I've had a couple questions from some of you about the things I've talked about recently, and I thought I'd follow up--I suspect if a couple of you ASKED, there are others who also wondered.
The picnic quilt. Yes, it's a disappearing 9-patch pattern. If you haven't tried a disappearing 9-patch, there are tons of blogs with tutorials, like HERE, HERE, or HERE (this one has a little twist!). What I really like about it is that the block is simple and quick but it's just different enough to catch our attention. It's a great way to use charm packs or scraps from our stash.
For the picnic quilt (which I'll be teaching during an upcoming class along with a picnic tote), I wanted something simple and quick because it's meant to be used as a ground cover for a spring/summer picnic, not a heirloom quilt. I'm currently quilting mine, and I've chosen a large rose pattern, four roses to each block. I'll quilt some quick leaves in the sashing, I think. These are patterns I can quilt without stenciling them first, so it's fast for me. I would generally suggest an overall quilt pattern for most disappearing 9-patch quilts--but that's just my taste, and it also fits into my "simple and quick" requirements for this particular quilt. Depending on the fabric selected for disappearing 9-patch quilts and the size of the blocks, it might also be a nice opportunity to get fancy and showcase some stunning quilting work.
Dyeing wool. I'm teaching a wool class soon, and I've been experimenting with a couple different processes. I'd like to talk to my students about where they can find different types of wool, what to do with it, and how to work with it. Part of what I plan to talk about is dyeing wool. Eventually I'll blog about some of the stuff I've been experimenting with and what I've found, but if I talk about it NOW, I just know several of my students will show up at class, and I'll find they've already tried it all out and probably know more than I do. (Sometimes I think I should just have THEM teach the classes!) So you'll have to wait, but it WILL be coming before too long.
Yes, most of the wool I've dyed is wool from garments I've found at thrift stores, but wool can be purchased "new" from many sources and many quilt shops also carry wonderful hand dyed wool--and there's a time and a place for each source. Much of what I've been doing lately is overdying wool, which means that I take wool that is already patterned and/or colored in its weave or dyed a particular color, and I dye over what is already there. The results are varied and interesting. So much so that I dyed four more batches today, although I'll re-do one of them because what I dyed turned out much too pale for my needs.
I think this answers all the recent questions that I remember, but if you had a question and I didn't answer it here, please let me know. And make sure you schedule some "play time" for yourself soon!