Wednesday, August 26, 2015

New Screens in the Shop and a Discount!

We have 4 new screens in the shop today! 

Two - the leaf cluster on the left and the ancient pine that is second from the right - are images we created this summer in New Hampshire from local plant growth.  The ancient pine is a small pine that grows like a ground cover, and according to Elizabeth, has been around since the time of the dinosaurs.  The berry branch and birds in a tree have been waiting in the wings for their debut. 
This leaf cluster is medium in size and would add some variety if used with the other single leaves available in the shop.
The berry branch is a set of two medium screens.  The main screen prints the branch with just outlines of the berries; the berry screen allows you to print the berries in a different color.
The ancient pine is a medium screen. The actual plant was only about 8-10 inches in length; the screen is about 3 x 7.  This would pair well with some of the other woodland screens like the ferns.
The birds in the tree screen is large (6.5 x 8.5") and could be used as a focal point or background.   See how well it works with the single bird screen also in the shop?

We are offering a 10% discount in the Etsy shop to readers of this blog and our Facebook page, on these and any other screens in the shop though September 30, with the code SEPTEMBER2015 at checkout.  Start gathering the supplies you need for those fall printing projects!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Amond Milk Experiment

After reading the article “Sunshine and Shadow” about sunprinting with soy milk  in the August/September issue of Quilting Arts Magazine and having a carton of almond milk left by company, Elizabeth decided on using it in an experiment. We have sun printed before using several different types of paint but never with dye.  The advantage of dye should be the ‘hand’ or the feel of the fabric after application.  Since paint sits on the surface of fabric, it often leaves it stiff while dye bonds to the fiber of fabric and doesn’t significantly change the feel of the material.  It would be nice to be able to sun print with dye since it wouldn’t affect the drape of the fabric.  Elizabeth was not inclined to buy all the ingredients to make homemade soymilk and then spend the time squashing soy beans.  So, she set off to experiment with the leftover almond milk using the article as a guideline to see if it would work.

After soaking some PFD (prepared for dyeing) fabric in soda ash, she measured out half a cup of almond milk and put it in a container that would never again be used for food.
Add in half a teaspoon of dye powder (navy and fuschia were used in the two containers) and stir it together. Then quickly brush it on the soda ash soaked fabric using a foam brush. 
She placed a foam placemat on as the resist item along with a few leaves from a nearby blueberry bush and let it sit in direct sunlight until the fabric was dry.

After batching (sitting) for 24 hours, the items were rinsed and washed with Synthrapol soap to remove the excess dye.  As you can see, the results were less than stellar. 

Even though the resist dye didn’t prove worth the effort we still have a piece of dyed fabric, so all was not lost and if you never experiment you never learn anything new.  Here is the red piece after the final wash; this is the back side that picked up some texture from the plastic covering the foam core board.
So, what about homemade soy milk do you think makes the procion dye work as a solar resist? The article states that “soy milk binds the pigments to the fabric”.  It appears that the dye in this experiment bonded to the fabric just fine, it just didn’t give the solar resist we were seeking.  The answer probably lies somewhere in the field of chemistry but we are off to try new experiments…

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Vac and Sew, Conway NH

The Quilt Shop at Vac and Sew in Conway, New Hampshire has long been a favorite stopping place for Elizabeth and her mother, Barbara.  A dealer in Pfaff sewing machines, it is the store where Barbara bought her second computerized sewing machine.  When she used to stay longer in the fall she also took classes there and the friendly staff remembers and acknowledges her each and every time we visit even if we haven’t seen them since the year before.
This is the first shop this year that we stopped in that has decided not to carry row by row shop license plates and instead are selling the row by row pins.  The row is quintessential New Hampshire in the winter.  Incidentally, this is a scene we ourselves have never seen in person, despite 63 years of association in the state.  It is a frozen lake with a bob house (fishing hut) out on the ice. Purchase of a kit included the pin.

Conway and North Conway New Hampshire are well known as outlet store destinations and people come from all over New England and Canada to partake of the many stores available.   Both towns also have fun seasonal sporting opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts and the highest peak on the east coast, Mount Washington, rises toward the sky nearby.  If you ever find yourself visiting there do stop in at the Vac and Sew on Route 16.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Searching for Roy G Biv - Brown!

In search of Roy G Biv, it is time this month for BROWN pictures. We are linking to Julie Booth's blog and her friend Jennifer Coyne Qudeen in finding the colors of the rainbow.  Since the colors of the rainbow were finished in July, they are extending through the rest of the year with other colors.  Check out their blogs for more examples of brown.  Most of these pictures were taken in New Hampshire.  Enjoy!
An assortment of rolling pins in various shades of brown.
This pretty brown house caught our eye while driving near Wolfeboro.
Who doesn't love an old brown tub full of violets?
A typical New England barn, with some comical additions.
A rusty brown tricycle has seen better days.
This log cabin houses a quilt shop.
Homemade shoo-fly pie!  Yum, yum!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Golden Gese Quilt Shop

Yet another trip to Manchester to pick up someone at the airport allowed for the opportunity to stop at a row by row shop and check them out.  This time, we picked The Golden Gese (pronounced like Geese - a play on the owner’s last name).
This shop is located in Concord, NH, and like several others we have visited, it is conveniently located right off the interstate highway.  Their first year to participate in row by row, their row highlights the theme of water and the nature of NH with appliqued frogs sitting on lilypads.

Concord is the capital of New Hampshire and this shop is near the state capital building.  After visiting The Golden Gese, we were able to have a pleasant lunch sitting on the sidewalk at a pub across from this beautiful building (even with the street construction) before heading south to Manchester and the airport.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

World Quilt Show New England

World Quilt Show New England at the Radisson Center of New Hampshire is a Mancuso quilt show that typically takes place in Manchester NH in August of each year.  Elizabeth and her mother usually go to view the show.  Along with Sue, they both have also been to the Mancuso show that is held in February of each year in Tidewater Virginia, most recently at the Hampton Convention Center.  These two Mancuso shows differ greatly from each other as do the reasons we attend.

The Hampton show, called “Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival is four days in a very large venue with dozens of vendors selling everything from old and new sewing machines, to quilting supplies, books, jewelry, and anything else that can be connected to quilting.  The winning quilts in the center of the show are spectacular and since it is not a juried show has many entries from beginning quilts to those beauties in the winner’s circle.  It also includes many special exhibits from groups and guilds around the state and the country.  Lots and lots to see and we typically spend all four days at the show!  A large portion of that time is spent at vendors and shopping.

In contrast, the World Quilt show is all about the quilts.  They come, as the name suggests from all over the world, so tend to be of exquisite workmanship.  Great examples of what the trends in quilting are from countries as diverse as Israel, Japan, Germany, and Australia.  There are many examples of fantastic design, color choices, and novel techniques.  The show is in two hotel conference rooms so is more intimate than a large convention center and the lighting is better in the hotel than in the convention center.  Fewer vendors, but enough to look at and collect any supplies, but truthfully, with all the row by row shopping we were rather spent out and made only a quick pass by the vendors.

Here are some photos from the 2015 show.

Memories by Niza Hoffman, Israel.
Calendula by Klara Schafler-Landesberg, Israel
Free Tibet by Meri H Vahl, California
Parisian Garden by Annette Morgan, United Kingdom
A portion of the "Inspired by the Beatles" exhibit.

Monday, August 17, 2015

World Quilt Show - New England

Last week Elizabeth went to the World Quilt Show New England in Manchester, NH.  It is one of the shows put on by Mancuso Show Management.  In addition to the standard show entries and vendors, one of the special exhibits was the "Along the Spice Route" exhibit, in which both Elizabeth and Sue have quilts.
Along the Spice Route is an exhibit of 41 wall quilts interpreting a spice used in cooking today and its country of origin. In addition to the artistic interpretation of a spice, the goal of the exhibit is to provide a learning opportunity about the origins of spices, learn the importance of early trade routes and the connection between countries. The exhibit is curated by Ann Reardon and Paula Golden.

We've shared pictures of our spice quilts before, but Elizabeth was so excited to see her quilt in person hanging in a show.  She reports that the venue was bright and well lit and it was a pleasure to view the quilts in that setting.  It's always a little nerve wracking to go to see your own quilt in public as you hope it hangs straight and has good lighting along with being seen as a good example of your work.  Having your mother come along to check it out added a bit to the stress too.  Elizabeth was happy with her quilt hanging in the exhibit and of course is a great admirer of Sue's exquisite work so she knew her quilt would come across as fabulous!

Here are some more photos from the exhibit.

Sue's Mustard Seed on the left, and Star Anise by Mary Beth Bellah.
 Elizabeth's China Black Pepper.
Road To Mathura by Carole Nicholas
Merci Edmond Albious by Beth Weisner

The show will also be at two upcoming venues in Virginia - the Sewing and Quilt Expo in Fredericksburg, VA, Oct. 1-3, and Center for the Arts, Manassas, VA, Nov. 5 - Dec. 16, 2015.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

It's a Big-tooth Aspen!

A week ago we posted a picture of a leaf that is the basis for one of our screens, and asked for help to identify it.  We originally thought it was a sweet gum leaf, but later found out it was not.
D.Ann C. was first to identify this leaf as a big-tooth aspen and provided several online references to support her identification:

"Perhaps a Big-tooth Aspen populus grandidentata and"

Other commenters came to the same conclusion.

So, D.Ann, we would like to reward you with a free screen of this leaf (or any other small screen of your choice from the Etsy shop).  Please contact us at so we can send it off to you. Thanks for your help!  And thanks to everyone else who commented as well.

Friday, August 14, 2015

How Did They Use It?

Today's post shares some photos from the "How Do I Use This?" session last night at Artistic Artifacts.  A group of 5 creative ladies turned out to play with thermofax screen printing - some "newbies", a few back for a refresher, having taken our full day class previously.  After a brief overview and demo, we got busy playing with the screens on both fabric and paper.  All produced successful prints and even the "repeats" took away a new tip or too.  Glad you all came out to play!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

VCQ Quarterly Meeting

Last weekend was our quarterly Virginia Consortium of Quilters meeting in Culpeper, Virginia.  VCQ is our state guild; we gather 4 times a year for a day of workshops, lunch and a business meeting.  Of course, the weekend trip also includes stops at quilt shops on the way there.  My travel mate and I managed to stop at 5 quilt shops on the relatively short trip to Culpeper to pick up more Row by Row patterns and license plates.  Apparently I only bought 4 license plates.
Ninety members attended a great day of workshops on Saturday - an Americana quilt taught by Augusta Cole, a tote bag taught by Linda Miller, a Rippling Bayou table runner by Deb Schupp, and an embellishing class taught by Cindy Siira.
 The embellishment group is working hard.
 This is the Americana sample and a few other of Augusta's quilts.
 A tote bag in progress.
Rippling Bayou table runner.

In addition, a small group worked on our community service project making comfort pillows for
post-mastectomy patients, and others spent time in Come Quilt with Me, working on projects of their choice.
The day always ends with show and tell.

This meeting also marked the opening of registration for our biannual retreat, Celebration 2016.  Celebration is a 4 day weekend retreat with 2 full days of workshops featuring national teachers and other fun activities.  We gather at the 4-H Center at beautiful Smith Mountain Lake for this event.  You can read all about it here. If you live in Virginia, consider joining us.  We meet the second Saturday of March, May, August, and November and more info is available on our website at