Wednesday, November 27, 2019


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 

Friday, November 22, 2019


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.


Tuesday, November 19, 2019


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.

Friday, November 15, 2019


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'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'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.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019


It's so darn frustrating to have a mental vision (even though it's hazy) and yet not be able to pull the design/fabric/color together into a cohesive piece!!

AND.....even if I find the right fabric on earth would I piece this purposely random block placement without pulling out my hair?

Sunday, November 10, 2019


You KNOW what team I'll be cheering for today.....
                GO PACK GO!!!

Friday, November 8, 2019


As the holidays grown closer, finding dates to gather has become a challenge.  So, this month's meeting was only about 2 weeks apart from our Oct. meeting...yet we still had plenty to share and chat about.
Gen had access to a trunk of fiber memories made for her daughter and granddaughter.  This bunny quilt is as fresh and adorable as it was many years ago.

Gen, the expert at all needlework techniques, shared several smocked garments she had made.  Lot's of oohing and ahhhing here.

Last month we did micro-wave ice-dyeing.  But because Gen is now working mostly with paper she decided to dye t-shirts and pillow cases for her daughter. Here are two of the shirts. 

Susan had two quilts that were developed in another group she belongs to.  They did a round robin of sorts with 8 members.  Each started with their own block and passed that block and their fabrics to the next person...that person added a block made from Susan's fabric PLUS 1 signature piece of their own. make it even more challenging, this was timed for 30 mins. for each round.  They all left at the end of the day with a quilt top!
The second time their group tackled this fun activity they worked with solid fabrics.  Our Fiber Junkies group had been exploring surface design/dyeing/painting/etc. techniques now for nearly 12 years, frankly we are getting a bit burned out.  So, we are thinking about adapting a similar activity for an upcoming meeting.....stay tuned.
Susan also shared this stunning piece which started with a photo of barely visible architectural shapes on the side of a building in downtown Asheville.  She had it printed onto fabric by Spoonflower and proceeded to create this awesome piece of wall art.  
 Our project this month was experimenting with water soluble crayons and pencils.  Pictured is Gen drawing directly onto her screen using Inktense blocks.
The image was then transferred to fabric with the use of a textile medium that is squeeged through the screen.  
 Judy is rubbing one of the water soluble crayons onto her screen which is picking up the image of a 'stone' stencil she has beneath it.

 Here's her stencil that still has the color remaining from the rubbing.
A view of her fabric after the imagine has been transferred with the use of textile medium.  That product helps to dissolve and move the color to the fabric but it also stiffens the material quite a bit.  Once dried, heat setting with an iron is also suggested.
My very unsuccessful piece....after not having any luck transferring the lopsided gridded stencil design from my screen, I ended up adding more color by simply scribbling directly to the cloth. 

I'll speak for I found this to be a very disappointing method.  I don't believe any of us, except Gen got a usable piece.  To me it was tedious and didn't achieve decent images.  I like many other methods of marking fabrics much better.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019


Assembling a new batch of wet-felted acorns for holiday shoppers at Woolworth Walk, Asheville, NC.  

Unfortunately this will be the last for quite some time.....the cortisone injection for my shoulder pain lasted only 5 weeks.....time for the next step.  No more felting for awhile. Our family is giving Orthopedic doctors a lot of business; 'the husband's hip, the son's broken elbow, and my worn out shoulder.  Time and some procedures should heal all of us!

Monday, November 4, 2019


VIEW FROM OUR FRONT PORCH - Though we face South with mountain ridges on the East/West/North of us....our 'sunsets' are still beautiful!

Friday, November 1, 2019


The Fiber Junkies began about 12 years with one simple notion that I create a group made up of 6 like-minded fiber friends who would be willing to meet monthly to explore as many surface design/dyeing/printing/painting etc. techniques we could find to play with.

Though microwave dyeing with dye solutions isn't new to us and we had dabbled with microwave ice-dyeing one other time several years ago....this month we hit the jackpot.  Everyone went home with successfully dyed fabrics. 

The big difference was thanks to Denny.  She spent lots of time doing a series of experiments to come up with a reliable formula.  We've been missing Denny at our meetings for months as she recovers from a back fusion.  Wisely she's allowing her body to heal by keeping fairly inactive.  So 4 of us Asheville area members traveled to Simpsonville, SC where Kate and Denny live. Denny, seen here, is taking a well deserved rest after getting us started.
 Kate had everything all set up in her garage, including a new small microwave provided by Denny.  First we soaked our fabric in soda ash.  I concentrated on working with one of my favorite fabrics, silk noil.  Here a small piece has been rung out and loosely placed in a quart size 'Dollar Store' plastic container.  Of course fabric can be positioned more deliberately, but I was aiming for mottled all over results.
 Crushed ice is sprinkled evenly over the fabric, topped with small amounts of Procion MX powdered dye.  (Yes, we wore masks and rubber gloves!)  Denny found that plastic cling wrap worked better to retain the heat than the lids that came with the storage bowls so that's what we used.
To create a shorter processing time and prevent damage to the fabric or plastic bowls, Denny suggested we use finely crushed ice.  This is a lower watt microwave as the small size would indicate, so the timer was set for 4-5 mins. depending upon how much fabric and ice was in the container.

In a very short time we were hanging fabrics on the line to dry!!
 Here are some of my results.....this was simply scrunched into the container.
 This piece was bunched up in the center, held in place with my fingers while swirling the outside edges around inside the container.  I was pleased how that method provided movement to the pattern.
 I placed these two pieces together in one container and was surprised how evenly they dyed.

One last example......honestly I can't wait to do this again.  Obviously if the goal is to work with large fabric pieces, pan ice-dyeing would still be the way to go, but for immediate gratification with smaller sizes.....oh my....this is it!!!!

Many thanks to everyone for making it such a great day, special kudos to Denny we all loved seeing you again!!

Check out these blogs for inspiration this week:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday and Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday.