Wednesday, October 29, 2014

More Gorgeous Weather!!

On the nice days, this is how I can generally be found.  This is my daughter's kitty but my kitties are now making themselves home on the porch.  There is of course a book in my hand!

I try to get out for a walk most days although my ankle has been really fussy this last week.  A beautiful Snowy Egret was sitting on the dock a few days ago.

A Tri-colored Heron joined him.

This is the first Ruddy Turnstone I have seen this  year.  He has his winter coat which isn't as spectacular as his summer one.

Although he was far away, I spotted this Northern Harrier out over the marsh behind the Museum at Ft. Fisher.  You can tell by the bright white stripe across the tail.

There have been Eastern Phoebes consistently by the Museum despite all the work they are doing replacing fences.

I don't think I ever published a picture of my quilt from the Mineral Show last year.  It was inspired by a rock which I promptly misplaced.  With help from my dear husband, I glued on rocks that I had gotten over the years.  It was to show geological strata.

I continue to make progress on this quilt although I am not crazy about it at all but I am a finisher and feel compelled to actually make quilts that I can use on the beds.  I figure with all the white, this is a good beach quilt for one of the queen sized beds.  I already pretty much know how I am going to quilt it.  I don't care for the pattern though I must say -- a little bang for a lot of buck (work).  Maybe after it is quilted, I will like it better -- so much for the modern quilts!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Day of Dyeing!

 Yesterday was a lovely day of dyeing with Dianne at her home which was an ideal setup for dyeing inside which I can't do here.  She had a whole bunch of Dharma dyes in a lovely assortment of colors but not what I am used to (I used pretty much "pure" dyes which I get from ProChem and do my color mixing myself).  It was great fun to experiment with the two blacks that she had, both of which were great.  We did the standard gradation dyeing with 1/2 yard pieces of fabric.  We decided we would like to see some of the "mushing" effect so instead of putting dry fabric scrunched up in the baggies, we wet the fabric down thoroughly before adding them into the baggies filled with the dyes.  We started with a cup of  chemical water (urea water) with one tbsp of dye dissolved in it.  (For the one half yard pieces, we first put a 1/2 cup of the dye in the first bag, filled the cup of dye solution up to the one cup mark again, dumped half in the second bag etc. through 8 baggies -- we used gallon plastic bags which I reuse  until they develop holes.)  I really like the variegated look.  This was Dharma Black 39 and a straight gradation.

This was a variation on the gradation theme.  I did a gradation of Dharma Blueberry and then added 1/8 cup of the New Black dye solution to each of the baggies.  In retrospect, I probably would have used less of the black than the 2 tbsps per baggie as it was pretty intense.  The New Black gives a great grey while the Black 39 does give a great charcoal but in the lighter shades I can see a teense of green.  Blacks usually bias to one color on another and as they age, they also change as the reds they used to make it seem to age the worst.  I was extremely pleased with these although I would like more yardage.  I am actually going to order some dyes as Dianne wants to dye some more -- Yay!!!!

These were all the baggies lined up in their tubs while we waited for them to "cook".

This is Dianne's dog Sophie who made sure we were doing everything right.  She has the prettiest face I think.  She was a rescue dog from a puppy mill and had had a rough life but now has the easy life with Dianne.

Of course no visit to a quilter is complete without showing some of the quilts adorning her walls.  She used to work for the Foreign Service and has wonderful exotic prints from her last assignment in the Cameroons.  She also was stationed in Italy and Katmandu, Napal!!  

This is her African Ladies showcasing many more of those wonderful prints.

I loved this use of the brightly colored prints and may just do one like this using my marbled fabrics which stump me many times.

Loved the beautiful colors and of course the hexagons!!

Hard to see, but this is a picture of the partial solar eclipse we saw here on the east coast last week.  The pelicans flying by were just icing on the cake for me.  You have to look closely at the right side of the sun to see the chunk that is missing.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Moment of Nature

Our hibiscus is still blooming like crazy down here in this gorgeous fall weather we are having!

Our resident Ibis were right in the yard yesterday as I went to my car and posed so that I could see them up close and personal.

You can see his blue eyes here contrasting with the pink beak.  He is really a study in patriotic colors -- red, white and blue.

I went for my walk down at Ft. Fisher and first saw this sparrow which I tentatively identified as a Savannah Sparrow which has been confirmed.  He was very white underneath and he had that tuft on his head from the wind.

There were a lot of Bluebirds hanging out as there usually are.

Several Palm Warblers were hanging out as well.  There is a lot of construction going on so was surprised to see any birds at all!

This was my best bird of the day -- a juvenile Cooper's Hawk.  I had at first thought it was a Merlin but was conflicted when I saw pictures of the Cooper's.  My FB friends helped me here!
I had to include this picture!!  I knew my father had named a shell after my mother (he was 
a zoologist specializing in land snails) and my clever nephew actually found a picture of the shell in the University of Michigan collections.  My mother's name was Bernadine but she was called Bunny.  It seems that it was not only a new species but also a new genus as well.  My father had a snake that he discovered named after him -- Baker's Cat-eyed Snake. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Quilters By the Sea Guild October Meeting -- Natalia Bonner

There are always a lot of charitable quilts made by this group and this week there was a lot of the quilts that are made for Habitat for Humanity.  They were all bright and colorful and wonderful!!  I am always surprised in this Guild by the fact that so many people leave after the program and don't stay for Show and Tell which is always my favorite!

Our speaker this month was Natalia Bonner who is an author and quilter who publishes with C & T Publishing and has a couple of books out --  one on one block quilts and the other on beginning machine quilting.  She is really charming and accomplished for someone so young.  Most of the female members of her extended family are quilters and she works with her mother a great deal.

I won't even attempt to picture all the quilts she showed which were all published in one of her two books.  Her third book on a modern interpretation of log cabin blocks is due out soon.

This and the  previous quilt were in her machine quilting book.  She uses a lot of solids because the shelf life of printed fabrics is so short and people inevitably want the exact fabrics when they are using the patterns from the books.  Using mostly solids or solid substitutes eliminates this problem.  It is also indicative of the "modern quilt" movement which uses lots and lots of background.

This was a really cute applique quilt.  She does machine applique with heavily starched pieces and a blanket stitch to hold the pieces down with the free use of washable glue to hold them in place.

The remainder of the quilts were from her second book on one block quilts.  This looked like fun!

All the quilts in the second book are in three sizes with detailed instructions.

This was a fun one and one of many where it is hard to find the basic block!

Our program person Miranda holding up another of the quilts where it is hard to find the block.

A really really simple block but I thought with some tweaking that it would be a great way to showcase some of my marbled fabrics.

This was my very very favorite of all and so simple!!  I am definitely going to add this to my scrappy quilts repertoire.  

I am making progress (albeit slowly as this is a more complex block than it appears).  It will be fun to do the machine quilting in this one I think!

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Good Week for Birds at Ft. Fisher

I headed down to the boat ramp at Ft, Fisher at low tide one morning this week.  So far this  year, I had basically not seen anything but a couple of egrets and earlier some terns.  The parking lot was full of boats and cars so I didn't expect much.  I saw another birder with a camera watching a flock of what looked like Sanderlings from a distance.  I decided to stop and see what the fuss was.  Imagine my surprise when the flock turned out to be Short-billed Dowitchers and there had to be 50 of them. Among them stood two lovely Marbled Godwits which you can see toward the left.  Of course the weather has been gorgeous, the sun was behind me and there was the beautiful blue reflection  You can see all the variation in color here although the same birds

All the Dowitchers standing at attention as more boats came.  They were sleeping most of the time.

You can see a Willet here in the crowd.  Just added the picture so you can see the differences in sizes.  The Dowitchers have yellow legs like the Yellowlegs but are smaller and not as elegant.  I never seem to identify them immediately thinking they are some kind of Sandpiper

This one seemed to have some of his summer color -- the buffy breast.

This Dowitcher was taking a bath between feedings

A closeup of the Marbled Godwit.  This is the earliest I have seen them and the first time up on the beach.

I liked this picture of the two of them together and this may end up in a quilt at some point

The second morning there were not as many of the Dowitchers but I spotted this Semi-palmated Plover.  He blended in so well, it was only when he moved that I noticed him.  I have seen these down here before but rarely on a day when the light was so good for a picture!

I introduced myself to the other photographer when we were both leaving (more boats had scared away the flock) and he had gotten some great pictures of the elusive Clapper Rail and says he lives in the reeds nearby so maybe I will get a better look this winter at some point.  They are pretty shy.

It was nice to see my first Oystercatcher of the season!!  I can't get enough of this beautiful 
bird.  You can see his size as compared to the Dowitcher in front of him.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Classes and Classes

It has been a busy week with lots of bird sightings, a couple of classes and my daughter visiting and taking home her kitties (who I miss even though my husband brought down our kitties).

This is a picture of the beginning of Pat Mattison's class on some surface design techniques that she was teaching at the Crescent Moon Gallery in Wilmington.  They carry her beautiful quilts, her prints and her hand dyed scarves.

She had a full table of students set to dye some scarves with paints and Colorhue dyes.  Hope they bring some to club.

Yesterday, I took a fun class with Natalia Bonner (her website is Piece and Quilt).  The book that the quilt we did is called Modern Quilts and published by C & T.  These are her samples.  It is not an easy block!! It does give a cool diagonal look though.  Of course I decided to complicate it for myself as I can't imagine ever making any quilt that only had three colors in it (or even three fabrics with multiple colors). I played with the block a bit in Electric Quilt and then decided to only vary the colors of the crosses and keep the other two constant.

This was a striking example.

And so with this using the bright print.

Dianne really varied it by  using a large print as the background (I had considered this alternative but didn't have enough of a good background fabric).  Dianne's fabric was some she obtained when on assignment in Africa.

Here are my blocks so you can see what the block actually is.

This the class with their differet blocks.  Because I had decided to go scrappy, I couldn't sew mine together until I got home and got them on a design wall so I could make sure all the crosses aligned  I am on the far right in my favorite ice dyed t-shirt.  Natalia is the pretty young woman in the middle and she was just charming!!

These are my 24 squares sewn together and sewn rather poorly I must say.  They will go at the bottom of the quilt.  I have decided to increase the number of turquoise crosses and include a couple of more fabrics that have a little yellow with the purple and turquoise.  Unfortunately scrap quilts don't look really good until they are pretty good sized.  I don't know how much I want to commit but think I will make a good sized quilt as it really only took me about seven hours to get this much done.  I am thinking maybe 10 x 12 blocks or thereabouts.  The lattice is one of my hand dyes and is really the limiting factor here as I only  had a two yard piece.  I have a lot of the white though as it was a white on white fabric that I had brought down to dye in the class.