Archives for 2018

Tis the Season

For it is in giving that we receive.
St. Francis of Assisi

Wishing everyone the very best in this holiday season. May you find happiness and fulfillment and a path for 2019 that brings peace and comfort to you and your family and extends beyond to your little corner of the world.

My life has been very full this fall with all good things. Finding time for everyone and everything has meant reduced time on my computer. Be assured though that my studio has been busy with many projects including the one pictured below.

These tiny hats are for the Little Hats, Big Hearts project of the American Heart Association. Begun in Chicago in 2014, the project honors babies and moms in a very special way. These tiny red hats, on thousands of babies, symbolize our shared mission of heart-healthy lives for everyone. The effort also raises awareness of congenital heart defects, and what we can all do to help prevent them.

I saw a mention of the program on our local tv station and was intrigued. The AHA offers patterns for both crochet and knitting. Friends will attest to the fact that I am a dubiously successful knitter. 🙂 However, crocheting has always come naturally to me. My goal is to create as many of these little hats as I can manage in December. The hats will be handed in to our local AHA chapter and distributed to newborns at local hospitals during February which is American Heart Month.

If you would like to join in this effort, the AHA suggests contacting your local AHA representative for details on the program in your area.

Have to get back to crocheting now! You can check out Nina Marie’s Off the Wall for what other fiber artists are up to.


Time Flies

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
Albert Camus

The month of September seemed to fly by as I followed through on my new classes. Combined with a quick trip to New York, I have most definitely been busy.

My “Stitch Along” class with Karen Ruane thankfully has a 12 month timeline. I used the class as an excuse to wander the Garment District while in New York City to gather some materials to use in the class. In my spare time, I have been playing with some samples of lace and stitch and slowly developing a theme for the year.

The Visual Design workshop with SAQA is a much shorter commitment. I am in the second component of the workshop, Principles of Design, the first two weeks being devoted to Elements of Design. Each week is rich with resources through video interviews, some video chats, and links to many articles. There are no assignments as such. I have enjoyed the review of design principles. One immediate application has been in reviewing my photos from our Alaska trip. I have appreciated a bit more why my eye is drawn to particular scenes and why in culling through hundreds of photos, I have selected a few to print and perhaps use eventually in some art works.

Here are two examples where line and shape were important.

Zodiacs along the cliffs near the Dawes glacier.

Early morn view from our boat approaching LeConte Bay.

Looking forward to learning more as I continue exploring the wonderful world of fiber.

Linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday blog for more inspiration from other fiber artists.

Looking Towards Fall

To every season there is a purpose.
Ecclesiastes 3:1

The temperatures are dropping at bit and there is even the mention of showers in our forecasts…..stores are stocking Halloween decorations (at least it is not Christmas). Hints of fall are everywhere.

This summer has been a time of enjoying grandkids, recharging energy and nurturing spirit. Earlier this month, I spent a week in the glaciers and forests of southeastern Alaska (photos will follow as I am still sorting!) but even before that trip, I knew my self-imposed sabbatical from “serious” art projects was working. When I returned from Alaska, there on my design wall was  a quilt top with batting and backing ready for quilting…… the first art quilt I have created in quite a bit with an eye to entering in some Calls for Entry. Refreshed and inspired from my travels, I set to free motion quilting my work. With my Bernina newly tuned up, the quilting went amazingly smoothly. For most of the stitching time, I listened to my favorite cellist, Zuill Bailey, on my new Sonos system and just enjoyed being back in the interpretative process that free motion quilting is for me.

Since the quilt will be submitted to a call this fall, I can’t share the results of my efforts in full, but here is a tiny peak.  🙂 

Now with fall approaching, I have enrolled in several exciting opportunities to continue to feed my creative spirit :

My friend, Karen Ruane, is offering  a new 12 month “Stitch Along.”  I have so enjoyed my studies with Karen and the community of ‘stitchers’ around the world who participate in her sessions. This “Stitch Along” is paced in a way that I can easily work on more art quilts that I am sure will emerge for my Ice Worlds series.

Here is Karen’s description of the class:

Join me for 12 months of creativity, a unique fly on the wall experience. Observe my process, my day to day, my working practice over a full year. Who knows what will crop up, what will inspire and develop over this programme. We begin with a blank page of time and fill that page, that time developing embroidered works on paper and fabric. There may be artist books, there may be delicately embroidered laces along with decorative silk surfaces. There will definitely be buttons, ribbons, sequins, beads and all manner of added titivation.

Isn’t that enticing? If you are interested in joining me in a fun experience, you can sign up  on Karen’s website.

I have also signed up for the SAQA Seminar  2018: Visual Design.  The seminar will cover four units: elements, principles, process, and evaluation with new material released every two  weeks. You have to be a SAQA member to participate, but there is no added fee for the course which promises “access to articles, tutorials, book reviews, links to inspirational resources as well as video conversations with leading artists in the art quilt field.” There will also be a Facebook group for participants with opportunities to participate in weekly live video chats.If you are a SAQA member, or thinking of joining, the seminar begins September 10. Registration information can be found on the SAQA website.

So, it looks like I am set for the coming months stitch-wise. And, now, I must get back to sorting through all those photographs I took in Alaska! If you would like to take a peek at what other quilters are up to, here is a link to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday blog.

Summer Days

Inspiration comes from within yourself.
One has to be positive.
When you’re positive, good things happen.
Deep Roy

It has been a hot July and much of the western area of our country has suffered through massive fires. I recently encountered one along I-90 while driving from Seattle to Spokane. We have been relatively lucky in Spokane so far – rapid responses, low winds, and luck have kept most fires small and minimized damage.

I have been spending my summer on a range of activities with my adorable grandchildren.

Judy Cate has been off from school so we have been doing things like cherry picking followed by baking a most delicious tart.

I discovered that she has an uncanny ability to focus when it comes to  painting pottery.

When not enjoying my grandkids, I have been filling in time with stitching. My cousin Kate visited and I was able to give her a piece that I designed using bits and pieces from her childhood first communion dress.

I also created another quilt for Quilts Beyond Borders.

And, finally, while I have nothing to share photo-wise, I think I finally have an art quilt project that is inspiring me. Proof for me that a positive mind and filling my days with positive activities would eventually yield an idea for a piece that I could get excited about creating. With luck, I will work on it in August and eventually be able to share on this blog.  🙂

Keeping Focus

True power is
energy moving freely
towards a vision.

June has sped by in a flash in many ways. Stitching, quilting, travels, and a bit of illness all contributed to an upside down month. 🙂

If there was any doubt that we are living in a relatively rural area, we need simply to look out our windows. Earlier this month, a patch of grass outside my studio provided a place for an afternoon rest for this grouping.

And, now as July approaches, we are seeing the first of this year’s turkey hatchlings. We will be watching them grow through till fall if past summers are any prediction.

I did take time off from wildlife viewing for a quick trip back to NY state. I found a few minutes to take advantage of the antique mall near our Victor house and search for some laces, etc. for my hand stitching. These are becoming more and more difficult to find it seems. Last visit I was not very successful, this time was better.

Inbetween trips and wildlife viewing, I continued to work through Karen Ruane‘s Create and Embellish class. This surface continues to fascinate every time I pick it up to work on it more.

I also finally finished a pouch I had been making for the past few months from some samples I received from one of my favorite stores, French General.

And, I felt compelled to continue creating quilts for Quilts Beyond Borders. I call this one “Upside Down World.” My intention was to reflect the upheaval globally that refugees face as they are forced to leave homelands and search for new lives. What you might expect to be a predictable quilt layout surprises with an ‘upside down’ turn to the pattern.

I hope that this posts finds you continuing to find a path of positive movement in your life despite the chaos that may be happening around you.

Appreciating Life

Remember to
stay centered

in the moment!

These are the beautiful days here in Spokane where everyone wants to just be outside. The Spokane river is flowing rapidly, the skies are clear, and the temperatures are perfect for a walk or run…..

May has been a busy month. I flew off for a quick trip to visit family near Sedona and, as always, was enthralled with the red rock vistas.

Back in my studio, I completed one fairly simple quilt for Quilts Beyond Borders that I had mentioned in my last post.

I have another top on my design wall……..

This top grew from a 16″ square that I had made many years ago…..I am gradually using my stash to create these QBB quilts, finding the challenge a fun design effort. When exactly this top will get quilted remains up in the air. There are some very wonderful distractions whom I look forward to playing with everyday!


I have also continued creating hand embroidery surfaces with Karen Ruane in her latest class, Create and Embellish. Here are a couple of my favorites. I don’t have a plan yet on how I will use them, I am really just enjoying the almost zen feeling of creating them!

The coming month promises to busy too – I will be fitting in stitching around some more travel, a bit of construction on our property, and plenty of fun time with the grandchildren…..for now I will leave you with a bit of wisdom on life from the perspective of  my six-year-old granddaughter.  🙂

Time Passes……..

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.
Michael Althsuler

Since I last posted I have spent some wonderful time in Hawaii, begun another quilt for Quilts Beyond Borders, and continued my hand stitching adventures.

The place where we normally stay in Maui is along the coastline where some of Hawaii’s Green Sea Turtles make their home. One of my delights on this past trip was a daily conversation with some of these creatures who liked to rest on a small stretch of sand near us. They are quite wise.  😉

My latest quilt for Quilts Beyond Borders is in process. I am pleased that I devised a way to use some left over pieces from a past project in creating this quilt. I had a number of strips that I had previously sewn together and stored away. I was able to blend them with fat quarter thirds to create a simple but attractive design.The pattern came from a post on June 24, 2014 of the Fort Worth Fabric Studio Blog. When I finish quilting my piece I will be sure to share.

As I mentioned in my last post, I participated in Karen Ruane’s Embroidery School 2018 this winter. The online class has finished and I am currently creating a cloth book of my samples. Each sample has its own page and I am really loving the feel of each page. Hope to have it completed in the next month.

Pages for my sample book

I am just starting up another of Karen’s classes, Create and Embellish  where we will be creating our own cloth surfaces and then hand embellishing. Here is a sample of my first surface that I will be working on. It should be an adventure as we proceed! By the Way, if you are interested in listening to Karen discuss her work, there is a podcast interview with her here.


As I move forward with my WIPs, spring is making its presence felt here in Eastern Washington. Each day the temperature warms more. Our yard is always filled with wildlife and they are all celebrating the end of winter. I am totally enjoying their antics. Just yesterday, I caught this photo of a wild turkey in full glory.

I am looking forward to more time outdoors along with more quilting and hand-stitching in the coming weeks. I will be back to share again. In the meantime, I am linking with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday so you can see what other fiber artists are exploring. She has some great suggestions for organizing if you are in the spring cleaning mood.


It’s Been Awhile

Every great dream begins with a dreamer.
Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion
to reach for the stars to change the world.

Harriet Tubman

I have been absent from my blog for over a month. When I went to write a post in early February, I discovered that I was unable to back up my site. I am not sure what happened but, through testing, I could determine that it definitely related to my server at MacHighway.  I have been a customer there for many years and they have always been helpful when occasionally there has been an issue of some sort. This time, though, the problem was not simple. The case kept getting bumped up in the organization and finally, this past week there was resolution. It took patience on my part and research on theirs but I am grateful the problem was resolved. I did not really want to move my site and all that would have been entailed!

Just because I was off line did not mean that I was away from my studio! One project that was completed was a second quilt for Quilt Beyond Borders.

The main fabric is some Yukata cotton I bought from Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts when I took a workshop from her last fall . The intensity of the flowers against the geometric background caught my eye.

I played with the angles a bit to divide up the fabric into four quarters and used those angles for a simple quilting pattern.

While I was off line from my blog, I also spent a good deal of my free time on hand stitching. I have been in an online class with Karen Ruane called Embroidery School 2018. We have been making many samples of stitches and that has been great fun.

Each sample gets enclosed within a border, labeled, and will ultimately be gathered into a cloth book of my making that I will have for reference.

I have also been working with some random bits that have been collecting in my studio – something about the color red attracted me to them initially.

I wanted to explore some of the stitches I was learning in Karen’s class a bit more and decided to build towards a pin pillow……….

As my play continued, the pin pillow morphed into components for a possible pouch for my growing collection of fabric bits and pieces. These components currently reside on my design wall where the proposed back of the pouch patiently waits for attention.

And so, while I have been silent on the web, I have been busy. You will notice, I have no art quilts above in this post. I have had to patient with myself these few months. Creating quilts for QBB is a priority I have set for myself for 2018. It is one small way in which I feel that I can make a difference in this crazy world. The quilts go to children in need, many in refugee camps.  Alternatively, hand stitching offers me an escape into whimsy and a meditative process that, along with my beautiful grandchildren, allows me to keep a positive mind. For a bit, I wondered if I would ever make another art quilt…….it is only in the past few weeks that I have begun to feel my way back into the world of design. I sketched quite a few ideas while I was preparing for Patricia Belyea’s class. They have sat waiting and now, finally, I have begun to play with an idea I sketched and some fabrics I had purchased last fall. My other projects have had to move over a bit on my design wall to make way for a possible art quilt. Where will it go? We will have to see!

Linking up to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday blog so you can check out what others have been doing this week.  🙂

Hawaiian Dreaming

Kahuna Nui Hale Kealohalani Makua
“Love all you see, including yourself.”
Hale Makua

Here in Spokane, WA, winter is in full display. It is beautiful when the sun shines but often the days are grey. My dreams turn to our beautiful state of Hawaii as I count days till I will next be there. It is one of my favorite places of inspiration for my fiber work.

I mentioned in my last post that I was working on my first 2018 quilt for Quilts Beyond Borders. As I gathered fabric and designed the quilt, I often found myself playing a Hawaiian music station on Pandora. Can you see the influence in my choice of fabrics. I have named the piece “Hawaiian Dreams.”

The quilts is made from two sets of charm packs (5 1/2″ squares). I had bought one set on a trip in November as I wanted a record of some fabric I saw. The art quilt didn’t happen but I did love the fabric. But what to do with 40 51/2″ squares?!? After playing with it on my design wall one night:

I decided to use it for QBB by purchasing a complementary set of charm squares. It is the first time I tried this approach. I actually stitched sets of four squares together in blocks to give myself a range of layout options but ultimately decided upon simply bordering the grouping of squares.

For the back of the quilt, I used some yardage that I had purchased for the contemplated art quilt. The result is quite a nice backing for the piece:

I am quite pleased with my first quilt of 2018 and the knowledge that it will be going to child in need.


A New Year! A New Start!

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.
Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
Steve Jobs

Here is what my design wall looked like shortly after the start of 2018:

I had spent the first few days of 2018 focusing on an art quilt that I had been working on for a month or two. I had full size sketches, a selection of fabrics that I thought would work, etc. However, the more I pulled it all together, the more I realized that I really wasn’t enjoying the process and just wanted to be done and move on. So, I decided that 2018 would be a year of listening to my heart, my gut, my center. I packed away all the pieces, pictures, etc. and cleared my design wall. 🙂

It was a most freeing decision!  After a day or two, I pinned a beautiful hand embroidered Christmas gift my husband gave me to the wall for inspiration:

Then I began working on projects that excited me. The first was a small needle case for traveling that used fabric that I purchased last fall in Ireland and some beautiful lace I had ordered from Switzerland.

Front cover of needle case


Back cover of needle case

Inside of case

I am now moving forward with an idea for a pin pillow from some bits and pieces that I collected during the Fall and had been patiently waiting to stitch. 🙂

And so, my “mantra” for  2018 will be follow my heart! It is great to feel re-energized and excited to play in whatever ways feel right. Already I have another quilt project for Quilt Beyond Borders up on my design wall! Will share that with you in the coming weeks.