Friday, February 28, 2014


Another little resist dyed felted wool piece was calling for attention.
 After stabilizing with Pellon's non-fusible light-weight interfacing, supplies were pulled in preparation for the stitching.
 Some of the main elements were added first to work out the embellishing theme.
 Because of its already busy design, less beads are finding there way onto the piece. 

FURROWS  10" x 8"
Hand felted resist dyed wool, hand embroidered, & bead embellished.
Mounted on felted wool covered canvas frame.

When it was felt too lonely as such a small stand alone.  After some experimenting, I decided to mount it on a felted wool covered canvas which seemed to set off the piece in just the right manner.

I'm linking to 3 sites where you can enjoy the work of other artists celebrating the progress they've made this week:   Nina Marie's Off The Wall Friday,         Crazy Mom and Whoop Whoop It's Friday            

Thursday, February 27, 2014


......I left off yesterday at the point where the vinyl screens were ready for printing.....
 Our paints were all lined up and ready to go.

The fabric to be printed and the vinyl screen were taped to a vinyl covered cushioned surface.  The vinyl allows for easy clean up of the paint that bleeds through the fabric, and the softer surface helps to achieve a better print.  
A line of paint is positioned on one taped edge.  Then....using a squeege or even an old credit card/hotel room key etc., the paint is drawn across the surface.
 When removed....this is the result on one of my commerically dyed rayon fabrics.
 Here's what it looks like on a hand-dyed silk.
Judy decided to use two colors of paint...casually placing them onto the screen....I don't have a photo of the results....but I can say the blend was lovely.
 Here's her design printed on some of my silk fabric using black paint.
Kate's simple design became a real treasure when printed again and again on a piece of her hand dyed cotton. 
Then she took it one step further and printed again using green paint....LOVE IT!!
Denny, who works harder and faster then the rest of us, had this design printed before my piece was even cut out.  I really like the idea of the small size. This will allow the design to be printed on a variety of fabrics that can then be incorporated in a larger design. 

As I said, Denny is very detailed.....she did a positive and negative spider web!!  

This project was a lot of fun and I'm sure it will be helpful to me since my workspace isn't very compatiable with paints.  This is nice and compact and not terribly messy.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


 Yesterday the Fiber Junkies (we missed you Val....who is basking in the Florida sun!) met at Gen's for our snow-makeup day.  

Kate organized our fun project: creating our own 'silk screens' for printing.  It's especially helpful for those of us who do not own Thermofax machines.
 Basically, instead of burning an imagine into the sheer fabric, the design is cut into Therm O Web Vinyl which can be adhered with an iron.
 We each came with a line drawing/idea.  Here's mine.....okay so I can't draw!!
The sketch could be traced onto the paperbacked vinyl or simply used as a visual guideline, which is what I did.  After taping the corners to a cutting mat, this tiny rotary cutting tool made fast work of cutting out the lines.  
 I tried using a box cutter (yellow tool above) but I didn't have sufficient control.  Judy was working on a more intricate design and ended up using a small Olfa cutter (blue tool above) that Kate brought.  Though I didn't try it, I wonder if a small sharp to the point embroidery scissors may work too??  Please share your cutting tricks if you've tried this method.....
Once the design was cut, it was placed paper side up on a sheer fabric.  We found that the stiffer that fabric was...the better.  Initially I tried using this piece of sheer drapery fabric (note the hem on the right edge), but once the paper was removed, it was almost impossible to get the vinyl positioned and secured properly on this wiggly fabric.
 After the vinyl was temporarily secured/positioned on the sheer, it was covered with parchment paper and pressed.....about 8 seconds in each section, then turned over and another 3-4 seconds on each section on the back side.
The edges were trimmed, allowing the sheer to extend about 1 inch + beyond on all four sides.  Heavy duty tape is applied to the edges to prevent unraveling and a tidy edge for screen printing.

Tomorrow I'll show you the printing process and our results.....

Monday, February 24, 2014


Yikes....the weekend came and went...and so did Monday......I look around and wonder what I did with my time?!?!

Yes, there was a small project to work on which I hope to share sometime this week.......However, I am feeling very unproductive!

So, today....for instant gratification....I grabbed one of the larger size rocks I've been hording and began embellishing it.  These bigger ones made great paperweights.  It isn't quite finished....but it will be soon.

With a Fiber Junkies play date tomorrow.....there should be some good photos to share in a day or so....  Till then...

Friday, February 21, 2014


This tiny piece was started a few weeks ago and now, after a lot of travel, I'm home and back in studio getting tasks done!

 As usual when working with hand felted resist dyed wool, it's stabilized with Pellon non-fusible interfacing before any stitching begins.
 Normally I work in a Q-snap frame, however with these very small pieces, careful stitching while holding it in my hands works sufficiently to prevent distortation.  I have no real plan....instead I select a starting point and go from there, adding both beads and hand embroidery until I feel that it's complete.  It's not a fast process, rather an enjoyable marathon.

7.5" x 5"
Hand felted resist dyed wool, hand embroidered and bead embellished.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Grunt work.....yuck.....when I was teaching full out, it made sense to out-source some of the preparations for my workshops. Now that I'm winding down, it's more sensible for me to tackle them.

For instance....these 'mock quilts'...which are kinda like elongated hot pads.  I don't require students to purchase them, they can make their own if they wish. However, since I never really know for sure how many I need to have on hand, it's necessary to maintain an inventory.  I'll be teaching this class for two upcoming guild visits.....meaning...I need to get busy!
They are used as a blank for students to create a sampler of edging/binding stitches.  I started adding beaded edgings on my quilts about 15 years ago and been teaching it about that long.  So now that my schedule is fairly sparse...making the blanks has fallen to me.....  Good for evening hand sewing as the binding needs to be sewn to the back by hand, but it's not a very creative exercise.
 Here's an example of how a simple beadwork stitch can frame a quilt.  (Click to enlarge)
 ...And here's one of the most difficult and time consuming techniques. Basically a netting made using bugle and seed beads.  This piece is available here.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Always being on the outlook for smooth, interesting rocks to embellish.....these came home with me from my recent teaching trip to Phoenix! 

Yes....I do live in the mountains of North Carolina....but I've yet to find any smooth 'flatish' rocks here.  I can't wait to get started playing....

Monday, February 17, 2014


Nearly 47 years ago, my roommate married 'the husband's' roommate....we've remained friends ever since, despite living in different states for the bulk of those years.

Now my friend is ungoing treatment for breast cancer....she's lucky, hers was discovered early and her outlook is very positive.  California is a long way from North Carolina, but she'll soon be wrapped with my warm hugs anyway.

48.5" X56.5

Sunday, February 16, 2014


This is all about Bluegrass......if that interests you read on....if not.....I'll be back to blogging fiber related posts as soon as I have time to get back to my ongoing projects...grinning.....

Despite weather challenges, the annual Bluegrass First Class weekend successfully concluded in Asheville last night at 1:00 AM (wayyyy tooo late for us old folks).  However, as morning came too early for me, many folks staying at the hotel are probably just now ending their all-night pickin'.  
 As the show ends each year, we can not imagine how the entertainment can be topped the next, but was.  This event has become known for the reunions the organizers magically arrange (with tons of hard work I'm sure).  

If you are a Bluegrass fan, perhaps you'll recognize folks in these photos.....but I'll refrain from detailing everyone for fear I'll scare the rest of you away.

Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver is a group that ALWAYS features the best musicians that also have incredible vocal skills.  Totally professional in every way.
 Doyle Lawson is known for being a task master and his flashy jackets....more often seen in the Country Western music industry than in Bluegrass.  I'm exhausted after 2 days of simply listening to music.....he's 70 years old and has a grueling travel schedule....
 What a thrill it was to see and hear members of his original band dating back to April 1979.  (Prior to that Doyle was with the group the Country Gentlemen.)
At first when he came on stage, I was surprised to see him wearing a corduroy 1970's.  Then it struck me......he did it because he was recreating the band, if even for only a short moment in time. think the darn jacket still fit him!!
It seems everyone has worked for Doyle at one time in their's another look at the composition of the group later.....the fellow on the guitar is Jamie Daily.....of the Daily and Vincent group.
 My first very favorite Bluegrass group was the Seldom Scene Though the banjo player, Ben Aldridge is the only original member, the group holds true to its traditional sounds.  Their name was selected because they began as a musicians who just wanted to play together, and thought they should keep their day jobs since earning a living playing music was seemingly impossible.  They are still.....seldom seen!
 The most professional, entertaining, quality group in Bluegrass today, in my humble opinion, is Daily and Vincent.  Their awards could fill warehouses.....  The kid playing the guitar in the back is from Bryson City, NC....just up the road  from where we live......his talent is astonishing....and he's only 20!!
I'll leave you with this photo.  What a surprise to see two Go-Pros attached to on an upright base and one on a guitar.  Don't know what that is??  Visit here....and check out some videos that are amazing.

One final comment.....Bluegrass fans are always respective audiences....they are not are not chatting with each other during songs, no cell phones are ever heard ringing, and everyone is very responsive to the artists talents.  Here is a link of some videos of various groups  'the husband' has taken.  Do check out Rhonda Vincent/Tod the Bod, I still laugh thinking about the antics of Tod.  The majority of Bluegrass shows do not serve this is a bit unusual....but at least he was a happy drunk!   

Saturday, February 15, 2014


We await the weekend closest to Valentine's Day every year when one of the best bargains in live entertainment is held in Asheville.  It's called Bluegrass First Class.  And it's certainly a FIRST CLASS event for Bluegrass lovers.  It's a small venue....with big time groups playing music for a minimum of 12 hours a day.

Each year it seems we have to worry and contend with bad weather.  Just when we thought the after affects of our recent big storm were over......meaning we could drive to Asheville and back without ice/snow, we woke to near blizzard conditions today.  Ice is covering our roads again. It looks like the sun is trying to peek out just now so with any luck, it will melt enough for us to get back there today.  Some of our favorites groups will begin playing at noon.  

Yes, I'm sooooo over this winter and almost feel bad about complaining because I know so many other areas have been impacted far worse than we have.  Yet, we moved from Wisconsin to avoid this sort of thing!!

Russel Moore &  IIIrd Tyme Out (with two new band members that did NOT disappoint) put on two great sets.....
 The headliner on Friday is always Rhona Vincent and the Rage.  Fabulous entertainers doing what they always do so well.....
We've been watching her career escalate for years and 51 she sure can belt out the songs and play the mandolin like she was a teen.

Friday, February 14, 2014


Here's a clever little project that Nan and Sue tackled on our final day together. I opted out because my suitcases were already filled with my teaching materials.
 Is that a birdhouse?  Yes.....and the transformation begins by gluing newsprint and magazines pages to completely cover the wood. 

 The theme of this one was food..... coordinate with the roof....a vintage Betty Crocker cookbook!  Isn't this just adorable!
Our hostess has an amazing collection of original art. I admired this old lunch box/Taco stand....complete with a spark plug server.

The 3rd annual Girlfriend Art Camp regretfully came to an end.  But happy memories will keep us company until next February.  Why not gather some of your pals and organize your own getaway?

Thursday, February 13, 2014


We do as much chatting & eating as we do 'creating' choosing no-brainer activities is a must.  A fun project I've done with my Fiber Junkies group  was selected for our first day.
 Paper Fabric is very stress free.  It consists of making a collage using various paper products which are adhered to fabric with thinned white glue.  When dry, it can be cut up and used for note cards, to decorate gift tags, and make labels.  Of course the pieces can be framed or hung on walls as well.
 We each brought paper favorites were printed tissue paper and maps.  Old books were fun to utilize as well.  We made a pile on the table to share.  From past experience, selecting and tearing the paper into pieces prior to beginning the collage process seems to work best.
 Eventually we moved outdoors and worked on plastic covered tables.....small stones kept our drop clothes from blowing away.  A piece of fabric (about 14" square) is wet with the water/glue solution to help keep the torn paper in place. A sponge brush is used to spread more glue over the torn paper as pieces are collaged onto the fabric.   It's not necessary to have a plan, rather it's fun to jump right in and simply scatter the paper as desired.  
 Gwen came up with the great idea to place our torn paper vertically in plastic storage containers to make it easier to make our selections.
 This is her completed piece.....featuring a happy birthday theme.
 Nan made this colorful one.
 Here's my overly coordinated piece!
 I especially like how Sue featured so many book pages.

And to keep up our was never far away.  Nan is an exceptional hostess.....    **Posts about our 'art camp' can also be found the day before this one and the day explore.....

I'm linking to Nina-Marie's Off The Wall sure to hop over to enjoy the creativity of artists from around the world!