Wednesday, November 20, 2013


I was dying to try this...Terry, one of my Cyber Fibres friends, posted a piece she had covered with a poly sheer and then proceeded to burn/melt  it. I couldn't stop looking at it - it was so intriguing and interesting.
I wanted to do a quick and dirty trial run, just to get the hang of it. I made a 3-layer sandwich (sounds like lunch time) of cotton, batting, and 3 scraps on the top. It looked like this:

Next I put a piece of black sheer poly on the top and proceeded to free motion over it with white COTTON thread. (Cotton is the important part!)  Looking good, isn't it?

At this point I needed to burn/melt it but didn't have a means to do that, so when I was at Cynthia's for dyeing on Monday, I borrowed her heat gun. I took this outside and blasted it with heat and watched the poly melt away. I was recognizing similarities to that amazing image that Terry had sent me.

I don't particularly like the part on the left, as the underlying values are too different but I love the part on the right. It's really not my thing to do something like this but I who knows? I might find a way to incorporate this in my work.
BUT, here is something, a surprising final step, that I think is really great! When I brought the burned piece in to show my dyeing friends, Jill suggested  that I print it. I had some charcoal gray print paste already mixed up, so rolled it on and then laid soda-ashed cotton on top for a print. (I used a large PVC pipe to roll over it.) Here is the result.

The stitch lines even show up. I wish I would have used a darker print medium, but hey, we've just begun. I think there will be more of these to come.

Monday, November 4, 2013


I took a tumble last Friday...down 6 steps, head first, on to concrete. The results were a few small scrapes and bruises and a chipped bone on my left foot. The doc put a splint on my foot/leg, suited me up with a pair of crutches, and told me I'd be getting a call from the orthopedist. When I pressed him for how long I might have this, he told me 4-8 weeks.
Four to eight weeks? Crutches and doctor appointments for four to eight weeks? This can't be. I have things to do!
At home, Tom got me settled and poured me a glass of wine. Rather than a celebration or relaxation drink, it was more to numb me to the reality of this situation. Even though I'm smiling, I was not very happy.
By Saturday morning, I was feeling better. I talked to a few friends, posted the above pic on Facebook, and decided to keep our dinner engagement that night. Life must go on. My friend Jayne reminded me that "life happens when we're busy making plans". How true. And I was well aware of how lucky I was that I only had a small fracture.
I knew one thing for certain...I could still sew. I woke up Sunday morning and decided to do some "crazy sewing". To me that means going somewhere I've never gone before...not worrying about time...just going with the flow of the process. Of course I wanted to put together another piece for my "Signs of Life" project, so that defined some specific guidelines (signage and a bird) and the rest just sort of happened.
As all of the pieces for "Signs of Life" relate to some experience I've had this year, the event/person I'd been pondering about lately was my friend Sudie Mason, a longtime boater who has been coming to Refuge Cove for years. She is wise and wonderful and always has a great story or tidbit of wisdom to share. This year she commented to me how she tries to "experience nature every day". That really stuck with me.
I wanted to start with white cotton and create my own background piece with fabric markers. I googled some nature-related images and just didn't find anything that interested me. I decided to fall back on one of my standard free-motion stitching patterns of leaves, ferns and flowers. I have used this so many times throughout the years, every since discovering Laura Lee Fritz's books on continuous line quilting. She is amazing and works with so many different themes, but I stuck with the floral/foliage theme and became proficient with it.

I first used a disappearing ink pen to draw this continuous line design onto white fabric stabilized with freezer paper. Then I went over it with a permanent black fine-tipped marker. Next I colored in the shapes and finalized it with a bright yellow background.

Now for the text. I had to really think about the layout on this one as all the words are different sizes and I wanted to have room for some sort of BIRD (of course) and possibly other nature images. I went to my WORD program and proceeded to type
just as I have just done above (aligned to the right), and then played around with different fonts to see what I liked best. I decided on the very intricate "Jokerman" as I hadn't tried it before. Now, in retrospect, I think it is a bit busy with the background design, but I can live with it. I made a quilted sandwich with the top, some batting, and a backing and proceeded to free motion all of this text. I worked right to left which was very different for me, and also a bit challenging with all of the detail of this font. (I used my favorite 1/4 " tape to help me line it up.)

I  colored in the letters with black permanent marker and set out to plan the rest of the design. I had a few ideas in mind, but decided to let them all tumble around in my dream/sleep state and work on it the next day.
I wanted to keep it simple so settled on a tree/branch/leaf motif with a nest of two baby birds.
Sometimes life evolves in strange and mysterious ways. Gifts of time to do some "crazy sewing" are initially disguised as accidents. I wonder what else is in store for me this month?
And I've already come up with ideas for experiencing nature every day: choosing fantastic nature shows on Netflix, babying my house plants, reading on the deck under a cozy blanket, exploring new nature images to use in my work, or just being mindful of the colorful leaves as they blow across my window.