Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Our challenge for December was to do some sort of stamping.

Melanie: My piece is called "Rain." I used a piece of parfait dyed fabric for the background, then stamped with small cell bubble wrap, a commercial spiral stamp and a hand carved splashy/droplet sort of stamp. I used lumiere copper, silver & pearl fabric paint for the stamping, and added pieces of silvery, gold and coppery silk.

I also brought a "show & tell" of a piece I created from the fabric marbling we have been doing. The cellular looking sections and the more traditional swirly section is the marbled fabric. This piece is titled "All Dressed Up" and uses silks and quilting with metallic thread to set off the marbled fabric.

Lastly, I created a small piece in response to the Quilting Arts "Coffee or Tea" reader challenge. The background is a commercial fabric, the teacup created from an Asian fabric with foil for the rim, white ultrasuede and yellow Angelina for the floating lemon and organza for steam.
Cathey: I started by using a bubble stencil as a stamp. I covered the stencil in fabric paint, then "stamped" it on to the fabric. I then used a cork dipped in gold paint to make the gold circles and added ribbon and commercial fabric circles.

Hope: I did not finish a stamped piece but I had fun creating stamps using  Moldable Foam MagicStamps . I pressed them into beads, safety pins and rotini macaroni! Now I have to make something with them.

I made this dye & soy wax linen fabric at Melanie's basement studio session last week. I then did a little stenciling on it. More to come on this one.

Marcia: I had a heck of a time with this project. First I used a soft carve-able stamp block to carve some tulips. I used an exacto knife instead of stamping/lino cutting tools and I carved too deeply. As a result, the stamp started to fall apart. Then I tried a linoleum block and a screwdriver. Definitely not the way to go. I returned to the soft stamp tulip block and decided to try "Perfect Pearls" with it. These are frosted powders. You can add water to make them more paint-like. I did that and painted the stamp but the paint kind of slid off. Finally I got enough to stick and did my stamping. The yellow fabric was a funny shape so I decided to go ahead with it and call it a design decision to cut off a corner. My troubles did not end there. When I quilted it, I ended up with a crease in the middle. When I made the label, I misspelled "tulip." I am looking forward to January!
Pat: I was not able to do the project this month but I did do a little experimenting with Sharpie Markers and alcohol. The big chisel tipped markers work the best cause they are nice & juicy, You draw some lines, dots or a design, then spray with or drop on rubbing alcohol. The alcohol causes the marker ink to spread, creating interesting painterly effects. It can be done on silk, cotton, sneakers, many types of fabric. Heat set it after it is dry. There are several videos on Youtube. Quick & fun!

Joan: I am stuck somewhere between Minnesota  & home.
Blizzards & fog are not airplane friendly. :(

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sari Silk Strip Challenge

The challenge for November was to use 1 or more strips of sari silk in a project. The sari silk strips were given to us by Cathey who gets them from a small business called Darn Good Yarn.

Hope: When I saw what was going on in the Dianne Hire class at A Quilters' Gathering, I decided to make a similar piece. Although I used some Australian fabrics, I think it has an African feeling. I used the sari silk, some other silk, beads and fussy cut motifs.

I also brought my piece from the Pam Mostek collage class. It is not yet finished and you can see some pins in the sky area but I am making progress.

Pat: The first thing I did with my strips when Cathey gave them to me was iron them. The jewel tones really looked great together. I decided to try piecing them together on felt using my longarm. First I used black thread to sew them on to the felt, then used decorative quilting and antique buttons to embellish them. Finally, I cut the felt with a wavy blade rotary cutter to form the decorative border.

I have also been working on samples for my new class on quilting zen mandalas.

Joan: Everyone knows how much I love landscapes. I decided to use one of my Iceland photos for inspiration. The piece is made from strips of hand dyed and silk fabric, a strip of photo printed on fabric (contains small sheep and fence posts) and a fuzzy sari silk strip was used for foreground grass.I quilted it on felt.

I have been experimenting with marbling fabric. I especially like the effect of dropping color on the thickened water and letting it morph into organic shapes. This is a piece I bordered in silk and quilted with a few different thread colors.

Marcia: I started with an idea then changed my mind. I decided to make a color blocked collage. I wanted to hand quilt the piece and have one section roughed but the tight weave of the fabrics made both techniques difficult. I ended up sewing & quilting it by machine. In addition to the silk sari strips, I used satin, beads,  buttons and butterflies.

Cathey: I started out wanting to make a large collaged/stitched fabric piece from the strips. I had some trouble and it needs more work. Here is the progress so far:

Then I decided to create a scarf. I layed ironed pieces of the sari silk together, sandwiched them between pieces of water soluable stabilizer, stitched them, then dissolved the stabilizer. I really like the result!

I also brought my collaged wave from Pam Mostek's class. I am still working on sewing down all the pieces and adding lots of texture to the foamy part of the wave.I am also experimenting with background color. In the photo I have some green fabric there but I am not yet convinced that that is the right color. Right now I am leaning toward yellow.

Melanie: For the sari silk challenge, I decided to incorporate my strips into the piece I started in Dianne Hire's class. I used silk, hand dyed cotton, Australian fabric, beads and crystals. I call it Jewel of India because the colors and felling remind me of India.

I also am almost finished with my collaged guitars. This was a great class and technique.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Natural World

The challenge for October 2012 was "the natural world."

Joan: This sunprint was made using grasses and setacolor transparent paint on cotton. I used blue for the binding and the inner flange to pick up the blue thread used to quilt. I used several other thread colors as well. The main border is natural linen.

This hosta is based on plants in my garden - complete with slug holes. The background and the outer part of the large leaf are hand dyed and fabric. The inner section of the large leaf is silk. The 2 smaller leaves were printed from a photo I took. I used some variegated and some solid thread for the quilting.

This landscape was created from silk, batik and linen then quilted with a variety of thread including metallic and variegated.

Cathey: I recently returned from Maui and had a lot of pictures of the amazing flora. This piece is a representation of a monstera plant. The leaves are huge! The leaf is made from painted Lutradur. I used several colors to get the depth and variation present in the actual plant. The veins are stitched with yellow pearl cotton.

I finally finished my piece for the "cookie" theme. I made 3 chocolate chip cookies on a plate. The cookies are made from hand dyed fabric and 2 layers of batting. The "chips" were added with puff paint, then painted chocolate.

I also made this jazzy box. I started with an altoid tin and covered it with scrapbook paper and modpodge.

Marcia: I used a variety of silks for the background, then appliqued a tree cut from a man made leathery type of fabric. It is based on a picture I took.

I was also inspired by all the rain, fog and drizzle of the last couple of weeks and made this piece using tulle to represent the weather. The mushrooms and other plants were painted with fabric paint.

I finally finished my "seed packet" piece from last year. Actual wildflower seeds are trapped behind organza.

Melanie: This is a sunprinted piece. I used a variety of leaves and 2 or 3 layers to achieve the depth. It is bordered in hand dyed fabric.

This small piece is made with transperse dyes on white satin with a paper tree mask. The borders are hand dyed fabric.

For better or worse, the snow will be here soon. In anticipation, I made these snowflakes by creating a freezer paper mask, brushing over the mask with blue fabric paint, then removing the mask and painting the flakes with pearlescent fabric paint. The background is hand dyed fabric. One flake is made from white Angelina finer. It is more ethereal in feeling.

Hope: I again used the Judith Larzelere strip piecing method to create this gray palette piece. I used paint, paintsticks and stamps to embellish it. It is not yet finished. One idea I have is to add preserved leaves to it. I preserved some using a glycerin soak. They are supple but not as colorful as I'd hoped. Stay tuned for the final result.

Sheila Rae: Sheila was a guest at this meeting. She brought some samples of her work for us to see. She uses a lot of  buttons, beads and found objects in her pieces. She has jars and boxes full of things people have given her or left on her doorstep hoping to see them in one of her fiber art works. Sheila Rae does not use a sewing machine for her work, it is all done by hand.

This first piece is titled" The Original Woman."It is based on African esthetics and incorporates many images and objects reminiscent of African life.

This piece is called "Pond Scum." It is made from felted curly wool and water themed embellishments. She said that when it was finished it reminded her of pond scum.

This last piece is "Nyquil" made after using too much of the stuff. It is made from an old crewel pillow top and assorted other objects.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The challenge for this month was Cookie(s).

Melanie: The first thing that popped into my head for this challenge was Oreo cookies. I love them. I had also been wanting to make something with lips covered with Angelina fibers so this project was perfect. The cookie is raw edge appliqued from dark brown fabric. Black marker and black thread quilting was used for the cookie details. The fingernails were painted on with pink and pearl fabric paint. The teeth are made from white satin. The lips are made from some of my hand dyed fabric, overlayed with pink Angelina. I used quilting to enhance the face and fingers. The piece is 9" by 13.5"

Marcia: This is a cookie bouquet. I cut the cookie flower shapes using my Go Baby cutter.  I used beads and buttons from my collection/stash to create several embellished layers to each cookie. I tried to attached wooden skewers for the stems - much like what you would see if you ordered a cookie bouquet but I could not quite get them attached the way I envisioned. I need to give more thought about how to do the stems. The piece is tied rather than quilted.
Hope: I did not do the project for this month but I did make a commissioned piece for a friend. She wanted something to hang on her office door. I used several types if fabric and couched yarns. I think it really has a lot of texture. I am debating about embellishing with beads. The group thinks I should add beads to the teardrop satin shapes.

Joan: The idea that immediately came to my mind was fortune cookies. I created a Chinese food take-out box using fabric and timtex.The cookies are made from upholstery samples, fusible interfacing and wire embedded to help them bend and hold shape. At a yard sale I found a pair of decorative chop sticks. Each cookie will have a fortune. These pieces will be assembled on to a backround.
(picture to follow when project is completed)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


For August, our inspiration was fruit.


Watermelon. The background and center of this piece is hand dyed fabric. I overlayed fused watermelon colored Angelina fiber to give the wet watermelon texture. For the white inner rind, I used white ultrasuede and couched light green yarn and bright green silk ribbon around the edges. I was lucky enough to find the perfect glass beads just the right size and shape for the seeds.
Juicy Orange Slices
Fir this piece, I use a bright orange synthetic for the background, a nappy orange corduroy for the rind, white ultrasued for the inner rind and hand dyed orange fabric painted with translucent pearl fabric paint for the orange sections.

Pink Grapefruit
For this piece, I used white silk fir the inner rind, and some of my ice dyed fabric for the sections and blue background. For the outer rind, I used modgepodge to glue many opalescent seed beads for glimmer and texture. I highlighted color within the piece with a dry paintbrush and acrylic paint. There is also colored pencil work. The blue background is spritzed with pearlized spray

Summer Raspberries
For this piece, I used colored pencil to for the foliage and stems. I found perfect raspberry beads for the ripe fruit. To represent the core left on the stem after a berry is picked, I used spiral silver beads and for the unripe berries, I used small green beads. In the upper right, I quilted in a raspberry flower and used a variety of beads to represent stamens and other parts of the raspberry flower.

Looking at Fruit Fiber in a New Way
I am a Registered Dietician. The America Dietetic Association (ADA) is having a member photo contest. The challenge is to submit a photo that shows food in a different way. Since I am a fiber artist more than a photographer, I made an art quilt piece and submitted a photo of it. 

I had a greeting card with fruit images drawn by a local artist. I received permission from the artist to interpret her artwork in fabric. The piece shows a new way to look at fiber. These fruits are among those containing the highest fiber and, of course, here they are created with fiber. The bright colors in these fruits indicate that they are also a good source of phytochemicals.

The piece is made from silk, hand dyed fabrics, embellished with beads. A bit of fraying upholstery fabric creates the brown rind of the kiwi.
Unrelated to fruit, I recently finished a stacked rock landscape piece.

Rock and Shadow
The background of this piece is hand dyed. The pink and light horizontal color represents light source. I created the rocks by felting wool roving around actual rocks and then cutting away the felted shapes once they were dry. I stacked the rock halves on the background. I collect rocks and geodes and plan to do more pieces with them as a focus.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

July 2012
The challenge for July was to use at least 1 piece of the non-traditional fabric samples Pat Ferguson brought back from a re-cycling place in California.

Pat: I used several of the sample pieces and used the designs in the fabric to inspire the quilting.

Melanie: I used some of the samples to create a collage that I then quilted in circles with couched yarn - Carol Taylor style. I then made a second piece from a whole cloth, soy wax dyed fabric I created a while back.

This piece was created from a photo I took of a clematis in my yard. I printed it on fabric and used that as the center. I extended the flower petals using silky fabric from the pieces I received from Pat. Some hand and ice dyed fabrics were also used. Thread sketching enhances the flower, leaves and tendrils.

Linda: I used an open fabric sample and created a woven piece for the center and used another sample for the sides. I like how the red knotted cord stands out and creates a focus.  I also made a "spring" piece created with embroidery.

Cathey: It was great fun using these funky fabrics in a collage.

 Hope: I used my samples in this piece inspired by a class I took with Judith Larzelere.

Marcia: I made a collage from some of the samples and some other interesting fabrics I had on hand and, of course, embellished it with beads.