Winter has been, um ….vigorous of late in New England this March.  We’ve had four major storms in just two weeks that have dumped a boatload of snow.  The ski areas are thrilled and thriving.  We have managed to keep up with the clearing but are running out of places to put all that wonderful whiteness.

Looking outside, I’m feeling the need for color.  Here is a glimpse of my cutting table today.  There’s no sunshine outside, but there’s sunshine for the soul inside.


Next week I’ll show you what I’m up to.  Thanks for coming by.


Making sense of the yarn stash

I have a fairly organized fabric collection, the vast majority of which is neatly stashed away in bins according to color or special category.  Yarn, however, was a different story.  New projects were stored together in bags, leftover bits were in other bags, new yarn was here and there, all “neatly gathered” under a table.  I had to rummage through lots of stuff to find what I wanted.  I finally could stand it no longer.


Off I went to buy some shallow plastic tubs and began sorting.  I found some things I had forgotten about and was relieved to find out that I only had two large projects pending with yarn and pattern stored together.  I culled some “treasures” and disbanded some projects and took them off my to-do list.  I had more yarn than I thought but between the bins I had and the bins I bought I was able to sort it all nicely.

There are lots of ideas out there on how to sort yarn, but since my stash is modest (compared to some of my friends) I chose to sort by weight: one bin for sport weight or finer, one for worsted and DK, one for bulky weight, and two for non-wool.  Since I can’t wear wool next to my skin, I have accumulated a fair amount of cotton, silk, linen, and other fibers, hence the two bins.  Even those are sorted into two categories:  glitzy, accent stuff and yarn I might actually use for a whole project.


The large projects are still in bags; I’m ok with that since I won’t be dipping into them until I’m ready to knit them.  It looks much better and it is no longer oozing out from under the table!

The value of value contrast!

Back in July of last year I traveled to Capetown, South Africa to welcome a new grandson. Oh, how wonderful that was! And of course, since his brothers each had special quilts made for them, Luke would be no exception. I started thinking about a new quilt.

There is a fabric store in our daughter’s little town that carries a wide variety of fabrics including a very traditional fabric called shweshwe. Shweshwe has a long and varied history and you can read more about it here. The store had rolls of many different colors and prints and it was hard to choose, but eventually I came away with six or seven half meters and brought them home. Somehow I forgot to choose some yellow so I had to wait until that bit arrived to get started.


I decided the basic unit would be rectangular and made up of two squares and a rectangle. As I arranged the units on my design wall I realized there was very little value contrast and it was not as exciting as I had envisioned.  In a few places, a little of the black design wall showed between the pieces and it gave me an idea.  Narrow strips of black fabric were inserted between the colors and what a dynamic change, don’t you think?











The quilt is backed with black and white monkey fabric and a cute little label featuring an appliquéd guinea fowl, a frequent visitor to their backyard.

The next hurdle was getting the finished quilt back to South Africa. Mail delivery is slow and expensive. Some items never arrive at all so I wanted to send it with a person who was traveling there. That meant I had to wait. The first person we asked said she didn’t have room to take it. The second person we tried wasn’t leaving until mid February but that meant I could also send my valentines with him and they would only be a few days late.

A few days ago, the quilt and valentines were retrieved by our daughter and now Luke can enjoy his new quilt.


Here it is, February 13 and all but my South African valentine postcards have been delivered.  The ones crossing the Atlantic will take a few more days, but I’m going to show them all here anyway.

Each year I pick a theme.  Each one is often unique, but this year I’ve made pairs.  My design was inspired by photos of improvisationally pieced birds (which looked more like shore birds with long sturdy legs and long beaks); I thought they’d work just fine for valentines.  After making a few “adjustments” (involving a seam ripper), I fashioned a prototype.



I chose to give them shorter, skinny, angled legs and added a heart on a string.


They were sewn to stiff batting for sending through the mail, backed with light colored fabric so I could write my sentiments and addresses and finally, couched around the edge with cording.  A tiny black button gave them personality!  I gave them special bird names of course: Roseate Puddle Jumper, Gilded  Lovebird , Indigo Dash, Red-spotted Tweet, Green-spotted Honeyeater, Shweshwe Messenger Bird, and Rosy Flower-hopper.



All of these little birds have flown away, carrying my love to children and grandchildren and friends who needed a lift.  I hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day!

Unfinished Business

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here.  Blogging is hard for me.  It’s not that I don’t have opinions or things to share, it’s just that it takes a good bit of effort to write something I think is worth reading.  I don’t usually have a lot to say; I’m not overly chatty, putting myself out there, so sometimes it’s hard to be an extrovert.

That being said, there are several blogs I follow and I’m always excited to see a new post.  Perhaps it’s time for me to give this little site another go.

I’ve been inspired lately by some friends who have been dealing with unfinished projects.  I certainly have my share of them.  There’s often a good reason they’re languishing, but sometimes there isn’t.  On my part, it’s often indecision, or I’ve run into a problem and it just gets set aside.  Sometimes it’s little bits that I just can’t bear to throw away that pile up and get shuffled around so I have room to work.

Recently I’ve decided to tackle a few of these leftovers.  I had made a little bird prototype that wasn’t quite up to snuff but too cute to throw away.  I thought it would make a lovely mug mat, so I trimmed it up, added some batting and backing, couched a border around it and voila!


I began looking around at other fragments: a paper pieced water lily, quilted trimmings from long completed projects, scraps of special South African shweshwe fabric, small color studies from some long ago workshop.  They’ve all become mug mats; and I have quite a stack!  I don’t know what I’m going to do with them all, but I’ve thrown out the icky one I’ve been using for years and I’m using a pretty one instead.

Gallery Invitation

The yarn store where I volunteer, Six Loose Ladies puts up a display periodically in one of the Vermont Welcome Centers.  Most of the displays are yarn and yarn related products, but because we celebrate fiber of all kinds, the store also carries some paper and fabric items.  I have several of my framed fabric postcards for sale in the shop.  In this particular display, someone suggested we take one of my fabric postcards to put in the case.  Apparently a local gallery also had a display case next to ours and as our person was retrieving our items, the gallery rep fell in love with my postcard and invited me to submit my work to them.

The short story is that I jumped through the appropriate hoops and my work was accepted for sale in the gallery.  How nice to have recognition outside of the normal art quilt circles.  Here are a few of the new ones on display either at the The Gallery at the Vault or Six Loose Ladies.

Mountain Vistas #31 IMG_6893 IMG_6903 IMG_7054 (1)

Josiah’s Quilt

How is it that time passes by so quickly?  Josiah was born way back in 2013 and I’m just getting around to making him a quilt!  I saw a bright, fresh design with stars that someone posted on Facebook.  I thought I could make the stars into sunflowers and use the same African fabrics I used for Nathaniel’s quilt a few years ago.

Because I had used up some of the fabrics and others hadn’t held up well with washing, I needed to add to those I had previously used.  The back was pieced with larger strips of the same fabrics that are on the front and I made an additional sunflower for the label which is pieced on the back.  For some reason I never took photos after it was pieced and quilted but you can get the idea of what it looks like from the pieces pinned to the design wall.  The plan is for it to be a 2nd birthday present when we go to visit Josiah’s family in November.  I hope he likes it.

Josiah's quilt frontJosiah's quilt back

Josiah's quilt label


Art Every Day Month



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