Wednesday, January 30, 2013

One Word Wednesday


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Books On Sunday

Machine Stitch - Perspectives

Alice Kettle
Jane McKeating

Machine Stitch is an essential read and reference for any textile student, practising embroiderer, designer or artist. Written by a team of the most important and influential names in the field it explores the creative potential of stitch through the use of a variety of machines, both old and new.

Chapters ware written by contributing authors and include such titles as Drawingn and the Chimera of Embroidery, Stitched Words, Surface Sensibilities and An Eye of the Future. There is an excellent glossary of terms used and a section on recommended further reading.

Machine Stitch is not a how-to book, it is an introduction into the influence and change that was brought into textiles with the advent of industrialization and mechanization when machines could speed up production of stitched textiles.

Consider this book if you are keen on history and examining or studying more thoroughly. One bt on the fly leaf says "This book is the definitive record of the vast number of machines from the traditional Irish Embroidery machines to the latest generation of computerized sewing machines and features a rich and fascinating record of the machines themselves and the samples and artwork that were produced on them."

ISBN 978-0713688689

Friday, January 25, 2013

New Fat Quarters - Great Printing Technique

I've been using some of my print rollers that a friend makes. They are old rolling pins that have been taken apart, lathed into designs and then put back together. They work very well with both textile paints and thickened dyes. I'm sure they'd work with other media as well. You can check them out here:

Here are some of the fat quarters I now have for sale at:

Nothing subtle about this piece!, its been dyed, soy wax resisted and then roller printed. One of my favs!

Its all about green and the tropics here!

A little more subdued, perfect as a background of applique or mixed media.....

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

One Word Wednesday

Til Spring

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Books on Sunday

Stitch, Cloth, Shimmer & Shine

Sarah Lawrence

If you cruise the aisles of a craft or quilt store, wondering how to use all the shiny foils, stencils, glues and threads, then this is the book for you.

The author works through a wide variety of products showing how they can be used, with excellent step by step photographs and a detailed supply list.   I learned how to use coloured foils on painted interfacing, using glue stick with stencils and foil flakes, painting fusible interfacing and embossing metals. Each technique also has tips for further ideas, a welcome addition with more excellent samples.

The author has also included hand and machine stitch, combining stitch with her techniques and then finally several projects that combine a number of techniques and produce vessels and panels.

There is also excellent information on beading and bead making, using findings such as hooks and eyes, embellishments, stamps and more.

I would recommend this book for anyone interested in taking their art further with glitz and glimmer, the instructions are clear and thorough and there are lots of photos for inspiration.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Soy Wax Article in Quilting Arts

I just received my quilt and fabrics that are featured in the latest issue of Quilting Arts Magazine. Here's the cover so you can pick out on the magazine shelf!

And here's some pictures of the fabric I made using an "innovative technique" that involves creating pattern with stitch, soy wax and dye!

You won't want to miss it! You can buy the February/March issue at:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

One Word Wednesday

Winters Chill

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Books on Sunday

Sew Wild - Creating with Stitch and Mixed Media by Alisa Burke

If I'm looking for any book that uses, explains, or explores any manner of stitch, quilting, embellishment or art I know that my friend Marny will have it! I borrowed this book for a weekend, read through it and also watched the accompanying DVD.

I think this book will appeal to those who want quick and easy techniques to produce pieces that can be stitched or embellished into projects. The authors approach is called "freestyle" and "unconventional", in my way of thinking, it's just messy without any consideration for design, layout or art elements. I have reservations with the tendency these days that "more is better" and that if one keeps slapping stuff together and then stitch it to death,  the piece is successful.

The authors use of colour is joyful and exuberant, the projects that are provided are quirky and fun, I particularly liked the the Rosette Pillow and the Bucket Hat. Cute and a different approach to dimensional work. The accompanying DVD is well done, I enjoyed the section on over painting ugly fabrics and think it might be a fun project for a rainy afternoon.

While I understand the authors wish to be frugal, I firmly believe its important to use paint and other products designed for fabrics. I also have issues with leaving out thorough safety instructions for using bleach and other chemicals that require special equipment, particularly if the book is to be used by beginners. You may be tempted to buy Sew Wild but I think there are better books available.

Friday, January 11, 2013

New Work

I just finished this piece and am calling it Sister Sun. Its actually a trial for a much larger work that still need to be quilted. I have all the threads ready beside the machine and I'll try and get a start on it tomorrow.
The fabric is Essex cloth (a blend of linen and cotton) and is quickly becoming one of my favourite fabrics to work with. It takes the dye beautifully and quilts like a dream. Of course, I also used some soy wax resist on it so the fabric went through several processes before I was able to use it. That's the beauty of exploration! This piece measures 16" square.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sketchy Thursday

Late last year Pantone announced that their colour for 2013 was Emerald. If you are not familiar with Pantone, in 1963, Lawrence Herbert, Pantone's founder, created an innovative system of identifying, matching and communicating colors to solve the problems associated with producing accurate color matches in the graphic arts community. His insight that the spectrum is seen and interpreted differently by each individual led to the innovation of the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM®, a book of standardized color in fan format.

From the Pantone website: Most often associated with brilliant, precious gemstones, the perception of Emerald is sophisticated and luxurious. Since antiquity, this luminous, magnificent hue has been the color of beauty and new life in many cultures and religions. It’s also the color of growth, renewal and prosperity – no other color conveys regeneration more than green. For centuries, many countries have chosen green to represent healing and unity.
“Green is the most abundant hue in nature – the human eye sees more green than any other color in the spectrum,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “As it has throughout history, multifaceted Emerald continues to sparkle and fascinate. Symbolically, Emerald brings a sense of clarity, renewal and rejuvenation, which is so important in today’s complex world. This powerful and universally appealing tone translates easily to both fashion and home interiors".

In response to this colour choice, I've played around with some paints to try to get my own emerald, keeping in mind that it will never be an exact match but that's not really my point here.
I'm trying to find what I can create using emerald as a stepping stone. Here's what I did:
I set up my paints, sketchbook, and palette in front of my IPad so I could refer to the Pantone website. Remember that colour memory can be fleeting.....especially for me!
Then I did lots and lots of sampling combining the colours and trying a bit of yellow, a bit of blue, a bit of white and so on until I had several brush strokes that I thought were close. Then I painted a page of leftover colours for an interesting background for some notes I wanted to make.

So that' my experience with Emerald....Why not give it a try!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

One Word Wednesday


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Books on Sunday

I've been rambling through my book shelves again to see what can inspire me for the coming year. I  like to stack a bunch of possibilities beside a comfy chair and then browse through them with a cup of tea. At this gloomy time of year, its the best way to spend an afternoon!
I pulled out Surfaces for Stitch: Plastics, Films and Fabric by Gwen Hedley  and had a good browse through the pages. The author is a well known embroiderer and tutor who teaches and exhibits in both the UK and overseas (I wonder if she's planning a visit to Canada anytime soon?) 

I appreciate the authors approach to "what if" (my two favourite words!) such as:
  • paint it, then stitch again
  • cut it up and reassemble it
  • combine it with other materials
  • work it in a different scale
  • layer it with other pieces
to create unique designs that are truly ones one!

The author suggests a variety of different surfaces such as Tyvek, pliable plastics, stencil film, puff paints and more that can combine with paints, powders, stitch and fabrics, building up layers of texture, colour, pattern and design. The instructions are clear and the photographs are a visual feast. Several projects are offered to familiarize oneself with the materials, book covers, boxes, brooches and pins. Its always helpful to have suggestions on how these techniques can be used.

A good buy and excellent reference! Amazon doesn't carry it anymore but it is available from several re-sellers at reasonable cost. ISBN 1-889682-18-7


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Sketchy Thursday

I love the start of the new year, new beginnings, new ideas, new inspirations! I decided that I would try to post on my blog on a more regular basis and try for a few different themes to keep it interesting. So for each Thursday I plan on posting something from my sketch books.
I've maintained sketchbooks for a few years, I think the habit came from the variety of workshops I took with Gail Harker, first a series of City and Guilds classes and then some of Gail's own series. Check out her offerings at I sure can't recommend them highly enough and now she offers them online-a real bonus if you don't live in the Pacific Northwest!

Gail introduces her students to one of the best quality sketchbooks that are produced. They come in a variety of sizes and I love the 9" x 9", but also the 8" x 10" and the 6" x 6", the 6" x 9" and probably every size there is! The line of sketchbooks is called the AquaBee and they are perfect for mixed media, wet and dry applications and are a Natural White paper. I use a variety of marking products, this time I'm using felt tip markers. Just a note on markers----don't use Sharpie, they tend to leave a hard dot at the beginning and end of a line and they often smear when wet. I much prefer Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pens, Pigma markers or Pentel markers. Actually my favourite is the Pitt marker as it has India ink which is perfect for using in my Thermofax machine!

If you are nervous about putting a line on a BIG WHITE PAPER, many people find it to be helpful to mark the paper first in some way. I love to paint my pages first. You can use any colours or media you want, such as acrylic paints (great way to use up bits and pieces of colour) Procion dye washes, watercolours or gouache. Try a variety and play with colour combinations. You can't make mistakes! I used complementary colours of yellow and mauve on the pages below and added some iridescent wash as well.
Next I chose to use circles as a theme for one page, how many ways could I draw lines through those circles or divide them up into other shapes? Here's just a little sampling of limitless possibilities:
On the second page, I following the colour changes and made contour lines to emphasize the borders between the different colours, I also played around with some silver pen to highlight some areas. There's so much more that I could add to these pages, let's try some other ideas out for next week!
What do you like to try in your sketchbooks?


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

One Word Wednesday

Rust and Ribs

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Give & Take Applique Design Class

Are you excited about starting the new year? Maybe searching to learn a new technique or expand on your design skills?
Then join me at and learn how to create exciting designs using a unique positive/negative design concept. The class begins this Friday, January 4th!
I like to call Give & Take Applique the “no waste” appliqué technique. You will have fun trying out Give & Take Appliqué with some easy exercises and then begin creating your own shapes. You do not have to be a designer; some of the most effective appliqué designs use simple basic shapes. Have fun and play with your fabrics.
Here are just a few of the many designs that are possible with this unique concept. I hope to see you in class!