Teddy Bear Quilts


The Anchorage Log Cabin Quilting Guild had its Teddy Bear Tea last month, in which members brought in the miniature quilts they had made to accompany stuffed animals/beanie babies.  These are given to charities and service organizations that deal with children; representatives from a few of those were present and spoke of how they used the donations.  Unfortunately I forgot to bring my camera to the meeting, so the only photo I have is of my own donations before I took them.

I had bought several men’s shirts for $1 each at a thrift store and incorporated them into the quilts shown in the foreground.  I enjoy that very much–using perfectly good fabric that would otherwise be thrown into a landfill.

Making mini quilts is such a good way to practice skills and gives a reason for doing so.  At the meeting I showed my corners, which are not perfectly square, to an experienced quilter.  “Allow more fabric when turning the corner on the binding” was her advice. Fortunately I don’t have to discard or rip out my imperfect attempts:  The children are not going to care about slightly-curved corners.

The beanie babies are the generous gift of a yarn customer; you can see that I still have plenty to use in the future.


January 2016


Is it Spring yet?  Today is wonderfully sunny, although also below freezing.  I’ve added some bright colors of yarn to my shop.

In one of my quilting groups, we all received a length of floral panel (many yards of which had been donated to the group) and had to make something from it.

DSCN0599Here is what I made:DSCN0670

That was my first free-motion quilted project and I am pleased with the result.

I subsequently took a class, “Modern Broderie Perse,” from quilt artist Maria Shell.  My resulting project was definitely NOT modern–not what she was teaching.  Her idea, which I liked very much, was to use graphic prints and to cut modern flower shapes from them, as you can see here if you scroll to the very bottom of her list of classes. However, the fusible webbing I was using turned out to be a few decades old and did not stick, so when I got home I started over.  I happened to have a few florals in my tiny fabric stash and decided to use those, going the traditional route.  The result, shown in progress, is here: DSCN0639

The black vase and red roses are from a pair of silk/linen pants I bought at the Salvation Army a while back just because I like the fabric. The other florals are from a scrap bag I purchased online from Hawthorne Fabrics. I used invisible thread because my free-motion quilting is of course still not the best.  I had a lot of tension problems, so the back looks bad; I subsequently learned that Viking machines (like mine) typically have this problem.  Aargh!

Below are a few tidbits that may interest you.

Fear of failure

“You must not think really of reaching an audience.  You must think first to express yourself.” Pierre Boulez, quoted here.


Museum at Prairie Fire linkMuseumAtPrairieFire


Almost December 2015


I added a new colorway to my shop, Alaskan Rainbow.  Use coupon code Nov2015 now through the end of the month for 10% off all items.


My son has just opened an etsy shop featuring DIY kits to create wall art such as the item shown above.  He only has a few items in the shop now and will have more in the future.

A podcast you may like is Krista Tippett  On Being. Another is Meighan O’Toole’s; I especially liked this post.

Happy Post-Thanksgiving Weekend!



Indigo Dyeing

DSCN0458I finally broke out the indigo dye that I purchased from Dharma Trading Company a while back.  It’s a processed, somewhat easy-to-use formulation.  DSCN0454

I used the basic shibori techniques that can be easily found on the internet, along with plain old dyeing. One thing that’s fun is that when the items are removed from the indigo bath, they are blue-green.  They need about 15 minutes’ exposure to the air to darken.  Here is a photo of the back of the shirt fresh from the dyepot:DSCN0456

Just as with chemical dyeing, you’re going to have irregularities unless you agitate the item a lot in the dye bath.  Agitation is discouraged in indigo dyeing because it introduces oxygen, which can ruin the indigo bath for future use.

Here is some yarn and fabric that I dipped in the vat without tying any type of pattern.  (Yarn for sale here)


To achieve the darker shade, you just repeat the process of dipping and leaving the item out for a while to oxidize. The darker-colored items were dipped about 3 times and also suspended beneath the surface of the dye once for about 15 minutes.

I dyed an additional skein, shown below, and was knitting it for 2 hours at the Spinners’ and Weavers’ Guild meeting.  I noticed that the color was coming off on my fingers, especially the left index finger where the yarn passes across (I’m a continental knitter.).  I asked a natural dyer how to prevent the dye coming off and she said, “Indigo does this.”canvas

I will certainly rinse the heck out of the cowl after it’s finished and hope that my neck doesn’t turn blue!  (Yarn base is Sterling Silk and Silver.)

And now for some links that you might find interesting:

How failure helps creativity article  from BBC.

“If one wants to be active, one mustn’t be afraid to do something wrong sometimes, not afraid to lapse into some mistakes.” More on Vincent Van Gogh’s quote here.

Folt Bolt on Facebook provides multiple bits of artistic eye candy per day in your feed, from ceramics to jewelry to textiles, all with links.

Really good thoughts on this blog,  zenhabits.net

A blog about running a craft business and lots of other fibre-y information, including a weekly podcast, www.whileshenaps.com

Jonathan Fields has a weekly podcast with guests who have thought-provoking commentary.  For instance, this week’s guest, Bronnie Ware, is the author of a book on the 5 major regrets that dying people express.

Have you ever said, “I wish…”?  There is a free, online book with super-practical ideas for turning your wishes into reality:  Wishcraft.