Monday, October 9, 2017

The Power of the Sun

I know the sun is a powerful means of creating energy in terms of solar energy.  I am very happy about that because we need to get off fossil fuels.

I also know/knew the sun had the power to take color out of fabrics.  However, I did not know how much until I went into a partially finished bedroom, only used for summer guests because coming to Maine in the winter is not on anyone's list of things to do. I used the fitted sheet to cover the whole bed. This way when visitors were expected, I could remove this sheet and use all the protected pillows, covers beneath it.

These last few years I've been battling some personal physical problem, so not any guests.  My dear cousin Tom and his lovely wife Carla, stayed at The Brunswick Inn which is only 2 short blocks from my house.  After their visit I thought I should take a peek at this room to see what was going on.

Pictures are worth a thousand words.  See below.

100% cotton sheet

It is faded in the center from the sun.  The edges are faded from a few washings. This sheet lost its color rather quickly.  As I did more investigation, it seems yellow dye does not last as well as others.  This is the first time I purchased dark colored sheets.  In the future, I will only use white fabrics in this south-east facing bedroom because of the sun fading.

100% Cotton Sheet

The fading here is where it was not covered by something else.

?% Not Cotton Fabric

This fabric has some amount of polyester because I did the burn test.  I do not know how much, if any is cotton.  What I found really interesting is how the dyes faded = yellow and orange disappeared.  However, bits of blue and brown remained.  I would love to know what pigments are in those colors on this fabric because my future bedroom has south-west orientation.

It looks like white would be the safest.  However, I am going to do a test on the blue linen fabric that I would LOVE to use.  Notice that the blue in this fabric is still visible even where the yellow values are gone.

I do hope this helps in your future fabric choices where the sun is involved.

I will NOT be hanging any art quilts in this room because of the probably sun damage.  Not sure what art I will use because any dye/color will fade.  I am thinking even the color of wood would/could be bleached out by the sun.

Does anyone have experience with fabric paints and their resistance to the sun?

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Another Baby = Another 'I Spy' Quilt

My closest active family contact is my cousin Tom's wife Carla.  I think after 50 years of marriage, she is now my legal cousin.  So this family is very important to me.  On January 1, 2011, their second son, Andrew was married to Karen in Monterrey,  California.  On September 15, 2016, their first child was born; a 7 pound 13 ounce boy who they named Kai Cafferty.  This is the quilt I made for him.  Although sent long ago, I'm just now finding the time to post.

Hiles-Oster Baby Blanket [Quilt]

Detail 1

Detail 2

Detail 3

Detail 4

Because they live close to the beach in California, I made this a bit larger than the usual baby quilt.  It also has air as a filling, cotton flannel backing with very light 'quilting'.    All the seams were stitched down before the layers were put together.  I stitched the layers together with a multi colored thread, top and bottom. This will keep them nice and flat through all the washing a beach blanket gets.  I arranged them in groups of 4 so that it would not be a complete jumble.  The hope is that it will be easier to look at one square at a time so as to learn the names of the objects in that square.  Definition aids in this process.

Not great art.  Definitely great FUN for a child.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A Tabard with a Message

Like many people, I've been very upset about the choices between the major party candidates.  Luckily, I found the GREEN PARTY.  As a Quaker, I am very interested in PEACE.  The GREEN PARTY, in my view , is also the PEACE PARTY.  The more I learned, the more I became an advocate.  The Green Party takes no money from any 'pacs' or corporations or anyone who wants to influence the party.  The only money comes from small donations from individuals like me.  Thus, no multi millions to spend on big ads on the internet.  No promos on major networks every night.   Because the pollsters, major parties, and BIG MONEY want to keep this option out of the lime light, I decided to make a tabard with a message.  At least the folks in my small town will get an idea that there is something else.  

Tabard back

I hate it when a long message appears on the front.  I am not comfortable with people staring at my front.  I also think people will look at your back for a long time.  Many are a bit uncomfortable staring at a woman's front for any length of time.  Therefore, my major message is on the back.  

Techniques:  I printed values on a light green fabric.  They are supposed to be BLACK.  I've been having a lot of problems with my Workforce 1100.  However, help does not seem to something available anymore.  I gave up on getting them black.  Printed what I could.  This turned out to be gray.  Then the fabric was fused to a backing for added stiffness.

I shape some in the form of leaves; others in the form of petals.  As I finished off the edges, I inserted florist wire so that I could shape them later.  This was problematic.  Hard to do, plus turned out to crimp very easily.  However, once done, I drew my pattern in chalk, experimented with layouts, one below, then proceeded to attach the rick-rack stem, then the petals and leaves.  I only sewed down the petals and leaves on one side.  I wanted dimension.  Lastly I attached the photo after fusing it on a heavy backing + extra cotton batting.  I am very happy with that part.

The words in white, both front and back, were stenciled.  The 'G' as part of the emblem, was screen printed.  

Not so happy with quilting around all of these 3 dimensional additions.  Hard to get very close because the projections got in the way.  I did manage to get the whole thing quilted quite well.  It is rather stiff, which I wanted.  

Tabard Front

This does not lay flat because I eased some fabric, after quilting, while I did the facing.  I wanted some extra room in the bust area.  It worked.  I was very happy with my 'Green Party' emblem until I took the photo.  The 'G' is not quite straight.  It is soo well stitched down, it will not be changed.

Tabard Layout

This is a view of the finished product.  It really does get peoples attention.

Tabard- First Layout

The first prints were way too large.  Not sure what I will do with these.  For now, they are just in a pile.  Suggestions welcomed.

One of Many Petal Layouts

Interested in learning more about the Green Party?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


I started the top below and another similar one in 2013.  This quilt was developed from some of the 'reminder posts' I make, then post around my house.  I decided I would really like my 'reminders' in fabric rather than the paper or the sanded wood scraps that I usually use.  I know I posted it.  However, I can not find it on my blog.  The point is:  I liked some parts of it, but not the whole.  It has languished around since then.  In April, I decided to take it apart, and re-make it.

The 2013 Version

Saving the bits I like + adding the 'Connect'.

My Method of Working

The Final Final Quilt

I finished the 'Final Quilt' just in time to enter it in Houston.  I wanted to make it small enough to enter the 24" and smaller Art Quilt category.  I do not think it fits in any other category?  Unfortunately, for me it did not get it.  That version had the edges faced.  

I decided I would like to try binding, using some of the same fabrics I used in the quilt.  I got almost half way through with that, when I realized I was on the wrong path.  Now the side edges are cotton velveteen, the top edge is a heavy, dull fabric while the bottom is more trim over a thin black binding.  

The Final Final Quilt, detail

When the year started, I aimed to make an art quilt a month.  Medical issues + other responsibilities interfered.  Although I did spend over 500 hours on this tiny quilt. WAAAY toooo much time.   I need to find a better + faster way to get these done the way I want them to look.   Sometimes it is a difficult struggle to get the image in my mind sewn up the way I envision it.  

In my quilt count, this is my April Quilt.

I've been nibbling away at the other 'word' quilt.  I've been quilting on it off and on while I finished this little one.  Hopefully, I'll finish it this month at the latest.  Two weeks is my goal.  

Friday, June 17, 2016

Fiber comparison/information

Fabric type information

Environmental Impact
Ecologically speaking, both cotton and polyester have their drawbacks, although polyester, which is made from petroleum, may have a slight edge. Cotton is the most pesticide-dependent crop in the world, using as many as one-fourth of all pesticides made. It is also a very water intensive crop. Both fabrics involve copious amounts of water, energy, and toxic chemicals during the manufacturing process.

Unlike polyester, cotton is biodegradable so old, discarded clothing will eventually break down into natural compounds. Cotton is also a renewable and sustainable resource, although there are environmental issues associated with the way it is commonly grown.

Fire Hazard
Cotton is more combustible than polyester. It ignites easily and burns rapidly, leaving behind a light ash residue. Polyester resists ignition but once ignited, it melts and causes severe localized burns. The fire hazard is also high with cotton/polyester blends due to the high rate of burning and fabric melting. The safest route is to purchase clothes that are treated with fire retardant materials.



What I found interesting?

Leather furniture The Smith Brothers style #376 sectional Fabric furniture The Smith Brothers style #8143 sectional, from the "Build Your Own" 8000 series
Smith Brothers offers more than 900 different fabrics, which sounds exciting at first... but when you start to dig into all those choices, it can start to get pretty overwhelming! While it's great to have options, you may want a little extra help in finding that perfect fabric for your new furniture—especially considering that there's a lot to fabric beyond what color works best.

Here is a brief guide to choosing fabric for your furniture.
Fabric Content


Natural fibers generally feature flat weaves that are ideal for prints. They are softer, and tailor well for upholstered furniture. However, being a natural product they can fade in direct sunlight, and may be susceptible to pilling.

Cotton. Made from the cotton plant, this is soft, absorbent, and fades easily.
Linen. Made from the flax plant, linens tend to have a lot of hard plant fibers and slubs.

Wool. Made from animal hair, wool is warm, and not often used in upholstery.
Silk. Made from the cocoons of silk worms, silk has strong fibers and a natural shine, but can be damaged by sunlight.

Rayon. Also known as viscose, rayon is made from wood pulp and designed to be shiny like silk.

Synthetic fibers are made by extruding chemicals into fiber strands. They are more durable and (in general) more resistant to staining and fading than natural fibers. Synthetic fibers are just as likely to be susceptible to pilling, however.

Acrylic. Very durable and often has a texture similar to wool.

Polyester. Very durable and cleanable.

Nylon. Stain resistant and durable.

Olefin. Durable, but can be susceptible to pilling if used in high amounts.

Polypropylene. Related to polyester.

Fabric Types

SINCE I got a staph infection while recuperating from surgery in 2007, this was interesting to me. Since cotton-poly uniforms seemed to be the choice of staff, I was very surprised at the results. The absolute opposite of what I had thought.