Sunday, December 28, 2014

Just for Me

This one's for me! 

You might have already guessed that I have a bit of a thing for spawning sockeye salmon ... I have worked on this theme from time to time over the past five years and never seem to tire of it. This art quilt has been created using hand dyed fabric by Judy Robertson. I love the vibrant red-purple pieces that I used for the salmon ... and the background piece made a gorgeous non-traditional watery setting. This is an art quilt that I started in a workshop with Catherine Nicholls over a year ago and Catherine really challenged me in the design and the four light sources on the rocks (and helped out when I couldn't see where those shadows should go!).  I'm not sure that I really got it right, but I loved the effect, once it was all quilted with watery blue variegated thread.

This measures approximately 30" square and is hanging over the fireplace in our living room.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas to You

My wish for you

Merry Christmas 

Love ... Peace ... Wonder ... Joy ... Hope

Warm Thoughts ... Happiness ... Hugs

This is the "Christmas Card" that I created this year.  My intent was to make a fibre art piece and then photograph it and have it printed onto cardstock and send them to friends and family. The first three things were accomplished but unfortunately, the cards are still sitting on my kitchen counter waiting to be addressed ... and where did I put those stamps that I bought???  Well, I meant well!!!

This is a little pillow that is made from a beautiful felt that has been in my stash for about fifteen years. I stitched the vintage doily, on which I had free-form embroidered a tree, to the free-form pillow shape (do you see a little free-form theme going on here) and then added stitched stars and beads to the border.  The outer edge of the pillow has been blanket stitched with beads inserted in alternate stitches.  The idea for this came from Laura Kemshall (of DMTV), who created some delightful motto pillows using similar techniques.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and I will be back in the New Year to show you more fibre art that is just waiting to be photographed.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Vitis - Art Quilt with Grapes and Grape Leaves

A new art quilt is born! 

This has to be my favourite art quilt (maybe the latest is always the favourite) . . . I love the soft colour palette and the beautiful texture that ripples and swirls with the leaves and grapes.
The grape leaves are painted using metallic copper and moss green textile paints with stencils I made using local grapes leaves to get the shape just right. The grapes themselves were stamped using the end of a spool of thread.

There is lots of machine quilting and then my favourite seed stitches that I did by hand . . . it was such a relaxing piece to work on. I chose to add the botanical name for grapes "Vitis" to the left side. Here is a photo of a bit of the detail.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Vintage Textile to Treasured Purse

A few years ago I purchased a piece of handwoven linen at an estate sale and I have used that piece of fabric in several projects since then.  It is fairly coarsely woven so is beautiful to hand stitch and that is just what I did when I created this little purse.
The purse came to the attention of the editor of Art Quilting Studio magazine and I was asked to submit an article and photographs of the purse for their Winter 2014 magazine.  I received the magazine in the mail today to find a beautiful three-page article on this little purse.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Printing fabric

Last month I attended a three-day workshop at Sorrento Centre where Catherine Nicholls was teaching a course on working with thickened dyes.  It was a fantastic three days of playing with fabric and dyes under Catherine's excellent guidance.

We worked on designs first and then translated those designs into screen printing and block making techniques. I will post more about the block printing another day.

This is my silk screen that is prepared for breakdown screen printing ...

And this is the metre of fabric that I printed from that screen ...

It is a gorgeous piece of fabric and I am giving lots of thought as to how I will use it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sale in my Etsy Shop Oct 27-30

 Some of the many purses and cuffs on sale in my Etsy shop (click on the shop logo on the right side of your screen or visit
Today I want to let you know about the first-ever sale in my Etsy shop.  You can get 10% off anything in my shop until October 30, 2014 by using the coupon code BOBBIN10 at the checkout. This sale is being held along with other members of The Hot Bobbin Team so check out their stores too, for great quilts, Advent Calendars, Christmas stockings, art quilts, table decor and more. Here is the link to the Hot Bobbin Facebook Page

Sunday, July 20, 2014

More indigo . . .

Well, time sure flies . . . I had intended to post a few more photos of the indigo workshop I took earlier this month but with one thing and another, I just didn't do so until today.
These photos are of sample pieces that I dipped in the indigo vat after doing a variety of shibori techniques on the white fabric. We used a variety of fabric ... some cotton, linen, silk as well as some vintage doilies and a silk scarf that I over-dyed. 

The piece that is on the cylinder is a silk scarf that has been wrapped with cord and then pushed to the end of the cylinder before being immersed in the indigo vat several times. The resulting piece has a beautiful chevron look pattern and the wrinkles will stay in the fabric as long as it does not get wet ... must take a photo of that for you to see, too.

I am also working on a piece that was designed by the course leader, Thomas Roach. It is a prayer cloth that has been dyed as a whole cloth and then folded in a specific manner to create a very beautiful cloth that is lined with quilt batting. I am currently working on hand embroidery stitching on it . . . photos to come :0)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dyeing with Indigo

I am taking a workshop this week at Sorrento Centre that focuses on dyeing fabric with natural indigo dye. It is such fun to be a participant in the class and to have fun of playing with fabric for hours each day.

This workshop is led by Thomas Roach who is a talented textile artist from Vancouver and he is preparing vats of dye for us and teaching us all about indigo as well as shibori stitching techniques. I have never worked with indigo before and I love the way it turns from green to blue once it comes out of the vat and hits the air ... who knew!! For two days we have been creating samples on cotton and silk and tomorrow we will start work on a larger piece, a personal prayer cloth, using some of these techniques.

Here is a photo of Thomas and a couple of the participants dipping their samples into the vat . . .
I will try to remember to take some pictures of our samples and post them later ... they are gorgeous!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mini Art Quilt / Mug Rug

This mug rug (in actual fact, just a mini art quilt) was recently commissioned by a neighbour who asked if I could make something for her husband from a treasured shirt that had fallen to pieces.

The grey plaid shirt was particularly special to him but by the time I got it it had been worn and washed so often that parts of it were literally in shreds. There were still a few sections of fabric that were solid, though, and I used them to create this little mug rug. I wanted to retain as much of the essence of the shirt as I could so part of the fabric that I used came from the placket of the shirt and I also used the buttons.

The grey and orange fabric is cotton from Nancy Crow's line and I used it as the back of the mug rug as well.  I added the recipients initial with Shiva Paintstiks and then free motion quilted it in blocks of straight(ish) lines and bound it with black cotton around the edges.

The mug rug measures about 6-8" and was made to fit on the table beside his favourite chair.

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Walk in the Meadows

Today we went for a wonderful walk at Neskonlith Meadows and saw myriad beautiful spring wildflowers in bloom. The meadows are about a fifteen or twenty minute drive from where I live and at this time of the year they burst into bloom. The hills are carpeted in blooms, predominantly yellow balsam root and avalanche lilies (also called glacier lilies) and in some areas it is totally impossible to avoid stepping on them.

I don't even know what all the wildflowers are called but some of them are balsam root, shooting stars, violets, skunk cabbage and avalanche lilies (not all included in this photo collage) ... I will do my homework this weekend and figure out what the rest of them are. 

This walk might be inspiration for many art quilts to come . . .

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Blessings Prayer Flag

Blessings . . . this prayer flag has many blessings flapping from the lower edge of the flag. It has been created from some of my hand dyed and monoprinted fabrics and was destined to be an example for my upcoming prayer flag workshop but . . .
I  have a friend battling a brain tumour and I felt that this was the week he needed to have this prayer flag so it has already headed off to Vancouver.

This is a very free-spirited flag ... you can see that it is not "square" and there is an asymmetrical and casual balance to the flag, which is how I see life taking us sometimes. The soft purple fabric is a more densely woven cotton than the fabric with the blue and purple monoprint on it, which provides a soft contrast in texture. This is a single thickness of fabric so if it is left outside (or handled a lot) the edges of the fabric will fray and soften with time.

The narrow strips of purple cotton have been printed with many of the blessings I wish for my friend at this time. There is a knot at the end of each blessing and they are attached by a purple bead to the main part of the flag.

One of the techniques we will experiment with in my workshop at Sorrento Centre starting this weekend, is monoprinting ... I'm sure that the participants will feel like they are back in pre-school as we play with paints on gelatin plates and transfer the designs to fabric ... fun! There is still space if you want to join us so just call Sorrento Centre and come along!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Prayer Flags ... Hope

I am working on prayer flags in preparation for the workshop I will be teaching next month but I seem to be getting hung up on all the people for whom I would like to make a prayer flag. I have several people in my circle who might be uplifted by a handmade prayer flag and they were in my thoughts as I created these two "hope" flags yesterday.

I started off with end pieces of some hand painted cotton and I used the irregular shapes as part of the shape of the flag. The fabric looks very much like a landscape so I used a thermofax screen to add a tree (tree of hope) to which I later added some hand embroidery stitches. At the moment I am making samples using a variety of techniques to add text to the flags, so one of these flags uses stamped letters and the other uses hand-printed letters.

These flags are one layer of cotton (the stitching is visible on the back) and I have left the edges all unfinished and I even started to unravel some of the threads so they would look a bit ragged. If left out in the weather, they will slowly fade and unravel.

I hope to create several more prayer flags or inspiration flags in the next few weeks. If you would like to know more about my upcoming workshop, it is at Sorrento Centre from April 25-30 and there is more information by clicking on the link or by phoning Sorrento Centre at 250-675-2421.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Purse with a Past

I love to have a unique piece of fabric to work with and this purse has been created from a very special piece of linen that was recently given to me . . . let me tell you more . . .

In November I was at the Kamloops Old Courthouse Christmas Fair and one of the visitors to my booth spent some time asking about my work and telling me about vintage linen tea towels that she had inherited from her mother. I believe she said that the tea towels were handwoven in Eastern Europe many years ago, and she wanted them to be used by someone who would appreciate the workmanship.  Before the end of the show, she came back and presented me with several of these beautiful tea towels ... they must have been very lightly used as they were soft from being laundered but showed no wear or stains.

I have been thinking about how I would use these tea towels for some time and have come up with a few ideas but this week I decided to use one to create a purse. I also have some squares of recycled silk kimono fabric that were given to me by another friend and I decided that these brown/green/orange ones would go together in the creation of a purse.

I pieced some of the kimono squares and then appliqued that large "patch" to the linen. I then used more linen for the lining, with quilt batting for a little added structure, and stitched them together. I quilted the kimono blocks and added a few lines of machine quilting to the background as well.

I even added a little pouch to the inside of the purse before adding the cross body strap made of more of the linen ... and a piece of Velcro closure on the flap for added security.

I spent quite some time adding the sashiko hand stitches to the purse.  I used three colours of embroidery floss ... one is variegated warm brownish colours, one is variegated chartreuse colours, and the third is a spring green ... and they are stitched in rows around the kimono block as well as across the purse in a few more areas.

I am very pleased with how this purse turned out and I hope that it will appeal to someone shopping for a unique spring bag.  You can see more views and detail photographs in my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Needle Felted Book Cover

Needle felting is so much fun and it creates rather ethereal looks  . . .  just what I love!

I have been working on a book cover that will protect a Bible. The person for whom the book cover is a gift was very taken with my felted flower gardens and asked if I could create one for her Bible. We talked about some of the things that would make this particularly special for her and this is the beginning of the piece . . .
Needle felting distorts the shape of the base during the felting process, so there is always extra felt that will be trimmed back from the edges before the piece is finished.  I have chosen a couple of pieces of my hand dyed and hand painted fabric (in the top corner of this photo) that I will use for the lining and the binding.

I first needle felted the wool rovings that I chose for the sky and field to the base fabric and then started adding the background flowers before moving to the foreground and creating larger, more detailed flowers. I also felted some hand dyed cheesecloth into the foreground to give some added texture.

After all the felting was done, I used some free-motion machine stitching to create flowing lines in the sky and to accentuate some of the flower shapes as well as grasses and leaves. This helps strengthen the felted piece as well as adding details.

The final step was to add some hand embroidery stitches ... some bright yellow dandelions, delightful red strawberries, and even a couple of butterflies and one little ant :)  I added a piece of lightweight fusible interfacing to the back of the felt in order to stabilize it before constructing the cover. Having the fusible interfacing on the back would help keep the embroidery stitches in place if I happened to snip one when I was squaring up the felted piece.

The cover is finished now and you can see in the detail photo above, the way that I bound the edges before hand stitching the cover right onto the Bible. I wanted the cover to fit very tight and this one was just perfect :)

I added some page markers with pretty glass beads in the shape of leaves. My label is sewn into the inside of the binding so it is not visible when the book is opened.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

New Purses for January 2014

I have had a wonderful week creating a purse each day and posting them in my Etsy shop 
All of these purses are cross-body style and are approximately 7" - 8" square.
 I absolutely love this piece of fabric that was given to me by my friend, Angela.  It has an incredibly wonderful design and I love Queen Anne's Lace so much that I couldn't resist free motion stitching an extra one to the back of the purse (sorry, you'll have to check the listing in my Etsy shop to see the additional photos).
 This one was created from a gorgeous piece of hand-dyed fabric and the rusty colour has been carried into the free motion quilting and the funky embroidery stitches that drift from back to front.

The beads that are part of the blanket stitch on the lower edge of the flap are a favourite of mine.

Such beautiful simplicity with neutral shades of beige, grey, taupe and a touch of black and white.

I really do love working with circles, so here is another one. The background of this purse was part of a quilt started by my friend, Denise, but I cut it up and pieced it again and then used the circles for the quilting.

Gorgeous purples in this purse include the new Radiant Orchid, colour of the year for 2014 ... I just like the way it all fits together in an asymmetrical way.  I created some yo-yos for the front flap for an added bit of whimsy.

I could not resist this batik butterfly on a black background. The purse has been densely quilted in an echo design. The lining is a Laurel Burch design of colourful butterflies on a black background, so it is very coordinated :)

This is one of my screen-printed trees on a piece of hand-dyed fabric.  The lining is commercial cotton that has trees on it so ... once again, it is nicely coordinated without being matchy-matchy.

This last purse has just been finished tonight ... you can see that it has the same tree screen-printed on it (the same tree that you saw on my last posting with the prayer/inspiration flags).  This one is printed on a piece of my hand dyed fabric that has swaths of copper metallic paint on it ... there is hand seed stitching as well as some delightful beads on the flap.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Side two of the Prayer / Inspirational Flags

Because I created these flags with a back side to camouflage some of my stitching, I decided to also add more design elements to the reverse side ... think of them hanging on a clothes line in the garden or from the ceiling in your office, where they can be seen from both sides.

The first flag is "dream" and I have added two little patches of the fabric stitched with primitive hand stitches and a few little beads.  The drift of seed stitches comes through from the front of the flag where it was also a design element.

The centre flag is "love" and some of the words from 1Corinthians are written on this flag. I have also used the screen-printed tree with a few little hearts added as leaves on the tree.
The third flag is "smile" and I stencilled this word into the centre of the stitched heart (which is also part of the design on the other side of the flag). I added a few French knots, a little beaded patch and a ribbon of frayed silk fibre that hangs over the primitive stitching that comes through from the front.
This has been a delightful project to work on and it really has been inspirational, soothing, and thought-provoking as I worked through my choice of text and stitch.

Registration is now open for this workshop at Sorrento Centre ( or phone (250) 675-2421 or toll free 1-866-694-2409.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Prayer Flags ... Inspiration Flags

I have been having such fun creating a small set of prayer flags as a class sample for my upcoming workshop at Sorrento Centre!  I just know that it will be an enjoyable class for the participants as they work on a theme that suits them using techniques that I will teach during the workshop.

This is a set of three contemporary prayer flags that are double sided, but have no batting between the layers. Some of the stitching has gone through both layers, but each side is unique.  I will show you the second side of this set next week, but for now I'd like to share side one of the three flags. They are approximately seven inches square.

These flags have been created on a piece of my hand-painted fabric that has been awaiting inspiration for a couple of years.  I wish I had taken a photo of the piece of fabric before I tore it up, but you will notice the variations in colour throughout the flags, including little bits of white showing where I had not painted the entire piece of fabric. 

The hues of watermelon and chartreuse have been continued in the threads I chose for the stitching as I really wanted these to be peaceful and harmonious flags.

I chose "hope" for the first flag and the images of hearts.

The next flag will hang as the centre of the three and I chose "peace" for the theme and included a peace symbol that I created in pointillist style.

The tiny buttons (about 1/4" in size)  that cascade down the flag are symbols of something that holds us all together.

The third flag is "believe" and it is represented by a screen-printed tree that is anchored in the earthy part of the flag.

A sprinkling of seed stitches in a variegated thread drift across the flag and in the lower left corner there are three little patches with beads and hand embroidery.

Here is the link to the workshop where I will be teaching inspirational flags and buntings at Sorrento Centre