Friday, March 31, 2017


What's your favorite color?  Mine's blue....honestly, I never tire of the color blue.

But yikes, I'm in desperate need to hit the dye pots to replenish my almost depleted inventory.
 Seriously, I had a difficult time pulling together enough fabric for a small art piece.  It's interesting how so many different techniques can still yield fabrics that can work together fairly well.

Utilized here are deconstructed screen printing, traditional indigo dyeing, and ice dyeing.
Many designers advocate working with light, medium, and dark colors.....unfortunately my darks outweigh the other two.  After managing to  eke out an almost pleasing arrangement, it became apparent some areas were simply too dark.  

So, it was with trepidation that a hunk of indigo dyed fabric (right) was taken to the sink along with a bottle of bleach and some Q-tips.(left)  Magic!!  Now the ability to proceed with a better visual flow for my piece would be complete. A few dozen more threads to bury, plus the binding and I'll be able to post a photo.

In the meantime, see what magic other artists have come up with this week:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, Sarah's Whoop, Whoop Friday, Crazy Mom Quilts

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


......Continuing Fiber Junkie's fun with alcohol ink....
Have I ever mentioned how very creative the Fiber Junkie members are?  Of course I matter what subject we plan to focus on....we do have a tendency to go 'off the grid' with free flowing ideas.

Denny always gets us moving in new directions. I expect shaving cream printing may not be new to some of you.....but it's the first time I ever tried it.  Straight out of the can....shaving cream was spread onto a board covered with a protective coating.
A few drops of ink were applied...
Run through with a finger to achieve a marbled design.....fabric added and patted into the foam.
......ta da.......
Val often works with paper. She brought a large piece that had been rusted and used some Caran D'Ache pencils to add more color. Spritzing with water from time to time to helped blend the colors.

Denny used inks to color the background of a screen printed house scene.
Kate dropped ink blotches onto fabric that had been printed with red flowers, then watching it spread and get absorbed.
So she added more color by spraying the ink.
Here's another piece of Kate's fabric that was colored with ink.....
.....and printed with Denny's shaving cream/ink solution.

Whether or not any of our experiments make it into a finished piece....who knows or cares. We don't need excuses or a reason to play!!!

Monday, March 27, 2017


Continuing.......One suggestion I read was to use alcohol ink on plastic.
 Numerous large X-rays were unearthed from my closet which seemed likely candidates.  Unfortunately, the ink didn't adhere to either side.  Drat!  However, the whole bunch went home with Val who will surely come up with some fabulous technique to use them.  Will report back on this.....
 Another idea I found showed inks applied to the smooth surface of leather.  Again, digging into my supply cave, I found some leather samples.
I placed droplets of the inks onto the leather and move them around by blowing on a straw placed close to each drop.
Various colors of ink, plus liquid acrylic provided a marbled appearance to the small piece of leather.

This mindless activity was totally satisfying for me given the extreme head ache I was coping with....left top is a larger piece of leather (detail on the right).  2nd row are 4 smaller leather pieces.....none of which I have any clue how to utilize more than just gawking with pleasure.

The final piece is a more typical application of alcohol inks....applied to Yupo paper (it's not actually paper but rather it's plastic....with the look and feel of strong quality paper.)
Kate brought a pile of 'needs more work' samples from previous experiments and gifted me with three. Here's the before of one....
 Now using both inks and liquid acrylics.....obviously with no thought in mind.....
 Then more inks were applied....
Then Kate came up with the idea of putting some of the homemade ink into a spray bottle....which helped to even out the color..... I like all three pieces I made and expect they will find their way into a future project soon.

My Internet friend Robbie and a pal were also playing with inks this week. Jump over to her blog to see their much more artistic and thought out results....they probably had their wits about themselves and aren't drinking wine while they work!

Final post on this subject coming next....stay tuned.

Saturday, March 25, 2017


This month's focus for the Fiber Junkies gathering was working with alcohol inks....more about that in a minute.  We changed our meeting format by doing show and tell along with our morning coffee in the hopes that consolidating these two activities there'd be more time to spend in the work room.

In many ways I felt as if I was just an observer (and not a very attentive one) due to a bad headache.....hopefully the poor picture quality will still be inspiring to you.
Denny continues to knock out the most beautiful large pieced quilts....this photo doesn't do justice to the skillful placement of color that sparkled like jewels.
She's also in her 10th year of master classes with Hollis Chatelaine. This awesome piece came from a challenge to recreate/distort a previous piece that featured neutrals. Denny chose a theme park as her project, but presenting it in a dilapidated state.  The wonky ferris wheel and roller coaster certainly depict the passing of time.  Paint, inks, and stitching enhance the piece. 
Close up view....

As we entered Gen's studio (our hostess for the day)......I nearly tripped over myself to get a picture of this happy piece.  We all admire Gen's talent at EVERY aspect of creative arts....really she can do it all and do it well.  I've said this many times here but will say again, we all strive to be like Gen when we grown up. I hope she doesn't mind me telling you that she just turned 88 and can run circles around us!!
Denny shared a number of alcohol ink approaches as an overview to the possibilities of working in this medium.  Some happened to be on fabric, while it seems most folks work on paper instead.  

There are so many approaches one can undertake, they include using markers along with alcohol sprays, baby wipes etc.  There's never enough time to really dig into a subject with all of us chatting, munching on food, sipping beverages....but here's my approach.
First and foremost.....commerical alcohol ink is pricey....apparently I bought 3 small bottles ages ago which had never been opened since I had no clue what to do with them.  Like so many of us do, I went online to research the product and possible techniques.

Well....what do you can make your own alcohol inks which save a ton of money! Being a tad suspicious of the results I started with just two colors....brown and small recycled jars.
It's easy to do......take a new or even a used felt marker.....cut and remove the it in a small bottle along with Isopropyl alcohol, shake and let sit for a awhile.  The amount of alcohol and strength of the coloring agent may dictate how quickly good color is available.
 There are different strengths of this alcohol....the one I used was 70% because that's what I had in the house....perhaps the 91% might be better.  

My first attempt was too diluted but by pouring some of that solution into a smaller bottle and adding another wick, in no time we achieved results similar to store bought.

Wanna see what we did it and other products......check back again for future posts.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


The Professional Grade 1/4" piecing foot I referred to in my last post continues to astonish and please me.  How could a $7.00 foot, using the left hole of a single hole plate (not really has 3 holes) make such a difference?!?  And shame on the dealer for not knowing about it.....but kuddos to the Janome owner's list who shared this info!!
62" x 65"
Sure, this isn't exactly difficult patchwork.....actually far from it, but I'm thrilled with the precision I got....working with homespun type plaids can be tricky due to their tendency to stretch.

My family members probably have all the quilts they can use or ever this one, along with a pieced backing and prepared binding will be donated to our local quilt guild where there are many generous long arm quilters who will finish it so it can be passed along to someone in need.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Yes, it is about time!!  This blog has been rather quiet lately.  My attention was absolutely and completely focused on a special be unveiled all in good time......

It's also about time that I can begin to adjust to the Janome 8900 QCP SE....after all it's only been about 18 months since it was purchased!!

Some of my biggest complaints were the crappy quality of the straight stitch, how it eats fabric, and the difficulty obtaining an accurate 1/4" matter what program or foot I used.
At a recent Fiber Junkies meeting, I cut loads of squares using a Sixxz machine...which by the way.....were not accurately cut.....see the explanation here.  After so much brain crunching on the latest project.....the simplistic looking pile of cut squares called.
 My machine has numerous settings for use with the straight stitch plate, several that promised a trouble free, perfect 1/4" seam.  However, none did....until now.
Thanks to the informed and helpful members of an online Janome owners list, I learned about the Professional Grade Foot.  It was back ordered from Sewing Parts Online, which took about a month. The cost was a mere $7.00 and it changed my life!

 Look closely, there are 3 holes for this single needle plate.....this foot uses the Ds4 setting and the LEFT needle hole.
 The edge of the foot is very straight, making it easy to line up with the edge of the fabric.  Just like my beloved old dead Pfaff.....sewing can begin at the top edge of the fabric without getting swallowed into the machine!
Look at this wonderful 2.40 length.  Finally, and 'it's about time'!!

Here's another method I use to help me keep track of patch placement while stitching. (I KNOW some of you are shaking your heads and saying WHAT??  She can't even manage this simple layout?)  NO....age & a wandering mind is to blame.

Once I get the patchwork layout to my liking, a photo is snapped and downloaded to my nearby computer.  So, if remembering which end should be attached to which end while I'm stitching.......all I have to do is refer to the photo for clarification.  Like many other quilters, I label the top of each row with a reference number as well.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


My attention to this blog has been lacking lately as I'm still hunkered down working on a special project that is SLOWLY coming together.  To say I'm focused is an understatement, in part that's due to the complicated process the design requires.
First let me say, I'm not generally a fuser....give me turned edges over raw ones any day of the week. But here's a tip that may come in handy for you someday when you are fusing.

This view of an area on the quilt doesn't appear complicated at all does it?  Yet exact placement of the motifs was vital. I came up with this idea a number of years ago while creating a quilt where much of the designing with fused motifs was done while it was on the design wall. to transfer a biggish piece to the pressing surface while keeping all the motifs exactly in place?
 'Fuse tack' them with a hot Clover mini iron.  It's easy to get into small areas to work around pins. (These strips are a scant 1/4" wide).  The pieces are fused just enough to hold in place before transferring the entire top from the design wall to the ironing board for final pressing.
Perhaps this method can be helpful to you someday too.

Instead of having to check whether or not I've posted here......consider following my blog by submitting your email address in the box on the right side bar, or subscribe to the RSS feed option.  Some computer software can be prickly about using RSS feeds.  If you have issues with your system, I recommend subscribing to Vienna.....using an app. that is readily available.  

Monday, March 13, 2017


Our monthly PTA - Professional Textile Artists meeting was a calliope of laughter and excited chatter as we spent the day sharing our work and good food with each other.

Show and tell is of course the highlight and with the talent of each and every's always amazing.
I envy Barbara's skill of stitching even the tiniest patches and her exquisite eye for adding just the right amount of spark in just the perfect place.  The triangle patches finished at 1 1/2"!!
Gen and her daughter Carol brought the above and below pieces to show.  Both are handmade paper collages highlighted with polymer clay trinkets.  They are the work of Lynn Greenberg - Whimsey At Work - Hollywood, FL

Dort as usual is very productive....she specializes in pictorial wall art.  This small water fall piece illustrates just how effectively she uses print fabrics. (binding still loose)
......and her creative use of other textiles/fibers to depict her subjects.  The waterfall (above) is made from lace.  The mossy area (below) is a fruit netting from the grocery store.

She was gifted some blocks from another member who had 'won' them participating in a block of the month guild exchange.  We all loved how she sliced them apart and shashed with blue.  She's adding squares at the intersections to provide nice pops of color. 
Here's another very small piece made by's probably only 8" x 10" very adorable!
Kate however generally makes BIG quilts.....I personally adore this one......not only for the visual impact of the pattern, but her machine quilting features various leaf motifs in the larger green areas.
Georgia Bonesteel may have retired from nearly all teaching commitments but she'll never be able to retire her creative mind.  She's working on designing a pieced owl....and brought some background prints to get our input.
Mary brought several pieces to share....and though this isn't's just 'so Mary'.  A collage of positive images and words to live by.
Here's another smaller quilt made by Kate.  She devotes many unselfish hours making charity quilts for various organizations.  Can't you just imagine the happiness this one will bring to a young child?

The anticipation is growing month we will be our 9th annual PTA retreat.  We usually do it in March but due to circumstance beyond our control it had to be scheduled in April this year.  Waiting an extra month will only make us more anxious for the fun to begin.