Monday, January 25, 2010

Opening Recap

Two openings in two nights was exhilarating and exhausting and everything in between.  The Women of Appalachia show is a beautiful jewel, with remarkable works by each of the artists represented.  I was impressed with how many of the artists I already knew.  I guess I’m not as much a hermit as I thought.  Here I am in front of Garden Party, speaking with Piet (I hope I remembered her name correctly):

Andi at Women of Appalachia opening

I attended this opening with a full posse, including myself, my husband, my son Izzy,  NaNoWriMo friends Melinda and Andrew, and Melinda’s husband Jeff, as well as my friend from knitting, Sonja and my art group friends Lynda and Lanna.

The next night was the opening for the Women in Fiber show at Marietta College:

tyger tyger and work by june

This is the first wall you see to your left as you enter the gallery.  The two pieces to the left are by my friend June Baker, who also is a member of my art group.  June started out with traditional quilting, and is also a watercolorists.  I really like the piece with the circles.  Tyger, Tyger hangs to the right.

temporary label for rt 33

We were joking that they were in such a hurry they could only put up post-it note labels.  But each piece had an artist statement accompanying it.  You can’t really see it in the next picture but it is there.  I also am tickled by the arrow which seems to point out Red and White #4

rt 33 and red and white

The show is part of a multi-media project including the play “Quilters”.  Here you can see some of the cast members in costume, admiring Marilyn:

Quilters looking at Marilyn

I also met the sweetest King Charles Spaniel puppy whose name is Scout.  She was decked out in an adorable white dress with red hearts on it, complete with a bow on her back.  She was in attendance with her owner, Rob.  I wish I’d gotten a picture of them to show you, but trust me, they were quite the sartorial pair.

I was so thrilled to be able to attend both of these openings.  The energy was high at both, and each crew did such a great job putting together the shows.  I spent Sunday in the studio working on new pieces so that I can attend even more openings, as well as making plans to attend the opening of The Artist as Quiltmaker XIV in May.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Stern Workshop

This has been a busy week in the Stern household.

izzy experimenting two

Izzy is experimenting with food coloring and various foods for his science unit (we are studying cells).

izzy experimenting

“Hey Mom, why you taking my picture?”

We also have an upcoming show at The Plains Public Library, in addition to the two shows I already have work in, so it is up to the studio we go:

izzy creating

Izzy at his clay station.  We spent a good half hour earlier this week cleaning up the old clay. He couldn’t be happier to have the extra room to work in.

izzy creating two

A different angle.  You can see the many plush creatures I’ve made from my own patterns as well as a few from Ravelry and books.  My hats are off to the right, and that is a mini quilt hanging from my design wall above them.

izzy creating three

Izzy wanted me to take a picture of him demonstrating how to make a bead.  He uses Sculpey III brand polymer clay.  I supervise the baking process.  Izzy has been sculpting for nearly 8 years now, and I am amazed at how detailed his work is becoming.

izzy decorating

Here he is decorating an earring part with Pearl Ex powders.  I was watching him while I was seated at my sewing machine.

Not to be left out, I have been creating, too.

me creating

Yellow strips in process.  I was having a tension problem and had put this piece aside while I figured it out.  Finally I managed to dislodge the lump of lint which had made a home in my bobbin case and all was well. 

design wall

Here is a closeup of the big yellow base.  I added the ten long strips I pieced between yesterday and today.  I am very happy to have my sewing machine working again.  To the right is “Day of the Cichlids” in process and to the left are the completed White Queen and Frog Prince.

The family who creates together stays together!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Little Steps

I read with amusement this article at, about how Starbucks is increasing prices on their drinks to reflect the amount of steps each barista needs to put in when creating the beverage.  I was amused because every so often an article on saving money pops up with advice like “cutting out a premium beverage a day will save you x amount of dollars over the course of a year.”  The first thing that popped into my mind was “Wow, now I can save even more every year!”

Of course I’d have to buy that premium drink to save that money. 

This principle is also brought up when someone is writing about diet and lifestyle changes.  “Eliminate a pat of butter a day and you’ll save 30,000 calories during the course of a year” (exaggeration purely mine, I do not have time to do the math for you; here are the numbers to use if you’re so inclined:  pat of butter = 100 calories x 1 year/365 days).  Great idea, wonderful plan.  But what if you don’t eat butter at all?  Shouldn’t you already be that much thinner? I wish it worked that way. :)

The key is to analyze what you do eat, and to gradually introduce little changes that lead to big results.  I learned this during my weight loss journey. 

Instead of white bread, I started buying whole wheat breads. 

Instead of white flour, I began using white whole wheat flour.

Instead of pasta or rice as a base for sauces, I began using a large bowl of salad.  This is also a great way to increase your fruit/vegetable count, and there are a variety of greens out there to choose from.  Right now I have been enjoying kale greens as my base.  Adding the filler of the salad also satisfies my need to chew, and fills my tummy.  I don’t feel deprived when eating this way, and I am getting needed fiber and vitamins so my body will be healthy.

I didn’t make all of these changes overnight, but unlike all of the other times I would start a diet at the beginning of the week , beginning of the year, beginning of the day, they became habit, and the pounds came off and stayed off. 

And just think of all the art supplies new clothes you can buy with the money you save on the premium drinks! 

Monday, January 18, 2010

Two Shows, Two Openings

This is a busy week for me, show-wise.  So many of the shows I’ve exhibited in are too far away for me to get to the opening receptions.  This week I have an abundance of riches as I am able to attend not one, but two opening receptions. 

First up, Friday, is the opening reception for the Women in Appalachia show:

garden party 72 web

Garden Party 2009

Then on Saturday, we get to road trip to Marietta College for the Women in Fiber show:

tiger 72 web

Tyger, Tyger  2008

I am very excited to be able to attend both openings, and already have my outfit picked out.  If you are in the region, drop by and see the shows.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

NVC in Practice

Yesterday I received an anonymous comment on the blog in regards to my list of 100 Things to Do in 2010.  The tone of the comment was less than friendly, and while I can agree to disagree, I felt that this comment added nothing to the discussion, and since this is my sandbox, I chose to delete it. 

If such an event had happened to me last year, I may have taken up the fight in the comments.  I would most likely have been hurt, and possibly have even edited the post in response to what was said.  It’s even possible that I would have taken a hiatus from putting anything on the blog for a while, and retreated back into the safe comfort of my living room.

However, doing that would not have helped me.  And I would not be able to share my process of applying the principles of NVC to my response to the comment.

In Chapter One of Non Violent Communication, Mr. Rosenberg outlines the four steps to take when engaging in a dialogue:

1. Observation.  What is being said or done that you like or don’t like?

2. State how you feel in relation to what you’ve observed.

3.What need is being met or isn’t being met because of the action you’ve observed?

4.What specific action can you ask for that will meet that need?

With these four steps in mind, I present the comment (“C”, the pertinent passages) and my response (“M”):

C: “How could you get stuck on feeding Koi? Surely fish feed is not expensive where you live??”

M: 1: “How could you get stuck”  2:Feels accusatory, and also I did not say that I felt stuck on feeding koi, just that that was number 38 on my list, 3: doesn’t meet my need for feeling understood and 4: I could ask that the commenter re-read my post to see that I did not say I felt stuck about the items on the list, rather the stuck was in making the items on the list. 

The commenter goes on to give a suggestion for how to feed koi without spending any money.  It’s actually a good suggestion (go to a local shop that sells koi and ask to feed them) and I probably would have left the comment up if that had been the only paragraph.  I also would have commented on how we have a local succulent greenhouse with a koi pond, and that I could drive out there this spring and do just what s/he suggested.

C: “It's silly to waste time drawing pretty lines around a goal like "Gain 10lbs of muscle" when I could use that time to actually work towards my goals.”

M: 1. “It’s silly to waste time drawing pretty lines” 2: feels judgmental, uses judgmental language “silly” ,“waste” 3. makes me feel defensive 4: and I don’t think an ask would get a result from an anonymous commenter (hey, I have said I am practicing).

I could say something like “I’m sorry that you feel it is a waste of time.”   I could ask “How do you keep track of what you want to accomplish?”  This would acknowledge that this person’s process is different than mine without making any judgment about the different ways we go about doing things. 

Applying the steps, and responding thoughtfully to what was said made today’s blog post possible, in more ways than one.  Thank you, Anonymous Commenter.

I don’t pretend that I have a full grasp on the process, and I’m sure I probably got some of the steps wrong, but that is why I am blogging it here each week, to help myself get a better understanding of how it works and how to apply it in all of my communications.  I invite you to pick up a copy of the book and read along. 

Coming Soon to a Store Near You

500 Art Quilts has arrived, I hold my contributor's copy in my hot little hands almost as I type (well, it would be difficult to type with a book in my hands). I can't tell you how honored I am that my work was chosen to be part of this book. Ten years ago I remember looking through similar books and imagining my work was included. Now, after lots of hard work and persistence, it is! I can count many friends among the contributors as well, thanks to the internet and being able to attend workshops such as Quilt Surface Design Symposium and one-on-one instruction at Susan Shie's Turtle Art Camp, my SAQA membership, and visiting my local guild.

This book is truly a feast for the eyes and spirit, and will provide endless hours of inspiration and delight. Look for it at your local booksellers toward the end of the month.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

First, Let’s Fire all of the Hamsters

Three of the pages in Goddess Leonie’s 2010 Workbook and Planner are set aside to make a list of 100 Things to Do in 2010.  They can be fun, goofy, serious, playful, whatever you can imagine wanting to do during the coming year.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  It is, especially with each number whimsically drawn and colored, the pages are so enticing. It makes me happy to just look at the pretty numbers.

I am stuck on number 38 (feed koi).

While part of me knows that I don’t have to have the whole list filled out at once, and to be honest, part of me is dragging my feet so that I don’t rush through the process, I also know part of me is afraid to put some things that I may really want to do this year.

Afraid that I won’t get to do it.

Afraid that I will.

While deep inside, the little hamster who is constantly runningrunningrunning on the wheel that is my brain is yelling,  “You can’t do that, where are you going to get the MONEY to do that? Why bother even writing it down?”

And that is one reason I am stuck at number 38. 

Many of the things on my list contain the word “make” or “sell”.

I don’t want all of the things on the list to contain those words.  And yet I know there are things I want to create this year (and hey, maybe “Create” would be a better choice than “Make”, sounds a bit more lofty and maybe a bit less money grubbing) and I know that selling things that I made created helps to keep the family running, which is very important to me.

But I think the big block to filling the list is that anything which does not involve either of those words feels a bit like slacking to me.  Like I’m not taking my responsibilities seriously.  Again with the hamster:  “How can you think of having FUN when there are bills to be paid? Never mind how can you pay for something like “have a spa day”, you don’t have time to even take a “spa day” because there is work to be done first.”

I know that I am more productive overall if I allow some “me” or “fun” time to happen.  I know that my weekly day off results in lots of work the next day because I get itchy to be doing something.  I need to bring this knowledge into the space where I am making my list.  It is not only ok to have fun, it is necessary to overall happiness and, dare I say it, bliss.

I think maybe the hamster could use a vacation.

#39 Buy Hamster a ticket to Hawaii

How about you? Is anyone else working with this planner?  How is your list coming along?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

This Says It Better Than I Ever Could

Yesterday took more time than I thought it would, even though it was the same 24 hours as any other day. This newsletter came to my inbox today and it says a lot about the things I have been dealing with in my personal life. I realized I am in need of finding some joy (more about that tomorrow), and hope that this piece helps you as much as it's helping me.

A setback can lead us to a better place — if we just let it.” -- Anne Wilson Schaef

Are you in the midst of a perceived failure? Perhaps you’ve been laid off from your job, you’re on the brink of bankruptcy, or you’re going through an acrimonious divorce. While you may wish otherwise, these situations are painful and difficult. They require that we face our deepest fears of inadequacy, lack and failure. It’s often during these difficult times that we turn to God and deepen our faith and spiritual connection. Author Paul Brunton states it this way: “When every situation which life can offer is turned to the profit of spiritual growth, no situation can really be a bad one.”

Our intuition is connected to a wiser part of us that sees the larger picture of our lives and knows what we need to learn in order to move ahead on our journey in this life. Patience, trust and faith are required after life hands us an unexpected blow. You were not sent here to fail. It may be hard to trust that the Universe knows what it’s doing and yet that may be the path of least resistance. You need to go with the flow and know that there is a new and wonderful life for you just waiting to be born.

Tough times never last. When you are experiencing a setback you fear you’ll be in it forever. However, generally speaking, most of life’s painful disappointments are relatively short-lived. It’s important to remember that we all experience failure at one time or another in our lives. As actor Mickey Rooney put it, “You always pass failure on your way to success.” Remember also that failure is an event or situation you find yourself in. You’re only in danger when you begin describing yourself as the failure.

What are some steps you can take when life has handed you lemons and you haven’t yet figured out how to make lemonade?

BE PATIENT. This is a time of change and things need to happen of their own accord. There is little to be gained by trying to speed up the process. If it takes you longer to get where you want to go, there might be a reason for it. It is often hard to figure out the big question, “Why is this happening to me?!” when you’re in the middle of the crisis. Allow for Divine wisdom to play a role in your life.

HAVE FUN. When you’re out of work, broke and down on your luck, having fun may be at the bottom of your priority list. Nudge it up closer to the top. Come up with a list of inexpensive things you could do to enjoy yourself. There is no virtue in suffering needlessly while you’re going through a difficult time.

ASK FOR HELP AND GUIDANCE. If you open up and talk about what you’re experiencing, you may be surprised by how many friends you have who want to help. You don’t have to go through this alone. But if times are really tough or you feel you may be getting seriously depressed, be sure to talk with a counselor.

BE KIND TO YOURSELF. Now is not the time to beat yourself up for any perceived mistakes, or to wallow in “what I should have done.” One of the biggest challenges most experience in the face of failure is knowing how to love ourselves through the process. Keep your heart and mind open. You’ll find that insight and wisdom will come through when you most need them to guide you in the right direction.

PRACTICE POSITIVE SELF-TALK. If you're a pessimist, you're likely to spend a lot of time with negative self-talk. "I can't do this." "Nothing works out for me." Or, "I have terrible luck," are all common examples. Whether you're facing an upcoming interview or giving a speech, pay attention to what you're telling yourself! It will make a dramatic difference in how you feel. Make a conscious attempt to shift the focus on any pessimistic thoughts. Try saying things to yourself like, "I know I'll get through this." "What could I do today to stay relaxed?" "There are many things I do well and today I'll stay focused on those."

I’ll end with a quote from Richard Carlson who wrote the “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” series of books. “Let go of fear. The universe has an infinite supply of opportunity. There is plenty to go around. You may be surprised to see that something is coming your way right now!”

Some of my Favorite Things I’m really fond of the meditations at
They have one on creating abundance and another on finding inner peace which are two of my favorites. Best of all they’re fr*ee!

Fellow National Speakers Association member Sam Horn gave a great speech on what she calls "Serendestiny." I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

I often get emails from newsletter readers asking where I find my inspirational quotes. Here's a favorite site that's full of quotes on the topic of prosperity and abundance.

I just discovered Renee Stephens and her "Inside Out Weight Loss." She’s a coach, hypnotherapist and NLP trainer. Her podcasts are incredibly inspiring and very intuitive!

Closing My e-mail:
My Website:
Archives of this newsletter are available at:

Copyright (c) 2010, all rights reserved. Permission is granted to reproduce, copy or distribute this newsletter as long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author is attached.

The author of this newsletter is Lynn A. Robinson, M.Ed. Lynn is one of the nation's leading experts on the topic of intuition. Her most recent books include:

LISTEN: Trusting Your Inner Voice in Times of Crisis (GPP Life 2010)
TRUST YOUR GUT: How the Power of Intuition Can Grow Your Business (Kaplan 2007)
DIVINE INTUITION: Your Guide to Creating a Life You Love (DK Books 1999)

Lynn’s free monthly "Intuition Newsletter" is available at her website,

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Women in Fiber

Today I am delivering six pieces to the Women in Fiber show at Marietta (OH) College.  I am thrilled to have work in the show, and very happy to go to Marietta, one of my favorite places in the region.  It was the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory and sits at the junction of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers.  The local architecture is beautiful, and I enjoy visiting the area whenever I have an excuse.

Here is a preview of some of the work:


Red and White #4  patchwork, applique, machine quilting, beads and sequins.  Commercial cottons, commercial hand-dyed cottons (the wonderful grays are from Judy at Just Imagination).


Marilyn patchwork, applique, machine quilting, beads and sequins.  Commercial cottons, polyester batting.

Route 33 Summer Morning

Route 33, Summer Morning patchwork, applique, machine quilting.  Commercial cottons, hand-dyed silk, tulle, polyester batting.

The show runs through February 21st, and I am planning on attending the opening on Saturday January 23rd, from 6-8pm.  If you are in the area, drop by and introduce yourself.  I’ll be wearing green.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Etsy Update

If you had told me ten years ago that I would be running a business with my son, I probably would have laughed, handed him over, and said "Ok, then, *you* can feed him." He was the most demanding of my children, and I often said that if he had been the first one, he would have been the only one. But time passed, I was able to get some sleep again, and he has turned into quite the companion and collaborator.

He works on his sculptures while I sew or paint in the studio, and he has started vending with me when we do shows. Two years ago he raised enough money to buy a bicycle by selling his sculptures, and his current goal is to raise enough money to buy the seeds for the garden he is planning (I sent for the Burpee catalog late last month and it arrived earlier this week).

To help, I made a section at my Etsy for his work. Today's Etsy update Friday is dedicated to him.

May I present World of Art by Izzy:

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Learning a New Language

I grew up with dysfunctional family patterns of communication when it came to any sort of disagreement or conflict, real or perceived.  One side of the family would play the passive-aggressive cold shoulder game, while the other thrived on verbal confrontation.  I was lucky enough to get the best of both worlds, being able to cold-shoulder like a professional, while also rising to the verbal “fight back” occasion when the situation warrants.  I have also felt guilty about both reactions, and have taken the “don’t lose your temper, don’t be selfish” commandment from my childhood to new levels of self-effacement and putting everyone else’s needs ahead of my own to the point where there are times that I need to remind myself that it is indeed ok to take up space in this world.

I have struggled with this for my entire adult life, and wondered if I would ever find a happy medium that enables a win/win method of communication rather than the winner/loser paradigm I was all too familiar with.

Enter Havi and her wonderful blog.  One of the books she recommends is Non Violent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg. 

At first I was not interested in the book, because I assumed it would be full of woo-woo “everyone else’s feelings are more important than mine” advice, and I expected yet another lecture about how I was wrong and everyone else was right.  I continued to read Havi’s blog, including the archives, and observed how she interacted with her readers.  Slowly I was being convinced that I could at least look at the book.  I didn’t have to take any of it seriously, and I gave myself permission to return it to the library unfinished if it was more of the “you are not a good person and this is how to fix yourself” jargon.

I opened the book a skeptic, and finished it convinced.  I returned the book to the library and picked up my own copy because this is not a book to read once and be done.  It will be marked up and written in and returned to again and again.  Because, as Havi says at the end of each of her posts, I am practicing.

Mr. Rosenberg described the patterns of communication I grew up seeing in my family.  He described methods of changing how to interact with people so that they feel heard, and how to better express yourself so that you feel understood.  I was so blown away by what he wrote, and I wanted to share it with everyone I knew.  I also knew that I would not be able to immediately apply everything in the book, and I didn’t know how to find a group to work through the book with, so I am choosing to do it here on my blog. 

Every Thursday I will write about my impressions and experiences of what Mr. Rosenberg writes about, chapter by chapter, until the book is complete.  You’re welcome to get a copy of the book and join in.  I can’t wait to see what we learn.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Goals 2010

Which sounds like that government education program from the late 90’s(?) “Goals 2000” but nothing like that.  No standardized testing needed, no rote drills, and certainly no school necessary, unless of course that’s what you want to do.

2009 had a lot of good events happen, which I realized when I posted my year-end chicken last week.  But as I looked over the list, I knew that, while great compared to my accomplishments list of ten years ago, the potential had been there for even more, and I had let that go by.

This year I am determined to be more change, and with that in mind, I pulled out my copy of Lisa Sonora Beam’s “The Creative Entrepreneur”.  In it, she walks the reader through several stages of the goal setting process, and the book is designed for someone who may be more visually oriented, so there is a lot of collaging that can go on.  I really enjoy this book, and have my business mandala on the wall next to my bed, but I was getting stuck when it came to choosing the goals for my Strategic Planner, and really really stuck when it came to making the individual SMART (Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time-Bound)pages for each goal.

Then came Goddess Leonie and her Creating My 2010 Goddess Year Workbook and Planner (see link in sidebar).  I am on her mailing list, and when the email came through, I clicked and peeked at the preview.  It looked really pretty and I was interested, but I didn’t immediately buy, because I had memories of other systems I had tried in the past, and was afraid it would go the way of the many self-help books gathering dust in my shelves.

But something about Leonie and her website kept calling to me, and I bought a copy of the guidebook.  It is 40 pages of colorful, whimsical drawings, questions to see where you’ve come from and questions to lead you where you want to go.  I really like the way she writes directly to the reader, as though she were standing next to you and urging you on.  There are pages to describe and collage how you feel about your body now, and how you would like to look by the end of the year, and  a page for your word of the year in addition to pages asking you to list your goals and habits you wish to cultivate.  My favorite is the page which leaves a bit space to write, draw and collage your bag of tricks, comforts and reminders to help nurture you when your path gets long or you feel like giving up.

goddess workbook page one

And this is the first page of the goal-setting section of the workbook:

goddess workbook page two

You print out the pages at home, and can put them into a decorated binder if you choose.  I like that this option allows you to carry individual pages with you to work on, as well as adding additional pages with your own  collages or extra printouts if you run out of room on the original page.

I will be working with this guidebook throughout the coming year, and each Wednesday I intend to post updates on what my goals are for the year, which is one of the goals I’ve already discovered through working in the book.  Now that’s smart!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Is That You Moe Dean?


For that someone special, a little bit of Roswell for a night on the town. Beam me up!

Before and After

A lot of people on the web and beyond are talking about the changes we have seen in our world and ourselves since the calendar rolled over to the year 2000.  I have been surprised as I take stock of the changes in my own life, and pleased to see the progress I have made in many areas, including fulfilling a 20 year dream to have a work included in the prestigious Quilt National exhibit, to win a major award with my artwork, and to become a Lark designer.

However, looking at the many things which have happened in my life during the past ten years, the most profound is the change in my physical body.

Me in 1998

This is me in 1998, working on a piece at Susan Shie’s Turtle Art Camp.  I weighed around 240 pounds, down a little from my peak of 249 pounds on a 5’1” frame.

Me in 2009

And this is me in November of 2009, from the photo shoot for the Athens News Annual Manual, approximately 100 pounds lighter.

I didn’t have surgery, and didn’t do the grueling program I see contestants go through on The Biggest Loser. I did begin in the summer of 2001 because I had a contract to teach at ArtFest in Seattle, and wanted to comfortably fit into the airplane seat, but other than that, I did it for me.  It  took a combination of learning to eat better, learning to move more, and great determination to shop at fun places like Old Navy.  It took me four years to lose that much weight, and it was hard won, but like all things worth the having, it was worth the wait.  I couldn’t have done it without the constant support of my family, who listened when I cried because it was taking so long, and cheered me as I moved down the scale.

It was easy for me  to discount the accomplishment because it did take so long that it never really felt like a huge dramatic change.  I’d spend months in the same ten pound range, but slowly my body changed. I think the process provides a great example of how even small steps can lead to a long journey, as long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other. 

If I did it, you can too.  In later posts, I will write more about the process, but for now I just wanted to emphasize that many resolutions are made at this time of year, and many are broken because maybe progress isn’t immediately obvious, and it is easy to become discouraged. It doesn’t have to be losing weight, it could be starting your own business, writing a novel, quitting smoking, going back to school.  Find a friend, a support group, make a determination that the change you want will happen, and then keep at it.  You can do it.  What you need is in you, and you will be surprised at what you find in yourself during the process.

In the words of Winston Churchill, “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never--in nothing, great or small, large or petty--never give in,” and you will see results.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Last Completed Artwork of 2009

Last week I shared the embroideries for my new series “Alice and Friends”, including The Queen of Hearts and The Frog Prince, both of which were in progress. 

I like to end the year on a high note, and try to wrap up at least one piece, and have another piece in process so that I can carry the energy into the new year.  With that in mind, I present the last completed artwork of 2009:

Queen of Hearts complete

The Queen of Hearts 14 3/4” x 14 1/2” hand embroidery on hand knitted felt, backed and bordered with hand-dyed twill.  Commercial polyester felt and Crafty Chica embellishing glue  from Duncan Enterprises.

And the pieces which carried over into the new year:

The Frog Prince

The Frog Prince

Alice in process


I am actively working on completing The Frog Prince first.  As you can see, all that is left of the embroidery is half of the lily pad.  Then it will be up to the studio, where I will find some backing and bordering fabric.

I learned a lot between making the two pieces.  The first piece was made on a background which was a knit checkerboard.  I had left the floats between each color change, since there were only five stitches for each block.  I assumed that I wouldn’t need to wrap the yarn in between, and so made sure the floats were a little longer than normal, to account for the shrinkage which occurs when the knitted fabric shrinks in the felting process.

Overall, that idea worked, but as you can see here, there was a bit of puckering.  The hand-stitching really helped to push down the ridges, but it involved stitching a lot in some areas because the initial stitches would get lost in the gaps.

 Queen of hearts pleat

For The Frog Prince and Alice, I wrapped the floats every three stitches, regardless of where they fell in the color change pattern.  When I felted these pieces, both came out a lot flatter and a lot more even. 

There is still the rough surface that comes with the hand-felted surface, but the ridges from the first piece are practically non-existent.  I am fairly confident that this is due to wrapping the floats rather than the choice of yarn.  I chose to use Lana Loft for the first piece, while the second piece is made with Ella Rae Classic, and the third piece is knit in Cascade 220. 

The next piece will be a mermaid, inspired by some floss I found while searching for colors for the last three pieces, and the background of it will probably be a beautiful gray and blue colorway I found in Plymouths’ Boku yarn.  The colorwork in that base will be provided by knitting it in the entrelac technique.  I am excited to see how that turns out.

But first I’m going to finish The Frog Prince and make some more progress on Alice

In the words of Willy Wonka “The suspense is killing me.  I hope it doesn’t end.”