Monday, September 30, 2013

Pet Postcards

Once again, Pokey Bolton is collecting 4x6 fabric postcards to sell at the Houston Quilt Show this year to raise money for Houston Animal Shelters.  Pet adoption is a cause I feel very strongly about, and we're actually going to the Houston Quilt Show this year, so I thought I'd better make some.

I encourage everyone to participate, it doesn't take that long to make one and send it in.  For more information, you can see Pokey's blog post:

I made six, one for each of my dogs.  We don't have six dogs now, these are just all the dogs I've had and loved (not counting the lots and lots from growing up).  Six cards also fit easily on two 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper (to run through the printer).  I fixed my pictures in photoshop and then printed them onto regular fabric (I used a very light green batik) which had been stuck to a full size mailing label.  The first three may look familiar, they're just slightly altered versions of the larger dog portraits.  The other three are pictures of my dogs which either passed away before or came to us after the large dog portrait project started. For those, I found a picture of the dog I liked and superimposed the dog on a brightly colored abstracted background.  

Missy, who was adopted in ~2007 from Mike's brother who couldn't take care of her.

Bullett, who was adopted in 2006 from a girl at Walmart whose dad was going to drop him at the Humane Society
Pumpkin, who was adopted in 2007 from the Oklahoma City Humane Society.

My precious Angel, who was adopted in 2003 from the Humane Society of Southern Arizona..

Bentley, who was adopted in 2010 from Second Chance Animal Shelter in Norman, OK.

Shooter, adopted in 2012.  She was a stray out in the country northeast of Oklahoma City.

I don't know what I'd do without the dogs!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Glacier NP

I'm back from an outstanding, rejuvenating trip to Glacier National Park, and hope to have some fabric goodness to share later in the week.

This fabulous one was taken by Mike

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Black and White and Read All Over

Saturday very very early I'm leaving to meet Mike (who is already up north with the motorcycle) for a week of hiking and motorcycling in Glacier National Park.  I'm super excited, I love National Park trips and Glacier is lovely.  Luckily my good friend Justin always housesits for us so the monsters don't get too lonely.

I've been trying to decide which hand project to take on the trip-  since we're traveling on the bike it has to be something pretty small.  I'm thinking about one of Carina's embroideries, but we'll see if I get sufficiently organized in time.

Before going though, I wanted to share this recent finish.  It was also made for the black and white  and one color challenge I talked about last week.  It's not the terrible one which made me so frustrated with the pink blotches but a second piece I made by combining two of the other versions of this print I designed (the bottom two).

It's actually a fairly simple piece, I quilted the four parts individually and then bound them all together.  The white stripes you see between the panels are actually empty space, not white sashing.  The only tricky thing was figuring out how to fold/lace together the binding where it crosses.  I wound up using button holes and it worked fairly well. 

Black and White and Read All Over, c. Shannon Conley, 2013 18 x 24

I'm pleased I was able to do something with these prints, I had fun making them and thinking about books that have influenced me over the years.

Monday, September 9, 2013


My dad brought me a new-to-me camera last weekend and I'm super excited. It's his old Nikon D90 and is the first non-point-and-shoot I've ever had.  It's going to take me a while to get used to, but here are a couple of gratuitous dog pictures I took with it.  Everything is better with dog pictures.  Unfortunately the other three wouldn't sit still long enough to be photographed.  Alas.

Swatch.  She's a sweetie and has actually been adopted by my parents so has left us now. 

My Bullett Dog!  He's our oldest, but still only about 8.  He's pretty lazy though.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Quilting Gallery: Leaves, Trees and Flowers Contest

Hi guys, my orchard quilt  (Winter in Lincoln County #1: The Orchard) is over on the Quilting Gallery blog today in their Leaves, Trees and Flowers Contest.

There are a bunch of lovely prizes for visitors (even if you didn't enter a quilt) and voting has started, so you can go and pick your favorites.

Winter in Lincoln County #1: The Orchard

Finished! Taming the Gorgons

I'm so excited to share this recent finish.  It was made for a black and white and one color show to replace my disastrous first attempt at the identity quilt, and was previously glimpsed here and here.  I have actually gone back and done another quilt based on that original identity concept which I hope to share next week.

The design was based on Greek architectural elements and is constructed out of a variety of gold apparel fabrics (the background is cotton).  I used cutaway trapunto to make the gold elements stand out and give the quilt dimension.   The background quilting is done with metallic silk thread as well as regular threads.  I love the curviness and sweeping arcs in the central design and tried to echo those in the quilting.  It's finished off with gold piping and a black and white binding that matches the quilt background.

I named the quilt "Taming the Gorgons" because the large sprouting feathers at the top reminded me of a calm, civilized version of the snake haired Medusa, one of the three monstrous Gorgon sisters of Greek myth.

I love the sparkly shiny nature of the gold apparel fabrics, for more on how I work with them, you can check out my previous posts.  Just keep your fingers crossed that it gets accepted into the show!

Taming the Gorgons, c. Shannon Conley 2013, 18" x 24"

Linking up with TGIFF, Richard and Tanya Quilts, and the unparalleled Off the Wall Friday over at Nina-Marie's

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

WIP Wendesday: Wannabe Shibori Dyeing

My parents were here over the weekend which was absolutely wonderful.  I'm only sorry my mom had to work so much and the time was so short.  Luckily I'll get to see them this weekend at my sister's house (and meet new baby Alex!)

In the evenings and mornings my mom and I had time to work on our projects, and we made some good headway.  I was able to get started on assembling my crochet blocks, although the process takes a long time and seems to generate lots of ends to weave in!

Since there were two of us out in the studio, I was also able to make great progress on some church linens I've been working on featuring machine embroideries.  The stitch outs take a while so it was nice to have two people to babysit the machine while we worked on other things.  More on those when I have time to take some pictures.

Most fun though was that we did a bunch of Shibori dyeing experiments.  We didn't really follow a tutorial specifically, but I thought I'd write out what we did here just for our own records. A few pictures of the final products first, for those of you not interested in the details.

These are the ones we shibori dyed.

These are some I dyed to use up the excess dye afterwards since I didn't want it to waste.

The colors on this are off, the best representation is that first picture where they're still on the plastic sheet on the lawn.

This one was a pretty brown when we took it out of the dye, but after rinsing it turned a rather unbecoming vomit color so I've set it aside for overdyeing another time.


We presoaked in soda ash (1/4 c. per quart water).  We used some PFD cotton broadcloth and PFD cotton sateen from Dharma, some random scraps of muslin, some silk/rayon mix scarves, some commercial prints (for overdyeing) and some scraps of some sort of polyester brocade sort of stuff.


I looked on the dharma website for instructions- for tie-dyeing they said 2 tsp dye to 1 c. water.  My mom vaguely remembered that she mixed dye concentrate (for later dilution) at 3 tsp dye to 1 c. water.  We didn't want to waste too much dye and since we weren't doing large yardage decided to mix up 1/2 tsp dye and 1/2 c. lukewarm water.

This wound up being way more dye than needed for our fabric, thus all the random pieces I dyed.

We used Procion dyes, #6 Deep Orange, #16 Maroon, #3 Golden Yellow, and #250 Jet Black.


For the shibori, we wrapped around a wine bottle (most successful but hardest to scrunch on), a beer bottle, and a curtain rod of about 1-1.5 inches in diameter.  We tried to wrap diagonally but it was hard because the fabric kept going off the ends of the beer and wine bottles.  Large diameter PVC would probably have worked better but we didn't have any.

We tied and wrapped all around the fabric with nylon Christmas Tree string (not sure what it is except it's what we use to tie the Christmas Tree to the car), and then scrunched down.  We used a 10cc syringe to appy dye either perpendicular or parallel to the strings.  Then we left them overnight to batch.  After the first morning, the larger pieces of fabric still had big areas that didn't get the dye so we re-wrapped and overdyed with a second round.  For those we re-wrapped and dyed, we did that before rinsing out all the dye (and soda ash).

For the ones we were happy with, we rinsed them in cold water until it ran pretty clear then washed them with a shout color catcher.  I wish I had some synthrapol, but I didn't.

For the gradients, I spread the fabric on plastic sheeting and applied the dye in a 1:2 dilution series mixed with water.

Linking up with Lee as usual!