Archive for April, 2008


As I noted yesterday, I made the cover for this journal with a pieced Log Cabin quilt block made from hand dyed fabrics.  On the inside I fused “pieces” of log cabin blocks dropped at random, jDSCN1935_editeduxtaposing order and chaos.













Each signature (grouping of pages) is bounded with scrapbooking paper that has on it a small Log Cabin block.  It’s positioned in a different place on each of the four wrappers.


The last page of each signature has a place for stashing three unadorned mailing tags.   I thought these could be used for shopping lists for the projects I plan to use this journal to help me organize.


I found these cute beads to put on the ends of the signature ties.


I like the way the colors all lined up perfectly on the spine.

I think the next time I make this journal I’m going to use something thicker and stiffer than pelmet vilene, maybe Timtex.  This one is just a little too floppy.  I might also include some kind of wrap around closure.

I also like Sue’s alternate idea of putting in grommets to hold the signatures at the spine.  I think that might help, but that technique limits you to only two signatures.


I’m sad to see this class ending, but I know I’ll make more journals.  I already have lots of ideas, and Sue’s providing us an alumni group so we can continue to share our ideas and projects.  Yay!

This has been a really great class.  For anyone who would like to take it you can see Sue’s website, and I believe she’s offering the class at Joggles, too.

‘Looking forward to the May Take It Further Challenge instructions coming tomorrow. 


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I think a lot of what creativity and art are about is bringing order to chaos; taking disparate elements and creating something totally different.

Thus, the idea behind my fifth journal for the Journal Making Class with

Sue Bleiweiss.

I went into my workroom yesterday thinking about what to make this journal with.  I needed a piece of fabric that was about 12 inches square.  Unfortunately that ruled out most of my hand dyed fabric since it’s in fat eighths that are only 11 inches wide (although I could certainly have made the journal smaller).

Then I started looking at my commercial fabrics.  I have lots that would work great.  I thought about doing some seminole piecing for the cover with hand dyes.  It’s been ages since I did seminole piecing but I think it would look nice on the long narrow shape of this journal.

I also thought about something textured and went looking for some experiments I had done many years ago for inspiration. 

I also thought about using some painted silk I made a really long time ago and had to search that out–not big enough pieces.   Then it occurred to me to measure a log cabin block I made in February for the Sew, Mama, Sew quilting month challenge.


It wasn’t quite 12 inches square, but pretty close, so I just started putting together the cover with no real plan in mind.


You can kind of see in the photo how the spine fits right along the center square of the block.

Once the cover was together I thought about how neat and organized log cabin blocks are.  I think I’m going to use this journal to do some organizing of my projects, many of which are extremely long term WISPs (Work in Slow Progress), and while I have a fair amount of organization among them, sometimes I can’t find what I’m looking for or forget about a project.  This journal will, I hope, keep me more up to date, organized, and on track.


Thus, the mixed up pieces of log cabin blocks on the inside front cover–a reminder that chaos is ok, but better if organized.  I had a professor in college who always said his office was “organized chaos”.  I’ve always liked that image.

I’m making signatures bounded by scrapbooking paper that is in red, yellow, and green, but more subdued shades than the cover; and I found in my yarn stash some cotton yarns in more variations of the three colors that I’ll tie the signatures in with.


I’m going to add some embellishments to the inside pages, pick up some beads, and put the whole thing together today. 

BTW I  went on my longest road biking road to date yesterday–about 13 miles– and so far, I’m not too sore.  It’s amazing how working out on the spinner all winter has improved my muscle strength and stamina.  But I still can’t keep up with John. 

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Yesterday I blocked the lower back and front pieces of my Bettna Sweater.   The larger piece is the back turned vertically, rather than horizontally.

While they are waiting on the blocking board I’m making good progress on the sleeve and upper right body.  It looks a little funny at the top because I couldn’t get the cable to lie straight.  I’m close to finishing this piece.


Next will be another sleeve and upper left body before the whole thing begins to come together.  The back of this sweater is really pretty when the pieces are joined together.  Getting a head start on blocking the lower pieces should help out with space for blocking the upper pieces.















We went for a walk along the Rio de la Olla yesterday and I collected some texture and pattern pictures.  The first two are cottonwood bark from great big trees that grow along the banks of the river.


Rocks embedded in the road surface.


Rock strata.


Tree branches against the sky.  I didn’t see the strong equilateral triangle formed by the branches until I put the picture up on my computer screen.  Cool.

I think these make good sources for design ideas.


While we were walking we saw lots of new evidence of beavers at work, both in new dams in the water and newly cut trees.  There were several like this.

Unfortunately, lots of these trees fell onto the road instead of into the water.  Must be young beavers practicing without planning.  Smile.  You can just see the older, wiser beaver just shaking their heads. 

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Lately I have been paying particular attention to the virtues of brown.  I guess it started with my first complementary color run from violet to yellow

Since then I’ve actually been considering adding more brown to my wardrobe–something I have never much done before. 

I used brown in decorating back in the 70’s when that was very “in”, but never much in my wardrobe.  Last week I bought a pair of really nice brown shoes I think I’m going to like a lot.  Never really had quite that color before.  Now some things to go with them are in order.

I think I saw or heard somewhere recently that brown is the new black.

On that note, I did a dyeing workshop yesterday on neutrals–browns in this case–using eleven different formula combinations of scarlet red, yellow, and blue to get a wide range of browns.


The result is eleven different fat eighths in varying shades of brown.  It’s quite amazing the way they turned out.  First of all, I really scrunched each piece of fabric tightly into a cup, so I got some great patterning and color separation.  Always unpredictable!


Secondly, for some odd reason, the numbers I put in the corners so I could correlate fabric with dye solution disappeared.  So the only way I’ll be able to even come close to duplicating these is to do the whole workshop over again.  Darn.  As my husband says, “Throw me into that briar patch!” 


Note, as always, that my camera puts a slight blue cast on everything, but, yes, some of these look more purple or red than brown.  That’s a function, I’m sure of more blue and scarlet than yellow.  But every single one of these has some measure of all three primaries in it.  So fantastic.


I can see each one of these as a journal cover and some of them for my long simmering idea for a fiber art piece entitled “Mudlines” based on a bunch of photos I took a few months ago of markings in mud I found on my walks. 

I also think it will be quite interesting to not only redo this workshop to get the proper correlations with solutions and see how differently they turn out another time, but also to use the bowl method and dye more solid colored pieces.  They will be totally different, I know.

I just love this dyeing stuff! 

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Sooooo There

Just a short, quick post to share with you what it was like here in Northern New Mexico for nine hours on Thursday.  How did the writers of Southpark know exactly what it was like?  I don’t know, but our internet provider was able to share with us this humorous–or NOT–side of the situation.  We were so there.


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My husband really likes journals, so I was hoping one of the journals from my class with Sue would work for him.  My hopes were far exceeded with journal number four.  It has a nice masculine look. 


As shown in yesterday’s blog, I followed Sue’s amazing process for transforming brown paper lunch sacks into faux leather.  On the cover I added a long leather bootlace for wrapping and securing around a real silver button.  Very western looking, I think.  John picked out the button and the lacing.  I would have gone for darker lacing, but he picked out the lighter brown, and it was definitely the right choice. 


Inside are three signatures wrapped with scrapbooking paper that I decorated with scraps for a little extra zing.  The signatures are stitched in with taupe colored DMC linen embroidery floss.  I’m finding this to be quite strong stuff with just enough of a rustic look to complement the rest of the journal.


John prefers lines on his journal pages so I set up a page on my computer with lines, colored them a light brown, and printed out gently lined pages on ivory granite stationery.  These are 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheets folded in half. 


I made four pockets with more of the scrapbooking paper, stitched the bottoms with a decorative machine stitch and filled them with “Notes on the Run” cards that John loves to use from The Planner Pad Co., tags I made by fusing paper onto mailing tags adorned with more linen embroidery floss, and Post-It notes on the inside flap pocket.


I think it turned out quite nice and John really likes it.  It has some special touches, but it’s not too fussy for a guy.  

We went for a walk in Carson National Forest this morning, on one of the still closed to vehicles forest roads, and saw some early spring wildflowers.  So I just had to include a picture.


I have no clue what kind of plant this is, but it has leaves somewhat like holly.  Could be some form of western holly?  ‘Don’t know, but it provided a lovely, bright, springy spot in our morning.  The flowers are much brighter yellow than the picture shows.   

*Special note for knitters, check out “The Sacraments of Knitting”.  Make a couple copies and keep them in your knitting bags for new “converts”.  

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Fiber artists are in the business of transformation.

We transform fleece into yarn.  We spin it, we dye it, we knit it, we crochet it, we weave it.

We transform threads and beads and fabrics into beautiful embroideries.

We transform scraps of fabrics into warm, cozy quilts that tell a story.

We cut up fabrics into pieces and reassemble them into clothing that reflects our distinctive personalities.

We’re all about transformation.  I think that’s what excites me the most about working with fibers of any kind.

Sue Bleiweiss has a fascinating process for transforming this, a plain old brown paper lunch bag


into this, a faux leather journal cover.


I spent yesterday working through the process.  My cover is ready and  I am now ready to construct my fourth journal with the “leather” cover and some other elements I’ve gathered together.


I’ll be out today looking for some leather cording for the closure which I’ll combine with an antique-looking silver button.  Our local fabric store, Common Thread, has some beautiful ones, so it will be a hard choice.

By tomorrow that plain brown lunch sack will be totally transformed from something to fill with food to feed the body into a journal which holds the potential to become filled with food for the mind and spirit.

Pretty slick transformation, huh?  

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