It isWhat it Is 25 May 2019

Cherrywood Challenge is done!  Because of the severe constraints of color (8 solids) and quantities of fabric, this is the most difficult landscape that I’ve ever done.  “Inspired” by Van Gogh’s “Cafe at Night” and “Starry Night,” this depicts Church Street in Charleston, SC at night.  One of my neighbors observed that it is pretty desolate; that may reflect how I was feeling as I worked on it!  And it is hardly reminiscent of Bob Ross’s paintings which is the theme of this challenge!   Whether or not it is accepted, this challenge required creativity to come up with the idea of how to use all these relatively dark fabrics and how to create the sense of value changes.  So there was satisfaction but not necessarily joy in the work.

Starry Night in Charleston  Starry Night in Charleston

With this and the little dresses for the NICU finished,  I am free to enjoy the Spoleto Festival and outdoor activities (the water in the harbor is 81 degrees F; currently the air temperature is 95.) before we head back to Toronto!  Yippee!

Under Way 18 May 2019

Work on the Cherrywood Challenge is underway!  The restricted palette of solid dark colors makes it a real challenge to do a landscape!  In order to cope, I am working on a night scene in Charleston using my usual method of mosaic collage, this time with the pieces loosely imitating brush strokes.  I drew a cartoon to scale and have cut away parts to guide positioning streets and buildings in the picture.  Painted batting and thread will allow for some variation in color.


Complete this picture by the beginning of the Spoleto Festival, May 24.

Complete the gowns and bonnets for the NICU when the Cherrywood Challenge is complete.

A Little 28 April 2019

As projected, I have been experimenting –a little, anyway–with how to proceed with the Cherrywood Challenge.  The palette is very challenging and a departure from my usual. Normally, I use fabrics that include variations in hue or color, such as batiks, so that they are “painterly” at the get go.  The Cherrywood fabrics are solids.  Unlike the oil paints in Bob Ross’s palette that they are based on, the fabrics can’t be mixed easily to get new colors!  I am working on the composition for this piece as well:  The square format is also a change for me.

You have to give the trial and error for these challenges process time, so I have also been working on my ten “little dresses” and caps for the NICU at the Medical University.  For efficiency, I do one task (such as applying lace to the sleeve edge) for all of the dresses. Currently, I’m about half way through!

A joy this week was hanging three pieces in the Town Hall for Mt. Pleasant.  They will be in place until the end of July.



Finalize composition for the Cherrywood Challenge.

Submit Moebius to SAQA Musica!


What Goes Around 12 Apr 2019

As Gil observed, it has seemed like the latest möebius project has been never ending! After handstitching about 30 feet of binding, it is now done. A binge of  the Australian soap “A Place to Call Home helped me get through that! Hurray!

Version 2

Some notes—so to speak—on the making. There were multiple technical challenges which I am recording both for my reference and for your interest.

The musical staff was created using some heavy cording that I had on hand; it looks like it could have been used to create motifs on clothing. After drawing on some guidelines with a Frixion pen and using a very small zig zag stitch, I couched on the cording with it running through a slot of a 7 slot pintucking foot. A tear away paper stabilizer prevented distortion of the cloth.

Backed with Wonder Under,  the notes were applied using a small Clover iron. This was a painstaking step; but I did have the mock up as a guide. Before fastening the notes more securely, Gil and I together checked that the layout was correct. The next step was to zig zag the notes using invisible monofilament thread (smoke on top, clear on the bottom). Later the adherence was reinforced with a dry iron and damp pressing cloth. Before applying the damp cloth and heat, I tested the cording to make sure it would not melt or lose color into the white fabric underneath.  Despite the Wonder Under, the fabric did tend to fray.

For the other “side,” I printed the lyrics on Jacquard printer-ready fabric, applied Wonder Under to the back of the cloth, then cut and placed the words on the staff. Previously I had joined the two “sides” (music, lyrics) temporarily one above the other to facilitate mirroring the words with the notes. I did not sew down the words; using the damp press cloth with a dry iron was critical to getting proper adherence.

I made a sandwich of the two sides and fleece; one of the sides was upside down (the music was matched with the lyrics) so that the direction would flow after the ends were joined to create the moebius. Technically, a moebius loop is bi directional; this one is not—you read the music in one direction. (A palindromic round would be bi directional.). I basted one inch from either side to hold the sandwich together and to guide placement of the binding.

The loop was formed by sewing a seam on one “side,” double cutting the fleece in the center and applying iron on knit interfacing to join the seam, then on the reverse side, closing the other fabric seam with Wonder Under after overlapping . Fortunately I had figured out this method with previous moebius loop projects!

The binding is a progression of rainbow colors that correspond to the notes of the scale according to one music instruction method. Cut on the bias (again to allow for the twist of the moebius loop), the strips were joined with narrow white sashing just for interest. I must have done the binding application in the dumbest way possible, applying individual colors and joining them as I went. Next time, I would measure the spaces of the segment related to one note (e.g., “Doe a deer, a female deer,” is one segment) and make two identical strips, joining the ends together after the strips were applied. Seems obvious, huh?

Finally, the binding was machine stitched on one side, turned over the edge, and sewn on by hand on the other side. I did not allow enough width for the turn of cloth, even with the extra created by changing the needle position two notches toward the edge for the machine stitching.

While I love solving the technical issues, it is very anxiety provoking to work through such a project. You are holding your breath a lot—trying to prevent disaster after having put so much effort in!

Goal for the next two weeks

Make preliminary trials for the Bob Ross project.

On Schedule 21 Mar 2019

The “Ravenel Bridge at Sunset” has been submitted to SAQA!


bridge overall submission.jpg

And the Musica! project is on track.  I thought that the hardest part of this project would be cutting out the letters.  Was I fooled!  It has been painstaking to place, adhere, and sew these notes!  But that is done; now comes placing the words for “side 2” of the moebius loop.


There will be a little break in the action now for a visit with Josh in California.  While I know California needs water, is it too much to hope that it only rains at night while we are there?

Goals on our return

Complete “side 2” and begin assembling the loop.

Big Week 10 Mar 2019

I’m not sure that they know what kind of propaganda they got, but the Transportation Department for the Town of Mt. Pleasant will hang, “Within a Half Mile of Home,” the walkability map in the reception area! It will replace a picture of a road (kid you not). Gil and I delivered the piece Thursday morning.

And if that weren’t enough, on Friday I finished the upcycling picture to submit to SAQA. This is a landscape built out of vintage linens and features the Ravenel Bridge. My plan was to recycle drawings of Charleston buildings, but that plan did not work; so I went with a silhouette of the town featuring church steeples. The silhouette is definitely application of artistic license–you don’t see these rooflines with this view. Applying the bridge cables (and only selected cables!) took most of a day to accomplish. They had to be applied in layers, background to foreground, zig zagged in place (using a tucking foot to keep the cords in place), and ends pulled to the back.

Goal for next two weeks:

Work on music mobius. Notes are cut out so first up is creating the staff. I made some changes in the anticipated materials because of the availability of fabrics with crosswise stretch which I am hoping will replace need for bias cut fabric.


Conner, Lindsay, ed. Visual Guide to Art Quilting. Published by Stash Books. E-book in Toronto Public Library collection.

This book reviews the whys and how-to’s of art quilting, with contributions by the who’s who of the art quilting world. The sections tend to be concise. There is a nice discussion of why to work in series, an extensive chapter on surface design techniques, and one of the most comprehensive chapters on finishing techniques that I have ever seen (almost worth purchase of the book). This is an excellent general book on art quilting because of the extensive coverage of various issues.

Things Happen 26 Feb 2019

The bridge picture is ready for stitching but the machine is not ready! Still at the shop waiting on a new knob.

A trial of the sketches (done for the möbius tour map) printed on paper and pinned to the picture revealed what should’ve been apparent all along that the cityscape needed to be in shadow. So I have created a silhouette for the background. I also prepared the bridge cables by zigzagging over “strings,” ribbon floss, and thread that were twisted together. By varying the strings, I changed the gauge of the “cable.” No more pictures of this piece until after submission and jurying.

Yesterday I did some fine tuning of the music möbius so that I can buy the final supplies when in NYC later this week. There is something holding me back from starting the work on this piece: Is it fear? It is physically large, with a lot of tedious cutting. The main strips, trim, and interfacing will be on the bias which will necessitate stabilizing all along the way. Sometimes you just have to take a breath and plunge in.

Goals for the next two weeks:

1. Finish the bridge picture and get it to the photographer.

2. Cut out the notes.

3. Cut out the little dresses for the NICU so that they are ready to serve as a break from music notes! The plan is to make 10 dresses and caps before we leave Charleston.

Keeping On Keeping On 16 Feb 2019

Just a quick progress note on the Upcycle project:  Have been glueing on bits for the sky (see below) and working on the bridge. The background is peach which will serve well for background of the sunset portion and adds liveliness to the sky portion. The second picture shows how I used cutouts from the cartoon to judge placement of the bridge parts.

The picture of the back of the bridge span (below) shows one method of removing Pellon tear away stabilizer from narrow channels by scoring it with the point of the scissors.(sometimes I forgot to remove before stitching the next lines!). This is the tear away with holes in it, #360 maybe? Generally it is a breeze to remove this stabilizer.

Goals for next week:

Upcycle project

  1.  Complete “first cut” of the picture.
  2.   Assemble drawing for skyline and try wax paper transfer.

Mt. Pleasant Town Art project:  Follow up on Walkability map.


Progress! But Always More to Do! Feb. 4, 2019

Today I was fortunate to be able to talk through the three projects with Lynne, an accomplished art quilter who lives nearby. She validated a couple of things I had in mind and asked some good questions about issues that were waiting to be sorted. Thank you, Lynne!

Progress last week

I figured out a general plan for the Upcycle challenge, drew a cartoon of the picture, and assembled all the vintage linens for this project. The due date on this is at the end of March, so it has to be the priority.

I probably spent more time on the music möbius because there are more technical issues. Another mock-up with the larger notes and printed words revealed that the song would end up pushing 15 feet in length! Which means that it would have to be hung from the ceiling because of the maximum size for a wall hanging.

What amazes me is that at every turn, there is something else to consider: Should I use tie interfacing for maximum flexibility instead of batting? Would that mean that all the fabric should be cut on the bias? Should only the key note of a particular segment be coloured? Lynne suggested using the words above or below the staff as in the original mockup; this could simplify things! But I need to make sure that the orientation of the words will be correct when the song is divided into the “wrong” and “right” side. Fortunately, I can use the original mock up to check on that!

I also selected an image for the Cherrywood Challenge and have ordered the batting to use with that. Of the three projects, this is the one that I would most like to work on–it’s a landscape to fit with the Bob Ross theme.

Goals for this week:

1. Begin piecing the Upcycle image.

2. Try a mockup to figure out whether the song can be divided into two “sides” for the music möbius.

3. Assemble drawings for Upcycle and try a transfer method for the Charleston drawings.

Worthwhile books spotted during a library shelf cruise

Ford, Joan. Cut the Scraps! A method for cutting and organizing your stash for facilitate quilting–and using up the stash!

Michler, J. Marsha. Crazy Quilts by Machine. There are patchwork methods for crazy quilting that were new to me (using patterns and confetti piecing). Best of all, there was a pattern for a table runner that might work well with the vintage linens. Michler has also written Crazy Quilting: A Complete Guide which is different from other authors.

A New Year Jan. 27, 2019

All the best in the new year to my friends and followers out there! I will miss the FaceTime contact with the group in London but hope that some of you will stay in touch through this blog.

Owing to a pesky virus, I am off to a late start. But started! My goal for the year is to get work juried into as many shows and venues as possible. A call for entry is a call for creativity and organization; responding avoids “messing around” with no discernible output!

The walkability map is finished and being photographed. Sorry, CEG, it won’t be back in Canada in time for the Open House! I will bring it for submission to the Quilts at the Creek Show (Black Creek Pioneer Village, July 27 and 28, 2019).

Goals for the week:

1. Finish planning piece for Upcycle!. Collage of vintage linens with recycled images of iconic Charleston buildings (drawn for möbius tour map) or Ravenel Bridge at sunset?

2. Mock up of music möbius to correct scale; placement of notes and words must be coordinated for the two “sides” so I will work them with the staffs one above the other. How long will it be?

3. Measure the cording selected for lines of staff. Do I have enough?