Sunday, February 22, 2009

As mentioned yesterday, I’m working on a new online class in Needle Felting using an embellishing machine or needle tool and mat (more work, but less expensive)! It’s sooo much fun and initial experiments with incorporating images printed on fabric have been very positive.

I need your opinion.

Roving can be difficult to find and next to impossible to find a variety of fiber content and colors locally. However, there is a wide variety available on Ebay. The problem with purchasing on Ebay is you have to buy (much) larger quantities that needed for this class.

Would it make sense to offer a starter kit with small amounts of 8–10 different colors roving for less than $20?

I really value your input!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Aren’t they beautiful? These photos came from Rhoda Oakes in California. The camellias, crepe myrtle, and jonquils/daffodils are in bloom in her yard!

She sent them to me because here in northeast Indiana, we are experiencing another snowstorm. This one is expected to dump up to 8" on the area today. We are weary with winter and longing for warm sunshine!

The wind is blowing the snow sideways, so there hasn’t been much accumulation yet, but it’s a good day to work on my new online class.

There should be a photo of a class sample or two to share by tomorrow.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

It’s Valentine’s Day! Officially my favorite holiday of the year. The one day I can be ooey-gooey sentimental to my family, friends, and loved ones—and not even my son can object.

It’s snowing today, but we’ll celebrate the holiday later with dinner and games by the fireplace.

The beautiful stamps above are on an incredible envelope from Catherine Etter. We were swap partners in a Beat The Winter Blues swap on The Thread Society yahoo group. Catherine’s charming card (5" x 7") was delivered to my mailbox inside a cheery pink paper bag with sweet messages penned on the front and back (below).

Inside, the fiber card is just as special—with fascinating nest made from an upholstery fabric scrap, stitched with free-motion stitches to create interesting texture.

What a lucky girl I am to be the recipient of such loving kindness. Thank you, Catherine!

One more Valentine ATC, also from a swap with The Thread Society list mom, Diane Harmon-Hoog. Isn’t this a hoot? The artwork is from a vintage postcard. I scanned it and use the image frequently. Can’t you just hear the young lady scolding cupid for causing romantic complications with a gentleman?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

In class I often say “I’ve made this mistake so you don’t have to.” This is a sincere comment! Please feel free to benefit from the money and/or time I’ve spent trying a new technique or pushing a product beyond its intended use.

Such is true of the silk roving Lori and I shared with a spinning guild yesterday. We wanted to apply rust-dyeing techniques to materials a spinner would use—and we did.

Lori packed the roving on Tuesday and washed and rinsed it on Wednesday. I tried to needle felt the roving on a wool felt background and found it didn't felt well at all. Even using the sewing machine I converted to a needle-felting machine, the fibers simply didn’t entwine as they normally would have.

So, I stitched the little rascals down with free-motion stitching. HA! The little doodle you see above is a test swatch. The texture is really interesting and there is a high possibility this technique will be found in a quiltie very soon!

The upshot is, rusting for weaving and spinning needs to be completed after the roving has been carded and spun, but before it’s knitted or woven.

Rusting roving works well on silk or wool, but don’t plan on needle felting it, unless you want to add free-motion stitching on top to secure the fibers.

Nuno felting? Haven’t tried it yet!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Well, I finally put the raku beads on #7 in the Straight-Stitch Series. The ginkgo leaves were not effective, but these flat round raku beads from the artist’s market in Santa Fe, NM are perfect! It will be difficult to send this to Collage Mania, but it IS for a good cause. I may have to make another one to keep, although there are no more of those raku beads. Hmm...

This is a sweet little piece (only 5" x 7") completed recently for a swap on The Thread Society Yahoo discussion group. The challenge was to depict something that would chase away the winter blues with promises of warm spring days to come. The little bluebird is a photo, which has been partially altered in Photoshop. The bird remains un-altered, but the sky and branches have been funked up for texture.

If you’d like to join The Thread Society Yahoo group, either go to Yahoo Groups and search for The Thread Society, or click the link on the left. We’d love to have you join discussions of threads, techniques, which needles with which thread (I’ll never understand), and more!

Thanks to Jeanelle McCall for the suggestion, although she didn’t know it, of doing raw-edge appliqué on top of the photograph piece. The main branch is frayed fabric held in place with free-motion stitching.

There are a few Potato Chip Bags (see the kit on my website) for a gallery ahead of free time to design, but I’m taking the raw-edge appliqué concept to a Threadography composition of a beautifully ornate door photo, taken in Portugal in 2004. Can’t wait!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Numb is good!

It's been several days since I've added a post. Lori and I were in Bloomington, Indiana doing a trunk show and workshop with the Bloomington Quilt Guild. What a wonderful, fun, diverse group of quilters! It was an honor to spend time with them.

Back in the studio on Wednesday for a quick trip to godson Ryan's Home Ec class (they are learning to thread the sewing machine) and a workshop with the Art Club at Marion High School. Followed by an emergency trip to the dentist at 10PM and then a root canal yesterday morning.

After the awful pain of the exposed nerve, numb is good! Contrary to what I expected, the root canal was painless. Dental equipment and anesthetics are far superior to those the last time I had a root canal (about 48 years ago) and there was virtually no pain. Imagine my surprise.

Things are much better today and I'm hoping for a clear head in a while to proof the manuscript of my next book. Actually, I'm waiting for permission to post a photo of the cover. It is AWESOME!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Quilt Teacher Lists and Directories

Can this photo be saved? It’s crooked and skewed and not of the quality to submit to a competition or exhibition jury.

Yesterday, Lori and I taught a workshop as an introduction to Photoshop/Photoshop Elements at a local art gallery. What fun it was to see people of various ages and backgrounds come together to explore the application—and see how it applied to each person!

We spent some time getting to know the participants, their experience with Photoshop and digital artwork, and what they hoped to glean from the workshop. There was a young mom wanting to create the best photo of her children, a professional photographer wanting to touch up portraits, and several people falling somewhere in between.

We covered so much in four hours, although I had prepared enough for about two 8-hour days. LOL! Everyone seemed to grasp the concepts we covered, and has an outline to guide them in further explorations.

If you’re interested, the next session of Beginning Photoshop Elements (6-weeks) and Intermediate Photoshop Elements (4 weeks) begins February 13. There is even a sample class you can download immediately to get a feel for the class format. Check it out at

Are you in a quilt teacher's directory or on a list? I just joined Yet another way to spread the word and (hopefully) make a living doing what I love to do. Please let me know if you know of other lists. Marketing will be important this year!