The Dogwood Quilt!!!

One of my favorite quilt makers is Melinda Bula. Last year Melinda was so generous and recorded a series of classes on how to make her quilts. Her dogwood design is a beauty and one of the simpler ones*. It was fun and a challenge for me because I did not buy a fabric pack from her. The most difficult part was finding so many different whites, but I’m pretty pleased with the result.

The next issue was the machine quilting. Melinda does it in a painterly sort of way, layering many threads on top of each other. I had endless problems trying to do this and finally made an appointment with my machine dealer for a private help session. It turned out that something was bent in the bobbin holder!!! $^%$*%$%^ Makes me wonder how long I have been struggling to quilt with faulty parts. Then she worked with me to improve my technique. One of the biggest takeaways was the thread. I like to use variegated thread and I like to use cotton, neither of which she uses unless her clients demand it. I am now using prewound bobbins {goodbye tension issues} and Glide polyester thread and I have had no problems since.

I am so pleased to display this quilt in the great room! Next on my very long tops-to-be-quilted-list is the zinnia that I made in her class many, many years ago.

Happy Spring Everyone!

*Oh – in case you’d like to try your hand at making one of her designs, go to the website listed above for her videos and find her patterns and fabrics on her Etsy store.

End of the Year Wrap-up

I don’t usually do this, a year end post, but for some reason I wanted to wrap up some of my latest projects. Unlike many people, I did not get loads and loads of things done this year. I spent a lot of time fretting and eating and drinking and read lots of books. But I’ve had a creative spurt this Fall.

This was one of my favorite projects – candy cane towels! I’d seen the pattern on Pinterest and then I discovered it was on Ravelry. I made an appointment with my local weaving store, Lofty Fiber, to have a refresher class on warping the loom. Dawne is a great teacher and it was so much fun to be with weavers and talk the talk. And I am very pleased with the results! The hand of the towels is very nice and absorbent. I may have to weave some more.

And look at all the beautiful fibers on the wall. It is so nice to have a B&M weaving store. Colors never look the same on a monitor and there is nothing like fondling fibers ! I have lots of ideas for next year.

Another weaving project that I completed was hand towels from Handwoven magazine. I started them in the Spring and it was a long warp. After washing, the fabric has a wonderful, sort of spongy texture. They will make good handtowels!

In November and December I had the great pleasure of teaching some workshops at Tryon Arts & Crafts Center in North Carolina. They are celebrating their 60th year of offering wonderful, traditional crafts classes to the area. I wish I’d found them sooner as they are a perfect fit for the type of classes that I like to offer. One workshop was how to piece hexagon or Grandmother’s Flower garden squares. The second was a lot of fun – making potholders on the wonderful Harrisville Design looms. I really enjoy making them – it’s all about color after all, and I was pleased that they did too.

When I asked if they would keep their potholders or give them away, they all replied that they were keeping them!

And I am about ready to sew binding on the dogwood quilt, that I started in May! It is a Melinda Bula pattern, and she kindly did extensive videos about how to make it.

I had all sorts of problems with the quilting – thread breaking, erratic tension, skips… In desperation, I went to Walker Quilt Company, a HandiQuilter dealer in North Carolina for some lessons. Although some of it was operator error, Andrea discovered that the bobbin was defective! I have been wondering ever since, how long it has been that way. Quilting has been wonderful ever since that visit.

So that’s that! I am sure we are all delighted to see an end to 2020.

Have a Happy New Year everyone!

Shibori for Baby!

I am not a parent or a grandparent, but who doesn’t love tiny baby clothing? So – when a local crafts school asked for items to sell at their Holiday Craft Fair, I decided to play with shibori dyeing.

I haven’t dyed clothing and I discovered that the results are quite different using knit fabric, rather than a tightly woven quilting fabric. There was a lot more bleeding than I am used to and I had to tie the dental floss or cord very tightly!


Ice dyeing is unpredictable, but such a great fun. As the ice melted, this one looked like grape jelly.

In my dyeing bucket is a big container of washers, which make the most wonderful circles. As you can see on the left, I have to use a deep container to keep the fabric submerged.

Binding marbles with rubber bands is another way to get circles. On the left hand side you can see that I used a red dye but after rinsing and washing, the color faded to a coral. Red is a tough color to achieve.

I didn’t have any dye plan but when I was looking at all the clothing, I realized that I had made an outfit! The snap tee was dyed using marbles and the onesie is ice dyed. I am not quite sure how I got that ferocious gold; yellow dyes are usually so finicky.

What parent or grandparent wouldn’t want one of a kind hand dyed clothing for their little one? At least that is what I am hoping!

Wedding Ring Problems

I always have multiple projects going in all the fiber crafts that I like to do. In the quilting arena, I do machine sewing or quilting during the day. At night, I sew on my latest hexie project (trying to finish the Halloween themed quilt) or I do English Paper Piecing. During the last few months, I must admit to buying a lot of paper pieces for a variety of EPP designs. And none of them have been easy patterns to do…

I’ve been gluing and sewing double wedding ring arcs for weeks and fiddling with layouts. Here is my latest. I have been fiddling with how to keep the colored arcs (pink, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple) separated and to have them form patterns. I will probably be doing a 9 x 9 layout and decided that using a white/floral ring in the middle might help with spacing the 6 colors. See where I’m headed?

The big issue that I have been mulling over is how to piece the very nasty middles together! Do you see how thin the points are? Many of the pieces in the bag are bent because of this. I did try one and it was impossible to glue to the point and it was so bulky! I thought that doing EPP would be easier, but now I wonder if foundation piecing might have been a better choice…

I have Googled like crazy and asked the young women at Paper Pieces, where I bought the papers, but no one has been much help. I have now decided to machine appliqué the rings to the background; only to encounter another decision –

In the top photo, I sewed a straight stitch about as close as I could manage on the arc. Can you see how the tiny edge is going to do nothing but catch and crease? The bottom photo shows a blanket stitch, and although that will take much more time to do, it will encase the edge nicely. I do intend to use this quilt so I want it to be sturdy.

And yet another decision; here is the back of the square. What do I do with that? And is using another tiny print white fabric the best background or should I audition some bright colors? I have spent a lot of time on Pinterest looking at what other quilters have chosen.

This quilt is still in a state of flux. If you have any suggestions or comments, I would appreciate the help!

Weaving ’till the Bitter End!

If you’re a weaver, you probably know that this isn’t an ideal end to a weaving project! I have been avoiding finishing up my looper rug project because I knew I was running out of warp. Silly, right? Like the warp fairy would come in the middle of the night and add 12″…. In all the years that I have been using the loopers, I never remember to add enough “take up” for the warp. (That means that the loopers are fat and take up a lot of room and thus warp.) The result is that I have two 3′ x 5′ rugs and a square-ish one. I am hoping the square one will fit in front of the bathtub in the smallest bathroom where there is really not space for a regular sized rug.

These loopers are ancient. Here is the box that was shipped to me decades ago ( circa 1988). Notice all the moving stickers and marker notes on it and …

…it is now almost empty….

As you can see, these are not the pretty loopers that Harrisville Designs sells for their potholder looms, but uneven, unattractive cuts from tube socks. They were mostly cotton, so I dyed them. These rugs wear like iron and the knots I make to weave them feel very good on your feet when you come out of the shower.

I am not sure that tube socks are still made and in any case, I have woven enough of them! The big box is gone to make room for some other fiber-y stuff. These are the last looper rugs…

 

A Little of This….A Little of That!

My concentration is still iffy but I have managed to get a few things done and a lot started!

One fun, little project I have been doing is making pillowcases. Knitters love making socks, weavers love making hand towels and quilters love making pillowcases. We have always used bolster pillows on our bed and when we were first married, I embroidered our initials on them. When I got over stitching our initials, I bought unusual cases. But it was the wonderful quiltmaker, Jane Sassaman who really inspired me. Scroll to the bottom of this blog to see the delightful cases she made for gifts! Isn’t it much better to make your own? The pattern I used is called The Burrito Method and here is the burrito part – looks impossible, doesn’t it ?

Interestingly enough, this has been a bit tricky for me. Although I have lots of fabric, I tend to buy fat quarters and the base of the case requires 3/4 yard. I’ve been digging in the fabrics I have bought as possible backgrounds. This floral set is in the spare room.

Here are the two for our bed – notice that I used a he fabric and a she fabric. I know I have lots of bigger fabric pieces in Christmas and Halloween bins and I’m looking forward to choosing those patterns.

This one is for the kids’ spare bedroom. You can see that I wasn’t paying attention to the direction of the fabric but I doubt a little visitor will notice…To find out about this interesting technique, follow this link.

Another project that I have been meaning to try for years is ice dyeing. The fabrics I have seen have such a random, and yes, watery feel to them. Turns out it’s quite simple! here’s a yard of cotton during the melt….

…and after being washed and pressed! I’m not sure what I may do with this but I am quite sure that it will be cut up for smaller projects.

And the start of hand towels, a project in the January/February 2020 issue of Handwoven Magazine. For you weavers, it’s a 5/2 mercerized cotton. I have always used this shiny thread for decorative weaving, but the designer, Andrea Williams, says they make dreamy towels. In 5 yards or so, I will let you know!

Oooo…. and there might be another little start… Melinda Bula is very kindly doing a quilt-a-long using her dogwood pattern and I just may be participating! You might remember that many years ago, I made her zinnia quilt.

What little projects are you up to?

What’s Up?

When I am feeling stressed, I have trouble concentrating. Normally I am full of ideas for projects that I want to try, but not in times like these. I need something soothing, dull, repetitive. Something I can work on, using my ear buds, listening to music that I can hum to.

When I lived in Japan, my mother became ill and a two week Home Leave turned into two months. Peter went back to work in Tokyo, and I stayed in Mom’s apartment (with my sister (ugh)). Luckily I had brought hand stitching with me; I was working on a quilt sampler for a class that I planned to teach. Every day I would go to the hospital for “my scheduled time” with Mom (my sister’s rules) and bring my sewing. I’d spread out all the pretty fabrics on her bedside table and she would twirl them around and pick out combinations for me to sew. I will never know why I cut out so many hexies before I left Tokyo, but what was going to be one square of nine hexies turned out to be the whole border of my quilt. I always think of her when I hang this one.

At the moment, I feel lethargic and frazzled and defiantly not creative! I am continuing to work on the EPP projects that I showed you in the previous post. One of the whirligigs is done and I have started another. You can see that I am auditioning a background fabric. It has been surprisingly difficult. I am planning to “quilt-as-you-go” on each square, which means that I will need lattice fabrics in between the squares. I like this hash tag fabric, but I’ll have to see if I have enough.

I have started some weaving projects. Like everyone else, I am cleaning closets and re-organizing and I came across my big bag of sock loopers. I have been carrying them from house to house for years and have decided to make a bunch more rugs and then get rid of them! I think I have found a place to donate the loom to, so this may be my last project on my big Macomber.

Dyeing anything always perks me up, so I plan to schedule a dyeing day soon.

I’ve also been “creating” a sourdough starter, which takes a bit of commitment to do. It seemed ready so I made waffles yesterday. Oh yum! This week I need to having a bread making day, though not on the same day as dyeing!

What have you all been up to?

 

I’m Crazy…about EPP!*

In January I started cleaning my office and studio and weeded through the accumulation of supplies (fabric, more fabric, WIP’s, etc….) and I still am not quite as organized as I would like to be. I told myself that I wasn’t going to start any new projects until I finished cleaning, but then I did work on a few {small} English Paper Piecing Projects.

I bought this pattern from PaperPieces – I love heart patterns and this one was irresistible. I made three versions of Chrysanthemum Hearts .The first one was pink for Valentine’s Day…

…and the other two were made using my hand dyed cottons. I’m not sure if they will be quilts since they don’t really relate, but I sure enjoyed making them!

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Then I had to play with another pattern from PaperPieces, a Double Wedding Ring. I have always wanted to make one of these quilts, but they are tricky. My plan is to make some of the rings using  red/yellow/orange and the other rings using blue/green/purple hand dyed fabrics. This is just the start of the 10″ size.

And there’s more…. This quilt pattern called Wheel of Fortune or Whirligigs has been on my must make list for years. With the curves and small border triangles, it is quite the nasty pattern. I have collected templates and foundation pieces from many sources and finally decided that EPP was the way to go! This pattern is for a 16″ ring.

And here is the last one, I think! The Brimfield Awakening quilt ladies have been all over social media for awhile and I have been noticing their patterns. I started collecting Liberty of London fabrics when we lived in Tokyo and quilts using them always catch my eye. I liked the patterns but was able to resist them until I saw Brimfield Meadows! It is now on my design wall and on the must make list!

So – I’m crazy for a variety of reasons, but I have plenty to do. What about you – do you have a must make list as well ??? What is on yours?

{BTW – the links are for your convenience. I don’t make any money from them!}

 

 

*Sorry about this – I’ve done it again! I said that I was leaving this blog and starting another. Turns out that as wonderful as GoDaddy is at hosting websites and e-mails, I did not like their blogging platform. They don’t have statistics like WordPress nor do they make it easy for folks to comment. Not that a lot of you do, but I never even knew if someone liked a post.

So here I am for the foreseeable future!

 

Goodbye & Hello!

Hello Loyal Followers! {955 of you???}

I am writing this to let you know that I will no longer be writing blog posts on A Daily Dose of Fiber. Although I love the name and it’s been fun, my blog will now be hosted on my website. I pay GoDaddy for my website and email names and it seems silly to pay WordPress as well.

This site will be up and available until next Spring, when my contract with WordPress expires and then some lucky person can grab this great name. And do let me say that WordPress is great! I’ve never had the issues that many other bloggers on other hosting services have had.

Hope you will continue to follow me on:

Twistedstars.com

Thanks so very much!

Deb Moyes

FYI – it seems that many people are having trouble signing up to receive notices of my blog posts on Twistedstars. I am still learning about the new site and will try to improve it. Scroll down the web page to the blog. There is one post there – press on continue reading. When you get to that page, the right hand side has all the details that you will need to follow me. It does say SUBSCRIBE and not follow. I thank you all for your persistence and I’m so glad that you want to continue to hear form me. ;-D

A Rug Hooking Show!

I am a member of ATHA – which stands for Association of Traditional Hooking Artists! Quite a mouthful and funny to many, I know. In case you don’t, I’m writing about hooking as in Rug Hooking. Every two years ATHA has a biennial show, and recently it was held in Denver, Colorado. This was the perfect chance to head back there (we lived in Colorado for many years) to see relatives and friends and to drive, drive, drive.

Rug hooking shows are few and far between. I have no idea how many hookers there are, but not many in terms of a craft like quilting.

The most impressive entry was this behemoth! The sizes were not listed on the tags, but it was at least 5′ x 8′. Feet!  It was designed and hooked by Maynard Tischler. The piece was beautifully done and there are so many <winks> to rug hooking. I’d love to know what he does with it – is it used on the floor or hung on the wall?

This rug was amazing and full of fun details! Alice in Wonderland was designed by Margaret Master and hooked by Lynda Stout. It too was quite large.

Here is a detail so that you can see all that is happening in this great pattern! Just about every character that I could remember from the book was included.

Another rug in the category of fun childrens’ themes was Lizards and Ladders by Gail Dufrense of Goat Hill Designs. She is known for her textured hooking, amazing color and unusual designs.

I was quite taken by this little piece. Anything that can be pulled through the backing fabric (burlap, linen,cotton) can be used to achieve wonderful texture. I am not very good at that. In Three Flowers, designed by Bea Brock and hooked by Helen Mar Parkin, you can see how each flower is hooked differently. I will be saving this photo to inspire me.

This sweet little guy, Gimli, really caught my eye! His warm brown color is so striking against the dark blue background – he really pops! No wonder he’s so beautifully hooked – he’s designed and hooked by Sally Kallin, who owns Pine Island Primitives .

Vintage Blooms was designed and hooked by Theresa Rapstine. Doesn’t it have the look of an antique runner? The colors have a lot to do with that, but the other reason is that the wool strips look to be hand ripped.

Here is a close up so that you can see what I mean… So many wonderful colors and types of wool are included and I bet those wide strips feel so good on bare feet. I’d have this rug beside my bed. I rarely use a wide cut of fabric, but this rug and several others have me thinking about it.

While attending the show, I met a longtime blog buddy, Laura, of High On Hooking fame. We forgot to take pictures of us, but do check out her blog. She hooks a lot more than I do and uses some interesting materials.

It was a very nice show and thanks to all the ATHA members who made it possible.