Wednesday, April 30, 2014

MQG Michael Miller Challenge!

D is for...?

Don't peek!  I'm working on my quilt for the MQG Michael Miller Challenge, but I want to surprise my quilt guild, so the overall design is top secret (which, of course, is why I'm blabbing about the quilt all over the web).  I've actually made a lot of progress and pieced fifteen out of the fifty-four letters that I need, but one letter is all that you get for the moment.

I also made three more kimono silk pouches and listed them in my Etsy shop:

Finally, I tried out the rubber stamps that my friend V. carved for me as a birthday gift.  I'm ashamed to say how long I took to get around to trying them out, but the results are lovely, especially on black silk:

I have to experiment with heat-setting the pigments, but if they prove reasonably color-fast, it would be nice to make some silk scarves.

Finally, the forecast calls for warm weather today, so I've accelerated my schedule, and I'm hoping to try setting up an indigo dye bath this afternoon (although I also have to do my taxes, which are due today).  Wish me luck (on both counts)! 

Linking up to WIP Wednesday on Freshly Pieced, and the Needle and Thread Network.  Cheers!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Oh, the procrastination!

When I showed off my shibori quilts at Monday's VMQG meeting, I proudly announced that I had worked on exactly zero of my UFOs for the guild's UFO challenge.  That's right: nada, none, zilch, zero!  I'm also not likely to make any progress next month either, because the guild handed out fabrics for the MQG Michael Miller Pinwheel Petals challenge.  Participants received fat eighths of these fun and lively fabrics:

(Yes, I already prewashed my fabrics, even though I keep hearing that it's unnecessary.  But I'm of a certain generation!)
How can I relegate myself to UFOs when new projects are calling?  The challenge allows the addition of solids, as well as any other Michael Miller prints.  With that in mind, I ran over to Spool of Thread and bought the following:

Yes, I prewashed these as well.  Can't break that habit!
I already have a definite plan in mind, and with any luck, I will report some progress for next week's WIP Wednesday.

In addition, I've also been avoiding UFOs by making kimono silk pouches for my Etsy shop.  I had a special order for five small pouches with extra length, and I made two medium-sized pouches for my regular listings:

I want to make three additional pouches this weekend, before kicking work on the challenge quilt into high gear.

Thanks goodness it's spring.  Happy sewing, everyone!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


It will still be at least a couple of weeks before I'm ready to try setting up an indigo dye bath, but I'm already busy gathering supplies and even prepping some fabric.  Remember the grid that I started stitching last week on a fat quarter of Kona PFD?  Here's what it looked like after I finished and then pulled up all the threads:

I can now see why some fiber artists like to stop at this stage.  These cinched-up fabrics have such an interesting and attractive sculptural quality--there's something very organic about them.  It will be a bit of a pity to throw this one in the dye bath.

I stitched up another fat quarter for nui shibori as well:

Here it is with the threads pulled up and knotted, both front and back:

I also started gathering supplies.  I went to a local place that's one step up from a dollar store, and I picked up a few plastic tubs, spatulas and measuring spoons for making up the dye stock, tongs for retrieving fabric from the dye bath, and chopsticks and clothespins for itajime resists.  I also managed recently to find various acrylic quilting templates and rulers at half price--I will be using these for itajime as well.  Here's my haul:

I did even better today at Dressew, a local Vancouver institution that always has all manner of great sewing supplies at ridiculously low prices.  I found all sorts of quilting template packages there this afternoon, most of them for just 99 cents each, so now I have a wonderful assortment of shapes to use for itajime (clamp resist) shibori dyeing.  But I still have lots of hunting and shopping to do, especially for a large stainless steel stockpot that I hope won't be incredibly expensive.  If you have one that you're looking to get rid of, let me know, particularly if you're in the greater Vancouver area!  Maybe I'll be able to compensate you with indigo-dyed cotton...?

Last night I went to the always-inspiring VMQG meeting.  I picked up some great tips on quilt bindings from three expert guild members, who did presentations on some finer points that they've developed over the years.  You can find some of those tips over at What Comes Next?  I thought I already knew how to bind quilts, but even so, I learned some great new techniques, especially for an easy faux piping that I can't wait to try out.

Linking up to Freshly Pieced and the Needle and Thread Network.  Happy quilting!

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