My Wabi-Sabi Quilt

Francine, from Las Colchas, had told me to drop by on Thursday so she could assess the faded photo problem I had with the quilt I made for my grandson. I could not wait until Thursday. Since I needed more fabric for the log cabin quilt, I dropped by the Mesquite Bean this morning. There were quite a few experienced quilters there, since they meet on Tuesdays to work on projects. The consensus there was to keep the faded photos, wash with fabric color catchers ( I always do), and try adding some Retayne.(to stop the bleed).  I then drove over to Las Colchas. Francine wasn’t there, but Vicky was working. She is a super talented and artistic quilter. Vicky confirmed what the quilters at the Mesquite Bean recommended.
I just pulled the quilt out of the dryer, and I am happy with the results. It did not fade or bleed any further. The dryer poofed up the quilt and it looks bright and bold.
I guess this is my Wabi-Sabi quilt.


Wabisabi is a time honored Japanese tradition celebrating the art of the imperfect!  It’s the perfect name for a group of imperfect crafters–which is what six former educators have become.
My friends and I met for the first crafting circle and spent a wonderful afternoon together. I am in charge of arranging for lunch. This time, I planned for each of us to bring items for a sandwich lunch. Delicious all the way around.
One of the projects for today was to make bird seed ornaments for a fall festival at The Blue Hole. This is the headwaters sanctuary of San Antonio, where my friend Marti volunteers. Three friends took over this project; one friend finished binding a quilt; another worked on weaving; and I worked on embellishing the signatures for my thread sketching booklet I am making just for fun and practice. I knew there would not be enough room for me to work on adding the borders to my quilt, so I worked on the booklet…no, really, I am still procrastinating on the quilt.
Marti’s husband, our group poet laureate, posted this poem before he went to the study to watch TV.
He reappeared for lunch.  He is such a good sport.

Testosterone Blues by Dave
Yes, crafting and quilting are current trends
So, monthly she gathers with all her friends
I’ve got football on cable
But I’m afraid I’m still able
To drown in this mixture of estrogen


Bird ornaments

Signatures in progress

BJ, my friend who weaves and makes her own fabric, brought a shirt that she made from raw silk.
She had painted it, but thought that the color was too drab for her. So, she asked me to try it on. She said it was perfect for me and she gifted it to me. The picture does not do this garment piece justice. I love the fabric and the swirl of paint. It is so roomy and soft.

Marti gave each of us a plaque with our Meemaw motto.

All in all, it was a great afternoon.


Earlier this year, I started working on a quilt to celebrate my grandson’s five years. I created each block to represent something in his life. The quilt was totally not planned ahead. I also tried out different techniques. I finished piecing it a few weeks ago, and my friend, Jeana Kubick, quilted it for me.


Now here is the problem. One of the blocks has two small photos of my grandson. I used a different photo fabric than I usually do. I assumed it would not run or fade, like the one I had previously used.
When I used this same Jacquard photo fabric to print a quilt label, I read the directions that stated the fabric may fade when washed. It recommended to spray Scotchguard to test. It was too late to test on the quilt block, so I tested it on another photo that I printed with this fabric. As I wiped with a napkin as suggested, just a bit of ink came off. So, I thought it would be okay to spray the photos that were sewn into the quilt. Wrong. The two small photos faded. Now, I am concerned that washing the quilt might further fade or even run onto the surrounding pieces.
Here is the question: What can I do to fix this?
Would making a small square to cover and applique onto the photo that is sewn in work?
Is it possible to rip out the two small squares and resew two non-photo squares?
Any recommendations are welcomed.

Fall Thread Sketching

I’m in the process of making a log cabin quilt. I have pieced the center, and today, I purchased the fabric for the borders and backing. I decided to take a break before I add the borders.
We have been having some cool-ish fall weather. I pulled out some prepared quilt blocks that I had stored, and started thread sketching some fall images. It has been a while since I have practiced thread sketching. It was nice to get back to it.

The first block I sketched was an owl in a tree. I am beginning to add more detail in my sketching. I feel a bit more confident in controlling the movement as I sketch with the thread. Keeping my hands coordinated with the picture in my head is still something I have to improve.

The pumpkin block came out a bit more wonky. I found this one more difficult than the owl block, partly because I started without a complete image in my head. My grandson says he has an “imagination clock” inside him that helps him make things. My imagination clock was a bit out of sync on these pumpkins.

The last block I made this evening is an owl in a pumpkin patch. I have owls on the brain because my granddaughter loves and collects owls.
I enjoy thread sketching. I want to practice more.

Pyramid Pouch

Thanks to Mary,  at Zippy Quilts, for posting the pattern for a pyramid pouch by Susie.
I had just finished piecing 20 log cabin blocks and I could not go purchase the fabric needed for the borders since we are in the midst of thunderstorms.
To pass the time, I attempted making one of these pyramid pouches.
There are some small boo-boos on my first attempt at making this pouch, but I see where I made the mistake. These pouches are so cute. Thanks, Mary and Susie!


Block #40~ October 5

Autumn is slowly making its appearance in my part of Texas. The days are still warm, but there is a breeze. This week, I had a very special autumn evening. My son, Ed, and his wife, Shenika, came to Austin for a business trip. Since they live in a city that is further than I feel comfortable driving, I do not get to see them as much as I would like.  The block for this week commemorates this special visit.
Shenika made me two ghost mug rugs and a Halloween wreath. The wreath is hanging on the door to my studio. It reads: The Witch is In.


Block #40 ~October 5
The Witch is In
I used the strips that were leftover from the Halloween place mats that I made.
The background is a remnant of the candy corn fabric that was used in making the place mats.
Technique:  My new sewing machine has a foot for stitch-in-the-ditch, so I got to try it out.

October Fun

My son, who lives in Galveston, came to Austin on a business trip. I got to visit with him and my daughter-in-law. As I said before, I have the best daughter-in-laws…ever! Shenika is very creative and quite the seamstress and crafter. She made these adorable ghost mug rugs for me.

One is by my TV chair.               One is in my studio.

She made the cutest Halloween wreath for me. I hung it on my studio door to announce that
“The Witch is In”!

She is so sweet! It was such a great visit. I must mention that we had the best dinner! We ate at Terry Black’s BBQ...yum! Texas BBQ at it’s best!
Now, it is time to get back to working on my latest project. I am making a log cabin quilt for my youngest son and his wife. All the fabric is cut. I am on the sixth round of the log cabin. I am chain stitching and it is making the process a lot smoother.
Cut Strips                       6th Round

Creative Inspiration

Creative inspiration is everywhere. A few months ago, I checked out a book from the library by Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston. This book is a great resource for ideas, techniques, and inspiration.
The book, Collaborative Quilting, is out of print, and the price is outrageously high on Amazon. Luckily, it is in my local library, and it is usually there when I want to check it out for a refresher.
In the first book, Freddy Moran points out that red is a neutral color for her. I think my neutral color is purple. I recently purchased a second book by these two artists, Collaborate Again.
I love the way the authors modernize traditional blocks, use vibrant colors, and use a design-as-you-go method.I also like how they use a pieced style of borders that just adds pizzazz to the quilts. Tierney has a post about a Sew Day she had with a friend who had taken a class taught by Gwen Marston. I would love to take a class taught by these quilters.
This week-end, I attended the QuiltFest in Austin, another source of inspiration. Then, I went to spend some  days with my granddaughter and daughter-in-law.
My granddaughter is a great source of creative inspiration for me. I was sharing the Collaborate Again book with her, and she totally loved the designs and colors. Then my granddaughter showed me an art piece she had done in class. I have always found art done by children to be so true and inspirational. My granddaughter thought that the heart piece she had painted looked like something I could use in a quilt with lots of color and shapes like the ones in Freddy Moran’s book. I totally agree.

My granddaughter told me that she would like another quilt…one with owls. We looked online for ideas, but then she showed me one of the owls she painted and asked if I could use it on a quilt.

I love the colors she used on this owl. She also designed a layout for the owls and types of blocks she thought would look good. She drew some other owls for me to use.  It is still a work in progress. She wants to give it more thought. And I need to give it a lot of thought!
My granddaughter said she didn’t need to draw the details in these owls, since we will be looking for “good” fabric that will add the detail.