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

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

More Sunday at Clay Camp...

Remember these things:

I finally found the findings I was looking for to complete this flower thing from April:

In some ways it turned out better than I thought, but it's disappointing in other ways.  It doesn't help that the translucent clay darkened a bit with the re-baking.  I left it in the oven too long....

Oh well, in a previous post I did mention something about learning.

Sunday at Clay Camp...

I made a few rings on Sunday:

The perspicacious among you will recognize the cane from last year's Tertiary Tree ornaments (isn't that a fun word, perspicacious?  I had to figure out a way to use it in a sentence).

 Another ring:

Demos at Clay Camp - Saturday...

There are usually three or four demos at Clay Camp every year.  This year we had demos by Meredith, Charlie, Shannon, and...me!  And maybe one or two others--oh my lamentable memory!  Anyway, I'm always surprised when someone wants me to do a demo or teach a class.  I don't feel like an expert in anything; I feel like I'm still a newbie--learning new things every day just like everyone else.  But it certainly makes me feel good and I love to share what I know.

I demoed smashed ikat again this year.  Heh--didn't I just say I didn't feel like an expert and that I'm learning new things?  Well, I learned that white and pastels don't always work that successfully in some things.  Here's a picture for example:

It's kind of hard to see the detail, yes?  So for this particular application, not so good.  BUT, I also did another smashed ikat cane:

And this is what I made with it:

I like the way it turned out, although the picture doesn't really do it justice....

Sunday, May 27, 2012

More Saturday at Clay Camp...

Remember this?

I finally finished it:

A couple more views:

Saturday at Clay Camp...

The first thing I made at clay camp was my name badge.  I decided to use these wonderful new colors that FIMO put out (they look suspiciously like the pastel colors that were packaged as FimoSoft several years ago--let's hope they're not as short-lived):

I made the "Grandmother's Favorite" quilt pattern for the cane for the base of my badge:

I made a charm of sorts for each of my grandchildren (including the one who won't make his or her arrival until November).  I attached them to the badge, added my name, and ... ta da!

Friday at Clay Camp...

Clay Camp is at Camp Huston in Gold Bar, Washington.  It's a beautiful place in the middle of nowhere (sorry, Gold Bar, but it is).  People start arriving Friday night after 4:00 pm and the final camper leaves somewhere around 2:00 p.m. on Monday.  'Tis glorious!

I got off work and headed up there...I had to stop at Ben Franklin in Monroe, of course.  But I finally made it to a happy weekend of claying.  Usually, I get unpacked and then catch up with people I haven't seen since last Clay Camp.  Then I get busy.  Only this year, I did not get busy.  I didn't do much at all.  And then I went to bed early!  Before midnight!!  Oy!

A couple of years ago everyone made buttons to swap, last year it was beads.  This year, we were supposed to make name badges and everyone voted in several categories (favorite, best representative of the person, most elegant, most funky, etc.).  I managed to snap this photo of one of Shannon's badges (she made two--the over-achiever!  Just kidding--you know I love ya, Shannon):

I'm pretty sure I was told the reason for the name "Bambi", but like so much else these days, I forget....

Clay Camp

So, last week I was getting ready for Clay Camp (deciding, packing, getting caught up on my many jobs), then last weekend (Friday through Monday!!) was Clay Camp, then this week was recovering from Clay Camp (unpacking, sleeping, getting caught up on my many jobs).

I feel so silly--I took my camera, but didn't take any pictures until Monday after more than half the people left.  D'oh!  I do have a few, though.  Here's one:

There's a continuing saga of Peeps at Clay Camp...ask Meredith!

I'll try to get a couple more posts up later today....

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I had a fair amount of clay left over from the other day.  I used it today to make the Mosaic quilt pattern.  Actually, there's probably a dozen different quilt blocks that are named Mosaic.  I rather like this one:

Monday, May 14, 2012


Okay, I've finally taken the plunge.  I finished the Alabama State block.  Here's a picture of some of the steps and the final quilt block.  Alabama's State flower is the Camellia, and I took a stab at it in cane form.  I thought it might make the final block look interesting.  And it does:

You can't really see the flower in the quilt's final form, but the muted color works quite well with the rest of the block.

I'll tackle Alaska sometime soon....

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I made some more...

I made some more of those funky flowers that I burned awhile back:

I came up with a couple of new styles, too.  The nice thing about these flowers is I can use leftover scraps of whatever I have lying around.

It's weird, though.  I'm not a very precise person.  I very rarely measure anything and tend to eyeball it.  But for some reason, I find I need to get these close to perfect.  I roll out a sheet through the pasta machine and then I use various size cutters, depending on the flower.  I roll each piece into a ball and then shape it from there.  I don't think these would look as good if there were variations of size within the individual flowers.  It's hard enough getting the shape right!

Anyway, I am totally loving these flowers.  I have a vague notion of what I want done with them, but I haven't figured out quite how to put them together.  I'm working on it....

"Old Maid's Puzzle"

I decided to do a rather colorful version of the traditional block, "Old Maid's Puzzle":

Friday, May 11, 2012

"Bright Star"

This quilt block is also known as "Rosebud" or "Hummingbird" among other names.  I chose to make this in white and yellow, so I thought "Bright Star" fit best.  I like quilt patterns like this--there's a little bit of color and a lot of white for an airy, elegant look:

The downside:  I go through white clay like nobody's business!

"Mystery Block"

One of the fun things about making quilt canes is seeing how they turn out when reduced, cut apart, and recombined (lather, rinse repeat).  Secondary patterns can come into play and colors can affect the total look of the quilt.  Observe:

The purple tends to dominate the block, but the orange is still strong enough to make itself known.  The orange corners come together and make a secondary pattern.  I like the way it turned out....

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

"Flock of Geese"

This quilt block is a good example of how polymer clay canes work.  It's a simple block made up of two different size triangles in two different colors (in this particular cane, anyway).  I just made a white block of clay and a red-orange block of clay; cut each in half on the diagonal; swapped the pieces around to make a square cane made up of a white triangle and a red-orange triangle.  Then it's just a matter of reducing and cutting and reassembling and reducing part of the cane and reassembling. and here ya go:

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"Year's Favorite"...

I tried to take a stab at the 2012 Spring Pantone colors.  I don't think I've got them quite right, but I still like how my colors turned out in this quilt pattern, "Year's Favorite":

It looks good even at the smallest iteration.  The colors really pop, but they don't overwhelm each other.  I'm going to give the Pantone colors another try next week....

Monday, May 7, 2012


I don't usually use Sculpy III for canes.  I know other people love it, but I just can't make it work consistently in my canes.  But I really like some of their pastel colors and I couldn't resist making a cane with them.  So here's the Louisiana quilt pattern in Sculpey III:

Speaking of states, I tend to get carried away sometimes with something that catches my fancy.  A couple of years ago I ran across a Quilter's Newsletter & Magazine issue that had the final article on their 50 states quilt blocks.  They had started with issue 106 in 1978 and every few months they'd have another state.  They finished up eighteen years later in 1996 (issue 283).  Well, I became like one possessed--I had to find every issue!  I just have two issues left to find (California - issue 109 & Texas - issue 128).  I've organized the issues I have by state alphabetically and plan to make a quilt cane for every state.

I've actually started work on the quilt block for Alabama.  I got sidetracked with another project when I didn't have enough white clay to finish the block and haven't quite made my way back to completing the block (uh oh--I can't remember which type of clay I used; Fimo, Fimo Soft, or Premo).  Maybe I'll work on it at Clay Camp (coming up in less than two weeks!!!)....

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Is it "Cat's Cradle" or "Double X"?

It's both!  One of the interesting things about quilt blocks is the color placement.  It can turn one block into another.  Observe:

The quilt block on the left is "Cat's Cradle" (or Tennessee or Double Pyramid); the one on the right is "Double X (or Old Maid's Puzzle).  They're constructed exactly the same way, but the color inversion makes them different blocks.  This happens often--but it can be used to great effect.  I'll show you later this month what I mean....


I had enough clay to re-do the cane from yesterday.  Here's today's cane:

Take a look at yesterday's cane (on the right) and today's cane...

I think I like today's better.

Friday, May 4, 2012

May bead theme...

I had a very hard time coming up with a bead theme for May (obviously--here it is the 4th and I haven't posted anything yet).  My favorite polymer thing to do is canes.  I've been so busy with everything, that I haven't made a cane (well, my normal type of cane--quilts!) for quite a while.  So I'm combining that with beads for May.  I'm going to make a cane every day and make a bead (or two or three...or a dozen) using the cane.  Here's the first one:

The quilt pattern is "Pinwheel", and I ran up against one of the pitfalls of quilt caning--taking it too far.  I should have gone for nine blocks to the quilt instead of sixteen.  Nine blocks would have made the blocks in the quilt bigger and they wouldn't get so lost in the final quilt reduction.  I'm happy with the colors, though--that seems to be another pitfall I run up against from time to time.