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Thursday, December 22, 2016


2016 has been a memorable and sad year for our family.  Those of you who know me, will know how much my Mom meant to me - she was truly my best friend and we are a very close family.  In July while I was visiting Maryland and, as always, stayed with my Mom; teaching in Alexandria always meant a great visit with Mom (we would go to dinner and shop too) while I got to do what I love - share my passion for felting/dyeing and, on top of that, my dear friend Pat Smith, always on hand to chauffeur me to and from class and her husband would even prepare lunch for us.  When I got to Maryland, I found that Mom was totally unwell and the day after I finished teaching, I insisted that we go to the Emergency Room; she usually balked at that idea but she was feeling so bad that she agreed.  Well, one thing led to another and after all the test results were in, it was found that she was indeed very very ill and wasn't going to be with us for very long.  Simultaneously, one of her younger sisters was very ill and in Hospice; it seemed as though they would not get to see each other again; however, through Divine Intervention, I am convinced, Mom ended up at the same fabulous Hospice in a room right next to her sister.  

Now there was no way that we could have made this happen as much as we wanted to as there were only six rooms in the Kline House - which is the most fabulous large Hospice House that you can imagine; but just when we were struggling to do the best for Mom (NO sticking her in some nursing home), word came that a room at the Kline House became available.  I was sooo very fortunate to be with her every step of the way and our family stepped up to the plate and made themselves available and to care for me and spend time with Mom at such an awful time.  Mom received the utmost care day and night; the staff was so loving and caring and for that we will be forever grateful.  In any event, she passed away with the family at her bedside on September 21, 2016,  Even though it was a difficult  2 1/2 months, we couldn't have asked for anything better for a 93 year old - but we are never ready to lose our Mom - it is so hard not to have her to call every evening and hear about her day as I have done for as long as I've been away from home - 54 years; a habit not easy to break.

I've been keeping myself busy so I hope to be back to blogging more regularly soon;and am busy planning for 2017!

Thursday, June 09, 2016



I was so impressed by the this fabulous event organized and hosted by Glenys Mann of Fibre Arts Australia, and I loved Australia.  From the moment I left the airport with Meg Lowry, a friend of Glenys who very kindly met me when I landed in Melbourne and hosted me for several days until we left for Ballarat which was about a 1 1/2 hour drive, I was in awe of the lush landscape - Eucalyptus trees everywhere!!!  Meg's garden was another story - she is quite the gardener and I wrote down two whole pages of fruit trees, vegetables, herbs, flowers and so many plants that I couldn't keep track; such a green thumb!!!   Meg is an artist who has such a flair for dyeing fabric and designing/sewing the most wonderful garments and was a fabulous hostess.  

Ballaret reminded me of the school in a Harry Potter movie - a lovely campus in the middle of town, within walking distance to shops although there wasn't a lot of time to go there.  I shared a house with four other teachers - two from the UK, one from Belgium and the other a Danish immigrant to Australia - what a wonderful creative group they were.  It was like being in college, taking turns with showers, eating in the dining room and going from building to building for various events.  I had the same eights students every day - They were all such a talented group of ladies - I could go on and on about how clever they were; included in the group was a mom and her two married daughters which was such a nice thing to share.  Several of the ladies did not have much felting or sewing experience but with a little direction, they created the most amazing designs!  The red, white and black coat was created by Peta Stuart, the green silk sari nuno on the far right is Zoe Fergusom's creation.  It was a lot of fun!

Port MacQuarie

When we were finished at Ballaret, I flew to Port MacQuarie, which is on the East Coast above Sydney to teach at the quilt shop 'Patchwork in Port' - Jennifer, the owner picked me up and took me to the Fergusons, Marilyn and Graham who had a very lovely home with a gorgeous view of the ocean; they were such generous and kind souls who took very good care of me - especially since I had some sort of stomach 'thingy' since I landed in Australia.  The view from my room looked over the loveliest garden and pool.  Jennifer took me out and about one day before class began and to dinner that evening.  We had 14 students (including 3 art teachers) and I admit I was a little worried what that many students could accomplish in just three days and how I could give them all special attention but all of them produced gorgeous vests.  Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of them (was too busy) but do have some in process - I hope this link to Facebook works

  This is 'rainbow Michelle' named because she had the prettiest rainbow dyed silk and wool.



2016 has been a whirled (as India Flint says) wind of a year beginning in January with "SATB" (Sewing at the Beach) -  held by the Stranded Smockers and Stitchers in Myrtle Beach since 1994.  The members do an outstanding job and the students I had were a joy; here are just a few of them showing how creative they were with the Baby Lock Embellisher, provided by Baby Lock USA.


In March, I conducted a two day eco printing workshop at Oatlands Museum in Savannah for the Fiber Guild of the Savannahs.  We were so fortunate to meet in the science lab and were able to do lots of experiments - the guild members were so enthusiastic and produced some fantastic results.  We used cochineal, osage orange and logwoodand an abundance of leaves, provided by the students.on paper, silk,cotton and wool.  The bundles were simmered or steamed and what fun to see what surprise awaits when opened

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Tessellations in Felt

In anticipation for my exciting Australia trip to teach at Ballarat at the end of March/beginning of April, I have been experimenting with some new work.  I became fascinated with tessellations because anyone who knows my work, knows I love to create felt, cut it up and put it all together again and, for months, I have been experimenting in how best to accomplish my tessellation ideas in felt.  

The first task was to understand how to make a proper tessellation and to practice with a wide variety of shapes without them being too busy (I even practiced by teaching our grandson, Win, who just turned 7, how to make the shapes with paper - we had fun!).   Next came the color and material challenge - the selected colors had to have enough contrast but I wanted soft and pleasing at the same time; I knew that I wanted to incorporate silk fabric as well.   After many experiments with materials and trying a variety of approaches - some not very successful or pleasing to me and learning tons along the way, I've finally completed a project that I'm pleased with; challenging myself is something that I enjoy doing from time to time.  It's a great way to learn new things and work out problems when you are on your own.  For example, shapes shift when they are felted (especially when they are fabric (this proved to be a  huge problem to solve and I didn't want to just use prefelt which would have been easier, but boring since I wanted lots of texture without it being too heavy or thick.
I learned even more while working on this project that will make it easy for my students to accomplish in a couple of days, what took me months to figure out.

I'll also be teaching my method at Artful Dimensions in Fredericksburg in October, 2016..