Thursday, August 30, 2007

Vermont Graves

These are graves in Grafton Vermont. There is some fabulous folk art imagery on these stones.

I love how many of these stones have so much color. Rust and lichen have given them a lovely patina.

This was the gate keeper at the cemetery entrance.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Grafton, Vermont

You know you are in Vermont when you go through a covered bridge and you see a church like this in the middle of town.
That is my friend Frances' house across the street from the church.
This part of the house was built in the 1800's, the back half was built in the late 1700's. It has lovely wide plank painted wood floors through out the house.
Abby has thoroughly enjoyed her time communing with nature. She doesn't get to run like this in downtown Chicago.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Mackworth Island

Every time we are in Portland we go walking on this Island. There is a school for the deaf here and nothing else besides a lovely trail around the island. I think there must be a lot of iron in the rock giving it the most beautiful coloring.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Old Cemeteries

I love walking in old cemeteries, the stones are so beautiful. Making gravestones like these is truly a lost art. I always enjoy reading the names and dates on the stones and wonder what each persons life may have been like. You can imagine Patience would have been an appropriate name for a captains wife in a New England seaport in the 1800's.

When I was a little girl we lived on a dead end road with woods behind our house in Kittery Maine. My sister and I used to take walks through the woods to the large town cemetery. There are many small family cemeteries scattered all over town, but we lived closest to the big one. We would walk among the stones and leave little gifts of pine cones or wild flowers that we had picked on our walk on the graves. I loved looking in the windows of the mausoleums to see the stained glass windows. They always seemed so mysterious.

All of these stones are in an old cemetery on a hill that overlooks the bay in Portland, Maine.

The roses carved in relief on this stone were so beautiful, especially with the lacy lichen. You can imagine this family must have really loved this person to create such a unique stone and they would have been a wealthy family to afford such extravagance.

This thin curvy stone is more typical of the very old ones with shallow carved designs. The long rectangular shape is more unusual though. This one is dated 1798.

I love the style of this one. No designs just large type.
This one had lovely Celtic knot patterns carved on it. Unfortunately the top of the cross was broken off and the large stone in front had a large portion of the carving missing.
It looks like I have passed on my appreciation to the next generation.
To see a quilt influenced by some of my walks in old New England cemeteries go here.

Spam Blog?

For some reason blogger flagged my blog as a spam blog and I was unable to post for several days until blogger looked at my blog to confirm that it was a normal blog. I am not sure if this is somehow a result of being listed on blogs of note and getting an extraordinary amount of traffic, having my whole blog highjacked to a blog called outrightplagiarism (which it looks like now has been removed from the internet), if someone flagged my blog as a spam blog or maybe a sequence of all of the above. Luckily it looks like everything is finally back to normal.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

More Inspiration

I love lichen!
and beautiful colored bugs.
The wild rose hips by the beach were as red as tomatoes.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Seaside Inspiration

Today we walked along a path through the marsh by the beach. There were so many pretty wildflowers and bugs.

The tide was going out as we walked revealing all kinds of treasure.
I love the shapes, colors and textures of the different kinds of seaweed and shells.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Headin down east

I am flying to Maine with the kids today. I will be staying with my sister in Portland. We used to go here all the time with my dad when we were little.We will make art, go to the beach,
and eat yummy stuff like this.
We also will be going to my dads house in Kittery to visit family. This will be more difficult because it will be my first time back since my dad died this spring. Eating a lobstah dinnah just won't be the same without him.

Later next week we will go see my good friend Frances Alford, who now lives part of the year in Grafton, VT in this gorgeous house and part of the year in Austin, TX. Frances travels a lot and tells a good story. She writes about her adventures abroad and the challenges of daily life all with a sharp Texas sense of humor here.

I will probably be off line a couple days with travel and getting settled. Check back soon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Making stem cells

Since I have not been working on anything but packing and getting ready for our trip I thought I would show the process I used to create these cellular themed pieces last year.

First I found an image from the internet of stem cells and printed it out the size I wanted to work. I taped the 8 1/2 x 11 pages together and laid a piece of tracing paper over the top and traced the outline of the stem cells.

I put my outline drawing on a light box and put the fabric I would use for the back of the piece on top and traced the lines with chalk. Next I put this fabric on a piece of white cotton batting and stitched with the sewing machine over all the chalked lines with a straight stitch.
I turned the layers over so the batting was now face up and began to paint the stem cells with textile paint on the batting having my sewn lines as a guide,
I built up the shading with Tsukineko inks. Their transparent color is perfect for that. Then I cut away all the white spaces in the batting around the stem cell painting.
Then I layered the lacy painted batting on a blood red colored piece of hand dyed fabric, a piece of wool batting and another piece of fabric for the back.
I satin stitched around the edges of the batting with gold thread and free motion quilted in the dark red spaces to flatten it and make it visually recede.
Finished stem cells.

This is the image I found and used as inspiration for the nerve cells.
I had a piece of fabric that I had hand dyed a few years ago that looked like nerve cells to me. So half the work was already done. Using Tsukineko inks I drew a few cell shapes on it with white and a dark green with a little shading in purple.
I quilted it using clear monofilament thread, this gave it dimension and no strong outlines of color. The monofilament catches the light and makes little sparkles which seems very appropriate.

Monday, August 13, 2007

What's on the needles

Finished just in time for my trip to Maine. This is the Soleil top from knit with Knitpicks Shine sport. This is the second top I have knit in this pattern. I knit this one in the same size for the bottom half as my previous top but with a smaller size for the bust. I found the cotton tends to stretch out as it relaxes and the other top was getting too loose. My sister may be getting another sweater. Half of the sweaters I knit end up too big and she is the lucky recipient of most of them.

For the trip I have several knitting projects to take along.
A second sock to finish. These are the Embossed leaves from Interweave Winter 2005, you can also find this pattern here. I wanted a thinner weight sock. So I am using two strands of Knitpicks Shadow. It is a very nice feeling sock.

This is Priscilla Gibson Roberts Colorado Cashmere Whimple from the book America Knits. I am knitting it with two strands of Knitpicks Shadow also.

And last but not least the Nantucket Jacket from Interweave knits Winter 2006. Knit with Knitpicks Swish Superwash in Indigo heather. This yarn is so soft. I love the new heathered colors Knitpicks has added to several of their lines.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Stitches Midwest

Yesterday My daughter Nina and I went to Stitches Midwest. I went because I wanted to fondle yarn, Nina went because she's a good sport. When we got there we saw all these guys with big bags full of gaming and comic book stuff and found out that Wizard World Chicago was also at the convention center. I knew that is where Nina would much rather be. So I told her we would check it out after we looked at yarn.
Wouldn't you know the only picture I took was of this non knitting booth. It was so beautiful. I have seen this booth in several other shows and it always stops me in my tracks because they do such a fabulous job setting it up. It is all very antique-y looking and set up by color groupings. I am sorry to say I forgot to note the name and this picture does not even come close to capturing how wonderful it is.

I was trying to be good and not buy any more yarn because I have several projects on the needles now, but I could not resist trying this sock yarn. It is called Tofutsies. It is made from superwash wool, soy silk, cotton and Chitin (a product made from crab and shrimp shells!) See the little crab on the label. I also picked up a pattern book for a couple sweaters that I have been wanting.

After we finished looking at yarn, we went down to check out The Wizards conference. It was $28 each to get in! (we passed) Boy are those guys making some money, they were not hurting for attendance. I guess all those 20 something year old guys in attendance are using all the money their peers spend on dating.


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