Sunday, February 28, 2010


When our 'perfect child' met and married the 'perfect in-law', we not only gained a daughter.....our extended family grew as well. We just adore Kelly's parents, who live near the kids, and her brother and his new wife, who live far away in Argentina!

With the exception of 'the parents', everyone has some of my I thought it was time to show our expression of love by making Keiko and Steve a special piece.

It's been created using bamboo/rayon felt....that luscious, easy to work with fabric made by National Nonwovens. Keeping their earth tone color scheme in mind.....I didn't have enough of the brown background to measure an accurate rectangle.

However that didn't concern me too much, because I'd determined the simplicity of the design, would best be showcased in a frame anyway. My usual process of stabilizing the background with a non-fusible interfacing was followed by machine quilting the background to add texture and more strength.

I researched their family name, Hayashi (which means forest or woods) to find their family 'crest' on the internet. It's been translated by machine appliqueing burnt orange bamboo/rayon felt, embellished with square black beads in the center.

The black lettering is 'Hayashi' in Japanese. The piece measures 11" x 14".

Saturday, February 27, 2010


SMILE....CLICK.....You're on candid camera!!

A friend sent a batch of amusing photos to 'The Husband', which he shared with me. I don't generally post pictures without being able to credit the source.....but there were a few that I enjoyed so much....

I hope you will too....

I saved the best for last. This will keep me grinning all day. Our Golden Retriever Sadie used to be able to hear our dishwasher door open no matter where she was in the house......and then come crashing into the kitchen at a high rate of speed. She thought it was her duty to clean off the plates! Though, she never went quit this far!

Friday, February 26, 2010


.......Continuing Carol Sloan's show and tell......

Besides everything else she does......she paints! Carol shared a trick she better incorporate her image with the background......she uses a bit of the color (from the bird) and applies it with her background paint.....

Of course, she always takes things one step further.....did I say how clever she is?? Carol scanned the image, duplicated it, and printed it on fabric.... Sorry, I can't recall exactly what the fiber content was......but it was fairly thin and almost sheer. Can't wait to see what she does with it!

Carol is in a group that exchanges small triangle shape pieces that can be strung together to create banners..... Here's hers.....machine 'scribbling' (as she calls it).....filled in with paints.

She had a whole stack of these adorable little art the maker utilized a lot of embellishments.

And this maker obviously used sections from a linen table cloth or napkin to which she added her own touches. The theme of this exchange was winter white.....and boy do many parts of the country know about winter this year.

We've got 16 degrees this morning on our mountain....again it's snowing horizontally, and the wind is blowing so hard it's whistling! (And it's about 60 degrees in the house....the heat pumps used in houses here can not keep up in this cold weather). We are thankful for our gas fireplaces.....this is a good day to stay inside and sew. Hope you all can do the same wherever you are.

Thanks for hanging with me.....

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Enough is's snowing so hard - horizontally I might add......I can't even see across the road. I don't know how much we are supposed to get.....but I can tell you that in about an hour it seems like the inch of snow on our railing went to 4". "The husband" says not....but I'm a quilter and I know my inches!!

So.....if you are reading this with a snow covered yard.....think about snow dying........check out it out here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I wish you could all attend our Fiber Junkie meetings......the work the members of this small group is just head spinning. Having such inventive pals is so inspiring!

Here's more of Carol Sloan's show and tell....

Carol is fond of rusting fabric that she uses to incorporate into her work. This is a journal cover made with many torn strips of rusted fabrics and laces.

Inside is the real surprise.....rather than blank paper pages, Carol uses all sorts of recycled paper items.....including vintage magazine advertisments. She'll add large and small blank stickers in areas to provide space for writing profound thoughts!

Recycled envelopes are another good source for pages....

So are paint chips, photos from magazines, and pictures from note cards.....

She even found some old tax and rent bills at an antique place she haunts...... Who'd have thunk it? Well....Carol would!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Our small fiber group met yesterday to begin our 2010 goal of providing demos for each of our meetings which will be presented by a group member. I made up some bead kits and shared a short hands-on demo of beading 101 techniques, the focus was beading on fiber.

The timing is appropriate since my friend Judy Simmons is in the midst of creating a gorgeous wedding gown for her daughter who will be married in May. Judy brought a sample of the lace trim which will be placed on the lower edge of the skirt. She's embellished it with crystals and pearls......lovely.

Here Judy shares the quilt top she started at our PTA retreat in Jan. Sorry the picture isn't very favorable to this lovely piece....we haven't had sun for months and now all of a sudden it came pouring into my windows. Judy excels at creating muted and interesting backgrounds which are often highlighted with photo transferred images.

For this piece she's considering adding either one of these designs....perhaps by thread will be fun to see what she comes up with.

I wasn't familiar with this author...Natalie Chanin, but my friend Carol Sloan raves about her first book and brought this...her second one for us to see.

Carol made this book cover using the ideas she learned from the above author's first book. The design method is basically reverse applique with knit fabric (such as T-shirt material)....perfect because the edges do not require finishing. Large stitches hold the layers together, while adding another design element. Clever and another reason to haunt resale shops.

Patsy Thompson again wowed us with her mastery of machine quilting and beautiful hand dyed fabrics. In person the quilting and colors of the piece had so much movement....the star shapes almost spun off the fabric.

Kudos for the addition of a few well placed beads!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010


I've wasted more time getting started on my new project than I care to admit......not sure why.....but I'm struggling.

Our PTA Fiber Group's 2010 challenge is sunrise/sunset......size 32" x 44" and must include some black. At first ideas flew.....but faced with a desire not to purchase any more fabric, but utilize what I already have (which frankly is far less than you'd expect)......has left me in a funk.

I have no forward motion..... and must admit I'm getting cranky....I hate wasting time.

My idea was to feature pine trees, against a 'sunrise' applique background. I thought I could thread paint the pine 'needles'. But realized I needed to use fabrics which would allow this rather delicate stitching to show up. That was my first 'ah ha' moment and I put all those busy batiks back in the closet and got out the nearly solids.

This is the most recent attempt.....the idea is to use just one brighter color....such as yellow. But of course I don't have enough of any one fabric for it to be a whole cloth background. That means I'll have to make a patchwork background using different shades/tones of yellows. Unfortunately, this mock up doesn't work because frankly, I just don't have the right colors.

Reject # 1
Reject # 2 (I've spared you the many other attempts that also failed.)

I think I'll just go scrub some toilets today, at least I'd be accomplishing something. Stay tuned....

Saturday, February 20, 2010


When I began teaching in the quilt world, oh so many years ago, I had no expectations that the two workshops I taught at Quilt Festival in Houston would lead to a single other opportunity. I'm still surprised that my needle has turned into my very own magic carpet which has taken me places I could never have dreamed of.

This fall I'll be teaching at the Utah Quilt Guild's annual retreat outside of Salt Lake City. The committee just contacted me since they are in the process of selecting my presentations for their event. AND......that led me to thinking about my 20+ year old USA map.

I've had fun coloring in the states where I've taught......and low and behold........after this fall, I'll only have 3 more to go before I've done them all! So.....for those of you living in Mississippi, Idaho, and South about an invitation?? I'm still flabbergasted looking at this map and smile at all the memories.

For any of you with wanderlust in your blood......consider joining my Great Smoky Mountain Quilt Tour in August......we have just a few spots open and you don't want to miss this one! I can't wait to share what this creative community has to offer...right here in the good ole' USA. You can download the brochure on quilting.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Hand quilting seems to be disappearing in our quilt world. Quilters want to complete their projects faster with machine quilting, (faster but I certainly don't think easier). I've always enjoyed the process of hand quilting and still teach workshops on how to improve the hand quilting stitch.

My many classes led me to design a whole range of stencil compositions manufactured by Quilting Creations that were suitable for large open spaces and would easily accept trapunto. Many of these designs were also published in my garment book, "The Wholecloth Garment Stori" out of print.

So....I got to wondering if any of these motifs could be translated into bead work designs. Following my usual procedure, I marked the size of my wall hanging onto lightweight Pellon non-fusible interfacing. Next, my stencil was traced.

I hand basted the interfacing to a piece of National Nonwoven's 100% woolfelt along all the marked lines with white thread. This not only holds the two layers together, it also transfers the design to the right side of the work which I use as my beading guide.

In progress.....

I like to add texture to the background and though it'd be easier to do that BEFORE the beading is added, I often wait until afterwards to get a better feel of the overall work. It's certainly more difficult to work around the beads if the choice is machine stitching.....but I fear that perhaps my first ideas may overpower the finished product.

If you look closely, you can see where I tested the appearance of some machine embroidery. (lower left outside edge) I thought I'd like the look of a simple small fern motif....NOT.

Instead, I chose a single eyelet stitch, varying the size as I scattered them throughout the background, leaving long threads as I traveled from each one.

What a chore! It's took over 8 hours just to stitch all of them.....and probably another 4 hrs. to pull threads to the back and tie them off. I had to do all this in shifts because the thread ends kept getting snarled up in my presser foot.

Often I use hand embroidery stitches to achieve background texture.....that's certainly faster but not quite what I had in mind for this piece.


Once the center section was complete, it was backed with a larger square of Woolfelt. The two sections are fused and beaded together. The outer edge of the backing was also beaded. It was a very tedious journey to hide the thread path since the wool is fairly thin....but worth the trouble I think! This piece was probably the most time consuming bead embellished Woolfelt project I've ever attempted and I can't wait to translate another one of my quilting motifs to bead work.

TIP: Always test your beads for colorfastness when using any fusing methods. Often times the steam of the iron can strip the color or finish from the beads.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


That's right.....move over Martha.....cause Gen Grundy has arrived. PTA (our small fiber group) met at her home last week.....our heads in constant motion trying to take in the results of her talent.

Gen made this beautiful quilt for their master bedroom..... I love the effect of the two alternating machine quilted motifs.

Gen's machine applique is perfection!


Gen has mastered every aspect of quilting as well as every other needle art! Seriously, she knows how to do everything, and do it well. Don't you love this quilt??

She made muslin slip covers for folding chairs to provide attractive temporary seating. We've had so many cancellations due to weather here.....she decided not to press the covers in case we didn't come. It was much appreciated since of course that meant our meeting wasn't cancelled!

The slip cover has a strapping system to hold it snugly to the chair and a nice soft pillow to make sitting more comfortable.

To raise her TV high enough for the VCR to fit beneath it......she spray painted several Reader's Digest books silver so the TV sits on them.

I was such a gawker in her house......and noticed this clever idea. Instead of using expensive ceiling moulding....Gen glued braid to the top of her wall where it meets the ceiling. A unique idea I may just copy!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

OH MY!!!

Tuesday weather's snowing......and only 14 degrees. The heating system in homes here are not capable of keeping a comfortable temperature in this cold. The heat pump runs constantly......tick, tick, tick of the electric meter!! Having all the locals tell us this is the worst winter they've experienced since way back to their youth is no longer comforting.....

However, on the positive sure is purrrdy...... I snapped these photos on our walk yesterday morning in our the end we had a little break and the sun actually came out.

Monday, February 15, 2010


I need to get this out of my system.......if you listen'll hear me's snowing AGAIN. I've lost count.....thinking this is about # 22 or began snowing again yesterday about 3:00 PM and still continues. Often the snow here is light, fluffy, small flakes....these are big and it's coming down so fast everything in sight is coated....visibility is very low....can't see any of the surrounding mountains at all. School kids have had so many snow days that they just scheduled Saturday classes to make some up.......which got cancelled this weekend due to snow. There will be no school today either. Oh my.......those poor mothers! **Just in.....'the husband' announced a moment ago.....if our power goes out....I'm not to say a word....I'm to come out of the studio, pack my bag and we are going somewhere warm for a few days. That is 'if' we can get down the icy, snow packed mountain road....he's totally serious!! It's not windy, but with all the snow on the trees, surely some branches or trees themselves will come down which causes our power outages. Fingers crossed....I want to sew today! is Monday, the start of a new week and I'm still humming tunes from the fabulous music we heard on Saturday. Luckily we were able to enjoy all 12+ hours of entertainment. This group is the Darrell Webb Band. Another bunch of amazing musicians. I especially enjoy the Dobro (left)....and odd looking guitar that is held and played what it adds to bluegrass. 'The husband' believes it is the most difficult of the bluegrass instruments to conquer. This young man 'owned' his!

Another weird looking instrument which we are seeing more and more now is an electric upright bass, 3rd right in above photo (instead of the tall acoustic we are all familiar with). It simply looks something has been chopped off the bottom...which of course it has!

Darin & Brooke Aldridge made quite a splash at their Bluegrass First Class debut......the perfect pitch sound coming out of this little gal is stunning. Again...sorry for the fuzzy was difficult holding my camera still when shooting over the head of the giant sitting in front of me.

Asheville's very famous.....Steep Canyon Rangers. (An odd name for an Asheville group....personally I'd have chosen one to reflect these Blueridge mountains!!) I digress....despite being a local group....we've never heard them in person before. They had the whole room on their feet when the fiddle player nearly broke his bow playing "Orange Blossom Special". I appreciated that they all wore suits (typical of original bluegrass bands)....even if the bass player, 2nd from left...barely visible..... reminded me of someone from the planet of the apes with his beautiful mane of hair and full beard. We will be looking for them again.....

Incidentally, they often have a guest banjo player....Steve Martin.....yes, THE Steve Martin from Saturday Night Live....we all sort of hoped he'd show matter, this group sure didn't disappoint!!

This bass player was in the Lonesome River Band.....a group we've enjoyed for about 20 years now. I'm singling him out because his attire reminded me more of a rock and roll musician, down to the small gold ring in one ear. I might add he was the only one who sported an earring.....there were NO tattoos visible anywhere.........not in this crowd.

Daily & Vincent is one of our most favorite groups. Darin Vincent is on the upright bass...he's Rhonda Vincent's brother. This group had the crowd eating out of their hands....not only are they superior musician's, to die for vocals, but they know how to work the crowd. I'll spare you the play by play.......only to say each time we see them, we don't think they could get any better.....yet they do. They've hit it big time and deserve it. If you have XM'll hear them frequently on the Bluegrass channel. Or...pick up their newest CD at Cracker Barrel....yes...Cracker Barrel.

To close out the show this year the crowd sat in reverence as Tony Rice (4th from the right) Unit with Josh Williams (he's 2nd right on the mandolin) played. Tony Rice is the undisputed best flat picker in the world. We didn't get home till after 1:00 AM.......still smiling....