Friday, December 21, 2012


I finished the second of the Alphabet Quilts yesterday and even got them both washed and ready to go.

We are having a get together with his family tomorrow, Saturday, and I will give them away.

For Hailey

For Jeffery

[the end of the story on the problem with the label is after I washed it there were stains on the label - not blood stains - it looks more like one of the fabrics bled through from the front, and I'm thinking it was because of the hydrogen peroxide I used trying to get the blood out...geez.  I haven't noticed any fabric-bleeding anywhere else.]

Happy Winter Solstice.

I'm always happy to see this day means the days will start getting longer and before you know it, spring will be here.

Saturday, December 08, 2012


Everyone makes it seem so homey having a cat hanging around in the studio.

But they don't mention the problems...

Bentley recently got into a scrap with, I assume, another neighborhood cat and came home with some serious wounds, which entailed an expensive trip to the vet, daily dosings of antibiotics and applications of topical ointments, most of which he didn't mind.  His back toe was the worst, and it doesn't seem to be getting better.

So, I recently came out to the studio to find that Bentley had spent the night on the quilt I had folded and set aside to work on later.  A little cat hair I can deal with, but not blood spots.

It looks like his toe was bleeding while he was encamped on the quilt and he left several little stains, one of them on the light yellow fabric of the label.  Arggh!


I was able to clean up the spots on the cheap background fabric, but, of course, it wouldn't come completely off the label.

After cleaning 

What to do, what to do.  

I could remake the label, take the back partially apart and re-piece the new label into it...that would be at least a half a day's work. The quilt was already pinned.   Man, oh man, oh man.

I set it aside for a few days, talked to my Mom about it (Mom's are great problem solvers and listeners), she suggested Oxyclean, she'd heard it was good at removing blood.  Cat blood?  I'd have to go to the store to get some.

A few more days later, Darrell came by as I was sitting there staring at it, thinking about how much work it would be to replace the label.  He said, "Cover it up."  Duh!  Of course!

And then it hit me...the fabric with the animals I used on the front...I could applique an animal over the spot.

Less than a half hour later, the problem was solved.

When I get it all quilted and completed, I'll wash it, maybe even with Oxyclean.  

You and I will be the only ones that know.

Thursday, December 06, 2012


It's that time of the year again, time to make a Christmas card.

In the past, it's always a problem trying to get a good print on heavy card stock, for several reasons. So, this year I'm making a print separate from the Christmas card, and then I'll attach it to the card in someway that it will be easy to remove.  That way, if people want to keep just the print, maybe even frame it, they can.

Its going to be a bird print, in honor of seeing my first Cardinal while we were in Kentucky this year.  Beautiful birds, and it should be easy to make a distinctive print.

Drawing is done (that was the hardest part) and transferred to lino-block.

Carving of the drawing is done.

Time to print.

I printed a few of the drawing block, cleaned it up a bit, then transferred it to another lino-block and carved out the 'color' block.

This will be the 'color' block.

Then I got out the inks and stuff.  I'm using Akua Intaglio inks.  I decided on the paper and cut out more than enough, I'm using a nice Japanese paper, Kozo.  I need to make enough prints so that after I winnow out the bad ones I still have enough for my cards.

After I got both blocks cut out and the registration more or less good, I started printing the first run, the color block.

I cheated a little by putting the red and the green on the same block, using a little shield over the green part while rolling on the red.  Then carefully putting on the green - it worked great, one less block to deal with (and all the registration issues that go with that).

A stack of about 66 prints,

End of day one, I've got all the first pass done, yesterday.

Got an early start today, but I had to stop after about 20 prints and go get some pain-reliever before I could continue.  My shoulders and neck are really sore from yesterday, and it was giving me a headache.  But, when the Aleve kicked in, I was feeling great.

I started out using the baren, but it was tearing up the back of the paper and when using a sheet to protect the back I had to press too hard (and my neck did not like that).  So I switched to a wooden spoon.  

This is many as I got done before I had to go get some pain-reliever.
A couple of hours later - I had the 66 prints all done. And I got them done in plenty of time to still be able to take a walk before lunch (in the rain).

Here they are - all done!

Monday, November 26, 2012


I'm making two Alphabet quilts for grandchildren for Christmas.  I spent a good amount of time with them this week and got them both to the point where I can do the quilting on them.  I'm using fabrics that I already had on hand.  You can read more about the Boy's quilt on my previous post.  I ended up having to purchase more fabric (which is against my rules), some for the back of the boy's (I didn't have any big enough pieces and didn't want to piece together a hodgepodge of so-so fabrics).  I also didn't have anything that would work for the girl's sashing, so ended up at West Seattle Fabrics where I found a light greenish/grey that turned out really nice (2 yards at $10.99/yd). [I'm only mentioning the prices for historical reasons]

Boys top 
Boy's back, I bought this fabric at Pacific Fabrics.  I found it on the flat fold table at the discounted price of $6.99/yd.  I bought it all, 2-5/8 yards and used almost all of it.  The rest is pieced from leftovers from the top.  It's a bit busy, but the colors match great!

Boy's label for the back
Pinning the Boy's quilt
Trimming off the excess batting after pinning.

 I have this great stack of "Art Nouveau" fabrics that I had hardly ever used.  I love these fabrics, I probably bought them around 2000,  and thought they would make a great little girl's quilt.  I ended up having to add the dark fabrics so the letters would pop. I think this one turned out great.  I hope she likes it as much as Darrell and I do.

Girl's top
Label for the back of Girl's quilt.
Pinning the Girl's quilt on the floor of my studio.

I had a 1/2 yard of fabric from the collection that I hadn't used on the top, but will work perfectly for the binding.  Here I'm cutting the continuous bias-binding.  See more about how I make binding at:
How to make Binding.

I quilted the sashing and around the edges, trimmed it, made the binding and got it ready to take with me and in my spare time I can work on hand-sewing down the binding to the back, the only part I do by hand.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


You can see from the title of this post that I'm planning more than one of these quilts.  Yep, I'm making at least two, one for a boy and one for a girl.  They will be Christmas presents.  So, don't tell.

This first one is made from a stack of fabrics I've had for years, waiting for that 'special' project.  I believe I bought the fabrics at Quilt Market long, long ago when I used to go to those things.  The fabrics used for the sashing and background have "Westfalenstoffe" on the selvedge.  There are also some very nice woven plaids, beautiful colors.  I bought them all at the same time, so I'm going to assume they are also Westfalenstoffe (and if I'm not mistaken, they were pretty pricey...but well worth it).  Added to this pile is a lime green batik (I love this fabric and had to add it, even though it's cold to the touch) and an odd little 'zoo' fabric from Rose & Hubble (one of my favorite lines).

I posted a teaser to my facebook page when I started cutting fabrics for the blocks.  It's so nice to have a studio where you don't have to worry about making a mess!

I started this quilt in Electric Quilt, I even scanned in the fabrics.  This is the first project I've used this new version for and I'm having fun.  This quilt is pretty simple and it will help me get used to using the features in the program. One of the nicest features for this project was the fabric calculator, which tells you how much of each fabric you will need.  Most of the fabrics in this collection were pretty small pieces.  I did have one yard cuts of the blue stripe and yellow stripe (which I used for sashing and background), but because of the calculator I had to revise how I used them, or I wouldn't have had enough.  (But, I must say, even with all the pre-planning in EQ until I was satisfied, I still ended up doing a few different fabric placements).

Here it is - I'm pretty happy with it!

I started thinking about making a back for it, when I came up with a great about the numbers on the back?  Back to EQ7 I go!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Southbound on I-5

Crossing from Washington into Oregon

Traffic jam - I finished my crossword.

Still in the traffic jam.

A flipped-over semi -truck and trailer.

Two hours to get past the accident, now the road is wide open.

Spent Wednesday night in Redding.

The shadow of our rental truck near Williams, CA.

On I-5 Southbound
Stopped just South of Sacramento at Cosumnes River Preserve

Saw lots of birds and ducks, including these Sandhill Cranes.

Another jam just before we get to Bakersfield where we spend Thursday night.

Getting coffee before we leave Bakersfield Friday morning.

Climbing the Grapevine


Heading into LA

Heading down from Grapevine

I love the freeways in LA

Great shot!

The Gamble House in Pasadena

We made it to Mecca

Friday morning, setting up the booth, Joe helps.

Terry finds a quilt shop!

New Moon Textiles in Pasadena

The view from our room, looking east over Pasadena

A sketch of Darrell in his booth.

Sunday morning outing for me.

The visitors center at Eaton Canyon

I met up with a Pasadena Audubon group.

We went birding.

We were guided around the park.

Saw lots and lots of birds.  I was amazed.

A wild olive tree.

The Penny Tree

People have been pounding coins into this tree for years.

Packing up after show Sunday Night.

Our flight out was cancelled Monday morning, but we were able to catch a slightly earlier flight.

In our rental car headed into San Francisco.

Our destination - the de Young Museum

Bad planning - the museum is closed on Mondays!

Lots to do in Golden Gate Park - we head into the Japanese Tea Garden.

Beautiful buildings.

Interesting trees.

Tea houses.

Lots of interesting trees.

and interesting structures.


Very nicely maintained gardens.

The only structure in need of repair.

We really enjoyed walking around this park.

Darrell on the wooden Moon Bridge.

Spreckels Auditorium

I'm always amazed at the flowers still blooming.

We walked around Stow Lake Island...

And up to Strawberry Hill - that's the bridge off in the distance.

Downtown SF from Strawberry Hill

A mural in the Beach Chalet by Lucien Labaudt.

We had lunch at Noori, an Indian Restaurant in the Sunset District.

Went to this art supply store that Meg recommended.  Bought lots.

We did get some rain.

Driving through downtown.

Heading up the hill.

To Coit Tower.

Looking out to the Golden Gate Bridge.

The Coit Tower, we didn't have time to go up in it.

Headed back to airport, we got caught up in traffic jam.

The reason for the jam, a ball game.

At the airport, watching the Presidential Debates.

Our flight was delayed two hours but we made it onto an earlier flight.  It was crammed full!  But we were very happy to not be sitting at the SF airport until midnight.  Nice to be heading home.  Great holiday.