Friday, November 25, 2016

I am Back

Michael Hampton at Nido's photo by Phiona Hamilton
I haven't posted here for so long.  To be quite honest, I became frustrated with how hard it was to move things around on my posts.  So I looked for greener grass and alas, the grass was brown!  So I am back!  And I want to talk about the renewed passion I have for spinning!

I went to see my friend, Michael Hampton Speak at Nido's in Burlington Vermont owned by the very talented and wonderful Phiona.  He talked about he evolution of his passion for spinning leading to owning a small spinnery, Hampton Fiber Mill in Richmond, Vermont where I live.  We knit together a the Richmond Friend's Library on Wednesday night with other knitters and his talk and door prize of local Jacob prepared fiber inspired me to haul my vintage 1988  Louet S10 Spinning Wheel out of the not temperature controlled attic.

Jacob Fleece
It didn't long for different bits and pieces of plastic to crumble and break.  So, off I went to see my friend, Jen at Northeast Fiber Arts.  She had the parts I needed and also had some Spinning Wheels.  It seems wheels have evolved since 1988 and one can now obtain a wheel where one can change the ratio of pedal strokes to spindle spins.  Since I am now pumped to enter the Vermont Sheep and Goat Association Spinning contest, I ordered a new wheel!  It is an Ashford Joy and it looks like this.  I will post a photo when mine arrives.  Meanwhile, I am knitting with my practice wool and it is so satisfying.  I love cold and drizzly November days in Vermont-they give you an opportunity to stay indoors and knit!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Finishing Up!

 School was out on June 13th and I have been catching up on everything I didn't get finish at work and at home.  I became a bit obsessed finishing up my winter quilting projects.   I think that the hum of the machine and the finishing of projects was therapeutic for me.  Finishing projects also makes room for new inspirations and I am excited about the room I am making in my head for new ideas.  Particularly with the Vermont Quilt Show in town!  So here is what I  have finished up this week:

I used some Kaffe Fassett reds, purples and greens to make this quilt for my friend, Barbara.  She plants the most beautiful seaside flower boxes each summer and I wanted to make her a quilt that reflected that beauty and hope that she can take it  back to California during the winter, non-Maine months in remembrance of our Summers together.  The backing fabric looks just like her boxes.

Next I have always wanted to make a quilt with color gradation.  My daughter actually inspired me to to think about color gradation design.  When I saw MadebyRae's design for Heather Ross's Briar Rose, I went straight to Nido with my holiday gift certificate from dear Fred and purchased the supplies.  I am quite pleased with the results.  There were plenty of left overs and I made a scrap patchwork for a friend's new baby girl who is on her way!

Finally, I love Lotta Jansdotter and when I read about her Sylvia fabric line inspired by her grandmother, I was touched.  I thought about my own grandmothers and great grandmother-all of whom quilted with me in very different styles.  I knew I had to make something from her black and white line.  My very first quilt was a nine square made with tiny 3 inch squares of mint green and various calicos.  I remember cutting each square with my template made from a brown paper shopping bag.  This quilt is for dear Monica, one of my students from St. Michael's College who is bravely moving to Pittsburgh to pursue her Ph.D. after finishing her Master's of Art at St. Michael's College.  Everyone needs a good study blanket, right?  And it is perfect for Monica who prefers black to any other color except an occasional royal blue accent!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Coming Together

Field Study
Turning Twenty
Loulouthi Swoon
Innocent Crush
Earthy Frames by Kaffe Fassett
Turning Twenty
Good Folks Voile
 I love Anna Maria Horner.  I will take her for better or for worse.  I think her collections somehow will always come together.  I have made quilts from each of her lines since I met her collections in 2009.  I made a voile Little Folks patchwork, a Kaffe Fassett with Innocent Crush.  I made Turning Twenties with Loulouthi and Field Study.  I even made a Swoon with Loulouthi!  So when she reintroduced Hand Drawn Garden and introduced True Colors, I  had to make another quilt.  I loved the book Volumes in Degas and the Sketchbook birds!  Have you ever been so inspired by a collection and put it all together only to ask yourself, "What was I thinking?"  Well, I was really disappointed in how my quilt top came together.  So my first step was to go for sewing therapy at Nido's with Phiona who assured me that the right backing and binding would fix things right up.  So we added Cracking Codes in Jade for the backing and unlike me, I agreed to some Joel Dewberry for the binding in a pink.  My next step was to get more therapy from Rhea Butler at Alewives who assured me that the Orange Peel quilting would be just the finishing touch.  And of course, she was right.  Her Long Arm Fairies did the most amazing work on the quilting and it is gorgeous.  Then for the binding-the pink just did not work and so I consulted with my friend, Google, knower of all things and found a quilt made by Pieces of Pine who used up all her scraps on the binding.  I took her inspiration and created a scrappy binding.  And finally, just to direct the eye to my favorite prints, I made pillow cases from the Sketchbook print and am thinking about the Volumes in Degas for the king size pillows behind.  All in all, things have come together!  Thank you Anna Maria Horner, Phiona Hamilton, Rhea Butler, Tammy-the Alewives Long Arm Fairy and Pieces of Pine!

Hand Drawn Garden
Adapted Turning Twenty

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Big Boy Quilt

My friend and colleague, Sarah and her partner wanted to start a family.  The gift of a baby who needed an emergency placement came into her life about a year and a half ago.  Along with that gift came the baby's older brother.  He also needed their love and care.  They are about to adopt him and I think he needs a big brother quilt.  He loves dogs, so I used Aces.  I love the bright primary colors and I hope it keeps him warm and feeling the love!

Friday, February 14, 2014



We are having a snow day!  Finally!  Everyone at school was torn between the excitement of a potential snow day and the excitement of Valentine's Day.  There was true ambiguity.  Wouldn't it be so fun to be at home, drinking hot chocolate in your jammies with your mom and dad... but, Oh, no, we will miss our Valentine's Day celebrations.  For me, the true disappointment was the fact that one of my students and I could not frost cupcakes we baked to celebrate the fact that she read 15,000 new words!
10,000 Words Celebration!
  and we were planning to distribute the pink cupcakes with sprinkles to all of our favorite people sporting our heart shaped sunglasses!  Will it be the same the Monday after?

So for me, I am home with Freddy catching up on my blog.  I have not been doing a very good job with either New Year's Resolution-I have not lost one pound of weight and I did not blog.  So I can't promise you that I will diet on the one day a year when chocolate should be eaten in great quantities.  But I am blogging and I have a lot to catch up on.  First of all, my dear work-mate, Katey is having her second baby!  And it's a boy!  And her husband, Willy, loves to fish and so, of course, I wanted to come up with a fish themed quilt.  I found a line of fabric called Sea Breeze and it is so happy and so not baby blue, but a cool blue.  This isn't the best photo because we took it at work with my iPhone. And here is the back which looks like a happy underwater world with smiling whales and sharks and jellyfish, surrounded by minnows!

Ok, next, my Kaffe Fassett scrap quilt came back from the long arm quilters at Alewives.  What can I say…Kaffe rocks and all the reds just tell story after story.  That is what I have always loved about quilts-the stories that they tell.  A good quilt is like a good novel-subtle in its metaphors and analogies!

And finally, the baby quilts-there is a population explosion happening around me and I have been raiding my stash, using up my leftovers and creating some mini quilts for new babes.  They are all strip quilts-so fun to make!  Here they are:
Catnap by Lizzy House

Heather Ross Briar Rose

Lizzy House Castle Peeps

Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year's Resolution

Well, I thought my only New Year's resolution was going to be to drop 10 pounds, but my friend, Sharon has encouraged me to add blogging to my list.  She recently twittered about my Fussycutter blog, which is embarrassing since I haven't written anything for 6 months!  So here I am, ready to add in the new creations I have been working on during this holiday season.  The first creation pales next to its recipient-the amazingly gorgeous Evelyn DiNicola!  Welcome to the world little girl!  Wrapped in Heather Ross is a great beginning to a magical childhood!

I have been working on a quilt this Christmas break for my amazing intern, Sam.  Sam has been with me for three years and I think I learn more from her than she learns from me.  She has the gift of youth and sees everything with fresh eyes.  She sees hope in all things and is a great balance for me when I am swayed by the despair of others around me.  She recently asked me how she could get one of my quilts and I told her that she had to get married or at least engaged, or have a baby-in any order for I am a liberated thinker.  But I have changed my mind and think that for being my intern all these years, she has earned a quilt which means I have added a new category for quilt recipients!  For Sam, the design had to be edgy and sophisticated to match her Brooklyn roots.  And had to have the color black because she likes black.  And I liked that this fabric has punctuation since we have to write to many darn reports!

I also decided this holiday season that I wanted to try my hand at something a bit more intricate, inspired by my friend, Rhea.  Rhea owns Alewives Fabrics in Maine.  Her fabulous staff are my first choice for quilt finishing with their long arm when the chore is too large for me.  She always comes up with a really cool quilt for the annual Maine Quilt Show.  One year she made  Jazz Hands or Erika's Honesty-both have the same design in the main hexagons.  I have been thinking about this quilt every since she talked to me about how she tried to create movement in the quilt by designing the block as though it were a kaleidoscope.  My former husband, Ben loves kaleidoscopes and had a very big fancy one that captivated me many years ago. So I thought I would try to work a little magic myself.  I have made one square and I am not so creative that I can stray from one collection.  I had lots of scraps from my Anyway You Slice It  quilts by Denyse Schmidt with her Chicopee line.  So I made my first block with greens and yellows.  I am moving on to some pinks and oranges next.  One block at a time!

 I have also been going through my left overs and have been thinking I should whip up another strip quilt given how cute Evelyn looks in hers.

Ok and here is the last project (making up for not blogging all year).  I lost the lovely Ally and the resilient Josie has had many health issues this year and my friend Lynn was there for me in so many ways with her lovely assistant Melissa.  I made Melissa a scrub with fun dogs to thank her.

Ok must stop writing now so that I can get to work on some of my new projects!  Happy New Year!
Thanks for the kick in the pants, Sharon!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July 2013

Since I got back from vacation and my conferencing, I have been finishing up projects that I have cut out in the past, but have just not had the time to finish.  Alas, they get stuffed away in a drawer, forgotten.  The problem with putting things away and letting time go by is that you end up missing some of the pieces or forgetting where you put the directions to the project-or worse yet, the person has grown too big for the project or that special occasion has slipped away.  So...finishing projects was on my list these past two weeks before I get busy again with my work!

First, I fixed some handles that were not initially sewed up properly on the Anna Maria Horner Multi-Task Bag.  I love Etsuko Furyara's birds and polka dots!

I finished Amy Butler's Sunday Sling.  I changed the handles a bit because I tend to carry large loads and I thought the ties on the top might hurt my shoulder blades.  It is fun and colorful for hot summer days!

Then, continuing on in the Amy Butler inspiration, I made three Origami Bags which all fit into one another-I think this makes such a great gift.  I used my Heather Ross stash!

I then put together some old Turning Twenty squares and examined my scraps to make a few more squares and this will make up a great baby quilt for someone special at school.  I planned to use Heather Ross's new Briar Rose line to make a strip quilt, but I am not feeling it for a baby boy quilt:

Let's see then, because it is my dear daughter's birthday, I finished a Made by Wendy from Anna Maria Horner voile for a birthday present.