I'll be dieting for a month after this week's round of holiday parties. PTA's was held at Janice's home. I'll try to make this brief as there was so much going on I had to pick and choose what to post.
Dort generously gives each of us a small jar of her homemade mustard each year. She's started a trend. Cathy passed out bars of luxury soaps for all of us and Barbara gifted everyone a nifty flashlight, featuring a magnet that allows one to attach to a refrigerator so you'll always know where to find it.
We do a 'white elephant' gift exchange...some gifts are truly white elephants possibly destined to show up next year, others are more coveted items that are sought after. The order of selection is determined by drawing a number. Stealing gifts from another recipient when your number comes up makes it extra fun.
Food and wine were plentiful, beginning with appetizers.
Show and tell was very limited but that doesn't mean it wasn't exceptional. Marene made this stunning wall piece using a printed fabric panel purchased from Barbara Webster.
Dort made this adorable little piece for a friend who adopted one of her cats that was having a difficult time transitioning to their new home.
This is a commission piece she made of a home in Portland, OR.
Now.....back to the gift exchange....Dort is our true mountain gal.....more than once she had to hop up and dig her handy small folding knife from her pocket to aid in opening boxes.
This gadget is an example of an item that got recycled back to the group. It's some sort of straight pin dispenser...which immediately fell over, spilling all the pins. Remember the flashlight I mentioned earlier.....the magnet on the back worked well to corral the pins.
Many times there will be numerous items included with one gift.....how cute is this bonus holiday sock coin purse!
Dort recently moved out of their 1800's log home and uncovered long forgotten items in the process. Georgia displays this Union suit undergarment...
.....and a man's swimsuit which dates to about 1925-1935...it was a 'Speed Style" suit.
Georgia has a habit of putting bows on her head at every party....and the funny thing is we are so totally used to it, she could have and gotten in her car to go home and we'd never think to remind her to remove it.
Ya gotta wonder....why two bras? I guess one of our members ordered them and decided the fit wasn't right and yup....they ended up at our gift exchange where Marene went along with the fun.
That's all for now.....there's a lot more to share but I'll leave it to your imagination. Hoping all you faithful readers are enjoying this wonderful time of the year, making memories with your buddies too.
December wraps up another fun and educational year for the Fiber Junkies. It's the first holiday party with new member Susan Webb Lee and the return of Denny Webster after an extended recovery period after her spinal fusion. Sadly, it's also the first full year without our dear friend Val, a founding member of the Fiber Junkies who passed away last January.
Show and tell was sparse this month.....I guess everyone was busy with Thanksgiving activities and getting prepared for Christmas. However, Gen was able to find time to knit this adorable doggie sweater....cable stitching and all...can you believe it?!?
Kate organized a small holiday project this month....fabric covered Styrofoam to resemble pine cones.
Supplies are few.....sequin pins, Styrofoam eggs, and 1" fabric squares, sides folded to make a point at the top.
Gen (left) and Kate wearing cute holiday sweaters.
Susan quickly got the hang of attaching the tiny fabric pieces to create this colorful pine cone.
A sample of completed and nearly completed pine cones.
Of course feasting is always a part of our gatherings, but none as yummy as a luncheon of all appetizers!! As seen from top to bottom (and there was more not yet added to the table) - artichoke/spinach bread bowl, mini meatballs, tortilla turkey/cheese/spinach roll ups, and delicious stuffed dates.
Denny treats us every year with this spectacular and very realistic Yule Log made by a bakery in the Greenville, SC area.
You can see we weren't the least bit shy about digging into this yummy treat! Our Jan. and Feb. 2021 dates are already in our calendars as we embark on year # 13 of Fiber Junkies.
Process continues on this version of the traditional Chinese Coins patchwork pattern.
As is my typical approach to quilt designing, I prefer to select, cut, & arrange fabric on my design wall before sewing it together. In this case patchwork rows 1-3 are now sewn but the long strips of fabric are not. I've realized the seams between the two will be too bland.
So, by adding narrow red flanges (left) there's an immediate positive change. That pop of color worked! Notice how dull the strip on the right is without it.
So....obviously more stitching (and cutting) is required.....but slowly the piece is coming together.
For someone who doesn't much care for the process of creating 'patchwork' quilts, I sure have been making a lot of them lately.
I always like to have one large 'quilt in waiting' for display at Woolworth Walk Gallery. Optimistically hoping for brisk sales. My initial attempt at a new one failed (previously posted), so I started again in a completely different direction.
Making a quilt following a pattern is foreign to me.....I prefer creating original work. The basis of this one however is a very traditional pattern; Chinese Coins. I love the look of scrappy quilts and this will definitely be scrappy since so many of my previous quilt designs have derived from fussy cutting motifs from my vast stash of Japanese fabrics. This is such a busy time of the year for everyone.....hopefully I'll have more to share with you soon......
The final evening at the 4th annual Balsam Range - Art of Music was magical. Click here to learn more details about the various presenters.
We've enjoyed the music of two members of this group at other events playing with different groups. I believe they've found a perfect home with this new group, Sister Sadie, the IBMA 2019 Vocal Group of the Year and Grammy nominated Album Sister Sadie II.
John Driskell Hopkins dazzled the crowd as he performed along with the Atlanta Pops Orchestra. He's best known for his role as a founding member, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter for the Grammy Award Winning group Zac Brown Band.
The show ended with a fabulous medley of Christmas and traditional bluegrass songs by Balsam Range and the Atlanta Pops Orchestra. It's hard to imagine unless you've had the rare opportunity to experience this combination of musical talent...the concept of a Pops Orchestra and a Bluegrass band is unique and outstanding.
Enjoying two nights of Bluegrass Music as the Art of Music Festival - 4th annual event hosted by one of our favorite Bluegrass groups; Balsam Range. All members live right in our back yard.....in Haywood County, NC and the venue is 18 mins. from our house. What could be better than that??
BALSAM RANGE:Bluegrass music's reigning Entertainers of the Year, Balsam Range, consist of five original members who all hail from Western NC.
The Tim O'Brien Band was one of the guest groups. He's well known for his participation in bands such as Hot Rize and The Earls of Leicester. He's strayed beyond his bluegrass roots (too far for my taste) but the musical talent of the entire group was very entertaining.
My newest Japanese inspired quilt, along with another one, is now greeting holiday shoppers at Woolworth Walk Gallery in downtown Asheville, NC.
I try to always have a replacement piece to display as each big quilt finds a home. I had to do some marathon stitching to make that happen this time! So now, without taking a breath my next 'quilt in waiting' must begin.
This large panel has intrigued me for a long time. It takes me a ridiculous amount of time to develop a fabric palette. In this case I fought one whole day trying to incorporate other design specific fabrics in order to create a cohesive LARGE quilt. Nope, this one needs to be a moderate size wall quilt....I cried uncle and began again on a totally different track.
Come back and check out where I've headed next....
Happy to say my latest Japanese fabric inspired wall art quilt is now finished. This was a very, very time consuming piece to create.....sorry for the mediocre photo.....I'll continue to try to get a better one.
I'm attempting to machine quilt while continuing to baby my problem shoulder. Even after a short time stitching, it aches more. Clearly the angle I'm working at and the amount of pressure used to keep the quilt flat is aggravating my condition.
So, I gave up using quilting gloves and dug out these two non-slip pads. One is larger than the other....there must be a reason but I don't recall why, nor even who makes them (no markings on either one.) I've owned them for years but they've rarely been used since handwork had been my focus for so long. (An Internet search didn't locate this product but perhaps someone can provide the manufacturer's info.) The amount of pressure required to maintain pucker free straight line quilting has been greatly reduced. Perhaps this approach will be helpful for others who find their shoulder/upper arms scream out during machine quilting. HAPPY THANKSGIVING.....a day early.... I'm very thankful for all my Asheville area and vitural fiber friends. PS - Thank you to Wanda S Hanson at Exuberantcolor for the product info: "They are called Quilt Sew Easy Discs by Heavenly Notions, Portland OR". They are available at Leah Day
Thanksgiving is less than a week away....but I don't need a special day to be thankful for these rambunctious grandkids. Despite the late hour due to airline delays, not to mention traveling across the country, they came running to out of security to embrace us with kisses and hugs.
Waiting for the quilt to tell you what to do sounds like a ridiculous statement, but it's totally true. When design/layout/color scheme decisions are fleeting, allowing ideas to simmer while continuing to audition options is usually time well spent.
After trying a dozen or so background fabric choices....I settled on this blackish/grey batik and this uneven block layout.
Connector strips had been planned from the beginning of this project. Originally however I expected to add only 1 strip between each block. But, as I said, time and experimenting with various options change & alter ideas and in this case it led to 3 strip units.
Of course this top could be pieced, but I felt the excess number of seams would be distracting. So instead, I've hand basted all the elements to the wholecloth background and plan to hand applique them. Given that the fabrics are all batiks, it may be more challenging than my sore shoulder can handle. I'll be reporting back soon.
Each member of our group takes their turn organizing one monthly meeting a year. We have 14 members (one living out of state) so our time line runs for 13 months. We draw numbers to determine the order of selecting months for each of the upcoming 13 months. This month was Cathy's turn and as always she comes up with great outings for us.
We met at 12 Bones restaurant. A well known eatery in Asheville, featuring of course ribs! We snagged a back room to contain our noisy group. The walls are 'decorated' by customers with graffiti of sorts.
After lunch we had show and tell. Barbara was given a lovely scaled back designed panel which she enhanced with a border and cleverly added 'window panes' with narrow ribbon.
Connie has been busy making the most adorable cloth dolls featuring mostly some of the huge stash of upholstery fabric she had been gifted, along with various fun trims. We all marveled over each one!
Dort shared something most of us agreed we needed to do. She lengthened the pockets of her pants. So many manufacturers are now making skimpy pockets...why!?! To save money?? This is in the days of everyone carrying cell phones. Some of us would rather not store it in a back pocket (if one even has them). (A) how many screen have been broken by sitting on them? (B) Who needs an extra layer on their backside??
Gen loves to knit....here's an attractive small purse with matching fingerless gloves she created.
Cathy came armed with a baggie of markers for us to leave our mark on the wall of 12 Bones.....guess who wrote this??
Judy's contribution was left with a pink marker.
There wasn't much room in most of the accessible areas.....but Lynne's clever addition was a spool of thread leading to the words "hanging by a thread".
Connie found a small area to continue the stitching theme.
This restaurant is in the River Arts District which is home to dozens and dozens of artist studios housed in old warehouses. It's hit or miss whether any will be there and working, and if working, will they invite viewers in. However, most have large glass windows to show off their work environments. We were fortunate Barbara Zaretsy of BZD Designs was in her studio packing to move to a different location in the maze of warehouses. She graciously provided a lengthy explanation of the tools, process, & materials she uses. We all love her work....here's a sample of printed/discharged/stamped/dyed linens and silk runners.
Another studio space shared by several jewelry makers was open...they had a small showroom available where viewers could purchase their work. I loved how these rings were displayed in a bowl of wild rice. The few other photos I took were poor quality, either too dark or too far away from the subject to share. But if you are ever in Asheville....The River Arts District is another place to roam.