Friday, April 29, 2016


"The son" & DIL gifted me some felting supplies for Christmas. I've been wanting to try my hand at making felted slippers for a long time.  It WAS supposed to only take about 2-3 hours.....NOT, def. NOT!
 I started with a kit from Living Felt, thinking it'd be wise to have some specific instructions as a first time slipper felter!  The instructions were excellent, but if you already have felting supplies, it's unnecessarily expensive.

The first step was to trace one's bare feet and then expand that outline by 1"-2".  After tracing the 1" margin I decided to go back and do the full 2".....outlined now in red.
 The shape was transferred to a flexible plastic resist.
 Cut out and placed on my work surface from bottom up: towel, bubble wrap, netting.
 I also splurged on olive oil soap which is shredded and dissolved in hot water.  I've always just used bar soap from the huge stash I have via hotel stays.  I have to say, I'm not sure whether this soap helps the wool to felt better, but my hands appreciated it.
 The instructions recommended using hot hot as hands can stand. Which meant zapping water in a ceramic bowl in the kitchen and carrying it up to my studio where it was added to a larger plastic container with the soap.
 Two layers of Living Felt's wool batting where placed over each template, altering the direction of the wool fibers.  Then it was 'wetted out' using the hot soapy water and a sponge.
 Next the wool is patted smoothly, removing any air bubbles.  Excess wool is wrapped to the opposite side....smoothly evenly.  These steps are repeated two more times on each side of the template.
 Now the real work begins......between a layer of netting....each slipper is rolled up with bubble wrap....rolling, repositioning, rolling, rolling, adding more hot soapy water.  You can see I transferred my 'package' to a shallow tin tray to help control the water.
After the wool begins to hold's moved to a bamboo mat and gets the same treatment....lots of rolling, repositioning, adding hot soapy water.   Finally.....after way too much physical work (grinning), they are ready for the next step.

A slit is cut in the center of the top layer of each one, shaping the opening, and removing the resist.  The final 'fulling' (which means felting the pieces till the shrink and are VERY firm), takes additional time.  As I do at this stage when felting bowls, the item is pretty aggressively thrown onto a hard flat surface, between 100 - 200 times. That action really helps to bond the fibers together, shrinking the wool even further. 

I followed the suggestion to put the wet slimy slippers on to form them to ones' foot.  

Finally they are rinsed and the final shaping is complete.  It will take several days for them to dry.

Frankly, they are kinda a mess.....some of the felt layers really never meshed, even though it certainly felted sufficiently, shrinking by about 2" in every direction. You can see a separation on the right slipper's opening.  The edges of the openings are very thick, and unattractive because the colors of the uneven various layers are visible. Clearly, additional practice is needed.

Lessons learned:  If I make any more, I'll stick to one color, except for the final top layer where I could add some roving to create an interesting pattern.  Also, I'm not a fan of what Living Felt calls 'wool batts'.  Even when making bowls I don't feel I have the control of thickness when using this product. It's supposed to be faster because it shortens the time of laying out layers and layers of wool roving.  However, given my (still fairly limited) experience, I'll use roving instead.

The untidy edges are driving me nuts, so I'm considering doing a blanket stitch with wool embroidery thread around the openings. OR perhaps wrapping a narrow strip of Ultra-suede, and securing by machine if possible, otherwise by hand.  

Why not pop over to see what other artists have been up to this week:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, Sarah's Whoop, Whoop Friday, and Crazy Mom Sews.

Thursday, April 28, 2016


I'm popping in today to share this one last photo of our exhibit.  Judy and I had to meet there today to add 4 replacement pieces (YEAH!!) so I was able to snap a photo of our 3 pieces that greet viewers as they enter the space.  

We each used the same pattern....different fabrics (obviously) and different size patches......we thought that would be fun for folks to see.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


The quilts are hung but there was still much to be accomplished.
 Our signage has to be placed next to each quilt.  The Arboretum insists on a specific height for each it's necessary to take the time to measure.
 The wire display system can be quite unmanageable when hanging pieces one above the other.....but we are a good team and got it done.  The ends of each wire will be coiled and hidden behind the quilts.
We ran out of wire has happened in the past.  I've had good luck at home using 3-M Command Clips to hang my small mounted work.  They weren't keen about using them at first, but once we pointed out that it wasn't any more harmful than using adhesive dots for the signage....they agreed.  AND....don't the 4 pieces on the right look so much better without the distracting wires?
As I said, we attempt to compose a cohesive display......with no attempt to segregate our work individually.  However, as it happened these three pieces are mine.
Kate often works in a color palette that reflects her love of the Folly Beach, SC area. Her "Century Plant" piece is one of my favorites!  We chose three of my mounted pieces, featuring beadwork and agates to be displayed next to Kate's  quilt.
We are off to a good piece was purchased the very next day, before the actual opening of the show!  And......two more sold over the of Judy's and one of Kate's.  A portion of all sales benefit the Arboretum.

Monday, April 25, 2016


April 21 - July 11, 2016

BEHIND THE SCENES - Anyone who has ever volunteered to hang a quilt show knows it can be a lot of work.  This is a tad different, given we only had about 90 pieces with 4 people to hang them, but it still took us many hours!
 A blank slate awaits....allowing us to determine the location of each piece.  We have 2 narrow areas, and two much larger spaces that all flow together.
We are continually surprised at just how well our pieces complement each other.  We don't  attempt to display the work of each maker in separate locations, rather we think mixing them together keeps the viewers attention as they wander the exhibit and experience style and color changes.
 We had so many pieces that many will be presented one above the other.
Here we are in the upper lobby of the NC Arboretum in Asheville; Mary Stori, Judy Simmons, and Kate Weston......nearing the end of our hanging duties in front of one of Kate's quilts.

Check back again....I'll have some photos of the pieces hung.  Also, hop over to Judy's blog to view addtional photos.

Saturday, April 23, 2016


The embellishing process for this bowl took quite a bit longer.....about 6+ hours of beading.....but it adds so much, especially on this larger vessel.

Base 6" x 3" Tall -  Available here

Friday, April 22, 2016


Yup, I can't leave well enough alone. Embellishing continues to be a trademark of my overall style...whether it's working with woven fabric or creating work from wool roving!

Here are 4 of my newest wet felted bowls.....available for purchase here.

Grab a cup of coffee and follow these links to see what inspiring work others have created this week:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday,  Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday, and Crazy Mom Quilts

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


My pal Judy shared two bags of wool roving with me. It was just the incentive I needed to get out the olive oil soap, hot water, bubble wrap, bamboo mat and other materials.  
 This may not seem like a lot....considering I spent several half days making them....but wet felting is a slow process.  These are ready for could I NOT embellish them!?!
The final two are still drying....

Stay tuned to see the finished pieces or find some of them in my 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


We've now lived in NC, 1 month shy of 10 years.  And for all of the 10 years, each spring I unsuccessfully search to buy fresh rhubarb. That is still so stunning to me...having trouble finding rhubarb!!  Because in Wisconsin, every other neighbor at this time of the year is trying to give theirs away.
 This is a food item that folks either love or hate....I'm in the LOVE category.  AND finally, there it was at our local grocery store.  Now that was a huge shock, especially since I feel this chain has the worst quality produce ever.
 Within 43 minutes of getting home from the store....a favorite rhubarb muffin recipe was made and ready for the oven.
Within an hour 15 mins. of getting home from the store.......I'd already enjoyed a freshly baked muffin.  I REALLY wanted to make a rhubarb pie.....but 'the husband' is in the 'hate' category....which meant I'd end up eating the entire pie myself.  After 3 weeks of laying around with a pesky virus, I decided to make individual muffins which can be frozen and parceled out to enjoy.

Monday, April 18, 2016

PTA - April Meeting

It was nearly a full house at Judy's for our April PTA (Professional Textile Artists) meeting.  Show and Tell was fairly active this month, though I have few photos to share as it was difficult to get quality photos of every one's work.
I love this little colorful piece Kate made.  It's cleverly mounted on a cloth covered frame to provide a greater impact.
Cathy is the only one of us with underage children still living at home.  We all got a hoot with her description about how long these blue and yellow patches were on her design wall......years, and years, and year.  
Mary Berry brought a stunning piece.  This Baltimore Album quilt was hand appliqued and hand just don't see hand work like this anymore.
After lunch, the group got busy tackling the 12 community quilt kits that Kate, Judy, and I made at one of our Fiber Junkies meetings. Usually the FJ's experiment with surface design and dyeing methods, but for a time this winter there were only 3 of us, so our time was spent culling our stash!

We had 3 machines, two iron stations, and lots and lots of loud chatter, laughter, and general enthusiasm.  Judy has a gigantic studio with lots of light.....which allowed for all this muti-tasking.
As patches were stitched, those not sewing or pressing spent time arranging them into blocks and ultimately when each block was totally pieced.....
........they went on Judy's huge design wall.  Each was checked for correct orientation, color placement, and then the rows were labeled and pinned together.

Here Georgia Bonesteel is claiming space for the quilt she had been working on.......
You simply can not believe how our generally very 'unmatchy - matchy' prints actually blended so well together.
From years and years of hosting my quilting cruises.....the majority being in the Caribbean.....I had tons of theme based fabrics to share.  Many are in this quilt but you'd have to look really close to pick one out from a distance.
This precious pastel quilt is still waiting for one more block.

All the quilts will be donated to the guild for their community quilt program.  We  PTAer's make a great team!!

Sunday, April 17, 2016


The quilts are made, the paperwork is done, the hanging supplies have been purchased, and the staging to pack the car is all set.  

After the success of our first 3 person show in 2014, Judy Simmons, Kate Weston, and I are are thrilled to be again given the entire upper floor display area for our new exhibit "The Colors of Nature", at the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville.  It will run from April 21 - July 5th.  

We hope you will enjoy the show if you are in the area.

My quilt 'Trio' is featured in the Arboretum's website. To see it and learn more details click here.

Friday, April 15, 2016


Prolonged studio time has been abbreviated as I waited for this nasty virus to disappear.  But for the last week, I've been doing short stints on this new piece.
It was inspired by a piece of recently ice-dyed felted wool.  I loved the results and almost immediately imagined how a full moon would help enhance the night sky.  I decided to marry the background with silhouette images, which have been a favorite subject of mine lately.  A lone hoot owl oversees the scene.
FULL MOON  19" X 15"
Artist hand-dyed & felted wool, hand appliqued Ultra-Suede motifs,
and hand embroidered.

Do take the time to visit these links to see the creative work of other artists,
Sarah's Whoop, Whoop Friday, Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday,  Crazy Mom Sews

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


You all probably know that I'm a huge fan of National Nonwovens Woolfelt.  A new collection, "Once Upon A Woolfelt Collection" will premier at spring market. To learn about all their Woolfelt colorways and to place orders click here.

 Here's a sneak preview.  It's 35% wool - 65% rayon.  
I'm a sucker for their 'heather' collections...and with new colors such as 'Pixie Pink' and 'Leaping Lizards'......I can't wait to dig into this packet!!

Saturday, April 9, 2016


Even though the string quilt didn't work out as a wall quilt, Sooty, our adopted black lab thinks it's swell. 
 I'm NOT a fan of allowing dogs on the furniture....but darn if they don't sneak up anyway when one's back is turned. At least now the denim fabric is somewhat protected while she makes herself at home!
When caught....Sooty behaves in the following manner.  She plants her butt firmly in place, refuses to look directly at you, acting in total denial that this is NOT her domain.