My husband and I have spent the last two weeks cleaning tree debris resulting from Hurricane Harvey at our winter home near Rockport, Texas. We were so fortunate to have only limited damage to our home or my sewing/guest room. In fact, because the sewing room had been designed by him to be much like a guest room complete with air conditioning a generator allowed us to sleep cool while working. Like many have said and posted on the internet the utility workers coming from many different communities and states have very methodically been restoring power in far from pleasant conditions. The man who came to check and adjust our lines yesterday with the three-truck crew had such a cheerful attitude. They have had grueling work chain-sawing through downed trees to get to houses, watching for all manor of vermin (the roaches are really, really big in Texas and the mosquitos have grown almost as big) and of course climbing over debris with nails and other hazards.

Today ( actually a week ago since there was no electric nor internet to post) we were enjoying the breeze and a cooler day when the fan blades started turning. Relief!! a hot shower, wash clothes, eat off real plates, ice.

In the midst of the work I found creative relief in late afternoons by painting some fabric in such a way that I could use it to make a quilted piece interpreting the chaos of this storm. I imagine there will be other quilters who will be interpreting this disaster in fabric and I will enjoy seeing them posted on various web sites. I know there are friends who will not be doing any sewing or quilting for some time as they lost everything in the storm. When we return for the winter I will be bringing those fabrics that have been stored in totes waiting for just the right project idea or just the right time in my schedule to share with those who have lost their “stash”. I’m sure other winter Texans will be doing the same. Fabric is not a necessity for life but I hope it can be one of the pleasantries that helps us to heal from the devastation.


Clamped Dyeing of Fabric

I tried a different method of dyeing on some small samples. Usually I use the low immersion technique instructed by Ann Johnston and seem to have lots of excess dye when ready for the rinsing stage. With this technique I used ¼ c of water with ¼ tsp. of urea and added ¼ tsp. dye powder. Since I was using small samples of fabric I trifolded lengthwise and then triangle folded as when folding a flag. I clamped two pieces of wood on either side of the fold on two pieces, two quarters on one piece and just the clamp on the final sample. I feared there would be too much white on the wood clamped pieces but was not disappointed with the result. Using just the plain clamp impression was also pleasing to me. The fabric was soaked in soda ash solution for twenty minutes before applying the dye. Dye was applied with a spoon, just dripping it on different parts of the folded cloth and into the separated folds, put in a plastic bag and set for 12 hours. A surprise was how little excess dye was apparent in the first cold water rinse and even in the hot soapy wash compared with other methods.

Now to consider a use for these brightly colored pieces. (I used black, emerald green, dragon fruit, sapphire, and deep yellow.)

Hexagon Flowers

I posted a photo of a display quilt for Hickory Stick Quilt Shop in Hannibal, Missouri yesterday.  Below are the directions and photos of how to make the hexagon flowers from a two inch circle.  They are a simple way to make blossoms.  I have grouped them to make hydrangeas, used alone to simulate cherry blossoms,etc. Limited only by your imagination. Enjoy.



Step 1. Cut 2 inch circle


Step 2. Find center by folding in half and then in half again and press or mark with dot.


Step 3. With wrong side up, fold edge to center and press in place


Step 4. Fold point up to center, press in place


Step 5. Fold point to center and press 4 more times


Step 6. Anchor center by hand or machine or with decorative stitching


Van Gogh Challenge

It was fun designing, planning and constructing for the 2017 Cherrywood fabric challenge.  The theme was Van Gogh and the colors were three blues and black.  My design was simple but pleasing to me.  They had record entries this year and mine was not among those selected for the traveling exhibit.  I did not expect it to be as it was a simple design and there were many gorgeous, complex entries posted at various sites on the web that I admire for creativity and execution. Still it was fun and makes me smile as I walk into my sewing room each day. I look forward to seeing the exhibit when it comes to a quilt show near me.



I had the great pleasure of taking a class offered by the International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln, NE with fiber artist, LInda Colsh.  It was one of the most inspiring classes I have ever taken.  I especially like her focus on “hearing the quiet”.  I am contemplating how to use the fabrics I painted during the class with the addition of some batiks and photos of a neighborhood barn that is attractive to me.

Moostake Two

It Moost Be A Moostake 2
I knew a series of quilts would come out of a four month long trip through Canada, Alaska and the northwest lower 48. Per request for a “pattern” for the latest “Moostake”, I am sharing the process for the second one, a colorful moose wall hanging featuring the Kaffe Fasset line of fabrics. (My first is a throw with salmon and raven fabric.)I purchased an acrylic template in Juneau knowing that some way or another I would be making a moose themed quilt. (There are many drawings on the web that might be copyright free.) I picked up patterns for realistic moose but this is the fun one. I used leftover florals of the Kaffe Fasset Collective for the moose so no specific yardage. The background was a yard of stripe and half yard of brown and blue floral. Sashing was about 5/8 yard of burnt orange “Grunge” by MOda and for the border and binding I purchased a yard of KFC. Blocks are sewn into nine 9 ½” by 12 ½” rectangles. I cut stripe 6 ½” x 12 ½” and the floral 3 ½” x 12 ½” . Moose were fused and then stitched with highly contrasting but coordinating thread. Sashing was cut into eight 2 ¼” wide strips with two cut into six 12 ½” lengths and four strips cut 40” lengths for horizontal sashing with the last two strips cut measurement of the vertical sides (I recall mine were 34 ½” but measure for accuracy). The borders were cut 5 ½” wide according to finished top, bottom and side measurements. Very simple with the most time being spent on the decorative stitching around the moose.

It Moost Be A Moosetake

A year ago we were in the thick of preparing for a four-month camping trip through the northwest including two months in Alaska. Commemorating the trip through fabric was on my mind. Collecting fabrics or designing quilts that reminded me of the trip or collecting row by row quilt kits from shops on the route was the question. Of course, I did all three! I took the collected patterns and kits and fabrics to our winter home but did little work on them as Texas projects emerged to take priority. Back home this spring and reflecting on the trip I have started pulling them out, one by one. First on the list was the moose pattern purchased in Juneau. A number of quotes came to mind as I planned the project: “It moost be a moosetake”(what I told my husband when I had the proposed fabrics spread out); “Time out for a brief moosage from our sponsors”; “Charmoose” (the fabric connection); and, of course, “Chocolate moose”. It couldn’t be traditional as nothing about the trip was traditional so it had to be done in funky, fun fabrics but all I had collected from the trip were Alaskan-themed batiks and lots of them. They could be the backing. What’s brighter and less moose-like than Kaffe Fasset, of course!! So the blocks are ready for decorative outline stitching which must be done in the most brilliant thread colors I have. Oh , this is going to be so much fun and therefore provides the incentive for getting busy to finish soon!


This winter I experimented with marbling small pieces of fabric. I loved the varied colors and designs that appeared without manipulating the surface or by manipulating it only slightly in a non-traditional way. I used 100% white PFD cotton. My next experiments are going to be with some blends and different solid colors. Before that happens, however, I have to finish the demolition of the kitchen and bathroom countertops in preparation for a new surface. Once that is done I will be open to others joining me as I continue the experiment. The viscose concoction holds up for about three days so there will be ample opportunity to fit it into your schedule if you’re close to Hannibal and choose to try it. If you have an interest in trying a marbling technique drop me an email and I will let you know when I next mix up a batch. (I picked up more supplies while in Paducah at the quilt show.) To my winter Texas friends I will be doing a demo/workshop this winter.

Wooden Spool Toys

Recently a brief conversation at sew day about a use for empty spools led to those who collect wooden spools with or without thread and what , if anything , is done with them. I have a few but would not say they are something I collect nor do I save the plastic spools in case some future generation finds a creative purpose for them or even finds them “collectible”. I do remember, however, using the wooden spools to make toys, spool toys. My memory was jogged to remember those toys last night when I was perusing an old magazine from 1915. The ad is pictured below. I wasn’t born yet in 1915 so this toy idea must have been renewed some 40 years later. I don’t recall if we made them in “art class” at school or if they were made around the dining room table as a rainy day activity. I do remember having a lion and an elephant and I am sure there were others. I don’t remember them coming from the thread company as promoted in this ad. For only a nickel and the coupon included in the ad you could get a complete set of six spool pets. You could also collect them as you purchased bias trim because one came in each package for free—for a limited time. The ad further promotes that over “300,000 boys and girls have had great fun making and playing with these clever toys”. What do you suppose was the favorite: Puppy Dog, Kitty Cat, Bob Bunny, Hal Horse, Clara Cow or Pete Pig? Love those old ads!