Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Stuffed Santa

I haven't painted this much for months, but seeing all our holiday decorations seems to have inspired me. I made this quilted Santa many years ago, he is entirely hand quilted. The tree is actually a stocking hanger that sits on the mantel.

Monday, December 24, 2007

I'm a painting fool

Today, I painted this nutcracker with a poinsettia in the background.

New Painting: Nutcrackers

Here's the painting I did yesterday, using those cute nutcracker candles that I showed in my last blog entry. My talented daughter painted the shaded background for me. I plan to do a few more Christmas paintings so next year, I can print my own cards.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

getting ready for Christmas

I'm hoping to do some watercolor painting over the holidays, and I decided to take some photos of our Christmas decorations so I can do a painting for cards. These two candle nutcrackers were on sale for half price at Longs drugstore last week--so of course I had to snap them up. The vase is made by Foxlo Pottery, I usually see them at the Kings Mountain Art Festival and this year they came to the Pumpkin Festival, too. They are a husband/wife team--he makes the vessels and she carves designs into them. Each color requires a separate firing. I own several pieces of theirs now, since I try to buy at least one whenever I see them.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Slip-stitch socks

I continue to make socks--these have a slip stitch cuff and heel, plus a contrasting toe to try to use up some leftover varigated yarn. It never works, I always have more yarn left. But it did make a lovely pair of socks.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Another mystery shawl

This is my progress through clue #3--the next clue just came out today so I'm working on it, but it will become harder to photograph on the needles as the shawl gets larger. I think the varigated yarn is going to look okay, but if the values are just too contrasty, I may just dunk the finished shawl into some medium blue dye and even out the contrast a bit.

Today I blocked the needle roll that Margie felted for me, in the hopes that I can make it a bit more square. The yarn is noro kureyon, the same colors as the bag I posted here recently. I have to sew a lining into it, I have the perfect fabric so now I just need to find the time to do it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It's in the bag

Margie brought over three projects she felted for me last night. This was the easiest to finish--a mitered bag that just needed the handles sewn on. I bought these nice leather handles on sale last month, they are the perfect color and very sturdy. I may end up putting a lining into the bag to make it stand up a bit better. Those pink cabled socks I posted last month won a prize on Ravelry! I was so surprised and pleased. Of course that means I am knitting even more socks.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Too many socks?

I've been madly knitting socks lately--here is a group shot of a bunch of my creations, plus a couple of recent additions to the bunch. The reddish socks are tofutsies yarn (yes, it has tofu and wool and shrimp shells in it), and the dark socks are from a sock club I joined last year, called Socks That Rock. The pattern is called Lenore.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Great Pumpkin

I wore this same outfit to the Pumpkin Festival in Half Moon Bay, but nobody took my picture. So you get to see my hand knitted pumpkin hat and tie-dyed pumpkin t-shirt as it appeared at my company's Halloween party last week. (That's me on the far right, grinning.)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Oldie but a goodie--Japanese heroine

This quilt is a few years old, but I didn't have a blog when I made it--so I'm posting it now for the first time. The central image is from a cotton Japanese banner--it is actually only about half of the very long, vertical banner which is attached to a tall bamboo pole during parades. The border with the large white stars is a tie-dyed fabric from an old yukata (cotton kimono). I used many small pieces of Japanese fabrics to piece the border. Somehow, I still have plenty of Japanese fabric left--it does seem to multiply in my stash.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Mystery Stole is finished!

The Mystery Stole is finished. The grafting was a nightmare and it's far from perfect, but it's done and I learned a lot. The yarn is a hand dyed perle cotton that I bought somewhere a few years ago. I still have enough left for a small project, perhaps a shoulder-size shawl.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Here's looking at you, kid!

I took this fellow's picture at the Long Branch, too.

Halloween on the Coastside

Where I live, there are many pumpkin farms. Today, we visited a different kind of pumpkin patch--Long Branch, about six miles south of Half Moon Bay on highway 1. It is usually not open to the public, because it is usually rented out to companies or groups that have meetings and parties there. For the month of October, they held it open to anyone, so we drove down to check it out. One picture shows an overall view of the town. Some of the buildings are just fake fronts, but in the "saloon" is the actual Palace Hotel bar, which survived the San Francisco Earthquake. There are a few live farm and exotic animals and a lovely cow skull--very appropriate for this time of year.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Finally finished--mystery shawl 3!

I took this shot as it was blocking--this is the famous Mystery Shawl 3! I used a camel/silk blend yarn from elann.com, and didn't quite have enough--I had to leave off the last repeat of the lace pattern. But the shawl is just the right size for me.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Linda McDonald Bear Quilt

I was the lucky bidder on this Linda McDonald Bear quilt at the recent fundraising auction for the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. She airbrushes the image onto fabric--this piece is very small (about 18 inches square) but many of her quilts are very large and intricate. She was the featured guest on the same Simply Quilts when I had the opening short segment, and I have always wanted to own one of her pieces.

Photo Needle Case at PIQF

I saw this needlecase at the PIQF show and just loved it. The artist scanned her actual knitting needles and yarn, and printed them on fabric, then sewed the case. What a great idea! I believe this needle case was in the display for the book I plugged in the previous post ("Innovative Fabric Imagery"), but I don't know if it's in the book itself. The label next to it says it is called "I know where to find my needles bag", but I can't read the artist's name.

Innovative Imagery book with my quilt

I just have to brag--a new book was just published, and it has a picture of this quilt of mine, Yellow Leaves with Grate. I took the photo while attending Art Quilt Tahoe at Squaw Creek, printed it on fabric and sewed the prints together to make the quilt top.

My quilt is shown on page 86 of "Innovative Fabric Imagery for Quilts: Must-Have Guide to Transforming & Printing Your Favorite Images on Fabric" by Cyndy Lyle Rymer and Lynn Koolis, just published by C&T. It's on preorder at amazon.com, but I picked up a copy in the Cotton Patch booth at the Pacific International Quilt Festival a couple of weeks ago.

SAQA meeting at Judith Content's house

We are so lucky that the new president of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) lives nearby! And she offers her home for our meetings about once a year. Her home and garden are truly an extension of her artwork. We met there last Saturday, and I took a few pictures. As you can see, she loves to arrange wonderful, eclectic things all over the house. I wonder how much time she spends dusting???

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Victoria and Albert Museum needlework

I didn't have time to see much needlework in London, but I did take these shots at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The first is a lovely piece of embroidery called "Fantasy" by Rebecca Crompton, 1936. According to the label, "She was an influential educator and one of Britain's leading exponents of free, creative machine embroidery. Her control of the machine was such that she could create embroideries of great subtlety." I didn't make notes about the other two, but isn't that knitted lace shawl stunning? And I loved the old hand knitted socks in the third photo.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Felt artist, Bailey Curtis

I showed you the pink felted piece that I brought back from England. It was made by Bailey Curtis. We were able to visit her in her home studio and find out how she makes her wonderful art. Later on, we saw her at the Birmingham quilt show, where she had a booth. The photos show Bailey explaining how she dyes the felt, some landscape photos and a woven piece she made that was inspired by them, and an interior shot of her tiny studio in a former garage behind her house.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Making cute felt creatures!]

I found this incredibly charming book at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and decided to try making some of the little creatures in it. As you can see, I made three of them--a blue monkey, "Liar" (the guy with the yellow head and red body), and a Sprite--actually, my daughter made the Sprite and did a very neat job of it. We have vowed to make all the creatures in the book--they are so cute! The book was originally published in Japanese but the English version came out recently, so you should be able to find it. The author is Aranzi Aronzo, publisher is Vertical. Also, "Craft" magazine, volume 3 (www.craftzine.com) published a cat pattern from the book recently.

Needlework souvenirs from England

These are the best needlework souvenirs I brought home from England. The top piece is a felted work by Bailey Curtis. She felts the wool, then adds machine and hand stitching. The red strawberry pincushion was purchased at the Needlework Guild shop at Hampton Court, and was made by a volunteer as a fundraiser. The patchwork pincushion is made with old cotton fabric and I bought it at Jen Jones shop. If you look closely, you can see that the prints were carefully cut to frame the images. The last photo is a hand knitted and partially felted tea cozy that I found at a tiny shop at Hay on Wye. The red flowers and green leaves were knitted and then felted. It was made by a woman who lives nearby, the shop owner told me that every tea cosy she makes is different.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

England watercolor journal

Five pages from the watercolor journal I kept while in England on the Textile Tour. The first is a garden we visited near Abergavenny, Wales. The second is Tintern Abbey, or Abany Tyndyrn as it is known in Welsh. Next is the Old Stocks Hotel in Stow on the Wold, our hotel for several days. I want to live in this town! The next sketch was made inside Jen Jone's shop. And the last page is from Hay on Wye--if I can't live in Stow, I will be happy to settle for Hay. It is known for being a town full of bookshops, and it is, but it also has some excellent antique shops, contemporary crafs, and one of the best tea shops we found in England (The Old Stables Tea Room). Tell them I sent you, the next time you drop in for a spot of tea and some wonderful Lemon Drizzle Cake.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Great lesson in watercolor sketching

Before I post some pages from the watercolor sketchbook that I made on my trip, I will give you this link to check out:

Trumpetvine Travels Sketchblog http://www.trumpetvine.com/sketchblog/2007/09/20/sketching_demo/

It's a great beginning lesson in sketching a scene on the spot. I've been keeping watercolor sketchbooks for about four years now, and really enjoy doing it. My own watercolor paintings are much "tighter", so it's fun to have a looser way to draw and paint.

I first saw Trumpetvine Travels when it was a printed journal, many years ago, and it was one of the main reasons I started painting. So I'm really glad that Martha has an online sketchblog now. Find out more about her at


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Basketry with Susie Vaughan in Wales

On August 11, we visited Susie Vaughan at her home in Wales. I don't have a picture of Susie, but the first shot shows her husband Mike standing in front of a lovely carved wood fireplace mantel in their home. The woman on the left is Kathy Brassill, who planned the whole tour. Susie cooked us a wonderful lunch and we ate in her dining room, second picture. The straw figure in the garage building is one of her woven creations--she had more along the driveway, pointing the way to her house. The last shot shows the lawn, which slopes down to a swimming pool and a gorgeous view of the entire valley. We learned how Susie makes baskets and even tried to make a piece of rope using leaves from the garden--it is really easy but does require strong hand muscles, as you have to keep the rope under tension while twisting it.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Art class with Marie Roper, quilter

On August 15, we visited an art quilter, Marie Roper (top picture, in her studio) at her home (third picture) and studio not far from Crickhowell. Her husband Martin drove to meet us and guide us the last bit of the way, as the roads were not well marked. The visit started with warm homebaked scones, clotted cream, jam and butter, and hot tea. Then Marie gave us a tour of her quilt art and watercolor paintings which are hung around the walls of her home and in her studio (bottom two pictures). We ate lunch at the pub next door, then began our art lesson. After a tour of her garden for inspiration and a visit by the neighbor's curious cows, Marie provided gorgeous little paper booklets that were already hand painted, and urged us to try making various types of stamps and also rubbings using oil sticks. This kept us happily busy until tea time, when we had more scones and plain cake. Our booklets are shown in the second photo--mine isn't finished, but I plan to find some poetry about leaves to add (I pasted some leaves from Marie's garden into it.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Closed Quilt Shop and Badger's Hall

This is not exactly in the order we saw stuff in England, but who cares? Okay, on Aug 10, we drove to Chipping Camden because it is a charming old town and has a quilt shop. Well, it used to have a quilt shop. Now it has a sign (second photo) that says the shop closed forever after all the fabric was damaged in the recent floods (the shop was below street level). SAD. So we had to console ourselves by having a wonderful tea at a shop just across the street, called Badger's Hall (third photo).There are cute badgers and pictures of badgers everywhere--the top picture is one of them. The day before, we visited a lovely shop in Cheltenham Spa, where Katherine Chinn sells old textiles like samplers and lots of ribbons. Katherine's great grandfather started the shop, he was an upholsterer. The last three shots are pictures of the inside of the shop.