Thursday, October 1, 2015


Each Fiber Junkie kinda did their own thing on this last outdoor dye painting day.  So....let's take a look at their work....
Denny, is our cheer leader for layering, layering, layering....she generally creates quickly and does twice what the rest of us do.  This day she started more simply with a newsprint design fabric.....and painted the outline of row houses.
She continued by adding more color.  I can't wait to see what she does with it.
Show and tell was unusually sparse this month.....but that doesn't mean it wasn't amazing.  Here's Denny's newest piece......the figures were created with a lot of thread.  Her work almost always features symbols and meaning.
She introduced us to Gypsy inspired by the above.  I was unaware of this concept and I must say, it was intriguing.  The idea is to use up orphan blocks and scraps.  I didn't get a good photo of Denny's quilt which was a take-off of the pattern.....however she used larger fabric sections and blocks. Colorful and fun would best describe this approach.
Our hostess Val always creates unique pieces.....she's incredibly artistic. She's just begun painting this piece.....which reminded me of the smudges of fall foliage we see here in the forested mountains. 
Val has a very good understanding of color and how they blend and work together.....
Here the piece is drying.....generally she utilizes these pieces as backgrounds for screen printing, made using her extensive hand-made screens.
Kate was playing with a flower design rubber sink protector that you can see it peaking out between the layers of fabric. 
And this is the result.  Great, yes?
Judy used one of her thermofax screens to print using the thickened dyes. The fabric was a reject from (I think) a deconstructed screen print session.
Next, a variety of colors were added with a foam brush. We all agreed, Denny's influence of layering is rubbing off on us.
Another very successful piece made by Judy.
Last but not least.....Gen alternated stripes to fill the entire area of the cloth.....she plans to layer stencil designs on it.  I was so enthralled with painting/blending stripes myself that I was remiss and didn't take as many photos as I should me, it was stunning when she finished!

To say a good day was had by all is an understatement.......I can't encourage you enough to gather a few pals and have your own Fiber Junkie play day!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


The best medicine to shake off a couple of really lousy days, is a fun filled one with my Fiber Junkie pals.  This was our last outdoor play date for the season.  We'll be moving our experiments indoor (or further south to a member's home in South Carolina) until next spring.
Each and every member of our group is unbelievably generous, thoughtful, gracious, inspiring, talented....need I say more?  But Val is a true saint.  She hosts us month after month from Spring to Fall....everything is perfectly organized when we arrive.  For instance, each of us always has her own padded table, padded floor covering....and look at this....6 premixed thickened dyes ready for each!

This was kinda a free for all day.  The weather didn't cooperate for our ice-dyeing session, so we switched to dye painting.  Here I placed some thick string on plastic....
And covered it with dry mercerized cotton that had been treated with soda ash.  The fabric was a second....note the hole....but I choose to think that will only force me to be more creative when the time comes to using it.
I had intended to recreate sky or water, hoping the string would help yield interesting texture. However, in my excitement I accidentally began with green dye. Thus a morning or evening mountain scene was born instead.
I never seem to have enough hand-dyed threads for at home I soda ashed as many hunks of light colored threads that I uncovered in my stash.  There was no real plan as far as color distribution went....I simply dunked a foam brush in the thickened dyes and dabbed it on.  
To assure good penetration on the thicker threads, often the dye was thinned with a bit of water.
Over the last couple of months, most of the fabrics I created were quite busy....lots of layering using a variety of techniques.  But one does need some less intense fabrics as well.  Wetting fabric sections first in soda ash water, allowed the dyes to blend yet provide movement from the brush strokes.  This one was sprinkled with salt with the hopes of having the grains disperse the dyes in an interesting manner.
This was as fast and easy as painting stripes using several different colors of dyes.....which blended as they hit the wet fabric.  
And another......
Next a dry hunk of fabric was transformed using the rims of 3 varying sizes of plastic cups, dipped in thickened dye.
This is how I added the small dots!

I haven't washed or dried the fabrics my attention continued to be diverted with several annoying technical problems.  The 13 year old sewing machine died.....and I mean D E A D!  The main circuit board failed and can't be repaired nor are replacements of the reasons for arriving at Fiber Junkies in a very crabby mood.  

To top it off, I'm one of the Mac users who is tearing her hair out trying to work out the bugs left by the new software upgrade.  And I still haven't gotten all of the issues resolved after having to replace my desk top a couple of months ago. now there's all new ones!

It's ridiculous to have to admit just how stressful this new challenge has been.....even with a Mac genius at hand via phone.....the 'work arounds' to make some aspects work are not quite satisfactory.  Perhaps my age is showing.....I DO NOT LIKE CHANGE.  I just barely got used to all the new junk they added with the last upgrade......

I sure hope my whining isn't annoying to you......perhaps you totally understand??  I'm seriously thinking I should host a pity party for myself.....but this too will pass.....grinning......

Sunday, September 27, 2015


I'm currently not a knitter.....however, I did make a few sweaters 40+ years ago....but that was the extent of my knit and purl experience.  
My pal Lynn is in the process of knitting this cowl......following the guidelines on Scoreboard Knit A Long.  It's a great concept for football widows.....or football fans to embrace.

Here's Lynn's explanation.....obviously....she's another Green Bay Packer fan:  All Packers points are knit in green, opponents are yellow - one row for each point - and white indicates the end of a game.  So, from top down....... Packers vs. Bears, white end of game rows, Packers vs. Seahawks, end of game white rows.  I sure hope there's A LOT more green than yellow by the end of the season.  I'm all set for Monday night's game ---- I'll be knitting frantically every time someone scores.  Great fun!!!!!

So all you knitters......get out those needles and yarn in your teams colors and start knitting.  With only 2 (or possibly 3) games can catch up!  And thank you Lynn for sharing this novel way to marry football and fiber!

GO PACK GO......GO PACK GO.......GO PACK GO......GO PACK GO!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 25, 2015


This is the final layout I selected to marry the needle lace leaves with the wool that had been reworked numerous times!
THE COLOR OF FALL  -  12" x 9"
Available Here  (and to view a larger photo)
 Artist shibori printed, ice-microwave dyed, & mono-printed wool, machine needle lace embroidered leaves. Mounted on a canvas covered frame, fabric backed with hanging device.

Visit these blogs to see what others have been up to this week.  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, Sarah's Whoop, Whoop Friday, Crazy Mom Sews.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


I expect most of you are familiar with the wonders of water soluble stabilizer....simply stitch on it.....cut the excess stabilizer away and dissolve the remaining in warm water.
The leaves are soaking in a sink that's filling with water.
With the stabilizer gone, the leaves are left to dry.
Though I made the leaves specifically following the design pattern I drew on the didn't translate into a pleasing piece.
I had a stack of leaves to work with so I began auditioning new placements.
Though I rejected this one layout, upon reflection, I rather like it now.  However I didn't then, so check back tomorrow and I'll show you what I did do!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


….Continuing the saga of this new wool piece........
The colors and texture of the fabric gave the impression of fall.  So I set out to create leaves to enhance the design of the fabric.  A clear piece of plastic and a magic marker allowed me to preview the shape and placement.
Normally I use a dry erase marker when auditioning motifs, but because I wanted to transfer the design, a traditional marker worked better for this approach as it stays fairly wet.
I placed a piece of lightweight paper over the leaves drawn on the plastic to transfer their shapes.....they will now be my templates.  Sure they are rough shapes.....but for my purpose; to make needle lace leaves, that was fine.
I retraced the shapes onto a piece of water soluble stabilizer.
Okay, I know what you are thinking....Mary doesn't like to free motion stitch....and you'd be right.  But it had to be done.  So, the shapes were outlined and then filled in using rayon embroidery thread.
Well......that wasn't too bad.....I did it!  But, took a lot of time and I had how many more planned???

Come back tomorrow and see the progress........  

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


This post should probably be titled - The 7th Time May Be The Charm......
Normally, my preference is to show the process and conclusion of a project in one post, assuming that doesn't get overwhelming. But, because of all the steps involved, I'm breaking up this 'story' into several posts.
It all began with a piece of garment quality white wool.  I love working with felted wool, but as is often the case with dress goods, it wouldn't felt.  I had a lot of this fabric so I decided to work with it anyway.

The first step was to ice dye it.....but as seen in this's rather dull. So when two friends and I were playing with acrylic paint, I wrapped it onto a large pvc pipe. 
And painted the folds using a foam brush. (My buddy Judy Simmons can be seen in the background painting one of her pieces.)'s still ugly!
Several months later the Fiber Junkies spent a day experimenting with microwave I overdyed it.  Good's still homely.
Time passed and the Fiber Junkies met again for a mono-printing day.  I was doing a happy dance after transforming the fabric by applying numerous layers of thinned acrylic paint with the aid of several really interesting stencils a member shared.

Trust's so much better in person.  The challenges are that it is far darker than it appears in the photo and has a VERY BUSY appearance.  

With that said......after picking it up a dozen times and replacing it, I now have a plan that hopefully will be successful.   Check back....won't you?

Monday, September 21, 2015


VICTORY...... Packers 27 -  Seahawks 17!!!!!!!!

All smiles after Elliott's one-handed interception in the 4th quarter......

The 'countdown clock' for the Packer/Chief's game now reads:  
7 days - 12 hours - 27 mins. - 30 seconds.....  We fans aren't too anxious for the next game are we??? 

Sunday, September 20, 2015


It's been a full weekend so far with TWO long car races broad casted on TV from Texas yesterday.  It's the 2nd to the last race of the season and the teams are all getting spunky, vying for the coveted #1 spot which earns them an automatic entry into the prestigious 24 Hours of LeMans in France next June.

I realize I might be speaking surely none of this is vaguely familiar or interesting to 99.99% of you. can't be escaped in this household, so I keep one eye on the TV and one on my sewing.

The real story will be told tonight when the Green Bay Packers meet the Seattle Seahawks.....a MUST WIN game.
This home opener would be a fabulous one to attend as they welcome back Super Bowl 1 Alumni (some pictured above) and Packers Hall of Famers.  What a thrill it must be to see all these greats in one location.  A pal of mine was flying to Wisconsin on Friday and snagged a photo of herself with Don Majkowski who was on the same plane.  Are you all rolling your eyes yet?!?

Okay, enuff!!!  Our boys are ready.....our Packer flags are flying here in the mountains of NC and our Packer gear is waiting to be doned. So obviously, I can't let the day go by without repeating over and over........GO PACK GO   GO PACK GO!!!!

Friday, September 18, 2015


With three upcoming births in our family....I've been busy creating quilts. 
 Not having a specific theme or color suggestion for this one, a small stack of polka dot prints from my stash caught my eye.  My first thought was to limit the colors and make pink and blue 4 patch blocks. (The baby will be a girl.)  After realizing my prints wouldn't stretch that far I changed course.  Instead, I began piecing single 3" patches of every color in my collection.
 Naturally, then I realized there really weren't enough to finish AND not enough  to provide a pleasing distribution of color and pattern.  
I always appreciate belonging to several small fiber groups in the area.  Luckily, our PTA (group of 14) was scheduled to with the stroke of a few computer pals generously brought some from their stashes to share with me.

My goal was to make a manageable size I had intended to stop at this point.  However, it did seem a bit puny and I felt it needed a border to frame all that activity.......
This is the result.....of course you all know this is really only step a backing will be pieced....incorporating some more patches, then basting, then quilting, then binding, then label making....then mailing it off......

How lucky I am to have the time and studio space to do all these tasks......while watching/listening (often open mouth) some trashy reality shows!!

See what other creative folks have been up to this week:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday, Whoop, Whoop Friday, Crazy Mom Quilts.