Ready for Butterflies

I think black butterflies, some kind of Swallowtail.

Working on this has been a joy. With luck it will be selected to travel and might bring a little bit of joy into a hospital.

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Dog Days of Summer

Its been hot here. I guess its hot all over. My days have developed a fairly steady rhythm that begins with a 2 mile walk with my dog, Bridget. We get out early while its still cool and we have the benefit of shade along the pretty country road which is our favorite walk. Then, depending on the day, it either out to the yard for weeding and watering or down to the studio for my online yoga practice. So I usually don’t get to work until after lunch, if at all.

I finished the “Gypsy Baby” which will be donated to the Asheville Quilt Guild Silent Auction during out 2021 Quilt Show. Like most events, our 2020 show is cancelled.

Gypsy Baby 16″ x 23.5″

I finally got around to sewing the sleeve on a piece I made last spring at the beginning of the pandemic. We’d been seeing gorgeous sunrises every day which inspired “A Brighter Day”. I used a lot of my own hand-dyed and discharged fabrics.

A Brighter Day 27″ x 46″

I have been stumbling around trying to start something new. Last week I happened upon a call for quilts for the Sacred Threads Back Yard Escape Exhibit which will travel to several hospitals and some quilt shows. I am passionate about art in hospitals so I was inspired to start something even though the deadline is less than 3 weeks away.

The best part of my own backyard is my pollinator garden so I chose 3 flowers from it, Veronica, Purple Coneflower, and Butterfly Weed. I’m using one of my ice dyed fabric for the background.

I’ve assembled the flower clusters, fused onto freezer paper and pinned more or less where they will be fused after the background is quilted. I’ll free-cut the stems and leaves at that time.

The butterfly (or butterflies) will be created once the flowers are fused and stitched. They will tell me what kind of butterfly they want to visit.

If (big if) there is time, I’d like to try a second quilt. I have an idea but it will wait until this is done. I need one to make the deadline. But having a new idea is a good thing.


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Now the difficult part

I’ve pretty much squared up the Gypsy Wife quilt. I may tweak it a bit more but for now I’m enjoying it on the design wall. Its a happy quilt.

I’ve had a hard time getting started on anything new. I have at least 3 challenges I’ve been invited to participate in. All three have good themes and doable perimeters. Still I find myself stuck in coming up with a idea for any of them.

So I set to work on a mini version of a Gypsy Wife type quilt to donate to the 2021 Asheville Quilt Guild’s Silent Auction. I am in charge of the function at the show and need to write something (anything!) monthly in our newsletter. When I finish this I can write about it and invite members to send photos of their donations.

Also I thought by just working I may get inspired to begin one of the challenges or at least start on the next pollinator piece. So far lightning has not struck.

I enjoyed making the blocks, particularly the new ones. Playing with bright colors is just plain fun. Now the difficult part: figuring out the strips and the placement. The quilt needs to be no larger than 24″ x 24″. I started by using my small portable design board and sort of winging it. I see that I may need to get out the graph paper.

My goal is to have it quilted by next week. Wish me luck.


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Gypsy Wife Assembled

I meant to post this on Monday but had a little runaway kitty incident. I found him up a tree in the woods behind the house, after hopping the fence, tripping over vines and cutting myself up rather badly. When he saw me he came down on his own and is safe at home.

The Gypsy Wife quilt is pieced. The last section gave me fits. Isn’t that always the case. I am not sure yet if it will square up and lie flat. For now it is “resting” on the design wall. The long-arm quilter thinks she can take it in July or August. Glad I am not attempting to quilt this myself.

In the meantime I finished the binding and sleeve for a small abstract for a group challenge. The group was intrigued with the catalogue from the Studio Art Quilt Associates “Sightlines” exhibit (2010-2013).

They decided take a slightly different route. Essentially the pieces were to “connect” via a black line that was 3/4″ when it entered and exited the piece. The line could change size and move wherever it pleased within the composition. Unfortunately for me I was not at the meeting where this was decided and had no say in these rules. You can probably tell from my tone that I did not like the rules but apparently everyone else was fine with them so I had no choice but to go along.

The first piece which may be called “A Brighter Day” resisted the line. I still need to put a binding on this one.

27″ x 46″

The second piece is totally abstract and worked better with the black line. I enjoyed working on it and may play around with this concept in some different colors and without having to extend a line.

23.5″ x 25.5″

Here’s a picture of my little runaway, Magnum PI. He’s a good studio cat. Doesn’t get into my fabric or even my yarn.


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More progress on my Gypsy Wife

Finished section 8 today and began section 9. Need to make another Old Maid Puzzle and then section 9 will be ready for strips.

I only used 4 fabrics for Hope for the Hartford block (bottom left). As hard as I tried I could not find a 4th fabric I liked in this combo so as usual I did my own thing.

The black batik is special for me as it has a story. Years ago Princess Mirah batiks commissioned a quilt based on my own photo taken in Bali.

They sent me 25 yards of assorted batiks and I need to make the quilt entirely from what they sent. They showed the quilt at the Houston Quilt Mart and featured it in ads. The following year they returned it to me with another 20 yards of batik. I’m still using the batik years later. The black is the border and some jewelry. I’ve used other fabrics from this quilt in Gypsy Wife.

Here’s the design wall today. I’m getting closer to completion.

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Immersed in the Gypsy Wife Quilt

This has turned out to be more fun that I imagined. I’ve worked on this every day this week and made great progress. I’m not a traditional quilter and don’t know quilt blocks much beyond Log Cabin. I do know how to sew and I can usually figure out diagrams.

I have 5 sections completed and I’m ready to sew the background strips into the next section. I hope I continue to enjoy this when I get to the sections with lots and lots of 1-1/2″ strips.

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May Projects

I know its been a while since I posted. I had so many changes in my life and though they are positive changes my rhythm and flow of my days have been altered. Some things inevitably fall through the cracks. The blog certainly did. My intent is to update once a week. Let’s see if I can make the habit stick.

This winter/spring I have been somewhat productive in the studio. I finished 3 pieces in the new Pollinator/Plant series. Bob made the frames and they frame to 20″ x 20″

There will be at least 3 more in the series but right now I’m taking a break to take part in a “Gypsy Wife Quilt Along”. A friend came up with the idea and with the social distancing and all I jump on it.

Yes, its a pattern and its traditional piecing both of which I haven’t done in 15 years. Each block is unique at least in fabric choices so none of my blocks will match. Mine will not be as scrappy as this. I am enjoying the process immensely. I get to play with fabric without having to create a composition. I started with the intention that I will use only what’s in my stash & scrap boxes. I’m using fabric had for more than 20 years that just doesn’t fit in my style. It fits into this so its also a bit of a trip down memory lane. Here’s a photo of the design wall. I began on May 19. I’ll post my progress as we go.

The piece on the right is in need of binding and a sleeve. Less exciting than playing with color. I will talk myself into finishing it before the end of the month. I need the space for more Gypsy Wife blocks.

I also picked up my knitting again. Over the years I have tried to learn to knit and abandon the projects. The last time I started one I got sidetracked by this new man who has been my husband now for almost 2 1/2 years. Last winter I picked up the abandon scarf and finished it. “Bear” is modeling.

Next a small shawl from yarn I dyed. I found lots of mistakes when I blocked it. I’ll still wear it in the fall.

I love the pattern (“May I Borrow This Please” on Ravelry) so I made it again in a light weight yarn. Fewer mistakes.

Next I thought I’d try something larger in a finer weight yarn. Loved the yarn but the resulting shawl is more elongated that anticipated. I stopped before the last two repeats of the pattern since theta tails were almost to the floor. (“Touchstone” on Ravelry)

Hope you are doing OK during this pandemic. I find enough to keep me motivated most of the time. There’s the garden, my online yoga classes and of course Bridget is always up for a walk.

Time to get back making fun blocks and maybe cutting the binding for “A New Day.”

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Weaverville Art Safari – Fall 2019

Its been a couple years since I’ve posted.  I need to make it a habit to post once a month.  And maybe change the title of the blog since I’m way south of 45 degrees north.

I’m set up for the safari (studio tour) so I though I’d share the photos of my studio & my work.  Welcome to my front entry


You are greeted inside by the bear and sometimes by Magnum PI, my studio assistant:

Some of my hangings:


Runners and bowls

Pieces mounted on the wall upstairs:


Then down to the music room:


And into the studio.   Office & design wall:


I have dyed scarves, hand-dyed fabric and more bowls:

More wall hangings:


And framed art along with more bowls and hand-dyed fabric.  BTW, Bob makes the frames.


This gives you a view of the layout.


It takes all week to set this up.  Keeping my fingers crossed for a good turnout.



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Pollinators – Magnolia

Stage 2.  The image was stitched and then floated (blind stitched) onto a quilted base.  Then the whole thing was stretched over a 12″ x 16″ artist canvas.  I’m planning on inserting it into a floating frame which is on order.  I hope it adds a bit more weight to the piece.

Pollinatores Magnolia for web

The bees were created entirely by thread painting onto a water soluble stabilizer.  The wings were added after the bees were attached to the composition.

bees on magnolia for web

I think it might have been more effective if either the framed image was square with a rectangular background or placing the rectangular image on a square background.  I’ll reserve final judgement until I see what the floating frame adds (or does not add).

I plan to continue the series.   I took this photo of wisteria  in May.


In addition to the flowers there are the pollinators themselves.  Bees, of course but also butterflies and moths.  I made this drawing of a moth in class last spring.  It might be fun to revisit the moths but on a smaller scale than Luna or the Polyphemus. They are each 40″ wide.


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Its been a long time since I’ve posted  I thought when I finally got to North Carolina, found  house and moved in that I’d get back to work again.  I’m surrounded by wonderful views, all manner of flora and fauna, and only minutes from downtown  Asheville.  But it took me a while to adjust.  And longer than I planned to make the necessary changes to the house.

I have been journaling and gathering ideas, remembering that since I always have my phone with me that I have a very good camera with me as well.  A couple times I chanced upon bees pollinating flowers and managed to capture some images.  Since I want to start out with a smaller format I’m exploring a series on pollinators.

The first piece I’m exploring is a magnolia blossom.  I’ve fused the main components and I’m ready to stitch.  I thought posting my progress would help keep me on track.Polinators Magnolia step 1

I have a wonderful new 9 ft. x 6 1/2 ft.  design wall   The studio is nearly the way I way I want it.

It feels so good to be working.  This piece may not turn out the way I envisioned but right now its all about the process.  And (for me at least) inspiration comes from doing the work.

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