Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Grey Day Stitching

Hi All,

This winter the weather has been a bit different than the years previously. Since it is only my 5th winter here in Paducah I can barely call it strange but the temps have been up and down, and down and up since November. No snow...for it seems these have been our dry days. But there has been weeks of rain.

Today the day is gray. It has been gray, wet and cool for quite a week and we are looking at another week of the same. With the gloom settling in I decided it was time to finish up some projects that have been put aside for quite awhile for one reason or another.

I was totally surprised when I opened this first one. I was just hours away from completion.

This second one was another story. I loved using these amazing Cherrywood fabric to stitched together this HOME piece. The rich solids begging for thread play - and playful mark making. I pulled the stitching kit out and soon had a big pile of thread bits. The piece is still underway, but there are a few more gloomy days ahead -- time to get it done and enjoy the process. I do love hand stitching!

Then the projects swimming around in my head  will have a clear go ahead. Til then....

hope you are finding a bit of time to be creative.
Would love to hear what you are up to!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Christmas Surprise-DONE!

Hi All,
Happy New Year!
2016 certainly was a busy year, and 2017 holds lots of promise.

Back in October I began working with a friend (Marie) - one who never even learned to sew at all - to help her create a dragon & phoenix quilt for her husband. The plan was to have it completed by Christmas and it was to be secret.

In November I showed a bit of the progress Marie was making, and I wanted to share a bit more. The piece was completed on time and is no longer a secret -- and I'm sure you'll agree that Marie did an amazing job.

Once Marie finished the background quilt, and Fast-Piece Applique stitching each of the big players (the phoenix & dragon) together; Marie had her first lessons on couching. She took to selecting the yarns like a pro and after some sample stitching, couched the background. With all that done Marie was ready to place and stitch the big players in place. Ralphie also was on hand to make sure everything was ready to go.
The phoenix went on without a hitch and was trimmed before Marie set the dragon in place and had him stitched.
From there the big players were couched, then the whole piece was pressed, trimmed and binding added.
In the week leading up to Christmas Marie could be found watching Star Wars in my living room and adding hand stitching and even a bunch of beads to finish it all off.

It wouldn't surprise me if there was a sewing machine on Marie's wish list. She did a great job, learned a ton of new stitching skills and now has an art quilt under her belt. Fast-Piece Applique made it SEW!

Friday, December 16, 2016

We Have A Winner!

Allison from Alabama has won the drawing
for a bundle of Natalie's new fabric.

Lucky, Lucky...

Thursday, December 8, 2016

WooHoo! Natalie Barnes #handmakerfabrics Blog Tour

Just about a year ago my friend Natalie Barnes or Beyond the Reef Patterns asked me to be part of the rollout of her first fabric line for Windham fabrics. To say I was excited to be part of this celebration of Natalie and her accomplishments would be an understatement, and I jumped on board to have a bunch of her quilting buds create a wall of smaller quilts - 30"x30" for her quilt market booth promoting the new fabric line.

Each of us on the wall created a quilt especially designed for Natalie and her wonderful #handmakerfabrics. When I received my fabrics I just had to make flowers -- the colors are vibrant and fun, and I loved the simple (yet complex) patterning.

This bundle of fabrics contain all the fabrics from Nat's new line and could be yours.... keep reading for further details.
Below is the quilt: Flowers for Natalie
and as it appeared on the wall at Quilt Market...

click here for full size pattern
full directions for Fast-Piece Applique
can be found in any of my books or on my Youtube video.

Meanwhile, take this opportunity to leave me (in the comments) the name and city of the quilt shop where you plan to check out Nat's wonderful new fabric.

That's all you need to do -- You could be the winner selected next Wed.

For more fun, don't miss out on more patterns and other giveaways by following the blog tour stopping at all the cyber stops noted below:

Saturday 03 December 
Natalie Barnes +

Ann Shaw +

Sunday 04 December
Angela Walters -

Monday 05 December
Amy Ellis +

Tuesday 06 December
Julie Herman +

Wednesday 07 December
John Q. Adams +

Thursday 08 December
Latifah Saafir +

Friday 09 December
Rose Hughes + - quilt artist

Saturday 10 December
Jenny Pedigo +

Sunday 11 December
Cheri Leffler +

Scott Hansen +

Monday, December 5, 2016

Mark-Making Opportunities in the Works

Lots of creating going on -- though not a lot of quilt works happening.
This past summer I wanted to start playing with paper mache --
Building 3 dimensionally
Getting dirty
and basically having fun.

these 3D playthings have turned into a new place to try out some of my mark-making ideas. It all begins with balloons - newspaper - cardboard - masking tape - and homemade paper-mache glue....
 Then they can turn into things like these.

FUN... right?!?

Monday, November 14, 2016


Several weeks ago I found a book on Amazon called-
Mark-Making on Textiles
It sounded intriguing, and on arrival I found it just the type of book I like. Examples galore and small exercises to get your creative juices flowing.

This book has opened up some conscious exploration into mark-making in general for me. I say conscious, for I have been making my mark on textiles for a while without being aware of personal choices and where they come from, and without really being aware of what other artist's mark-making may say about them no matter the media. A personal story-telling tool.

As prompted by one of the exercises in the book I have started collecting and creating marks.Then a couple of weeks ago David and I took a fused glass workshop and had a great time. We are both a bit addicted to the process for the moment, and I began to see how we created our initial pieces - mark-making with the glass. (the ones below are my 1st attempts after they were fired)

While visiting Cedarhurst Art Center yesterday to get in some more 'glass time' we came across an exhibit of Jun Kaneko's work entitled 'sense of spirit: mark-making & space in the art of kaneko'.
I found his work pretty exciting in its extremes, and then while looking over several books he had about his other projects I was drawn to one which documented his work with the San Fransisco Opera House's production of the Magic Flute. Again... for me it was about how he took his mark-making to extreme from everything to background projections on the stage to the costuming he created for all the characters.

All of this makes me have a stronger understanding of how important mark-making... and how much it is an expression of energy, focus, and textural story telling.

The pieces below are ones David and I made on Saturday and are now awaiting firing. You can definitely tell how different our mark-making styles are.

Monday, November 7, 2016


My friend Marie wanted to try and make a quilt --
for a gift, but she has never even learned how to sew.

And, she wanted it to be an art quilt....
We can do this!

So, we have been taking some stolen bits of time and going step-by-step we're heading down the 'fabric road'. It started with a bit of pattern making- but once a theme was chosen the design emerged and then the pattern. (secret stuff at this point).

Next, I gave her a bit of a crash course on the sewing machine and of course stitching. This went really well after Marie's initial fears went away. Starting first with stitching straight lines...then straight stitching curves.

This went really well... so, Marie quickly moved on to appling her newly acquired straight stitching knowledge to Fast-Piece Applique some practice pattern pieces together -- then how to use those special Kai scissors to trim.

We were on a roll, so next we went fabric shopping for the background pieces needed for Marie's quilt. There is nothing like fabric in hand to speed thing along, and Marie quickly had the background completed.
Since the project really is hush, hush you'll just have to believe me when I tell you that Marie is doing GREAT!

During our last time together Marie pulled fabrics for the main characters of her quilt -- Stacks of reds and golds began to pile up.. with Ralphie's help.

I'll keep you posted--but I hope you join me in welcoming Marie to the fun of quilting. She is proof that you don't have to start with traditional... you can jump in anywhere. (she's already planning out her 2nd quilt!)