Friday, September 30, 2016


 Three of us fiber buddies just wrapped up 3 days of non-stop fabric dyeing on Folly Beach, SC where friend Kate has a home.  I took a zillion photos.....and will share some of the techniques we used in a few days.  My social schedule is unusually busy at the moment so for now, here's an overview.

 We had many successes, but positive results with natural dyeing using plants still eluded us.  

 The view of the river marsh from our workspace....
Most houses that are adjacent to water are built on stilts.  This provides a great area out of the elements to work.
This is probably our 4th or 5th such retreat and over time we've dyed just about every fiber material we could get our hands on.  There have been many thrift sale finds such as old linens, napkins, aprons, tableclothes, bed sheets, plus socks, underwear.  This time I brought a off white knit nightgown that Judy is holding for the photo.
What a transformation after it was ice-dyed!!
 We divvy up all the's one of our lunches that Judy provided.
 Even though we really do work almost non-stop, we take time to walk out on the dock to view the breathtaking sunsets.
Late nights are a given as we launder and iron our treasures.  We came home with an average of 4 pounds of dyed fabrics each.  As they say, a good time was had by all!!

Other artists have been busy this week.....see their treasures here:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, Sarah's Whoop, Whoop Friday, Crazy Mom Quilts.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


This month Judy Simmons again led us through the steps she uses to marble fabric.  I won't even begin to try to provide a tutorial of all the steps involved, instead I recommend you learn from the expert, Judy! She wrote a book on the subject which is out of print but you can find copies here for a very reasonable price.

The last time we played with this technique we had the luxury of working during our own 2 day retreat.  It was a bit challenging to do all the set up for just one day, but as you can see by the photo below.....grass does not grow beneath the feet of the Fiber Junkies.

 One of three dye/paint stations 
 Our prepared trays
 Various 'rakes' to create designs.
 Dropping paints onto the prepared solution and watching it spread.
 After raking the design vertically, Judy is now raking horizontally.
 Two sets of hands makes it easier to place the fabric onto the floating paint.  This piece of fabric is one Judy had previously dyed but wasn't happy with the results.
This is the same fabric AFTER it was marbled.  It's still wet and full of goo....once it's stripped of the excess solution........ was put in a bucket of water to soak.  After a bit of rinsing it was hung to dry.  Now I'm hanging my head because I didn't get a picture of the finished piece which we actually went back and marbled again.
 But just to show you that you needn't just use solid white fabric for marbling.  Judy had previously marbled this piece and didn't like she gave it to Kate.  
I love what Kate did!  By referring to the original color on left hand margin that didn't fit into the marbling pan, you can compare the difference.

In closing....Gen designed this tray......again no finished photo....sorry....but you can see why we had so much fun.  The possibilities are endless.

As these last two blogs posts have been published.....I've been off enjoying more fiber fun with pals Judy and Kate.  We have planned 3 days of non-stop fiber fun.  There's sure to be tons of photos to share when I return.  See you soon......

Monday, September 26, 2016


Fall isn't actually in the air here as our warm summer continues....however for planning purposes, this will be our last outdoor meeting at Val's until the spring. 
I've mentioned before what a generous, gracious host she is.....and kuddos to her hubby who puts up with us!  Val has a great wet studio in her garage....but we do seem to overrun her entire house as well.

She lives on a high ridge overlooking Asheville....just minutes from town but with a very rural feeling.
 I thought I'd share her spectacular views, taken off her back deck. It was quite foggy this morning, giving the impression that there is a lake off in the distance.
This is the same view after the fog burned off.
 Off to the South you can see the downtown area of Asheville, the fog in the background.
Now the same view minus the fog.
 We always lunch on her porch....which feels like sitting in a tree house!
Here's one of Val's amazing pieces.....she's a fabulous artist who (among a load of talents) is an expert screen printer.

Part 2 coming soon......

Sunday, September 25, 2016


After last week's disappointment......we will be holding our breath when the Packers take on the Lions today....

GO PACK GO!!!!  

Friday, September 23, 2016


Last Friday I blogged about the start of this project.  Since then I've been putting hours and hours and hours hand stitching this half of an ice-dyed linen table runner. 
The featured botanical motif is known by several different names; its Latin name: Lunaria Annua, or Silver Dollar, Honesty Plant, Money Plant.
The stems are hand-dyed cotton strips & machine stitched to the background. The discs have been created by combining  hand-dyed cottons, fusibles, and hand-dyed crinkled polyester. Each has been appliqu├ęd with hand embroidery.
It was understandably time consuming, however after not being able to do much handwork for nearly 4 months due to eye surgery, it was pure pleasure.

The challenge now is to figure out how to finish it. The fabric has been stabilized with Pellon's lightweight non-fusible interfacing which allowed the flimsy fabric to remain remarkably flat.  The edges aren't quite as straight as I'd like, so along with finishing the top, I'll be addressing that issue. I'm considering dyeing some lace to add to those areas.  

Creating one-of-a-kind wall art pieces with repurposed fabrics can be challenging but so rewarding!

Follow these links to see how other artists are having fun with their work this week:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, Crazy Mom Quilts, Sarah's Whoop, Whoop Friday.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016


For those of you who only know me as a fiber artist......I had another life prior to picking up a needle.  I was heavily involved in cooking.  In fact my first published book was a children's cookbook.  Daily cooking isn't so much fun anymore, but special occassion or cooking for company really gears me up.

That means we've been dining well.  So well actually, that another hike was added to our activities in the hopes we'd burn off some of those extra calories.
We visited Mt. you can see....the elevation is impressive. 
The views are breathtaking!!
The mountain was named after Elisha Mitchell, a scientist who died in 1857 during his quest to record its height.

My BIL stands next to the declaration that this is the highest peak East of the Mississippi at 6,684 ft.

The little brass circle set within the outline of the state of NC is the exact measurement spot used to make this place famous.
Kinda sad but appropriate......Rev. Mitchell was buried right there on his beloved mountain.

I moved to NC 10 years ago and this was my first visit to Mt. Mitchell....though 'the husband' had ridden his motorcycle to the top numerous times.  We saw two fellows on bicycles.....not an inch of fat on either of them. The trek up the mountain is not for beginners!  I bet they didn't go back home that night have have chocolate peanut butter cream cheese pie with an Oreo cookie crust like we did?? Though they could each have eaten a whole pie with all the calories they must have burned.

No matter where you live.......take a little time to get out and enjoy your surroundings.

Monday, September 19, 2016


With family in town and perfect weather, we headed out to do the tourist thing.  This day included a picnic lunch in Dupont State Forest where the beauty of numerous waterfalls amazed us.  I visited several times before but appreciated it just as much this trip. 
After passing over the iron bridge entryway, we saw a few fading wild flowers.....surely the last of the summer.
 And then the waterfalls.....both small and grand.

 Sooty, our black lab, smelled her way throughout the 60+ minute hike.
 A band of sunlight made these ferns sparkle.

 We made two stops on our way home.....leaving Sooty in the car when we stopped at Bridal Falls....another well-known area waterfall.  She kept her eyes focused out the front window waiting for our return.
 Our last stop was the famous Sliding Rock.....a long rather flat rock where the adventurous sit in the freezing cold, fast moving water as it swooshes the person down into the pool like alcove at the end.
This fellow is about half way to the end.  It was great fun to watch.  It's a shame it takes out of town visitors for us to get out and enjoy our own backyard!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

GO PACK GO!!!'s football season and happily the game is on TV tonight.  We'll be cheering the Green Bay Packers as they take on the Minnesota Vikings. Like most NFL teams, rivals are part of the football experience.  Wisconsin is located ajacent to Minnesota, Illinois and Michigan.....all with NFL teams.  Strong feelings's hard to tell whether the Vikings, the Bears, or the Lions are disliked the most!!

The Vikings are starting the year with a high hopefully the Pack will have what it takes to come home with a win.

I'll be wearing my lucky socks my friend Gen hand knitted for me......
GO PACK GO!!!!!!!

Friday, September 16, 2016


September has and will continue to be a very busy month......which doesn't allow for much studio time.  However, I feel very fortunate to have so many activities that keep me engaged in life!
As my eyes slowly heal (now nearly 4 months post cataract surgery), I get more and more itchy to get back to enhancing my projects with handwork.

Early this spring, pals Kate, Judy and I enjoyed a couple of care-free days at Folly Beach to ice-dye and otherwise get messy.  With stacks of dyed cottons in my stash already, I brought some odd-ball fabrics in the hopes of getting interesting results that would kick-start new directions for me to explore.

I cut an antique linen lace embellished table runner in half and dyed each section using different colors.
This will be somewhat challenging as the linen is fairly wimpy and three sides are already finished.....leaving little opportunity to square the finished piece.
The three of us had a successful exhibit at the North Carolina Arboretum which concluded in early July.  Happily, we've already been invited to return in 2018.  I KNOW that sounds far in the future, but considering we are able to hang nearly 100 pieces, it's not too soon to start new botanical inspired pieces.

So, along with the ice-dyed brown lace-edged piece, I dug out some dyed crinkled poly and a very pale piece of dyed cotton.  I think the later may have been microwave dyed. I try to document the types of methods used when dyeing but.....well I guess I don't have to explain.....
......So then I set about creating a design featuring Honesty plants. I'm not rushing the project....just trying to enjoy the's what I have so far.
The discs are made by fusing Wonder-under to the w/s of the dyed cotton fabric and layering some small circular brown fabric 'seeds' on top, between the crinkled poly fabric and Misty Fuse.  The main stem is a very narrow strip of hand-dyed fabric and the smaller stems are hand embroidered.  

I had planned to machine satin stitch the discs to the background, but even with stabilizing I worried about distortion, so I'll be slowly hand blanket stitching around each one and further embellishing with simple straight stitches using brown embroidery thread.  It's a bit of a challenge since focusing is still somewhat difficult but I am improving and relieved to get my fingers on a needle!

Visit other creative artists and see what they've been working on this week.  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday, and Crazy Mom Sews