Wednesday, July 25, 2018

My world has turned upside down when Paul, my dh, fell on his head when setting up a show in MD the day before Thanksgiving 2017.  He has had so many setbacks, it isn't funny.   He would get better, and then something would happen.  He broke his pelvis falling out of a wheelchair at the second nursing home.  He had an operation to fix that.  He spent a week in intensive care.  A doctor actually asked me if he should have a feeding tube!  I wouldn't make that decision.  Paul said "No way!"  He has been in three different hospitals and two different nursing homes several times.  Finally June 1st he was released from the nursing home.  Now he has been released from home health care and PT, only to find that he can't start outpatient neurologic physical therapy until August 7th.  I called the home health care and asked to have him reinstated.  They now need to get new papers to have him covered for the next two weeks while we wait.  The family doctor isn't available to talk to.  All I can do is call and talk to a machine.  The new family doctor didn't know why Paul was getting home health care.  She didn't know anything until we Paul was admitted to the local hospital in January when he til his head a second time and didn't make sense three days later. But, he is better now.  He isn't falling.  He is doing his exercises.  He can actually walk twenty steps without the rollator.  He even cooked dinner one night.  In two months, we are doing the first show since his initial fall. 

I am finally starting to get back to working at my art dyeing rovings and wool fabrics and working on a new piece.

Where do my ideas come from?  I have this weird fascination with images.  What does this look like to you? It is a photo of bubbles in the sink next to my washing machine.  The bubbles are constantly changing, but taking a photo of them freezes them in time. What if you could do an art piece based on this photo.  I would start with the large bubbles by sewing beads on my hand dyed wool fabric, adding some wool fibers where it is light around the bubbles...and move on from there.  The piece takes on a life of its own. Your piece may not look anything like the photo of the bubbles, but it gets you going. This work is meditative. You don’t think in words while working on it, but it brings you peace.  When you run out of an area to embellish, you can add borders and continue on or not.


The hand dyed wool that I dye is heavy enough to embroider without having to use a hoop.  You can felt or sew different blocks together. Felting with a felting machine (12 needles) makes it easy to attach the blocks together but also give you the option of tearing them apart if you change your mind.


This is the beginning of the fantasy quilt that I've been doodling on. It will give you an idea of how I work.




This is what the quilt looks like today. It isn't finished yet.  These are the correct colors.


Saturday, August 26, 2017

What to do with Hand Dyed Wool Fabric?

My first experiments with ponchos
I am wondering if I need to add a button at the wrist.
My goal is to make the colors blend like watercolor paintings.

I've been hand dying jacket weight wool fabrics for a few years now.  I use them in my needle felted appliqued quilts.  But I've had the urge to expand into ponchos and other simple jacket shapes.  Maybe there also needs to be an appliqued animal or two.


Monday, May 1, 2017

The Art of Beading

How many of you think beading is tedious?  This bug shape is from our Beetles pattern I punch needled the blue and green threads to a piece of white cotton, and then added the beads and then appliqued it onto the sleeve of a white wool jacket.  The hairy legs are small bugle beads.  I made this around 2006 when I was testing out alternative techniques to applique.  I eventually gave up punch needle because my left wrist started to hurt, holding the hoop that held the cotton taut.  I own a Morgan hoop now, but the other issue was that it just took too long to see a finished result.  Needle Felted Applique goes faster, filling in an area.

I started doing needle felted applique in 2007 when I found the tool that I use now: Clovers pink felting tool with three needles.  My first felted quilt/pattern was the Crazy Sheep. and it was started as  machine applique quilt and grew into felting and there are even some beads on the quilt in the centers of the flowers in the crazy quilting.

The trick to making the beading go faster is to string 6 beads on the desired location, go down with the needle into the fabric then come up between the 3rd and 4th bead and couch the bead string so it doesn't move (sew a stitch over the 6 bead string to anchor it).  I outlined areas around the head and eyes this way.  In other places I used three beads in a row (on the wing covers).  I can bead without much concentration, in ront of the TV for instance.  I use the arty side of my brain to choose bead colors and textures.  So I am watching a show and keeping my hands busy.  Women are good at multi-tasking.

The jacket fabric is wool yarn sewn to a base.  The yarn is not woven or knitted.  I had seen this fabric in a store window in Australia when we were doing shows there.  When I saw it on sale here in the US there was hesitation.  The jacket had my name on it.  When it get too dirty, I think I will dye it.  The art of beading 

You've got to start or you'll never get better...

One of my customers is getting paralyzed with starting...spending a lot of time collecting fabrics, rovings instead of diving in on her project.  Here is what I shared with her to get her off the dime:



You just need to get started and work a little bit every day.  If something doesn't work, it isn't failure, it is a learning experience.  Felting is quite easy to change.  You can cut areas away, pull off the felting, cover up something you don't like and don't forget, the most important guide: it doesn't have to be PERFECT!!  Art is a progression.  I am never satisfied, I could always do it better...The NEXT piece will be better,  but you have to get over fussing and actually DO something today.  or you will never get to being better tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I was bitten by a tick on Thursday last week.  He embedded his head really well into my chest.  I used a tick twister, which looks like a green plastic mini-crowbar, but I couldn't get it under the tick.  I ended up using a tweezer but the body broke in two, leaving the head stuck in my skin.  I learned that tick have reverse barbs on the heads, making it difficult to remove.  I had a friend who got a tick bite as a kid and the skin grew over the tick part.  This later gave her some health issues.  So I knew I needed to have the head removed but where should I go? I called my family doctor's office and a P.A. called me back and agreed with me to have it removed at an Urgent Care facility.  So I went to the internet expecting to find one close to me.  I couldn't find any.  I finally called the local hospital and was directed to their "Express Care", which was the same location where I had gone for a cat bite, four years ago.  only the name had changed.  From the time we got to Express Care, till the time we drove away was less than an hour and I was much relieved to know that the tick was gone.  That was a good experience.

As I was looking online for advice, there was a link to the cdc.  It said, not to worry.  You don't need to get the partial tick out, it will fall out on its own.  I was shocked at this advice from our government.  A Professor of Nursing said have your husband dig it out after sterilizing the needle.  That didn't work.   So the problem was where is an urgent care place?  Now we know where it is, just in case, we need them again between 8 AM to 8 PM.  Don't get sick at night.

Monday, February 20, 2017




I just finished quilting this quilt top.  I was crunched for time because I needed send the quilt off so I could enter it in the 2017 Mountain Quiltfest in Pigeon Forge TN.  There is no chance to win any prize money since they have a clause that disqualifies me because I am a pattern designer.  When I get the quilt back, I will quilt some more on the borders.  The name of the quilt is Another Flock, because it is loosely based on my New Flock of Sheep pattern.  



Sunday, January 15, 2017

Birds in Wool, the pattern will be available January 30, 2017 at Critter Pattern Works
 Exploring feather stitch..to attach a leaf shape to the background or,
 draw the shapes of feathers,

 double feather stitch over the the background overlapped joins
 different lengths on the arms of the feather stitches.
Feather stitching with fly stitches and lazy daisy stitches on the arms.
Herringbone stitches and do-dads attached to the x's.