Saturday, September 24, 2016


I had the pleasure of viewing many, many quilts this week, at the Eastern States Exposition in Springfield, MA. Here are some snapshots I took to share with the needlefolk and sewing-persons and quilters among you.
And anyone who just enjoys color!

Sorry I couldn't get close to the quilts to photograph them,
but you'll get a taste, at least.

There were also lovely garments displayed on these nifty wooden silhouettes.
This simple design looks like something I could really use,
and might possibly even be able to make!

I like this tunic-y smock very much also, but it's harder to see the structure of the garment through the pattern of the fabric. (Making a note in my new Fabric Design sketchbook.)

Some of the stitchwork made me think of Sally at Crafts, Cavies and Cooking :)

I just realized I have no photographs of the hexi-shape quilts that are very popular right now. They must have been there. There was a huge variety of quilts - at least to my eye. Some of the simple repeating patterns made with lots of tiny pieces remind me of the quilts I grew up with.

Oh, and this last one is not a quilt. It's a hooked rug.
This really caught my eye, as it is a view I have experienced hundreds of times in my life, and which has never failed to provide a warm thrill of anticipation.
Can't you smell that salt air?

I couldn't determine if the rug-maker, Robin Salmaggi,  is also the designer.

Here's a closer look, so you can see the color detail:

And now I'm going to sign off before evening chores, which are starting earlier. It's no fun carrying buckets across a paddock in the dark - my paddocks have a lot of micro-topography - and I've done it several times in the past week.
There has been stumbling and cursing.
It's possible the goats learned a new word or two.

Guess it's time to admit the days are not just "getting" shorter here in the northern hemisphere...they are shorter.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

heads-up right now contest alert

NB: Update at bottom of post

Remember the Chaffhaye feed contest that began a month ago?
It's FINALLY Tsuga and Lily's turn for the first round voting!

If their picture gets more votes in this one-on-one round,
they will progress to the next level of voting.

Here's the Facebook page link. A comment with #47 is a vote. 
Voting ends at 5PM ET today.

Here's what the voting post looks like.

Thanks to everyone who has asked me about this since I first posted; otherwise I would have been reluctant to bring it up again on the blog. It seems very me-me-me, but it's really feed for them-them-them! And Chaffhaye clearly wants everyone to ask all their friends to come and vote, so...

(looking down, shuffling feet, twisting toe of barn boot in the mud)

Thanks :)

p.s. If my link to the voting page doesn't work, just look for Chaffhaye on Facebook. There are only a couple of pairs being voted for each day - which is why this contest is going on soooooo looooong - so it shouldn't take long to find the picture.

9 PM Update:
the voting was close, but Tsuga and Lily will "proceed to the next level."
So far, so good!
Thanks to everyone who voted and/or sent good wishes :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

tuesday tip

I was thinking about the ways we make extra work for ourselves.
(I say "we" just in case I am not the only one.)

No  matter how long my "to do" list feels before I get started, it feels so much longer when I have to stop for a task that was completely preventable. Like searching high and low for a particular article of clothing because I left a tottering tower of folded laundry atop the dryer two days ago and forgot about it, instead of just putting it away.

Or having to interrupt a cooking adventure to sharpen a dull knife.

So here's a tip that won't prevent a task, but may delay the necessity for a longer time. When chopping/slicing/dicing, try using the spine instead of the cutting edge to push chopped vegetables, etc., from board to bowl.

You may find your knives stay sharper, longer.

(Note to self: put the clean clothes away every time. Sheesh.)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

draw august, paint september

To try to keep the momentum up on some sort of daily sketching, I've been participating in #PaintSeptember this year. It's just like #DrawingAugust, but posting a daily painting of some kind on twitter. Well, it sure hasn't been every day for me. Every time I have my hired helper here for a few hours, it means No Extra Things on that day and at least a day afterward (Recovery Day). I also missed an entire week when the kittens arrived, which was a very fair trade-off :)

But I have been trying. I think there have been eight September paintings so far. Yesterday I tried to sit in the South Paddock and draw my workshop, but Campion became very interested in my watercolor pencils.

And decided to fight me for them. The rogue!

I gave up (but did not surrender my pencils!) and settled on the porch with a stalk of Solomon's Plume. Here it is, and as always, you can left-click any image to see it more clearly in a gallery window, then just click the "x" to come back to this page:

Now I want to share with you something I've been thinking about for a year.

Last autumn, I tried an experiment. I had a few of my #DrawingAugust pieces printed by Spoonflower to get a sense of how different original materials on paper might translate into fabric. The results were surprisingly satisfying - clear, detailed, nuanced - although you will have to take my word for it this morning because this is an extremely poor photograph of the sample:

watercolor (daylily detail)
graphite (beans)
Ink line drawing (sunflower)
digital composite of colored line drawing (fern)

Had some help with the photography. That's all I'm sayin' ;)

That swatch has been on my fridge for months now, reminding me to think in terms of potential fabric design during #DrawingAugust this year. I'm leaning toward printing cotton fabric with a botanical design. What do you think? Perhaps some of the line drawings, like this:

And/or some of the watercolors, like this:

It occurred to me this week that I have plenty of ideas and enough raw material to work with already, but am just apprehensive about the expense of a fabric-printing venture. What if it's a dud project, just because I didn't think through the technical aspect beforehand? But...what is the technical aspect of fabric design?

Spoonflower's website is fantastic for the logistics of getting your design ready to print, but - does this make sense? - I'm pondering the technical aspects of using fabric.

I don't know enough about the uses of fabric to know the answer!

Then light dawned: many of my readers sew - and sew amazingly beautiful things! So, may I ask a favor? If any of you have suggestions about what makes a printed fabric work for you, or - and this might be even more important - if there are things that make a particular printed fabric a problem for you...please leave a comment or pop me an email! My sewing-person skills are minimal, and there are probably loads of things I wouldn't even think of, that are totally obvious to a skilled and experienced sewing-person. I gratefully welcome your thoughts and recommendations!

And now, since the humid, overheated, bug-filled weather is beginning to relent, Piper and I will try to have more time in our "studio." This folding chair with backrest and added cushions makes a wonderful difference in the length of time I can work before I must creakily move again. Instead of 10 or 15 minutes, I have worked steadily for over an hour! A few years ago, I would never have imagined that such a statement could be a cause for celebration. But it is, it is, it is!

The chair weighs over 7 pounds and is One More Thing to carry - along with backpack, cushions, water bottle, treats, etc., so we don't go far. That's okay! At least we GO! Sometimes I take Piper for a walk in the woods first, then we go back to the car for my gear and walk back in just a little ways to set up the studio. And buffet.

Cool enough this day to bring buttered bread for a snack.
Not to belabor the point, but: spread to the edge ;)

This is a portrait of a Studio Companion who has already had five treats,
but who knows you put six treats in your pocket:

I hope your weekend is off to a wonderful start!
Will you have an opportunity to spend some time outdoors today?