Stitch Journeys

Exploring life with needle and thread.

Indigo and Shibori a magical combination

Indigo and Shibori dyed commercial tee and skirt









I would like to introduce you all to Ruth Chandler, one of my co-author's of Fabric Embellishing: Basics and Beyond and a wonderful artist, teacher and friend. Ruth grew up in Japan so much of her art is influenced by her exposure to Japanese culture and traditions. Ruth is never bound by tradition though as she takes a uniquely American stance and continually asks 'what if...'




commercial tee shirt gradation dyed with indigo and handmade skirt with shibori and indigo



Ruth is well known in local circles for her wonderful garments. Growing up tall in a place where most women are much shorter, Ruth learned at an early age to make her own clothes. Even finding patterns was difficult so she quickly learned to adapt them to her unique style and taste. Of course Ruth loves to embellish her clothing and almost always adds some personal touch to even her purchased clothing.

Shibori and indigo dyed art cloth



At Textile Evolution this coming August Ruth will be combining two traditional Japanese fabric techniques: Indigo and Shibori. You will have a chance to experiment with different fabrics and techniques to create incredible fabrics to use in your art, quilts or garments as well as create a couple of unique silk scarves. You can find out more about her class here

deep indigo and shibori dyed scarf



Ruth and I share a passion for hand stitching and embroidery...we love the texture and design element it adds to any project. In fact Ruth is working on her next book which explores her 'what if...' approach to hand stitching. Don't be thinking staid old embroidery book though! Ruth loves nothing more than shaking things up with deconstructing, distorting and otherwise abusing stitch patterns. Her Stitch Play class gives an exciting peek into what this book will encompass. Ruth is working on a new take on the stitch sampler in a small book format...it is really cool! Stay tuned for photos on that soon. But in the mean time you can get a hint of what I am talking about in these photos. You can click on them to see more detail.

amazing things you can do with a simple cross stitch



Ruth has been making a ton of bags and totes lately...you will see her awesome computer bag in the Fall issue of Quilting Arts Gifts! I am happy to have two of her originals as my new purse as well as a computer bag for my notebook! If you will be at the Long Beach Quilts Inc show be sure to get to our Cloth Paper Scissors~Make It University class called: Where did you get that bag? The prototypes below will see a few adjustments as we re-size it to fit your tablet or book readers!

Ruth and I are your co-hosts for the Fabric Embellishing: Basics and Beyond free book study which can be found on the forum. Read more about Ruth's fiber art adventures on her new blog.
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Can't Judge a Store by its Cover

This scarf is created with hand dyed laces and frippery...how fun is that?



I am back in my old stomping grounds this week...Northern VA. I grew up here and it is always strange coming to visit...familiar but not the same. There is always construction around here and things have changed so much I can't quite connect what I see in front of me with the memories from my youth. High rise luxury apartments where the train and junk yards used to be...who could have guessed??

Who could resist these hand-dyed vintage fabrics?



I am at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria VA working on some great tutorials and videos for you. This incredible store is housed in a very unassuming exterior....solid brick and businesslike with a parking lot full of BIG trucks. But, once you open the front door you know you have discovered something unusual and delicious. Judy Gula the creative genius behind Artistic Artifacts has turned a showroom that used to house a Porsche race car and high end after market auto parts for those who are connoisseurs of speed and style into the ultimate playground for mixed media and textile artists...we connoisseurs of paint, fiber and cloth!




Judy had gathered together unique and hard to find supplies, hand dyed fabrics (both vintage and new), embellisments, charms, trims and bits of things that simply make my heart sing. This is a very dangerous place for my wallet!! Everywhere I turn there is some luscious bit of treasure that must come home with me...good thing I have an extra suitcase! I regularly shop on Artistic Artifacts's web store for supplies but being surrounded by these incredible trinkets every day for a week has eliminated any sense of will power I had. Judy will be teaching her dyeing and collage techniques as well as how to create some of her distinctive mixed media jewelry at the Textile Evolution Retreat in Aug.


As if this wasn't enough to break the bank Judy and I visited a tiny little bead store in an unlikely location and similarly unassuming exterior. Rosalie, the owner of Beads Ltd has created a jewel box inside a townhome turned store. Every wall and window is covered with beads...lets just say I had really great time and will probably have to ship stuff home! I found a huge selection of rondels which can be hard to find. Rosalie had a plethora of sizes and colors...I bought them all. Unfortunately, Beads Ltd does not have a web presence so you will have to trek to VA to visit.


I am actually working not just shopping! Judy and I are developing some great tools for you! We are creating a series of YouTube videos and companion written tutorials that we think you are going to love. There has been much laughter and sillyness as we stumble our way through learning video taping and a tiny bit of editing...emphasis on the 'tiny'! We won't have 'perfect' videos...they would never get done if we waited for perfect. But, they will be informative and fun. I will let you know as soon as the first one is ready for you.

If you are in the area I am lecturing on thread on Sat. 2/19 at 1:00. Check the Artistic Artifacts web site for details and address.

I just posted another tutorial on the Havel's Scissors blog today too! Be sure to check it out for some thread painting zen!
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