Monday, June 26, 2017


Our FJ's June meeting was chocked full of techniques. This post will concentrate on paper eco-dyeing.  It's NOT a tutorial....just an overview with lots of eye candy that may nudge you to google the subject to explore further. 
 We always begin our day with Coffee/Show and Tell.  Val has been cooking up a storm of eco-dyed paper.  Some are single pages, other are folded and will go into the books she creates.

Many of Val's papers had been previously rusted before the botanical printing....providing a intriguing complex finished pieces. Here's a glimpse of her rust treasures....

A very brief description on how it's done:  Individual pieces of paper are layered with plant material; eucalyptus leaves are used in this example.  A stack of about 7 are pressed between pieces of cedar shake shingles and clamped tightly in place. 
 They are placed in a turkey deep fryer basket....large screws are run through the holes to keep the bundles from floating to the surface during processing.
 The basket is carefully lowered into boiling vinegar/water and covered with a lid to simmer an hour.
 With protective gloves....the basket is removed from the hot water, bundles are removed, and left to cool.  Here Kate is taking her package apart....bliss as she smells the leaf!!
Some of the results.
So often I mention Val.....who generously shares her outdoor studio with us from spring to fall.  She's a gracious and giving hostess (with an equally wonderful husband to put up with all of us), who has more talent in her little finger than I have in my whole body!  Val just got a new puppy who we were all loving on!

Check in with me again for more Fiber Junkies adventures.

Sunday, June 25, 2017


This is not a scene you'd expect to find in the mountains.....where did this guy come from??
But Sooty, our black lab did!  The shell looks like it'd be a great batik pattern!

Friday, June 23, 2017


After increasing my felted bowl/vase inventory, those materials have been put away for awhile.  I'm turning my attention toward creating wall art again.  With the notion of making slightly larger sizes.  My pals Judy, Kate and I will again have an exhibit at the NC Arboretum next spring which is a perfect opportunity to display bigger pieces.
This piece of discharged black silk noil has been calling me.....though with no specific direction in mind.  Unfortunately, it was a rather small piece so I set about recreating the look.
 Denny brought boxes of this dry bleach to a Fiber Junkies meeting about a year ago.....very cool stuff.  I sprinkled it onto a piece of wet silk noil......gave it an all over spritz of water and let it sit for about 30 mins.  The top photo shows the results.
These botanical printed silk noil fabrics were created using ferns, leaves, turmeric and blueberries.  After tightly rolling and securing around wood dowels, they were simmered for about an hour in an iron solution.  I LOVED each one, though I had no ideas how to use them.
 Close-up....this one was printed with pine needles, turmeric and rose petals.
 With my larger piece of discharged silk noil now ready......I've isolated parts of the eco-dyed fabrics....fringing the edges and am exploring several design options.  Stay tuned, won't you??

Visit these creative bloggers for further inspiration: Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, Sarah's Whoop, Whoop Friday, Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


 Cross cut Merino wool batts are often touted as a time saver over wool strands of wool roving.....and I have quite a collection of beautiful colors.  However, I've never been completely successful working with them.  Some projects seem to work, others don't.
 This is an example of the problem I've experienced.  The layers don't felt together in all areas.  In this case, some of the edges have split apart and no amount of elbow grease were able to bond them.
 A friend gifted this felting machine to another pal who passed it along to me.  It's like brand new.  Thank you Patsy and Val!!
What the heck....with 5 needles, this sure beats needle felting by hand.  So...I was off and running.  This should be a no brainer, right? Yet,  I managed to break all 5 needles in a short period of time.  I installed 5 new needles and broke all of those too....fortunately by then the layers were beautifully felted together. 
It was worth the effort....the 9"w x 3" tall piece is now perfectly felted.

Anyone else out there have some tips for me?  My only thought was the layers were too thick/dense....however it easily fit beneath the plastic needle shield and the machine never stalled or slowed down.  Just snap, snap, snap as the tips of the needles broke.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


My fingers are wrinkled and my upper arms are sore.....but it's all worth it. 6 new wet-felted bowls/vases are now in my online gallery shop.  (When connected to the shop, look for link on top info bar to see a detailed list of available items.) 
 Oval blue vase 6"w x 5" tall -  $29
 Green/grey bowl - embellished with green sea glass - 7" dia x 3" tall -  $35
 Brown/rust bowl - embellished with clear/wire embedded sea glass - 6" dia x 3" tall - $35
 Grey/white - 4" dia x 2.5" tall -  $20
 Pink/yellow vase - 6" w x 5" tall - $29
Two Blues - round vase - 6" w x 5" tall - $29

Monday, June 19, 2017


Sales of my felted bowls/baskets at Woolworth's Walk in downtown Asheville have been encouraging! 
 So, out came my felting supplies.......
...... New materials inspired new directions. Son/DIL gifted me two skeins of wool that I've been wanting to incorporate into wet-felted bowls.  They purchased it at Hidden Villa, a nearby (Los Altos, CA) farm where they buy their eggs and meat.  It's also a great place for children to visit.
Don't you just love driftwood??  A friend asked if I might have any use for these pieces which I believe came from the shores of Lake Superior. The largest piece is only about 7" long and I'm thinking 'handles' for larger bowls.....stay tuned.
Here's the first small bowl featuring the wool yarn as an embellishment....happily it felted very easily.

I expect to be binging on Netflix with wet soapy hands for the next couple of days!

Friday, June 16, 2017


 In a recent post here, I referred to the difficulty I had finding the right fabric to feature in this block.
 Once I uncovered the Dutch Wax fabric lurking in my stash I 'thought' I was up and running.  However I wasn't happy with how that fabric worked using the original planned setting.  Not only were some of the blocks remade to relocate the placement of the sashings, I also decided more blocks were needed.
 Ultimately I opted to create a wider quilt.  My work generally measures longer than wide.  Yet since I sell my work, it seemed like a good idea to also offer some work that would fit nicely over a small couch or low cabinet/table.  
I struggled with how to finish the edges, but thanks to input from members of the Professional Textile Artists group the answer became clear. A traditional narrow binding is highlighted with a very narrow flange.  My attempts to get a good photo of this quilt have been fruitless....below is the best I've managed so far!
SWAYING PALM FRONDS - 50.5" x 38" 
Authentic Dutch Wax cotton, machine stitched.

Follow these links to see what other artists have created this week:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday, Crazy Mom Quilts

Saturday, June 10, 2017


I saved the best show and tell for last......this is a 'talking spoon'.....made and gifted to me from Mary Berry.  Years ago our PTA (Professional Textile Artists) group started using a 'talking spoon' when the high constant pitch of all of us talking at once required containment. It allowed the holder of the spoon to speak without interruption.  And sometimes it actually worked!!

Thank you Mary......we will all be using it wisely.....grinning........

Friday, June 9, 2017


This month The Professional Textile Artists group met at Marene's home. 
 .........where we enjoyed this awesome view.
 Marene comes by her interest in quilting quite honestly. Her show and tell included a number of vintage family quilts.
 What fun it would be to closely pour over all these charming cotton prints!
 Stunning, yes!?!?
 We were pretty sure this was a kit quilt......I personally love its simplicity.
 Gen continues to create the most eye-popping cards using alcohol inks.

 This one is nearly the same color as the hexie quilt Mary B. is hand stitching!!
 Barbara never leaves home without her knitting.....such tiny, tiny stitches...
 Judy accomplished some practical sewing recently, using some upholstery type fabric samples that Georgia Bonesteel was gifted and shared with our group.  There must be at least 25 place mats.....all so charming and different.
I'm remiss by not having a photo of the right side of this fabric pin.....yet this is the view that might interest you the most.  Look at this clever magnet system that is used to attach the pin to a garment.  What an improvement over those dull pointed pins we normally see that make big holes in our clothing!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


Two fiber buddies attending our annual small group retreat back in April were working on the same pattern that looked like an intriguing option for some of the Asian fabrics that were gifted to me.
 Leighe Anne made this one featuring large blocks.
 Janice's piece used a scaled back size block.
 They had a pattern....I did not....but by looking at their pieces I made my own size version.  This watery iris print isn't the Asian fabric I intended to use....but thought it'd be a good choice.  After making two felt very blaaaa....  
 Thinking a larger scale print would be better, I dug out the initial fabric I had intended to use.  Unfortunately, not a single piece in the stack was large enough to complete a small wall quilt.  No, the pinkish wasn't a was intended to give me a better idea of how this style of fabric would work.  Nope...still not happy.
 I have quite a collection of interesting authentic batiks, block prints etc., many gifts from our son who often travels worldwide for business and pleasure. This 6 yard piece of Dutch Super Wax, printed in Holland had been lurking in my 'specialty' fabric bin.

Though my immediate instinct was to start cutting blocks since I was pretty sure this was going to be 'the fabric' for the blocks....but because it was quite stiff and embedded with goo from the tape that held all the folded fabric together it had to be washed.  There were 3 labels on it and I never could get that sticky glue off!'s my current choice for the feature fabric.  Stay tuned.....