Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Felting, a Gathering and a Tutorial

 Hooray for another gathering at Cheri Sheridan's studio,
Once In A Blue Moon Art Barn!
Our focus was mostly wet felting, 
but a little needle felting snuck in to the mix, too.
I had the pleasure of sharing with Cheri, Carol and Erika 
the basic steps for creating a jellyroll of fibers 
to be wet felted and then cut 
into discs or other configurations. 

 Below, I'm sharing a tutorial so you can join in the fun, too! 

Back to the Art Barn:
Above, you can see Cheri's layers of fibers getting a
cheery dose of brightly dyed curly locks. 
Curly locks work really well with this technique because 
they only condense more during felting, exposing bright  
spots of color once the roll is sliced into (see pics below). 
Carol Boyer builds her jellyroll layers.
Visit her blog - it's full of inspiration, creativity and information. 
Carol lives in the Syracuse area, so seeing her at these 
workshops is a definite treat!
 Erika is rolling her jellyroll, which has been wrapped in 
a layer of tulle. To see the wide range of color palettes these 
three women used was absolutely amazing, not to mention 
the bounty of fiber they've amassed!
 Cheri, our Hostess with the Mostess!
Carol's wrapping her jellyroll in tulle, 
preparing it for the wetting stage and then rolling, rolling 
and more rolling.
 Finally, the rolls are felted to the right firmness
and it's time to reveal the magic within!
Erika's roll swirled with rich, jewel-like colors,
reminiscent of VanGogh's Starry Night
 Carol's roll showed exquisite colors and contrast.
What a beauty.
 On what was a very chilly Fall morning,
Cheri's roll seemed to invoke all the rites of Spring. 
She thought these might make excellent buttons. 
These are some left over slices from a trivet I made.
Trivets can take the form of a circle, diamond or square.
If you choose to make a trivet, be careful to slice 
at an even thickness so your trivet is fairly level.
Then just sew through each disc always from the side, 
going all the way through and into the next disc, 
and so on. For strength and stability, back track often.
Pull your thread firmly as you go. Try to begin and end your
knots facing the inside of the trivet so they're invisible.

Now for the jellyroll tutorial.  :)
 Have a blast felting jellyrolls at your house!
 Round up a variety of high contrast colors of 
(preferably merino) batting and/or roving.
Approximately 2 oz. of each color per jellyroll.
You'll also need: 
a piece of tulle, approximately 16"x12"
two pieces of string
bamboo mat and a towel
hot soapy water in a sink or basin
 Steps 1-5 create the interior bullseye.
Step 1, spread a thin layer of color 1 with 
fibers running left to right. (Photo 1, above.)

Step 2, place a thin layer of color 2 with 
fibers oriented top to bottom.
(Photo 2, above.)

 Step 3, repeat step 1 using color 3.
(Photo 3, above.)
Step 4, repeat step 2 using color 4.
(Photo 4, above.)

TIP: Try to avoid layering two similar colors 
in a row. 
 Step 5, starting at a short end, tightly roll the 
stack of fibers. The tighter you roll now, 
the less rolling you'll do later.
 Set your bullseye roll aside.
 Similar to the previous method, lay out 
a thin layer of one color. 
Aim for contrast so the layers really look sharp
once they're cut into discs.
Place your bullseye roll on this layer of fiber 
and from the short end, roll tightly. (Photos 1 and 2)
Repeat this process for at least one more color, 
(photo 3)
but if you can manage more colors, do so.
The end result will be worth it!
As seen in the final pic above, if you have 
curly locks, sprinkle them on any layer for added fun!

Ready for the felting stage:
 Wrap your jellyroll in the piece of tulle, 
securely tying each end. 
(Photo 1, above, and photos of Carol and Erika, above.)

Fill a sink or plastic bin with a few inches of 
hot soapy water.
Blue Dawn, olive oil soap or glycerin soap  
all work well.

Quickly dip your roll into the hot soapy water, and
gently squeeze the water to the core of the jellyroll. 
Take care not to submerge too long or you could 
lose definition of the beautiful swirls and layers 
you've worked to create. 

On your bamboo mat, 
which I like to place on a towel for stability,
gingerly begin rolling your wetted jellyroll.

This first stage is just to get it to hold together - 
you're not using a lot of pressure yet.
(Photo 1, above.)

Roll it until you feel a skin forming and the roll 
beginning to hold it's shape, then remove the tulle.
(Photo 2, above.)

Now the work of rolling with pressure begins. 
Dip in the hot soapy water as often as you feel necessary. 
You're not going to hurt anything at this point. 
Just keep rolling until your jellyroll is dense. 
Very dense. 
(Photo 3, above)
Using a serrated knife or an electric knife,
cut your jellyroll straight down, like coins, 
or on an angle, pictured above.
Experiment and see what you come up with.

Notice the bullseye in the center surrounded by 
a few rounds of solid colors.

I hope you have a blast not only felting jellyrolls,
but finding great ways to use the resulting discs.
I've made trivets, and our group thought that buttons, 
jewelry and mobiles would be fun, too.
Pinterest is loaded with ideas, so see what you can find.
Let me know what you come up with. I'd love to hear!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Find Me Here!

In stores now!
In my little handmade universe, the release of 
Quilting Arts Holiday Gifts Magazine
officially signals the approach of my favorite time of year,
Christmas time.

I have a project inside. Did I tell you?
You can click here to order your copy of this fabulous magazine, 
or head out to your local JoAnn Fabrics, etc.. 
and pick one up today. 
The talented magazine staff made my 
silk and batik book cover look just amazing.
(sorry, my photo above.) 

The instructions and template for my book cover are 
in the magazine so you can whip up a bunch for yourself and
 friends right away! I included ideas for personalizing, too.
I had a blast designing and making these book covers.
Silk makes them sparkle, but any fun combination of fabrics 
would be a hit. Did someone say scrap buster? Indeed!

The magazine has an updated layout with plenty of 
full page color photos, 
as well as a ton of mouth-watering holiday cookie recipes.
I've studied each and every project, and easily added
a dozen new items to my holiday gift giving list, yay!
If you make holiday gifts (not limited to Christmas) 
go now. Pick up a copy. You'll be glad you did.

Soft Denim Slouch Bags
 To celebrate the arrival of my two new bag styles 
now available in the shop,
Mini-Messenger Bags
receive 10% off all bags only, 
(excludes PDF sewing patterns)
today through Sunday, September14th!

Just use code FALLBAGS14 at checkout.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Printmaking At Moon Dance Studio

 Hello Cheri Sheridan! 
Last week, she kicked off our first informal workshop at  
her Moon Dance Art Studio.

Cheri, Carol Boyer and I gathered for three days of printmaking.
Our primary intention was to delve into wood cuts; however,
after one day of cutting wood blocks we unanimously 
decided that, while we appreciate the inherent beauty 
of wood cuts and all that the carving process involves, 
it was really ok to move on and 
explore other methods of printmaking....
 During our first morning, Cheri transfers her wood cut design 
while Carol stops carving long enough to smile for the camera.
 By the end of our first day, Cheri pulled this from her wood cut.
Isn't it lovely?!
 Carol not only cut a beautiful wood block and printed it, 
but then turned around and steadily cut and fabricated 
several foam stamps. That was just our first day!
 By day two, Carol was a printmaking machine.
Every stamp she inked yielded fantastic prints!
 Carol pulling yet another gorgeous stamp. Genius.
You can see Cheri's wood cut in the background.
 Pinned up to dry, our growing body of work. 
Carol's wood cuts are in the center, Cheri's are top right.
I have the least represented because I was having 
such a great time cutting blocks and taking pictures!
 Once we gave ourselves permission to try other methods 
of printmaking, Cheri took out her Gelli plate and went to town!
 Just one of Cheri's amazing Gelli prints.
I kid with Carol and Cheri that I really just want to 
work like them, you know, free and loose. 
Whether or not that day ever comes, working alongside 
these two artistic marvels was a real inspiration!
 Over the course of our three days we enjoyed 
some super cool visitors who couldn't make the workshop, 
but wanted to stop in and check out the fun. 
Among them were Colleen North and Terri Fendya, 
and pictured above, on the right, Erika Kuryla. 
I put my tools down for one of Cheri's 
ginger cookies with chunks of candied ginger - 
oh. my. gosh.
Have I already put "Genius" after Carol Boyer's name? 
Then how about generous?
Carol gave each of us hand painted, hand cut graffiti stamps,
both the positive and the negative, of each of our names.
You can be jealous.
More of Cheri's Gelli plate experiments.
As she builds layers, she builds interest.
Here, Cheri incorporated a block carved by one of her students
which immediately inspired Ooooh's and Aahhhhh's.
A great time was had by all, and
we've even planned our next workshop: Felting.
Stay tuned for that!
In the mean time, I'd love to hear about 
your favorite workshop. Leave me a comment!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

I Met the Deadline!

 Starting my day with a fresh cup of coffee and these beauties.

Today is the day I've been preparing for 
for the past seven weeks. 
 My first official art quilt is finished, 
and I met the application deadline for the 
annual juried quilt show called

My past seven weeks have been consumed with:
sketches and cartoons
hand applique, reverse applique and fused applique
18 colors of thread
batiks and silks
a thoroughly joyful process.

Avoiding potential disqualification,
I'm refraining from showing you the quilt just yet. 
What I can share is that it tells not only my personal story, 
but one that is universal. I dig that.  
Should the quilt be accepted into this juried show, 
I believe I could safely reveal in October, once the show opens.
If it's denied, then I'll show it as soon as possible.
I love it, and I can't wait to share it with you!

 Last week, I showed you three bobbins of singles,
and I promised to show you all three plied together. 

Above: Fat Cat Knits, BFL, 3 ply, 844 yards (!)

Below: Bobbin ends, Fat Cat and IntoTheWhirled, 3 ply
 Below, 900 yards slung over another of my favorite coffee spots.
Wish me and my art quilt luck!
I'll let you know the results as soon as I hear. 

What are you working on?
I'd love to hear!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Fiber and Friend Fix

I'm back from a little getaway at Wiawaka on Lake George, NY.
The majority of this brief respite was spent on a huge covered porch 
just a few feet from the shore, seated at the wheel and
spinning with the best girlfriends a spinner could ask for!
The Minehaha cruising up the lake, 
surrounded by the Adirondack mountains. 
 Our group filled all of Wakonda Lodge, 
which has been newly opened 
after years of being closed up and unoccupied. 
We all agreed that this is our favorite place to stay at Wiawaka.
For the interesting history on this architectural beauty, click here.
 Priscilla, Mary and Marjorie (seated front to back).
(Sorry I didn't get a picture of you, Vickie!)
The room I called home for a few nights. Sigh. 
Sad to leave, but at the same time, anxious to get back 
to the studio! Still working toward that August 15th deadline....

While a few days away from the studio was just what 
the doctor ordered, a surprise side trip to Fat Cat Knits
proved an exciting fiber shopping experience!

4 oz. BFL colorways left to right:
Saint John, Piccolo, Mon Ami

I spun two of the bobbins at Wiawaka.
I will ply all three together and share the result next week! 
Before leaving for Wiawaka I had to clear some bobbins,
all of which were loaded with various IntoTheWhirled fibers.

Above, a happy three-ply of merino and silk.
Below, a glowing two-ply of polwarth and silk.
P.S. - Help! I'd love suggestions for what to knit with 
the almost 600 yds. of yarn pictured directly above!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Away Too Long

Despite declaring just last week that I'm putting aside
all studio projects in order to meet an important 
mid-August deadline, this shirt -
this much loved, well-worn, (stained) white shirt - 
kept begging for a new lease on life.
Unable to ignore it any longer, 
out came a dye pot and a bag of yellow onion skins.
 I pre-mordanted the white shirt in tannin, 
and followed that with an alum soak.
The next day, the onion skins were simmered for an hour 
and then steeped for an hour.
Aiming for a mottled effect, I laid bands of onion skins 
directly onto the shirt hoping they would deposit 
concentrated doses of color where ever they made contact
with the shirt.
 Then, I carefully rolled it all up.
 Loosely tied with organic jersey strings, this is the bundle 
as it first entered the dye pot.
Mid-way through the 24 hour soak, I removed the strings  
and opened out the shirt allowing for full contact 
with the dye bath
Cross your fingers that the skins on the interior of the shirt 
had enough time to deposit concentrated color
 Rinsed and hung to dry, the shirt looks great.
A soft, mottled effect is visible, 
the overall color is rich, 
and I couldn't be happier!

This is the first natural dyeing I've done 
since last summer, and clearly I've been away too long.
After the mid-August deadline is met, I have a feeling that
the dye pots will once again be put to use.
Perhaps Indigo?
Now that's an exciting thought. :)