Thursday, December 28, 2006


I love Savers ! In case you've never been there, Savers is a chain of thrift stores. Conveniently, there's one located around the corner from my house. I've bought copious wool sweaters there(tip: always ask which tag color is half price on a given day). This bag was made from an Old Navy sweater in a terrific shade of orange. One of the best things about thrift store sweaters is that many of them are already somewhat felted. In fact, that's probably why the sweater was donated. For me, buying a sweater that's partially or completely felted is such a treat. I don't have to felt it myself and I don't have to wonder whether the wool is superwash.
Anyway, I'm teaching a class next week that focuses on using recycled and felted sweaters to create bags, i-pod cozies, etc. I made this bag as an example. I got a little carried away with embellishing it and I don't know how it will translate as an example for 9-12 year old kids, but it has sparked so many ideas. I'm really excited about making more. I love the scale of it. It's just the right size for carrying keys, driver's license, and a credit card. Using this bag has definitely forced me to prioritize what I need to have with me at all times.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Abi's Socks

I made Abi these socks for Chanukah. I decided to make each of the girls a handmade item for the last night. Unfortunately, I only finished her socks yesterday. I knit mittens for Rachel(picture to follow soon) and I'm supposed to make a sham for Sarah that matches the quilt I made her for her bat-mitzvah(ditto on that picture to follow soon thing). I bought this yarn from Knit Picks a while back. I think the original intent was for Sarah to make a baby sweater for someone, but I she never got around to it. I used some of the yarn for Rachel's mittens and the rest for Abi's socks. I obviously didn't sweat making them identical.
Abi's got the perfect personality for mis-matched socks. She's such an individual. She never worries about what others will think of her clothes or her interests. She really knows her own mind. I love watching her explore her world.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Update of Everything

For some reason, I decided that today I would finally update my blog. Despite my initial enthusiasm, I've been a little neglectful of my blogging duties. Frankly, I feel really far behind, so it may take me a couple of days before I'm all caught up. Oh well.
I'm posting this image not because it's my most recent, but mostly because I want to tell you about a cool tool I've recently come across.
It all started when I went to the Gee's Bend exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts-Houston. This was probably back in July. Anyway, I'd actually seen other parts of the Gee's Bend collection at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington DC. Needless to say, the show was terrific. What wowed me almost as much as the quilts was an activity the museum had put together for kids once they'd viewed the quilts. In a room at the end of the exhibit, the staff had set out small pieces of foam core about 5 or so inches square and an amazing array of colored vinyl tape in a variety of widths. They challenged the kids to design their own "Gee's Bend" blocks. My daughter, Abi, and I braved what seemed to be hordes of folks enthusiastically creating foam core squares.
Being an art teacher to both kids and adults, I'm always on the lookout for fresh ideas. I thought this would be a fabulous way to introduce the concept of designing an improvisational quilt block, but without the stress of having no sketch or "template" once it was time to piece that block in fabric. I asked one of the docents about the tape and he said they had ordered it from I felt frankly gleeful when I got on that site. So many colors, in so many widths, and a variety of textures too. Oh boy!
When my shipment of tapes arrived, I made several "sketches" with the tape and picked one of those images to render in fabric. I was so jazzed about this tape that I proposed a class, geared towards adults, at The Art Pad. I intentionally limited my color palette and used my hand-dyed cottons to construct the top. When I started machine quilting it, the piece reminded me of the images painted by the Ndebele tribe of South Africa. I wanted the quilting to be very obvious and graphic so I used dark thread on the lighter fabrics and light threads in the dark areas. I also added some "eye" beads I bought at the International Quilt Festival in Houston a couple of years ago. I chose to bind the quilt with white fabric because I felt that would enhance its Ndebele art quality.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Say Cheese!

Robert and I have been experimenting with taking digital images of my work. We bought lights and played around with the settings on my camera to try and get the most professional image possible. We had shot this piece with a black background, but I've been seeing so many beautiful images lately with white backgrounds, that I decide to try that as well. I really prefer the white background. I especially love the shadow. It seems to give the piece depth. I have quite a few new pieces lately and am going to need quality images to send out. I'm pretty excited about the prospect of shooting these myself. I'm also jazzed about having learned how to upload images to my blog. I'll probably inundate it with pictures now.