Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What's next?

So, having blogged about some of my accomplishments of this year, what's in store for me in 2010? I started a list of goals, and here are some of the ones from my 'Creative goals' list:

Practice knitting and learn more techniques

Learn and practice 'slow cloth' techniques - create at least 2 slow cloth projects

Teach at least one dye class - already scheduled one for June!

Create 'how to' videos for tie-dye and low water immersion techniques

Add new items to my inventory: medical scrub tops, 3 styles of cap, knitted scarves,

tote bags

On a practical front, I want to set up a better system for tracking my inventory, both dyed and undyed. I'm doing pretty good with the dyed, but can't get into the habit of adding new stock to my undyed, and removing from undyed when I dye it! Any suggestions?

To all who pass this way, a very Happy and Prosperous 2010 to you and yours! Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Review of 2009

I was just looking over my post from the beginning of the year listing my goals for 2009... I did good! I accomplished 4 out of the 7 completely, and made progress on least some of the remaing 3. I have moved 2 of the goals to this year's list, because I think they are important enough to pursue. And when I did my accomplishments, I came up with half a page, single spaced! Some of them worth mentioning are:
Increased my gross revenue to the highest year in 4 years!
Took on the chairman's position for this year's Library Quilt show
Exhibited my Art & Landscape quilts at a local restaurant
Took on a wholesale customer
Agreed to chair the 2010 Flagstaff Open Studios tour
Began to learn how to knit
That's what I like about documenting my goals/accomplishments. I got into the habit during my career with a large utility, and find it really helps me to focus on what I want to spend my time on. I will be posting my goals for 2010 in the next few days... need to come up with some stretch goals to keep my momentum going!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I don't do a lot of decorating for Christmas any more... it's just my DH and I, and he doesn't really care about such things. But I have always been a sucker for Christmas lights. In years past, I have drug out the ladder and tried hanging lights along the roof, but the winds here wreak havok on them, and I end up having to rehang and rehang... this year, I decided to string some lights on a young Russian Olive tree I planted a few years ago. Then along came the snow and made it difficult to plug the lights into the outdoor outlet, so I haven't been able to enjoy them too much. Last night I plugged them in and left them on overnight, and saw this scene when I got up this morning:
This is looking out our front door toward the tree... kind of magical, I think!

On another note, I have been working on my 'Slow Cloth' project for a couple of days, and thought I would post a progress picture:

It's a little difficult to see the stitching, since I am using white floss to highlight the white/light areas, but in person it is starting to take shape. I call this section 'Milky Way'... I'll let you use your imagination to see if it looks like it to you. Stay tuned for further progress reports. Meanwhile, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

First scarf done, next art quilt started

I finished my first knitting project today, and I'm very pleased with it. No, it's not perfect, but it looks good enough to wear, so I'm a happy camper! I learned how to cast-on, knit, purl, and cast-off, so that's a good first project. Here it is:

It is a little bulky, so my next project is going to be made with sock yarn, which is a smaller yarn. I'm planning to make a Baktus scarf ala Melody Johnson, who is a wonderful knitter and very generous about sharing her knowledge on knitting, along with a boatload of other wonderful creative talents, so if you haven't browsed her blog, take a moment to stop there... you won't be sorry!
On another note, I want to mention here that I have been a big fan of two other artists who are extremely talented in the fiber arts: Deb Lacativa and Jude Hill. I started creating Art and Landscape quilts just two years ago, and around that time is when I discovered the blogs of these two very talented women, who create 'slow cloth'. They aren't the only ones by far, but they are two who have captured my attention and caused me to look at fiber art from totally different perspectives... thank you both! Not that I have any intention of attempting to 'replicate' your work, because I know that would be a total disservice to you, but you have shown me a number of wonderful techniques that I hope to use in my next project. I started a piece this morning that incorporates my hand-dyed fabrics, and will be hand-stitched, which is a departure from what I have been doing this past two years. I am no stranger to hand sewing or embellishing, but have been using machine sewing and fusing as my basic techniques so far. Oh, and I think it was Jude who posted a link recently to Arlee , who has inspired me all over again to rededicate myself to getting back into embellishing in a big way. So without further ado, here is a sample of what I will be working on for much of the coming months:

I just finished basting the pieces to the foundation, so now I need to study it for awhile and start thinking about how I will proceed. I hope to incorporate a number of techniques, and also plan to use non-fiber components in the piece as well. I will post pix as I go a long, so check back!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Progress report - knitting

It's been awhile since I posted about my first stab at knitting , so I thought I would give you a progress report. I am very close to being done with my first scarf:

I started out just doing the garter stitch with the variegated yarn, but after awhile I decided I needed to practice the purl stitch as well. I did about 8 rows of purling, then started alternating between the two. At some point, I realized I was running low on the variegated yarn, so I decided to switch to the solid color and work backward with the stitch pattern I had created. So I did an equal amount of knit/purl rows, then back to 8 rows of purling, now I am doing the garter stitch until I have enough rows to equal the variegated section. To finish off, I will be putting fringe on either end using the opposite yarn...

Two things I discovered: the knit/purl section curls, which might not be too bad, since that section will be going around my neck; the other thing is, I really love knitting! I have been blocked for years, and I'm not sure what caused the block other than my previous attempts were always disasters because I couldn't get my tension right. Turns out, I was trying the 'Continental' method, which requires you to wrap the yarn over this finger and under that finger, and it just never worked. Also, it was suggested by my friend Wendy that I try wood needles, and I highly recommend them! They are very comfortable to use.

On another front, a member of the Quilters' Guild I belong to gave me some 'mystery fabric'... no idea what the fiber content is, but it has an interesting texture. Anyway, Pats wanted to know if I wanted to try dyeing the fabric, so yesterday I cut off a small section and used some dye to test how well it would take the dye. Here is the result:

I used Royal Blue and Deep Purple in small quantities, dyed using Low Water Immersion technique, and it came out great! It has a synthetic backing which didn't dye, but the front is great. I'm thinking it might be silk, although normally silk requires vinegar to activate the dyes, but whatever it is, I think I might have fun playing with it and using it in some art quilts for texture...

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I just joined Ravelry, an online group for knitters! Since I'm an absoloute newbie, I figured it would be a great place to hang out and learn lots! I'm almost done with my first project, a kind of follow-the-pattern, sometimes make it up as I go along, scarf, so I will post pictures soon... meanwhile, if you are a Ravelry member, look me up! I'm on Ravelry as tiedyejudy.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I took some pictures yesterday of the snow in the yard...
Looking from the front door to the garage
Our neighbors' horse, Sarah, frolicking in the snow at sunrise

Another shot of the sunrise
Birds feeding outside my office window
We got at least 18-24 inches over a 24 hour period. then yesterday dawned and we had a gorgeous day of sunshine. Our Son and daughter-in-law drove in from Las Vegas, and got stuck in the snow at the entrance to our driveway last night! But my husband managed to pull their rental car out using a tow-strap, and by the time they leave on Thursday, I'm sure they will have no difficulty on the return trip.
On the creative front, I haven't had time to do much the past couple of weeks. After my last show in November, I needed to switch to housecleaning mode.... long overdue! But I have some dyeing orders to do soon, and I have been learning to knit, which I am enjoying as a pastime while in front of the TV. Once the kids have left, I plan to do some serious organizing in my studio, and got started on that yesterday. My fabric stash has been crammed into an old 5-drawer dresser for the past few years, but I donated the dresser to my hubby for his DVD collection, and emptied the drawers into a large cardboard box. But on Monday, I bought a bunch of plastic shoe boxes, and began sorting fabric by color and putting them into the boxes in an attempt to tidy up... now I just need to find room to store the boxes! It's always something...
On another front, my hubby bought me Photoshop Elements 8 for Christmas, and I have started to learn the basics of how to use it to edit my vast collection of photos! Can't wait to see all the neat things I can do with it, and I promise to share my results soon!

Sunday, November 29, 2009


We had a nice snow last night... not a huge amount, but enough to cover the ground and make for a nice picture!

This was taken from our front door looking out at the Olive tree, which had a nice dusting of snow. I might just put some lights on that tree this year! Just have to figure a way to keep from tripping over the cord since it would be crossing the path to the garage.... details! Meanwhile, it's just nice to get some moisture... we have had a very dry year, and the water tables really need to be replenished.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Mountain Campus Holiday Show report

Friday and Saturday, I was selling my wares at the annual Mountain Campus Holiday show, along with my friend Cinde who was selling her fabulous beaded necklaces, amulet bags and other beaded jewelry. This was Cinde's very first experience selling at a craft show, and she was a great success! I'm posting a couple of pictures here so you can see what a great talent she is:

If you want to see more of her work, you can contact her at She doesn't have an on-line shop or website yet, but I'm sure she could send you pictures of items she has currently in her inventory.
Meanwhile, I debuted a few new products this year:

I sold several checkbook covers and bookmarks, but none of the keychains! Guess I'll just keep putting them out there for awhile to see if they sell...
Overall, it was a great show! We had over 80 vendors with wonderful products, our new facility is very attractive, and we had a great turnout both days. My sales were down a little from last year -- my silk scarves were the biggest seller -- but I'm pleased that I did so well considering the state of the economy, and Cinde sold her sox off! Most other vendors I spoke with also had good sales, so maybe the economy is starting to come back... one can always hope!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Learning a new craft

For any of you out there who have been knitting since birth, this may be a bit of a bore... forgive me! I have had a block over knitting as big as the blocks I have over putting in zippers or button holes... it just never seemed like I could get it right, no matter what I did! Enter the computer age, and youtube. My problem has always been that I never had a human to teach me how to knit, and looking at illustrations just didn't do it. But this time of year, I do like to work on warm things, so knitting has been one of those "gee... I wish I knew how!" things. Well, I have at least learned the garter stitch:

I took a couple of suggestions from my friend Wendy, who apparently was born with knitting needles in her tiny hands: first, I got wooden needles. I was attempting to learn using long, metal size 11 needles, and they are really cumbersome. I have been focusing on just the garter stitch for several days now, just picking up the needles and stitching a row here, a row there, then stopping if I get tired. I have no ambitions beyond getting completely comfortable with the motions for now. Then after Thanksgiving, Wendy is going to give me a hands-on lesson, which will introduce me to purling, among other things. I'm thrilled that I have gotten this far, and can't wait to go even further! Stay tuned for more breaking news!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

New Product debuts

I have just added a brand new item to my shop - a medical scrub top! I have had a number of requests for them over the past few years, and decided to add them to my line this year. I only have one made up so far, but I plan to get busy after the Mountain Campus Holiday show Nov. 20-21. That is my last show for this year, and I will have time to sew the scrubs, then start dyeing. Here is my prototype, dyed ala Ice Dyeing:
I'm sure some of my regular visitors think I'm stuck in the Orchid/Lilac/Avocado spectrum, based on my recent posts, but I hate to waste perfectly good dyes, so.....
Also, soon to be added to my shop are 3 new products just in time for holiday shopping:
Bookmarks, Key chains and Checkbook Holders. I posted pix of the Checkbook holders here , and will post pix of the other two items as soon as I have pictures taken. Also still in the works are medical caps, doo-rags and chemo caps... my friend Dede is sewing them for me, and I hope to have them in the shop by early spring. Never a dull moment!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

In print...

As publicity for my month-long exhibit at Mountain Oasis Int'l Restaurant, a picture of "Autumn Leaves at Sunset" is printed on the back cover of 'The Noise', the arts & news magazine of Flagstaff:

I'm really thrilled to be finally getting myself out there, taking risks, living the dream of a lifetime! That's what it's all about...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New product in the works

I am bound and determined to reduce my overflowing fabric stash! So I've come up with a couple of new gift items to offer this year. One of them is a checkbook cover:
I used my own cover as a pattern and made a couple of modifications to simplify the design. So far, I'm pleased with how they look, feel, and go together. Let me know what you think! I'm hoping to crank out 25-35 before the Mountain Campus Holiday show coming up Nov. 20-21, my last show of the year. Then I'll add them to my artfire shop as an ongoing gift item. Always something!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ice dyeing - first attempt

Well, I have tried yet another method of dyeing fabric, and I'm totally in love with the results! I came across this blog post over a year ago and added it to my faves with the idea I would get around to trying it eventually. Well, eventually came today:
I just wish I could get better pictures of the markings and color variations... you'll just have to use your imagination. And if you be a dyer like me, if you haven't tried this yet, you have to! It is sooooo easy! I even had to put the scrunched fabric and it's bucket in the freezer for awhile this morning, 'cause wouldn't you know? It didn't freeze last nite! Basically, after pre-soaking with soda ash solution, I scrunched the fabric (1/2 yard of muslin), put it in a small bucket and put it on the deck overnite. When I discovered that it wasn't frozen this morning, I put it in the freezer for an hour. Then it was stiff, so I took it out and poured on Orchid, Lilac and Avocado dyes and let it sit about 6 hours. Then I did the normal rinse and wash. Could I just dye fabric from now on? I'm ready! But of course, I do have to try this on a shirt next, so look for future posts about ice dyeing clothing as well!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sedona Craft Show 2009

Yesterday was the Sedona Historical Society's annual Arts & Crafts show and bake sale. I participated for the first time last year, and even though I didn't have great sales then, I decided to do the show again this year. What a difference! My sales were great, and I took several special orders as well.
Here's a picture of me with my friend Joyce, who I first met in 2003 at my first craft show in Flagstaff:

I had a great location on the lawn outside the museum:

If you are unfamiliar with Sedona, it is a community built among beautiful red rocks... very scenic and warmer than Flagstaff, which is a mountain community north of Sedona. We had great weather in the high 70's, clear skies... just the perfect conditions for a craft show. The crowds were great, and they were in a buying mood, at least at my booth. Thanks to all who stopped by!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Look Grandma, I'm quilting!

Well... it had to happen sooner or later. After all, I did inherit the quilting gene from both my paternal grandma and my paternal great-grandma... probably countless other ancestors as well. But for years I have been resistant to traditional quilting... too much measuring, too much precision, and really! How many bed quilts can you use? Well, the perfect opportunity has presented itself. As posted awhile back, my quilters' guild makes quilts for several organizations in the community, to be distributed and used by those less fortunate. Our guild has a committee that cuts and packages fabric and instructions for several items that are checked out by members, assembled, then turned back in to the committee. I have done several pillow cases over the past couple of years, but I finally decided to bite the bullet and try one of the quilt kits. It even gave instructions for how to put together a pattern (absoloutely essential in my book!). Anyway, I'm about 2/3 done with the quilt top:
When finished, it will be a lap quilt. I'm not totally thrilled with the colors selected to go with the print fabric, but I'm looking at this as a good learning experience. Maybe the next one I do, I'll grab fabric from my stash instead of checking out a kit... one way to reduce the overcrowding in the stash dresser! More to come...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Autumn Leaves at Sunset

I love fall foliage... never grow tired of the brilliant colors. For the past couple of years, I have done 'Autumn Leaves' designs on shirts using soy wax batik and low water immersion dyeing. This year, I decided to create a landscape quilt using the same techniques, and I'm convinced it won't be the last one I do. I just finished binding it, and here is it's debut photo:
I needed one more piece for my exhibit in November at a local restaurant, and thought Autumn Leaves would be a timely piece to add... someday, I really need to try another design to batik, but for now, I'm hooked on leaves!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

So what have I been doing?

Gosh! The time just whizzes by, and my head is spinning with all that has been going on lately! I haven't even posted pictures of my booth at Open Studios, which was the 19th-20th of this month! Here's how it looked:

I had great sales both days, even sold several of my framed pieces! And I've been filling special orders ever since... just about finished with them now, although I need to do another one to replace one that came out different than I was aiming for. I hate when I can't replicate something! A gal saw this shirt and wanted one like it:

I used the same technique, and I thought, the same colors, but I think I added a color that wasn't on the original, and the thickness of the new shirt caused the pattern to come out differently:

So now I have to try again to get one to come out like the first one above.
Meanwhile, I posted awhile back that I am working with a friend to create some caps for my line: Doo-rags, surgical caps and chemo caps. I dyed the fabric and shipped to her, and she will do the sewing. Well, yesterday I bit the bullet and ordered a bolt of muslin that I plan to sew into scrub tops, and dye! Always something, but this has been on my mental list for awhile now. We have a medical center in town, and a lot of doctors' offices, a walk-in clinic, etc. And the place that used to sell medical clothing closed down awhile back. This town loves tie-dye, so I'm thinking I might be able to get a niche market going... why not? The question will be, do I want to do all that sewing myself, or try and find someone local to contract it out to? I would really love to just dye the fabric and hand off to a professional seamstress, but I need to keep the cost down, too! We'll see... I'm going to try a few myself, then see what I think. I'll post pix when I get a few done.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Community Service projects

I am a member of our local Quilters' Guild, and enjoy attending the monthly meetings. Each month we have a different agenda... sometimes making hand-stitched squares for a quilt, sometimes we have a guest presenter demonstrating or talking about a technique. All through the year, we have community service projects we work on: quilts, pillow cases, walker pouches, back packs... the kits are made up and we sign them out to sew and return. Last night, we had presentations made to three organizations in the community that we support: a convalescent hospital, a women's shelter, and the pediatric intensive care unit of our hospital.
These are some of the quilts and pillow cases waiting to be presented.
Marcia Sweet is presenting a bundle of walker pouches to the representative of the convalescent hospital. Patients with walkers will be able to carry items in the pouches that are attached to their walkers.
Two of the nurses from the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) display one of the children's quilts they are receiving.
It is incredibly heart-warming to see the culmination of a year's worth of work on the part of our group going to fill the needs of our community. Another member also talked about working with several others to create quilts for every bed in our local homeless shelter. She will be able to present 34 quilts next month as a result of their efforts. What a great group!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Life in the fast lane...

Whew! Where has the time gone? I have been busy getting ready for this weekend's Open Studios Tour, that's where! And one of the nice things is, I was the subject of an article in our local paper on Wednesday! You can check it out here. And if you're in the Flagstaff area, I hope you stop by and see me!
On another note, I am collaborating on a project with a friend of mine to create some new items for my shop, and dyed 15 yards of fabric for her to sew. I am thinking of adding dyed fabrics to my inventory next year, and this was a great opportunity for me to test dyeing lengths of fabric. Here are pix of 2 of the pieces:
I broke the fabric down to 2 1/2 yard pieces for this project, but I'm thinking I could dye as much as 5 yards at a time with larger bins. This is sooooo easy, and I'm really delighted with my results! I used low water immersion... and I mean very low water. The piece on the left too 4 cups of liquid... 3 of dye and one of plain water, plus 2 cups of soda ash solution. The others only needed 2 cups of dye and one of plain water plus the soda ash. I'm used to dyeing t-shirts, which are very thirsty and require more dye. This was awesome! Can't wait to do more.
Stay tuned, I will post pix next week of my Open Studios setup. I'm sharing space with another artist at her home, and get the garage all to myself!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Oooooh! Groovy!

Ever since I got Rayna Gillman's book, 'create your own hand-printed cloth', I've been wanting to find time to experiment with several of the techniques she describes so well. One of the techniques is gelatin plate printing, and it's been on my 'to do' board for months. Then when I got the Aug/Sept issue of Quilting Arts magazine and read Frances Holliday Alford's article 'Flight of fantasy - A gelatin monoprint process', I got excited all over again at the possibilities of using this process. Well, today I finally got my act together and have begun experimenting. I created 6 prints using various fabric paints, added some resists (thread, torn newspaper), and even played with a ghost print that produced a design left from a paper towel I used to blot the paint! I'm totally hooked now, and can't wait to do some more, maybe coming up with some idea in advance about what I want and how I will use the results. Meanwhile, here are some pictures of today's first steps...
Here's the gelatin plate after I pulled the prints. I understand that I can leave the paint and just add to it to create more visual interest, so I'm trying it that way this time.
These are the first six prints. Bottom left is the first print, top left a ghost print from the same paint. Lower middle - more paint was added and thread arranged on top to create some resist.
Upper middle - ghost print with torn newspaper added. Lower right - more paint added. Upper right, ghost print after plate was blotted with paper towel.
Here's a closeup of the ghost print with paper towel design.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Prelude Reception

Saturday evening was the Opening reception of the Prelude show at Coconino Center for the Arts. This is a 'sampler' of artwork submitted by artists who are participating in this year's Open Studios, a two day show September 19-20. I am participating for the first time this year. I got there early so I could take some pictures, and I'm including a few here:
This is a beautiful jacket made with hand-dyed and embellished fabric by Sharon Richards.
Tammy Kelly is a local fiber artist who makes beautiful art quilts.
Marrianna Dougherty makes really beautiful one-of-a-kind purses and decorative boxes.

I'm sorry to say I did not make note of the artist who created this beautiful piece, but it is truly a work of art.
I decided to submit my 'Freeform' and I can honestly say that nothing else looked even remotely like it!
There were a great many more beautiful items on display, and if you are in the area between now and September 20, be sure to make time to visit the Coconino Center for the Arts, 2300 N Fort Valley Road in Flagstaff. I will be showing my art quilts and tie-dye at 2127 S Tombaugh Way Sept. 19-20, and would love to have you stop by!