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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.

Visual Journal Fun!

I just returned from Art and Soul Retreat in Va Beach, VA. It was a great event and the weather at the beach could not have been more perfect! I only got one photo of all my classes! 

mixed media mayhem art and soul va beach

These are some of my Mixed Media Mayhem students before the mayhem really got started. Our tables were covered with color and chaos by the end of the day...I am sure the hotel staff is still finding Angelina fibers and glitter in that room.


I was home for 2 days and then headed up to Ft. Collins, CO to teach 2 days of Visual Journaling with the Rocky Mountain Creative Quilters. We had a bit of fun and laughter while learning a ton of techniques and then putting them into play. We scraped, sprayed, stenciled and stamped paint. Glued, glittered and gilded, in addition to lacing, mangling, and distorting. We explored the journal magic of Misty Fuse and baby wipes. One among us earned the crown of 'fly queen'. I am just a tad tired so I will share some photos of the fun and head to bed! Tomorrow evening I get the pleasure of sharing my Thread Lecture with the rest of the Rocky Mountain Creative Quilters. 

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Visual journaling with rocky mountain creative quiltersVisual journaling with rocky mountain creative quilters-5

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A Wild Ride!

loving these warm waters

How on earth did it get to be mid-November already? Last I looked it was summer. Actually it was summer when I was in Houston last week! On October 27th my toes were happily splashing in the warm Gulf Waters and I was soaking up the sun with my buddies Ruth Chandler and Deb Prewitt.

Deb Prewitt and Ruth Chandler

We had a great afternoon relaxing before the big show! We all agreed that taking the extra time to rest and relax was worth the added expense. We plan on keeping up with this self care event in the future!



Then there was the 10 days of chaos that are called Quilt Market and Festival. It always seems amazing to me how in a few short hours the show floor morphs from a cacophonous frenzy of crates, fork lifts, sweaty vendors and trash strewn about to a beautiful showcase of the latest fabrics, books and ideas for quilters and stitchers. I would call it the Greatest Show on Earth if that wasn't already taken.

Here are just a few of my favorite things from Market..

Creative Booth Displays

I really wanted to grab some of those bones to walk around Flinstone style.

Urbanista - love that leaf!

Kokka Fabrics - Prints Charming

I adore Kokka fabrics! This great line, Daisy Chain, in the Prince Charming Collection is awesome! Yes, I came home with harder to resist than chocolate! You can get it soon from Blue Twig Studio.

Jennifer Sampou's newest collection ~ Fiesta

There were lots of great new fabric lines in bright colors. Looks like we are all going to be playing with these fun patterns, designs and modern colors. Maybe the dreary economy has something to do with that...or maybe I just didn't 'see' all the brown and gray fabrics out there.

Coral tree fabrics

One of my favorite discoveries is this new line of fabrics from Africa offered by Da Gama Textiles. These beautiful fabrics have a wonderful soft hand and the patterns and colors are wonderful...I came home with a few of these and you can get your own at Artistic Artifacts right now! You may have to e-mail Judy directly because she probably hasn't had time to get them on the site yet.

Art Gallery Fabrics

I am also in love with the new line of solids from Art Gallery Fabrics. Such luscious colors in their always scrumptious feeling cotton. The solids pair beautifully with their new patterns of course but I know they will blend well with much of what is in my stash.

I am always on the lookout for new products and found some great brushes for surface design from Royal Langnickel. Ruth and I can't wait to get the paints out and give them a workout...will post photos when we do.

I love teaching store owners and other teachers at Quilt Market as well as the time we spend in the Landauer booth talking about our books. It is always a crazy busy fun time. Check back tomorrow for a post about Quilt Festival and a GIVEAWAY!
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Getting Ready for School

Kathy King's Delectable cloth

No, I am not literally getting myself ready for school and my one remaining student gets himself ready for school and doesn't even need help with his homework...they do grow up! Anyway, for me, the summer is always crazy busy and this year we had the amazing Textile Evolution Retreat smack in the middle of August. I looked at the calendar on August 1, took a deep breath, started working and Bamm! the next thing I knew it was September already! How did that happen?

First let me tell you about the retreat. Once again it was an  incredible experience for both teachers and students...a lot of laughter, a few tears, fabulous art and a birthday party! Here are a few photos to make you jealous!Mono-printed messenger bags for each student.

The mono-printed messenger bags made out of Multi-Purpose Cloth (Love this stuff!) were stuffed with goodies from our awesome sponsors!

Judy Gula and Carol Sloan shopping at Blue Twig Studio on-site store.

Oh, yes we had not one but TWO on-site stores full of art deliciousness! Feast on these yummy offerings from Artistic Artifacts.

Evening tutorial

After dinner we had great demos and Laura Cater-Woods, Judy Gula and Carol Sloan share their many different approaches to rust dyeing fabric. There was a rust dyeing frenzy that followed this lecture.

We didn't know we could DRAW!

Students from Carol Sloan's Whimsical Mark Making they shared their class work each one said 'WOW, I didn't know I could draw'.

Fabrics from Delectable Cloth

Just a small sample of the luscious fabrics created in Delectable Cloth with me.

Kerry Cain's Indigo Shibori cloth

Cat Mikkelson's Indigo Shibori show and tell

When the students from the Indigo Shibori class started showing their work it sounded like we were at a fireworks show...ohhhh...ahhhhh.....ohhhhh.....ahhhhhh!

Deb Prewitt's books from Carol Sloan's class

Kathy King's tree book made in my class

I am sad to announce that the Textile Evolution Retreat is going on hiatus. As wonderful as the experience is for the students and teachers (oh my gosh...the surveys made me cry because everyone loved it so much!) and as much as I love putting on this great event I have had to decide on where to spend my time. The retreat takes the majority of my time and I want to focus more on teaching and creating an on-line community of people who love to stitch. So, stay tuned for changes here on the web site.

The first change is that my friend and co-author Ruth Chandler has joined me in this quest to bring the full dance of joy in making stuff with fabric and thread to all of you! Our book studies are going strong and if you are thinking of a back to school educational event for yourself come and join us! It is FREE! You have to have our books but there isn't any other cost. Everything is in the forum section of this web site. We have lots of great info and some video of all you can start where ever you are and go through the workshop at your own pace! You are never 'behind'! Don't you love that? Who needs guilt added to having fun? OTOH if you need an excuse for the family to get into your studio, you simply tell them you have a class you are taking and must get your homework done! Great modeling for the kids and you get to play!

Kyle Gula's photo from the top of Pikes Peak

Judy Gula's family arrived right after the retreat and so I was 'forced' to show them around our fabulous state. We included a quick trip to Breckenridge where Judy and I scrounged the Sally Barber mine site for bits of rusted metal laying around...of course this resulted in another frenzy of rust dying. They headed up Pikes Peak on their own and were treated to an amazing display of Colorado weather...sun on the peak and storms surrounding them in every direction.

No wonder I lost all of was full of fun, friends, art and laughter! Life is good!
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10 Reasons I love Ultra-lightweight Threads

I love, love, love working with Ultra-fine threads. What are ultra-fine threads you ask??? Great question because many of you have probably not run into them at your local quilt shop. Ultra-lightweight threads are threads listed in the 70-100 weight category. Most of these threads are polyester but you can also find them in cotton and silk. Sometimes they are marked as 'bobbin' threads which I find totally funny because it implies they can only be used in the bobbin-NOT true!

1~ Hand Applique: this fine thread glides through the fabrics so smoothly and your stitches are nearly invisible.

2~ Machine Applique: easy to use with machine applique and the stitches are nearly invisible...try it with an invisible hem stitch.

3~ Paper Piecing: The thread you use takes up space along the seam. With intricate paper piecing patterns using a very fine thread helps reduce bulk where multiple seams align. The poly threads do stretch a tiny bit so be careful when pulling off the paper patterns. Try lightly dampening the paper first.

4~Thread Painting: As I wrote above...thread takes up space in the warp and weft of the fabric. Using an ultra-lightweight thread in the bobbin means I can add more decorative threads on top without distortion of the fabric.

5~Quilting in the Ditch: I love these threads for quilting in the ditch...even when you stay slightly out of the ditch the stitch line is so fine that it is difficult to see your mistakes.

6~Stipple quilting: I love to make tight stipple patterns to create a lot of texture in quilting. The ultra-light weight threads allow me to stitch densely without a lot of distortion and without the thread taking over as the star of the show.

7~More thread on the bobbin! This means I don't have to stop and fill a bobbin as often.

8~Economics: These fine threads are usually very inexpensive so I have more cash to spend on the pretty threads!

9~Trapunto: Perfect for faux trapunto techniques. Ultra-lightweight thread allows you to stitch over a previously stitched line in your trapunto design without adding bulk and the ability to stipple densely helps the trapunto design to really pop.

10~Delicate embroidery: When you want a really delicate embroidery the ultra-lightweight threads are perfect for both hand and machine embroidery stitches.

Some of the available brands are:

Mettler: Seralene,

Coats and Clark: Dual Duty XP Fine, Bobbin thread

Madeira: Bobbinfil

Presencia: Finca Bobbin Lace 100

WonderFil: Deco-Bob and InvisaFil

YLI: Silk and Cotton

I know these threads are a bit harder to get your hands on but grab a few spools when you find them. You can find Mettler Seralene at Artistic Artifacts. They are not on the web site yet but Judy does stock some neutral colors...send her an e-mail to find out what she has in stock.
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Spring Quilt Market Round-up

Grape Hyacinth greet us at the Utah welcome center

Salt Lake City, UT was host to the 2011 Spring Quilt Market. She decked herself out with tulips and green grass everywhere. That may not sound too very exciting but for those of us in Colorado it was delightful. Tulips here are quickly eaten by the deer (even in Colorado Springs not just at my higher elevation) and green grass is a luxury we haven't had in years with our continued drought. But, that isn't what you are here for! LOL!! Here are some photos of an exciting market...luscious new fabrics and playful patterns at every turn! This is a long post so you might want to grab a tasty beverage!

Utah brought with it our first hint at blue sky all day!

Ruth Chandler and Marybeth Wujcik, the owner or Colorado Springs' newest quilt store, Nana's Quilt Cottage, joined me on the harrowing drive to Salt Lake City...we had rain, sleet, snow, ice and relentless winds. The good news is we opted for fast over beauty and took I-80...turned out that I-70 was closed much of the day. When we finally got to Utah we were greeted by a tiny slice of actual blue sky! We took that as a good omen for the rest of the trip.

The first day of market is full of Schoolhouse sessions. These are 15 and 30  minute sessions where vendors get a chance to tell shop owners and teachers about their great new products. My schoolhouse session for Threads: Basics and Beyond was first thing. I publicly declare that I am simply incapable of standing at a podium...I have to move when I talk...hands and feet. Problem is that I don't speak loud enough to forgo the microphone. You would think that I would have this down by now! LOL! Ruth Chandler, Heather Thomas and I presented the schoolhouse for Fabric Embellishing: Basics and Beyond. I got rid of the microphone and worked at talking went much better.  We are all very excited that Fabric Embellishing will be going into it's third printing soon and Threads is going into it's second!!

Lesley Riley after her schoolhouse

We attended a few schoolhouse sessions ourselves. The only one I remembered to take a photo of was Lesley Riley's presentation on TAP-transfer artist paper and her new book that will be out in June/July. We got a preview of the book and it is wonderful! I am excited to have a project in there myself.

Talking about Threads: The Basics and Beyond

Friday morning Ruth Chandler and I taught a take and teach class for Fabric Embellishing. This class is always a hit even though we feel we are whipping our students to get through it all in the short time allowed...especially since the class starts at 8am! The students don't seem to mind though. The rest of the day is filled with demos and book signings in the Landauer booth for both books. In whatever time we had left we hit the floor in search of the awesome vendors who supply products for our Take and Teach classes to say thank you, share hugs with friends and see what is new.

Saturday was a repeat of Friday except the Take and Teach was for Threads: The Basics and Beyond. We don't get sewing machines for spring market so we focused on a sampler of fusible webs and an really fun tassel scissor fob. It is so cute! I used the luscious Star cotton variegated threads designed by Terry White and a silk cocoon for the tassel top. Havel's scissors donated a pair of embroidery scissors for each student! How cool is that? I will have to post a photo later after I unpack and find my scissors.

spring market booth decorations at Simply Renee

Sunday was finally our day to hit the show floor! Our booth demos weren't until late in the afternoon so we had most of the day to see the booths we haven't seen yet.Not only are we looking at the cool new products but so many booths are decorated with passion and style!

Simply Renee ~ Clip it up

We always hit the Simply Renee booth. Not only do we love their Clip it Up products...can you imagine how awesome a studio would look totally organized with their racks...but Kathy always has the booth beautifully decorated and the staff are so cheerful, friendly and sweet!

Kathy is the decorating genius for the Simply Renee booth

Riley Blake took first place for their booth display

I think the man cave is what rocketed them to stardom

the perfect guy to hang out with was in the booth all day!

I fell in love with this collection by Paula Press called Botanika. Fresh, fun and full of possibilities for home decor, bags and quilting. Wouldn't it be awesome in collages?

Half way through the post and no threads yet...we found these luscious beauties in the Kreinik their stuff!! Don't be fooled by the 'home decor' on the package...these are totally sexy threads! I can't wait to hand stitch with them.

Ruth and I both love Kreinik threads!

Also in the Kreinik booth is a new metallic thread for us! It is specially designed to work at high speeds so it should be great for long arm quilters as well as we home machine stitchers. I brought home a spool of copper and can't wait to give it a test run...I could only get a few of the awesome colors in this photo.

There were a few vendors that brought home decor fabrics and fashion. The Hamil group is a new one to the quilt scene and their fabrics grabbed our attention! They have a wonderful canvas/denim feel to them...washed denim...drapey and yummy! They had a stitch station in their booth for show attendees to stitch up a pillow to take home. Isn't that fun? I had to run off to do another book demo at the Landauer booth so Ruth stitched one up for both of us. Ruth is planning some hand embroidery embellishments on her pillow...perhaps a challenge is coming on!

Zen Chic is a totally sublime line designed by Brigitte Heitland from Europe. The colors  are fabulous (green and orange ~ my favorites) and her designs clean, elegant and contemporary. I love the modern approach to quilting.

More green and orange was featured in the Birch Organic Fabrics booth! Really there were other colors there but you all know how I feel about green! You also know I love organic so these are a must have on my list.

I think the touch of grey is fantastic and keeps the collection contemporary and clean. Is that little boy's shirt adorable or what?

Designer Jess Goldman's Bananafana staff is doing the BananaVanna routine for us in their fun and fabulous booth. In addition to adorable kids clothes, home decor , bags, quilts, and fun stuffed things Jess also designs modern vintage  clothing for women. You all would have loved her screaming yellow patent leather heels...go look at her patterns and you will see the ones.

love this huge rosette

Good thing I don't have any granddaughters or I would never get any work done the skirt below is adorable! I am smitten with the giant stuffed dino though.

Next to Bananafana was Freddie's Friends. How cute are these little friends? Owls, lions, butterflies and robots....Olive, Lee Lee, Bonnie and Ronny are their names. The robot pattern came home with me.

Last hour of the last day...we are all tired but still smiling! We had a great time at market and met a lot of incredible people!

Ruth Chandler, Shirley Harrison and Kitty Jacobson from Landauer and me. After the show closed Ruth, Marybeth and I decided to have a celebratory dinner at PF Changs. Too bad I didn't remember until after we got there that I couldn't eat soy anymore. LOL! Just a bit brain dead I guess...and too tired to find another place. I had a tasty and healthy pile of steamed veggies and brown rice.

Just one more photo of the three of us at the Riley Blake warehouse located just outside of SLC. It was fun to visit their warehouse and fondle the fabric. We were able to stuff a few bolts of fabric for Nana's Quilt Cottage into the car...Marybeth used them as a pillow for the drive home.

Do you all want a Spring market blog giveaway???? I'll take that as a yes! I have gotten some awesome goodies for you all....but, I will be cruelly making you wait until next week! I have barely had time to get the laundry and this post done and I am heading off for the SAQA conference least I only have to go to Denver this time! The goodies are not unpacked or photographed yet...and I have to photograph my new way cool backpack (orange and green!) I will give you a few hints about the goodies though: Quilting Arts, Havel's Scissors, Quilters Home, Lonnie Rossie...
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ForeWord Book of the Year Finalist!

Threads: The Basics and Beyond

I am soooo excited....Threads: the Basics and Beyond by me and Debbie Bates is a finalist in ForeWord's Book of the Year Awards in the Craft and Hobby category.

This is such a huge honor! The category includes all craft and hobby books not just quilting and fabric art. Wow...can you say thrilled?? I may need to tie weights to my ankles to keep my feet on the ground!

Passport for Threads Basic and Beyond

I am so delighted that I think this calls for a giveaway! Don't you? Leave a comment here and on April 1st ( no fooling!) I will use a random number generator to give away a copy of Threads: the Basics and Beyond! Tell me what you love about thread, your favorite thread or just cheer for thread!

And, for all you thread lovers don't forget that I have a FREE on-line book study in the forum on this site. Actually two FREE on-line book studies...Fabric Embellishing and Threads. We even have a few dedicated stitchers in both studies. Come on in and play with us. You don't need to sign up for the class but you do need to get a user name and password to participate in the can look as a  guest. Getting a user name takes about 1 minute and you can find the log in on the forum page.
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Fall Quilt Market

Fall quilt market was great. The atmosphere was upbeat and some of the stressful faces from previous markets were replaced with cheerful smiles. Business in the quilt world is thriving.  I didn't have as much time to talk to fabric designers and see the whole quilt show but I do have some photos to share.

M&S Textile from Australia

I didn't take a lot of photos during the Schoolhouse sessions...just plain forgot! But I did get this photo during the M&S Textile session. Their Aboriginal fabrics are wonderful and wow do they create an intricate quilt. This quilt is actually a very simple pattern...the fabric does all the work. That is my kind of quilt!  Artistic Artifacts carries an extensive line of these fabrics...I want them all!!

1/2 of sample spree

Sample spree is a shopping experience not to be missed. Store owners, teachers and designers have a chance to pick up some of the hottest new products and fabrics so they can get their samples and classes prepared before the products are shipped. It is a bit of a mad house as everyone rushes to their favorite vendor table...quantities are usually limited. This photo shows just half the ballroom where it is held.

Ruth Chandler and I in Landauer booth

Ruth Chandler and I had demos for Fabric Embellishing: The Basics and Beyond every day and I had demos for Threads: The Basics and Beyond as well. We love talking about the books and getting store owners and teachers excited about giving classes based on them. Our demo table is always a pile of samples! Other quilt authors bring nice neat stacks of quilts and we bring all this little stuff! LOL! It is sort of a treasure hunt as we try to show cool techniques amid the jumble of book samples. No one seems to mind though. We were very excited to learn that Fabric Embellishing will be translated into French! Hope I can get a copy.

I had two big book signings at distributor's booths. Unfortunately, my co-author Debbie Bates couldn't attend. These signings are a lot of fun and I get to talk about thread! They had to listen very intently in the E.E. Schenck booth because I was losing my voice.

Book signing at E.E. Schenck

Threads signing in the Checker booth

I also taught a Take and Teach class designed for shop owners to give them ideas for teaching from Threads: The Basics and Beyond. We made this cute little quiltlet with a flower power theme. The students had a great time and almost everyone finished their mini quilt. Those classes are hard on the store owners because we start at 8am! Then they hit the show floor at is pedal to the metal stitching! Fortunately I had my dear friends Ruth Chandler and Deb Prewitt manning the heat guns so we could get their thread lace flowers dry enough to stitch on to the quilt. Friends who will get up at 5:30am to help are priceless.

Take and Teach students hard at work.

Susie's finished Flower Power quiltlet.

Tomorrow I will post some photos from the market floor and then more from Quilt Festival...stay tuned because you know I brought home some goodies for a giveaway!
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Threads: The Basics and Beyond!

Threads: The Basics and Beyond

Woo Hoo!!! Threads has arrived! I am just a little bit excited...OK so I am bouncing off the wall kind of excited!! I am so incredibly delighted with the entire design and layout of this book. It is hard bound with a SPIRAL binding so it lays flat! The design is clean and contemporary with hundreds of awesome step by step photos and clear directions...176 incredible pages!  Threads is the complete visual guide to thread techniques and creativity and if you do any sewing with thread you are going to treasure this go-to guide.

Tote bag front

tote bag reverse side
Tote bag reverse side

Gotta have a give-away of course!!  Leave a comment below between now and midnight on Sunday Sept 12, 2010 and I will pick one lucky winner. Oh, heck, I am so excited I am going to throw in a great tote bag that didn't make it into the final book because we ran out of room. I had a blast making this tote bag but I am just not a pink kind of girl so one lucky winner will get this bag and a copy of Threads: The Basics and Beyond! What, you want thread too??? Well of course I will throw in some of my favorite threads for you to play with!

Stitch Journeys passport

For any of you who have been hesitating about joining us at Textile Evolution Retreat next week...just think in one short weekend you can gain the confidence to tackle any specialty thread that tickles your fancy and become a certified fearless stitcher! In my Stitch Journeys class we will be working through Threads: The Basics and Beyond and playing with all sorts of luscious threads. Here are just a few of the techniques you will learn...

thread painting made easy

free motion sketched bird

Free Form Embroidery

Good luck on the give-away!   I'm going to go stitch something...

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Renegade Dyer

I am not much of a dyer. I don’t measure or take notes, nothing I dye is ever reproducible. I do follow all safety rules but that is where order stops and chaos begins. I do have a lot of fun and try to remember my color mixing theory so I don’t end up with mud…but even when I forget I end up with some nice surprises.

Sunday was a perfect day for dyeing. No afternoon rain or much wind so I set my production table up outside in the shade and started flinging dye. I started using a brush to apply the dye but ended up mostly just pouring the dye on the fabrics…couldn’t find any basters. I only had a few pieces of wool, silk yarn, white silk organza and white silk chiffon so I raided my studio for anything silk. I found a bunch of silk dupioni remnants that a friend had given me and two silk blouses that were perfect for experimenting with. I have to say I didn’t even prewash the silk dupioni and since it was drapery fabric I didn’t think it would take the dye well but I threw it in the mix as any true dye renegade would and I am just delighted with the results!

Dyed silk Dupioni

The two shirts dyed up fabulously free material! One was a sage green sueded silk and the other was a peach shirt. Don’t you love the pockets!

Formerly peach blouse

Formerly sage green blouse

The chiffon turned out fabulous! Unfortunately, it is really hard to photograph well…the patterning is subtle on some and not so subtle on others.

Dyed Silk Chiffon

I love silk organza. I pressed most of this but left a little chunk un-pressed to remind me how cool it is all crinkled up. I used some un-pressed organza in one of the silk rod samples in Fabric Embellishing: the Basics and Beyond. It has such great texture and color play. These also didn’t photograph well but you can believe me they are awesome and actually just what I was aiming for color wise.

dyed silk organza

The wool took a lot of dye because it was already felted but it was the last thing I did so I just poured it on heavy.

hand dyed felted wool

I ended up with an incredible batch of clean-up paper towels too! I’ll show you what I did with some of those tomorrow as well as the silk yarn which has taken longer to dry.
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To Market To Market

threads key fobs

I am headed to Spring Quilt Market in Minneapolis. Wow, has it been a crazy busy month. Two weeks getting ready for market and final edits on Threads: The Basics and Beyond. At market my Fabric Embellishing co-author Ruth Chandler and I will be offering a great Take and Teach class for store owners.  Ruth and I made great little embellished pins as a present for those who take the class. We will be demoing in the Landauer Publishing booth so stop by to see us if you are there.

I am offering a class for Threads also but solo as my co-author Debbie Bates won’t be able to attend. We are really excited to be presenting our new book at market. This book covers everything about thread and is a whopping 176 pages. You all are going to love it! I made these winged heart key fobs for my students who will earn their ‘thread wings’ in the class.

Don’t feel sorry for me because I have been working so hard…after all that prep work we headed east for a real vacation! Of course we hit some great homeschool history sites such as Old Bent’s Fort CO, part of the Santa Fe Trail in OK, Fort Smith AR, Hot Springs AR and the Great Smokey Mountain National Park in TN. Our final destination was Charleston SC to see my oldest son graduate with distinction from Nuclear Power School at the Navel Weapons Station. We also got a chance to welcome in the newest Kettle family member in person. We are so proud of him and his family!

We spent 5 days exploring Charleston and hanging out with the family. We saw enough forts and cannons, battleships, airplanes and traffic to fill us up for a while. One of our favorite sites was the Fire Museum. K-Man who is 3 loved their virtual ride in a fire truck. He got to be the driver numerous times. Baby Z is a delight and perfect.

We met up with my friend Carol Sloan and her husband for a kayak adventure in Charleston Harbor. We had never been kayaking and it was so much fun. We will definitely do that again. Carol will be teaching two great classes at Textile Evolution. We will have to find a Colorado style adventure for her when she is there for the retreat.

I will post photos from market this weekend so check back to see what great stuff I find.
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Poor Nameless Piece

This is the final piece for the technique I demonstrated for Quilting Arts TV at my taping earlier this month. The show will air this summer. I am not sure when but i will be sure to let everyone know. This technique is also in Threads: the Basics and Beyond which will be available in May. I love this technique which combines free motion machine embroidery and hand stitching.

I struggled with how to present this piece because it was overwhelmed by quilted background, which is one of my standard methods of showcasing these embroidery pieces. A painted canvas was too stark. I finally hit upon this idea. The canvas is loosly wrapped with a sheer fabric. I tried wrapping it tightly but that didn't 'fit' either. This piece wanted to have a soft resting piece. I used Misty Fuse to fuse the sheer fabric to the back of the canvas. The Misty Fuse worked perfectly. I like how it turned out and may try it again on future pieces.

I don't have a name for this piece yet. Usually names come to me as I work on a piece and I worked on this one a long time with all the hand stitching but the 'just right' name hasn't come forward. Let me know if you have any ideas!
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The Party's Over

threads book threads small

The Olympic Games have just begun but at this stitcher’s house the party is over! Threads: The Basics and Beyond is done! There is one last round of edits but the stitching game is over. It was a blast from start to finish and a game well played with thread from just about every manufacturer and every fiber we could find working their hearts out to create beautiful stitches for this great book. But the final whistle has blown and now I must face the horrendous task of putting away!

I am not a putting away kind of girl…not laundry, not groceries, maybe fabric, not thread! I just didn’t get the proper genes I guess. Putting away is a tedious chore…I would rather scrub the toilet. That is how I ended up with this huge table full of thread. Well, it was easier to find the right threads when they were spread out instead of in drawers or so my reasoning went. Sigh…I will just have to do it bit by bit.

thread storage small

Students always ask how I store my thread which is a great question because as you may imagine, I have a lot of thread and I also live in a very dry and dusty climate. We can’t leave thread out on racks in Colorado. I have found these 12”x12” storage drawers to be the best for me since they fit on the shelves directly behind my machine.  I know a lot of stitchers sort their thread by color but I seem to be a bit backward that way. I sort by a three tier system: weight, then fiber content then color. I tend to think about thread weight first then fiber and color is last. I use my fabulous label maker to mark the drawer contents and keep my bobbins in keepers also sorted by weight.  I would love to find a drawer system that fits the taller spools upright so I could fit more spools in a smaller space…if you know of one let me know! Maybe I should invite some friends over for a thread putting away party! Wanna come? I'll make snacks!
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2195 Hits

Not Pink Peek

free form emb small

It took me a while to decide just which not pink piece I should share today. I had another one in mind but the photo didn't get transferred over from my other computer...she is in the hospital for a new mother board. Please send wishes for a quick recovery. This is a free form embroidery piece from Threads that I really love. It was one of those pieces that I just can't help but show to everyone I can because I think it is so awesome...of course afterward I hope I didn't seem like an obnoxious show off. It just makes me happy to look at it. It is sort of like when you finally get your desk completely cleared off, everything filed and put in its place and have even polished the wood. You keep walking back in the room to just see how nice it looks all clean and shiny.
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2032 Hits

Sew Expo Peeks

terry white and me small

I spent yesterday at the Denver Sew Expo. It is a fairly small show but has a nice mix of vendors and more focus on garments than quilting. I am not sure why the show charges $10 to get in the door. That seems a bit steep but they didn't consult me! I got some great trims at bargain prices and checked out Laura Murray's new book Star Builder on using paint sticks and her star builder stamps. The book is really nicely laid out with good instructions...a must have for paint stick aficionados. I got my own personal sneak peak at some images of her new stamp line. They are more organic in design so naturally I think they will be a hit. They are still in production so we have to wait a bit longer on those.

I got a very brief vist in with Mark Lipinski, he was keeping his students hopping and they were doing some great work. I spent most of my time distracting my talanted friend and fellow thread junkie Terry Whitefrom her booth duties. Terry has a new line of threads coming out in the spring with Coats and Clark. I can't wait to see them at Spring Market. They are going to be luscious. Terry has been a busy girl and has a new line of fabrics coming soon. It is called Run Rabbit Run from ClothWorks. I got a sneak peek and it is so fun and showcases Terry's unique style and sense of humor! I hope I can get some early for that grand baby quilt I need to make (hint, hint Terry). See that quilt behind Terry's happy face in the photo above? That is a sneak peek at a piece from the Embellishing book she is working on.

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My sneak peek for you today is this fun tassel. Fringe and Tassels were a late addition to the Threads book and so much fun to make. Tassels can be made big or small and boy do they they offer lots of opportunity for embellishing with beads, trims and found object tops! Tassels are a great take along project too since you don't need a lot of equipment.
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2316 Hits


passport cover small

I have a lot to celebrate as the end of January closes in. I am crossing the t's and dotting the i's on my next book: Threads: The Basics and Beyond.  I am so excited that it is coming togther so well.  When you are in the midst of writing a book you get really focused on what you are doing right here and now.It is easy to forget what you did or wrote 3 months ago. Heck, even on a good week I forget what I wrote yesterday...that is one reason my e-mail file is so stuffed. I constantly have to go back and see what I wrote! I am getting of track here...back to the I go back through my text to polish and edit and put my technique samples together for the final photography I am seeing it all for the first time as a whole rather than unrelated parts. I am very happy with the look and feel of this book as well as the great information it has within its covers.It should be available in stores in April. I can't wait to share it with all of you so I will be posting some sneak preview photos over the next week. I will throw in some photos from Fabric Embellishing for extra fun.

passport top view small

What else is on the celebration list??? More sunshine every day. A printmaking class this weekend just for fun, my college kid asked for a hair cut, a drawing from my grandson,  the web site hackers didn't win, more time to make art, new classes to teach and looking forward to sharing art and creativity with an awesome group at the Spring Textile Evolution Retreat!
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2222 Hits

French Knot Obsession

french knots close up

I have become obsessed with french knots these days. I love them! They seem to be finding their way into a lot of my work these days.This is a sneek peek of one of the projects for the new book on Thread (Spring 2010). Aren't they yummy? These were stitched with a hand dyed silk floss. I love using hand dyed threads and may have gottten a little carried away with the number of french knots on this piece. I just couldn't seem to stop.

Speaking of books...I hear the new Cloth Paper Scissors has a review of Fabric Embellishing: The Basics and Beyond. I  hear we got a thumbs up review but I don't have my copy yet and with the snow storm we are currently enjoying I may not get it today either. I am not so good at waiting! Hmmm...maybe some more french knots will keep me occupied!
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  2174 Hits
2174 Hits

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