Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Before the fun starts......sometimes ya gotta do your homework!  Our 4th annual PTA 3 day retreat will be held early next week.

Three of us have decided to forego working on a personal project, instead we will be making a few small donation quilts.  We are pooling our fabrics and pre-cutting as much as possible......don't ya know with all the chatting that goes on....we want to mindlessly sew rather than having to pay close attention to accurate cutting! 

A huge thank you goes out to my friend Helen who recently decided to clean out her stash.  Bless her heart (that's a Southern saying that I'm learning to adopt!) I was the recipient of 5 boxes.  AND....girlfriends....the fabric is NOT's all good stuff!  Yippie....

Our plan is to utilize the huge pile of black and white fabrics....pairing them with one color family of fabric.  We 'think' we may have enough to have one quilt feature greens, one reds, and ??

So, I've been pressing and cutting for about 4 hours....with many more to go. Judy, Kate, and I have shared fabrics for previous retreats and realized doing our homework really took the pressure off at the retreat.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


A big thank you goes out to my pal Lynne who shared this link with me.....  Words can't describe this very, very cool snow here to learn more.

Monday, February 27, 2012


I've been awarded the Liebster Blog Award!

“Liebster” is a German word meaning dearestbeloved or favorite.  The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to other bloggers - intended to showcase exceptional up-and-coming blogs with 200 or fewer followers. There is no evaluation committee or formal award process for the Liebster; rather it's recognition from a peer.....which I found so flattering and appreciated 

Kit Lang, a quilt artist from Toronto, Canada, bestowed this award upon me...thank you Kit.  You must click over to her blog! I've been following and enjoying her well documented journey as she seeks her own artist's voice.  Her posts are generous in information and inspiration!

Later this week, I'll be posting my own choices for the Liebster Award, perhaps you too will enjoy some of the sites I visit regularly.  

Sunday, February 26, 2012


The pause in my posts was due to a short get-away to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton, VA with girlfriends.  Our 2010 & 2011 PTA (our small fiber group = Professional Textile Artists) Challenges were exhibited at the show.

 7 members of our group attended....4 of us made the 7+ hr. drive together.  Connie Brown our 'driver' did an excellent job of getting us there and back safely.  

Whenever Connie is around.....expect the unexpected.  She's been involved in several 'yarn bombs'....where knitted or crocheted pieces are attached to objects such as light poles, railings, trees, etc. in public places for others to enjoy.

So.....Connie decided we would 'quilt bomb' along the way.  She prepared some orphan blocks and other small patchwork pieces with elastic ends which we stitched to the other end of the fabric as they were attached for 'display'.  We all knew this was going to be fun and a good activity to break up the long drive!

We stopped at an interstate rest stop.....and what do we see?  A reporter and camera man talking with a woman and her child.  If you knew wouldn't be surprised to hear that she slowed the car down as we pasted them, remarking that maybe they'd talk to us.  Of course we had NO idea what they were interviewing the lady about...for all we knew there might have been a crime committed and they were reporting about that.

Because we are quilters.....anytime is time to we pulled out our snacks and lunch and headed for a picnic table.  Sure enough....the hunky reporter (Mitch Carr) headed our way.  He was doing a story about the diverse weather that region had experienced in the last several days.  One thing led to the next and ta-da....we ended up on the nightly news......introducing the world to 'quilt bombing'.  

It's a short clip....and we are nearly at the end of this if you are here to view it.....I'm in the brown leather jacket.

 Barbara was not only our navigator, but the window washer....Kate and I held down the back seat where we were close to the cooler and snacks to be passed around.
 Linda Cantrell, a PTA member, was teaching at the show....and of course we had to pester her.  She showed her class a really good tip she developed when using Fray Block.  This product which is supposed to be warmed before using, helps to keep the edges of fabric from fraying.  Linda decided it's too time consuming to run to the kitchen constantly to run the tube under water....instead, she keeps it in her pants!

 Connie had a quilt in the a big one!  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get the entire piece in my photo, hopefully you can see how cleverly and effectively she changed the colors in the drunkard's path border.


......more tomorrow.....

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I haven't attended a large quilt conference for probably 20 years without being on the it will be a totally different experience for me these next few days to be a spectator at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton, VA.  

Several of us PTA members are making the trek (one of the small fiber groups I belong to).  Our excuse is to see our exhibit "Inspired By" (our 2011 PTA Challenge) that will be hung in the show. 

I've blogged about it numerous times before....but here's an overview for any new readers.  Each of us selected a 2 dimensional artist for our inspiration....(dead or alive - LOL).  We were not to copy their work, rather use their style to create our own piece.

The following are a few of the pieces in our show, click on photos to enlarge. Each quilt will be accompanied with signage showing a photo of our original artist.  Below are two slides for each is the actual piece we made and the other the inspiration artist's work.

We will also be hanging work from our 2010 PTA Challenge...Sunrise/Sunset...which won third place in the AQS Knoxsville Show.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


"Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope" continues its five-year journey across the United States with a stop at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival XXII, February 23-26, 2012.

The exhibit will hang at the Hampton Roads Convention Center (Greater Chesapeake Bay / Williamsburg Area).

Show hours are 10 am to 6 pm Thursday - Saturday; 10 am to 4 pm on Sunday.

"Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope" is an exhibit of quilts about Alzheimer's sponsored by the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI). Fifty-four small format art quilts (9" x 12") illustrate the disease from a variety of perspectives. They hang among 182 "Name Quilts," each 6 inches wide and 7 feet tall, which carry the names of more than 10,000 individuals who have/had Alzheimer's or a related dementia. The names of loved ones, written on fabric patches by family members and friends, honor the 5.4 million Americans in the United States struggling with Alzheimer's disease.

To get involved please visit The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Bluegrass First Class 2012 has come and gone......we are already anticipating next year's event.

I hesitate to rave about it so much......because it's such a small venue, last minute ticket purchases are not always think ahead if this sounds like fun to you.

Besides the 'big name acts' who play in the showroom area.....other groups play in the lobby area, workshops are held in conference rooms, pickers play EVERYWHERE....hotel room doors are open, they are on the veranda, on their balconies.....if there is a banjo, guitar, fiddle within reach....someone is playing them. 

 Imagine this?  Some folks actually wish to sleep at night!!

Bluegrass is often called 'old time music'......yet advancements in musical instruments do make their way into some groups.  The bass player (left) in the Darrell Webb Band is an example.....his bass is not the typical upright style we commonly see.

Now...this was an amazing sight...this young man playing the mandolin in the James King Band is left handed.  Yet....he's playing a right handed mandolin, strung for a right handed player.....he plays it upside down....and plays it very, very well!

This is how a mandolin is normally played.....(Russell Moore & 111rd Tyme Out Band).

Almost every year we are delighted to see the Seldom Scene (from the Washington DC area)....this is THE bluegrass group that won my heart way back in the 1970's.  I still love them!

And....last but not least....our own Haywood County IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) award winning Bluegrass artist from the group, Balsam Range.....who won 'song of the year' for their song "Trains I Missed".  His name is Buddy Melton, who lives in the same mountain valley we do.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


We wait all year for the best Bluegrass festival in the country. It's called Bluegrass First Class, held in Asheville, NC. Two days & nights of non-stop bluegrass music, performed by some of the top names in Bluegrass in a small venue. (Only 800 tickets are sold.)  

Bluegrass fans are some of the most respectful folks you can ever hope to share an audience with.....everyone is there for the talking, no cell phones, no rowdy drunks, etc. Groups love to interact with the audience as well....they are very fan friendly.

Rhonda Vincent and the Rage (sister of the Vincent in Dailey & Vincent) played on Friday.....and as always, these professionals really know how to put on a great show.  

One fan who was invited on stage (and apparently had done so at another one of Rhonda's shows) had the entire room roaring. Even if you are not a fan of bluegrass, Tod the Bod will have you chuckling too.  'The husband' put this up on utube...we expect it to go viral as Tod's previous antics did before.  Check it out  here.

 Nice way to travel.....
Hummmm....when I was awarded "2004 Professional Teacher of the Year".....I didn't get a bus.  Oh ya.....I can't play music and haven't won every award in the music world either!

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Bluegrass is on my mind......festivals are starting up.....and we'll be attending our very favorite this weekend...... so to honor the folks who give us this wonderful music I'll be blogging about it over the next few days.

I rarely look at utube.....frankly who has time to even begin to experience 1/100th of what's out there in the cyber world.  However, if you want a smile.....check this out.  Make yourself watch through to the end.

Friday, February 17, 2012


Plugging away.....I've decided the piece definitely needs the coca brown bamboo/rayon edging, rather than my original paler pewter gray choice.....
Now all I have to do is replace these test scraps with the real thing!

 And I did add a few more elements......unfortunately this may now really rule out donating it to AAQI due to size and the care it may take during handling.

Here's a detail..... Once it's finished I'll determine whether this can be donated or offered for sale in my blogspot shop.  

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Oh my......the iron gray color of felted wool I selected for the backing/edging treatment for this piece is not working.....

I like this bamboo/rayon better.  However, because the edging needs to be wider than I orginally planned....this piece may end up exceeding the max. size for an Alzheimer's Priority Quilt donation.  

And....I'm wanting to add more 'stuff'....hopefully because it will enhance the piece, rather than because I'm bored at night and have no other handwork to do at the moment.  Hummmmm......

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


My vision for this piece was to create a simple, yet hopefully striking design featuring heathered neutrals with anb accent of color and texture to pull it all together......not real sure it's working.

Simple machine stitching using rayon thread provides the texture....and the beading helps to incorporate the sea shell into the design.  I made a piece similar to this one several months ago and though I rarely copy a design....I found myself using almost the same layout.

Not sure what if anything will be added before I tackle the edges.....I need to live with it for awhile before foraging ahead.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Each year I make one or more major pieces for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative Priority Quilt Sale at Quilt Fest in Houston.  I've nearly reached my second $1,000 earned goal.  If I included the sales of 'little treasures" (another size category) I'd be the $2,000 mark.

This year I'm thinking of making several less time consuming pieces that can be sold at a lower selling price, giving more folks an opportunity to purchase one.

 I'm using a heathered wool felt, stablized with a Pellon non-fusible interfacing.  The working design will be on this section.

 I'm auditioning this darker wool felt piece that will act as the border and backing.....

The design will be are what I'm planning for the components....let's see what happens!

Monday, February 13, 2012


For the last 25 years or so, I've lived with my suitcases half packed in preparation for my teaching trips, which had been as many as 3 times a month.  I found it was just easier to leave them on our guest room floor, adding and subtracting as needed for each group I visited.

Now that my retirement from that side of my career is closer and closer, the suitcases have been unpacked after each less frequent trip.  It might surprise you to know just how much time and work is involved getting organized for a trip.  Time is counted in days not hours, especially for conferences!  

Next month I'll be judging, teaching, demonstrating, and lecturing at the AQS Lancaster show.  There are  7 different portions to prepare for.  I'm not complaining....I'm looking forward to going.....but after being home since November, I felt like I was preparing all my workshop materials for the very first time!

I maintain a bin of teaching material for each class I teach.  It contains everything I need for that workshop....most of it has already been made up in bulk in advance....such as piles of class handouts, bead kits, technique  samples, my lesson plan, a packing list of quilts I share for the workshop.  

Now these boxes no longer have kits or handouts, nor are they well organized anymore due to the infrequency of teaching.  OH MY.....I spent the entire day yesterday getting things up to speed again and I have one more class to finish today.

What's the rush you might ask?  I don't leave for the conference until March 12th!'s another inside peak behind the scenes.  

Yes, those are 3 of the 4 suitcases I'll be bringing....and if you've flown lately, you know there are restrictions on the number and weight of checked baggage. My goal yesterday was to gather the needed workshop materials, plus books, and other products....dump into the suitcases and weigh what I have.  Of course I already knew I'd have to ship some things....but with those escalating costs (which are out of pocket for teachers) my plan is always to put the maximum weight allowed in my baggage.

But still....why am I doing this now?  Believe it or not, our materials must be shipped to arrive at AQS by no later than Feb. 29th.  They transport it to Lancaster, where we will pick it up in the 'teacher ready' room.

Perhaps this is more than you wanted to know.....heck, sadly, that's all I had to chat about today since there has been and will be no stitching going on till I'm organized. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012


I don't even dare complain about the blizzard we are having....considering it's really only about the 3rd time it's snowed all winter.

I just wish you could hear the 50 mph wind blowing (seriously, the house is shaken') and see the horizontal snow blowing.  Despite the's quite beautiful.  Fingers crossed the power stays on or our decision not to spend the rather hefty chunk of change to purchase a whole house generator will have been a short sighted one!

Friday, February 10, 2012


Our winter continues to be blissfully mild....such a treat after last year when nearly every scheduled fiber meeting of all the groups I belong to were cancelled due to storm after winter storm.

We met at Georgia Bonesteel's home......all but two of our group where there talking at once on 11 different subjects!  Our show and tell was inspiring....

 Connie Brown had us all in fits as she described how she found the perfect 'rubber stamp' in a huge shoe bin at the local Goodwill.  Isn't that just a brilliant idea!?!?

We've all been working on our 2012 PTA Challenge.....the subject is 'postage stamps'.....we aren't reproducing a specific stamp, rather we are making our own designs.  

Among Connie's many talents (like being a certified AQS appraiser) she is also a bee keeper.  Her stamp will feature bees......the background appropriately made using her shoe find.

 Georgia Bonesteel also had a true inspiration.  She got her own know those funny square black and white looking icons that are popping up in magazine and newspaper ads??  When scanned with a smart takes you to the company's website.  It works.....we tried it out on an ipad....

 Dort Lee makes the more charming humorous quilts......This one is called April Showers. The dog is shaking off rain from a recent trip outside.  The small beads of water coming off the dog aren't visible on this photo but they def. added to the fun of the quilt.

Mary Berry is the queen of the log cabin.....she still makes big quilts that make you want to wrap yourself in!  We all oohed and aahed at her skill of adding just the right amount of 'spark' into the blocks.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


A bit more beading to frame the design which also aids in securing the outside edges together and ta-da.....

 Arizona Memories  8" x 13"

Since beads play such a big role in my work, I want to make mention of one  kind of decision I make when creating a piece.  For instance, most of my felted wool wall quilts are fairly small and since felt doesn't ravel, it's really unnecessary to add a binding to finish the edges.  

So, I like to add beadwork in this area to 'frame' the design.  In this case I wanted to use my favorite style of bugle bead (top).  It's a twisted bugle, about 1/4" long and provide lots of sparkle to a piece.  They appear faceted but in fact are smooth, inside and out.  Sometimes though, too much sparkle can detract and I use to a regular bugle bead instead. (bottom)  

One must be careful when using bugles, especially if the work will be moved a lot.  The ends of this style of bead can be aggressive, causing the thread to wear, weaken, and yes....even break.  So when working with bugles, discard any beads that have sharp or broken ends to prevent damage to the thread.

Monday, February 6, 2012


With only one eye on 'the game', I was able to complete the background stitching.  

 My initial idea was to add texture with machine stitching, but after some test sewing, I decided to use Burmilana #12 for some hand embroidery.

Now that the top is a wool felt backing will be added and I'll adhere the layers together with more beadwork.  I purposely left the edges slightly uneven which I thought was more fitting for this subject.

As you can see, I'm still uncertain about the color and perhaps even the style of beads I'll be using.......let's see what my marathon stitching this even will bring about.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Packer nation still has something to cheer about on this Super Bowl Sunday......

Aaron Rodgers has been named NFL's Most Valuable Player!!  Was there any doubt?  He earned 48 out of the 50 votes...(two votes going for Drew Brees).

Honestly, football was over for me when the Packers lost to the I will be cheering for the Patriots today!  Let's see, how many days are there till the 2012 season begins???

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I got off track and neglected to finish reporting about our February Fiber Junkies meeting.  The focus of this small group is to learn from and with each other.  We purposely keep the membership small (max. 6) which allows us to meet in each others homes.

At the beginning of each year we make a list of our goals and then try to cover as many subjects as possible as the year flies by!  The mixed media approach to quilt making has introduced so many new products to our world.  We felt it's time to find out more about some of them.

Though we all collect various tools, most often they are left sitting on the shelf until you look at them one day and ask "What's this for?"  Each of us gathered whatever fabric markers, pencils, & pens we owned and as a group, we systematically documented how each product behaved.

Judy Simmons has bravely used many of these products for years....we were lucky to have her expertise to help guide us.  She blogged about it so well here that I'm sending you over to her post to see more.

 However, if you are still with me here....I wanted to share this photo....  Val was soooo smart....instead of using a piece of muslin to document the products, she made a fabric book which gave her lots of room to play and take notes.

 This is my muslin swatch.

We also use this black and white print as a foundation us a better idea of how the product might translate when filling in small spaces.

So....go see what Judy has to say.....  We had a great time, learned a lot and have decided our next meeting will focus on fabric paints.