Sep 30, 2009

Applique wall hanging

I have the wall hanging pinned together. I designed the applique myself. It's not copied out of a book. The blue in the background is a piece of an old pair of jeans. I may add a couple of extra leaves, I'm not sure yet. The green flower stems were made using bias and sewn using a set of bias bars. I have found that that's about the easiest way for me to make stems in flower appliques. I plan to hand hem the appliques to the background, and I'm not sure if I'll embroider them with blanket stitch. I like to make things up as I go along.

Wednesday in Rancho Santa Margarita

Sep 25, 2009

I'm tied up

Hurray! I got the quilt tied. Worked my fingers to the bone on this one. Well, truthfully although this is a big quilt, first of all there's no batting. I just have it lined with flannel. And second of all, I tie quilts on the dining table (with a cutting mat underneath) so I can watch TV while I'm doing it. And since there's no batting, I didn't have to worry about how far away one tie was from the other. But it's not finished yet. I have to sew around the borders which are not denim. And of course, the binding. But I'm projecting finishing next week, "if the creeks don't rise." Meanwhile, back to the salt mines for me--and I still have another dental appointment for today. Yes, it's boring--I've been complaining about my teeth for more than a month. When I open my mouth in a dental office, the dentist sees a cash register.

Sep 21, 2009

Applique with sewn turn unders

Here's how things stand with me right now. I have completed sewing the top of the denim quilt and the backing has arrived. Because I'm using flannel, I have to wash it first. Flannel can shrink like the dickens. At least it will only shrink the once, that's the first time it's washed in hot water. And so it's in the washer right now! And meanwhile, I'm making a start on that wall hanging that I wanted to make using a piece of an old pair of jeans for the background. I like to use this method of turning under the applique if the pattern permits. And since I'm designing the pattern, it does permit.
First I use a number 2 pencil and I trace the pattern on the non-sticky side of non-woven fusible interfacing. Leave at least 1/2 inch between patterns. Cut out around the patterns leaving at least 1/4 inch on the outside edges. Pin the interfacing to fabric, sticky side to the right side of the fabric.
Set the sewing machine to a short stitch and use a clear plastic foot, if you have one. Sew on the drawn line using a slow speed. Having a needle-down setting on the machine is handy for this. Trim seams to a bit less than 1/4 inch and clip curves. Then cut a slit in the back of the interfacing, sort of an "X", and turn the applique through to the right side.

Using a pressing sheet and a small iron (if you have it--if not just use the tip of the iron). Press the edges only (leaving the center sticky stuff for attaching the applique to the background later.)

I generally hand hem and embroider the edges. But sometimes I machine applique the edges using a decorative stitch.

Sep 18, 2009

One bowl chocolate cake recipe

There'll be no sewing for me for a couple of days. Made this cake this morning, and I thought I would share my original recipe. I've been baking this recipe for years, as it makes a fine birthday cake. The recipe contains no milk, so if you have lactose intolerance, here's a handy recipe. Just buy a margarine or shortening that contains no milk.
Cocoa Cake
3/4 cup margarine, melted
6 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt margarine. Grease 9 by 13 inch pan. Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add all other ingredients and beat well. Spread in pan and bake for about 40 minutes, or until done. Cool on rack. Frost as desired.

Sep 15, 2009

Onward denim

I guess that this photo of the denim quilt looks a lot like the previous one, but I assure you that it shows that a lot more squares have been added. And today I calculated how many strips to cut for the first border. I plan to add another bit of fabric to the outer border. Meanwhile, I found a nice bit of green in my stash to start on that wall hanging I mentioned some time ago--to be continued--the green will be for stems and leaves on the flowers I want to make. Making applique requires me to do some deep thinking, on deciding what method would be best for what I want to do. Of course I change my mind several times, that's part of the fun. I recently acquired the book "Patchwork Folk Art" by Janet Bolton. Janet Bolton is an artist. I wouldn't actually copy any of her work. Besides, she frames her work, and I don't frame my patchwork. Her book gives me lots of ideas, though. While on the subject of books, another one about applique that I really like is titled "Applique" and is by Lucinda Ganderton. That book has some really original ideas also. One thing I like is how the author embroidered her applique.

Sep 11, 2009

News story about 30,000 year old fibers

The first tailors? Researchers find ancient fiber

By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer Randolph E. Schmid,
Thu Sep 10, 2:00 pm ET
WASHINGTON – More than 30,000 years ago someone living in a cave in the Caucasus Mountains twisted wild flax together and dyed it, producing the earliest known fibers made by humans, scientists report.
"Making strings and ropes is a sophisticated invention," said Ofer Bar-Yosef, a professor of prehistoric archaeology at Harvard University. "They might have used this fiber to create parts of clothing, ropes, or baskets — for items that were mainly used for domestic activities."
The fibers were discovered in an analysis of clay deposits in Dzudzuana Cave in what is now the country Georgia, Bar-Yosef and co-authors report in Friday's edition of the journal Science.
The newly discovered fibers were made from the wild form of flax, not a plant that had been domesticated for farming.
These ancestors really had a clear idea and method of dealing with a useful plant in its wild form to provide good quality fibers for different uses, Bar-Yosef said via e-mail.
"Innovation was a trait of modern humans when compared to earlier populations," he added. "The invention of strings and ropes is an old one and probably helped to change the organization of transport from earlier times."
Some of the fibers appear to have been dyed using plant materials common in the area, the researchers said. The color range included yellow, red, blue, violet, black and green.
"The colored fibers may indicate that the inhabitants of the cave were engaged in producing colorful textiles," they reported. There was also evidence of processing fur and skin at the site.

Sep 9, 2009

Wednesday in Rancho Santa Margarita

Not so wordless Wednesday

Google decided not to upload my photo today. I've been getting an error message. I'll have to save my picture for another day. I'm still sewing the denim quilt. I did find some really interesting fabric for the back. It's flannel and has pictures of cell phones and computers on it. I ordered it and I hope that it arrives. I've decided not to put any batting in the quilt, and will line it with flannel. And I've been doing a lot of knitting lately.

Sep 6, 2009

Recycled jeans

This denim quilt is fun to make. I like the idea of recycling all these old, cast-off jeans. I've been a bit slow about making it, as I've still got problems with my tooth. At least it's getting a lot better. Anyhow, I see myself making a few of these denim quilts. Does anyone have some information about "Warm and Natural" quilt batting? I was thinking of getting some as I have noticed on the Internet that it does not require being tied as closely as the polyester batting. Is Warm and Natural the stuff that you have to wash before using? Now on about the denim. I have found that sewing with old denim is interesting because of the color changes, it has a personality. So today I cut a nice neat rectangle from a pants leg. I dug through my scraps and found a bit of plaid for the edges. I think it will make an interesting appliqued wall hanging. Maybe some sunflowers or daisies, I guess. I do have a few really nice yellow fat quarters for sunflowers. I'm recycling--my grandson wants me to "go green" and I'm trying.

Sep 3, 2009

Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative

My little wall quilt is on its way to the Houston International Quilt Festival (Oct. 15-18), as part of the 1,000 quilts on display from the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. The goal is to raise money for Alzheimer's Disease research. You can check out this cause at
The title of my quilt is Tribute to Modigliani. And I made it to show the way triangles play an important role in the composition of this artist's work. Also, the orange color seems to be featured in some of his work. I made this quilt in honor of my husband, who is an artist, and who is suffering from Dementia with Lewy Bodies.