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May 26, 2019
Forage done and dusted from Stitch and Yarn

Last month Tenfold Textile Collective hosted their third annual show at Neon Parlour. We had a good number of people come and visit, but for those who didn't get the chance, I thought I'd walk you through it here. The works are in the order they appeared as you wandered around.

'Encore Career' – Tara Glastonbury

From left to right: Quarter acre block (sketch); The straight and narrow; Toe the line;
Off the rails; A bet each way; Corporate life.
Upcycled business shirts, machine pieced, machine and hand quilted.

Image by Paul Hicks
Foraging, for me, happens in my ...

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May 25, 2019
OMG May Finish from Urban Quilter

I set a #onemonthlygoal of completing 6 grain-bag totes and I finished 10 of them! All 10 were delivered last night and will soon be available for purchase at Great North Aleworks. Linking this post up with One Monthly Goal at Elm Street Quilts.

3 of the 10 completed tote bags

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May 2, 2019
OMG May from Urban Quilter

Materials for grain bag totes
I missed last month totally for One Monthly Goal, but am setting a #onemonthlygoal for May. 
I want to complete at least 6 grain-bag totes. I have handles all prepped for 10 bags and I have at least a few grain bags disassembled and ready to turn into tote bags. More than 6 would be great, but given what a wash-out April was I don't want to aim too high.

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January 17, 2019
Switch & Stitch Improvisational Stuffed Fish from Gefilte Quilt

Stuffed fish, high in fiber, yum! Here are a couple of whoppers (11" x 5"), made from blue jeans, though you can use any fabric. They serve as pillows and/or toys. This fun and forgiving method makes two at the same time, stacking and switching pieces. It can also be used to create four applique fish, if you're making an underwater quilt! My pair: Fish 1, 
And Fish 2,

With minimal embellishment, they exude serenity. One has a coconut shell button eye. 
Its partner started out with two vintage mother-of-pearl button eyes, and decorative stitching on the seams ...

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January 7, 2019
Stuffed, Embellished Creatures from Denim Jeans for Sensory Stimulation! from Gefilte Quilt

My beautiful, artistic, Aunt Ruthie is 94, and although her mind is  sharp, she's both visually and hearing-impaired, and has severe arthritis in her hands. Last month, we flew to Arizona to visit her and her daughter, my cousin Nina. By accident, I brought her the perfect gift, which she's holding here: 
What the heck is that? Why, it's a hairy, sensory stimulation, two-humped camel, of course! 
The "hair" is 6-strand embroidery floss. Thread it through a large-eyed needle, tie a knot about two inches from the end, bury the needle, bring it out 1/2" away ...

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December 16, 2018
How to Stitch a Cute Quilted Cactus from Gefilte Quilt

How's your holiday gift production? Here's a fun last-minute idea: Stuffed, maybe quilted cactii. I first made a couple out them of printed quilting fabric, like this Manhattan cactus (no watering required, just occasional dusting), in its own (fabric) custom pot. It's about 4" high.

Then I made one from a plaid scraps, with embroidery thread flowers. It's about 5" high 
I switched over to denim - specifically, worn and washed jeans. Here's a friendly flat cactus, about 5" high. 
Cross stitches serve as quilting, too. In the base, there are dimples, quilted in by machine ...

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December 10, 2018
Candy Wrappers, Broccoli Bags, or Both? Upcycled Polyhedra to Sew from Gefilte Quilt

In my last post, I showed off several polyhedron projects from my  new book, "Stitch-a-hedron: English Paper Pieced Polyhedron Gifts and Accessories to Sew." For those projects, I used quilting cotton, or necktie silks.


As much as I love working with gorgeous fabrics, I also get a kick out of working with upcycled materials - aka the trash.

First, we have a half stellated dodecahedron with a message. It's  made with candy wrappers wrapped around cardstock templates, and sewn together by hand. It sits mysteriously on a surface with a peak pointing upward.
When you flip it over and look ...

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My New Book! English Paper Piece a Polyhedron! from Gefilte Quilt

I am having an out-of-body experience - after two years in the works, my new book just went live on Amazon! And on etsy, too! It's not about quilts...it's about the joy of stitching polyhedra! 


What, I hear you asking? Polyhedra? You probably haven't given a dodecahedron or icosahedron much thought since high school (unless you play Dungeons and Dragons).  Neither did I, until last year. So how did I get from quilts to polyhedra? 

Through English Paper Piecing.

If you're a quilter who's tried English Paper Piecing, you know it's a fun, addictive ...

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November 26, 2018
Snippets and upcycling make me happy! from Blended Fabric Quilts | Good Earth Quilting | Organic Quilting Cotton

Hi everyone!

Good news, my ankle recovery is finally feeling like we are getting somewhere. Its great to be back to normal walking and not having to think about what my ankle needs.

I have been binge watching of Anne with an E series on CBC. I joined CBC as a member and now, I have more advertising than I did have before. So any thoughts from Canadians on their experience with having this 4.99 a month payment is going? Do you have more advertising. I was initially interested because it was advertised as no advertising.

I hav finished ...

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Snippets and upcycling make me happy! from Good Earth Quilting

Hi everyone!

Good news, my ankle recovery is finally feeling like we are getting somewhere. Its great to be back to normal walking and not having to think about what my ankle needs.

I have been binge watching of Anne with an E series on CBC. I joined CBC as a member and now, I have more advertising than I did have before. So any thoughts from Canadians on their experience with having this 4.99 a month payment is going? Do you have more advertising. I was initially interested because it was advertised as no advertising.

I hav finished ...

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October 14, 2018
Use Your Best Scraps for Quilts that Sing from Gefilte Quilt

I recently finished this commissioned quilt, a gift for a singer-songwriter. This artist's lyrics are full of natural imagery - I listened to loads of them on Youtube before designing this.

What also served me well was a lesson that took me years to learn: To make a beautiful quilt, start with beautiful fabric. 

I know, guilds are always doing "ugly fabric" challenges - but the exceptions only prove the rule. Fun, funny, interesting can be done easily with hideous fabric. But if you need beautiful, on deadline, pull out the good stuff.

In the background of this piece, the light ...

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September 27, 2018
Upcycling a Vintage Caftan from Needle and Foot

This post is picture heavy and contains just a bit of sewing related info so if you aren’t in the mood, I totally understand!  As you might already know, my son and his fiancé were married on Saturday.  As the parents of the groom, we hosted a rehearsal dinner on the Friday night before the wedding. The couple wanted a Mexican dinner which we had catered by a local Mexican restaurant.  I don’t usually do this but it worked out well for us.  I had so much going on and not cooking the meal myself was so helpful ...

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September 22, 2018
Over Japan, Quilt 1 (As in: You Never Get Over Japan) from Gefilte Quilt

If anyone asked me what country red, white and blue represents, I'd mention the US, of course; the French flag; and then I'd tell them about Japan's traditional fabrics and quilts. My 75" x 96" quilt below is a tribute to the latter. 

Most fabrics in the large blue rectangles (each about 14" x 19") were dyed in Japan in the early 1990s. I can testify to that fact in a court of law, because I was there.

My husband had a conference in Japan, and I tagged along. I had lived in Tokyo a decade earlier ...

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September 6, 2018
Upcycling Tea Towels from Samelia's Mum



My parents went on holiday to Portugal a few months back. They had a lovely time and brought back lots of mementos from their trip.

Mum brought some tea towels which she loved the look of, but though too pretty to use as "just" tea towels, so I offered to upcycle them for her.

According to wikipedia: 

Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.

The first blue one was just so pretty. Sweet little birds and ...

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August 6, 2018
Stitches from Sorrow, Neatness Doesn't Count: Outsider Art in Lausanne from Gefilte Quilt

In my last two blog posts, (1, 2), I talked about quilt-ish inspiration from a week in the mountains, streets, and, of course, the cheeses of the French Alps and Lausanne, Switzerland. Along with ancient sites, one of the most astonishing places we went was Lausanne's Art Brut Museum - "Collection de l'Art Brut."

Art Brut is a term coined by French painter Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) - in English, it's called Outsider Art. Here's how the museum explains it: 

"Art Brut is made by self-taught people who often live on the margins of society....Among them are prisoners ...

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July 22, 2018
What three years of saying no to new clothes looks like from Stitch and Yarn

Colour combo love. My half-thrifted, half-handmade PJs
I got quite a shock when I went back through my posts to see when I basically stopped buying new clothes... It was January 2015 – three and a half years ago! No wonder things are starting to get dire in places. I haven't gone back to the audit document a lot, but it would be interesting to see whether it's decreased much in size. I am aiming to fit all my clothes into the wardrobe together without having to swap winter out for summer etc, but I'm still a way off that.

I haven't gone all ...

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May 23, 2018
Thrifting Upcycled Clothing from Good Earth Quilting

When I completely opened my mind to the possibilities of upcycling I was instantly in love. I have many items that once they were washed, they became too small.


Just having fun is where it is at.


 This started out as a t-shirt that was a a special t-shirt. You  know the one I like to wear working in the back yard or going camping. It had a statement on the front that had become stained from years of wear. And upcycling saved it from disposal.


I added all sorts of lace, bits and pieces of new cotton and Voila ...

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Thrifting Upcycled Clothing from Blended Fabric Quilts | Good Earth Quilting | Organic Quilting Cotton

When I completely opened my mind to the possibilities of upcycling I was instantly in love. I have many items that once they were washed, they became too small.


Just having fun is where it is at.


 This started out as a t-shirt that was a a special t-shirt. You  know the one I like to wear working in the back yard or going camping. It had a statement on the front that had become stained from years of wear. And upcycling saved it from disposal.


I added all sorts of lace, bits and pieces of new cotton and Voila ...

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Something Fishy: More Quilted Silk Scrap Brooches from Gefilte Quilt

In February, I showed some Valentine's Day hearts made from felt, silk scraps and tulle. After the holiday, I wanted to go beyond hearts, so I dug up my aquatic life pattern e-book, printed out shapes, and used them to make....this butterfly fish...
...a winking crab....

 ...a lumpfish...
 ...a surprised angelfish....
,,,a bored Angelfish...

Same eye, different fish:
...a second seahorse (first one was here)...


A couple of snipefish...

...and cichlids...

...and sharks....


...octopii...

And so forth. Because I was running low on pin backings, I stitched gold safety pins to the back (You can also stitch a ...

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May 14, 2018
A Going-to-College Tee Shirt Quilt, Only 6 1/2 Years Late from Gefilte Quilt

Happy Mothers Day to all moms! Here's a project that's poignant but therapeutic for mothers and other empty nesters. It will move all of your offsprings' impossible-to-throw-away tee shirts out of your house!

I wanted to have this quilt ready for my son to bring to college in September...of 2012. It took longer. But I finally finished and presented it to him this week!

The quilt has two themes. Front: Oh, the places you've been!  (Tee shirts from childhood through college).

Back: Oh, the places you haven't been! (Fabrics from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Africa, three ...

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  • upcycling
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