16 May


I was too lazy today to make a new quilt sandwich for my noodling, so you’ll have to try to look past the previous doodles which are trying to insinuate themselves into this picture.


More bobbin play here. The wobbly lines (tension, not shakes) don’t even bother me. They’d bug me on a finished piece, but I’d have checked the tension first on a finished piece. I find the wobbles kind of charming here.

16 May

Because I’m NOT a Knitter

Is it wrong that while I am barely half finished with my knitted Chevron Scarf, and have plans for some knitted washcloths, I was gathering info last night for a knitted Log Cabin afghan? I’m the quilter in the family. My sister is the knitter.

In my defense, the afghan could actually be considered a type of cleaning up. See, here’s my fabric stash:

LOTS of fabric

Well, not really. That’s my quilting stash. Up above is batting, interfacing and more dress-making type fabrics (oh, I forgot that there’s another bin of upholstery fabrics in the center left closet too).

even more fabrics

And, I can’t forget this substantial in-progress pile:

Look, another pile of fabrics

Or this box o’ scraps:

An ever-growing pile of fabric

So, in an attempt to put some limits on my stuff, I’ve tried to limit my yarn stash to one box:

Bursting yarn stash

But look, it’s trying to escape. It’s far too crowded in the box, and one skein has even gotten out and now resides on top of the box. I suspect that I may even have a teensy bit leftover from the Chevron Scarf which definitely won’t fit in the box. So really, a little knit housekeeping would be in order. Hence the scrap-utilizing Log Cabin afghan.

I’m not doing it for me, I’m doing it for the health of the closet and the structural stability of the box.

15 May

5/15/07 and More

This is going to be a long one, and meander a bit. Sorry, that’s just the way it is.

First, I got neat stuff in the mail today:

Good Mail

A fat quarter of typographic fabric from one of my SILs (thanks!), a lovely postcard from Robin (I’m guessing it’s made from leftovers from her Nancy Crow workshop — very cool), and a bumper sticker from Gerrie. I have to think a little on where I’m going to put the bumper sticker since I actually have no complaint with Germany’s part (or lack thereof) in the war (and I suspect it would be frowned upon if I tried to stick it on the door to my hubby’s office).

Speaking of the military, we had the pleasure of getting to know a very unique family in the unit TS&WGH commanded when we lived in Wiesbaden, Germany. Lynette (the mom) was very active in the Family Resource Group (think support, information, and networking for families on the unit level) when we joined the unit, and she always supported my efforts the year I was ringleader. That was the same year our husbands went to war; and the year they began to uncover the extent to which autism was prevalent in their lives. Lynette was tireless in her quest to find the best way to meet her family’s special needs while so far away from her normal support system (family, church, and a greater pool of social services); and she did this while the rest of us were preoccupied enough merely with our service members being in harm’s way. Fast forward four years to today. The family was able to relocate back to the US where they could take advantage of more support and opportunities for the kids. This year they are planning to go to Kris’ Camp, a non-profit organization first established in 1995 as a therapy intensive/respite camp for children with special needs (thus far focusing on children with autism/autistic-like challenges) and their families. The Wilson family has been fundraising in order to afford this camp and travel costs, and have recently set up a web page to take donations. Unfortunately, since both Todd (the dad) and TS&WGH are in the army, and TS&WGH outranks Todd, we can’t donate money (rules against impropriety — and I don’t think Todd is allowed to give us money either). But maybe, just maybe, there’s a few people out there who ARE able to help. If you are interested, please visit their web page for more information.

OK, on to the regular business of the day — my Needle Doodle (now shortened to “noodle”):


I looked at my near full practice sandwich and thought that I didn’t have enough room to squeeze in a contour drawing, but it wasn’t totally full either. I got a wild hair and decided to fill in the spaces with free hand feathers. To me, these feathers are like the Swan Dive. Deceptively simple. You can do a 1 1/2 flip with a layout and pretty much as long as you land head first in the water you are successful. But with a swan dive, any idiot can see if you’ve overshot, or undershot, or didn’t point your toes, or had an otherwise sloppy entry. Same thing with feathers. They shout out all your lumpy curves and failed back-tracking for the world to see. I haven’t attempted feathers since I took a day’s training on the Arts & Crafts Shop’s long arm machine over a year ago. I thought it would be interesting to see what I could do. My mantras were “draw a half a heart, it’s just like a half a heart,” and “go out quickly, come back carefully” (this second one from my Diane Gaudinsky book). I can’t say they are great, but they weren’t awful either. And before my art quilting peers call me a sell-out, this is merely a technical exercise, not an indication that I will be changing my artistic direction.

Hey, not as bad as I thought they'd be!

14 May


Woo Hoo — I made a needle doodle today and posted it!


Back to the scissors. This time I tried it with my new best friend: Iron On Tear Away Stabilizer (AKA Stickvlies). I was using the stabilizer to, get this: stabilize fabric while I free-motioned silhouettes in other fabrics on top. I know, I’m the last one to the party. Mostly it’s because I’m a lazy shopper. I’ve known that stabilizer keeps stuff from getting all bunchy when you sew curves and is nifty for lots of other stuff too, but I never think to get any to have on hand. On Saturday though, Margarete brought her Stickvlies instead of her Vliesofix (AKA WonderUnder), so we swapped meters. The timing couldn’t have been better. So, since I had the stuff out for stabilizing, I thought I’d give it a whirl a lá Ricky Tims and draw my motif first, follow the lines, and tear away the evidence. I did the work on the back since I wanted to empty the bobbin with the red topstitch thread (yes, I should just go buy more bobbins, but again, I’m a lousy shopper) and I didn’t bother to adjust any tension so that’s a bit off. But, the technique is a pretty darned good one and worth having at one’s disposal when the application is right. Oh, and that ugly thread nest on one of the left hand pointy bits? I don’t know what’s up with that. It seems that if I linger too long in one place with heavy thread in the bobbin, it wants to do that. Oh well. I’ll be back to the regular free-handy contour drawing tomorrow, but I wanted to check this out as long as the stuff was on my table.

13 May

5/12 &13/07

I did two needle doodles today since I did none yesterday. I’ve been pretty happy drawing leaves and flowers, but they are forgiving shapes. For a challenge, today I went back to “stuff on my sewing table.”


Not bad, but not great either. If I had drawn it out first and had lines to follow though, I feel pretty confident I could get the shapes just right. In fact, I was working today on some raw edge appliqué (which you don’t get to see yet) using tear-away stabilizer which I had drawn on. It worked great!!

OK, on to the next. I like the shapes here, but obviously my proportions are a bit off off. No one said contour drawing was easy. 😉


My stitch length is pretty small, but it’s consistent. So I’m happy.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. I hope everyone gets to do a little something for themselves today.

12 May

Second Fabric Collage Class

I think it was a success. Of course, you’d have to ask my students for the real verdict, as my opinion of myself is obviously very biased. I had eight enthusiastic ladies — again, well prepared and ready to work. I enjoyed the variety of inspirational images in this class. We had two architectural pieces, two seascapes (one with a lighthouse), Monet’s waterlilies, a tulip, a vineyard, and a gothic window. Of course, then I have to find as many ways to help bring out the best in each one’s artwork. (No cookie-cutter “sew square A to rectangle B” stuff for me; no fun in that.) It’s a challenge for me to try to convey to my students that which I do intuitively. I also know that I can’t cram my five years of art education, plus workshops and the practice of quilt-making into a one-day class. So, what can I do? I try hard to give some sort of digestible overview to get students moving and then individually guide each one in her work — hopefully imparting some of my knowledge along the way, without stifling her own creativity and exploration. Not an easy task, especially when working with groups as naturally varied in experience as most quilt making and/or textile art (whatever it is we want to call what we do) classes are. Anyways, I was pleased with what everyone accomplished today, and hopefully they are too.

I took a few in-progress photos of everyone working hard. I opted not to show big close-ups in case anyone is shy about having their photos plastered all over the internet — ha ha. So, here’s a collage class collage:

Fabric Collage Class at Heidelberg Arts and Crafts Center

Between class today and celebrating my neighbor’s 40th birthday tonight my needle doodle will have to wait until tomorrow. Being Mother’s Day, I’m sure my family will allow me some quality time with my sewing machine.


*UPDATE: Charlotte confirms the class was a success. She also adds that she’d like to try washing her artwork (a sample first) to see how it would look if she used it as a panel in a piece of clothing. Margarete suggested a back of a vest — or even a triptych with narrow panels on the front… ooooh, the possibilities are endless!

11 May

5/9,10 &11/07

Can daily projects have make-up dates? Finally, the kids all played at someone else’s house this afternoon and I was able to finish my preparation for tomorrow’s class AND make needle doodles.

We picked these wonderfully weird little flowers yesterday:

So let’s call this the neeoodle for 5/9/07:


And this can be the neeoodle from 5/10/07:


I loved the way the second bud had curled up as it dried out, so I took that as a jumping-off point to get more decorative.

I would have done a third neeoodle for today, but the flowers couldn’t wait — they pooped out on me.


That’s OK though because my class prep called for some free-motion quilting. So, we can call that today’s excercise. And, lest anyone think that all these neeoodles are helping my FMQ — it’s not. Well, maybe it’s helping a little because two samples were OK; but the third one really sucked. Probably had more to do with lack of pre-planning than anything else though.

10 May


I’m pretty sure it’s “Overcome By Events” and though nothing out of the ordinary is going on here, I just couldn’t find time to do my needle doodles the last two days. I thought I’d get to one today, but I realized I needed to do a little more prep for my class on Saturday. A week of morning appointments and full social schedules for the kids in the afternoons does not make for productive “neeoodling.” Wish me luck next week. I’ll be a “Strohwitwer(in)” but I’ll have mornings free.