Thursday, September 3, 2015

I'm Back!

The  three Christmas stocking were finished. Katelyn received hers in time for her third Christmas 2014.

In 2013 I devided to learn at least one new fiber art skill per year. Not to mastery, but enough knowledge to add the skill to me toolbox of tricks.

     Chain maille was the first. Made several bracelets. Working on a vest for D'Oggie Dragon Rider.

     Taught beaded Kumiimo braiding to my doll group.
     Figured out how to chart each and every bead on an 8- warp braid. "Red Roses" below is my own original beaded bracelet design.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Katelyn's Needlepoint Christmas Stocking 2013 - Part 2

A Needlepoint Adventure

The first step on the needlepoint adventure is to find the perfect canvas. On a trip to Boston, MA, we found it at Mary Jo Cole Needlework, This hand-painted one-of-a-kind stocking will be an instant heirloom Christmas memory.

Next, chart the letters for the name.

Select your threads.

Select type of stitch.

Stitch the name.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Katelyn's Christmas Stocking 2013

A Needlepoint Odyssey

     Great Uncle Jon is holding the needlepoint canvas which will be Katelyn's Christmas stocking next year. I am holding Katelyn, age 9 months. Her Gramma  Chris brought her by for a visit last summer. 
     I decided to blog about the adventure of making a hand-needlepointed Christmas stocking...including sewing it up myself. I have finished two previous stockings for Katelyn's older sister and brother-Brooklyn and Nathan. I fear this is a disappearing art, and hope to inspire some of you to give it a try.
     At the same time, I am challenged with figuring out how to write this blog and get photos into it from my IPad. Not as easy as I had hoped it would be.
     So, enough for the first blog. I am currently charting out the letters for her name at the top of the stocking. Need to adapt the font for a smaller scale canvas and get the letters centered on the stocking.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kumihimo on a budget

As my friends know, I am a Kumihimo addict.  I began with the small foam disks and one-handed braiding. That is great for a take-along project, but far too slow for serious braiding. I added several fabulous hand crafted wooden braiding stands from Dave Saunders at and happily braided away for several years. 

When I tried to interest friends in Kumihimo, beyond the foamies, I ran into the cost factor. The beautiful works of art wooden looms were too expensive for those unsure if this craft would become a favorite. So.....I set myself the project of finding a way to have the advantage of two-handed braiding for $25-$50.

Here is my brainstorm: the glass Marudai (round braiding stand).
The smaller vase can be used on top of your coffee table, and the larger one will sit on the floor between your knees.

Supplies available at Michael's.

15" or  24" glass vase (diameter of 4" to 6")                                                   ($5 to $20 on sale.)
CD rom disk or 7" circle foamy (cut a 1/4" hold in the center of the foamy)     ($2)
Fibers from sewing threads, perle cottons, metallics, to all types of yarns and even cloth strips.

Yarn store on online:
8 to 24 small size Susan Bates Yarn Bobbins (for winding the braiding fibers) Order online.
       ($2.50 for a set of 10)
Fibers from sewing threads, perle cottons, metallics, to all types of yarns and even cloth strips.

Local hardware store:
Box of fender washers. Start with the 1" size. These are used to weigh down the bobbins. ($8-12)

Office Max:
Square magnetic clips (used with your filing cabinet). Small and large size.  ($2.50 - $5)
These will be used as counter weights to the weighted bobbins around the outside of the vase.
Box of 1" notebook rings, one per bobbin.

Once you have all the supplies, what next?

1. Open the notebook rings and place 5-6 fender washers on each ring.
2. Attach the ring to the small plastic loop on the bobbin.
3. Close the ring.
4. Prepare your bobbins by wrapping your fibers around the bobbin. I usually start by taping
     down the end of the fiber to the bobbin so it won't fall away at the end of braiding.
5. Gather up all the wound bobbins and tie an overhand knot.
6. Place the knot down into the CD and/or foamie hole and attach the large weighted magnet clip.
7. Put the CD /foamie on top of the vase, with the clip inside.
8. Arrange the bobbins around the top, following you favorite Kumimiho directions, and braid away!
You can adjust the number of fender washers and the counter weight as needed. The quality of the braid varies with more or less weight according to the fibers used and braiding pattern.

If you have questions, email me at:

Let me know if this works out for you!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sweet Adelaide, AU (2009)

This  is my second Rose Hughes inspired art quilt. It appears in Rose's second publication EXPLORING EMBELLISHMENTS and leads off the Student Gallery section.

The journey began on a 2008 trip to Australia with my husband, Jon. He took the photo of me with the koala at the Adelaide Wild Animal Sanctuary.  Can you see me in the photo? Look carefully.

At a February  2009 workshop with Rose, I showed her the photo and said it would make a great art quilt. I began working on the leaves and braiding that weekend.

I began by covering a dozen wirer floral stems with Kumihimo braids. Twelve dozen satin stitched individual eucalyptus leaves were next.  Hand needle felted koala toes and claws were a challenge. Last I made a square braid to cover the raw edge of the quilt border and a thick metallic gray braid to outline the koala sections. Next step was to begin the quilt....

Using Rose's Pieced Applique technique, I made the background sections of tree and koala.  The koala was pieced using wool felt. The bark tree was thread painted and the Kumihimo braids were added to cover the raw edges of the koala and tree.

At this point the backing was sewn on, anticipating a great deal of 3D motifs on the front  and the wrap-around raw edge covered by the square Kumihimo braid.  This complicated the needle felting. I ended up using a nearly horizontal technique of stabbing which attached the 3/8" of wool roving fibers to the wool sections.  I did not stab through the backing fabric while felting.

My hand, yes that's me, was sewn and stuffed using an old doll making technique.  Wires were inserted into the fingers and thumb for realistic posing. The press-on French nails completed the look.

The eucalyptus branches and leaves were tackled next. Each branch of the twelve branches as a dozen leaves, individually sewn on and tacked down on the quilt.

The quilt was completed in August 2009, just in time to meet the submission deadline for Rose's book, which was published  in June 2010. Adelaide has an honored place in my gallery.

Thanks, as always, to Rose for her inspiration and encouragement!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hand chain stitch appliques

Maureen Cox models my Rose Hughes' "Poppies" applique jacket. I own the lovely Poppy quilt and Rose granted permisssion for me to make an applique from the design. It was Valentine's Day at the bi-monthly meeting of the Surface Art Association.

Jon spent the month of July 2009 in Mongolia.  He was there for their special yearly festival highlighting the Gengis Khan legacy of horsemanship and archery.  He commissioned a horse head vest in gold for the event.  He had many positive comments when the festival goers spied the horse head - Tahki - in Mongolian.

In November 2009, Jon spent 3 weeks in SE Asia, touring Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos, Burma (the locals prefer this name), and Thailand. It turns out that the peacock image is important to all four cultures. 

 As with all the applique motifs, they are hand embroidered in a tight chain stitch, appliqued onto the garment (I sew the vests, and buy the jackets), and are framed with hand braided Kumihimo braids. 
A labor of love for sure!

Jon is heading to Borneo in July 2010 and has already asked about his Orangutan vest.  The hunt is on!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Using an iphone to add photos to your Facebook page.

I have learned a new thing.  Add the Facebook app to your iphone, take a photo with your phone, sign on to the app, follow the directions, and your photo will be posted to your home page on Facebook.

From there you will need to open up the new photo album you will find on FaceBook, make any corrections in your text, and then post it to your news feed.

Your photo does not go straight to your news feed....a detail I had to learn.

Easy, once you get the whole picture.

Now, I need to figure out how the portrait photo ended up on its side as a landscape photo once it reached FaceBook.....hum.....