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.

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.  🙂

The Places We Go

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
Dr. Seuss

The past month has been a whirlwind of travel and play.

Early in November I was back at our home in Victor, NY and we discovered the Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and Mary fame was giving a concert. If you ever have a chance to attend one of Peter’s concerts, do go. His music is timeless, his performance endearing, and his words uplifting. Towards the end of the concert, all ‘children’ were invited on stage to sing along to Puff the Magic Dragon……..you can catch a glimpse of me in the rear to the left of a red checked shirt. 🙂

Next we were on to red rock country in northern Arizona to celebrate my mother-in-law’s 100th birthday. ‘Lovey’ is an amazing woman who still volunteers at the local high school.

Jerry and Mom

In the midst of all these travels, I have been keeping up with my fiber art….a quilt went out to Quilts Beyond Borders before I left:

I have continued to play with the online activities of Karen Ruane. She currently has two groups running  – a twelve month course in creating Artist Books and a short course on creating projects from handkerchiefs. I am participating in both of these and was able to carry along a needle case project to stitch away on in my down time.

Needle case inside

Needle case front

Composition for page in artist book

I also was honored to have two of my “ice” quilts included in the November/December issue of Machine Quilting.

And so, November ends with my studio filled with holiday projects and my heart filled with gratitude at the life I have been given.

The Cloth Shop

I am curious, I love making discoveries,
travelling, speaking with people, go shopping.
Maria Grazia Cucinotta

Another highlight of my recent travels was a few days in Dublin where I got to visit The Cloth Shop. The shop was founded in 2010 by mother and daughter, Deirdre and Sinéad. I was lucky enough to meet Sinéad on my visits. She is a totally delightful hostess.I first popped in to see what generally was available and found an exquisite selection of fabrics – but, more than that, what made me definitely plan to return was how welcome I was made to feel. I explained that I was just window shopping but it didn’t matter. They answered questions and gave me a card to be sure I could find them again. I did return and again, they were incredibly helpful. Sinéad and I chatted for quite a bit as she was as interested in my art as I was in their cloth. As weeks have passed, I have realized that  my time in the store is one of my fondest memories of Dublin.

I was particularly looking for cloth for my embroidery classes with Karen Ruane. Karen had given me The Cloth as a possible source of Liberty fabric in Dublin. And, wow, did they have Liberty cloth. One of a handful of worldwide dealers who receive liberty fabrics as they are first issued, the selection at The Cloth was amazing. I was delighted that when shopping in person you can buy as little as 1/4 metre and so I chose a number of cottons from the fall line.

What I didn’t expect were the silk Liberty fabrics available. Of course, I had to try a few of those too. 🙂

The Cloth offers many more fabrics beyond Liberty. They have beautiful Irish tweed and Irish linen, all dyed and woven locally, as well as  cashmeres from Italy, fine bead work from India and exquisite velvet and  lace. I saw some breathtaking modern Irish lace that I dream of someday going back to purchase.

If you have a moment, it is inspiring to browse their website, even better, if you happen to be in Dublin, check them out in person. You will definitely receive a very warm welcome.

 

To Fill a Design Wall!

With the completion of Ground Zero Reborn, my design wall looked quite blank. My plans for my next art quilt were uncertain so I wondered if perhaps I would be staring at a blank wall for a bit. Not to worry! Quilts Beyond Borders NW Regional Coordinator Susan Schmidt mailed me a collection of odds and ends that had potential for some nautical themed quilts if there was someone to pick up the challenge.

I can’t say that I would ever have purchased most of the prints but, hey, a challenge is a challenge. So, over the past weeks my design wall has been busy.  This first top used a number of blocks that had already been pieced. I was able to sort through the miscellaneous strips and odd remnants and come up with what I considered an acceptable layout:

The next top that I sent Susan used some of the fabrics that appealed a bit more to me. Once again, I received a few blocks and miscellaneous strips. These were accompanied by a large amount of that mini-anchor fabric. I instinctively would have preferred the border to have been some of the darker blue fabric but I needed to work with what was before me.

The next group of fabrics that I tackled were quite strange and I have not yet actually completed a top. However, I have a plan! 🙂

I have purchased some blue fabric that matches the blue in those mini blocks quite well and plan to fill in blue so those pictorials are surrounded by blue strips with those mini-blocks interspersed. I haven’t quite found the energy yet to tackle the math for cutting the needed pieces so this group is now sitting in a pile on my floor while I play a bit with Karen Ruane on a project called Artist Books (more about that in another post). There will be one more top at least, I expect, for Quilts Beyond Borders, using up the remaining fabric. It has been a good use of my time. I find the quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi to be quite true: “For it is in giving that we receive.” I find great comfort in the thought that these functional quilts may bring comfort to children who are in difficult times.

Linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday so you can check out other artists!

 

Wrapping Up Dreams

One of my projects towards the end of last year was to create a wrapping cloth. Many of the participants in my stitching group with Karen Ruane were creating cloths and so there was a lot of camaraderie.  Much of the written history that I could find traces the origins of wrapping cloths to the Japanese as early as the Nara period (710-784). The custom has spread world wide with cloths used to wrap precious items or hold precious thoughts, tiny pockets can metaphorically hold loving wishes for a recipient – the interpretations and applications are endless.

My wrapping cloth is relatively small (21″ x 15″) and I focused upon a theme of joy and playfulness in creating it. Since I was concurrently formulating a design for an art quilt on Ground Zero in Manhattan, it was a good contrasting focus for me! The cloth is quite detailed with many hidden pockets and embroideries. I am quite pleased with the results and happy to share with you.

Detail photos:

Hidden pocket and cutwork insert

surface pocket with hidden embroidery behind it (pictured below)

 

 

 

Linking with Nina Marie Sayre’s Off the Wall Friday so you can see what other artists have been up to.

A Trio of Memories

Those that touch our lives
stay in our hearts forever

My Aunt Eleanor was blessed to live a long and amazing life. Her three children are all special cousins to me. After her passing at the age of 100, my cousin Kate was kind enough to share with me some vintage French lace doilies that her Mom had tucked away. The doilies had never been used and were still held together by a single stitch and a tag of origin.  I decided to create a trio of small wrapping cloths for my cousins from them.

For a contrasting fabric to the white lace doilies, I used a fat quarter of an aboriginal design cloth that I had run across while I was visiting the La Conner Quilt Museum last fall. Using some spun silk broadcloth as a base, I created three unique cloths for my three cousins and saved them for holiday giving. The wrapping cloths have now been distributed so I thought I would share some photos on this blog. I am particularly pleased with how they turned out.

I was able to draw upon many of the stitches and techniques from my studies with Karen Ruane in creating these pieces.

In the detail photo below, you catch a glimpse of some gimp anchored with bullion knots and stab stitches. Karen is using gimp in her own compositions in the most amazing ways. I chose here to simply create a line echoing the triangular prairie points and highlighting three pieces of the lace. You can really appreciate the beauty of the lace in this close up.

In the composition detailed below, I used some covered cording to create a design line and then added some appliqué circles outlined with chain stitches and yo-yos as a background to the lace doilies.

My third piece used the largest doily in the group. I used French knots, gimp, and chain stitching as well as some small appliqué circles to offset the larger lace piece.

All three pieces were backed with white cotton fabric and given a finishing touch of an edging of small running stitches.

I had many fond moments remembering time with my Aunt as I was stitching these mementos for her children. My hope is that the pieces I created will bring back many similar memories for each of my cousins when they happen upon them in their own homes.

New Facebook Page

With the start of the new year, I have begun an artist page on Facebook. I am slowly developing a gallery there which eventually will highlight my hand stitchery as well as my art quilts. I will also use the page to share posts as I create new works. I intend to still blog here several times a month but if you would like to also follow my new page, here is the link.

 

Goodbye 2016!

The last day of the year! Perhaps, more than ever, I am grateful to have 2016 fade into memory. Looking back over my blog, it has been a good year. Perhaps my eagerness to let it go stems from the fact that the post-Thanksgiving weeks of 2016 seem to have been filled with family illness and stress. Who would not want to have that fade away!

But, when I step back and glance through my posts for the past year, I have to admit that it has been a pretty productive year.  I completed a number of art quilts that I am pleased with, donated a number of quilts and tops to Quilts Beyond Borders, entered a few shows and was pleased to be accepted, took the time to take two classes with Elizabeth Barton, and continued throughout the year to be part of Karen Ruane‘s hand stitching groups.

Ghost_Trees

Ghost Trees appeared in exhibits in Taiwan and Washington State

After_The_Storm

After the Storm made its debut at the La Conner Museum Annual Quilt Fest

In my personal life, it was my first complete year living out west and the most memorable event undoubtedly was the birth of my second grandchild, Miriam, in March. Her arrival certainly dominated my life for the remainder of the year. Of that, I have no regrets.

img_0697My beautiful grandkids

2017 holds so much potential…….I am still sorting my goals and projects for the coming year. For now, I am content to say good bye to 2016 and wish everyone:

Happy New Year!

What ever happened to World Peace?

img_0212

‘World Peace’ was the working working title for the art quilt I blogged about in early September. The irony of that title often had me chuckling this fall. It was a great idea – combining the old Irish language of Ogham with popular symbols of peace to create a vertical wall hanging. The 3 inch square blocks containing the symbols offered an opportunity to spotlight my hand stitching. A technique I had used years ago to reverse appliqué blocks using some of my Bernina’s decorative stitches felt like just the right touch. I had the perfect piece of hand dyed fabric for the background.

For six weeks I sampled and played. All seemed to be going well. But then I began to pull it all together. The thought ‘world peace is never easy’ went through my mind repeatedly. The best laid plans just didn’t come together just right. I found myself thinking ‘ well, that doesn’t look too bad’. There came a point where I stepped back and realized that I was thinking that thought just too many times.

And so, ‘World Peace’ was put to rest. I withdrew from the challenge and redirected my energy to other projects. I have been busy with Quilts Beyond Borders and my class Wrapped and Bound in Stitch with Karen Ruane. It has been a few weeks now. I think it is the first time I have actually stopped creating a piece so far into the process. It definitely felt strange at first – particularly because no other art quilt project replaced it. It was the last piece that I had planned to make in 2016.

And, world peace? Well, it certainly doesn’t look like the world is embracing it just now……..the past few days I have wondered about cutting up those less than perfect elements of my abandoned quilt and reconstructing a more chaotic portrayal, perhaps with lots of question marks… After all, ‘world peace’ would be messy and certainly not simple. The bottom line though is that, really, it is not a concept to be given up on.  We will see what 2017 brings. For now, I will leave you with a song that speaks to the need far better than any words I can write. How sad that this performance was 26 years ago and we are still waiting.

One Step at a Time

By perseverance the snail reached the ark.
Charles Spurgeon

Progress is made one tiny step at a time. So it was with this week. As I gaze over at my design wall while I write this, I see reminders of this week.

img_0162

No more progress on the ‘World Peace’ theme piece and that ‘Aspen 3’ art quilt is still waiting to be bound. However, the ‘Morning Walk’ art quilt is now completely quilted. Threads are hanging and binding remains but the basic quilting is complete. I am relieved. I am getting antsy to move on. ‘Morning Walk’ is the last of the major summer projects and fall is beckoning!

Over on the right corner of my sewing table you can see two piles of fabric squares. They represent my next Quilt Beyond Borders top. I picked a very simple almost random block pattern and got those pieces cut this week. I hope to have it completed by next week.  🙂

My goals for fall obviously include the ‘World Peace’ piece but also a new class with Karen Ruane. This new venture is called ‘Wrapped and Bound in Stitch‘. The project for the class is what Karen calls a wrapping cloth. There is considerable leeway, as always, in what we create. Her emphasis will be on a pieced cloth with a child theme. However, I  think I am going to choose to work in primarily white-on-white with a circle theme. Back in June, I posted a photo of some lace cloth that I had made. Over the summer I gradually added on to that start and as I begin this new class, I hope to continue to grow those pieces into a fuller cloth. It will be an adventure and I am eager to begin now that my summer projects nearing finish.

This week also brought some pleasant news. My art quilt, Emergence, was selected to tour in Brazil for 2017 with Patchwork Design 2017. It will be part of a group of quilts representing the Contemporary QuiltArt Association that I joined this past year. I am delighted to have one of the 28 quilts that the Brazilian organization picked and will be shown in venues including Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

Final reminder!

The 2016 SAQA Benefit Auction that I wrote about in August will be starting on September 16. It is a wonderful opportunity to acquire some beautiful works while supporting a good organization. You can learn more here.

Linking to Nine Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.

Decisions, decisions!

In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing,
the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.
Theodore Roosevelt

 

IMG_9655

Should I play with my octopus or my smiley face????

I am so grateful to everyone who offered feedback through email or this blog on my current “Morning Walk” art quilt. It was wonderful to receive your thoughts and appreciate that there were many options to consider. After a quick trip over last weekend to Missoula to run a 5k with my family, I got back to work on “Morning Walk.”

Wish I could say that I can offer a finished piece and resolution of all my indecisiveness but that is just not the case. I spent hours experimenting  – a very good thing. And, I did make decisions. And, I did actually start fusing elements!

IMG_9624

Starting from the draft above,  I experimented with a number of choices and finally decided that the blocks were not necessary.

IMG_9625

Next I focused on the tree, some angulation issues that were bothering me, and the placement of the woman relative to the tree. She had been much further to the left of the tree in earlier drafts.

Version 2

This is the background that I actually fused to my muslin backing. Only the woman and the tree trunk are currently unfused. I then began to play with shadowing and adding some vague interest to the ground that the tree sits in. I still have a stash of organza that I dyed several years ago and that I love using for shadow effects. This draft below shows a first stab at adding it.  It will be changing into a much more amorphous shape on the brown area. I played with sketches last night…

IMG_9658

You may be wondering about ‘the fence’. I haven’t decided! 😈  The suggestion to play with adding fence in an iPad app is tempting me, as well as the suggestion to add in some strips of fabric to simulate a fence. Plus a friend in my stitching class with Karen Ruanne just posted a beautifully stitched window grate that really tempts me as a possibility. At this point, I like the direction of the piece enough to devote time in the next week to exploring these possibilities along with finishing off my shadow work.

Hopefully there will be another update next week!

Linking as always to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.

The Art of Play

Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.
Michael Jordan

IMG_9209 (1)

Learning a lot about play from my new granddaughter. It is how she learns. She finds joy in the simplest things – a drawing of a frog on her play mat or the smile of her mother as she plays pick-a-boo with her. And, all the time, she is learning how to use her arms, her voice, and get comfortable with being in this world.

So, this week I decided to take the time to play and ‘stop and smell the roses.’ Coincidentally, I found some great roses to smell during a hike in Manito Park in Spokane.  🙂

IMG_9229

In my studio, I played with some silk net that I purchased last year but just hadn’t stitched on yet. Silk net is soft and delicate. I used it to create what Karen Ruane calls ‘lace cloth’ through a process using my sewing machine and hand embroidery.  I then joined my lace cloth with another piece of commercial lace that I had embellished slightly. In the coming weeks I intend to add more odd pieces of lace and other cloths. Where it will go, I don’t know. It is just play and it feels great.

IMG_9225

Hope that you will find time to play in the next week too!

Linking, as usual, to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday blog. Check it out!

The Little Prince

Anything that is important
is invisible to the eye.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I remember going through my Aunt’s bookcase as a little girl and finding a copy of The Little Prince. It was once of the few books in the case that I could read and I poured over it whenever we visited my Aunt and Grandmother. I can still see the book in my mind’s eye to this day.

A few weeks ago, Karen Ruane announced her next stitching class would be called “Stitching a Story.” I enrolled and we were all asked to find a book that we would use as a base for developing stitches and markings for journals and could be the basis for some stitching on cloth. I, of course, thought of The Little Prince.

I was able to find a copy at Barnes & Noble with modern illustrations.

IMG_8977

I must admit that I have never been involved with a project like this class. I am hoping that I will be able to keep up with the much more experienced members of the group. The fact that the book itself holds treasured memories and has always resonated with me will certainly help.

Our first suggested tasks (Karen never requires you do anything you are not comfortable with) were to create a color chart and select some accompanying threads. This was relatively simple for me as I loved the colors in the book and already had many of them in my thread ‘stash.”

IMG_8937

And then we were to start stitching! It was suggested we start ‘small’. I thought that sounded just fine!

IMG_8948

My granddaughter came over and was extremely interested in the fact that I was stitching in a book. Plus she immediately wanted the book read to her. That encouraged me so I am now working on another page.

IMG_8971

More instructional videos arrived from Karen today……can’t wait to see where the next week takes me!

Linking once again to Off the Wall Friday.

New projects emerge

Patience, patience, patience!

Our new granddaughter reminds me constantly of the need for patience………not having had a newborn for over 30 years, I have forgotten how helplessly we enter this world. Even though we develop at an amazing pace, the first few weeks are just a matter of trial and error and everyone trying to figure life out. (The cynic in me immediately wants to add that the process of ‘figuring life out’ continues for the rest of our years!)

As Miriam learns what it means to be alive, I spent much of the past week enjoying her presence and recording it for pleasant memories.

Grandmama

Happily, while Miriam was developing, spring also emerged enough that it was possible to begin to plant our front yard. I now can sit on a bench by our front door and watch our plantings also grow.

IMG_8180

Back in the studio, the theme of patience was ever present. Obviously, Miriam has cut into studio time. However, two of the three projects I hoped to begin on have begun to emerge.

This collection of thread, hankies, and cloth will become my next ‘pocket’ as I finish up my “Patched Pockets” class with Karen Ruane. Since April brings some travel with it, this pouch will be my ‘stitch as you go’ project.

IMG_8175

Finally, I have made inroads into my next art quilt. Some fabric from my favorite Seattle fabric store, Undercover Quilts, and some of my own hand dyed fabric created a backdrop for a sea scape I have been wanting to create. At the moment,  possibile rock candidates are pinned to the background. I have a template for an amazing piece of driftwood that will eventually rise to the sky from those rocks……next week will focus on exploring fibers for that wood.

IMG_8193

I am sure as this quilt evolves, Miriam will remind me to be patient. Whenever I begin an art quilt, I am my worst critic. That backdrop hung in pieces for many days while I contemplated and critiqued. When I began to add the rocks, I was dubious, but I persisted. I have learned that I need to move forward and then step back and let it set. If I have the patience to listen, the art quilt will tell me what works and doesn’t.

 Hope that you have all had a good week. If you have time, stop over and visit NinaMarie’s Off the Wall Friday blog and feast on some inspiration.

Hand Stitching Reverie

I cannot count my day complete
‘Til needle, thread and fabric meet.
~Author Unknown

I added hand stitching to my passions about two and a half years ago. The rationale was that the work would be transportable and that would be an asset with all my travels. It has grown into a daily practice that allows me to pause, breathe, and simply create something of beauty. My new studio allows me to go further with my art quilts and surface design that I ever could do before and I treasure that gift. But, my hand stitching grounds me and creates another meditative time in each day to simply savor my surroundings and gather my thoughts. Plus there is the added benefit of being part of Karen Ruane‘s online community which has expanded my network of fiber art friendships greatly.

Here is a glimpse into some of the handiwork that I have been about these past few weeks. Enjoy!

Some close ups from a silk pouch:

IMG_7958

IMG_7961

 

IMG_7959

A new needle case:

IMG_7956 IMG_7955 IMG_7954

And, finally a vintage doily transformed into a pocket to store treasured mementos:

IMG_7964

IMG_7951

 

Linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.

Settling In…

Smile, breathe, and go slowly.
Thich Nhat Hanh

This was the first week of Elizabeth Barton’s Basic Dyeing for Quilting at Academy of Quilting. I am so relieved that she is taking a relaxed approach to teaching us. I was more than a little concerned that we would be overwhelmed with assignments. Fortunately, since often it is necessary to wait 24 hours before the next step in a dyeing process, it is acceptable to only devote part of each day to the class and still keep up. I am relieved since, of course, I am working on a number of projects at once.

The purpose of this week’s class was to establish a work station and use it to mix the dyes we will need for the class and to do a gradation using a black dye. My ‘work station’ actually wound up stretching from the laundry room, where I had planned to work, to the neighboring powder room. I made the untimely discovery that the outlets in our laundry room do not work (call to builder in) and so I had to move my dyed material to the powder room to set for a day or two. This was necessary as the dye had to be in an environment of at least 70 degrees and my best method for achieving that was to move a space heater into a small area. It worked great and I was quite pleased with my resulting gradation.

IMG_7609

Whilst I was waiting for dye to set, I did continue with my other projects – probably a bit too ambitiously as I pretty much ran out of steam mid-week. My body kindly objects to overstress and so, I probably did not make as much progress on all fronts as I thought I might.

My hand stitching project for Karen Ruanne‘s Patched Pockets got some attention. You can see some of my progress in this photo:

IMG_7605

Then I think I mentioned that my daughter had expressed interest in a quilt for the expected baby due in March. We made great progress over the weekend on a pattern and picking out fabric, mostly from my stash. The pattern is called Basketweave by Bonnie Sullivan. Here is how it looked on my design wall as I assembled the cut pieces.

IMG_7607

And, then there was my winter scene art quilt. I added some more trees and a second deer and then it sort of sat while I contemplated what to do next. I decided to next address the snow on the trees. My friend, Margaret Blank, has also been working on a quilt with trees and snow. She wrote about splattering paint to create the snow in her blog earlier this week. That got me thinking…as this week closed I was still sticking to using Tsukineko Inks mixed with shaving cream and dabbed onto the trees but splattering my show up after some “base” snow is applied with inks. I played a bit on a very rough sample with some Platinum Ink…I am sure I can use it on some of the deeper trees in the forest. Discovered that I also have some “frost white” ink that I think I will apply rather heavily on some of the larger trees at the top of the ridge. At least now I have a plan of approach…..next week I hope to disassemble the forest (having photographed the placement of trees) and begin to fuse and then apply snow. My object is an abstract sort of representation of the forest. Will be exciting to see how much progress I make – it will be a function of EB’s assignment in the dyeing class, I suspect. The photograph below demonstrates my relaxed approach to sampling – believe it or not, it was enough for me to come up with my current plan of action. The left represents the background forest and how the next progression of trees will appear over them (yes, it only took one piece of an over lapping branch to tell me what I needed to know), the right represents the ridge trees.  🙂

IMG_7641

In case you wondered about my Eiffel Tower project, well that did just sit. However, one of the women in my stitching class with Karen shared some excellent lettering that she had done. Lightbulbs went off and I now know my next step on that piece. It will just take me a bit to implement it.

Finally, let you think I spent the entire week tied to my studio. I did get to sneak out for a bit of shopping and found the most adorable outfit for a new born.

IMG_7637

On that happy note, I will link to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday blog. See you next week!

 

Jan 2016 start

Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
Martin Luther King

It has been a good week. That’s not to say there haven’t been the usual amount of ups and downs but I love that I am back in my studio!

One project of the week was a curtain for my second grandchild whom we expect to be born in March. I had made her sister’s curtains so I already knew what was involved – and this time I had both the luxury of my daughter being able to pick out the fabric with me and being able to run over to her home to double-check some measurements and techniques as I stitched the curtains up.

curtain

This is the week that my online class with Karen Ruanne started. It is so great to be viewing Karen’s videos again. The theme is Patched Pockets with an emphasis on using vintage hankies. As of yesterday, I had a tentative layout for half of my first ‘pocket’ of the class.

IMG_7555

And, of course, there is the tsukineko ink experiments that I have been participating in. I have been doing far less than my online pals but I did explore using the inks for my current Paris project. I started optimistically as I was getting feedback that loading a brush with ink and then dipping in gel was a good approach. If you look at my explorations, you can see that my results were certainly mixed. Guess which is when I overloaded ink on the brush! I did find a way that I want to use the inks in the winter scene project I will discuss next, but I have moved on for the current Paris piece to a new idea.

IMG_7558

Most of my attention went to my new art quilt based on the winter scene I wrote about last week. As you can see, I am really getting into it (and that feels great!). I have a long way to go…….none of the trees are fused, nor is most of the snow……lots more to add in terms of trees, snow on trees, and accents in the foreground, rocks, etc. But, this piece is growing on me daily.

 

IMG_7486

My mylar ‘pattern’

IMG_7542

You have to start somewhere……..my first tree experiments

 

IMG_7552

More trees, still experimenting

IMG_7557

Sorry about the light reflections from my overhead lighting though I must say I like the effect. In this photo, you can start to get the feel of the forest.

That is where I am leaving things for this week. With a little luck, I will move forward with all of these projects, plus there is this quilt my daughter would like for the new nursery.  🙂

P.S. Linking to Nina Marie’s  Off the Wall Friday blog. Please check out other artists.