Monday, November 2, 2015

Put Your Suspenders On!

It's been a long time since I last posted, I know -- so many things going on all at once, just like everyone else, I'm sure.  We did a renovation on the house over the past 9 months, and I think we can call it "done."  We added on a larger garage and converted the existing garage into a new studio -- I couldn't be happier.  But, as many of you can attest to, it was a l-o-o-o-n-g process (did you know that there are real estate agents who offer the services of a professional marriage counselor to couples who are buying or renovating a house because of the stress it can cause?  I swear I'm not making this up.).  Happily, Hubby Fran and I still love each other.

Meanwhile, back to the joy of quilting -- and it's SUCH a joy to be quilting, isn't it?  I've recently found some neat accessories that are changing my quilting life, and I wanted to share.

These are quilt suspenders, and they can save your arms, your shoulders, and your back from the pain that comes from struggling with the weight of the quilt as you're stitching.  I first learned about them from Patsy Thompson (you simply must visit her blog HERE -- she's an amazing quilt artist), who constructed her own system.  I chose to purchase mine from Jenoop Quilt Suspenders, and they have not only saved my aching body; they've helped me improve my quilting by preventing drag on the quilt.
The system consists of furniture-grade PVC piping, which can be configured several ways to accommodate your quilt table, and two adjustable suspenders attached to large, adjustable clamps to hold the quilt above the table.  Visit their web site HERE to see the many different arrangements that can be created -- this is truly an incredible "support system" in every way.
And thank you, dear readers, for still being out there -- I love connecting with you.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Do You Long To Be A Long-Arm-er?

Are you like me in that you love your domestic sewing machine for free motion quilting, but you lack the space to own a long-arm machine and you wish you could do so many of the cool things that long-arm quilters can do?  Then help has arrived in the form of Westalee Design of Australia.  I recently had the extreme pleasure of speaking with Bill and Leonie West, the owners and creators of this company, and they are one of the most engaging and dedicated couples I've had the pleasure to know.

I had ordered one of their brand new quilting feet (pictured above) that can be fitted to a domestic machine and which will enable you to use straight-edge and curved rulers for quilting; I then went through their on-line catalogue to order some specialty rulers.  I had a question about one of the rulers, so I emailed the company.  Within a few hours, Bill phoned me (!) to answer my question and help me place the order -- how's THAT for service?  I also spoke to Leonie, who gave me invaluable advice on using the foot and the rulers with my machine -- I own a Bernina 1530, a really old work-horse of a machine, and Bill and Leonie told me that this new foot would open up a whole world of possibilities.

Do check out their website, Westalee Design, by clicking here, to learn more about these great new feet; the Wests have a beautifully designed catalogue for all their products, plus some wonderful videos showing you how to use the templates on both domestic and long-arm machines.  Regardless of your type of quilting machine, you'll find something wonderful to help you enhance and improve your machine quilting experience.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Hello Again, Dear Readers!

"Pretty in Pink" © Diane Evans

If any of you are still following my blog after all this time, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Life has been full and a bit crazy and wonderful, and I've been plugging away at new work and learning new techniques.  My intention is to keep the brain in constant forward motion for as long as possible.

To help inaugurate these new directions, I decided to have a sale of much of my current inventory of quilted works.  With the help of my dear friend and eBay guru, Ellen, many of my pieces are now available on eBay at nicely reduced prices.  I'm posting photos here of the pieces that have recently been listed; just click on the title beneath the picture (including the photo above), and you'll be connected to the sale page.  If you have any questions, please email me here.  There will be more works available in the coming weeks, so check back on eBay or this blog, if you're interested.  

"Bohemian Rhapsody"© Diane Evans

"Midnight Blue" © Diane Evans

"Garden Party" © Diane Evans

"Ornamentals: #4" © Diane Evans
"Ornamentals: #5" © Diane Evans
"Ornamentals: #6 © Diane Evans
Hope you're all happy, healthy, and artfully busy.


Thursday, May 10, 2012


"Ink-A-Dink-A-Do"   Diane Evans ©2012
If you love coloring inside the lines, you’re really going to enjoy Sherry Rogers-Harrison’s technique for creating art quilts with intricate color.  In her book, “Ink-liqué,” Sherry explains how to quilt the design first and then add the color; I couldn’t wait to try this – turns out it’s both artistic and meditative.
I drew an original design onto paper and traced it to a piece of Hoffman PFD fabric that had been starched to within an inch of its life – the fabric felt crisp, like paper.  The piece was then layered with cotton batting and backing, and the free-motion quilting began; every motif was outlined using So Fine 50-weight thread and a size 65/9 needle.  The idea is to create the smallest holes possible in the sandwich so that no ink will migrate through to the back.
Then the next stage of the fun began.  Color was added using Sakura Gelly Roll pens for the outlines, along with Identi-Pens and Tsukineko Fabrico Ink Pens to fill in the shapes.  
Sulky rayon thread was used in the machine quilting, and the postcard was inserted into a raised white mat.  It's now available for sale in my Etsy shop.
And if you found yourself humming the title's
 tune by the late Jimmy Durante, you're probably as old as I am . . .

Saturday, April 28, 2012

"Feelin' Groovy"

"Feelin' Groovy" Diane Evans ©2012 
The latest “To-Do” project has now become a “Ta-Da!”  Many, many moons ago, I used a design from one of my copyright-free sources, altered it somewhat, and printed it out on fabric.  Thanks to the experimentation of fellow blogger Jill Buckley at The Quilt Rat, I learned that aloe vera gel makes a wonderful medium for fixing fabric ink; it’s easily available and very inexpensive.  Since “available” and “inexpensive” are two of my favorite words, I bought the All-Purpose Giant Economy-Sized tube and went to work.
I ironed the fabric to a piece of freezer paper to give it stability.  The gel was spread over the entire drawing with a paintbrush and left to dry.  I then applied the color using Tsukineko Fabrico ink pens and used an iron to heat set it.  
Sulky rayon thread was used in the machine quilting, and French knots were added for texture.
The postcard was inserted into a raised, white mat and is available for sale in my Etsy shop.
Jill has also had great results using the aloe vera as a medium for blending watercolor pencils, and the next project is already percolating away.  I think this gel could be the next baking soda of our time – one simple product, so many uses.
Thanks, Jill! 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"It Might As Well Be Spring"

"It Might As Well Be Spring"  ©2012   Diane Evans
I learned a new word a few weeks ago while working on the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle: “grok,” a synonym for “see,” “get,” or “understand.”  I love this word – it sounds like the name of a character from “The Lord of the Rings.”  Say it three times fast; it makes you giggle.
I decided that I would use an altered version of my new favorite word as an acronym – in my little world, G.R.O.C. now stands for Get Rid Of Clutter.  You could let the “c” stand for “chaos” or “calories” or “cellulite” – whatever your heart desires on any particular day (actually, my heart desires getting rid of all three of those things, but that’s another post entirely).
Notice that my desire to GROC meshes nicely with my goal of changing my “To Do” list into a “Ta Da!” list, since I will undoubtedly be “GROC-ing” as I finish up my languishing projects.
The design was traced onto fabric from an original sketch I had done many moons ago; the piece was then outline-quilted with black rayon thread and stippled with green rayon thread.
I gathered together my Derwent watercolor pencils and Plaid Folk Art Textile Medium.
The medium was painted onto one section at a time; pencil was added while the fabric was still wet.  I learned to apply the color heavily to the edges of the motif first and then to fill in the design with a light touch to achieve a shaded look (my inner child was unleashed at this point -- gosh, how I love to color things . . .).
After completing the coloring . . .
. . . I fused the composition to Timtex and backing fabric, zigzagged the edges with more rayon thread . . .
. . . and inserted it into a mat, suitable for framing.  (This piece is now available in my Etsy shop; click here for more details.)
And, in keeping with the spirit of GROC-ing, I’ve added a few more books to my page of “Books For Sale.”  Click on this link and see if you can find a great bargain for yourself – or for someone else who doesn’t currently have the need to GROC . . .

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ta Da!

I recently read an article which stated that this is the time of year when many of our New Year's resolutions begin to fade and dissolve into the universe.  The article suggested that we gently prod ourselves with smaller goals on our way to reaching the ultimate goal that we had set for ourselves way back in January (seems like years ago, doesn't it??).  So, I went to the Land of Unfinished Pieces and Percolating Ideas and decided to choose just one of them to bring to life; my plan is to slowly complete a "To Do" project and turn it into a "Ta Da!" piece.
I will begin by stating that I am being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century; our son, Sean, teases me because I still use a phone book to look up telephone numbers.  Therefore, it should not surprise you to see that my first "Ta Da!" project is a legal pad cover; in this age of electronic note-taking devices,  I'm hoping that some of you will remember legal pads.  Please humor me.
Thank goodness there is a company out there who makes a pattern for these covers; this one is designed by Cotton Dreams and was purchased through Fabrics 'N' Quilts.
I chose a Jane Sassaman fabric for the outside cover and coordinated it with other fabrics for the lining, pockets, and binding.  After fusing the cover pieces together with Timtex, I used one of Jane's ideas and created a cardboard template to use in quilting a wavy design over the entire cover (I actually drew a sine curve onto graph paper to use as the shape -- math teachers never completely retire . . .).
After inserting the pockets, the binding was added by machine and hand-stitched to the inside.
And because I wanted to make the folded cover lie a little flatter, I found an even better use for the phone book; Sean should be pleased.


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