New AK Pattern

is almost ready. I sent it off to be quilted. Actually there are two… one is the whimsical bears and can you believe it? I forgot to take a photo of it before I sent it off to be quilted! when it comes back and I bind it I’ll post one.

The other is a smaller wall hanging that features Cook Inlet (right outside of Anchorage… I used to look at it almost every day!), and Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. Of course I threw in a fireweed as well. When I get it back from the quilter I will add some applique vines and leaves, maybe some forget me not flowers.

Quilting on the Kenai

ALSO I got pictures of the quilt I taught in a workshop at Chisholm Trail Quilt Guild. Here are the photos Gail sent me… her quilt came out stunning!

Gails Blue Jamaica quilt

and here are some close ups of her work:

Also, for those of you that have been asking: we have decided that we will print the Vanilla Jamaica pattern again and offer it on the website. I just got back quotes from the printer for the oversize pages that contain the large applique images and rewrote the instructions to make sure they are clear with no errors. As soon as I can I will send this on to the printer’s, then start the folding and stuffing process and get them on the website and out to my distributors so they will go into the stores. Whew.

AND good news: I have been designing some new quilts. they are Easy Peasy quilts that will use strips and fat quarters. I’ll let you know when they are out, too. I am still working on learning all I need to know to offer patterns on the website as e-patterns. The hats on my head are getting higher!


Work Continues on Alaska Patterns

I’ve had a few more days to work on the ideas I have for the Alaska set of new patterns. Most of what I have been doing is applique. Here’s a sneak peek at the bears I am working on.

You’ve seen squirrels trying to get into the birdhouse… well, this guy is hanging in there.

Wait until you see her response to his complaints… it’s so funny!

This is not going to be one of the images in the whimsical bear quilt. These two are watching one of the spectacular sunsets that happen regularly in Alaska.
Well, that’s all for today.

Sun Painting

We have had some really, really hot days recently. Out of the clear blue, I remembered I had purchased some InkoDye… this is a vat dye that develops it’s color under heat. So it’s great for creating sun fabric. I thought, Hey, I ought to try that out…
These dyes are water soluble and you can mix them together to get different colors. Plus, you can dilute them to create lighter shades, and they will still react to the sun so you still get the impression of whatever you have laid over the fabric. The problem is, you cannot tell what color it is until it is developed. I think I need to create a master image using a bit from each color so I know what they will look like when they have finished processing.
I started out with wet fabric, figuring it was going to be easier for the InkoDye to spread if it was poured over fabric that was not dry. Then I diluted the InkoDye. I didn’t want to make it too light so I didn’t add very much water. I put the plants on the fabric and then used a sponge brush to blot color onto the fabric. I think I did this in the wrong order.

This is so experimental. I had done this about 8 years ago, maybe 9 years, in California on a visit. My fabric was a lot more successful then!

On this try I used green, blue and black. I think I would have liked it better if I would have poured the dye on the wet fabric, then quickly put the leaves over it. And maybe used a brayer to flatten the plants. Or used wilted plants. These were ripped right out of the ground next to where I was “curing” the fabric. I realized I didn’t have enough green stuff to place on the fabric after I had the branch in place…I had to hurry because it was so hot out (about 100 degrees). It was curing REALLY, REALLY FAST.
Here is a picture of what it looked like as it was curing. The colors are already obvious. When I put them on they were NOT blue, green and black.

Then, as luck would have it, I got so nervous that I spilled my bottle of black InkoDye all over my curing area. I was so upset. I tried to sponge it up and get it back in the bottle and spilled the bottle again!! Then, I spilled it once more… I guess for good luck! Since three time’s the charm, right?

So I took a second piece of fabric (thank goodness I had wet two) and mopped up the black. Then I poured a bit of blue on the fabric and squished it around with my hands. Needless to say, my hands were also being dyed black and blue.

As fast as I could I spread the fabric and then tossed grass on it.
I am so glad I had some ReDuRan. I had purchased it when I bought some dyes for using on silk. It is a great product, it took almost all the dye off and, since I had splashed it all over my top and pants, I used it on them and it got it out!! I was so glad.

Okay, the learning curve is a little steep here… next time I am wearing rags to do this in. Not my favorite pants.

This is a really wonderful product. I like the way the fabric stays soft. With a little more experimenting I should come out with some pretty fabulous fabrics to use in my next project or two.

New strip book

I’ve started piecing the tops for the new strip piecing book and it is looking so good! I am really excited because the fabrics I am using are great, but the ideas are starting to really flow. I just cannot WAIT to show all of you what these quilts are going to look like. I may give a sneak peek soon. We’ll see how it goes.
More soon,

Working with Wool

I’ve been working with wool recently. I LOVE IT! It is soft, so it sews totally differently than cotton. Those of you that have been into Penny Rugs already know this. I have two new patterns that will be ready for spring market in May using wool and applique. One of the things I have been doing is adding felting to it so I can “paint” the applique. Take a look.

Here is the image… I traced this Morning Glory to freezer paper so I could press it directly to the wool fabric. Makes it easy to cut out and it doesn’t hurt that these are large images, either.Morning Glory pattern

This is the first step for this Morning Glory flower. I placed the cut out image face down on top of the stabilizer. This stabilizer is fabulous. It is dense enough and soft enough that it doesn’t shatter when I felt on it. You can cut it away from the back and leave it attached to the applique. I decided to peel the applique off and then I’ll sew it to the top. It peels off so easy! Really a nice product. I was glad I had a small piece of it to try out. I plan on doing embellishing with threads, too.
After I placed this face down on the stabilizer I layered some Tussah silk and iridescent Angelina over the open areas.

Morning Glory 2
You can see the Angelina on the left, the Tussah over the Angelina on the right of the flower.

Morning Glory 3
Some of this has been felted.

Morning Glory 4
Here is the “right” side of the Morning Glory. You can see the Tussah and Angelina create their own “fabric”. Sometimes I think letting the background fabric show through the cut away areas is more attractive but I wanted to see how this would work.

Morning Glory 5
Now I have added wool roving in a darker blue for some shadows.

Morning Glory 6
Now I added some Fuchsia Roving.

Morning Glory 8
Here it is pinned to the quilt top. I just sewed a different top, in different colors. I’m not sure if I like the brown base for this. We’ll see.

That’s not all I have been working on. I painted two images to fabric. These are done on fat quarters. I plan on quilting and embellishing them with threads, maybe some foil, crystals… who knows. I think it would be nice to add pieced borders. I may paint these again in a smaller size or in a longer rectangular shape. Tell me what you think!
Sitka Roses
These are Sitka Roses. Before I did any color I used Batik EZ from Craft Pick and stamped the fabric. This allowed me to add color and the Batik EZ acted as a water soluble (and removable!) resist.
I wet the fabric first, laid some ink on the fabric and sprinkled salt on it. Once it dried, I brushed the salt off and heat set it.
Then I sprayed the fabric with water and used the pens and the All Purpose Inks with the Fantastix applicators to paint the flowers and leaves. I wanted this to look like a watercolor. When I wanted to stop the bleed I used an embossing heat gun to dry the fabric. I could have just pressed it with an iron but I didn’t want to smush the ink and make it spread out from the weight of the iron.
I think outlining these and doing some intricate quilting in the background could make this fabulous. Plus, doing french knots for the little yellow doodads in the center of the flower should really add some neat texture.

Here is the wolf portrait.
This is a blend of fabric ink, watercolor fabric crayons, inktense pencils, stamps, Batik EZ and I think that’s all. Talk about mixing mediums. I’m interested in seeing how this looks once I add thread work.
If you haven’t tried the Batik EZ it is really fun. It looks like a clear glue so I was actually wondering if I could use rice glue instead but haven’t tried it. You should be able to find Crafter’s Pick products at any of the local craft and hobby stores. I had to go online and search for it.

Please let me know what you think. This is really new for me and I would love to interact with you!

More about wool

I have been working today, because I was not really happy with the background… I sewed a whole new top. And now I decided I like the original top.

Want to scream with me?

Anyway, now I have an idea to use with the new, rejected, top. Either a wild rose or a fuchsia. I am leaning hard toward the fuchsia. I used to have baskets of them around my house in AK.

Also, I have thought about going for some really funky designs, they are fun, happy and really dynamic. Do you think I have a split personality???

I have this whole new page I added with pictures of the wool. If you look in the column to the left it says February 2009. I can’t figure out how to make it what you see when you first come to this blog. I WILL figure this out. This is where my time all goes… to figuring stuff like this out!
More screaming.

I’ve been busy…

I took a little time out of my schedule to play a bit with my new BabyLock Embellisher. Have you seen the way people are felting by hand? One of the things I like about that is you can use a plastic template/form and when you felt the fibers, they stay in that shape so you get a nice clean edge on it. Great, except I don’t want to take that long and I don’t really like the designs. So I thought I would try to make my own stencils and see if it worked as well as the plastic “by hand” ones do, but with the ability to do it on my machine. Following is what I did.
felted flower

Okay, it’s not byootifulll… but it was my first try and I’m sure I will get better as I go.
The first thing I did was draw an image. Could I possibly have drawn a simple one? no. I actually drew a couple different images, but I’m only showing one so you don’t get bored with pics.
Drawing for stencil
Rubbing for side two
I wanted to have both sides match, and I drew this with a pencil rather than using my graphics program. In order to get the mirror image, I burnished the pencil lines onto the other side of the paper. burnished mirror image
I am using freezer paper, here. I must say, I bet I could use Sulky’s Totally Stable and it would work as well or better than freezer paper. I didn’t have any on hand when I did this, but I do, now, so am going to try it next.
I drew over the burnished lines to make them clear. traced burnished lines
Then I layered the master paper over 2 more sheets. Three layers of FP
All of them were shiny side down.
I pressed them with a hot iron to fuse them together. I let it cool on the ironing board where it is now stuck. Fuse together with hot iron
Once it was cool, I removed it from the board. If you take it off too soon it gets ripples.
Using a craft knife I cut out the image. I only cut out the area for one of the colors. If I cut the whole stencil out I’d have to make it all the same color! Eeeuuwww!
Cut stencil out
Here are the finished stencils that include all of the “holes” I need for the assortment of colors I will use.
completed set of stencils
Because it is on Freezer Paper (or in the future on Sulky’s Totally Stable) I can press it to the fabric (I used a cheap felt) and it will stay in place. You get the idea.
So I decided to do this funky looking flower. I tried it on some black felt.
You can see how I did one stencil first that had openings for one color. Actually, I still blended 2 or 3 colors of roving together because I didn’t want it to look “flat”.
Starting to felt by machine I used an awl to help keep the roving in the open area of the stencil. NOT while I was felting… I might have broken needles. I would felt by machine, then stop and scoot the edges in, then felt some more. Lots faster than by hand. Here’s what the first layer looks like. You can see that it is really difficult to get the level of detail that I cut into the stencil. In the future I will use a simpler design.
felted with gold rovingafter stencil is peeled offIf you turn the fabric over after you peel off the stencil, you can felt it again and make it really permanent. You may even decide you like the way the back looks better than the front!
The second stencil was for applying the second color, turquoise. second stencil
after 2nd stencil is peeled off
Then the third stencil is for the color for the center/top of the flower.
third stencil
I did not, unfortunately, put a stabilizer under it. So when I was done it was pretty “loose”. See how the black has stretched? I’m still experimenting with which stabilizer I prefer. It is especially important to me that I know what stabilizer to use when I use felted wool since I want to make usable things with it that don’t shred and fall apart. If I can’t USE it what’s the POINT?!?final flower I took some pearl rayon and did a little outlining to see how it would look.
Tell me what you think! And if you have done much felting and have any tips, please feel free to share.

Work In Progress

I’ve been sketching out some ideas for new quilts. Let me know what you think. Both of these will have pieced backgrounds and then I’ll probably do raw edge applique. I plan on creating the one with the Morning Glories with wools. I found Weeks Dye Works Wools. They are absolutely scrumptious. Very nice colors, full range, and they come in 1/4 yard cuts. You don’t have to turn the wool when you applique because it is already felted so it won’t unravel. This should let me do some wonderful work blending and shading with fabrics.

Morning Glories Quilt Draft

Morning Glories Quilt Draft

The quilt with the center medallion will probably be created using Batik Textiles fabrics. Same thing, pieced top and then applique over it. I may do a turned edge, or I may do a narrow satin stitch. I’ll probably test it and see. I like quilts to be soft so I’ll test some out to see how stiff they are when completed. I need to get some more of the border fabric to use to go around each of the diamonds. I love how ornate that looks.

Medallion Quilt with Batiks Work In Progress

Medallion Quilt with Batiks Work In Progress

I plan on embellishing with some thicker threads. I don’t want to use beads because I want them to be cuddly but thread work will really enhance them. I can’t wait to get started.

Video Tutorials

I went ahead and embedded some of my videos that have been on YouTube for a while.  I recently video’d some more tutorials but have to figure out (again) how to edit and upload them.  When I do that, you will see them here.  If you want to be notified, I send out emails when I have added something new either to the blog or the website.  Simply subscribe to the newsletter on my site:


I’m excited to start this web log thing… I am in the process of new patterns.  Now I can take photo’s and maybe get some feedback as I go.  It is always fun to brainstorm with others.

I just finished writing the new booklet “UnderCover Strips”.  It has 6 patterns in it for use with the Hoffman batik Bali Pop sets.  One quilt for each set but you can mix and match, of course.  Plus you can use your own stash because I have added cutting instructions if you want to get rid of your library of fabrics.  It’s ready to be shipped to me from the printer so I’ll have them here at the studio soon.  You can go to my website to order.

I’m looking for a really good program to use that will allow me to sell e-patterns on the site.  I can sell them for less if I don’t have to print them and store them.  They will be full color.  If I can I will put one or two on the site for free so you can see what my pattern writing is like.

Right now, if you go to the website, you can get this months Free Technique/Project.  It’s on using fusible thread to do reverse applique.  You can download it as a PDF file and print it for your file or save it to your computer.

Well, that’s all for now.  I am still learning how to run this blog thing.  More soon.