Still working

Today I had a few hours to work in the studio so I enjoyed finishing the piecing on the Archway piece. 

DSC01768 Sorry for the crooked photo!!!!

I am thinking that I will cut off the top border (and maybe the bottom) a  bit more but I want to think about it a bit first.

I have also been working on a scrap top that I saw in a book that I got for Christmas.  After putting together a few simple blocks I decided to lay them out and see how they looked.  

Here are two of the options that I came up with……

Blocks without sashes….DSC01696 

Blocks with navy “sashes”….DSC01697

But I actually like it better vertically…DSC01698

Neither of these are what the actual pattern calls for, and I am not sure that I actually like either of these, but there is a LONG way to go.


The really good thing about this project is that I started out with my 3-1/2 inch drawer looking like this……DSC01694

And it ended up a lot emptier and tidier at the end……DSC01695

Glad to have a few more Baby Steps behind me……

Smoky Mountain National Park

On the final day of my week in Gatlinburg, I enjoyed a slow drive thru the Smoky Mountain National Park, punctuated with multiple stops for photo opportunities.  I entered the park about 8:00am and it was gorgeous as the sun was coming up.

The trees were just starting to turn beautiful colors…..

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And the views across the mountains were wonderful…..

_A085689 As my husband says….”They call them the smoky mountains for a reason!!!”


It was the PERFECT ending for a perfect retreat!!!

More about Arrowmont

As you have seen, I have enjoyed a wonderful week at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, but thought you might like to know a bit more about it.

The school was opened in 1912 and was initially funded by the Pi Beta Phi Sorority as a “Settlement School”.  I have since learned that one of the purposes of the school was to give the local women a place where they could express their creativity.

It currently has classes all through out the year and bring in teachers and students from all over the world.

In my session, there were wood-turners……

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….jewelry makers…..

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….and painters/drawers…..

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The studio’s were huge and well supplied.  This is our fiber studio after we had cleaned up.  I wish that I had climbed up here and taken a photo during the workshop…..


My room was in the “Teacher’s Cottage”….


which I shared with two of my friends, and 7 lovely women from Louisiana who were there for the pottery workshop.

The campus is gorgeous, with views of the local mountains seen everywhere….


There were pieces of art distributed around the property, including two totem poles…..

_A075609 _A075610 ….and temple bells……


I walked thru an exciting art gallery each morning to get to class.  There had recently been an “Enamel Conference” there and the pieces were so inspiring.…..

_A085662 _A085644 _A085646 _A085657 …but my favorite were these miniature bathroom fixtures…..


It was a fantastic environment that encouraged creativity of all kinds….

Arrowmont – Days 4 and 5

Well, I am finally getting around to posting about the last two days of my week at Arrowmont.

I spent most of the days working on my archway piece, slowly auditioning the fabrics for my design. DSC00895 The biggest problem that I found was that I had LOTS of medium and light values but not many darks.  I mentioned this to Elizabeth and she advised that either I had not been using enough dye or I didn’t have the water hot enough.

The first step was picking fabric for the archway.  I had several fabrics but couldn’t see which one to use.  I finally cut out a “window” to look thru and decided that I really liked this design……


One great tip from Elizabeth was to use string (she uses torn off selvedges) to mark off the expected size of the finished quilt.  It really does help you to better visualize the design that you are preparing……DSC00901

I pieced the first few bits and then decided to lay out all of the fabrics before I continued with the piecing.  This was my final mock-up at the end of Friday…..


At the end of the last day, we each walked around and critiqued our designs.  There were some wonderful pieces.

Elaine wanted to work with a simple shape and was so pleased with the way that the delicate shibori fabrics added to the design…..


Linda wanted to get the feel of the show covered fields from home (Maine) and used a faintly lined shibori to achieve the look.  She dyed this piece by picking up a piece of cord that someone else had used previously in a dye bath.  She simply wound the cord around the fabric and dunked it into a vat of water….. DSC00968 

Pat is using this as the background for a potential three-dimensional piece…..DSC00969

Cleo is working from a photo of a tree stump.  Don’t you love the way that the shibori fabric gives depth to the limbs….DSC00970

Finally, this is Rosie’s piece……DSC00971 She has spent the last six weeks at Arrowmont as an intern and was desiring to combine several of the things that she accomplished while there.  She has done a remarkable job of including weaving, shibori and possibly some some jewelry pieces as well.

Two of our number left early so I didn’t get a photo of their work.

It was so wonderful to be in a workshop where everyone was happily working on their own projects, with the instructor simply offering suggestions….and not being at all concerned if you chose not to do it her way!!

Designing women…..and one man…..

On Wednesday morning, we met first in the auditorium and Elizabeth showed us a wide selection of work done with Arashi Shibori Dyed fabrics.  We all oohed and aahed as each piece flickered on the screen, each secretly hoping that our work will turn out as well…..wishful thinking!!!!

When we returned to the studio, we were told to start with an inspiration photo or idea and begin sketching.  Now this is the part that I was NOT looking forward to, especially since I have not done much drawing and have no confidence in it.  I ended up retreating to the library and starting looking at photos of the Roman Coliseum and  drawing arches of every shape and size.

We met again as a group and showed what we had done and Elizabeth’s suggestion to me was to pick one arch and develop a simple design around it.  As she saw this inspiration photo……


…….she said  “ooh look at this one… already has an archway with rectangles around it!”   Enough said….that became my new design!!!

I started by sketching it several times, adding and removing bits each time.  This was the original design……….and these are my modifications.  The final choice is on the right……



Next we talked about shading and were instructed to photocopy our final image several times and use three or more shades of black to color the design…..and to repeat this a bunch of times.

DSC00856 I think that I am going to go with the far left one.

The final step of this process is to pick out the fabrics that go with our shadings.  At this point most of us realized that we didn’t have quite the right fabrics, so there was a mad dash for the dyes just before dinner.    The problem is that you add the dyes, then wait an hour, add the soda ash and wait another hour, then soak for a time period (various persons wait from 15 minutes to 12 hours) and then wash in the washing machine.

I got my last set rinsed out just before 9:00 and called it a day.  The final wash can come in the morning!!!