Saturday, February 28, 2015


Thank you very much for your positive feedback on this current project. Though my first instinct is always handwork and or beading.....for some crazy reason I actually thought if I took my time, some clean straight line quilting would best suit this piece.

Geesh.......I really, really dislike machine quilting!  Not the look of it....the process of doing it.  #1's not a skill I've conquered or frankly, even tried to.  #2. My back kills me sitting at the machine. #3. No matter how many different strengths of glasses I wear, I can not see well. #4. AND of course my impatience during this task is a huge negative. 

I make mistakes faster and it takes longer to remove them....I should just stick with the end it'd probably even out in time.  Sorry....I'm venting.....

After now spending more than 2 full days machine quilting....I'm not happy with the quality of my workmanship......But done is done.  The outer border is next and figuring out what to do on the pine needles sections. 

However, I do like the quilt (and will surely like it more once it's done....isn't that always the way???)  So, of course I'll carry on and post a final view soon.

Friday, February 27, 2015


Our Fiber Junkies group loves to create deconstructed screen printed fabrics.  A whole pile of them in my stash is a testiment to our love of this technique.
The screens dictate the finished size of the piece (unless one overlaps when printing). Using 1 large and 1 small pine needle sprig, placed over a piece of corrigated cardboard, my screen yielded 8 prints.  Usually the first one or two pulls through the prepared screen are not that great, then comes several good ones, and finally as the dye peeters out....the remaining are of less quality.  Deconstruced screen printing does NOT acheive clear images....rather, the beauty of this method is the blurred interesting images that result.
It's not unusal for me to have a difficult time working them.  For one thing, the images generally have so much energy.  Additionally, there are often so few of one design/colorway etc. In this case, with 8 options and a fairly recognizable design, I opted to use 6, splitting each 'block' and assembling again with other fabrics.
Here's the idea to eliminate the center (white) sashing may or may not have been wise.  Perhaps it is fine either way.....though the goal was to create a piece that wasn't set in quite such a traditional manner.  So stitching the two blocks vertically, w/o a sashing seemed to add more interest.  

The next design hurtle will be figuring out the finishing details.  For you FMQ''d be a no brainer.....but that's not a skill I have or I guess care enough about to do the work (and I know it's work) to acquire it!  The finished piece will be posted....sigh....when the work is complete.

Follow these links to see what creative projects others have worked on this week:  Whoop, Whoop Fridays, Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, Crazy Mom Quilts, Richard & Tanya Quilts

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Is winter over yet?!?  Not here, that's for sure.  We got another 5+ ".... I ONLY ventured out to the porch railing.....other areas seemed to have more but whose counting anyway?

Roads of course are all impassible......mountain living ya know.....guess that means I HAVE to spend another day in the studio....oh too bad!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


What's a gal to do when our monthly Fiber Junkie's meeting had to be cancelled due to weather?  Well....first pout!  Next, get on with it.....
Wet and needle felted wool

 Okay, I admit....I still wasn't satisfied with the re-do's of my 'girlfriend art camp' felted pieces. (see here)  With the roads impassable....I got out my felting supplies and added more needle felting to this piece. 
 Then I got out my beads (happy, happy) and perked up this bowl (the one I said would not be beaded!!)
Predictions are calling for a really big storm beginning later today - 7-10" of snow.  I shouldn't whimper as other parts of the country have had it much worse this winter....  Instead, I'll treasure the 'forced' studio time.....

Monday, February 23, 2015


As long time readers of this blog know.....I'm an avid bluegrass fan. We are so fortunate to have access to so many talented groups that pass through this area.  Each February 'Bluegrass First Class' - a 2+ day festival is held in Asheville. Live performances run 12 hours a day in the showroom, but everywhere in the hotel, music can be heard at every hour from the open doorways of rooms as the 'jams' are non-stop.

Without going to check the line-up sheet....I'm guessing we saw 12 different groups.  Here are some highlights.
I was excited to see Dale Ann Bradley's group this year for the first time.  This 5 time IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) female vocalist of the year did not disappoint.
 Russel Moore and lllrd Tyme Out plays annually and they never disappoint. Every member of that group is outstanding.....with loads of awards to their names.
 Rhonda Vincent also performs every year......professional, entertaining, and toe tapping.
 I'm partial to the instrument that looks similar to a guitar....with what looks like a hub cab on top!  Normally, one or maybe two groups will feature one....this year, to my delight, that number was much higher.
 Doyle Lawson (and his group) has appeared the last two years at this festival. If you listen to Sirius radio (Bluegrass channel).....I swear you'll hear one of his recordings every hour.  A tribute to his longevity in bluegrass. His flashy clothing is more at home in the country music world, but it suits this 70+ gentleman so well.
 Then there's the new kids.......Joe Dean who may now but all of 21 has probably been playing professionally since he was 16.....and can he play the banjo!!!!  Wow...
Here's the really new kids on the block....none over the age of 25.  Flatt Lonesome just won the 2015 IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year Award.  There's something about family groups who sing together....the harmony is hard to beat.  With the exception of the shorter male playing the upright base.....the others are siblings.  Older sister on the left (at age 24) the center is Buddy....who is a twin of Charly on the right.  The blend of their voices sound like they have come straight from heaven.

The evening session began at 6:00 PM.....we didn't get to bed that night until 1:45 AM.  My butt is dragging now......

Friday, February 20, 2015


Hopefully this hasn't gotten too repetitive for you all......hummmm.... I've become a bit obsessed.  Here are the 4 REWORKED pieces, created at "Girlfriend 2015 AZ Art Camp".  

Lessons learned:  take more care to achieve evenly distributed layers of wool and work harder and longer to felt more fully (firmly).

To read about this process from the beginning......either go to my Feb. 16, 2015 post and continue through the following two posts, OR click here  then here  and finally here

Visit these links to check out how others have used their week to create:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday,  Whoop, Whoop Friday, Crazy Mom Quilts, and Richard and Tanya Quilts.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Continuing my report of girlfriend art camp......

The more I looked at my felted bowls the more critical I became.  We are in the midst of another snow good an excuse as any to hunker down in the studio and see if I can improve them.
 Though this photo doesn't really show just how wrinkled and thin the bottom of this bowl was not good.
 There may be other ways to accomplish a do-over.....however, since I'm a beginner I chose needle felting to slowly add small strands of wool roving....building up the layers inside the bowl as I worked.
 Those fibers migrate through the layers so occasionally I had to needle felt from the bottom side to even it out.
 The piece was now better but rather fuzzy and still not as firm as I believed it could/should be.  So I wet it with hot water, lots of soap and rubbed/scrubbed until it felt and looked better.
 That was followed by a good rinse in hot water, then shocking it in cold.  It's now reshaped and better....though as you may notice....some of the fibers haven't flowed up the sides of the inside.  Without a camera flash, it isn't noticeable. So, now it's drying....
This bowl was also reworked by wet felting.  It is now much firmer and stronger....the shape is better too......  Both will most likely be beaded.

Next came the flat landscape piece which was reworked by needle felting.  

The edges still need some reshaping......which I'll do with a bit more wet felting.  Though I had planned to bead it, instead it may just be mounted on a canvas covered frame.

So I guess my 'happy dance' time hasn't quite arrived yet, stay tuned..... 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Another day we played with wet felting flat pieces using both wool roving and prefelt batting.  Because the batting is thick to start with, the process of developing the layers of wool goes a bit faster.
 I decided to try to create a scenic composition, starting with a base of yellow and blue prefelt batting.  Those layers were topped with various colors of wool roving.
 It's clear the roving strips should have been much narrower.  As you can see, even in this beginning stage of the felting's spreading out way too much.
 This is what I ended up with.   It's about 9" x 11".  For sure I'm going to see if I can rescue it by doing some needle felting, embroidery, and beading.  
 I think this was Sue's....her first try and I love it.

We had a guest join us one day - a neighbor of Nan's who jumped right in and created this fun piece.
Another drying outside with rocks holding it down may have been made by Nan.
 Nan was able to keep some interesting texture on this one during the felting process.

Monday, February 16, 2015


A couple of years ago a friend invited me to visit her 'winter' home in AZ.  That short girlfriend visit has evolved into an annual Jan. or Feb. event.  We now call it 'art camp' and a few more friends have been added to the mix.

This year we decided to make felted bowls.  Now, I'm certainly NOT an expert, having made only 2 before, but we dug in and had such an enjoyable time.
 Sue has sandwiched a thin circular plastic resist between layers of wool roving and is beginning the felting process.
 Nan is at the same stage.....netting covering the wet wool as soapy water and friction from bubble wrap slowing mats the fibers together.
 Here's my piece.
 When sufficiently felted, a hole is cut through one side and the resist is removed.

 A LOT more shaping and rubbing is required to obtain a smooth, firm finished vessel.  When satisfied with the look, the bowls are left in the sun to dry.  You may be able to see I have a long way to go to perfect this process.  The inside of this bowl is still more wrinkled than I'd like.  I'm pretty sure I can wet it again and work some more to remove them.  Any felters out there that care to guide me with their thoughts???  It'd be appreciated.
 Nan achieved a really great 'first bowl'!
 Here's the result of our first day.  Each of these bowls were made using identical resist circles.....what a surprising difference in their shapes.
.....and a closer look.  I will probably add further embellishments to mine......perhaps beads and/or decorative threads/yarns.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


Working on a piece this small....with such a heavy focal embellishment was a bit of a challenge. Physically it required mounting on a canvas covered frame to support the weight.  Visually, there wasn't really room to add other design elements. 

However, there is a need for small pieces to tuck on a stand on a table, or fit onto an odd shaped wall space and I hope to create future designs.'s the completed piece shown in my last post.

7" x 5"  © 2015
Deconstructed screen printed wool, hand embroidered, and bead embellished.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


 My stash has numerous smallish pieces of deconstructed screen printed wool (dress quality material that wouldn't felt, but shrunk sufficiently to be sturdy enough to work with.)
 This design was created using a 'stone' pattern kitchen sink mat as the resist and screened with two colors of thickened dye.
 I've talked about this many times....but in case you are a new reader.....I always stabilize my wool felt prior to stitching.  Pellon Lightweight Sew-In Interfacing is my first choice.  Here I've marked two sets of guidelines that will help with the design placement for this piece that will be mounted on a 5" x 7" canvas covered wood frame.
Fast forward a bit.....I've attached a beautiful fused glass cabochon with beads, (a gift from my generous friend Nanette who is a fabulous fiber artist).  Due to the small size of this piece, only simple hand embroidery was added to provide texture.  
An overview:  the screened portion is appx. 15" sq.  I've retained the surrounding wool to make it easier to secure in a QSnap frame for the handwork.

Further embellishing is going to be done on the cabochon, so until that's complete, I'll hold off adding any other motifs.

Friday, February 6, 2015


In September 2014, our Fiber Junkies group spent a day over-painting completed or half-completed projects using diluted house paint.  The ole' "it can't get any worse approach" for work that wasn't satisfactory the first time around.
We have a tendency not to stick with our designated when Judy brought out some plain lightweight canvas to share....I created this.  The background is house paint and the reeds were done with metallic acrylic paint.

 It's been a time consuming project....great for someone like me who enjoys evening hand stitching projects.  My plan called for filling the entire background  with simple straight stitches, consisting of two strands of embroidery floss (often different colors) in the needle.
 I blogged about the painting process here and again here.  However, I didn't keep track of how long the stitching took. 
  Does it matter?  However I can say it was quite awhile!  For instance this photo was taken Jan. 10, 2014....but who's counting?!?
 Because I always secure my work in a QSnap frame when hand stitching.....some of the acrylic paint flaked off during the process.
Mixing up a similar color using several paints and reapplying wasn't a big deal.  Because of the weight of all the embroidery....I decided to machine outline stitch the reeds so the work would be securely attached to the backing. The pieced was now quite thick, so rather than mounting onto a canvas frame as I had planned, it was finished with narrow hand-dyed binding. (see below)

SUNRISE AT THE MARSH -  14.5" X 12.5"  © 2015
Hand embroidered painted cotton canvas.

Check out what others have been creating this week:  Off The Wall Friday, Whoop, Whoop Friday, Crazy Mom Quilts, and Richard and Tanya Quilts.