September 30, 2008

Under the Big Top

I did it, I broke down and bought a tent. Although I have been selling my art at shows for a several years, the purchase of the de riguer 10' x 10' white canopy helps us look as professional as we hope our art does. More importantly, it keeps us and our textile goods shielded from UV rays under which we will be standing for two days come October 18-19 at Bernardo Winery.

You remember these, right? They weren't so fancy when I was a kid. Some were just wooden spools with four nails which served the same purpose. An idea is coming and, while that forms, the knitted cord keeps getting longer and longer -- it's over two yards now.

Is it live ... or is it Memorex?! In case you haven't seen it yet, this isn't Sarah Palin and Katie Couric; it's Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and it's hilarious. I can't wait til the VP debate on Thursday -- it'll be Saturday Night Live three days early.

September 29, 2008

Green Pink Yellow

Perspective of this quilt makes more sense if you know I was standing on the stairs to take the photo. It's so big (78" x 78") that I couldn't hang it up. This will cover the surface of a queen size bed (60" x 80") with an 9" overhang on three sides, save for pillows. The stars and yo-yos are hand-appliqued.

Magellan has always been attracted to quilts. I laid out the three recent quilts to admire before putting into the washing machine (I only sell clean blankets!) and he marched over to sit smack in the middle. Knowing he would not move, I rolled him up and gave him air to breathe. Here he is, stymied by it all.

September 27, 2008

More Quilts

I woke up at 6:30a and began to think about the binding (I had gone to bed at 12:30a). My began to race about the binding (how goofy is that), so I got up to sew. After 90 minutes of stitching, drowsiness took over and I slept for two more hours. This Irish Chain quilt is 62" x 62". The colors in the next image are truer.

I'm already onto the third, final and largest quilt. Again Nancy helped me pick the binding fabric. What would I do without her?!

BTW, Nancy sent me a link -- how funny to have a serger named Lauren.

September 26, 2008

Bound To Finish

About two years ago I hired Ellen to quilt some tops for me (in case you wondered how these quilts suddenly appeared). My pal Nancy helped to pick the binding fabric -- she's so good with color. The hand-stitching of the binding is going really fast.

September 25, 2008

48" x 52" and Scrappy

I finished it, phew. Sometimes unfinished objects lay around in the sewing room for so long that I can't tell if the colors are outdated or if I'm just tired of seeing them.

September 24, 2008


This is the binding of a scrap quilt to sell at the Bernardo Winery show. The leather thimble goes on my middle finger to push the needle through. The rubber finger tip goes on my index finger to pull the needle out. ...and you thought I meant the two-headed antelope from Dr. Doolittle?

Twisting thread drives me nuts when I'm hand-sewing. I gave the thread a coat of beeswax...

...put it into a paperbag and ironed it on low setting, causing the wax to melt into the thread...

...and rewound it onto a spool to work the quilt binding. Ahh, no more twisting thread, and the thread is stronger too.

September 23, 2008

Why I Have a Stash

I have a bulging stash of supplies because the acts of getting a great idea and making the accompanying purchase take less time than sewing a quilt or making a doll or weaving a basket or embroidering, embellishing, beading, knitting, felting... creating! But I have all day Wednesday to play and I've got lots to play with. I stopped at Michael's to get Bernat's Glow In The Dark yarn and a Clover Wonder Knitter. When I got home, there were two packages on my doorstep. One contained a pile of beautiful kimono fabrics from Hokkaido. The other was from etsy seller sdspin, four bags of pretty wool for felting. Is it my day off yet?

Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, FOUR bags full.
One for the master, one for the dame,
And TWO for the little boy who lives down the lane.

September 22, 2008

Once the Dust Settles

Whoever said the scent of lavender relieves headaches wasn't working with a sack of it by her/his side. I think it gives me a headache. Lavender pillows are stored in a sheer container to preserve the pungent fragrance. Quilts will get my attention next.

Worrying about inventory was useful because I worked fast and have nearly four weeks remaining before the Bernardo Winery Fall Arts & Crafts Festival. Will you be there? Nancy Tyrell and I will be there with bells on! Look for us in Space 21.

September 21, 2008


I stitched all day and am relieved to get this pile finished so quickly. I love hand sewing Chinese brocade because thread disappears among the fibers. Other fabrics are very tightly woven. My sharpest needle looked as though it would break as I pushed it through with a leather thimble. I am always surprised at how tense my shoulders and upper back are when sewing and, despite frequent relaxing and stretching, was sufficiently worn out to require two naps.

This is the companion pillow to what I showed you yesterday, the keeper embroidery piece. Masami explained that the decorative six-sided box contains hamaguri, game pieces made from painted clam shells. See also the kumihimo braid painted onto the silk. I think I will have to keep both pillows.

September 20, 2008

Plenty Going On

According to my blog stats the ever generous SharonB of In A Minute Ago has directed a lot of readers this way -- thank you sew much, Sharon. Welcome, stitchers and lovers of stitchwork, to my sewing room!

In anticipation of my next show at Bernardo Winery, the work table is covered with pillows to be stitched closed. The air is filled with the scent of lavender and everything in my room has a light coating of dust. Tien poked his head in and found me with a blue mask over my face. He left almost immediately.

This is a small unstuffed pillow, about 5" x 6". I have resisted putting it into inventory because of the embroidery. Even though the fabric has stains, someone will buy it and I'm not ready to let go (if ever).

This is a large image -- click on it to see finely detailed work. This was part of a kimono. Some lucky lady once had a beautiful garment.

Every once in a while a pillow just won't sell. This was one of them. The fabric is lovely (to me), but compared to the vintage Chinese brocades and Japanese kimono fabrics, it's quite boring. I even spruced it up with vintage glass beads, but no takers. Oh well, guess I'll snip off the beads and move on. (ARGH, that's a close-up of my hand and I had to Photoshop out the hang nails and dry cuticles.)

Remember the catnip quilts? Enough, I've decided. I don't want to make anymore -- what to do with one pound of catnip remaining? Coppelia and Magellan got a new bed, but I don't think they'll get much sleep on it. Their eyes glaze over and they drool... meow, crazy!

September 18, 2008

"The Invisible Woman"

Someone highly creative and skillful, a person who goes by Lov Trigg, created this beautiful video. I love the stitchwork, the music, the entire video because, well, don'tcha sometimes feel like this? Found with thanks in the blog of spirit cloth, a lovely place to visit.

September 16, 2008

Changing Gears Again

Darn it, I should have taken before/after photos! I cleaned up the studio today and put away things I won't need for sewing lavender pillows. For fun and a change of scenery, I rearranged furniture too. Now there's a straight shot from the doorway directly to the computer, in between my sewing machine and my cutting table.

This has nothing to do with sewing, but the goodies at this website were such delicious eye candy. It all started with a blurb in Domino about a selection of the artist's goods available at Target stores.

This too has nothing to do with sewing, but she's awfully cute! Coppélia snoozing on the cutting table...

September 15, 2008

Glue v. Stitching

Because I like a clean finish, raw edges were turned under and stitched. I had to use glue on the brocade though and, argh, I feel like a cheater, but it was the appropriate thing to do given the thickness.

September 14, 2008

Salvaged Art

I spent way too long on this stitching. Couching does not come easily to me either. Overall, the design was hideous and I considered tossing it into the garbage. I put it aside to work on something else.

When I was able to give the piece more thought, I considered the "waste transformer," aka my Embellisher felting machine. Since everything is fair game (as far as textiles, anyway), I put a light layer of roving on top. The base fabric kinked up as the roving meshed and I started to like what was happening. This felting machine was an excellent purchase!!

As a last step I added the beads and felt satisfied.

I'm done designing this series of purse hook art, phew! I thought the end would never come, but here I am, still sane. After the Bernardo Winery show, I have another 36 to make, so I'm really only half done.

This roving arrived in today's mail. It came from Etsy seller sdspin who has beautiful woolen products. I put a piece through the Embellisher and it was delicious! I want to buy more, More, MORE!

September 12, 2008

33 Done and 3 To Go

The light at the end of the purse-hook-art-tunnel gets brighter and brighter. My Dad didn't realize how small my canvases were, so the tiny brass safety pin is for scale. These have bits of felt in them -- I am making use of my new Embellisher. When I create the next series of 36, I promise myself there will be no flowers or trees. I feel I've overdone them in the first series, even though I love 'em.

This one has a tiny tanzanite in the center.

September 11, 2008

Time for Myself

Between my two part-time office jobs, there has been little time for my purse hook art, until today when I got these done. I'm also reading an online story about events surrounding the 1977 Golden Dragon Massacre in San Francisco's Chinatown. It is bringing back a lot of memories. This is also the anniversary of another massacre, as if we could forget.

September 9, 2008

Second Verse (same as the first)

This seems like a repeat of my last post... the same but different.

I tossed a salad of embr floss bits and wool roving, felted it all and, ta dah, a nest! I figured out that that's why I like felting these textures: because the result is like a bird's nest. Only part of this one is felted -- over time I will add more floss.

Four more purse hook pieces... If only I were always as productive today!

September 8, 2008

Save Our Landfills

My new felting machine is a "waste transfomer." As long as I don't have kitchen garbage in my sewing room, there seems to be no need for a trash bin. A small amount of roving and clipped ends of embroidery floss went through the machine beautifully and out came this semblance of a bird. I tweaked the beak; all it needs are an eye and a pair of feet. I would like to embroider it too. Both sides are shown. As usual, click on the photos to see closely.

This is my next garbage pile waiting for enough thread bits to transform under the felting needles.

More purse hook art... I am relieved to say I only need to stitch a dozen more to meet my self-induced quota for the Bernardo Winery Show. It's 6 weeks away.

September 7, 2008

The Plunge

After adding a blue star to the center of the white flower, the piece looked more balanced. The outer circle of the flower needed to be brought in a bit, so more stitches were added, each with a white bead.

These ribbon flowers were done using the same technique as for basket embellishments, but they went together faster because finished-edge ribbons v. raw-edged kimono silk means I get to skip a step.

I've been resisting change but finally took the plunge to alter my monitor settings to Large Fonts (mind you, not Extra Large Fonts!). At first I was worried I would feel old (which I did), but once I could see the diff, it eased the strain so much that I didn't care. Four months ago Lasik took away near vision but gave me distance -- not very useful to someone who stitches and is on the computer a lot, but I'm adjusting. Sometimes threading a needle is challenging! While healing continues, vision still changes a bit, but I'm still glad I did it.