Friday, November 21, 2014


I have signed up for Jane Lafazio's online workshop Sketching and Watercolor: Journal Style, and I just completed the first assignment. It is funny, but I have wanted to learn to do watercolor for a really long time. I have a sizable stack of books on watercolor techniques and botanical illustration by many wonderful artists, but they have sat there unused for years now.
This was my first assignment and my first watercolor as well. My shadow got way too dark, so I added the dark brown border to try to balance things out a bit. I know nothing about using water colors or pairing for that matter, and I am looking forward to learning more. This is really a lot of fun.

Pomegranate and Satsuma Mandarins.
Here is my second little painting. These paintings are quite small; they are only 5" x 7". It's so odd how I could never get up the gumption to simply do this on my own, yet now even at this crazy busy time of the year I am somehow managing to forge ahead.
I would love to be able to transfer some of my line drawings to fabric or paper so that I can either hand or machine embroider them, but I have not found a really suitable transfer technique as yet. For the marking for my machine quilting, I use a water-soluble fine-tipped blue pen on light fabric and for dark fabric I use the Staedler white water-soluble pencil. 
I have heard from knowledgeable people that the iron on heat transfer type pencils do not always come out. And Solvy won't work as I do not want to wash the project after stitching.
Any tips or suggestions on transfer methods from you readers would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Bolt, Cloverdale: Remarkable!

Bolt, a new quilting and home store, has opened in Cloverdale, CA, and owners Kate Barrett and Peter Rosson have paired their interests and talents to offer an eclectic blend of quilting and sewing fabrics combined with an excellent selection of housewares.
Bolt is located right in the center of downtown Cloverdale in a beautifully restored historic building. The interior space is beautiful with its high ceilings and light flooding in through the windows, and my first impulse was to sit down in one of their beautifully upholstered chairs and take it all in.

As for the fabrics, you will find an eclectic collection of goods including many organics from Cloud 9 and Clothworks along with linen blends and gorgeous prints. The shop boasts a sewing area in the back that will accommodate 8 people for workshops. Many more classes will be added to the roster after the holidays, so please check on the schedule on their website.
Peter's keen eye for quality and style is immediately apparent in his selection of home d├ęcor and housewares that grace the shop. Bolt offers a lovely selection of linen toweling, flatware, and powder coat serving ware along with a great deal more. I was awed by the collection of goods, the well-presented displays, and the overall ambience of the shop.
Cloverdale is only 90 miles north of San Francisco, and you might also want to check out Plank Coffee next door for a great experience. I did, and I will certainly go back again.  I wish both Kate and Peter continued success in their new venture, and am looking forward to seeing this business thrive. You can read more about Bolt and check out their workshop schedule here on their website.


Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Indigo Shibori: A Great Success

I finally have some photos together of our Indigo Shibori workshop at the Natural Fiber Fair in Arcata, CA, in September. Linda Hartshorn and I co-taught this class. We usually offer it as a  3 day class, but this was condensed down to 1 day, so the students really had to work hard!
One of the things I love the most about teaching the Indigo Shibori class is that pretty well everyone is assured of instant success. It is always the factor of the unknown results that I find so appealing.
I taught the Shibori segment in the morning, and I was amazed at how much everyone was able to get done. In fact, everybody was so enthusiastic that most worked right through lunch until Linda was ready to start with the indigo outdoors.
This is a quilt top from Afghanistan that Rabia  O'Loren procured for a fundraiser for her non-profit organization that raises money. The organization is the Roshni Centre for Women. The piece was made with a reverse hand applique technique with the colored fabric underneath. The white fabric was placed on top of the colored fabric, cut away, and then hand stitched with the edges turned under. I think each block was about 20" square.
I machine quilted it for them, pro bono, which was quite a task. I used thread matching the background and outline stitched around each shape. It took a very long time, but at least now it can be used as a quilt.
Rabia set up a lovely display in the foyer of the building and sold lots of raffle tickets for the quilt over the weekend.
Here I am doing a demonstration of my painting techniques with the stencils in our booth. I always kick myself afterwards for not taking more photos of the booth. My friend Patty Demant and I shared a big booth, so it was a really fun weekend. Patty is doing eco-dyeing on silk, cashmere, and wool clothing and it is gorgeous. She is dyeing a cashmere sweater for me right now, and I can't wait to see it.
 I love doing this event each year. The people are great, the food is wonderful, the teachers are incredibly talented, and the vendors are exceptional. And, it is only 45 minutes from my home. I am indeed very fortunate.