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!