Thursday, September 29, 2011


The fiber junkies took a month off our normal 'project/experimenting style of meeting. Instead we did a road trip.....for what else? Shopping....

Our first stop was a fabric outlet just over the border in South Carolina. It's a large warehouse stuffed with bolts, rolls, flat folds, and huge boxes stuffed with smaller cuts of fabric. Think dumpster diving! Prices vary....and you won't find quilters cottons here. Rather, netting, dress woolens, sheers of all types, drapery fabrics are the norm.

Nancy is directing Val not to miss something. I swear Nancy could be a sales person at all the shops we visited....she knows their merchandise better then they do. You can see by this picture how cluttered and full the store is......making shopping feel like a treasure hunt.

This huge box of zippers was at least 4' square and TALL. The zippers were $1.00 each......I brought some home and already have some ideas of how best to utilize them.

The day continued with a visit to Hobby you all may not think that's a big deal...but believe here in the mountains we are Hobby Lobby and JoAnn Fabrics denied.

We were greeted of course by rows and rows of 'stuff'. The Fiber Junkies were in awe....honestly you'd think we never get out!!

We still had plenty of energy so we headed to JoAnne Fabrics.....newly opened in the Spartanburg, SC area. Note the feet are nearly running down this aisle.... Life is good.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Okay, okay....I admit.....breaking out of one's comfort zone can be challenging....but don't we all know that creative growth can result in such efforts?

Abstract design is very difficult for me.....and my sewing room shows this indecision. I've pulled 'stuff' from every nook and cranny in my studio. Though I was working on two separate pieces....I'm now thinking of combining them using wood twig spacers.

But...then again, maybe I'll use some perle cotton......wanna bet though that I resort to beads for that purpose?? Because of the rather uninteresting hand-dyed felt, I added some hand embroidery provide more texture and interest.

.....and will stitch some French Knots around the outside edges....

My talented friend Cindy Blackberg gifted me this terrific sampler of Valdani variegated perle cotton which has been the perfect marriage for this piece.

I'm getting a better feel for where I want the work to go.......stay tuned.....

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I'm not very comfortable or frankly skilled at designing pieces that don't feature a specific theme, such as my recent pussy willows or rose beaded designs.

Every once in awhile I force myself to try a more contemporary/abstract approach....which is ALWAYS a struggle.....but probably a good exercise.

One of the wool felted pieces I recently dyed wasn't terribly successful......yet because of the bland colors I still felt it had potential as a background. It may blend well with another piece of brown commercial wool that I felted.

I plan to work this new piece, unit by unit, and have randomly cut small sections off the my hand dyed large hunk of fabric.

Somewhat following the pitiful design of the fabric.....I've stitched some beads and am auditioning others. I'm thinking of leaving the edges unfinished (which will be VERY difficult for a neat freak like me to do!)

Here's another hunk that I'm playing with. The heavy cast metal beads have been difficult to attach because their holes are large and uneven. For now I'm experimenting by attaching them with perle cotton.

More to come as it develops.....

Monday, September 26, 2011



And.....yikes Laura W. (regarding your comment on my 9/25/11 post) the Bears do not have better uniforms.....if it wasn't for the white pants, they'd look like over-ripe pumpkins.....on second thought....they do!

8 more are out of the Suicide Pool after picking NE Patriots to win yesterday.......though that certainly seemed like a safe bet. I'm golden (as in green and GOLD....beautiful colors).....the Titans won....though I got a scare in the 4th quarter and thought for awhile that I was toast too.

Week I pick?? Haven't decided yet......will start studying asap.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


I interrupt the return to quilt related posts for a loud GO PACKERS cheer this morning. Hate is a really strong word......but one that is used often by Packer fans in regard to the Chicago Bears.

This rivalry began in 1921.....and we Cheeseheads are hoping for another Packer victory today at Soldier's Field in Chicago.

Rodgers.....get your game face on!

This is what I hope to and gold everywhere!

One very annoying aspect of living in NC is the lack of TV coverage for our beloved we will be heading to a sports bar later today to see the game. Oh by the case anyone cares.....I'm still in the Suicide Football pool.....well okay it's only week #3......but still, 9 others are already out. So, I'll also be keeping tabs on the earlier TN/Denver game. Fingers crossed for a Titans win!

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Finally!!! It's finished.......sitting and waiting for me at the craft store was the perfect light grey flecked mat board which complimented the design without over-powering it. I cut the mat licitly split and have been admiring it ever since.

Yes, it was worth all the aggravation.....really, it pays to keep at it until it's right, even if one does resort to sulking from time to time.

Pussy Willows 11" x 19"
Artist's hand dyed felted wool, machine stitched, beaded, and hand embroidered
click on photo to enlarge

Friday, September 23, 2011


After my disappointment finding there wasn't enough brown woolfelt to edge this piece, I thought it'd be a simple matter to mat and frame it. Seems like this project continues to have a mind of its own!

The narrow long frame I had was too long.....requiring the matting to be quite wide at the top and bottom.....which may have been okay 'if' it wasn't white...which stuck out like a sore thumb.

So I decided to utilize the bottom edge of the piece which I had planned to cut off....adding embroidered roots to better incorporate it into the design.

DAH......after completely about half, I put it on the design wall.....drat.....they disappeared! Though the color was great at about 1 foot, it wasn't at a distance. Off it came.

Now, using lighter tones......this is better.

The addition of French Knots provided the necessary texture to go with the rest of the piece.

Which leaves me just where I was before......trying to finish the edges.....stay tuned....with coupon in hand, I'm off to the craft store to see if I can find a better mat color.....

Thursday, September 22, 2011


It seems like forever since I've had a chance to do any stitching......yet there have been snippets of time here and there where progress continued on this pussy willow design. Click here to view my first post about this project......then read on.....

Here the beadwork has been completed. Note the basting lines that denote the 'planned' outer edges.

After studying the finished piece, I decided it was NOT finished. So....I added some machine stitching to provide more interest and texture to the background fabric.

It's better now, don't you think??

Next I decided to add a beaded dragonfly. Seriously, this shouldn't have become such a time consuming decision......but getting the wings just right certainly was. I tried about every transparent fabric I could find....fusing layers together, painting general experimenting again and again.

Until I put the piece back on my design wall, I was happy with this result. The wings were created by fusing two layers of the above leaf that a friend gave to me. I liked the motif...unfortunately it was way too small....sigh!

.....that error in judgement required removing the entire dragonfly and starting over. Oh well.....when it's not right.....ya gotta admit it and begin again. This one fit the space better.

.....and now I'm back to the same decision point I was to finish the edges. I had planned to use brown woolfelt to 'frame' it guessed it, I don't have enough.

I could pout....and okay....I did pout, but my motto is....change problems into a 'design opportunity'!! And I will....stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Short getaways are such a great way to get renewed and refreshed.......and a perfect opportunity to bond with family.

Air travel has gotten more difficult.....I think everyone can agree about that! Because my teaching schedule has been so hectic over the last 23 years, justifying a membership to an airline club for the last 11 years was a given. Now that my retirement plans are almost upon me, I simply couldn't sign on that expensive dotted line this year. I am at San Francisco's United a puppy dog with my nose against the magic glass door to the oasis beyond.

At least I didn't throw myself down on the floor kicking and screaming......"I want my pass to get in!"

Instead, my time was spent wandering around. I enjoyed this exhibit featuring the evolution of television. Some of you youngn's may not even know what this is....but I can still recall the 'test' pictures displayed when a channel went off the air for the night. A far cry from today's 24-7 programing.
This artwork caught my eye.
I can barely remember TV's that look like this. Aren't we spoiled now with our 70" ones?

And who can forget Bonanza....

...or later Mash??

It was fun revisiting the birth of the TV and certainly helped pass the time between flight # 1 & #2. My layover in Chicago between # 2 & # 3 flights was longer. People watching kept me occupied there!

Saturday, September 17, 2011


'The husband' is holding down the fort at home while I took a few days to head to the West coast to visit my brother and his family. It's one of those things that is so easily postponed. It's so easy to blame the lack of time for not keeping better in touch with our loved ones.
I'm determined to be more proactive about spending time with family! I am in the state of OR.....and my sweet sister-in-law surprised me with this terrific coffee mug. Of course you all may know I'm a proud Cheesehead.....even if I now live in NC.....Wisconsin will always be home for me. What's even more perfect about this mug is the addition of the mouse.

.......not that this matters to anyone.......but in case you are interested...... no one in my family calls me Mary. I have always been known by the nickname "Mouse". This was such a thoughtful gift.....purchased at the airport in Green Bay, WI.....

So...what is this all about??'s a reminder to all you hoarders out there......someday your kids will be cleaning out your homes/condos/apartments. And.....your kids may feel so sentimental....they too will find themselves paying a shipping bill of $900 to move 'stuff' from one part of the country to another.....

Only to have your spouse get grumpy about where on earth all this useless stuff will be stored in your own home.

Yes, I'm tattling on my tender hearted sister-in-law who found so many memories in her parents home while it was being emptied that they filled all these boxes. I've been laughing like crazy over the 'debate' my brother has been having with her about the practicality of her decision to ship all this stuff to OR. It should be real fun watching as the unpacking occurs and more 'debates' are sure to come.

So......remember everyone.......declutter now so you kids don't have to!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011


Thanks to the 'perfect child' for sharing's one more for your...."I can't believe it" file...... click here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


During my growing up years (hummm is that over??), we never had pets......well we did have 2 (outside) rabbits for awhile which disappeared one day in early winter. Later we found out my Mom gave them to someone....the pets became dinner. So sad..... But now that I think about it....what a practical thing to do when caring for a pet becomes impossible in frigid Wisconsin.

The first dog I ever shared my life with after I got married was a bulldog. "Chopper" was the sweetest thing.....well, that is once I got over being afraid of her! So....our heartstrings are always pulled a little bit when we see this breed of dog.

Rarely do I spent time watching online videos....heck, I don't have enough time in the day for the things I need to get done! However.....I encourage you to watch this won't believe it. The last section is my favorite part (as I watched trying to pick my jaw up off the floor). Click here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the closed door during quilt show judging? I've had the pleasure of judging both large and small quilt shows all across the country. Though exact procedures may differ slightly from show to show, overall, much of the process is the same.

The Asheville Quilt Guild is preparing for their upcoming annual show and today was the first of two days for judging. Members are not permitted to judge the show, so because I don't hold any other position in the guild....which of course is run by volunteers, I offered to be a helper so I can give back a little bit to the guild. There are lots of tasks that need doing.

I thought I'd share a little bit about our day.

Each category is arranged on cloth covered tables.....with another cloth protecting them while they await their turn in the judging rotation. The Asheville show is a large one.... over 200 quilts....

The judge or judges will judge all quilts in each category at one time. Volunteers 'fan' the quilts by folding each one back to give the judges a quick overview. Then the quilts are 'fanned' back to the original position. Next, each single quilt is held up for a closer view to observe impact, color, design etc. while another volunteer reads the description provided by the quiltmaker.

Next the judge/s examine the piece closer to access the construction. Scribes are standing by to record comments from the judge. Often the organizers have a specific form with breakdowns of areas they wish the the judge to respond to. That can mean a numeral rating or plus and minuses, or even such wording as 'satisfactory' or 'needs improvement.'

The most time consuming portion of this critique process is the comment section. We judges always like to provide both constructive and positive comments. For instance, the quilting stitches may be well executed, but the markings remain on the quilt (a big no, no.)

Whether working as a single judge or in a team, the next step is the decision to 'release' or 'hold' each piece. Holding means the quilt will be considered for an award. This is a way of narrowing down the group, often more quilts are 'held' then there are awards. After the entire category has been reviewed, the judges return to the hold table to make the final decisions.

Releasing means the quilt is no longer in contention for an award and is relocated to another table....after which it will ultimately be hung in the show with all the rest of the quilts.

Here, our two judges, Charlotte War Anderson (left) and Linda Fielder (right) examine a quilt as they confer with each other regarding the critiques they will be giving to the scribes.

Each quilt that is awarded a First Place ribbon is separated and will be reviewed again when all the quilts have been judged. It's from these quilts that the Best of Show quilt is chosen. All ribbon winners from whatever category that final quilt came from move up one position.....for instance, the second place winner now becomes a Blue Ribbon Winner.

Many shows have special awards as well. These generally recognize excellence in hand or machine workmanship, theme categories, judges choices. Most shows prefer that a quilt receive only one ribbon, rather than for instance, a First Place and Excellence in Color. This has the advantage of being able to recognize more quilts.

It's gratifying that so many quilters are willing to share their work for all of us to enjoy......I hope your fall will find you at a quilt show!

The Asheville show will be held Sept. 30 - Oct. 2nd. Click here for more details.

Monday, September 12, 2011


WHEW!!! Seriously for awhile yesterday, I thought it'd be 'one and out' for me. I'm talking about the Suicide Football Pool I'm in. This year there are 53 in the pool, all vying for the $1,060 payoff.

The rules are simple.....each participant selects 1 team...and only 1 team to win each week...if your team loses, you are out. Seems simple right? NOT so....because you can never select that team there is some strategy involved.

I picked Arizona....who interestingly played the Carolina Panthers.....even though I live in NC....I couldn't even tell you the name of one player. My team is the Packers......who thrilled us all on Thursday night (like you all don't already know that!)

While I was biting my nails over the Arizona game, I took guilty pleasure over the 20 participants who had selected the San Diego Chargers. Their team was behind most of the game. It would have been a first if 20 people were out the first week with just one game! As it is, so far 6 are out. 8 players must wait till tonight to see if they can move onto week #2. You can be sure I'm already studying and making notes to help me with the next pick.

OH.....and my sister-in-law Barbara is playing for the first time this year. Humm, her pick of Detroit seemed gutsy....but they won which I know also made faithful reader Robbie happy too.

Sunday, September 11, 2011



44' x 30"

Beaded binding detail

This piece is available for purchase $400, email me using link at upper right
payment via check or Paypal.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


...the continuing saga.....

Our show and tell often goes beyond seeing the actual piece.......explanations in regard to inspiration/s serve as a helpful jumping off points as well.

The hardest part of this process was (and always is) keeping the 12-14 of us on task.......we pretty much are always all talking at once. Barbara S. had to wield the power of the 'talking spoon' more than once during this gathering. What's a 'talking spoon'? It's our method of trying to control chaos. When we get out of control....someone grabs a spoon (we are quilters...there's always food and eating utensils nearby).....bangs it on a hard surface and we are all to shut up while a point is being made...... Does it work?? Hummmm sometimes.....

So...on with the show....
Cathy N. brought her in-progress piece, " Sunnyside Up", that's being made for our exhibit "Inspired By..." The artist she selected is Kandinsky.

Each block is different, all very colorful and display machine applique and hand embroidery....

Super don't you think??

Barbara S. has had a lot of distractions in her life lately and admittedly was getting anxious about her lack of a design for her "Inspired By...." artist piece. This book was given to her by fellow member Georgia Bonesteel and she's now revving to go!'s ideas can come from anywhere....even a children's coloring book.

Janice M. shared this very pleasing visual quilt. Her inspiration came from seeing a young lady wearing stripe knee high leg the stripes were running vertical the other horizontal...... What great vision Janice had to think of tweaking it into a quilt!

Janice M. also brought a stunning needlework project she recently had framed. I'm so sorry my photo doesn't come close to how exquisite it was. Janice took an interesting approach....instead of using (for instance) 3 strands of one color, say red.....she mixed 1 darker red with 2 brighter ones which provides it's own sort of shading, depth, and texture to the piece.

Jack of all trades Gen....who can do anything.....showed these yummy socks.....I don't know what the yarn was but I wanted to cuddle with it. probably only took her 10 minutes to make them......!!!!

Georgia Bonesteel and Charlotte Warr Anderson host an annual retreat at a Montana ranch.....this is the design Georgia's students worked on this year. What may not be apparent is the blue back ground fabric is a cowboy print and the white is a cheerful polka dot. Notice the steer head on each border......complete with huge horns!

This is the same design but assembled with more traditional fabrics......such fun to see the differences.

I hope you enjoyed our PTA show and tell.......I'll report again about this fiesty group next month!