonderful, but maybe not monumental. The collective weight of all the quilts and the generosity of their makers could be miraculous.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Color My World Daily

That's the name of a flickr group I belong to. Except I never get to add any images to the group. It's not because the group is moderated by some overbearing ogre that just doesn't want to see the likes of me and my images in the group pool. Rather it's because the featured color changes everyday and I seem to be totally out of sync with that day's hue. All that changed today. Guess what today's color is?

Yep, it's orange.
And, through some miracle of happenstance I live in just the kind of neighborhood where folks not only own an orange couch, but find it acceptable to deposit that couch on the curb once they're done with it. Add to that I'm the kind of neighbor who's ready and willing to screech to a halt and pull her car over just to catch said couch on film(or rather as a whole bunch of pixelated dots).

Austin is truly my kind of town!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Plan

I say that with trepidation because there's nothing like announcing a plan to derail it completely. I'm building this up a bit much. It's not really a plan, more of an intention. Wait...isn't that the path to somewhere?
Anyway, you may have noticed that I haven't been as present in this space lately as I have in the past. Well, I have a good reason for that and I could provide a note, with documentation, in triplicate, except I can't really discuss it yet. What I can say is that I'll have lots of goodies to show later.
In the meantime, I thought I'd give myself permission to post just pretty pictures, or, oy... just a written thought or two without any images.
That, by the way, is The Plan. Not especially exciting, but a preview of what I'm planning for the next couple weeks. After that I've got some posts to coincide with the release of my book on November 3.
Of course, if something huge happens, I'll interrupt The Plan. I'm nothing if not flexible.
Since I lack anything of a momentous nature to report I'll just share images of some recently dyed and patterned fabric.