Archives for 2014

What is it?


During our fiber arts group monthly meeting yesterday, I was circulating a project I had just completed and one of our members quizzically mouthed What is it? to me across the room. I smiled. 

It‘ is a pin cushion with a pocket. Huh? That’s right.  😀

I have been participating in Karen Ruane‘s Pillows and Pages class for the past two weeks. It has been an adventure. Since the class included three separate pillow projects, I wisely opted to create small pillows. Karen also chose to work on small size pillows that could be used as giant pin cushions. As she drew near completion of the first pillow with us, she decided to add a ‘pocket’ for storing small supplies you might need as you were stitching. I followed suit.

Here is what my completed pin cushion with pocket looks like now that it is in use:

pin cushion with pins, etcIt actually folds in half for easier carrying about my home.

folded hand stitched pin cushion

I am totally enjoying the class. It is giving me an opportunity to create something useful while learning from Karen and honing skills. Over the three pillows, the many elements covered have included  ties, tabs, inserts, varied stitches, and, of course, damp stretching.

close up of pin cushion

PS I am linking this post to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday blog so please enjoy browsing some other artist’s blogs.

Lace Edging Bonanza

I stopped in to my favorite Bernina store, BobbinCaseon Thursday to share some of my work with owner, Linda, and awesome helper, Ann. As we chatted, Linda mentioned that she had some lace edgings that had been hanging round the store for ages. She had just taken some home to use in a quilt, but still had a few at the store. My curiosity was peaked.

Out came the edgings and they were beautiful. 

Have a peak!

grouping of lace edgings

I simply loved the detail in them. 

close up of lace edging

I, of course, took some home with me and immediately began playing with incorporating into one of my projects. I haven’t decided yet to use it but doesn’t it off set the teal fabric nicely?

edging contrasting with tealThe teal fabric is called Plaster of Paris and is designed by Stephanie Brandenburg for Frond Design Studios. I had picked it up last fall on a visit to one of my favorite fabric stores, Undercover Quilts, in Seattle, WA.

Obviously, I had a great weekend playing with these beautiful fibers!

Progress on all fronts!

This has been a great week for catching up and luxuriating in time to work on multiple projects at once. It is that sweet time when I am caught up from past trips and future travel is far enough away that I don’t need to organize the household for my departure.

A positive highlight of the week was turning my 830 on for probably the first time in a month! I have two great digital images scanned on silk on hand. This week I got to start playing with a draft (extra printing of the image) of one of the two pieces. 

Aspen quilting

Aspen snow

Journey has also been moving forward. The 12″ square is now quilted and I am starting to hand embroider some flowers. Here you can see some of what I have been stitching.


And, finally, I have gotten immersed in the special three week stitching class I am taking with Karen Ruane. I will share more on that next week but here is a glimpse of some of the fabrics I am working with.


I am linking this post to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday, so please check out the fascinating work by other artists.

And then there was Damp Stretching…….

Another new concept to me as I have been exploring the art of hand stitching has been ‘damp stretching’. It is similar to blocking a quilt or a knit project in many ways but with, perhaps, subtle differences.  The intention is, partly, to remove wrinkles, particularly if you have been hooping your work, and any distortions that may have crept in as the fabric has been manipulated. It also really livens a piece up!

Cork makes a great surface to stretch a piece on. I was able to create a nice sized cork surface by using some cork blocks found at a local office supply store. However, you need to be sure to test the cork that it will not bleed color on to your fabric when wet. You may need to seal the cork.

Here is a photo of ‘Memories’ being damp stretched.  

square fabric being damp stretched

I used straight pins to pin the piece to the cork. I also have some bulletin board pins that I have tried but they leave larger holes and I am finding that I can create enough tension to remove wrinkles with straight pins. In my stitching studies with Karen Ruanne, she suggested to begin pining in the center of one side and pin back and forth across the two sides till they are completely pinned. Then a similar process of pinning is done on the other two sides. 

Once pinned, you spray the piece with water until it is damp and then leave it to dry overnight.  

While I had always thought of blocking a piece as an option when it was finished, I have learned that a piece is often damp stretched many times while being embroidered.  I imagine that this helps to minimize distortion. It also gives you a hint of what the finished piece will look like as many stitches literraly seem to shine after the process!

Right now, I am looking forward to the next step – free motion quilting! 

P.S. I am linking this post to Nine Marie”s Off the Wall Friday site, so be sure to check out what other artists have been up to this week.



Love those French Knots!

From what I can tell the stitch called the French Knot made its appearance after Chinese embroidered items began appearing in Europe in the 1690’s. It’s predecessor was the Peking knot which was also went by the title of Forbidden Stitch – supposedly because it is so fine that there was fear young girls would go blind from stitching it.

The French Knot has always been my nemesis. I tried to incorporate it into various projects but never could pull it off.  Finally, I have broken through that barrier and now it is one of my favorite stitches.

In Memories, I have used it in a number of places. Clusters of knots appear in one strip; on another strip, French knots are scattered through across the fabric to carry over some of the off white color that appears in the other strips.



As the Journey continues, a fun side trip emerges

Memories is evolving as it should. I made the pleasant discovery that it is relatively easy to embellish while on a plane and it definitely makes the time pass more quickly. My focus the past few days has been upon the seams of my fabric strips and one loose edge of lace overlay that will form one corner of the finished 12″ square.

I began with adding one line of buttonhole stitching along each sewn seam and then created a more lacey effect with a second row.

line of buttonhole stitch

One row of stitching


two rows of stitching

Two rows

The ‘side trip’ that will be coming up is a special 3 week long online class with Karen Ruanne that she will be offering beginning March 24. Called Pillows and Pages, the class will follow Karen as she creates three pillows with supporting journal pages. As with any class with Karen, you are the proverbial ‘fly on the wall’, watching videos of Karen as she works and creating a work of your own, if you choose. The relatively loose format works well for me. I have come to look forward to her videos as she chats about life while demonstrating the most delicate stitchery. While I have yet to attempt a journal page in her style, I gain great inspiration from hers. 

Having defined one goal for myself for the coming months as the creation of an embellished pin cushion, signing up for Karen’s class seemed an obvious choice. I am grateful to have the flexibility to rearrange my other projects to fit the class in. 

If you would like to know more about Pillows and Pages, you can find Karen’s description in this blog entry and also enjoy a glimpse of some of her work.

The Beginning of a Journey

I thought it might be fun to travel along with me while I create a new art quilt. I am hoping it will turn out well enough to contribute to the SAQA Benefit Auction this year. My intention, at least for now, is to incorporate some of the hand stitching work that I have been studying for the past three months. 

My working title for this piece will be Memories. Its beginning came from a sketch in one of my journals. I should explain that my journals are highly impromptu. I admire those whose journals are works of art that can stand on their own. Mine are definitely not there yet. I am simply pleased when I find the time to sketch in even the most casual way. 

Pencil drawing

My plan was to create strips of delicate fabric that I have been collecting the past few months, stitch them together and then begin adding hand stitching. The finished piece must be 12″ x 12″ so I began estimating size of strips to cut. As I began to stitch some strips together, I quickly realized that my initial measurements were off but fortunately, with the help of a 12 1/2″ square ruler that I have, I was able to create an appropriate sized piece of pieced fabrics to proceed with.

pieced fabric

As you can see, these are all beautiful pieces of fabric already on their own. It is going to be absolutely delightful to embellish them and then quilt them.

lace overlay

I did include some lace. It is backed with some gently patterned white cotton that I picked up on one of my shopping trips last year in the NYC garment district.

The final version of this piece is uncertain – I always let the art work direct me as it begins to take shape! I will be tossing around the idea of an overlay of flowers as in my sketch. We shall see!  

Hope you will enjoy following along on its creation!

Welcome to my new home!

The address has changed but the writer remains the same.  🙂 Welcome to the new home of my blogging. And, please, look around on my new website as well. I will slowly be adding to the material over the next few months. 

Getting a new site up and running is time consuming, as many of you know. I have been lucky to have a very patient web designer, Holly Knott, who set up this new design and walked me through adding images and descriptions. She managed my old site for me for the past four years and will be available to support me as I take on this new responsibility.  Without Holly, I would not have a web presence and have made many of the friends around the world that I now have. Thank you, Holly!

So, with all this web work, you might wonder what happened to actual quilting or stitching. You might say that it slowed to a snail’s pace in February and hopes to pick up steam in March.  😀

I am moving forward on my latest representational quilt but it is still not fused. Here is a peak at part of it, you can see that fabric for snow has been added.


On the hand stitching front, this web design work fortunately came when  I was between classes.  My latest project, another pouch, has been patiently waiting.

I did manage to get out one day last week to join a wonderful group of ladies for a sewing day at Ivy Thimble. It was sheer joy to do nothing but work on a sewing projects for a few hours. Among other things, I came away with two cases for my new iPad mini. 


I look forward to many more posts on this new site. Hope that you will direct your browsers to this new address and follow me along on my journey!

Farewell to

Explorations header

For the past four years, I have faithfully blogged at the address of But, all things evolve. My website,, is being updated and in that process, I have moved my blog. 

From now on, my blog will reside on my website.  I will keep active with a link to my new blog location.  


Abstract pieced art quilt using earth colors and turquoise2010
16″ x 12.5″

In Private Collection

Art quilt created using appliqué, crystals, and decorative stitching with earth and sea tone cotton batiks. The quilt is mounted (with Velcro) on a black cloth covered frame.

“Earth” reflects the interplay of earth and sea which is felt so intensely in the islands.

Detail image – click for larger view



Green and blue abstract pieced art quilt2010
19″ x 14″

In Private Collection

An art quilt created using appliqué, crystals, and decorative stitching on green cotton batiks.

On a sunny day, the ocean off the west coast of Maui is rich in blue and green hues, interspersed with glints of sun light reflecting off the waves. “Sea” celebrates the wonder and mystery of the sea.

Detail Image – Click to view larger



Abstract art quilt in blues and greens2010
22″ x 12.5″

In Private Collection

Art quilt created using appliqué, decorative stitching and embellishment. Mounted (with Velcro) on a black cloth covered frame.

The Hawaiian islands are all the result of volcanic activity. These islands now are home to lush flora and fauna. “Island” honors these jewels in the ocean. 

Detail Image – Click for larger size




Abstract art quilt using reds and blues2010
23″x 15″

In Private Collection

Contemporary fiber art quilt with appliqué and decorative stitching. The background is hand dyed cotton, the ‘island’ a selection of cotton batiks. It is mounted (with Velcro) on a black cloth covered frame.

At sunset, everything pauses on the islands. The panoramic display as the sun sets into the ocean is different every time. The sun’s farewell paints the sky in luscious red tones. “Sunset” honors this daily display.

Detail image – click for larger view


Starry Nights

Beaded art quilt of night scene

12″ x 12″
In private collection

Appliquéd art quilt with beading

The contemporary art quilt was inspired by the Persian quotation, When it is darkest, you can see the stars. Greg Mortensen, author of “Three Cups of Tea,” often refers to this quote when discussing the hundreds of schools he has helped communities build in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Detail image – click to view larger:

Starry Nights, detail


Digitally printed image with felted alpaca roving

22″ x 29.5″

Included in Sacred Threads 2013 Exhibition, within the theme of ‘Spirituality’

Contemporary art quilt: digitally printed on silk, machine quilted, embellished with felted alpaca roving 

This piece speaks to me of spirituality – rising from a base of groundedness into the light and higher meaning. Our path may be complex, fraught with temptation and darker moments, but if we persevere, we will reach the summit.

Detail image – click to view larger:


Dance of Energy

Two figure portrayal of dance of energy in Aikido2010
24.5″ x 25.5″
Not For Sale

Pieced and appliquéd fiber art quilt with embellishment and decorative stitching.

This contemporary art quilt suggests the passage of energy in the martial art of Aikido from one person to another. When the timing between the two parties is in synch, the result is akin to dance.

Detail Image – Click to view larger

Close up of detail stitching in art quilt


Irish Cottage, Bunlough, Devlin North, County Mayo, Ireland


25.5″ x 32″

Not For Sale

Fused appliqué with free motion quilting/thread painting and a bit of jewelry wire.

This quilt depicts the remnants of a cottage on the West Coast of Ireland in Bunlough, Devlin North, County Mayo. The cottage was still standing two years ago when my cousin took a photo of it. It figures prominently in  my family history and why my grandmother moved to the U.S.

Detail image – click to view larger:

Roots, detail

Illuminated Albizia

A stand of trees in Maui, Hawaii

23″ x 30.5″

Exhibited in La Conner Quilt Textile Museum 2012 International Juried & Judged Quilt Festival, La Conner, WA and River Walk Artist Gallery Juried Exhibition

Contemporary fused appliqué art quilt with machine quilting. 

Adapted from a photo taken in Maui, Hawaii of a standing of monkey pod trees.

Detail image – click to view larger:

Illuminated Albizia, detail

Winter Morn

Representational art quilt of winter scene in Vail, Colorado

35″ x 20″

Exhibited in “Branching Out,”  Rochester, NY 2012

Fused appliqué art quilt with machine quilting.

This fiber art work was inspired by a photo taken by my son near Vail, Colorado. 

Detail image – click to view larger:

Winter Morn, detail

Hawaiian Reverie

Hawaiian Reverie

53″ x 44″

Pieced by Judy and machine quilted by Val Schultz of Mountain View Quilting.

A fun throw that brings memories of time spent in the Hawaiian Islands.


Detail image – click to view larger:

Hawaiian Reverie, detail


Pieced Octagonal quilt


This quilt uses the techniques of Paula Nadelstern to create the basic kaleidoscopic design. The final border of the quilt includes insets with decorative stitching. The finished quilt is 100% cotton and is approximately 52″ from the center of one side of the octagon to opposing center.

Detail image – click to view larger:

Kaleidescope, detail