Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Oh how fast my evening flew by working on the few remaining details of this piece. If you missed the start of this project....see it here.

 I added a bit more beading and then a backing and finished the edges with cockeyed strips of Woolfelt. (See finished piece below which you can enlarge by clicking on the photo.)

 Detail - agate slice attached with Delica beads
ELEMENTS # 3    10.5 x 11.5
Felted wool, machine stitched, bead embellished.

Monday, July 29, 2013


.....Continuing my efforts to add to my inventory of small, nature based wall art for my upcoming solo exhibit at the NC Arboretum, just a few short weeks away....here's another piece underway.

If I'm sounding a tad paniced ....it's because this exhibit got moved up by 15 days AND...the space is large when you factor in that my pieces are small!  But, I'm a happy camper, loving the incentive to keep on stitching.

 Unlike many of my recent pieces, this felted wool (Woolfelt) is commercially manufactured by National NonWovens. It comes in a variety of styles....these are mainly 80/20, the most affordable group.  The wool is the 20% which may surprise you!  But it's plenty sturdy and comes in the most luscious colors.

I've prepared it as usual, by thread basting Pellon non-fusible lightweight interfacing to the wrong side.  Next, I've auditioned various design elements....starting with the star of the show which is a rather large, beautifully colored agate slice.

 To add more texture AND additional strength, I've chosen to machine stitch the background.
Of course the stitching part can't be finished fast enough for me since all I really want to do is get on with the beading.....which is now complete.  Visit tomorrow to see its progress.  

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Seriously, I just learned about this today.....another indication of our swift moving quilt world and technology! Sometimes I do feel like I'm living under a rock.  Despite having written scores and scores of times for many quilt magazines....I no long subscribe to any.  The Internet with it's blogs, websites, YouTube options usually keeps my mind whirling enough!!

This is one Internet site you may wish to check out.  Quilter's Newsletter now offers their own short TV episodes.  Click here for an index of what's available.  As far as I can tell, currently you don't need to be a subscriber to the magazine to enjoy their online TV.

Consider this a public service announcement....grinning & happy viewing.

Friday, July 26, 2013


Multi-tasking has been the name of my game all week......"Autumn" is one of the results of my efforts. 

It began with a some rather unique fabrics.  My friend Gen (master of everything to do with fabric), dyed a pile of batting....YES.....our quilting batting.  She used liquid rit dye and got these wonderful results, which she shared with me.

Some of the dyed batting was combined with a piece of wool that I had felted, dyed, and then sun printed.  The images were created by using circle and rectangular sticky paper labels as the resist.
 Using the shape of a maple leaf, motifs were cut and fused to the background which was stabilized with non-fusible lightweight interfacing.
 Next, I machine stitched veins and stems.
 .....and spent two evening hand embroidering seed stitching to provide more texture and interest.  The final touch was to back the piece and add two loops to fit 'just the right side aged stick' from the ever growing stack I collect along our daily 'forced march' on our mountain roads.

16" x 12"
Artist hand dyed/felted wool, sun printed, dyed cotton batting, machine stitched and hand embroidered.

I'm linking to Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Fridays

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


'The husband' has been watching this Puppy Cam and constantly reporting the activity to me.  I have to admit, the 5 black and 2 yellow lab puppies are adorable!  Apparently this litter in Maryland will be raised as service dogs.  Did you jump over there to look?  Not yet??  Do it now.....really they are soooo cute!

Our rescue dog Sooty, is growing on me.  I'm not necessarily a pet lover but 'the husband' made up his mind about having another dog and that was that.  We've had her now for a little over than a year and of course she rules the house.

For a lab, she's a pitiful retriever.....she'll full out sprint for items you throw but never brings them back....and clearly doesn't care if ask her to carry them!

Monday, July 22, 2013


Lucky me....recently my generous friend Helen reorganized and reduced her stash....and sent me two huge boxes of batiks.  Lucky really doesn't describe this windfall.....fabulous friend is a better description!

 As you all know....I'm not much of a piecer.....used to be....but sitting at the machine cranking out block after block...well....need I say more? It's totally cool if you love it.....I'm old enough now to only do what I darn well want to! 

But who couldn't resist doing something with the candy store of batiks I now had available?  My nephew's daughter loves pinks and purples.....though she's only in early grade school....perhaps it's time to get her interested in quilting?
 Unfortunately, I live in NC and she lives in WI.....so I'm doing the work...hopefully she'll love and cherish the quilt.  Being a bit of an "A" type personality, I pretty much cut and stitched only a few blocks at a time, arranging them on the design wall as I went.
 ......this is my kind of patchwork.....no real measuring...make some big blocks with 3 patches, then fill in with smaller ones till it reaches the desired size. Hear me cheering?!?
Of course.....now it will need to be backed and quilted.....and I am planning on getting to that soon....really I am.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Long time readers already know how smitten I am with National Nonwoven's products...their Woolfelt and Bamboo/Rayon are my go-to fabrics in so much of my work.  Here's the link where you can learn more about the various styles they manufacture and purchase directly from them.

I'm not an employee of the company....just a very satisfied customer who from time to time is fortunate enough to get a sneak preview of their new colors....  Did you hear me squealing yesterday when I opened the box that just arrived from them??

 Even if the colors don't translate well in my photo....just reading these names will make you want to try some on an upcoming project: Pretty In Pink, Burnt Sienna, Love Bug Blue, Earl Grey, Georgia Peach, and Spiced Cider....

Woolfelt comes in a variety of styles....some 35/65% wool/rayon  up to 100% wool.  It's felted already so you can start immediately, no messy felting here!
 My favorite was Lemon Lime Twist.....this seems to be a new direction for them.....visually it has a heather look...but it's achieved with the yellow/green color format rather than the typical darker colors one would expect.  
Their Bamboo/Rayon is soft as butter and a product I use as often as the Woolfelt.  

I noticed that Jo-Ann Fabrics has some Woolfelt on sale this week online......click here for the direct link.  BE sure you do not buy craft felt when purchasing online......  You want the real stuff from National Nonwovens for it's strength, color, and quality.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


My career in the quilt world would never have been possible without some very special people who took the time and trouble to mentor me.....especially Doreen Speckmann and Pat Campbell.  I'll forever be thankful.

A couple of years ago I was teaching and judging at the Vermont Quilt Festival and met Dominique Ehrmann. Her work was awarded by the judging team and I presented her with my judges award.  I've been encouraging her ever since because I knew it was only a matter of time before the whole quilt world would know the work of this talented artist.

Recently, Dominique was featured at the 2013 Sacred Threads Exhibit.  Listen to her own words as she describes her workshops.  She was also featured in this interview.....   Take a moment or two to check out her almost indescribable work.....it will blow your mind.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


My last post was a plea for your insight in regard to the hanging orientation of my lastest nuno felted, bead embellished piece.  I'm grateful for so many responses....many coming directly to my email address so unfortunately, the rest of you will miss reading them.

Most agreed that option B, which is seen below was their choice.  However, TheaM and Sheila suggested other options such as changing it to a portrait orientation, rather than landscape.  Hummmmm.....

Another idea was to offer two 'sleeves' to allow the new owner their choice. (Hopefully someone will want to purchase it!) 

 Past experience working on these very small pieces has guided me to use new finishing details.  I no longer sew on traditional cloth sleeves as their bulk can often times be visible from the front.  Instead, I use single layer bamboo/rayon triangles. Additionally, I provide a small diameter metal rod which is lighter and less bulky.  And finally, I have switched to fusing my label onto the backing...again, to avoid the bulk of thicker hand sewn label.
What is brilliant about this method on this particular piece is that I didn't really have to decide how it could/should be hung.  Using 4 triangles provides 4 ways to hang it...not the two I initially thought!!!  Life is good and a happy dance was appropriately done!

If it were my piece, I'd hang it as shown below....but yeah....options are now available.....thanks everyone for pushing me to think beyond the norm.

  CARNIVAL  10" X 7"   © 2013 
Available here

Artist nuno-felted wool, hand embroidered, bead embellished.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Help me decide......please add a comment with your orientation preference.....

 Fast Forward:  the beading/embroidery continued for several evening....
The last task was to go back and bead fringe from the center of the focal bead.

 Before I put the backing on...and perhaps even do a bit more stitching on the edges.....I need your help.  It's surprising to me how many times lately that I've created a project working in one specific orientation and then after it's finished.....question that choice.

So.....here's view A......the way I had been working the piece....

.......And here's view B....  If you have a preference....please leave a comment....I'm in total indecision mode......   Thank you in advance for your insight!!!

Monday, July 15, 2013


Recently I Nuno felted a large piece (using a dyed silk scarf as the base). I proceeded to cut it into several smaller sections, refelting with more roving to encompass the edges where the scarf had become visible. 
 So....now what to do with these pieces?  Well.....bead embellish them of course!  I prefer to stabilize the fabric with a non-fusible lightweight interfacing (used mainly for garment construction) to help hold the weight of the beadwork.  Then I raid my bead stash....pull some options to begin the design and I'm all set for hours of evening one eye on the TV watching.  (I do not have control of the remote in this household.....really do any of you??)
 The focal point of a large glass 'donut' was added first.
 Followed by simple seed/bugle bead units.

To see the progress/finish of this quilt.....click here and again here.

Linking with Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Fridays.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


You may wonder how I get any projects of my own completed since I seem to be flitting off to various fiber group play days so often!  But.....ahhhhh......that's part of the secret...surround oneself with talented pals and inspiration will be your reward!

PTA (Professional Textile Artists) a group of 14 dedicated and long time quilters meets once a month.  One of our members now lives in FL but she still comes for our annual retreat and Christmas party.  With summer vacations and other obligations our gathering included a smaller number this time but it was predictably lively. 

 Georgia Bonesteel made this quilt for 'The Ranch' as she calls it....a working ranch in Montana where she and Charlotte Warr Anderson hold a yearly quilt retreat.
 Students will be creating this quilt pattern....Georgia made it using bandanna print fabrics.....we all oohed over it!
 Last month we gathered and made 4 charity quilt tops using the disappearing 9 patch block method.  If you don't know what that is.....google it and start experimenting yourself.  We began with LARGE blocks...the patches were 6"....so the piecing went quickly.  I'm binding this one right now and hopefully all 4 will be completed so that we can show (and turn them over) at our Asheville Quilt Guild meeting next Tues.
 Kate brought the one she quilted already bound!!!  Great job!!
 Now....here's Gen, our hostess for the day....and accomplished quilter/stitcher of ANY technique you might name!  Seriously....she's mastered everything...but we still love her.  (Grinning)

Gen is holding 'the bird'.....PTA's long time mascot which finds its way into members tote bags, or autos, or hidden in their homes after a meeting. She's declaring it was leaving her house....some one was going to get it and it was not coming back to her place to gather dust again!
 Like many of us lately...the urge to purge and organize has hit......Gen has been documenting her vast quilt collection...quilts SHE made I might add.  Isn't this stunning?
She is an excellent hand quilter too.....'the bird' could have flown in my open mouth as I examined this beautifully executed piece.
  I know I sound like a cheerleader, but Gen's work is so exquisite.....she had a pile of embroidered samplers and other designs to show us......This is just one of the many that blew us all away!

Saturday, July 13, 2013


The quilt world has had a flurry of sad news lately......another instructor colleague has passed away.  Perhaps many of you own her books or experienced her witty lectures.  She had quite an impact on our industry.  The following will or has appeared in Quilter's Newsletter......

Mary Ellen Hopkins
Quilting teacher, author and fabric designer Mary Ellen Hopkins died July 9 in California. Hopkins was born in Peoria, Illinois, lived in a number of Midwestern cities while growing up, and attended Drury College and Missouri University. She and her husband, Bill, and their four children moved to Santa Monica, California, in 1963. Hopkins worked from home for a few years making men’s shirts before opening the Crazy Ladies and Friends Quilt Shop in Santa Monica in 1977.
In 1989 she self-published her first book, The It’s Okay If You Sit on My Quilt Book,which she called an “attitude adjustment quilt book” and Quilters Newsletter described as, “Great for beginners – takes quilts out of the realm of preciousness and encourages just jumping in and doing it.” Hopkins went on to publish more instruction books including her “Connector” series. After 20 years of quilt shop ownership, Hopkins sold her shop to teach and lecture around the U.S. and internationally. Her topics included quilting seminars for teachers and shop owners and neighborhood-shop seminars for consumers, all delivered with her trademark high-energy, humorous style.

Friday, July 12, 2013


Here are a few more views of our Indigo dyeing day.....

 After dipping the clamped/rubber band/string/paper clip secured (as well as numerous other methods used to create the resist patterns)......each piece was  squeezed by hand to remove as much dye as possible.  Then hung to dry for a short time.

The most challenging part was removing all the string/rubber bands etc. from the wet fabric. In part, our high anticipation level left us impatient....we couldn't get this process completed quickly enough!
Alas.....the fabric was freed from its torture and again hung or laid out to dry.

 This is a close up of another one of mine that I like very much.  A total experiment. The fabric was a piece of deconstructed silk screen that didn't appeal to me.  It was folded into a long strip and then folded into thirds, held in place with two clamps.

 Here's another experiment...a rather plain and unattractive piece of tan silk noil. The pattern along the edge provides the clue to how the pattern was achieved. It was folded accordion style and secured with paper clips.
And finally......the resist for this piece were good old fashioned hair curlers!  What a fun and productive day we had.....  Grab some like-minded buddies and set up your own dye day!