Saturday, December 27, 2014

Dyeing Before Christmas

Hello Quilters!
I had a spare day before Christmas so I whipped up a couple of batches of dye in the backyard and started some long overdue dyeing.  Luckily, the weather has been so mild that mixing batches of dye in the backyard wasn't a problem.  For those of you unfamiliar with dyeing with Procion MX Dyes, it is best to mix your dyes out of doors so the escaping dye powder doesn't attach itself to anything your couch!  Since my dyeing station is in the basement, mixing that powder outside is doubly important as the particles could escape and go through the furnace system.  Could you just imagine what the house with look like with specks of Marine Blue all over anything made of fibre????  OUTSIDE IT IS!!!
Dyeing Station in the basement furnace room.

Dyed cheese cloth drying on the rack.

My friend, Shirley had given me a white damask tablecloth with a nasty red wine stain to play with.  That stain wasn't going anywhere despite her best efforts so I thought I'd try over dyeing it.  The tablecloth is not 100% cotton though so the dye didn't take as well as it would normally.  I told Shirley that she is welcome to throw it in the garbage but I have to say, it's growing on me....
Shirley's dyed table cloth.
About a year ago I noticed an article in Martha Stewart Living magazine about dyeing tea towels that you buy very cheaply at IKEA.  Sounded good to me!  Luckily, my wonderful sister-in-law lives in Ottawa and was willing to ship me some. They cost 69 cents each and are white with a red stripe up each side.  (Yes, I just checked and they are called "TELKA" and are 69 cents each. )  Here is the result of dyeing the tea towels.
Dyed Tea Towels
Dyeing the tea towels was great fun.  I have enough to last me a couple of years.  At first, I thought I might be able to use them for hostess gifts but I think they are a little strange for most people.  Quilters might really like them but would probably never use them.......fondle yes, dry dishes.....not so much!

Another first this Christmas!!  I made Biscotti for our daughter's boyfriend.   I can't eat sugar so I couldn't try them myself but since the boyfriend took the remaining ones home, they must have been good enough.  Everyone gets a tin of their favourite cookies to eat at Christmas and these were his choice.  Others included Butterscotch Oatmeal cookies, Toffee Shortbread and Cheesy Bites.

I hope you all had some memorable times over Christmas.  There were a few gifts under the tree with fabric in them for me this year.  I'm looking forward to putting them to use! We had one of our best Christmases ever.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014!

Hello Quilters!
First of all........I want to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous and healthy New Year!
It seems my blog is getting more and more neglected these days so I appreciate those of you that have stuck with me anyway.  I'll try and do better in 2015.
2014 was a challenging year with the tornado hitting our house in July and a medical diagnosis that shook me up as well as the death of my Mom in September.  Looks like 2015 has nowhere to go but up!
2014 was a year of travel too.  All good things there as Hubby and I love nothing more than to explore the world!  PARIS was definitely a highlight!
I was able to accompany Hubby on a photo tour of Death Valley in December.  What a surprise that the desert has so much colour inspiration!  The photo below was taken while riding horseback through the valley.  Luckily, I was the only one to sign up for the two hour ride so it was just the guide and myself.  Once he realized I was very comfortable riding horses, we really enjoyed ourselves.

We had one warm day so I took advantage of the thermal spring -fed pool!

My teaching schedule is quite light for the next couple of months so I'm hoping to get some quality studio time and accomplish great things...............AND reduce the stash! 
 Below is my version of the Metro Rings Quilt using the Quick Curve Ruler.  The pattern is very well written and the ruler works like a charm.  This will be a workshop in the Spring.  Unfortunately, I was working on this while away on a quilt retreat and there was some red wine accidentally spilled on the blocks as I had them laying out on the floor.  So.....the quilt should have one more row on the bottom.  The dangers of quilt retreats!  Oh well, accidents happen!

I'm playing with a paper pattern that was in the December issue of Quiltermaker Magazine designed by Anita Grossman Solomon.  We saw her demonstrate this method while in Houston so I thought I'd play with some solid scraps and see what I can make of them.  Anita's methods are so clever and accurate.  You might enjoy her workshop on Craftsy.

I'm starting another photo-realistic quilt that should take me a few months to complete.  Here's the beginning and I'll keep you posted with my progress.  Three wolves in the snow is what I will be trying to depict.  Wish me luck!
Pattern drawn and labelled for value.

Fabric selections.

Our son is home and our daughter and her boyfriend will be arriving tomorrow afternoon.  The gifts are wrapped and under the tree.  I've been cooking and baking for days so I think we are ready for the next couple of days of enjoying each other's company and eating lots of goodies!