Saturday, March 27, 2010


Nancy and Anne came over the other day to have a dye day in my studio. I was able to capture the step by step process of Anne's "refreshed" and fantastic  jacket.
We accordian-folded her well-worn white jersey jacket, clamped it tight and set it on a tray of black dye.  
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The result was a nice striped pattern with a lavender toned background.
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Now, how to proceed? Fold, reclamp and put in another dye bath, or just re-dye....? Here's Anne's decision: a bright lime-green dye bath brings this old jacket a brand new life! Well done, Anne!
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010


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I've been thinking about my upcoming class at the Hands Across the Water (HAW) event this coming October. My guild (Quadra Island Quilters) is hosting this annual gathering where five Vancouver Island guilds come together for a day of fun, food and sharing. Quadra likes to combine classes when being the host guild, not only because everyone loves quilting or fiber art classes, but also because Quadra is so beautiful and we want everyone to come and enjoy it for as long as possible. I proposed to teach a class on all the ins and outs of discharging, and yesterday a small group of fiber-loving friends joined me for a trial run of the class. Will the 6 hours be enough time to get everything done? What kind of glitches will we encounter? How long will it take to piece the backing? Will the free-motion quilting bog people down? My group of four included one experienced free-motioner, two with some experience, and one novice.
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I demonstrated the steps of the project: piecing, designing the area to be discharged, layout, sewing, and discharging. All went relatively well and there was only one machine that was tempermental, so I switched this friend to my trusty old Bernina. It wasn't long before they were all involved in their own creative worlds and processes. The wheels were turning. Before I knew it, the sewing was done, and they were on to discharging.
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The finished projects were amazing - all unique and personal, each with its own flair.  My students were happy with the results and were amazed with the discharge process, just as I am each time I do it. The glitches were few, and now I can just focus on some of the small details before the October class. I love successes!
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010


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The invitation came with such a simple phone call. "Hey Mo, do you want to go to the movie Monday night...'Julie and Julia'?" Although she wanted to see it, she had a prior commitment with her dinner club. And suddenly I was on the receiving end of the invitation - as her guest at an evening with well known food fans. "But", she told me, "curry is our special ingredient, and you'll have to bring something to share."
Of course I was on. I had been in a food mood with my most recent piece "Friday's feast" (perhaps influenced with a bit of Catholic upbringing?). I had such fun with the colors, the arrangement of the table setting, the discharging of the fish skeleton and the border, and stitching the recipe onto the background. What other food and fabric marriage could I perform? Maybe the upcoming evening would bring me inspiration...
It was an amazing evening...a warm and welcoming setting, hosted by Linda and Bill. The eight courses were each a sensual feast...not only full of warm and complex curry flavors, each unique, but presented as eight visual feasts too. Those curry smells... the earthy colors... the rich tastes from another part of the world......mmmmm, I was in food heaven. Our evening went like this:
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There were FOUR fabulous courses of appetizers: chinese dumplings with ginger curry sauce, pear-squash soup, salad with chicken and curried peanut dressing, orange-avocado-jicama salad with curry vinagarette, and don't forget the wine. Three main dishes wow-ed our group: grilled Thai green curry prawns, balti chicken, and a chicken curry to die for. Yes, more wine. And to top it off, amazing chocolate curry cupcakes with curry ice cream! This meal was not only over the top, but such a treat for those of us who have been inundated with the flavors of Mexico - of which we certainly get our fair share. To put it mouth was happy.
After such a lovely evening with old and new friends, my heart was happy too!
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As for inspiration for another fabric piece, I may have to go for the grilled Thai green curry shrimp....the fringe from the shawl across the table, the spiral at the ends of the cutlery, the swirl of the bamboo plate, banana leaves, three delicately placed shrimp on a bed of rice, lemons and limes as garnish, a lovely pink flower...mmmmmm!

Monday, March 8, 2010


TREMENDOUS… yes, I experienced a tremendous event recently.
Each winter, during my Mexican retreat, a group of women friends get together for a traveling adventure. This year we decided on the colonial city of Morelia in the state of Michoacan.  Eight of us toured city and countryside with a personal guide for 7 days; the entire week was tremendous. The highlight of the trip was our visit to the Butterfly Sanctuary in the small mountain puebla of El Rosario. Here the monarchs spend five months each winter, CLUSTERED on the branches of the trees. At first I thought the orange tint of the trees was because of a bark beetle problem or the like, but it was only the MILLIONS of monarchs nestled closely together, waiting for the right daytime conditions to take a short flight in search of water. On the day of our visit, the sun was out, with nary a breath of wind.  Around noon, as we began our short hike uphill to the edge of the forest, we found ourselves surrounded by monarchs…in the air, on the ground, in our hair, on our backpacks, everywhere! At trail’s end, we were able to sit and just take in the magic of the day. Now that was TREMENDOUS!
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I’m in a “using up my stash” stage now, so pulled out my scrap bag and found some butterfly worthy swatches, located a piece of interesting green for the background, and set to work appliquéing them on. Now what? It was awfully BUSY and I wasn’t sure where to go next. (That seems to be my mode of operation…one step at a time, take a look, see what evolves…) I was digging around in my stamp collection yesterday and discovered a lovely butterfly stamp. How about a little bleaching? I was curious if bleach would work with the appliquéd stitches (too bulky?). So I held my breath, crossed my fingers, and began stamping bleach product on my piece. I love how the bleach creates dimension, a sense of layers. It’s still busy, but it truly represents the masses of butterflies on that TREMENDOUS day.