Friday, November 06, 2009

My Hexagon Crazy Quilt

I accepted a commission on Halloween 2008 to make 3 crazy quilts for an 83 year old woman, one for each of her 3 daughters. She had sewn all her life, but was not a quiltmaker. She wanted me to use all the fabric she had sewn with as well as suits from her deceased husband. She had taught for Stretch and Sew so her fabric collection included polyester double knits. When I went to her house on Halloween 2008 she had the fabric sorted into these 8 tote boxes. All the fabric in the boxes with a zero on them had to be in all the quilts. After that I was to use fabric in the number one boxes and if I still needed fabric I was to use the one in the boxes marked 2. This woman had given me enough fabric to make 12 quilts!!!
She had carefully taken apart each piece of clothing. I would have cut off the seams. She opened each seam and pressed it flat. I had an entire skirt and all the fabric from each suit!!! I promptly cut three smaller chunks from each of the largest pieces and put a safety pin it it. I cut a chunk from each and every piece in all the boxes. The safety pin was my way to keep track of the fabric that had been in the zero boxes.
I was glad to have a lot of tables in my studio at QSDS because I needed room to spread out all the fabric and sort it by color. There were a large variety of greens which didn't all go together. There were a lot of plaids and some went together beautifully and some clashed. And the double-knits...using a ball point needle for this entire project was my secret defense. Above you can see for yourself some of what I had to deal with.
Here is a picture of the finished quilt. This one was a twin the other two are to be queen size.

Why a hexagon? The last thing she said to me was not to make it in blocks. Could I make it all in one piece? While at the Mancuso Show in Schaumburg, IL, I saw a hexagon crazy quilt and decided that would be a good not-a-block format. As you can see some of the blocks flow into each other. I started to think my client had never seen a crazy quilt. Last fall there was a show of antique crazy quilts in Madison. I sent her to this show. The queen size quilts will be in a block format.
Here is a sampling of some of the hexagons blocks I made.
This one was all plaids. I use a lot of hearts in my work. Luckily she loved hearts as much as I do. She didn't actually give me the red buttons. She was a sewer, so I took artistic license and sewed them on. She like them too.
The red one below is from her husband's silk suit that he had custom made in Hong Kong. On this piece I left the pocket open and surrounded it with other reds. And on this one I used some of the many suit cuffs that had buttons on the cuffs. All in all she was very pleased with this first quilt. It was delivered Aug 1, 2009. The next one is due Feb 1, 2010. So I have to get going on it soon.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

More Reasons I Didn't Post Much This Summer

I was at the Quilt Surface Design Symposium for a week. I signed up for a private studio because of a commission I needed to complete. Usually the private studio is a hotel room with the beds removed. But QSDS had an extra classroom that week. QSDS runs for an entire month. The classrooms floors are covered with clear plastic to keep the floors free of paint, dye, threads and whatever else fiber artists use that can damage carpets or cannot be easily vacuumed off carpeting. Because they wanted to keep the classroom set up that extra classroom became my private studio. Below is a picture of a class room full of students. The picture below is of MY studio. It was way cool to have so many tables because I was working on a crazy quilt commission. To learn why I needed all those tables come back tomorrow.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Why I Didn't Post Much this Summer Con't

Another thing I did this summer was go to the Quilt Surface Design Symposium in Columbus, OH. It was just a short hop up from there to the Dairy Barn where Quilt National was hung. I had always wanted to go to see Quilt National. Because we arrived shortly before the QSDS bus arrived and some of the quilt creators were at QSDS and on the bus, we got to hear them talking about their quilts.
It was amazing to hear what inspired their quilt and how they captured it in fiber!!!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Why I Didn't Post Much This Summer

There were many reasons that I didn't do much rust dyeing this summer. I spend a lot of time stripping the paint from the woodwork that had been in the girl's room.
Here is a picture of my studio assistant helping me strip the woodwork. I REALLY didn't have any work for her to do in the studio that day. She is a collage student, who has been working for me since she was in high school. I asked her if she would mind helping me stripping paint from the woodwork. I told her I would pay her the same hourly wage she makes as my studio assistant. She readily agreed.
I had planned to stain the woodwork but I felt the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX was looming on the horizon. I needed to get some rust dyeing done to fill my double booth. I asked a woodworker I know, if he would finish up the job I had started. He agreed and told me I have saved myself about $400 by doing the stripping myself. I was relived to hear that because I prefer rust dyeing to stripping paint!!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Rust-Tex Stars

At Quilt Expo in Madison, WI, there is a woman who buys star blocks from me every year since the show began in 2005. At that time she wanted a few stars to add to a jacket she was making, maybe sew one on the pocket. In 2007, I remember she brought the stars she had to get some more to match. This year she bought some more stars. I recognized her and asked if she ever made the jacket and she said, "No, I never did. But now I have enough stars to make a wall hanging."
The bag shown above was made by someone completely different, who actually used her Rust-Tex stars and other Rust-Tex fabric she bought and made this wonderful bag for her friend!!!
I would like a friend like that!!!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Aprons for Sale

Here are a few of the vintage aprons I will have in my booth, #1151, at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX Oct 14-18, 2009. They were hanging in my laundry room to dry. I washed them in the washing machine being careful to rubber band the apron string together so they wouldn't become tangled. My mistake was not making the rubber bands tight enough. I wanted the aprons to get really clean so I didn't put the rubber bands on very tight. After the 45 minute wash cycle the apron strings were all tangled up...sigh...after spending five minutes untangling them I decided to hang them to dry so the strings would not get tangled up in the dryer!!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Quilts for AAQI

Cat in the Vine Garden # 4418
Here are the three quilts I made for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. These donation quilts are usually sold in a auction that last 10 days. Mine are going to International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX to be sold at a set price.
Wild Cat in the Garden #4420
The above quilt is pieced with Rust-Tex fabric in the tiny .5" squares. Seven other quilts using Rust-Tex fabric will also be sold in Houston. They are from last year's Stay at Home Challenge, to give quilters who can not go to Houston something to do. I donated pieces of Rust-Tex fabric to any one who would make a quilt for AAQI. I also made a donation for everyone finished by a certain date, and that number turned out to be 22!
Two Roses #4419
I will be working the booth for a couple of hours so come on by if you are in Houston. If you are not in Houston you can follow which quilts sold AAQI on Twitter .

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rust-Tex Class Review

This is the fabric that we make in my rust dye class

"Thank you again for such a great class experience. Any of you out there who have the opportunity to take a class from will be very pleased."

The above is an unsolicited review of the rust dye class I taught at Quilt Expo. The next time I will be teaching it will be at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX on Wed morning Oct 14, 9am-12pm. Hope you can take it.

If you can't make it to Houston, I will be teaching it for the Illinois Quilters Incorporated on Friday February 5 from 9am-Noon.

Monday, September 21, 2009


I have not posted in a long time because life gets in the way.
As you know I garage sale every Friday with my DH. One day we found a metal cat that was painted black. Of course I HAD to buy him. Using my DH's Dremmel tool I sanded off the paint to make a striped cat on one side and a calico cat on the other side. The resulting fabrics are shown near the picture of the sanded piece. Of course they print in reverse.

Cool huh???

Monday, July 20, 2009

Quilt Expo is Coming Soon!

You can register for the classes and lectures that will be held at Quilt Expo in Madison, WI, September 11-13 online by clicking on the link below:
If you want to take my rust dyeing class on Saturday from 1-4, sign up for class # Q09HPA-S, cost is $55.
If you don't want to get your hands dirty sign up for the Power Point Presentation, Thursday September 10, 2009, 10:00 am Class # Q09BH-T or Friday September 11, 2009, 10:00 am class # Q09BH-F, cost is $10.
If you are just not that into rust dyeing there are 144 lectures, 24 hands on workshops and 36 sit and sew classes to choose from. So be sure to check it out and sign up for something that you will enjoy!

The picture of the day is the trees fabric because that is the kind of fabric we make in the class. I also demo 4 other techniques.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Batavia, IL

I will be vending at the Quilt and Textile Show in Batavia, IL this week-end. Actually the show starts Friday at 1pm. I will again bring my quilt, Ground Zero. If you have only seen this quilt on the internet and you live in the Chicagoland area. This is your chance to see it in the cloth.
(Which is soooo much better.) The picture of the day is from 2007 when my quilt, Ground Zero, was first displayed there.
Here is the link to the Batavia Quilt Show, so you can print the $1 off admission coupon:

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sound Bites

Yesterday I was cleaning up the chinchilla cage to move the now vacated cage, to the garage, as I vacuumed the rug I realized I would never hear that noise again. After 15 years of vacuuming up little hard chinchilla poops, I got used to hearing the plinking noise as they ran up the vacuum hose. I will hear it again this winter as it is the same noise made by vacuuming rock salt from the rugs in the winter. It will make me remember the happy times when the girls all lived here and the house was filled with laughter and the call of, "Chinchilla on the floor".
Chinchilla's are great escape artists. And Willy was always trying to make a break for it. It usually took all five of us to catch him!!!
Winter will bring another great chinchilla memory to me. Every year at Christmas time we put them in the Christmas tree before we decorated it. The picture of the day is Gigi 2006 Christmas portrait.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Thursday was a Sad Day

On Thursday we had to have our 15 year old chinchilla put to sleep. We had two chinchillas. They we born in the same year. Gigi came to live with us two years after Willy.

They are immortalized in the center block of "Our Pets" a wool wall hanging that will hang in our dining room, whenever I get it finished. That is Willy on the Left and Gigi on the right.

Another reason I have not had time for rust-dyeing is I have been feeding her for the past three weeks with a syringe, 3-4 times a day 20-30 minutes a time. On Wednesday she was having trouble swallowing. She had a massive growth just below the jaw. The vet said they are finding that many chinchillas in captivity are succumbing to jaw problems. Willy died 4 years ago from an infected abscess in his jaw.

The vet said Gigi and Willy will be together again in the great dust bath in the sky. If you have never seen a chinchilla take a dust bath, you are missing out on one the joys of having a chinchilla. Click here to watch a 25 second one of a chinchilla that looks a lot like Gigi and is the same kind of bath house we had...sigh...

Monday, July 06, 2009

No Rust Dyeing This Week!

Our Middle Daughter will be home for the summer. She said she would like to repaint what we always called the "girl's bedroom". I said, "Great, I will have it drywalled." Since this project started, last Monday, I have not been able to do ANY rust dyeing...sigh...
This shot shows the yucky green color and the cracked plaster the girls lived with since we moved into the house 22 years ago.
Here is that same wall after the plaster was removed. It shows the old electric wiring. The cable on the left is a network cable that comes up from the basement next to the heat vent.

Here is the new electric. DH added 3 outlets and put the network cable and a phone land line in a box. In this picture you can see the network cable is still loose and laying in the heat vent. Here are the two young guys who hung the drywall. They were moving soooo fast I could only catch them as a blur with my camera.

Here is the same wall as the first picture with the dry wall hung and the first coat of mud waiting to dry.

I only wish I could have afforded to do this before our three daughter's left the nest.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sacred Threads

My quilt, Ground Zero, is currently on display at Sacred Threads, in Reynoldsburg, OH, which is near Columbus, OH, until June 28. I was there for the artist reception last Saturday.
Here is a picture of my quilt hanging in the show.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

One Hot Day!!!

On Tuesday my studio assistant (SA)and I donned our gloves so we could do some rust dyeing. On that day the temperature here in Madison, WI reached 94 F. The inside of the rubber gloves became...lets say...uncomfortable. SA said those would have to be her gloves for the rest of the summer. I asked her what she meant by that. She explained that no one else would want to wear gloves full of her sweat. I told her after we turned them inside out and dried them no one would know they had once be full of her sweat, unless they ran a DNA test.
The picture of the day shows the gloves drying on the clothesline.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

County Wide Electronics Recycling Event

Today started off too wet for garage saleing. That was good as we had planned to take a carload of unwanted electronics to be recycled. Here in the city of Madison, WI we have to pay a $10 fee to get rid old CPU's, monitors, laptops, or televisions. Today Dane County sponsored a free drop off day. The following two photos show what we took to be recycled. If you carefully count everything you can see we saved $100.
(When I put these three on the back seat I thought of our three daughters who used to ride in those seats.)

It took us about an hour to get to the drop off point even though there were eight lanes of cars!!!

It is estimated that by the time workers got everything packed away in 35 semitrailers the total load will approach 250 tons.

The weather dried out after that, so we garage sailed for 90 minutes, I went to UFO Club, took a tour of a neighborhood garden, attended an auction between my house and the garden tour, (where I did NOT bid on the Featherweight sewing machine), did some rust dyeing, dug some weed trees out of the yard, made diner and folded the laundry. I will sleep soundly tonight!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Another Great Work of Art

When my YD (Youngest Daughter) and her friends were here a few week-ends back, I showed one of her friends how to needle felt. She took to it like a duck to water as you can see from this picture.
Needle-felted Landscape by Emily Marshal 3/29/09
When they were about to leave I found this piece in my studio. I brought it to her and said she had forgotten it. She said she had left it as a gift for me because I had shared so much with her that week-end. I am glad my YD has this very thoughtful and generous friend in her life.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Someone Else's Adventures in Rust Dyeing

Some one who took my rust dyeing class at the Rosemont show email this today:

Took the plunge yesterday with my accumulated rust stuff. Found a cast iron skillet at the thrift store, and a big chunk of rusty metal on the side of the road. My friend says it's "sculpture" in itself.
Dug through my bin of misc. fabric (all stuff that's not quilting cotton) and found lots of diverse stuff. Layered it in the skillet with iron oxide filings, old square nails, and the rusty sculpture. Added salt with each layer. Covered it with a plastic bag and put it on my deck. Peeked frequently throughout the day and again today. So exciting!
Today I took everything out and inspected it, refolded and re-layered. Interesting effects already.
Mistakes made:- Should have washed the skillet. Whatever the last owner fried in it is now floating in the water. Eeoooo!
- Need to find a better way to distribute the filings. Sprinkling it from the container and from my hand is not giving me the effect I want. Some areas gray and crusty. When I re-layered the concoction, those are the areas I rubbed around, picked off and tried to redistribute. Maybe a salt shaker from the dollar store.
Good things:- Love the marks the nails are making.- Love the soft effect of the sculpture. BTW I wrapped a braided cord around it. We'll see.
Now if I could just find that bag of rust chips I found last month at the base of a fallen-down mailbox. Yes, rust is everywhere!

The picture of the day is of someone who took the class last year and the piece she made in the class.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Make It University

Here is a picture of me taken while I was teaching my MIU class. We had a fun time using a real leaf to make a stamp and then using the veins of the leaf as a rubbing plate for Shiva Paintstiks. This group of friends claimed they bought the bunny ears so they could find each other in the crowds. Pearsonally, I think they harbor secret desires to become real Playboy Bunnies.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Rust-Tex Booth at International Quilt Festival-Chicago

Here is what the Rust-Tex booth looked like before International Quilt Fest-Chicago opened. I had a corner booth and it worked out better than I expected.
The lights in the convention center gave the same strange coloring to the pictures of my booth as last year. Next year, I will have to figure out how to take pictures at the correct setting for these lights.

The next two photos show what the inside of the booth looked like. I took one photo up each aisle of the booth.DH and I spent 5.5 hours setting up on Wednesday. On Thursday I spent another 4.5 hours moving around all the stuff he had put on hooks. I call it fine tuning. He calls it a waste of time. That is why I do it alone. To take it all down and get it packed into the van for the return trip, took 1:44 minutes. Here are my happy booth workers are still standing and smiling after breaking down the booth. I was still standing but I was shaking. The hard boiled eggs that are part of my "show food" diet, froze in the hotel room refrigerator. So I didn't have a protein hit before packing up the show. Before I drove back to Madison, Nurse Peggy, had me eat a whole rack of ribs and a cup of Earl Gray tea.
Thanks to all my crew for taking such good care of me and helping me with crucial decisions like what not to take back to the van and when I should eat.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ready to Go...almost

To get all my stuff from Madison, WI to the International Quilt Festival in Rosemont, IL, I rented a van. Can you guess from this picture which one is the van and which one is our Subaru Outback wagon? If you guessed the van is on the left you are correct! The picture below shows a fraction of the stuff I needed to take with me.
We managed to fit it all in and the van is not even half full. My assistant asked how I manage to get all that stuff into the Subaru. I told her I don't always have to take so much stuff. But with teaching rust dyeing, presenting at two samplers, teaching a class for Make It U and what I will need for the Open Studio, I just felt I needed a bigger transportation vehicle. And I was right!

Here is what the dinning room looked like after we moved everything to the van.
I have not seen that part of the carpet in WEEKS!!!!
Be sure to stop by and say hi at booth #1638. I am looking forward to meeting you, my dear reader.