Thursday, June 27, 2013

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo - Raleigh

Last weekend I vended and taught at the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in Raleigh, what a great show that was! I was lucky enough to share a room with my friend Alby right across the street from the convention center and so I got to visit with her in the evenings, which was really nice. The hotel was so close, I just parked my van after unloading and never had to move it again until the end of the show, we could walk to the show every day and also to a number of good places to eat. Our favorite restaurant was "The Big Easy", offering up authentic Cajun food and a Bananas Foster dessert that was to die for. The show itself was wonderful with lots of great vendors and classes. I taught 2 classes, my "Fascinator Fun" class and my Spiral Leaf Bracelet felting class. I think everyone had a good time, I know I did! I also got to visit with lots of friends and folks I met at last year's expo, and made some great new friends too. Last year I had met a very talented fiber artist from the area, Jude, and she and her sister stopped by my booth and visited on Thursday, wow Jude is doing some incredible fiber art these days! So proud of her and all of my students too, here's some pics from the show.
 Beautiful silk kimono on display.

 Jude and I, a mega-talented fiber artist! Don't you think we could be sisters with our hair?
 Sharon was invaluable helping me Saturday in the booth while I had my class, what a life-saver!
Love this quilted car by the Sanford guild made of UFO blocks..yes, it's a real car.

Charlotte Needle-felt Purse Class

Not long ago I had the good fortune to share my skills with a small group in Charlotte with my Needle-felt Sweater Purse class. I brought a small collection of sweaters for them to choose from; I'd already felted these 100% wool sweaters by washing in hot water, rinsing in cold water, and throwing in the dryer, I did this twice to really felt them for the extra body. Then I set up my "embellishment buffet" in their wonderful classroom. I brought lots of hand-dyed goodies: merino fibers, curly locks, corriedale fibers, silk velvet. And there were other textiles to add interest, tapestries and jacquards to cut leaves from, textured yarns, and of course metallic mesh and Angelina fibers to add the bling. The girls each chose a sweater and their own embellishments and went to town needle-felting. Although each used my pattern as a guide, they all put their own spin on it, and each purse turned out its own unique work of art! A good time was had by all, and they almost finished their purses too, here's a few photos from the class. (Lol I know one is upside-down, can't figure out how to fix it with Windows 8, sorry!)

NC Quilt Symposium, Fayetteville

The Fayetteville quilt guild hosted this year's quilt symposium, and what a grand time we had! They were gracious enough to open up another room for vendors right over the cafeteria, and we had such a nice group up there. Lucky me - I was set up beside Fiber on a Whim and got to chat during our down time and also shop in their fun booth. One of my favorite parts of local shows is reconnecting with old friends, and I saw lots of folks I knew at this one and enjoyed catching up on the news. Also made some great new friends too! Here's a photo of me and Karen with her adorable fascinator from my "Fascinator Fun" pattern.
And this is a lovely lady from the host guild whom I met while I was there, Bonnie is super-talented and was so sweet and such a help to us vendors!  I hope to return to Fayetteville one of these days, I really enjoyed my visit with this wonderful guild.

Gastonia Flower Class

I met this lovely group of creative souls about a year ago when I did a program for the Gastonia Quilter's Guild, and was fortunate enough to go back recently and teach a "Wild Wooly Flower" workshop with them in Gastonia. I was so impressed with them, as many had never felted before, and they just picked right up on what to do. Their flowers turned out gorgeous, each one different and beautiful on its own. Some of them were big luscious works of art, which I always love. And we had a couple that were small dainty creations, inspiring me to come home and see how "small" I could go with my own felted posies! We even had 2 men in the class with their wives, and they did such a great job. I really enjoyed teaching and also visiting with these wonderful, friendly folks; here are some photos of their beautiful work.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

My Compliments to Karen!

My friend Karen sent me this picture of her adorable top hat she made from my "Fascinator Fun" pattern, doesn't she look sharp? She's wearing it today for the Kentucky Derby Day...fitting, as it was last year's derby that inspired me to make this pattern! Thanks so much for sharing Karen, I think I'll wear mine today, too!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dyeing Pearl Cotton

I've been working on a new folk-art design, something a bit more traditional with some snappy new techniques for my woolfelt. Usually I do my handwork with a size 5 pearl cotton, the thickness of this wt. thread pairs nicely with the beefy woolfelt in applique for blanket-stitch etc. But for this piece, I'm using a finer size 8 or 12 pearl cotton in variegated colors. I have some beautiful colorways in these sizes, but I needed a solid black for part of the design. I called our local needlework shop, no luck. Living in a small town, no one else within a 40 minute drive carries any sort of pearl cotton, and of course, I need it today. Finally it dawned on me, silly girl, it's solid black, just dye it yourself! Now I've never dyed thread, and all I could think of was the occasional mess I've had when unwinding those skeins and I get in too big of a hurry. I could just see that happening to my thread during the dyeing process. Not sure how the pro's do it, but here's a simple technique that worked for me.

First I thought, I need to wind it around something so the thread doesn't get all tangled up. I thought about a wooden dowel rod, but I was afraid it would be all curly. Then I remembered the wheels I use for my pincushion bases. I found a 2-1/2" wheel (from my "Ms Delia's Dress Shoppe" kits) that was a second, my lucky day! It had a little split going up one side, just like the little notch at the top of a thread spool. I measured off about 4 yds. of a dark variegated pearl cotton that had areas of tan in it, folded it in half twice, and "threaded" it onto a small bobby pin. I looped the other loose ends through the side notch of the wheel, and started winding the thread around the wheel, trying not to overlap as I passed through the center hole. When I reached the end I clipped the loops holding the bobby pin on and looped them through the same side notch.

I had some black Rit dye already mixed up in a jar, so I pulled out a plastic bowl (in this case a Cool Whip container) and poured the dye into the bowl. I added a bit of very hot water to warm it up, then placed the threaded wheel into the bowl. Then I turned the jar upside-down to weigh it down, covering up the wheel with the dye.

I ran some errands for about an hour, then came back and checked my project...all black, even the wheel! I removed the jar, poured the black dye back into it, and rinsed the threaded wheel with warm water then cold. Then I pulled the thread ends out of the notch, unwound the thread and let it dry. Voila! Black pearl cotton, it worked great!

Afterward I had a thought: I bet you could use this same technique to make variegated pearl cotton too. Next time I'm going to start with white, and try a shallower dye bath and do one color (like turquoise) on one side of the wheel, then flip the wheel into another shallow dye bath of, lime green or something. Or you could do red and blue, they might be purple on the sides where they blended. Who knows? Anyway, a fun and simple technique, if anyone else tries this with some fun results please let me know! Or if you have another dyeing technique you'd like to share, I'd love to hear it too!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

April Nuno Scarf Class

We had such a great class at The Fibre Studio in Charlotte last Saturday! I have to share, this was one of the most pleasant classes I have ever taught. Everyone got along so well, each gal really put her own spin on her scarf, while chatting amongst themselves as the day went on, it was wonderful. One thing that made this class so unique was the color choices; I had assembled kits in a somewhat monochromatic fashion

, and several of the gals kept the fiber and embellishment colorway, while swapping out their scarves for more contrast, it really made for some eye-catching designs! Also, each scarf layout was totally unique: one girl's scarf was like a spring flower garden, another a fiesta of color, then we had a flow of posies and vines, and last, a swirl of flaming color! All in all an awesome class, and their scarves just turned out gorgeous.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Needle-felt Sweater Purse Class

Saturday we had a fun day at The Fibre Studio in Charlotte making needle-felt purses out of felted wool sweaters, everyone's turned out so cute! The girls could either bring in a felted wool sweater or use one of ours, or they could bring a purse they had knitted and felted. Even though most used the same basic pattern and layout, because of the diversity of what they started with and their choices of color and embellishments, each one turned out completely different! I love the velvet leafy border Sonja chose for her knitted/felted bag, and Christi's bag was just adorable with it's little rhinestone buttons on the back. Pam's bag was so colorful and abstract, what fun! And then we had some beautiful bags in periwinkle, purple, and charcoal gray, each of them a work of art on their own. The girls worked very hard to come close to completing their bags, most of them just need lining and to attach the straps, and did a magnificent job! Here's a group "before" shot, and then the beautiful "afters".

Art Quilt Exhibits

There are a couple of phenomenal art quilt exhibits in Cary, both inspired by the element of water. They're by PAQA-South (Professional Art Quilters Alliance), and run through the end of March. The ArtQuiltsRivers exhibit is at the Cary Arts Center, and the ArtQuiltsWater exhbit is at the Page-Walker Arts and History Center. A broad range of techniques is on display by these very talented art quilters: felting, dyeing, shibori, quilting, photo transfer, beading, and upcycling fabrics and things, just to name a few. Here are some photos of some of the quilts.