Monday, March 19, 2018


What could be better than a nice warm spring day and finishing this garden blossomed wall art quilt?!?
Cotton fabrics, machine pieced and quilted.

Despite the sunny day, my studio is so difficult to get good photos of my work. Hopefully with a different light pattern later in the day I'll be more successful. In the meantime...please enjoy this latest piece from my large Japanese fabric stash!

Friday, March 16, 2018


My last post mentioned that I was moving along to the quilting stage of this quilt, though I had no plan for the direction that would take.

After considerable trial and error tests on spare fabric, it seemed best to keep it simple and allow the fabrics to speak for themselves. Once the quilting reached the borders I was stumped.  Eventually I decided to follow the theme of the uneven patchwork segments.  The design was worked out on tissue paper, pinned in place, and quilted along the lines using my walking foot.  One negative of course is having to remove the paper and all the tiny bits that remain between the stitches!

Because of the simplicity of the outline quilting of every section, for a better impact I chose to work with an antique brass thread. I'm happy with the look but oh my, I probably spent more time tying off each of the thread ends as it took to quilt the entire piece.  

In general, I don't like the look of the tie off function of my machine, nor stitching in place at the beginning and end of each line.  So I always tie off and bury the threads by hand.  This metallic thread had a nylon core that made it impossible to use a self-threading needle as the thread shredded.  So it became necessary to thread a needle with the ends in order to bury them between the layers. It's interesting, I never broke a single thread while quilting but the finishing part was very time consuming.  

Stay tuned for a photo of the finished piece.  In the meantime check out what other creative stitchers have been up to this week:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday, and Crazy Mom Quilts.

Monday, March 12, 2018


As mentioned previously, my studio time would be limited for awhile, but that should never stop the creative process.  Little bits of time add up.

 The numerous stacks of Japanese fabrics stored in my stash continually call for attention.  It's all excellent quality material, collected over a long period of time by a dear friend who gifted me a part of her inventory.  Never in a million years would I select this style to work with but somehow the challenge of using it to create one-of-a-kind quilts has captured my interest.

I had this setting idea for awhile but the math involved in cutting and piecing the strips was more than I was capable of.  It finally dawned on me I could do it by paper piecing since I wanted random shapes rather than symmetrical anyway.

My vision didn't include borders but as so many of us know....the quilt will tell you what to do if you listen.  Next up will be making the quilt sandwich and machine quilting.  Right now I have no clue what direction the quilting will take....but I'll be listening very hard!!

Check back to see won't you?

Monday, March 5, 2018


I'm still playing part-time nurse during 'the husband's' surgery recovery period, obviously there's not much creating going on here.  

For lack of current project news, I decided to share my recent disappointing failure.  The picture doesn't show the eyesores of the creases, wrinkles and bubbled fabric and paper map....what a mess.

It's extremely rare for me to give up on a project.  I don't know if this is a good or bad thing, but I can honestly say there have been less than a half-dozen projects I've given up on and trashed.  I usually do not surrender and somehow find a way to make it work....but this is beyond repair.

Our son is an avid bicycle rider, pedalling for pleasure and often from home to work. (Makes a mother crazy thinking about all that traffic, distracted drivers, and those narrow streets.)  The idea of this piece was to feature an enlarged silhouette of a bike on a map of the San Francisco/Bay area where he lives.

I didn't just jump into it.....a lot of testing went on before I stabilized the paper map and applied the fabric bike.....clearly NOT enough testing!!  Small sample tests don't always translate to larger scale projects.  

It's human nature to show our successes and avoid mentioning ones that don't work.  But, the instructor in me still likes to share process dilemmas.  We can all learn from each other. Unfortunately, this one has no solution.  I have a couple of ideas how to begin again, one being a Spoonflower fabric map.....but I may be 'over it'.  One-of-a-kind fiber art takes work.....and I love waking up each day to more challenges.

Friday, March 2, 2018

THE SETTING SUN's finished and better yet, it's already sold!  I've been very inspired by the sunset photos posted on Facebook by my SIL, nephew, and high school pal Doris Kramer Sager.  Using a compliation of their stunning photos, here's my stylized version.

THE SETTING SUN  - 41" X 25" 
Hand & ice-dyed cotton fabrics, commercial cottons, machine appliqued, hand and machine embroidered, oil stick highlights, thread painted & machine quilted.

See what other artists have been working on this week:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, Sarah's Whoop, Whoop Friday, and Crazy Mom Quilts.

Monday, February 26, 2018


I'm slowly finishing the sunset/ocean/beach theme wall quilt that has consumed me for nearly 2 months.  Actually that's not for lack of effort on my part.....several areas of the design perspective details were challenging to overcome for this artist who doesn't draw. These beach chairs are an example.  After scouring the internet for samples that might be suitable, many more hours were spent redrawing to achieve the correct size/shape and then recreating in fabric.  Realistic landscape isn't my strength, however stylized designs have provided a new path to explore and enjoy.

With that said, I'll go ahead and reveal some personal stuff.....thank heavens it's nothing life threatening, but definitely life altering for awhile. 'The husband' had a 6 disc cervical fusion a year ago, which failed.  That resulted in the development of several deformed vertebra, deep hollow sections in the skin, a broken screw still in his body, and constant pain.  Additional surgery to remove the titanium device and screw is very dangerous with a high failure rate so after getting additional opinions, he's decided not to risk it.  However, addressing the bulging vertebra, which sadly won't eliminate the pain, is still necessary. He'll be undergoing surgery this week and I will be a 'care-taker' again until he recovers enough to get up and about.

On top of that.....I'm facing some nasty oral surgery.....I'd rather take a greyhound bus across country - last seat by the toilet - than going to the dentist.  I'm already working myself into quite the tizzy!  I've been taking medication for osteoporosis for over 20 years and have been aware of the correlation between these meds. and jaw bone's not common but it looks like it struck me.

So, if my posts are a tad sparse in the next couple of weeks you'll know why.  We are moving forward with positive attitudes and feeling fortunate there are solutions to our issues and as I said, these are not life threatening....just annoyances that take me away from my studio!!  

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


I've had way too little time to sew lately and will have even less with a full schedule ahead. The 10th annual PTA retreat is at the very beginning of March and given my other commitments I was stressing over what project I'll be working on.

I'm one of those who needs to be organized and last minute rushing about for me.......I need order and until I achieve it....I'm not fit to live with!

So, due to the successful sales of several of my Japanese theme quilts at Woolworth Walk (amazing to me since this is definitely NOT my normal style), it makes sense to create another one. Retreat is CRAZY.....non-stop silliness, food, beverages, and of course sewing.  Selecting a no brainer piecing project is about all I'm capable of accomplishing in this setting.  Pre-cutting everything ahead is mandatory.  

After a couple of false starts I now have a plan.  One would never guess it's taken me nearly two full days to select, cut, and arrange these focal squares. I have tons of Japanese fabrics, yet it's amazing how often they don't play well with each other.  The blocks will not be set with white as shown here on my design wall.......but had I thought of it.....I would have.  (Next time!!)  However, the two different colors of setting strips are now cut and ready to be pieced.  Stay tuned for 'after PTA retreat report'.....though honestly so much of what happens they say "stays there'!!!

Friday, February 16, 2018


This post is off the normal fiber focused read on at your own peril!

This is an excerpt from the book "Nightwoods" written by Charles Frazier. You might be aware of his others, "Cold Mountain" & "Thirteen Moons".  The books deal with areas in Western North Carolina and Haywood County, where we live.  "The husband" has been reading this book and was struck by the following passage. From day one of moving here, we noticed this unusual tree in the common area of our development.  The questions are: Could this be natural?  If not, who did it?  Where does it point?

"Farther on, along a stretch of trail Luce had walked at least a dozen times, she noticed something new to her, A stout old oak partly screened by younger trees, the first four feet of its trunk hollow and the crown nearly dead. What Luce first thought was a low limb, much thicker than her torso, ran parallel to the ground and then made an unnatural upward right angle. At the L, a knob of scar.

Luce went to the tree and cupped her hand on the knob. She realized that the odd limb was really the deformed trunk and knew this was a trail tree. One day two or three hundred years back, in a different world, somebody bent down a sapling and torqued it in the middle and sliced it partway through at the angle and tied it to a stake in the ground with withes or ligaments to make it grow that way forever. When the cut healed, the scar kept growing, like an old mans nose, and it was where the nose pointed that mattered, ‘Go this way’ was the message nobody had received for a long time”

It turns out there are similar trees that run all across this country.  A fledgling rhododendron partially obstructs the drama of this tree which grows along side one of the 3 small creeks that run through our development. YET the nose is quite clear right side of horizontal limb).

There are groups that research such trees for authenticity. We've submited this one and are looking forward to hearing their opinion. It doesn't appear to be 100 years old but who knows.  Follow these two links here and also here if you'd like to read a tad more about this interesting navigation system most often attributed to Native Americans. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018



Commercial cottons,machine appliqued, bead embellished. This quilt was featured in Fons & Porter's "Love of Quilting" magazine Feb. 2004 - pages 18-20.  AVAILABLE HERE

Monday, February 12, 2018


Continuing our art camp adventures.......while each batch of our eco-printing simmers for 2 hours we spent time indigo dyeing.
Nan is a terrific & generous host.....we work on her large patio which overlooks a golf course.....allowing us plenty of space to spread out.
 Blue has always been my favorite color....followed by red.  Therefore I'm always ready to create more indigo dyed fabrics.  We worked with white cottons, silk noil, and lots of old linens.

Some artists get very scientific with their folding/stitching/wrapping methods, all which act as resists for the dye penetration and dictates the designs.  We were less we chatted away enjoying the beautiful sunny day.
We had prepared the indigo dye bath ahead of time. I decided to dye half of my bundles dry and the other half after soaking in water for about 10 mins.  After massaging each packet in the indigo bath for 2+ mins., it was removed and placed in a bin.....allowing the dye to set a bit longer.  
I'm now unwrapping one of my dry can see how the color turns from green to blue as it reacts to oxygen.  I found the pieces dyed from the wet stage had less white than the dry ones.  Of course the way it is folded/manipulated also affects the outcome.
Impressive results....we are happy campers!
 Another piece released from its string/knots/rubber bands etc. - already turning blue.

And we eat well too......homemade pizza that didn't quite stay on the hot pizza stone....totally my doing as this Cheesehead really piled on the cheese!

Another year of good memories and friendship were Feb. can't come soon enough!