Mad dash….and wait!

I’ve been a little bit scarce on the blogging front for a few days now. I believe I told you that my friend Katie and I are prepping an exhibition entry for a two-person show. Well…my entries were not entirely compatible with hers even though we do ‘make’ in a comparable style. I ended up making one new piece and scouring my walls and tables and piles of quilts for a few more. Aaaaand the application was submitted today. So now we wait.

But now we can also relax and for me that means making something new, on a delightfully slow time line.

My goal is to use only/mainly fabric that I have made so I found some hand dyes that I liked together in a group. Did a little stack and slash and came up this little four patch.

It took me almost half a day to get this far. As I said, working slow! In between panic attacks for the exhibition application, I played around with it a bit, thinking about what other pieces to add and how big I want it to be.

I have quite a bit more of everything but the brown and that brown is what’s grounding all these busy elements. So I guess it won’t get very big. In fact, I think that I’m done with the piecing now.

Probably a facing rather than a binding, when it gets to that point–I like it like this. There are lots of raw edges and delicious areas for hand stitching and I’m eager to continue on with it.

And no hurry, no deadlines, no purpose but pure enjoyment. Aaaaaah, yes!


More bits and pieces

As promised, here is a pic of the finished turquoise beaded piece.

Way different than I originally imagined, but that’s what happens when your art tells you what it wants!

Had some down time while I was deciding what to tackle next, so I deconstructed a collection of neckties that I had. There really is an unbelievable amount of fabric in a necktie. I’m always surprised. Anyhow, now I have a pile of necktie fabric sitting in a drawer, waiting for inspiration.

Let’s see…I’m putting a sleeve on an older piece and looked at the pile of canvas pieces that need hanging hooks and wires. I walked away from that chore!

Basted a quilt…wonder how long that will sit before I get around to the quilting.

And when I put it on the pile of basted quilts, I selected one to start working on. And it, too, sent me in a direction I was not expecting.

I had a plan to quilt an uneven grid, reflecting the uneven grid dyed into the fabric. And I started out that way, but instead did a random assortment of partial grid sections. Then, this happened…

It’s difficult to see in this next pic, but all this flower stuff is on the left side.

It doesn’t show up all that well, but…I’m toying with the idea of micro lines from the flower part to the other edge. Maybe a bit more of the flowers, first.

And if I do that, should it be the navy thread that I did the partial grid sections with, the variegated thread that I did the flowers in, or something else? Time to step away and let that decision float around in my brain for a while.

As I’m writing this, the weather tomorrow is supposed to be a real killer…high humidity and 90 degrees…and I’m teaching a dye class out in my garage. Hydration–move slowly–take breaks in the air conditioning as needed–right? There might be more breaks than usual……………..

A few beads

For some reason, unknown to myself, I have not done much beading lately. This week I’ve managed to get back to it. I also realized that I often show you in-progress work but sometimes forget to show the finished product!

The black beading definitely rescued this piece.

And I decided that beading was necessary on this piece, too.

Even though the thread was shiny and metallic, it wasn’t quite enough to stand out from the busy background.

Plain turquoise beads seemed like they would fill the bill. And it is too small a piece to agonize over beading decisions!

And as I added the beads in little staggered rows, I was distracted by my container of ‘leftover’ miscellaneous beads. So I added some.

I couldn’t decide if the plain dangles were enough or if I needed to emphasize them with more turquoise.

And neither was correct! I will end up continuing the staggered rows all the way to the tips and incorporate the dangles between the turquoise beads.

I was kind of surprised that the dangles looked so good, since they are totally strung by random selection. But my hindsight tells me that it makes sense, because of all the colors in the background. I may experiment with dark leaf shapes behind the ‘flowers’ before I call this one finished. And I will try to remember to show the finished piece!

I’m getting the urge to start on a BIG beaded project again, but don’t have one shaped up in my imagination yet. It may be that one with the rust fabric circles, but that one is still in a time out right now! I have even looked through my rarely used sketchbooks, but found more piecing ideas than anything adaptable to a beaded project.

It’s wonderful to have too many ideas and not enough time. I cannot imagine the horror of a creative block and hope I never have to work through one. For now, a bit of each of my loves–beading, quilting, embroidery, dyeing–makes me very happy!


Had quite a bit of time in the studio today and it felt really, really good! Glued a couple more pieces to their canvases and painted a few more. I started to clean things up a little so that I could feel a bit more organized, and, of course…distraction!

One more scrap of interfacing, laying next to the bag of strings…what else could I do but make another string piece background?

These don’t take very long when they are this small-about 8 x 10-and I put all those tempting strings away as soon as this was done!

I decided that it was time to start getting those bright scrap quilts finished up. Yes, they have only been sitting in the stack for less than 2 months, but they are all basted and ready to go. No excuses. Pick one up and get it done!

So I did.

A question that occurred to me as I was quilting…what makes the quilting design ‘right’ for me on an improv beast like this one?

I decided against straight line walking foot quilting. Too boring for my mood, though it would have worked just fine for the quilt itself!

Mostly it’s a matter of sections and shapes. All of these small quilts are made with a total mix of scraps; no design, no background, no repetition of shapes. There are not rows or sections easily seen, though each individual piece is defined by the construction seams. Basically, then, an overall meander quilting seems like the best choice.

And the way to make it work is to be sure and overlap the quilting between chunks of fabrics.

Those swirls roam around that quilt top as though it were a whole cloth quilt, with no regard to which scrap is being sewn.

Totally suited my mood and goes so quickly. I got it done in an afternoon and I feel invigorated by getting some quilting finished. A happy, happy day!

A single drop of water…

There are many quotations that refer to starting with a small step, a single stitch, a single drop of water that leads to a journey, a garment, a waterfall. Today I felt like everything I was doing was but a single drop of water heading towards becoming a lake.

I wanted to mount some finished pieces on canvas, but I needed to screen print my label on the back of the canvas first. And then I need to paint the canvas to complement the work. And the canvas needed two coats, so I had to wait for the paint to dry. Some of the canvas blanks are too small for my screen, so I had to get out the multi-label screen and print on paper or fabric to make small labels………and wait for those to dry!

One step, two step…….and the string background was sitting there waiting to be noticed. I like to do an envelope turn on most of these, but with fusible interfacing, not fabric. And I play with designs by drawing on the back until I get close to what I want.

Sometimes I sew a guideline on the back and then stitch the design from the front. This time I put glittery thread in the bobbin and stitched from the back.

And now I have another one waiting to be mounted. More waiting for the paint to dry. Unless I look at it a while longer and decide that it needs something more!

Time to attack those little red houses. Might as well keep adding to that pile of pieces waiting for the finish! Didn’t take long for them to get some details and some quilting.

Thought I was going to quit there for the day, but I did one more bit of painting and while it’s drying, I finished the edges of these houses.

I need to finish them with some eye catching beads or buttons and then it will be back to more painting. At least there is no indecision in my mind on paint color for these. Dark blue will be perfect for a small edge all around.

Meanwhile………..back to paint drying. Wonder what else I can pick at, one little drop of water at a time………………..?



Blue Lake is an absolutely beautiful campus. So peaceful and serene–before 1000 kids are here!

This is my view from the Fiber Art Studio back porch….

Which I am more in love with every year. And today they cleared off a few more scrub trees and more of that is planned for the fall! Beautiful.

Some of the kids have the first part of their project ready to use.

And you know that I love to dye fabric………..

Tomorrow, real sewing and embroidery. It’s hard when you are a beginner, but these kids are troopers! They will get it!


Creating fabric with…magic!

At least it seems magical to me to use water-soluble stabilizer for the creation of new and unique fabric. I gave a quick demo about it at quilt guild and was asked to write a blog with a few more details, so I’m gathering together a few of the blogs I’ve written about it. I’ll post this here and on the guild blog as well.

There are quite a few methods and variables, but the basics are simple…

lay down a base of stabilizer–I have used Solvy brand, in a heavy weight and a lighter weight and had success with both.

add threads, fabric bits, yarns, etc. over it

cover with another layer of stabilizer

pin, pin, pin and stitch over the top to hold it all together

aaaaand stitch, stitch, stitch

keep stitching….

wash away the stabilizer and use the fabric you have made!!!

Variations are infinite and I’ve gone into more detail on several projects on which I have worked. Here and here.

I had a great time making these large, funky flowers, using a flat background with a fusible interfacing base. The links to those how-to’s start with this one and continue here .

There are more variations and instructions while I was working on this project also.

I don’t have everything all neatly gathered in one place, since I don’t write blogs with the idea of a specific technique tutorial. I jump from project to project and write about what I’m doing as I’m doing it! The links posted here should give you a good idea of how this magic water soluble works. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I’m happy to share anything I’ve learned while playing this way.