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 Textile Evolution

Liz Kettle Artist, Author and Creator of the Stitch Meditation process

Stitch Journeys

Exploring life with needle and thread.

Did it! 100 days of the 100 Day Dress Challenge

Finished the 100 Day Dress Challenge one week ago. It was a crazy fun thing to do and I am glad I decided to take the challenge.  

last day

I have to say that getting dressed in the morning is suddenly a whole lot more difficult. During the challenge the only choice I had to make was what sweater or shirt layer I wanted to wear when it was cooler. I didn't actually get to spend much time accessorizing as I thought because I was mostly home during the pandemic and summer weather didn't call for much more than the dress itself. 

Laundry...ugh....back to the laundry grind. I still try to wear my clothes several times before washing but I have gotten away from wearing an apron when cooking and not as careful when eating and cleaning. Need to adopt the apron habit again! Beats washing clothes so often.

 

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Some things I learned along the way

I have way too many clothes. They have been weighing me down visually and emotionally. I used to go into my closet and just feel .....uggh! It was a disaster. Not enough room, stuff all over the place. And, I always felt like I had nothing to wear! I did a whole closet clean out with the help of my friend Cecelia Harris. We pulled out every single garment and it went in a donate, re-purpose the fabric or keep pile. I got rid of half of what I owned and now when I walk into the closet I feel light and happy with how organized and tidy it is. Most of my clothes went to a community swap and it was really fun to see other folks loving the clothes I sent back out into circulation. 

I will shop differently from now on. I had a lot of clothes that I had purchased because they were on sale for a great price....many of them I wore only a couple time and some never because they didn't go with what I already had. My new rule is for every new thing that comes in, something has to go out.

No one noticed! People following me would ask how it was going but no one else noticed I was wearing the same dress every day.  

Dresses are way more comfortable than pants or shorts...especially when working at a desk all day. 

 

The Dress

I wore the Sierra Tank Dress fromWool&. 

The wool is a lightweight terry weave and super comfy. It did not itch or absorb odors. I was never too hot and it was easy to pair with leggings on cold days.  I washed it about every 4-5 days (cold water, hang to dry). 

The dress looks as good as when brand new and ready to take on another 100 days...though maybe not in a row this time. 

I wrote to Wool& to ask about their fabric choice. The dress is merino wool, nylon and spandex. Here is what they said:

We use nylon in some of our fabrics for a few reasons. Although wool by itself has a plethora of performance factors, it sometimes needs a boost of durability in lighter weight fabrics and constructions to give it the longest lifespan. We run all of our designs through filters of sustainability AND durability to create the best, most versatile product in the end. As for 22% nylon, this is because we use a patented spinning process with nylon wrapped on the outside of the merino core yarn. This creates a fabric with outstanding pill-resistance which still looks great after years of wear (hence the 100 day challenge!). The spandex in this case is for stretch retention and construction of the overall French Terry fabric

Sustainability well thought out. I love this thinking.

You will see me in this dress again....well made, comfortable and it has pockets!

 

 

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Day 75 of the 100 Day Dress challenge

Wow! This summer is flying by! Anyone else feel the same way? 

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I can't believe it is already day 75 of wearing the same dress every day. I have learned some interesting things along the way


1- it has been much easier than I thought. There is a simplicity around starting the day that I have really enjoyed. 

2-I didn't get to play with styling much as I thought I would because I didn't get to go out much…I am sure you can relate! Also, it isn't really scarf weather…I have a lot of scarves because I love fabric so much. This is sort of an ah-ha for me…less clothes, more scarves!

2- I really don't need or even want all the clothes I have. A couple friends have been sending me pics of new garments to purchase when I am done but I am not even tempted.

 

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3-The closet makeover was a lot more fun than I thought it would be and I love walking into my closet every day and seeing it clean and tidy with space for everything to breathe! So many clothes to release. Video link coming soon. 

4-The closet clean-out has inspired me to move into other areas of the house to get rid of stuff that is just stuff. We have lived in this house for 29 years....so much stuff just because we had room for it. Don’t even ask how many sport water bottles we had.

5-No one notices….or maybe they are too polite to ask?  More like no one cares. My husband noticed only because I started taking pictures of myself all the time. People who know about the challenge ask because they can’t believe I am not sick of it.

5- Dresses in the summer are the way to go unless you are weeding the garden and getting muddy.  This wool dress is way more comfortable and cooler than most of my shorts and crop pants paired with tees. 

6- Taking a photo every day is hard for me...it reveals just how much time I spend at the computer.

7- This wool dress is amazing for travel, baby proof, long enough for swings and sitting in the grass with kids.  

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Day 11 of the 100 Day Dress challenge

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11 days in...89 more to go! I have to say wearing the same dress every day hasn't been too boring so far. It has been cool so I have changed it up with different sweaters and added leggings on our recent snow day.

Of course, I did drop chocolate on it the very first day and had to do a quick spot clean but it all came out. 

the one thing that still surprises me is when I go into the closet after my shower and think...what shall I wear today....oh yeah....I don't need to think about it! Funny how we are such creatures of habit.

Some things that have popped up for me:

What else in my closet have I worn more than 11 times? There are quite a few basics I wear all the time but boy is there a lot of stuff I don't wear very often that is cluttering up the space.

An apron is a very good thing! I used to wear an apron all the time but over the years got lazy about it....I have a washing machine and am quite addicted to using it often. But I know I have ruined quite a few T-shirts from wearing while cooking and getting all splattered with grease (bacon!). 

I wash my clothes way too much.  I try to wear everything twice before I wash it (unmentionables excluded of course). But, I have only washed the dress every 4-5 days and it hasn't suffered and no one is running away screaming because of the stench. Wool does breath and wear really well. 

For those of you wondering....it is a lightweight wool knit. Even after a day sitting at my desk the wrinkles just hang out on their own.

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The 100 Day Dress Challenge

 wool dress package

The 100 Day Dress Challenge!

I am taking on the Wool& 100 Day Dress Challenge!
I will be wearing the same wool dress for 100 days!
YES! you read that right....100. DAYS! 8 hours a day.
The. Same. Dress. Every. Day.

100 Days!
June 1- Sept 8 2020

You ask...Have I lost my mind staying home for 11 weeks.....

 Yes, I admit it is a bit crazy but, the dress does have pockets!

Actually, for the last 6 months, our Textiles West team has been considering the question, how does someone change from a Standard American Wardrobe to a healthier, cleaner wardrobe and home decor that is better for the planet, our bodies and our budgets. We had some ideas but nothing that clicked.

With more time to peruse social media while staying at home, I stumbled across this interesting challenge on Instagram. Holy Cow! This sounds like a fun and somewhat crazy way for us to raise awareness of the massive impact of the textile industry production and waste.

I did take more than 10 seconds to think about this and I didn't commit until the dress arrived. I am not sure it is going to be very easy...what if I can't do it? Yikes! I grew up wearing a uniform from kindergarten thru high school and there were some things I really liked about wearing a uniform. There is the added benefit of less laundry....so what the heck...I have nothing to lose.

But, here is the reason I am taking this challenge, textile pollution is real, it is massive and quite frankly it is a women's issue. We had a hand in creating this crisis and we need to fix it. But we can have fun at the same time. So, I am taking the challenge. Along the way we will be talking about how to create a friendly textile home and having a closet makeover (getting rid of the stuff that is just hanging around) and beginning to sew up a capsule wardrobe that is functional, fits me and is made from sustainable fabrics.

I want to inspire you to create a more sustainable textile home and make it fun and easy so we will be sharing tips along the way and the first one is don't wash your clothes so much! Try to wear each garment twice or more before you wash it. See....less laundry....so easy.

Check out Wool& site

 

 

 

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Stitch Meditations

Stitch Meditations

 

This video has been in the works for a few months. It is a bit long but I hope you will be inspired to create your own Stitch Meditation practice. 

You can find the ones I have available for sale in the online store here or you can see them as I post them and claim it right away! 

 

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Are you Doing the 'Check-in'

It is always weird when something one does so naturally is sought after by others or when you find out that friends, especially close friends don’t do what you find such a basic part of your day. It makes you feel a bit like a freak! 

I have recently realized that I naturally do the ‘check-in’ on a consistent daily basis in one form or another and that many other people rarely do the 'check-in'. This boggles my mind! 

I thought everyone did regular check-ins.

The realization came to me as two more people asked me to help them do the ‘check-in’ in their studio space to help them be more orgnaized, professional and creative. Conversations with friends made me realize they don’t check in with their bodies or their spaces either.

You may be asking what is a 'check-in'?

A check-in is simply that…taking time to check in with why something is working, isn’t working or could be improved. I guess it could be a form of mindfullness. Maybe it is just an awareness.

When I walk into my studio, my office, my house, the Thread Lab, and even Cottonwood Center for the Arts I do a quick mental check-in to see if things are working well or if there is an annoyance that can be improved. What has been undone for so long that I no longer see it? 

I started this when I was managing a Pier 1 store way back in the day. It takes a bit of mindfulness to remember to do this and to be able to look at a space you enter every day with fresh eyes.

As an artist it is an excellent skill to cultivate!

Sometimes it means taking a look at why I am not doing something I want to do. Recently, I realized that I was spending less time with my stitch meditations. I checked-in and saw that the space wasn’t working for the inward focused task. You can see that quite clearly…

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What a mess...there is stuff everywhere. Piles on all the windowsills, on the plant stand, and on the floor. Where did I put those scissors?

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Fabrics and cool bits are all jumbled in a basket getting all smooshed and wrinkled, threads are everywhere! 

I did a little reorganization and now the space is welcoming and makes me want to sit and stitch.

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All the fabrics are sorted by size-no longer a wrinkled mess, papers and cool bits are in a separate bin, I can even find my base flannel pieces! All the threads are on the top shelp with my scissors.

I do the same check-in with my body every day. What feels good, what feels less than great, am I tired, achy, how is my energy level? I don’t stop there though. I question why. Did I eat right today? Did I exercise enough? Did I get enough sleep?  Maybe this is because I was so sick for so long and it is partly by asking these questions daily that I was able to figure out what foods make me sick and which ones don’t.

I do the same thing with my emotional state….how do I feel? Am I on top of things or feeling overwhelmed? Why might I feel that way and what thoughts do I need to look at changing in order to get back to happy?

Check-ins are a huge part of self-care whether we are talking about your space or your health.

Have you done a check in lately? The winter solstice is a great day to schedule a check-in!

My check-in today is telling me I need to clean out my email in-box. :-) 

I have a gift for you to help increase your mindfulness and gratitude practices in 2016. 30 days of Gratitude texts from the gratitude coach, Terza Ekholm. 

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We All Love Thermofax Screens

You know those class videos you watch where the teacher has a droning voice and you can barely pay attention? And the other ones you bought that are simply a waste of valuable time because there isn’t any real meat?

Thermofax 101: Screen Printing Made Easy with Lyric Kinard is NOT one of those!

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Lyric is cheerful and fun in her video and she makes you feel like you are there with her rather than watching a video. She is also willing to let you see her mistakes and shares how she could ‘fix’ them.

Thermofax 101 contains all the important information that you need to be successful in Thermofax screen printing and has some great extras such as other materials to use instead of paint, how to design your own screens and more.

Of course, you know…I love her section on creating an idea sampler book to use as a record of experiments and ideas for the future. Lyric also shares some great ideas for creating masks and using transparent extender for ghost printing.

If the design aspect of printing your own fabric makes you cringe don’t worry! Lyric has a great section on Color and Design that covers the most important basics without going into so much detail that you get lost.

Two thumbs up for sure!

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I use Thermofax screens on fabric and paper! This image is from one of my journals. You can find the screens I sell on the Shop page! Or send me your designs to create your own original screens. 

Want to win a copy? Leave a comment below telling me what shape you would most love to print. I will chose a winner right before I head to Quilt Market next week on Tues May 12, 2015.

Don’t want to take a chance on winning? You can get your copy here: http://lyrickinard.com/2015/02/thermofax-101-instructional-dvd/

ATCs Feb thermofax

Check out the rest of the blog hop for more chances to win!

April 24 Cheryl Rezendez  http://www.cherylrezendes.com

April 25  Leslie Tucker Jenison  http://leslietuckerjenison.blogspot.com   

April 28  Sue Bleiweiss  http://www.suebleiweiss.com/blog/

April 30  Judy Gula  http://www.artisticartifacts.com/blog/

 May 1  Sue & Elizabeth Gibson  http://pgfiber2art.blogspot.com/

May 2  Judy Coates Perez  http://www.judycoatesperez.com

May 4  Linda Stokes  www.lindastokes-textileartist.com

May 6  Jane Davila  http://janedavila.blogspot.com

May 6 Melanie Testa http://melanietesta.com/blog/

May 8  Carol Sloan  http://carolbsloan.blogspot.com

May 9  Kathy York  http://aquamoonartquilts.blogspot.com

May 11  Susan Brubaker Knapp  http://wwwbluemoonriver.blogspot.com

May 12  Desiree Habicht  http://myclothesline.blogspot.com

May 13  Jamie Fingal  http://JamieFingalDesigns.blogspot.com/

May 14  Deborah Boschert  http://deborahsjournal.blogspot.com

May 15  Sarah Ann Smith  sarahannsmith.com/weblog

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What Happened to Ruth?

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You may have noticed that my stitch buddy, Ruth Chandler has not been writing blog posts here on Textile Evolution. A few of you have asked if she is ok. No worries, Ruth is well and stitching up a storm! We get together as often as possible for stitching fun and experimentation!

Ruth has created her own space on the interwebs as she refines her stitch goals and re-defines her business goals. You can find Ruth at: Ruth Chandler Designs. Be sure to head over there to follow her blog.

Ruth is focusing on the things she loves: Shibori, indigo dyeing, modern hand stitch and clothing construction.

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Looking to take a class with Ruth? She has some wonderful classes at Art and Soul in Portland OR in March 2015. Including Indigo/Shibori, Modern hand stitch and Boro.

For those of you in Colorado, Ruth also teaches at Blue Twig Studio in Colorado Sprigs. 

 

 

 

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Slow Stitching Podcast

Slow Stitching Podcast

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I recently had the pleasure of creating a podcast with Mark Lipinski of the Slow Stitching Movement. Ruth Chandler and I ran into Mark on the sidewalk at the end of quilt market in November. Practically the first words out of my mouth were "I am so mad at you for coining the term 'Slow Stitching Movement' before we could!" 

We spent the next 40 minutes taking up precious sidewalk space as the throngs left the convention center but we hardly noticed the annoyed looks because we were deep in conversation about a topic we are all passionate about: Slow Stitching!

Mark has create a great website for the Slow Stitching Movement to call home and you can find interesting blog posts as well as podcasts by your favorite stitchers!

Listen to my podcast.

Listen to Ruth's podcast.

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Do you want to learn more about slow stitching? Join me in Portland OR March 8, 2015 for my class Stitch Meditations

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The First 100 Days ~ Stitch Meditation

The First 100 Days ~ Stitch Meditation

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Today is day 100 of my friend Deb Prewitt's 100 Days to 100% challenge! I took on the challenge of doing a stitch meditation every day. If you have been following along you know I didn't stitch every day and have not achieved my 100% goal.  I did make great progress towards my goal of taking time to slow down and stitch or just be every day.

The progress is what is important more than the 100%. 

I pushed through some layers of excuses along the way. 

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I discovered ways around some stumbling blocks like not having everything ready to go ahead of time. I created a stitch basket and box that have lots of bits and leftovers that I find when I clean my studio up. Now, I have lots of ingredients for my daily stitch at hand so I can just sit down and grab some things and stitch.

I did not beat myself up when I didn't meet the daily challenge. Life is about flexibility and forgiveness.

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I did fall in love with the process of stitching small bits of things together. When I am not able to make the time to stitch I miss it! That means I am well on the way to making my stitch meditation practice a non-negotiable in my life. 

On some of the days that I couldn't stitch I did use a traditional guided meditation. Yay for me!

Tomorrow starts another 100 days. I will continue my stitch meditations and will add another challenge to myself. 

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I think my new challenge will be a daily sketch. That will be challenging for me. Actually trying to do something every day consistantly..day in and day out...is the real challenge. :-)

Want to play along? What will you challenge yourself to do during the next 100 days? Eat better, walk more, create something, love more? 

Leave a comment and share your goals.

Use the hastag #100daysto100% in your social media posts so we can cheer you on too.

 

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What is the Best Sewing Machine Thread?

What is the best machine sewing thread?

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That is the most asked question during my classes and lectures. The answer of course is more complicated than just naming one thread company because it depends on what you are doing. But, what most people just want to know is what thread I use the most in my work.

I researched every brand of thread that I could get my hands on when I was writing Threads: the Basics and Beyond. I tested small batch hand-dyed threads, big name thread, no-name thread, new companies, old companies and designer brand threads. What I found was that there really isn’t any bad thread out there (with the sole exception of the 3 spools for $1 bin but no serious thread aficionado would even consider that stuff!)

When I reveal to them that I most often use Coats and Clark and Star brand I often get an audible gasp! Really? Coats and Clark? Not some fancy imported expensive thread? Yes, my go to thread brand is Coats and Clark. No, they don’t pay me to say that. I like all of their threads and use the Cotton Covered and Dual Duty fine and medium weight as my go to threads for piecing and general stitching. Plus, Coats has a huge array of colors and weights to choose from. I love the new Dual Duty heavy threads for hand stitching.

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When I am thread painting I pull out my large spools of Star variegated threads. Many of the variegated Star thread are designed by Terry White, thread painter extraordinaire. The color blends are fantastic for thread painting with smooth transitions of color that give a rich and luscious piece. The large spools ensure that I won’t run out half way through my project.

I found that most ‘thread’ problems were really spool problems, needle problems or tension problems. This is especially true with metallic threads. Fortunately, there are easy fixes for these problems.

I love that Coats and Clark and Star threads are not expensive because that means I can have a larger stash of yummy colors! It also means I have more money to spend on some of my favorite expensive hand-dyed threads for hand stitching and embellishing.

Thread Basic and Beyond

Final note: Threads: The Basics and Beyond will be back in stock later this summer. YIPPEE! I will let you know here and on Facebook!

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Ubuhle Women and their Beadwork

I have been in Northern VA the last 10 days teaching at Artistic Artifacts and getting ready for spring quilt market in Pittsburgh this upcoming weekend. On Mother's Day, me, Ruth Chandler, Judy Gula and her sister's family all trekked into Washington DC to the Anacostia Community Museum and were treated to a unique and amazing exhibit.

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The exhibit is titled Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence. Ubuhle means 'beauty' in the Xhosa and Zulu languages. We found both the beadwork and the women creating the art to truly be beautiful in every sense of the word.  I know my photos barely capture the details so if you get to the DC area before Sept 21, 2014 be sure to put this on your list.

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ubuhle cross detailmagnificent panels joined to create a wall size installation.

Ubuhle is a former sugar plantation that has been transformed into a center of independence for rural women where they can learn traditional beading skills to support themselves.

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The beaded textiles are completed with simple Czech glass seed beads as whole cloth artworks. The artists call their pieces ndwango which translates loosely as rag or cloth. As is with the case with much textile art, these pieces take months complete and become imbued with the life joys and sorrows that each artist experiences in that time. You can feel their happiness and sadness as you soak in each beautiful piece.

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The bull pieces were about 4' wide by 3' tall. We kept wondering how much each of these pieces weighed. Sorry about the blurry photos. The museum light was low and I didn't want to use a flash.

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As a fun little bonus there was a listing of beading resources available for the public and my book: First Time Beading on Fabric was among them! Me at the Smithsonian!

I am inspired to pull out the beads and get to work! How about you?

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Mark Making Update

I just got home from a trip to the Northwest! 4 days in Portland OR cooking up plans for Art and Soul and then 9 days in Bremerton WA welcoming the newest Kettle boy into the family. I am thrilled to introduce Isaak Alexander...just as handsome as his big brothers. 1391453672392

Babies are a different sort of mark making...more of the eternal passing on our DNA type of mark making.

 

While I was away I didn't have much time for mark making every day. Some days were just too full of cuddling Isaak and battling zombies to pull out my sketchbook but I do have a few to share with you this week.

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I have found that even though I sometimes draw more realistic elements I feel so much freedom drawing the organic shapes and lines that I come across in my daily travels.

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Some fun hand stitching!

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This last one is just a little silly! We need more silly play in our life don't you think?

Have you been working on fitting art and creativity into your life more consistently? What stumbling blocks have you found?

 

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A Year of Mark Making

My friend, Deb Prewitt, over at Blue Twig Studio threw down a challenge for 365 days of art for 2014. I have to admit that I am really terrible at consistency and the idea of publicly committing to a daily practice and posting it daily is just too overwhelming. On the other hand I have been trying to improve my consistency score. So, I decided in true mixed media fashion to twist the rules to suit my needs. I will tweek the challenge a bit and post my efforts as often as possible and not feel shame if I can't do it every day.

The spirit of the challenge is to take time to play, create and have fun every day while improving your skills. I have drawing had on my 'improve skills list' for at least 6 years. I have taken a few classes and have improved a bit so I thought I should revisit this drawing improvement idea for this challenge. In keeping with my guiding word of intention I asked myself to what end do I want to improve my drawing skills? I love illustration and detailed drawings and I can manage basic sketching. What exactly do I want to improve because let's face it...if I really loved drawing I would do more if it already.

I realized that my work is much more about mark making; recording marks in the world both man-made and nature made. I am fascinated by texture and line. While I would love to magically be able to sit down and sketch out a detailed street scene I don't care about it enough to put in the practice time. My work is becoming much more abstract; moving away from representational and that magical ability really wouldn't help move my art forward though it might impress people and increase my genius standing!

Sometimes my mark making will be on paper and sometimes with stitch. Here are two of my journal pages from this last week. I am dealing with a hand injury so all of my mark making has been with my left hand! I am enjoying this switch because I have less control and think that left handed drawing will have to become a frequent player in my mark making journey.

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Anyone else want to play along?

 

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A Bit of Holiday Textile Cheer Tutorial

 

 

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Happy Holidays to all our Textile Evolution Community.

 

My studio mate Cass Mullane and I decided to whip up some fun textile cards for the staff at Cottonwood Center for the Arts where our studio is located. They were so fun and easy I thought you might like a quick tutorial.  I know it is a bit late for Christmas cards but this technique works with any theme. Cupcakes for birthdays, hearts for Valentines or shamrocks for St. Paddy's day...you get the idea.

 

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Steps:

1. Rip strips of fabric 1/2" to 3/4" wide. This is a great stash buster for all those little bits you have left over from other projects.

2. Find a stabilizer for your base and cut to the desired size. Ours are 4"x6". Just about any stabilizer will work. You can use muslin, tear away stabilizer, craft fuse or Form-Flex All Purpose which is what we used.

3. Apply Misty Fuse fusible web to your stabilizer base unless it already has a fusible base.

4. Lay your strips on top of the fused stabilizer and follow manufacturer's directions to fuse the strips in place.

5. Now for the fun part! Embellish it!

6. You can stamp a design with paint on the surface like our tree cards.  Be sure to choose a strong design. I love wooden printing blocks for this part. After stamping the design we stitched with metallic thread and added some shimmer paint for extra shine.

7. Our sassy snowgirls are created using various sizes of faux ultra suede stitched with metallic thread. The black coal eyes and buttons are small circles of black fabric fused on the snowgirl bodies and their noses a simple open lazy daisy stitch. For a final jaunty touch we stitched on ripped strips of a plaid for a scarf. These girls are going out on the town!

8. Trim up your cards if needed and apply Misty Fuse to the back of the fabric/stabilizer. Fuse to a purchased card base. Stitch around the outside with a zigzag stitch and you are ready to receive the oohs and ahhhs from everyone who gets one.

This would be a great project to do with kids too.

 

You can find wooden printing blocks at Artistic Artifacts, and if you are in Colorado Springs Blue Twig Studio and I have blocks available.

 

Don't forget to take time to just be and breathe during this crazy busy time of year. Celebrate the seconds of extra sunlight we have each day and each precious moment with your loved ones.

 

Stitching is perfect for slowing us down...

 

 

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The Joy of Finishing

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About 13 years in the making but finally finished this weekend!! The good news is that I still love the fabrics and the pattern after working on it for all these years. My only regret is that when I started this the only fusible product readily available was Wonder Under. The center is layered fused fabric applique so it is really stiff in the floral sections.  Misty Fuse would have been so much better to use and would have left the quilt soft and cuddly.

 

I am very good at finishing projects but have a few large quilts that have been languishing for years...interrupted by quilts for the boys and more recently my grandchildren. I realized about 8 years ago that working on the same quilt (or any project) especially those that are repetitive blocks are just not my thing. I also moved away from making other people's patterns and started creating my own. I got rid of all those projects except for a few that I really loved. Getting rid of those I really didn't like anymore was such a great relief and gave me more room for art supplies. I highly recommend it. Of course finishing makes you feel Great too!

 

 

 

 

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Looking for July

Anyone seen July around? I remember turning the calendar page to July but the next thing I knew it was the middle of August already! School starting? Really?

 

Ruth and I both had tons of company...grandchildren on both fronts and a few other house guests too. It was lots of fun and much laughter was heard at both our homes.

 

We did get some great work done too!

I finished this piece which was accepted into the Standing on the Shoulders of Cowboys exhibit at Cottonwood Center for the Arts in Colorado Springs. That was an honor because of the amazing number of pieces that were submitted. This piece, titled Rust 'N' Dust is composed of rust dyed fabrics and machine embroidery on an organza layer.

 

rust n dust liz kettle

 

Ruth finished the final pieces for her new book Modern Hand Stitch the evening before she had hand surgery! Talk about a hard deadline. Her samples will amaze you and we will give you some sneak peeks over the coming weeks. Her book will be out later this fall.

 

Ruth has a bit of recuperation ahead of her so send her lots of healing energy. I know she can't wait to get back to stitching again.

 

 

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3 Artists + 3 Days = Creative Frenzy

Jamie-Judy-me-at-AA-3-of-5

I just spent 3 amazing days with fellow artists, Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts in VA and Jamie Malden of Colouricious in the UK. We convened in VA at Artistic Artifacts to create, experiment and wreak creative havoc. Judy provided the space and access to her truly amazing stash. Judy's mom Pat brought us chocolate for fuel and her entire family welcomed us and tolerated our creative take over.  Jamie brought a new batch of wooden printing blocks from India and I brought thread and some pieces I had started.

 

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Jamie Malden of Colouricous wood block printing a pieced quilt

 

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Judy Gula and Jamie Malden discussing piecing techniques

 

Often when artists get together they bring their own piece to work on but we decided that we would love to create jointly. Wow! What a great experience. We completed 5 pieces and have 3 more in various stages to finish as soon as we get a chance. We created a glorious mess, shared laughter and stories

Jamie-Judy-me-at-AA-4-of-5

I learned so much by working side by side these fantastically creative women. It was such a great challenge to have one artist start a piece and hand it off to someone else to do the next step. Then it could be passed back to the first person or on to the third. and back again. Something I would never have thought to add to a piece was now mine to figure out the best way to incorporate it and then how could I make it even more than when it came to me? It was exciting, frustrating and challenging.

 Jamie-Judy-me-at-AA-5-of-5

I also learned more about my own working process which is always a good thing! I came home with lots of great ideas for projects of my own. Judy recorded some videos about the different techniques we used so you will want to be sure to sign up for her newsletter so you don't miss them. I highly recommend this type of retreat for your own creative journey.

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6 Miles of Seperation

I once again find myself living 6 miles from the edge of a major wild fire.

Yesterday the fire spread 8 miles is a few hours.

6 miles is too close.

6 miles is scary.

 

There is nothing between me and the edge of the fire but hundreds of acres of trees. Trees stressed by years of drought.

 

This is the photo I took yesterday at 3:30 just a couple hours after the fire started.

 

This is the photo I took when I picked my son up from his colleg class. Just 3 hours later.

 

Of course when disaster strikes close to home you make plans for evacuation. Photos and family history are packed. Actually, they have been packed since the Waldo Canyon fire last year. We didn't get enough snow or rain this last year to warrent unpacking. My art work is at the studio in Colorado Springs. We have talked about what things are the most important to bring. We have a plan.

 

A plan doesn't help with the helpless feeling as you watch homes being turned to ashes in minutes.

 

I went down to my basement studio to finish up some packing for a trip to the mountains this weekend and I had such a wave of sadness hit me. Sadness that all of my 'stuff' my art supplies, vintage fabrics, vintage papers, art papers, bits and bobs could all vanish in an instant. Totally out of my control. There would be no way to replace any of it. Insurance wouldn't even begin to cover the precious bits I have collected over the years. 

 

My sadness didn't last more than a couple minutes. I started sorting through some fabrics and quickly realized that it is all just 'stuff'. What is

 

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Spring Quilt Market review-Art Gallery Fabrics

Spring Quilt Market review-Art Gallery Fabrics

Ruth and I both adore Art Gallery Fabrics! The hand of these fabrics is simply amazing. The patterns are unique, cutting edge and the colors incredibly yummy! We did a video--correction LIZ did a video Ruth will not be held responsibile for this---of the beautiful Art Gallery Fabrics booth at Spring Quilt Market in Portland.

 

Vendors spend an incredible amount of time, energy and money to create a unique booth at quilt market. We thought you all might enjoy seeing it. Apologies for the video! Liz kept thinking she could re-orient the camera. She blames it on her enthusiam for showing you all how awesome their booth is.

 

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