Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Finished! Shibori Study #2: Modular quilt

I finished my second shibori quilt, made from the fabrics that I dyed at last fall's workshop, plus a separately purchased shibori fabric for the bindings:

Technically, I suppose I made four quilts, each about 14-1/2" square, but they're meant to hang together as a single piece of art.  Each piece is quilted diagonally, and the viewer can create different effects by changing their arrangement.  I particularly like how the different components interact if they're placed edge-to-edge without any space between them:

Each component of the quilt has four hanging pockets on the back, so that the configuration can be changed easily if hung on a wall.  It's easier and more fun, though, just to play with the quilt on my design board.

If you made it this far down to the WIP news, you are a real trooper!  It will be several weeks before I'm ready to start, but I am beginning to gather supplies for some serious indigo dyeing over the next few months.  Here are the 21 yards of Kona PFD that recently arrived in the mail:

Last night, I began to prep a quarter yard of Kona PFD leftover from last fall's shibori workshop:

A few days ago, I was happy to find a random ball of #20 DMC thread tucked away in a drawer.  I bought it years ago for some purpose that I've completely forgotten, but it seems ideal for nui shibori (stitched shibori).  I'm planning on trying white shadow (shirokage) shibori with this piece.  Once I pull the threads, I will wrap the fabric around a piece of rope or PVC with most of the fabric tucked on the inside, so that only the grid pattern will take up much dye.  That's the theory, at any rate--we shall see!

For more WIP Wednesday action, I'm linking up to Freshly Pieced and the Needle and Thread Network.   Enjoy!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Friday, March 28, 2014

The first blossoms

I looked out the window on this cloudy, grey, drizzling morning and saw that the first blossoms have opened on our Shiro plum tree:

It really is spring!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What have I gotten myself into?

As I mentioned last week, my guild has issued a UFO challenge, and I signed up to complete the following three quilts, in no particular order:

1) my katazome "stone wall" quilt, started at a quilting retreat in back in fall 2012, shown here on my design wall from a slightly cockeyed angle:

2) the "Echino spring" wall quilt that's been boxed away for about a year now:

3) and finally, the flannel quilt that I worked on in early February, until I got sidetracked by little projects for my Etsy shop, followed by yet another cold:

I thought that seemed like a realistic set of goals, until I checked my photos of finished quilts since 2010 and realized that I only make 2-3 quilts a year!  I've already finished a little wall quilt this year, and I'm currently working on yet another wall quilt, but I still imagined finishing three other quilts?  What in the world was I thinking??!!

In addition, once I filled out my list of UFOs for the guild challenge, I immediately thought of all the other quilts I want to finish as well, including several quilts that I haven't even started yet.  Those projects include the following:

1) a second katazome improv quilt pieced in Dec. 2013;

2) a queen-sized batik quilt pieced two years ago (sans border);

3) a Michael Miller challenge quilt--not started, but I will make this quilt someday, even though the deadline is long past, because I have a really great idea for it!

4) a quilt mixing Kaffe Fassett stripes and solid shot cottons: not started, but something else I really want to make, because in my mind's eye it seems really promising;

and 5) an improv-pieced quilt centered on Japanese fabrics purchased in Aug. 2012, during the tri-guild meet-up in Seattle.

In addition, I could have listed a couple of much older projects: an improv-pieced quilt with beautiful autumnal colors that I started hand-quilting in 2003, and a small colorwash quilt that I pieced (again sans border) sometime in the late 1990s.  

This list does not include putting the final touches on last summer's studio makeover, plans for serious explorations of indigo dyeing this summer, and more sewing for my Etsy shop.   

In short, I'll be lucky if I complete just two of the three UFOs on my guild list.  Oh, well.  Anyway, here's a glimpse at what's been in progress this week:

As you can see, I'm still playing with my indigo shibori fabrics.  I want the overall idea for the quilt to be a surprise, so I'm saving the full view of the quilt for the reveal when it's finished.  Fingers crossed for the end result within the next couple of weeks or so.

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday on Freshly Pieced and at the Needle and Thread Network.  Cheers!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Finished! Shibori study #1

Last week's quilt is done: my first finish for 2014!

I might end up redoing part of the binding on the left-hand side, since some of the hand-stitched ending up peeking through to the front.  I think some of those stitches are visible in this close-up:

Yes, I know those stitches aren't that easy to see, but I'm picky.

Here are a few other close-ups, which show off the hand-quilting:

It was so satisfying to make this quilt--I love its graphic simplicity, and the speed with which it came together.  At the fall workshop, we used a lightweight organic cotton for most of our dyeing, and although I prefer working with heavier, more durable fabric, the lightweight cotton made the hand-quilting a breeze.  I still have a fair amount of leftover shibori, and I've already cut into it for another quilt. 

In other quilting news, my guild is running a UFO challenge this year.  I signed up with intentions to finish three quilts in progress: the Echino wall quilt that I started a year ago, the katazome improv quilt that I worked on at a retreat about a year-and-a-half ago, and the fun flannel quilt that I stalled on recently in favor of the shibori quilt.  But I don't think I'll get to any of these until I do the next shibori quilt.  Once I joined the challenge, I also immediately thought of another three quilts that could use finishing--two of which I haven't even started yet!  But hey, I have until October, right?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

On the design wall: Shibori quilt

Remember the shibori indigo dyeing class that I took in the fall?  I've had more time for sewing lately, but I'm still in that mood of starting new projects rather than finishing the growing pile of partially pieced quilt tops.  Last Friday, those hand-dyed shibori cottons were calling to me, and I decided to make a quick wall quilt, something that I would actually have the wherewithal to finish immediately.  Here are the scenes from the work in progress over the weekend:

On the design wall:

The pieced top:

The remaining fabrics after cutting:

The top was small, so I decided on hand-quilting:

Hand-quilting in progress:

Since taking these photographs, I've finished the hand-quilting and cut off the extra backing fabric and batting around the edges.  All I have to do now is add the binding, and I will have my first finished quilt of 2014!


Friday, February 21, 2014

I'm still here, really...

The last few months have been a bit tough, thanks to a crazy time at the day job that had me working seven days a week for most of four months, plus a cold in December and the flu in January.  Not surprisingly, I didn't have much time for sewing!  But I'm still here, and things are a bit calmer at the day job now, so I've been sewing again.  For the past few days, I've been tending to my long-neglected Etsy shop by making a passel of passport covers:

I actually did manage some quilt-piecing over the past few months, although I've had a bad habit lately of starting quilt tops but not finishing anything.  I'm not sure why, but lately I've been in the mood for novelty, rather than sticking to projects and completing them.  Sooner or later I'll get back to following things up from start to finish, but for now I will just go with the flow.

Here's a partially pieced top that I worked on in December:

I had a beautiful set of vintage katazome scraps that were calling to me, and I couldn't resist working with them for a few nights.  I've finished the lower right corner since taking the above photograph, but I have yet to add the borders to this particular quilt top.

I started another quilt a few weeks ago: The Cloth Shop, on Granville Island, had a beautiful array of hand-dyed flannels on sale, and I couldn't resist buying some to reward myself for all my hard work lately.  Ah, shopping therapy!  No pictures yet, but I've pieced about half the blocks that I need.

Here's another set of fabrics on my mind--shot cottons by Kaffe Fassett:

I have a plan for these, honest!  I don't know when I'll get to them, though--I really want to finish piecing the flannel quilt first.