Saturday, February 17, 2024

My 100 Day Project for 2024: Paint, Paper, Stitch

I'm doing The 100 Day Project again this year! It starts tomorrow—February 18.

#dothe100dayproject   @dothe100dayproject

100 Days of Paint, Paper, and Stitch

For 2024, I'm going to combine watercolor painting on paper, and stitching. (I'm thinking hand stitching since it's portable, but I'm not ruling out machine stitching). 

Supplies for 100 Days of Paint, Paper, Stitch

The 100 Day Project Plan for 2024

I've got the supplies on hand and they are all portable:

  • watercolors 
  • brushes, including the aqua brushes with the build-in water reservoir (not shown above)
  • watercolor paper
  • floss, perl cotton, threads for stitching
  • needles, scissors, sewing accessories

I will likely start off with watercolor practice exercises as I'm enrolled in a Willa Wanders Watercolor for Relaxation class. Once I've got some watercolor techniques under my belt, I'll experiment with stitching through the painted watercolor paper. I did stitching on paper while working through the Junk Journal January Challenge in 2023 and 2024. I think this informed the idea for this year's 100 Day Project. 

Being open, being flexible

Should the mood strike, I'm open to adding stamped images using my hand-carved stamps, hand lettering, and slow drawing to the compositions. I practiced and developed these techniques in previous 100 Day Projects. We'll just have to see how things evolve...

Open up your World is one of the stitching with found objects compositions from my 100 Day Project in 2022. 

Open up our World, 100 Days of Stitching with Found Objects, 2022

That says it all.

Just do The 100 Day Project!

Thursday, February 15, 2024

February 14 is Craftertine’s Day at Louisville Fiber Supply

The lyrics of Stephen Stills’ 1970s hit proclaims, “When you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with…”  Since I was on the road this past Valentine’s Day—and not home “with the one I love”—I joined a love-ly group of stitchers at Louisville Fiber Supply for Craft Night to share the love of stitching and lively conversation.

Louisville Fiber Supply, Louisville, KY

Patricia [Pati] Stone, the owner of Louisville Fiber Supply, hosts the weekly Open Craft Night at her new fabric and yarn store on Wednesdays evenings from 5 to 8pm. I concluded from my recent Valentine’s Day visit that this event is quite popular—the table was full and it was obvious there were several “regulars” in attendance.

At this particular Craft Night, the group was treated to a “box opening” of an order from Ritual Dyes, an indie yarn dyer in Portland, OR. Oh, the colors of these yarns!

Piles of luscious yarns from Ritual Dyes just arrived at Louisville Fiber Supply.

Louisville Fiber Supply offers high quality yarns and fabrics and the associated notions and tools for these creative fiber disciplines. Pati thoughtfully curates her product selection to include yarns from local spinners and dyers, independent yarn manufacturers, organic cotton fabrics, organic cotton sewing thread, and several fabric substrates for sewing and garment making… including cottons that can definitely be used for quiltmaking, should you enjoy that craft as well. 

Here is a quick tour of the shop…

A wall of high quality yarns from small, independent companies and popular brands.

Modal rayons from Cloud9 Fabrics.

Patterns, notions, embroidery kits, and other stitching accessories…

Patterns, kits, and other stitching accessories and inspiration.

I was thrilled to see a display of Scanfil’s new, long-staple Pima organic cotton thread at the shop. Louisville Fiber Supply carries the 50 wt.

Scanfil organic Pima cotton thread.

Exquisitely hand-knitted samples are displayed throughout the shop. Pati was working on a colorwork class sample during Craft Night. Classes are offered at the shop for beginners and experienced stitchers and sewers alike. Sign up for the shop’s e-newsletter to get information.

Hand knit shop displays.

Here are the goodies I purchased during my visit. 

Labels, a stitch fixer, and Radical Sewing by Kate Weiss (who teaches at Louisville Fiber Supply).

Future un-boxings coming soon!

Be watching for more bolts of fabric to arrive soon at Louisville Fiber Supply! Pati has the American Made Brand cotton solids and Everyday Organic cottons coming from Clothworks, and beautiful yarn-dyed wovens—including the new Lucca Essentials—from Diamond Textiles on order.

Bennie, the Shop Mascot

As with any great fabric and yarn shops, Louisville Fiber Supply has a shop mascot. This is Bennie. 

Bennie was a bit camera shy while I was there, but when Pati motioned him to say “bye” to me ...

Bennie, the shop mascot, and Pati, the shop owner.

… he came running.

Here comes Bennie.

Here’s a better photo of Bennie. He routinely appears on the shop’s Facebook page ’cause he’s such a good boy… and he has an ever-growing online following. 

Bennie at Louisville Fiber Supply.
Photo courtesy of Louisville Fiber Supply

I hope your Valentine’s Day was wonderful! If you love fibers and fabrics, any day is wonderful when you can be creative with stitching and crafting. And if you find a group of fiber friends to spend the time with… even better. 

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Mending a burn hole in the red dish towel

The Winter of Care and Repair Challenge started on December 21 with the Winter Solstice. My latest mend for this Challenge was on a dish towel that “got too close” to one of the burners on the stove. (No fire, but it left a sizeable hole in the towel.)

My Winter of Care and Repair, December 21 2023 - March 19, 2024.

Goals for my Winter of Care and Repair

The parameters I set for myself in the Winter of Care and Repair Challenge focus on textiles:

  • mending and repairing
  • upcycling/repurposing
  • organizing my fabric and yarn stash (not making much progress with this goal)
  • finding ways to minimize scraps.

As part of my commitment to this 3-month Challenge, I was determined to mend the burn hole in the red dish towel. I decided to use a patch rather than try a weaving mend.

A burned hole in the dish towel.

The repair process

After brushing off the singed part, I traced the shape of the hole on a piece of paper. 

The hole was almost 1.5”.

I decided to use knit fabric for the patch instead of a woven so I didn’t have to turn under the edges.

Making a paper template for the patch.

The patch was cut about an inch larger (all around) than the paper template (the size of the hole). The patch was pinned to the right side with another fabric scrap placed on the under side to conceal (sandwich) the hole. Five additional circle patches were added to the towel to make the appliqué circles look “intentional”—like a “design element”—rather than a single patch over a hole.

Pinning various circle patches to embellish (and repair) the towel.

Using matching cotton embroidery floss, the patches were secured with a running stitch—starting on the outside of the circle and moving toward the center in a circular design. After stitching, the patches were trimmed closer to the stitching line.

Running stitches secured the circles to the towel.

The matching red embroidery floss blended with the fabrics. The stitching added a textured pattern to the appliquéd circles.

Appliquéd circles embellish the repaired dish towel.

My red dishtowel is now back in circulation! It’s shown here with three hand woven sock coasters. These coasters/trivets are made by upcycling socks with the Loopy Loom. They are quick and fun to make and address another category (upcycle/recycle) of my Care and Repair effort.

Newly repaired towel with woven sock coasters.

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Make Nine 2024: it's my 6th year!

Another year, another Make Nine Challenge! Make Nine 2024 is my 6th year! This is my new worksheet for 2024 and my nine prompts.

Make Nine 2024 worksheet.

My 2024 Make Nine prompts

As in the previous years, I use Make Nine "prompts" instead of listing specific projects to allow for more flexibility, serendipity, and success. I started using prompts in 2021 as this works best for me. As in the past, I've kept a few favorites from previous years, modified some, and revisited one from previous years. 

Here are my prompts for 2024:

  • UFO: I have several. Doesn't everyone? This helps whittle down the pile.

  • Wild Card x 2: I've got two spaces for unanticipated things that pop up during the year.

  • Yarn project: I've included a yarn prompt again. This prompt was absent from Make Nine 2023 but I will usually do something with yarn during the year, so it has its own prompt again.

  • Mend/Upcycle: this is a favorite prompt of mine! It reinforces the idea of taking care of the things were already have and also checks the "sustainability" box.
  • Learn More in '24: Learning a new craft, technique, tool, substrate, etc. keeps me open and challenged and feeds my curiosity. 
  • Online Challenge: this was a new prompt in 2023 and I've included it again this year. There are so many great Challenges that people and groups are hosting online. I have participated in several through the years.
  • Make it Again: Another favorite! I'll likely use a tried-and-true pattern with a new fabric or print. Enjoying the process without much prep or research.

  • Fun and Easy: another repeat prompt. These projects usually coincide with a charity project, a gift, or a mindful project that is easy and portable. These provide instant gratification and a sense of accomplishment. 

Another good mix of prompts and project potential. Let the making begin!

Saturday, January 27, 2024

The 100 Day Project 2024 starts February 18

Are you ready? Do you have your idea for this year? Here's the "heads up"! The 100 Day Project for 2024 starts February 18.

The 100 Day Project 2024 starts February 18.

How did The 100 Day Project get started?

I love this story! Read Michael Bierut's essay in Design Observer about how he gave this assignment to his graphic design students at the Yale School of Art. There are many examples of the projects his students took on. My favorite is the one about the clunky wooden folding chair. 

So really, ANYthing is possible.

Make your plan

I started doing the 100 Day Project in 2021. I've done 6 projects since then:

Recommendations and FAQs from the 100 Day Project coordinators for choosing a project: 

Deciding on a 100 Day Project.

Get your idea and supplies ready

I've got a pretty good idea of what I'll be doing this year. My suggestions for choosing a project are:

  • make it manageable: don't try to create a masterpiece for every day! You'll burn out quickly.
  • make it simple: it can be one row of knitting, a line of stitching, hand lettering a single quote on a page in a sketchbook, a doodle a day, a simple line drawing... 
  • make it small: since I take this on the road, my supplies are minimal—something I can put in a small ziplock baggie. You know what you and your life can manage.
  • think of something you can do in about 5 minutes. We can all scrounge up 5 minutes, right? Do it while you sip your cup of coffee or tea. Do it when you brush your teeth. Do it right after dinner. If you are enjoying the process and you have a little more time here and there, you can extend the time you're creating.
  • share your practice: if you're on social media, come up with a unique hashtag for your project and share your daily (or weekly, if that works better) progress. You'll be both inspired and encouraged by the others who are participating.

I hope you'll join in the fun! I've gotten so, so much out of the projects I've done in the past—learning something new, honing certain skills, using my stash/supplies/tools, and earning and relishing in that sense of accomplishment when I cross the 100 Day finish line.

It's free. 

Just DO IT! 

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Carve December, Junk Journal January, and 36 new hand-carved stamps

I thought I'd recap another fun and productive Carve December that was hosted by Julie at Balzer Designs at the end of last year, 2023. By the end of December, I had 36 new, hand-carved stamps to add to my collection.

New stamps carved during Carve December Challenge 2023.

2023 was the second year I participated in the Challenge. Here are a few of the stamped compositions I created.

Compositions from various days of Carve December 2023.

Seasonal botanicals were used as inspiration for new carves—paperwhites, poinsettias, holly leaves, mistletoe, and the Christmas cactus.

Several botanical images were carved for this year’s Christmas card.

Christmas cactus stamp and its inspiration.

I like stamping repeats and think they make wonderful compositions and patterns.

I always enjoy the patterns created from repeated images.

The last prompt of the Challenge was “sparkly.” For this prompt, I created several compositions using a combination of several of the new stamps. Just in time for the entrance of the New Year!

Combining several stamps in a composition.

This is a glimpse of the area on the kitchen table—with stamp pads, stamps, stamp mounts, and sketchbooks—where I create sometimes. 

Stamping tools at the kitchen table.

Junk Journal January 2024

I'm using some of the stamps from Carve December in my junk journal for Junk Journal January Challenge, hosted by @megjournals and @getmessyart. 

Junk Journal January 2024: Day 5

Junk Journal January 2024: Day 20

Here's my 2024 junk journal that I'm filling with collages, paper scraps, paint, slow drawings, hand lettering, and of course, my new hand-carved stamps.

Junk journal for 2024.

Saturday, January 13, 2024

I'm teaching "Intro to Improvisational Quilts"
at John C. Campbell Folk School in March

Are you intrigued by improvisational quilts? Have you wanted to try improv patchwork, but don't know how or where to start? Here's your opportunity!

Join me for a fun and creative week in the quilting studio for "Intro to Improvisational Quilts" on the idyllic campus of the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC, March 24 - 30, 2024.

Sign up for Intro to Improvisational Quilts workshop, March 24-30, 2024

All quilting levels welcome!

My workshop on Intro to Improvisational Quilts will explore improvisational cutting and piecing methods. We'll be creating patchwork intuitively—without a preconceived pattern or plan. If you are a quiltmaker with a sense of adventure, you want to try venturing off the beaten path of block-based quilts, or you want to ditch exact measurements and traditional layouts for a change, I'm extending this invitation to you! 

Improvisational patchwork at the Folk School.

Read the class description, and then register for the workshop online. But don't wait! There are limited spots available.

About John C. Campbell Folk School

John C. Campbell Folk School.
My first experience at John C. Campbell Folk School was when I taught a long weekend, free-motion quitling class there in 2021. It was magical and fun! All the staff and students were wonderful.

The Folk School is located on 270 acres of natural Appalachian beauty in southwest North Carolina. Walking trails and roads connect the various studios, dining hall, Craft Shop, History Center, student housing, and other buildings and structures. The surroundings are scenic and peaceful, and the school offers a nurturing atmosphere for learning, self-discovery, and creativity—but know that the classrooms and studios are up-to-date with the necessary technology to meet instructor's and student's needs. Information about a typical week or weekend experience can be found on the folk school website in addition to updates and stories about folk school news and upcoming events.

If I don't see you in my Intro to Improvisational Quilts workshop, I'll be teaching Intro to Free-motion Quilting in August during the second session. Enrollment for the July-December session is scheduled to open March 5

Take a class at the Folk School... and experience where "the magic happens."

Saturday, January 6, 2024

My 2024 "Create Daily" tracker has a new format!

My creative, online friend, Sarah Reebs @smrt783, has created a new calendar/tracker format for 2024. She uses it for her embroidery practice and I've adopted it for my Create Daily tracker.

Create Daily tracker for 2024

It's refreshingly different, don't you think? It's exciting to have a new format for this new year.

Trackers through the years

I've used two other tracker formats in the past. They're all fascinating and clever and I love to fill in the little box for each day! I started using a tracker in 2020, calling it my Stitching Success Tracker. After two years, and a broader scope in my creative practice, it morphed into the Create Daily Tracker.

Here are the Create Daily Trackers from 2022 and 2023. This is another design by Sarah.

Create Daily 2023 tracker

Create Daily 2022 tracker

Here are the Stitching Success Trackers from 2020 and 2021. This design was created by Karalenn Hippen.

Stitching Success tracker 2021

Stitching Success tracker 2020

This is the fifth year documenting a daily art, textile and stitching practice using a creative tracker. Let's see what 2024 brings!

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