I STARTED Early--Took my Dog--And visited the Sea--
The Mermaids in the Basement Came out to look at me
--Emily Dickinson

Thursday, August 14, 2014


So I made this ornament a few weeks ago:

On my way home from work the other day I thought about making this one:

The good thing about making lots of canes?  You can indulge your impulses.  And sometimes it even turns out....

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Another one...

Remember these?

I finally reduced them one more time and slapped borders on them:

And turned them into Kimono Beads...I finished a necklace with the red/purple one:

And the yellow/green one is in progress:

Monday, August 4, 2014

Angelic Variations...

So I made this cane (Hope of Hartford quilt block pattern)...quite a bit of it actually.  For me, anyway.  I don't tend to make a lot of any one cane.  I decided to make one each of the angel ornaments that I make:

I'm not sure which is my favorite...I tend to go overboard for a while and then get burnt out with a design.  Right now, I'm really liking the Kimono angels.  Although, the bell ones never seem to grow old....

Monday, July 28, 2014

Size matters?

I have the hardest time making ornaments of a consistent size.  Intellectually, I know that if the cane is a certain size, the ornament will be a certain size.  But when it comes to making the canes...sometimes I reduce to far, and other times I can't bear to make the cane small enough.  It's a problem.  Or is it?

Here's the various sizes I've done over the last couple of months:

The one on the left is the largest...about five inches tall.  I added a couple of little touches--different hair ornaments, a fan, and an obidome (a little ornament on the sash).  Most of the Japanese ornaments I've done are between three and a half to four inches tall.  It seems to be the optimal size for a Christmas ornament.

The orange one is a little smaller, three inches.  There's a reason for that, but we'll save it for another post.  And finally, there's the one on the right.  It's about two inches tall and I made it that small on purpose...ta da!

Heh.  I took it up to show my mom.  She liked it and said, "Is it for me?"  Um...sure.  Really though, I never know quite what she will like, so I'm happy to give her something she admires.  I have a couple more Japanese Kimono beads...it will probably take a while to string them into necklaces--I have the hardest time winnowing down the beads to an acceptable amount.  We'll see....

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Japanese angel ornaments...

Remember this one?

 I wasn't real thrilled with it, but I was showing it to the lady at the quilt museum, and she asked me to make 20.  They had an exhibition of Japanese quilts coming up and she thought they might be a good addition to the gift shop.  So I tweaked the idea a bit, and also tweaked the one I made for my mom a couple of years back:

And came up with an ornament that I liked quite a lot.  I'm getting ahead of myself, though.  I grabbed some canes I made over the last few months:

There were a few that were the right size, so I carefully (but not carefully enough, alas), cut a bunch of slices for the ornaments...and ta-da!  Japanese angel ornaments!

Well, it was a little more work than just ta-da! but I'm very happy with the way they turned out.  Here's a behind the scenes (no pun intended) look at the back of the ornaments (before the hair went on):

I delivered them to the quilt museum, and they seemed to like them.

Here's a couple of close-ups:

I've made a couple dozen more since then..various sizes and different types of detail.  I'll post pics over the next couple of days....

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Moebius Angel Ornaments

I know I've been gone awhile.  A horrid combination of technical difficulties and too much work.  With the technical difficulties behind me (I hope!) and the weekend upon me, I thought I'd catch up a little.  The Quilt Museum sold all my Moebius angel Christmas ornaments (pictured above) and thought they'd like to carry them year round (yay!!).  So I spent a fair amount of time in April and May putting together a couple of dozen.  Here they are in progress at Clay Camp this year:

Monday, May 12, 2014

Getting the swirl right...

So I made this citrus-y type cane, trying to get it so all four colors would swirl.  No such luck:

But I found a picture online that helped.  You basically have to build two canes.  One swirls one way, and the other swirls the other way.  Put them together and...TA DA!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

So what do you do with all those cane ends? Part three

At the end of part two, there were leftovers from the leftovers.  We can use those, too!

Take the uneven piece that was cut off the smashed cane end and roll it up as below:

Roll this piece into a snake and cut in half...

Push the snakes together and cut in half again...

Push those two halves together, and you have a square cane...

Reduce a bit and cut into four pieces...

Put the pieces together for the final cane.  It's on the small side...maybe 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch square, depending on how big your pieces are.

You can make some nice small beads with it, though.

So here's the initial canes I made...all with the rainbow cane for the snail's trail pattern:

I'm guessing the same principles hold for other quilt patterns, but since I'm still obsessing over the snail's trail pattern, I can't say for sure...stay tuned, I'll probably get to more patterns before too long....

So what do you do with all those cane ends? Part two

I tend to go two ways with ikat canes...squares and petals.  It can be a difficult decision, sometimes.

And that's not the only choice.  Do I stack them up with the colors going all one way like I did below, or flip them and alternate the layers as I did above.

Eh...I went with all one way:

Don't compress together too quickly...try it a couple of different ways and see how you like it.  Different color combinations and layers can look great one way, not so much another.  Once you've decided on how you want it, compress them into squares (to start with, anyway):

Do you  mind if I blather on about some observations here?  The canes with the white on the ends look a little muddy to me.  I think if you're using snail's trail cane ends, it turns out better to have the colors on the outside.  The white gives definition to the layers on the inside and they look better.  Of course, it depends on what YOU like, so experiment away!

I'm going to make one of the muddy ones into a square cane.  Cut the cane on the diagonal; flip one piece around to make a triangle; stand the triangle on it's longest side and cut through it lengthwise; flip one piece over and push them together to make a square; TA-DA!

Okay, for the next one, I took the initial cane and just started pressing in the sides; take it slow and work your way up and down the cane; you can work it with your fingers until it's the petal shape you want; TA-DA!:

Here's the canes I made:

But wait--there's more!  Remember those little tips you cut off (well, you should have cut off), after passing the smashed cane ends through the pasta machine?  I even do something with those...in part three!