Thursday, August 30, 2012


Holy cow.....yes, this bovine lover really said, holy cow!!  Progress is going slowly on this piece.  Seems for every 10 beads I add, I take 12 off!  Because I'm just doodling.....but probably with way tooooo much thought, the beading is going slowly.

That's okay, as I always tell my students....try to think marathon....not sprint.

I'll admit to be fairly distracted while stitching last night as we had a reprieve from hog round ups & car shows.  Our son and his wife, who put so much thought into gift giving....gave us the complete TV series 'Wired'.  Many claim this is/was the best show on TV.  We are delighted to have the youngins' to keep us up to date!!'s full of scoundrels for sure....always a plus for drama.  Problem is, that it was filmed in such dark light, it's very difficult to see which bad guy is doing what.  I had the same complaint about the original 'Homicide' (and I think these two are connected via actors and perhaps directors). requires more than a casual glance at the screen to follow the dirty dealings!

Tonight....and realize...I've only made one reference to the NFL so far......the Green Bay Packers will be on TV here.....YEAH.....let the season begin......

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Happy, happy is me when I have handwork to look forward to during our endless evening of watching anything that features anything with wheels and a motor, auctions, pawn shops, and now even wild hog round ups!!

Yes, I do have my own trivial shows that 'the husband' could make fun of....but at least I don't foist them on anyone else as I view them in my studio!  Grinning.....

 Obviously that sort of entertainment doesn't require paying close attention, heck any attention!!  So, I'm stitching away instead.  The densely felted and hand dyed wool is now backed with a non-fusible stabilizer.  Machine stitching has been added to provide more texture and interest.
Now the fun begins......playing with beads.  I'm not sure where this is going....several years ago I created something similar, encrusted with beads that was donated to AAQI....  The process gives me enjoyment and hopefully the finished product will as well.  I'll keep you posted.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Several project ideas have been going through my head....but first I had to clear my plate of ho-hum household tasks and lots and lots of paperwork.  My expectations were to get started on one of these two piles yesterday but that didn't happen.  Perhaps today....

 Some of the marbled fabrics made during the Fiber Junkies July gathering have been calling me.  I'm thinking of combining them into a simple, unlined jacket made using silk noil.  I don't have much of the silk noil marbled fabric so it will be reserved for details on the jacket.
Another FJ dyeing day yielded many smaller, heavily felted pieces which might be nice backdrops for some concentrated beading......and that's exactly what's needed to keep my hands busy in the evening.

Because....I've been revisiting the past via DVD and loving every minute. So much so, my eyes never left the TV screen, but I'm sure shortly, I'll be looking for handwork again.

I was a huge a Dallas and Falcon Crest (which ran from Dec. 1981 - May 1990) fan. I got hooked on these back-to-back CBS shows while I was going through a series of back operations....with annoyingly long recoveries.  We were living in a suburb of Chicago at the time, and we'd travel to our weekend home in Wisconsin every Friday night.  The goal was to arrive before 8:00 PM so I didn't miss a minute of these two shows (yes, my life was not very exciting during that time period). Our cabin was heated with wood so in the winter, I'd sit there freezing in my coat, glued to TV while 'the husband' & son would get the place up and running.  How funny to think of those days without a DVR or even the ability to tape shows!  I just started rewatching Falcon Crest from the very first episode and intend to watch every silly minute to its conclusion.  

FYI - the show Dallas is now back with some of the original characters, critics have panned it but I'm hooked.

I know...this is surely more than you wanted to know about my life!!

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Finally, the fabrics I printed with the Fiber Junkies were washed, dried and pressed.  I seem to have been stuck on greens & yellows this time and this puny amount sure doesn't look like it took all day to create. did.

Most of these deconstructed prints have a lot of background texture.  That's because the muslin I used had been previously soaked with soda ash....probably a good 6 months+ prior.  The fabric was super, super crinkled.  Once the soda ash is on the fabric, it can't be I used it as is and actually am happy with the results.

Though I used numerous leaves for this design.....they aren't very visible....
More leaves that are hardly apparent.  Again....I think this was the result of printing on fabric that simply was not flat.  I got a lot of unprinted areas (white blotches and streaks throughout).  To blend the colors better, I simply smeared more print paste on the fabric, after it was printed and still wet.  I'm pleased as it will be a good background fabric.
4 prints using mop strings and plastic rings....the red got a little too pinkie for me but it will be fun to figure out how to use it anyway.
My big disappointment.....using a mesh bag for the design....and 3 dye colors.  I might as well have just painted the dye onto the fabric instead!!  It looks a little landscapy and I'm sure I'll find a use for them.
Judy brought all sorts of scraps to play with and to share.  These are organza.  It was the end of the day before I got to work with them so I decided to use up some of the dye left in the many containers we had going, painting lines onto the fabric using a sponge brush.  Then, water was sprayed onto the fabric to dampen...helping to bleed the colors together.

Another fun day in the life of a Fiber Junkie....and of course emails are already flying back and forth to determine what the focus of our Sept. meeting will be. Perhaps another messy outdoor dye event before our weather turns cold....or not....  You can be sure, whatever we do will be reported here!  Thanks for following my adventures and all your comments!!

Friday, August 24, 2012


All finished....and ready for a new home.....

MASK  6" X 7"
Artist resist dyed & felted wool, hand stitched and bead embellished
Prepared for hanging but could be matted and framed
Available here

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Here's more insight into deconstructed screen printing as the Fiber Junkies approach the process....
 I mentioned yesterday that we were all crazy about the mop strings that Kate brought.  I've chosen some, along with rick rack and plastic rings and arranged them on a table covered with newsprint.
 The screen was placed over the items.  Once the dye has been pressed through the screen and it's been allowed to dry it looked like this.
 Next it's time to print.  The screen is positioned over dry fabric that had been previously soaked in soda ash.  Using a release solution across the screen, the dye gets released and transferred onto the fabric.  It's strange that the first prints are usually not as attractive as the 2nd or even the 3rd.  Here I got 4 prints. Time and time again, what you get is a surprise....and in this case none of the ring shapes showed up at all, though they are clearly visible on the dried screen.
 We also loved the pebbled sink mat that Val found.  The fabric here is still wet but you can see that my first print is pretty cool.  I had hoped to do my second one right next to the first to gain a large run of the pattern.  However, and I have no clue why, there just wasn't enough dye left in the screen to get a decent 2nd print.  Oh well......
These three prints were another surprise.  My image was a mesh vegetable bag  over which 3 dye colors were applied to the screen.  It looked soooo good on the screen when it was dry.  But, when I printed it, no texture developed at all.  Ultimately though, I don't think the resulting fabric will disappoint me. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have time to get all the fabric washed, dried and photographed for you to see. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


The Fiber Junkies love to focus our meetings on doing.....  You might ask...doing what?  Well.....we love to play with dyes, paints, felting, bookmaking, paper making, beading, dye cutting anything we can get our hands on, get the idea....

So today, we repeated an activity we've done before.....deconstructed screen printing.  It won't be the last time either as we all love the freedom of the process and of course, the results.

 Here's a nice brand spanking new screen just waiting for me.....
 .....under which I've placed a variety of fresh picked leaves and fluted sequins. 
 Thickened dyes are placed at the top of the screen and pulled slowly down toward the bottom using a squeegee.  AND....if one didn't put enough dye down in the first place, she (meaning me) simply drops more blobs on the screen and repeats the process till it's totally covered.
Val is a master at this process and most often uses two or three colors.  It helps to have an understanding of color, otherwise you could end up with a screen the color of mud when they mix!  How do I know to tell you that??
Any textured, flat, thin material can be used as design elements.  Each time we've printed, we find one or two (new to us) items that become our favorites.  Today Kate brought cotton strings from a mop end.  (You can see a blue gloved hand grabbing for some on the right side of this photo.)  Val produced a plastic sink protector mat that looked like pebbles.  Awesome!!!  But as you can see....we had lots and lots of choices to play with.

Once the dye covers the screen....they are placed in the sun to dry.  Note the upper left corner..... see some of those mop strings?  We've found if items stick to the bottom of the screen....we simply leave them in place until the dye is dry and they are easily removed.  Taking them off sooner can cause the imprint of the motif to smear.

More to come in the next post.  Standing on a cement floor for 5+ hours is a lot harder on my ole body than I care to nite, nite folks!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


The hours fly by when I have a needle in my about you??

This piece screamed.....Face/ I went with it.  One of the difficulties of working with such small high energy pieces is to rein in the embellishments.  They should enhance what's there, not compete with it....but that often means less and the process I love best (the beadwork) goes too quickly.

There's a bit more stitching I can see that can be I'll snuggle down on the denim couch tonight....smiling all the way with needle in hand!

Monday, August 20, 2012


Do you get grumpy too if you aren't stitching daily?  I sure do....but, despite making it a priority, it doesn't always fit into the schedule.

My studio time has been somewhat limited these last few days, however there has been a VERY special project ongoing that I'll blog about as soon as I can. It's a Halloween costume for our new grandson....who will be 6 months old by that time.  DIL wanted it to be a surprise when she opens the package in San Francisco where they live so until it's finished an in CA, I'll have to keep it to myself.  I'm delighted they are anticipating it with excitement.  Soon, I'll share it with's been such fun!

That leaves me with empty hands at tonight.  I looked for about an hour for the one and only project I have that needs finishing and I can't find it anywhere.  I know I took it along on one of my last teaching trips to show as before/after example of how beading can enhance a piece.  So......perhaps it found a new home that I'm not aware of....cause I don't remember selling it.  Though I may have gifted it, but I don't recall that either....geesh....

So......what does a gal do?  Well....she heads to her dwindling stash of resist dyed felted wool.

 ....and fondles them carefully, trying to decide which piece should be tackled next.  This little one (appx. 6" sq.) looks like a mask....or maybe an alien!  I'm partial to working with wool I pulled colors that might work.

 Next of course, beads are selected.  Most of my beads are stored in clear storage containers....such as those used for embroidery floss or fishing lures.  The seed beads in one and bugles in another.....all organized by color.  My blues are overflowing so soon the greens will need to be moved to their own container.
It's a good idea to keep them away from bright light, and from heat and moisture.  A large walk in guest room closet is only steps away from my studio, so that's where they hang out.  Having them arranged by color allows me to grab several containers at a time so I can easily audition colors in my studio.  

If you've become bitten by the bead bug.....take the time to organize your beads and find a handy place to keep them that is accessible.  You won't use them if you have to dig in shoe boxes stored under the bed in your away at college kid's bedroom!

Friday, August 17, 2012


NFL season has arrived......if you are a long time follower of this blog, you know the Green Bay Packers always receive special's not quilt related but, oh my.....look at this HUNK!!

Clay Matthew's performance is going to have to be super human this far our Pack is not lookin' good.  Then again, any Packer fan always has high hopes and after all, it's only pre-season.  I grew up a mere 45 mins. from Lambeau Field and have been a life-long Packer backer.

The Packers have a wonderful tradition of allowing kids to provide their bikes for players to ride back and forth to the practice field.  The kids carry their gear......spectators line up daily for this event!  AND...what a thrill for the kids!

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Chatting about my non-sewing, day to day activities, was not the intent of this blog.  However, with a lot of 'life' going on in our household, I haven't had a chance to stitch perhaps you might like to peek at a famous mountain food favorite. 

 After numerous tasks were accomplished in Asheville today, 'the husband' and I headed off to 12 Bones for lunch.  They are wildly known for their ribs.....though my favs are their sides.  Today I chose jalapeno/cheese grits, smoked potato salad, & corn bread.  Oh, ya.....ribs too...all served in a tin plate that reminds me of something a gold prospector might use.
 This is a NO frills fact it appears be have once been a gas station.  Not much effort has been made to please the eye.  However, folks are lined up from the time they open to closing time......which by the way is around 3 or 4 PM.  They only serve lunch.  So perhaps the idea is.....just eat the food and get not linger!
Most of the 'tables' (picnic benches) are outside on gravel under a metal carport looking thing.  Silverware is self-serve out of bins, then help yourself to your beverage, and various BBQ sauces.  That's it....order, pay, eat, leave!
It's located in the River arts district....which is beginning to be home to more and more artist's studios as the old empty warehouses are being utilized again. Actually the whole area still looks pretty shabby but it's a fun area to explore.

With a full tummy, I can now relax and reflect about how much got completed today.  Haircut, a trip to the dog park, dropping off 3 outdated, unused cell phones in the 'phones for soldiers' program, and a meeting with PTA member Connie Brown.  Connie is a certified AQS appraiser who is doing an appraisal for the Bookworm Garden quilt which I'm donating to its permanent home in Oct. Providing documentation for the donation will be educational & helpful for the new keepers of the quilt.  Connie made the process so easy......she visits many area events offering her service....get to know her here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I've been feeling uncomfortable about this resist dyed piece ever since I began stitching on it.  Why?  Well.....I loved the design and therefore thought it'd easily translate into my embellishment ideas.

But it wasn't!!  I'm so accustomed to spending hours and hours and hours on the embellishing part and frankly, this piece simply did not require all that extra attention. The design was striking already.

So....with only a few hours of hand embroidery, it was time to add the embellishments. As is my habit, these items are previewed on the fabroc prior to stitching as often further editing is required.

After some shifting of items, I chose wood beads which blended with the design, yet provided interest and texture.
Now they are attached to the felted wool.

10" X 8" 
Available for purchase here

Note:  all my resist dye felted wool pieces are ready for hanging, complete with tiny hanging rods.  This one screamed for something more...thus the 'stick' hanging device.  However, if desired, any piece could easily be tacked onto an acid-free mat and framed.  I prefer not to use glass but if that was your choice, use a spacer to keep the glass off the textile.  Because I sell my work when I'm on the road, I do not frame them since space in my suitcases is an issue!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


My birthday gift by me to me, of a resist dye workshop back in April....keeps on giving!  I'm slowly working through the stack of felted wool designs created in the Chad Hagan 2-day class.  I may have to take it again once these are complete because I'm seriously and totally addicted to embellishing each and every one.

Don't forget....each of these photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

 One of my favorites was this 4 'bath color' plaid.  The colors are not ones I'd normally select, but isn't that what we should do....push ourselves to explore new avenues?
 I'm amused now looking back at my mind set for embellishing this piece.  I was SURE I had a fact from the moment this came out of the last dye bath I had could 'SEE' it. 

So, I started with some simple running stitches on the orange areas using DMC embroidery floss.  I'm's so blaaaaaa.

I was hoping by the time I added the brown larger running stitches the plaid design would be enhanced and come together.  Hummmm.....

Monday, August 13, 2012


I'm one that needs to remind myself to stop and smell the roses.......the fluttering of wings in our flower garden got my attention......and I DID STOP....if just for a few minutes!

Sunday, August 12, 2012


We always look for an excuse to drive over to Franklin, NC for dinner at Cafe REL.  A neighbor's birthday celebration gave us another opportunity last night.

We first learned about this restaurant in our Porsche newsletters and magazine....everyone raves about it.  So...why would a Porsche magazine feature a restaurant owned by the former Chef of New York's famous Greenbrier? And one located in the small mountain town of Franklin, NC? Because....he's a Porsche fanatic too.

Another astonishing notable is the restaurant is located in a gas station. read that right. 
 We suspect it was probably once the location of a fast food chain.  There's no curb appeal here....
....unless of course you too are an admirer of Porsches!  
 You'll find the chef's 911 parked in a prime spot almost any time of the night and day!
The restaurant is tiny.....15 tables, but usually only 14 are utilized because 1 table is always reserved for a parties no less than 6.  That rule is never broken.  Also, there is no room inside for hungry patrons to sit and wait if the restaurant is full (and it usually is).  One must stand outside on the sidewalk or parking lot....and if you should be lucky enough to be allowed to stand in the tiny dare not cross the imaginary line that Chef Rel has or our you go!! 

Does this remind you of a Seinfeld episode??

However, the food is worth the wait......this time we enjoyed linguine carbonara.....
.....and shrimp and grits......perfection!
Here's Chef REL...wearing his signature beret in the kitchen.....notice the Porsche flag to his right.

So....if you are ever near Franklin, NC.......stop in for a great meal.....but come early and bring cash as he doesn't accept credit cards!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Not much to report I thought I'd post my current project.  The blocks were once 4 patches that were sewn into a HUGE king size quilt top.  I never did quilt it.....couldn't face cramming it through the machine and I'll never hand quilt one we use on our bed again.....'the husband' is too hard on it!

So...I took several rows of the king quilt apart and using the 'disappearing 9-patch' approach that I blogged about several days ago, I cut them apart, rearranged and created new blocks. They were set with simple strips and will be machine quilted very simply. (Which is all my ability allows)

So far I have no purpose for the quilt.....just busy work which in itself is a good thing.