Monday, May 5, 2008

catching up

I don't think Jane Neale reads my blog, but if she does, she needs to stop right now and go do something else. It is not that I don't like Jane. In fact she is one of the sweetest, smartest and most creative people I know. The problem is that a little further along I am going to show a photo of a piece of a row robin quilt that Jane is not supposed to see for another two months.
Four months ago six of us in the local quilt guild took on an "art row robin". What that means is that each participant made a row out of fabric in a certain theme and then passed it on to the next person in line to add a row. Each month the steadily growing pieces are passed along and eventually we will each end up with a quilt made by six different people. This month I happen to be working on Jane's quilt and I am having the most fun I have had at the sewing machine for a while.

In the meantime, a week ago Friday was the day for my monthly Fast Friday Fabric Challenge. The theme this time around was re-cycled blue jeans. I really didn't plan on participating because 1) I was in Virginia at my stepson's wedding for much of the week and 2) I don't own a pair of blue jeans that are ready to be recycled just yet. But by last Thursday I was back home and getting the itch to participate in some way. I pawed through my "ancient fabric" pile and came up with a large amount of a medium weight chambray and a nice yard of corduroy. Faced with less than two days to meet the deadline I decided to be entirely practical and put together a hanging holder for my multitude of rulers. Maybe now I can spend less time searching for just the right measuring stick when I need it!

One of the things I love about spring around here is getting to see the dozens of baby bunnies that seem to suddenly appear everywhere. One of the things I hate about spring around here is seeing how many baby bunnies end up as snacks for magpies, ravens, eagles, foxes, assorted weasels, coyotes, bobcats and mountain lions. Frank the cat is another problem. Now Frank is incredibly gentle when it comes to other living things. The only animals he really dislikes are humans, with one notable exception (moi). That doesn't stop him from bringing me presents of small or injured animals. Baby bunnies are especially vulnerable and, even though Frank doesn't hurt them when he brings them to me, it is tantamount to a death sentence as I usually have no way of knowing where he found them and they can't survive without their mother. This little fellow on the left was one of the lucky ones as I saw where he came from and he is old enough to survive being carried out of his nest by the gentle Frank. He is about the size of my fist and softer than it seems anything could be. I love the little white spot on the top of his head.

Now on to Jane's quilt, which has a Southwest theme. The original panel was about 22" x 9" with a vertical orientation. I decided to add a saguaro cactus to the piece. I had a large piece of light green sateen in my stash that I wrapped shibori-style around a big tube. I then spray painted it with three different colors of fabric paint mixed with water. Once that was done I added a bunch of pin tucks to give it those "saguaro seams". The most fun was adding the painting of the elf owl that you can see in the photo. He was created using a combo of Caran d'Arche watercolor pastels and fabric paint. I am thrilled with the final piece and think I may have to explore this whole process a little further in a quilt of my own.

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