This week's inspiration comes from Pat Ferguson and I'll let her tell the story of her Giraffe:
"I had sandwiched the gradient and was going to tackle free motion quilting. It was in my stack for a very long time. I kept putting it off.
Then I purchased an acrylic painting of the giraffe. One day when the two unfinished projects bumped into each other in the basket I got an idea. I cut the giraffe out and laid it on the fabric. Voila! A new project was born. I don’t know the artist. I bought it in a shop that sells art from Africa. I now adore it on my wall."
She used a retired gradient called Seaworthy which shows the value of all of us who have rich stashes of fabric!
For sharing, Pat received a 20% coupon for the shop that's good for 3 months! If you have made anything with my hand dyed fabric I hope you will consider sharing it in the Customer Gallery. The only rule is that projects have to be complete. It doesn't have to be made totally from hand dyed fabric, just include a recognizable amount.
Yesterday I got 4 more cat blocks cut out and I'll get them sewn together today and get the last 4 started. This weekend is supposed to be sewing weekend with my quilt club. I usually work on veterans quilts when I am there so I might pull out one of my kits and work on it this weekend. I miss my quilting peeps.
I also did a lot of ironing yesterday to get a bunch of tea towels ironed and photographed. I've been thinking about what I could do to raise money for my local food pantry. I recently had an opportunity to buy a lot of very high quality tea towels and the idea was born. I'm going to dye all of them and sell them locally with all of the proceeds going to WHEAT (Western Hanover Emergency Action Team). I feel like their resources are going to be pretty stressed the next several months and probably the rest of the year. Before I share these with you I have to tell you that, for the moment, I have NO PLANS TO SELL THESE ON LINE. The logistics of accepting payment and shipping and having to pay taxes and fees on the sales is more trouble than I want to deal with at the moment. I may change my mind later. We'll see.
But here's the first batch. I'm doing some with screen printing and some with shibori techniques. I have lots more colors and designs planned but I'm happy with this start.
I'll see how the interested in these goes and if they sell and then I'll decide what to do next. They are a LOT of fun to make!
In other news, the purple crochet granny square is done! The granny square blankets are soooo much fun to do and I am sooooo glad to be done with the Caron Simply Soft yarn.
I'm very glad that I saved some of the white yarn so I could add a border. I actually ran out of white and had to splice in a short piece of another white yarn to finish the last 10 stitches.
This little bit of purple is all that's left of that yarn.
Next up is this Lion Brand Ice Cream yarn. The color is called Lemon Meringue which makes no sense. The stitch is the blanket stitch that I did on an earlier blanket. It's pretty mindless and I like that. I'm not sure I'm going to like the color patterning but I do like working with this yarn.
Yesterday was dyeing day but there was still plenty of time to finish up the cats that I started this weekend. I only have 8 more to make but I might make a few extra so that when I lay out the quilt I can replace any that don't make me happy. My favorite in this group is the on on the lower right.
Here are all 12 that I've made so far. These are so much fun! I've done all the "paperwork" that I needed to do this week so today is pretty much a day reserved for exercise and sewing.
The other thing that I work on between crochet session is stitching on the shibori scrap postcards. I have 16 bases of scraps sewn together and I'm adding little bits of hand stitching before fusing them to postcard interfacing and finishing them. It turns out that these are a lot of fun too! I'm making them in sets of 4 and I've already started stitching on the next set. It's just another fun thing to do in the evenings.
Before April, I hated going to the grocery store. Chris did 95% of the shopping and he went to the store every day because it's right next to his workout place. I would go about once every 2 weeks to Wegmans or Kroger to get my allergy foods. Occasionally he would even do that for me. Watching me in a store must be hilarious because I never know where anything is and I wander back and forth just waiting for the one thing I need to jump out at me.
Times have changed and now it's a weekly debate on who gets the excitement of a trip to the store. Yesterday was a bonus day because we both got to go. Chris had to go to Costco and I went to Wegmans (a store that is still stupidly allowing people to bring in reusable shopping bags). I needed to get Mom's groceries, my special allergy foods and baking supplies.
I needed baking supplies because I'm on another (probably futile) quest for new gluten-free, nut-free and vegan dessert options. These little unappetizing white disks are the latest experiment. You won't be able to guess so I'll just tell you that these are sugar cookies and they turned out exactly like the recipe intended. Gluten-free vegan baked goods generally don't brown which doesn't help with making them tolerable. These sugar cookies are made with confectioners sugar and, honestly, they taste like sugar wafers. They were supposed to be frosted but the though of that made my teeth hurt. Chris says that peanut butter helps. Regardless, this recipe in not a keeper.
About 80% of the recipes that I try are fails. GFV food just isn't really all that good. I had a lemon meringue pie phase last year that yielded nothing but yellow slime and some pretty expensive garbage. Chris said yesterday that I had 4 good recipes (that he likes) and that I needed stick with them (because he wants some chocolate chip cookies apparently). But I won't. I'll keep experimenting. I already have another sugar cookie recipe (made with almond flour) ready to try. I've got a lot of time to try out lots of new recipes.
I can only spend so much time in the kitchen so I decided to get two more veterans quilts quilted this weekend. Peg made both of these and dropped them off last week at my request. I wanted something to quilt while I waited for the backing and batting for my vintage flower quilt.
Peg is a great scrap quilter and she makes lots of charity quilts. Some are for our veterans and some for our local women's shelter.
I had this pretty blue for the backing and both were quilted in this stars and ribbons pantograph.
I do love a quick project. Meanwhile the backing fabrics arrived!
Years ago there were lots of options for wide backs in 30's reproduction prints but that is no longer the case. Once again I'm swimming against the fashion tide. But eventually I found these at Backside Fabrics. What a great little shop! You can order free swatches right from the website. I ordered swatches of these plus one more repro in green and white. I was certain that the green/white one was going to work and I was completely wrong. The swatches saved me. These got pre-soaked this weekend and I'm happy to report that neither fabric bleeds.
I also found this fabric! I fell in love with this digital print and just had to have it. I showed it to my sister-in-law and she wants it for the back of the cat quilt. It also doesn't bleed and the colors are very vibrant.
Today is dyeing day but hopefully I can get that done with time left for some more cat making. I'll try some more experimental baking later in the week.
Things are greening up beautifully here in Virginia and that got me in a green mood in the dye studio this week.
Fabric of the Week
What I want to do more than anything right now it to take some long hikes in our local state parks. But for now we are walking close to home and I'm admiring the local trees as they bloom and leaf out. To celebrate the greening of the trees I've selected the Forest Shades Pack as the fabric of the week. Through Sunday, the Forest Shades Pack is 20% off!
New Gradient - Oasis
Spring has also inspired a new gradient! Oasis is a bit of a mashup from two previous gradients, Abundance and Color Wheel Cool.
Mary Fyock used one of the previous version of this gradient as the centerpiece of her Butterfly Garden.
South Pacific is Back!
Do you need paler Spring colors? South Pacific might be the perfect choice for your next project and it's now back in stock!
Now that my mask making marathon is over I can get around to doing some of the things that normal people are doing during the quarantine...cleaning. I don't have closets that need cleaning because I keep up with that pretty well but there are things that need periodic cleaning and now is a great time to get them all done. Plus there are some other chores around outside that I can get started on. My goal is one thing each day.
Saturday it was to vacuum and clean the laundry closet. The laundry closet is basically a double wide closet off the upstairs hall and it just big enough for the washer, dryer and laundry baskets in between. About once a year the lint and dust behind the machines and on the shelf finally gets on my nerves. So that was Saturday's task and it only took about an hour. I keep the light bulbs in there too and discovered that we have lightbulbs for about 3 lifetimes. After quarantine is over I'll donate a bunch to the local food pantry. They take all kinds of household items for their clients.
Yesterday's goal was to start tackling some of the weeds outside but first I got sidetracked by deep cleaning the stove and stove vent. That is such a dirty job but it's done for another few months. Then I sprayed weeds for about an hour. There are several more session of weed control in my future.
Soon I hope to grout the last mosaic section (once I can have the windows open for several days) and then the biggest annual chore of cleaning the basement will commence.
It does feel good to get some of these things done. If all goes well I'll have a summer of absolutely no chores to do.
It wasn't all cleaning this weekend! I also got 4 more cats done and have another 4 cut out and ready to sew. These are so much fun. I'm almost sorry that I only need 20 of them. I call these crazy, mad, tiger and techno.
Speaking of cleaning, there's going to be quite a mess to clean up when these are done. The only way I can work on my symmetry projects is to have ALL of the fabric spread out in the floor. The ones over by the design wall are the ones that I've used already. I may use some of them again but I'm trying to get a very wide variety of fabrics in the mix.
Many of the fabrics look like this! These are shapes used in previous projects but this is still a perfectly good piece of fabric with lots of repeats remaining to use. Folding these fabrics can be a real challenge.
I work on them here. You can see the white cardboard that I use to stage the pieces. I usually start by finding the eyes and then pull fabrics from the floor that I think might work with the eyes and then audition the eye pieces with the fabrics to find the head, jaw and ear pieces. Sometimes I find the adjacent pieces really quickly and sometimes it takes a half hour to find the piece that will work. I love it, it's very zen. I'm sure that my blood pressure drops when I work on these.
In the evenings there's time for some crochet and I've gotten the white border added to the granny square. I left some white for a final edge so I only have 1 skein of the purple before all of this yarn is finally gone! These granny square blankets go really quickly.
This week I'm mostly working on the cats but,weather permitting, I may grout the mosaic for a quick April finish.
Today's inspiration is from Rachel Derstine. You may remember her previous tapestries representing Winter and Autumn. This is the third in her Apple Tree series commission. The background is a custom dyed gradient but the magic is all Rachel!
Rachel was kind enough to share several detail photos with us so we can see her quilting, applique and couching.
You can read more about this quilt and follow more of Rachel's work on her blog and you can follow her on Facebook.
For sharing, Rachel received a 20% coupon for the shop that's good for 3 months! If you have made anything with my hand dyed fabric I hope you will consider sharing it in the Customer Gallery. The only rule is that projects have to be complete. It doesn't have to be made totally from hand dyed fabric, just include a recognizable amount.
I think I talked recently about a quilter's estate that was given to my quilt club recently. She had a roll of batting that I've cut up for veterans quilts and the stash is being shared throughout the group and several people are making veterans quilts with them. She also had a partial quilt on her design wall. Mom took those blocks and made two veterans quilts with them. This is one of them. We are fortunate that Pamela loved Kaffe Fassett prints! Another quilter is quilting the second one but I pieced a leftover piece of wide backing and pieced some batting that's made this one of the most economical quilts ever!
I quilted it with straight lines to complement the architectural print of the tan fabric. The turquoise backing looks nice with the Kaffe fabrics.
I've also been playing around with dyeing some tea towels. These are done by screen printing Jacquard Color Magnet on the fabric before dyeing. The screen areas pick up a lot of excess dye.
I even did some with shibori. I sent several of these to my friend, Carole, and she's using them as prizes for an event to collect placemats for Meals on Wheels. You can check it out on her blog. Doing these got me thinking that I might be able to do something as a fundraiser in my area for our local food pantry so I spent part of yesterday getting some tea towels screen printed, tied or clamped and read for dyeing. I'll have them to share early next week.
The granny square crochet is going very quickly especially while I"m listening to a book that I like. This is all of the partial purple skein. Next I'll add the white.
This weekend I need to do a lot more weed control but I want to spend most of my sewing time working on the cat quilt. Of course, we don't have plans to go anywhere......
Yesterday we finally got some rain to clear out the pollen. The pollen this year has been insane. I think everything bloomed all at once. We took advantage of the beautiful day and got the kayaks out on the neighborhood lake. This goose was keeping guard for the nest. If you look at the mound on the right you can see the female on the nest. He looks pretty calm here but I did get a little close for hos comfort earlier and he let me know.
We have our first Bluebird nest of the season too!
One thing I've been working on for a few weeks is dyeing a stash of quilt backs for veterans quilts. Of course, our quilt club isn't meeting but I expect that the next time we get together (probably June) that I'll have a ton of quilts to quilt. But I did have 2 tops of my own and one of Mom's and I got those done this week working on them in between masks.
I have a small stash of plaid fabrics and many of them are charm squares. I decided that I needed to use some of them and came up with this incredibly simple idea for a veterans quilt. The whole thing is based on a 4" grid. The finished size is SUPPOSED to be 48 x 60 but this one is 4" short and I didn't notice it until the top was done. It's OK, it's still a nice lap size and I fixed it with the next one.
Once I made the first one and saw how easy, but striking, it was I just had to make a second one and this one is the right size. I think it would be fun to carry this on through more borders for a larger quilt. It's a great way to use plaids. Well, at least I think it's a great way to use plaids.
The "solid" fabrics for both quilts are pieces left over fabric from other quilts that I've made. The tan was a backing fabric.
The wavy crosshatch was the way to go on these quilts. I got each one quilted in about an hour. and since I had pre-cut the binding, the finishing was fast too. It feels so good to accomplish something other than masks!
The backing is a hand dyed gray-brown. I don't know how long it will be before the VA is taking quilts again but these 2 will be ready.
I"m going to quilt one for Mom and maybe 2 more as I'm waiting on an ordered batt for the vintage flower quilt that I'm going to do next.
Well before I get to the crochet update I want to share that I took more masks around yesterday to donate. One stop was the pharmacy to give them some masks to give to their most vulnerable customers. It was very cool to see them wearing the masks and they let me take a photo to share! I dropped more at the grocery store too and they were very appreciative.
Back at home I'm getting the sewing room back in order to work on the cats again starting tomorrow after I do some dyeing.
In the evenings I've been sitting down for a few minutes to relax and do some crochet.
I finished the ripple crochet blanket - finally! It's really soft and pretty but I didn't enjoy making it because I hated the yarn so much.
The colors worked out just fine though. It could be for a young boy or girl.
This one is definitely more of a toddler size blanket. It measures about 32 x 53. I tried my best to use up all of the yarn but that just didn't work out.
I have this much yarn left over and I'm determined to use it.
I've decided that the best way to use it is with a big granny square. I'll start with the partial purple skein, then do white and finish with the full purple skein. That way it can finish to whatever size it becomes. So this is my next project.
I'm also going to quickly quilt two of my veterans quilts and get them bound while I wait for some batting that I ordered for the vintage flower quilt.
It's good to be back on my own projects for a while.
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In Bloglovin you need to search "Colorways By Vicki Welsh" to find the blog.
I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.