Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The Poo-bah Says

Okay--the last time that Pantone, the grand-poobah of color trends, predicted a two-fer of baby pink/sky blue as the colors of the year (2016)  the less than lovely combo became the butt of bloggers' jokes. 

Today Pantone came out with another double-header but this time, I think, they've come much closer to a trend that many people will actually like. Pantone says that Illuminating 13-0647  (a lighter yellow with citrus undertones) and Ultimate Grey 17-5104 (medium grey) are its choices for color(s) of the year 2021.

Pantone cites research that yellow is almost always described as a 'cheerful color' and that grey represents resilience. Lord know we need both of those in the coming year!

Funny thing, I was hoping that in 2021 we'd be able to rework our 1941/1970 kitchen. The same since we bought the house 20+ years ago--white spattered linoleum, painted white cabinets down and cheap wood cabinets up. In hopes of the rework, I'd been perusing and pinning pictures of retro kitchens in a yellow and grey color scheme.

This 1959 Admiral kitchen featuring yellow cabinets, a chessboard floor, and a lady in heels doing the dishes--cheerfully.

The addition of red here makes all that yellow just sing (but I'm sure Rod would veto the red). Can't help but wonder how Hopper was able to get the drone to snap this one. Lonely little toaster!

This 1959 retro beauty would be fine with a modern dishwasher added. Thinking though that there's a lot of mopping under cabinets I might want to avoid. 

Heck, I could move right in to this one since I have all the matching anodized aluminum barware already!

Okay Pantone, you picked an excellent combo for Color of the Year 2021 this time. Good thing that Peppered Cottons has you covered!

Lemon Ice #24 is a lovely yellow.


As far as greys go, take your pick. 

                                                                                                      Fog 47

Granite 10

                                                         Tweed 37

and Aluminum 60.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Some Quilts Gone to Other People


I've certainly made enough quilts for myself but some that bring me the greatest joy are ones that now belong to other people. I no longer sell my own work. It's just too tedious to explain the pricing: "This quilt has $300 worth of material in it-" or "My estimate is 250 hours of work-." I'm always feeling defensive and justifying what I charge. Thus, no more selling for me. Now I give away my quilts.

The people who get them are generally friends and family. I give these quilts away with a happy heart. For weddings, to comfort when the recipient's sick, or as a thank-you for some kindness. I used to have a store and sold both new and old quilts, plus fabric and sewing notions. Even 30 years ago, I had to defend my prices. Having stepped back from the question of what my quilt is worth, I find I breathe easier. 

                    'Star to the 4th Power.'

A Log Cabin variation in autumnal shades.

Little crazy quilt for a charity auction.

Blue crazy quilt (only half bound) photographed in the tile floor hall of my old studio.

A queen-size Log Cabin with pink and brown prints from the line I did for Michael Miller called 'Carolina Heirloom Roses.'

If Parrots Designed Quilts (probably the busiest quilt I've ever made)

A horizontal version of Chinese Coins

The 'Big Ass Sampler' in which our clan tartan features prominently. 

Of course the quilt has to pass the feline paw of approval.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Oh wow! Look at the colors!

While the title of this blog post was a tag line in my youth (and denoted you'd recently dabbled in a mind-blowing psychedelic), as a sane and sober 60-something, I still utter the same line. But it might not be about super-bright flashing colors. Not this time.

But "Oh Wow! Look at the colors!" was exactly what I said when my sample bolts of new Peppered Cottons landed on my doorstep a week ago. And then today, a box from my friend Sandi Irish included the sample quilt made from those colors and I fell in love all over again.

This selection of new colors not only plugs some holes in the Peppered Cottons palette (we really needed a gold-) but also expands the quieter side of the line. I've chosen Mid-Century lamps (a passion of mine) to help explain the colors.

OK-Merlot #53 is a very rich deep brown-tinged red. Yes, just like the wine. It seems right that the color is encased in Murano glass.

And #68 Key Lime is a calm yellow green. This lamp is by the Italian firm Stillnova.

We needed an orange-kissed red and we got it! Meet #70 Tomato. Modeled by one of my favorite chalkware lamps, the African lady who carries the most astounding shade on her head.


When it came to #27 Gingko Gold, there were many choices but this anodized aluminum Danish pendant lamp was the favorite.

While there are two tones of blue in this lamp, the shade, as in #61 Tide Pool blue, grabs my attention.


Another blue but this one is between denim and grey. An industrial
pendant light models #87 Storm Cloud well.

The subtle color of unbleached linen is always a favorite since it goes with every other color.  Here's #7 Flax in a table lamp by Alladin.

This bold design just springs out at you. It is the famous Praying Mantis floor lamp by the French firm Rispal. It uses walnut wood----#33 Walnut as it's named on the Peppered Cottons color card.

This next one makes me laugh--there must have been a million versions of this prowling panther TV lamp in the '50s. But here it makes a nice stand-in for #18 Milk Chocolate.

Finally, when you think there can't be another shade of grey we haven't seen in fabric, meet #10 Granite, a deep grey with blue undertones.


Here's the new Peppered Cottons as a group. They're now up on the StudioE website, tucked in with all the other Peppered Cottons. Go here to see them all together Peppered Cottons .

I designed a small quilt using the ten new colors plus #09 White Sugar. It's name is Nine Patch Swing. My friend Sandi Irish sewed and quilted the quilt this Spring.

The directions for the quilt are on the StudioE website and they're free! Click here for  Nine Patch Swing Directions .                                 

Monday, May 18, 2020

BIG News! Five More Colors of Peppered Cottons in Wide Backs!

Although StudioE and I discussed more colors in the 108" size Peppered Cottons, I didn't think these new fabrics would be possible until late 2020 due to the global slowdown from the Covid-19 virus. But, happy days, it seems the new 108s couldn't wait...I am ecstatic to announce new colors of Peppered Cottons 108" width will be here in July! Stores can order them now and get them in their shops by August.

There are five new additions to the Peppered Cottons 108" wide category. All the 108s are super for quilt backings (that's 3 yards wide!), for using in patchwork especially when the directions call for cutting long borders, for wholecloth quilts, and for garment making.

Blue Bell

The new colors are some of my absolute favorites. The timeless blue chambray called Bluebell (#17X  ) looks just like the classic men's American workshirt. It blends with any blue color scheme. Guys will like it because it seems somehow familiar.

Blue Jay

Then there's the straight-on strong medium blue called Blue Jay (#41X). This shade has been a best-seller since the first edition of Peppered Cottons. 


Tweed (#37X) is an equal blend of white and black threads so it's a texture-y gray and looks really great combined with bright colors as it plays second fiddle beautifully.


Then another classic neutral called Oyster (#35X) is a white with delicate gray hints. This would be a super background for applique and a backing where colored quilting thread would show well. Decorators will also love this for drapes.


Finally the #5 new color is Paprika (#32X). It's a lovely warm mix of red and orange threads and has been a customer favorite since it joined the Peppered Cottons line.

If you'd like to see all the colors of the 108" wide Peppered Cottons, please go here   .

Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Festival of the Broken Needles (Happy Huri-Kuyo)

More than 400 years ago, the Festival of Broken Needles (Hari-Kuyo or 'memorial to the needle') came into being in Japan. The event has both Buddhist and Shinto origins since modern-day Buddhism has integrated the animistic aspects of Shinto belief.  Buddhism honors all creation, living or inanimate. Animism is the belief that all things have a soul or spirit. 

For anyone who talks to their dog or cat or feels the impulse to hug a tree, Animism is not a stretch. But the Japanese combination of Buddhism and Shinto belief goes a step further and considers that even inanimate objects might have a soul or spirit and should be honored. That said, we sewers are very fond of our favorite tools and once a year--this year on February 8--Japanese sewers in Tokyo will gather to honor their broken needles and bent pins.

The first part of the ceremony is solemn as the tiny broken needles and pins are reverently stuck into cakes of bean curd in the courtyards of Buddhist temples. The cakes are later taken away and the pins and needles recycled.  

In Kyoto (the ancient capitol of Japan) Huri-Kuyo is celebrated December 8 at various temples such as the Hourin-ji temple pictured here. 

Two months later (February 8) Huri-Kuyo is celebrated further east in the district around Tokyo, the modern capitol.

The whole population of the country doesn't celebrate Huri-Kuyo. The event is for those people who use needles and are fond of them and appreciate their own work using these tools. 

Professional seamstresses, tailors, designers, kimono sewers, plus hobbyist sewers and crafters gather to dispose of their pointy-headed friends in a short ceremony complete with prayers for their own needlework skills in the year to come. 

I think the Festival of Broken Needles is a fine idea. And I'm wondering when we'll add 'dull and nicked rotary cutter blades' to the mix. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Here Come de Judge

Keeping this blog post light today. Now to explain its title: Here Come de Judge was a reoccurring skit on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, a TV comedy that only lasted for six years (1968-73) but shaped a whole generation's sense of humor. There wouldn't be a Saturday Night Live without Laugh-In. I leave your research on Laugh-In to you and YouTube. Start here Laugh-In on Youtube . 

Here Come de Judge, a tossed-off line at first, caught on with the American public and turned up on T-shirts, license plates, and sweats. And as more college students got arrested in anti-war demonstrations, de Judge was omnipresent in young consciousness. 

I truly believe the reason my family finally got a color TV was because Laugh-In celebrated color. And in particular actress Goldie Hawn, that gorgeous blond in the bikini decorated with sayings in body paint, who
looked so much more alluring in technicolor--thanks Dad!

Last week I got to be de Judge, along with John Flynn and Pat Harrison, of 273 quilts entered for the quilt competition in Road to California, a huge quilt show/competition/retail circus and learning experience for my beloved craft of quilting. And lest any non-quilter reader thinks, "Oh that's nice, Granny got a ribbon for her blanket!" you need to understand, this judging thing is serious stuff. It took our team of three two days, every quilt got written comments, and prizes varied from $500 for a third place winner up to the Best of Show that lands a $10,000 checkTo really get your head around what these winning quilts are, go here  Road to CA Winners 2020 .

The first quilt that shows up is the Best in Show. We all agreed that Marilyn Badgers' Christmas in Saint Andrews was magnificent and lingered over its many glittering details and stood in awe of the breath-taking guts it takes to work with plaids. 

I thought this wonderful quilt (titled Carolinas) by Terry Sargent Peart truly deserved the Best of Color award. And Laugh-In would have loved it!

It's no stroll in the garden to get your quilt into the Road competition. You need to follow the rules and enter your quilt into the correct category. No kits allowed, no pre-printed panels, etc. etc. Originality is appreciated and workmanship must be excellent. 

I was knackered after two days of judging but had an aha! moment when this quilt was shown. Here's my judge's choice. I could look at this quilt for days.
     Away  by Karen K. Stone.

What's funny is that I know Karen and would never imagine she'd make an Asian-influenced masterpiece. When we judge, it's all blind. Only the name of the quilt is called out-no other info.
I am in love with this quilt--wish I'd made it!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

My Choice for Color of the Year 2020

It's great that Pantone names its Color of the Year. You can read December's blog post here for info on that. But I've been thinking a little closer to home. Why can't I personally choose a favorite color for 2020?

For about eight years (can it be that long?) I've been designing Peppered Cottons (shot cottons) for StudioE Fabrics. We've been through about 80 shades so far. Use this link to see the present palette of Peppered Cottons.

Several colors of Peppered Cottons, introduced back when, are still selling well and thus have proved themselves favorites with the fabric-buying public. Among that top rank is Green Tea, #44. 

Green Tea is a combination of bright yellow green (weft) and a deep olive green (warp). 
As soon as I saw the swatch from the mill, I knew its name had to be Green Tea. Note: depending on your computer monitor, the shade may look more yellow or more green than what the fabric truly looks like in person.

I regard Green Tea as a staple and found that I'm always sticking it into compositions somewhere. Here it turned up as thin strips in a string-pieced Bars quilt I sent to a friend recovering from an accident.

Green Tea looks great beside hot pink, black and white. 

                                      It inspired me to make an apron I still wear.          

I'm working on projects right now that use Green Tea and I was so glad StudioE Fabrics also decided to issue it as a wide fabric (108")! Now I can back quilts using this favorite color without having to seam lengths of fabric!

One of my favorite uses of Green Tea was in the quilt called Flower Market that I made for Fresh Quilts magazine. 

Yep, Green Tea #44 is a keeper and is my pick for 2020 Color of the Year!