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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I’m sorry I haven’t posted in such a long time.  I arrived in Asheville in mid April on a glorious spring day. The dogwoods were still in bloom soon to be followed by azaleas and  rhododendrons.  It was a wonder to drive from winter to full out spring in two days.

My “stuff” (aka my life) went into storage and I began searching for a suitable house. I found the perfect townhouse but the process of purchasing it, closing the sale and moving in was an adventure I would never want to repeat.  I finally moved in about 3 weeks ago and am still dealing with boxes and repairs.  But its all good.

The studio space is wonderful.  Large, open and with great natural light. There’s even good storage space but its going to take a while to get moved in and organized. And from where my desk (OK, folding table but I’m going to get a desk) is positioned I can look out and view the mountains.  Once my space is set up I will be excited to share photos.

With all that has been going on there hasn’t been much time for art and the stress is not conducive to creativity.  But last night a few of us got together to form the Asheville Surface Design Group.  Our first meeting was a hands on gelli plate activity lead by Lisa Heller.  It was so much fun to play with fabric, paint and texture again.

gelli rubbing 2

And this has convinced me that no matter what needs to be done around here I still need to feed my soul with some hands on art activity, and not to worry about coming up with a finished product but just to enjoy engaging in the process.

gelli rubbing 1


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Swan Song

swan finished full

Swan Song 36″ x 25″

The summer of 2001 was a special time.  We were finally building our dream house on Lake Marion.  I spent the summer in the apartment over the garage; Bill came up on weekends. So I was alone on 9/11.  But not quite alone.  A juvenile Trumpeter Swan was hanging out on the lake. I began feeding him and he got used to me sitting by the lake.

I took many photos and have depicted him in fiber art a few times.  I made this last piece in January.  The house sold while I was finishing it.

The lake ice went out much earlier than usual this year.  Even though its still very cold the lake is full of migrating waterfowl.  The loons have returned and I am so happy to have caught sight of one. My swan never returned to the lake but I will take this one with me to North Carolina.  And it seems like a good image for my last post from the 45th parallel.




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Moving South…Finally Packing

I should be packing but I want to reestablish my blogging habit so here goes.

Yesterday I closed the sale of this house. I’m relieved that its finally over. I so clearly remember purchasing the first of the three lots nearly 35 years ago. Thirty years ago we built the garage & apartment that was our vacation get-away and later my studio.  We did a lot of the work ourselves and I remember every detail.  Fifteen years ago I supervised the building of this house from that apartment. It was such a fun and exciting process.  Then converting the apartment to the studio.  We loved it here.  But its not the right place for me now. Time to move on and take my memories with me.


And my relocation plans have changed.  For the better but it suddenly complicated everything .  The house in North Carolina sold!  I am so relieved.  It was right for us but wrong for just me.  Now I will rent a small furnished cabin and store almost everything I am taking with me.

Little house

The cabin is small and very basic but the setting is lovely and the location ideal for house hunting.  Setting up a makeshift studio will be challenging but I will figure it out.

The packing seems endless and more complicated since most things are destined for storage.  I am closing out a long chapter and starting a new one. I don’t know what is ahead but moving forward is the right action.


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Forest Fire


27″ x 20″

A forest fire can be destructive but it can also renew a forest with new growth. Some species, such as the Jack Pine, require the heat of a fire for their seeds to germinate.  I tell myself this to put some positive spin on my new piece.  I made it in response to an assignment to illustrate movement.

Last month I began a year long online master class with Elizabeth Barton.   Each month Elizabeth presents a concept via an essay with examples of artwork illustrating the principle.  Each participant produces 3 sketches based on the concept and we need to turn them in by the 10th of the month.  They are posted to a private blog with Elizabeth’s critique and we choose one to develop.  We have another 10 days to produce a block-out mockup of our piece and submit it for comment.  The finished work is due by the end of the month.

One of the things I love about this class is being able to follow the progress of each student’s artwork.  Each student has her own style and methods.  No two pieces resemble each other at all.  Since its all on our blog I can spend lots of time studying the photos and reading Elizabeth’s comments and suggestions.

In January we explored contrast and I will share my January piece at some point.  I submitted it to a show and while there is no restriction about showing it ahead of time I’ve decided to see if by some wild chance its accepted.

I found the February assignment to be challenging.  For some reason I wanted to try a subject I had not explored and to treat it in a somewhat  abstract way. I’m not sure where the idea of the forest fire came from.

The fire in the background was a lot of fun. Nothing like hot colors in drab and dreary February.  The trees gave me fits until I realized that I was falling back on my very literal tree shapes that did not work with the abstracted background.  I took another look at how Patty Hawkins suggests trees with simple shapes.  All my fabric choices seemed too heavy and then I recalled a very old piece Ghosts of the Forest and decided to try organza.

Kathie Briggs SAQA  Ghosts of the Forestl

Ghosts of the Forest 2006

I finished in time.  March & April might be tricky but I am really going to try to produce one new piece each month


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Moving South

The “Litle House in the Big Woods” sold last week. If nothing goes wrong I’ll be closing in April and heading to Asheville.  For now I’m planning to move to the house we purchased in 2014.  Its been rented out but the tenants moved the last week so unless it sells before April it will be my temporary house.  Just don’t need to take on another large house with acreage and all the maintenance that requires.  But at least I have a landing space.

house front

Sometime soon I will be migrating my website to a WordPress platform and incorporatig my blog.  It will need a new name since I’ll no longer be living on the 45th parallel. 

Lots of time to think about it but in the meantime I have a lot of packing and planning to keep me busy through the rest of winter.  And some time in the studio. I am working again.  I won’t have a lot of time for art right now but I know that I need to carve out a few hours here & there to feed my soul.


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