Friday, December 26, 2014

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


My seasonal hibernation time is here. I am spending the moments between everything else stitching but I am all out of words for the how and why. My boys are running circles around me as we all try to move indoors for the winter season. Life is good and days are full.

I will be away from this blog for awhile - maybe until the new year begins. Please pardon my absence here as I settle into winter and holiday with my family. Thanks so much to all who take time to visit here. I am grateful.

If you would care to follow along one little photo at time you may find me over at Instagram every once in awhile. I have grown fond of the clean and quiet format over there and this change of season seems like a good time to try it out. fiberartandcraft (link in the sidebar)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

warmth blocks in winter

I have started stitching on a couple of winter blocks. My theme hasn't strayed far from the block I stitched last year. 

I am making the new ones 12X12 inches to be compatible with last years'. If I can make one or two each year I can eventually sew them all together to make a quilt.

Moving inside as it gets colder outside inspires lots of imagery about warmth. I think a lot about keeping my family busy and happy as it becomes harder to spend time outside.
Filling our house with people always helps with warmth and cheer. I wish the same for all of you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

sharpening points

So much better for me to work in rows towards these stars - and adds a few more possibilities.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

winter stars

More of the star, but winter colors now. We have snow and cold. The white backdrop of the snow makes it easier to appreciate the lovely lines of the plant stems and seed heads that have held on on through the weather. There's a lot of inspiration out there.

and I think I have worked a few things out for the construction of these stars, but only in my head so far. I learn a bit more with each one. I am now cutting things out to make a few more with the new plan. Some pieces of pale indigo I dyed during Glennis Dolce's online class a few years back are giving some variation against the whites. I think the pieced stars nicely echo the frost patterns, snowflakes and crispness of winter. Natural organization.

We have been busy celebrating 8 years old with our youngest and it's official today. Above - waiting "patiently" at 5:30 this morning to open his gifts. He's a funny one.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

painting vs dyeing

This piece was made with painted cloth. Some of the variation in color resembles dyed cloth but it is painted. I used a small amount of paint to apply washes as needed to create the colors I wanted with the fabrics I already had. Most of the fabrics I used were solid colors to begin with - I used the paint to add some variation. I also used the paint to emphasize edges - darkening with washes inside or outside of a stitched line. 

I used Pebeo Setacolor transparent fabric paints. The big bottles I have had for quite awhile. The small bottles are part of a wonderful starter set available through Dharma Trading Co.

I also used sun printed fabric (sun printed with the same transparent fabric paint) I had made awhile back and just cut choice pieces out of it. 

However, we did dye some fabrics in the gold and amber range with smashed apples this weekend, which yielded some similar colors. I think I have mentioned this on here before but we just made cider this weekend and so here it is again.

My people (and pup) - Brett holding the apples that have been pureed through a garbage disposal system he has built for cider making (not shown). The cider colored bag is full of the pulp before it has been pressed. That bag has been used for several years and retains a beautiful rich cider color.

The one used for years shown on the right. Two new bags shown left and middle - of those two only the middle one was used this time. This is after being washed. Pretty amazing I think - just apples.

The lighting on some of my inside photos are all over the place today. We have crossed over into winter temperatures in the last few hours and it feels like it has been getting dark since about noon today. So -  hot cider tonight. Stay warm.

Friday, November 7, 2014

lines and shaped edges

Celebrating some fall color with those pieced stars. I think in layers as I start to work out the color and then the line of a cloth. The line work eventually rising above the blocks of color and the various depths of line suggested with the color of thread. I haven't made it back to stitching leaves yet, but there are so many similarities in an insect wing.

I also gave a shaped edge a try - a star as fringe.

and Eva has fully claimed the fabric scrap corner in the top of the very big basket next to my sewing machine. The pets stay close as the days get colder.

Have a great weekend.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

starry light

Sorry for the delay, all is very well - and this is where I spent my extra hour this morning.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

time warp

Last week my dad had a serious health scare, but he is doing well now. My mom is faced with the fairly difficult job of trying to get him to take it easy for awhile. This is the first day it has felt okay to think about anything else except all of this. I guess I am just noting all this here for sake of my personal timeline. Last week was like a time warp.

The boys and I are making a few small trips here and there over the next few days. I will be back to posting here in about a week.

I am still working on the redbud leaves and I think something is about to happen with these patchwork stars.

Friday, October 17, 2014

redbud family

Nighttime and daytime photos but the same cloth. Right now I am liking the heart shape of the eastern redbud.

It has been a crazy week and next week my boys are on fall break. When I get back - let's talk about leaves again.

Friday, October 10, 2014

studio and golden

I tidied the studio this week in moments between computer work and everything else. It was time - it just wasn't much fun to be in there it was getting so crazy. I feel like I can think more clearly now. A tidy is also always a nice reminder that I don't need any more fabric probably ever. Lots of to do/to sew things resurfaced. I am so happy to have found my favorite tiny embroidery scissors and altoid tin full of straight pins - both of which had been missing since spring.

The fall light is completely different which can feel pretty tough on a cold rainy day - lots of dark corners. It seems like it changed kind of fast. I think there will be lots of shuffling around of the lamps all over the house.

This week, I finished one thing started long ago. I started piecing this compass rose almost 3 years ago, when our Beandog passed away. It doesn't sound right at all that it was that long ago. I finished the piecing not long after I started it. The stitching has been done for awhile too and the little quilt has been keeping me company in the studio all this time. So I finally made it into the big cushion cover I had always intended it to be - just in time for Beandog's favorite time of year. She always had a sassy little burst of puppy energy in the fall when the heat of the summer was over.

Friday, October 3, 2014


My parents are the "Fletcher" in my name (as well as my boys') and the foundation on which my sense of family has been built. They are encouraging and supportive and so when I started taking ceramics classes a year (or two?) ago, my dad surprised me by making a custom clay tool. It stamps my initials into the soft clay on the bottom of my work. He is a woodworker but can really make anything he puts his mind to - he's pretty amazing. The stamp works beautifully. He modeled it after my own configuration of hand writing/carving of my initials, but these letter forms are pleasingly clean and simple - beautifully influenced by the materials used.

Dad's stamp also works well on other materials and so I can stamp lightly onto fabric and then stitch over it.

I am working through a stack of pieces - many started quite awhile ago. Some of them have become overwhelmed with my original intention of what I hoped for them to be or mean. When that happens I eventually put them aside and now there's a stack of them - looking all lonely. In the midst of normal family chaos of day to day life it is the meditative stitch that I so often need. So they won't all turn out to be what I originally intended because I am going to lighten their load of intention just a bit. In the end I think cloth just begs to be lived with and useful - part of a family.

If only just a sense of all that can be stitched into what I make then it will be enough. All the comforts, the calm and sometimes chaotic - past and present of home. It's all in there.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

appliqué, line and luna

I started appliquéing this luna moth one month ago.  A smooth and lightly painted moth against a contrasting dark and textured fabric -  not painted dark, because the fabric can become too hard to hand stitch with too much paint. Appliqué seemed a likely choice although I typically avoid it because I rarely like my results. I tend to overwork the edge and get too fussy with it trying to get that outline that I like. This time I went with my favorite backstitch line following a drawn and then needle turned edge. It worked very well except for the resulting small halo of light fabric left outside the stitched line. I can actually imagine this being something to work with and utilize later - that halo - but for this I wanted the moth really seated in the dark fabric. This edge outside the line is noticeable above on the right side of the moth.

I decided to use a permanent pitt pen fine point marker to darken that little folded edge. I could only turn the edge so far on those tail wings and the pen brought it back to the fine detail in those thinnest areas. I think I could probably darken that edge outside my drawn line before I start stitching to appliqué but it may be harder to see what I am doing as I needle turn and stitch if the edge is already darkened? May try that next and see how it goes.

 Lots more stitching planned on this cloth and I feel like this appliqué method has opened up a lot of possibilities. I do plan to wash the whole cloth when the stitching is done and imagining those inked edges may need refining after the wash and crinkle.

and it looks like I had avoided appliqué so much it wasn't yet even a category on this blog - so now it is - starting with luna.

Friday, September 26, 2014


A quick little post before the weekend to sort of keep notes for myself on these things:

Portability of cloth is good. Stealing a few moments to stitch while waiting for boy to finish cross country is good. It will be the only way.

Carry an idea out till the end (even if it doesn't go quite as planned) because it might work out and become something you didn't even expect.

I have more to say on this luna stitching soon. Have a wonderful weekend.

Friday, September 19, 2014

every little stitch

Every little stitch is sort of a wish of health and happiness for those who will be warmed and comforted by the cloth those stitches hold together.

Maybe it's all those little wishes that make a quilt so comforting.

Friday, August 29, 2014

greens in the nighttime

I went ahead with the cutting out and appliqué to have that luna glow in the nighttime. The white threads woven into the black shirt fabric caught just enough of the mostly yellow paint wash to suggest the green of the leaves in the dark.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Fabric paint wash on wet cotton. I let it wander where it wanted because I had planned to cut out near the outside line and fold under for appliqué, but oh that "glow" of color. Outside the lines.

Friday, August 22, 2014

just that forgotten work shirt I have been saving for years...

This woven cotton work shirt finally made it a few steps closer to what I have been saving it for. I have been thinking of adding detail to cloth with cloth that already has the elements I like and with a little reconstruction - will create the patterns I want.

The back is so nice with the extra interest made by the allowance lines - flipping the angle the other way again. No striped work shirt is safe now, forgotten or not.

Friday, August 15, 2014

paint and a little predictability

I have been working with my fabric paints towards more predictable results. I am not completely against surprises but there's no going back with this once it's on there. I have been diluting the paints and applying much like watercolors with layer over layer of color. I have given up the iron and just let the paint do it's thing and air dry. I am starting to feel pretty confident in predicting how far the paint might wander and working around or with that. This is just my little test cloth but I kind of like it.

I am stitching on some of the paintings. I didn't stitch much at all over the summer and it feels good to get back to the rhythm of it. It's very calming - my meditation.

My boys are back to school. One on to middle school with different school and different schedule. We are still getting used to all the changes but all in all things are going smoothly. A look and listen outside at all the life buzzing around day and night it's easy to see and hear that summer really isn't over.

My goal is a once a week post here - until I have all the rhythm of our days worked out. Thanks to all who are still listening.

Friday, July 25, 2014

sun printing link

I have been pretty absent here. I fully expect to get back in the groove in a few weeks. Last night I went through and posted a few comments that I had yet to approve and publish. So sorry for the delay. I do very much appreciate everyone's participation here. It's hard to be a good example for two young boys about not needing technology to constructively occupy one's time and to at the same time get anything done - especially when a lot of what you need and want to get done involves technology.

Anyway, there was a question in comments about sun printing. I use this techniques often and we have been talking about it again with the little love of leaves project. It's so much fun and wonderful to use the summer sunshine to get the print. The print above made quite awhile ago using small twigs.

Sun Printing

I use Setacolor transparent fabric paints. I purchase mine from Dharma Trading because I can no longer find them locally. You want to be sure you use the transparent paint.

Dharma Trading has nice step by step instructions posted on theirs site. Click HERE for the link to the instructions.

My waterproof board is a large piece of foam insulation (one side silver one side blue) The size of my board keeps dwindling as my husband borrows pieces off of it for various projects, but it stays nice and flat without warping and I have been using the same piece years. Know that any small dents or wrinkles on the surface you use to lay the fabric out on may show up in your print.

The more contact the objects have with the wet fabric the sharper the print.

Have fun and hope this helps for anyone considering making some sun prints. Happy sunshine!

Friday, July 11, 2014

summer travels

We have been back few weeks now, but I feel like I am still settling in at home. We traveled to Washington and Oregon for twelve days - camped seven nights and spent the rest with friends and family. We could hear the ocean most nights from our various campsites. We spent a lot of time exploring fern-filled forests and beaches. It was completely wonderful.

One afternoon near Tillamook, OR we drove past a small road sign for the Latimer Quilt & Textile Center. My boys kindly dropped me off there for a bit so I could have a quiet look around. The current exhibit featured hooked rugs and they were beautiful to see. There was a knitting group sitting in the center of one of the rooms, knitting while they talked. I made my way around the outside edge of the room admiring all sorts of textiles on display while the knitting meeting was taking place in the center of the room. I really liked the combination meeting room/exhibit room and the sense of community I felt in just witnessing this meeting even as an outsider. I think they were discussing donating some of their knitted work. The other large room was full of looms as well as textiles on display all around. After looking at their website a bit I see that, "Weaving lessons are free to members who agree to speak with visitors and work consistently on their project. " So glad I was able to find this place and spend a little time there.

I feel a little overwhelmed by all the photos that I took of the trip. I can't seem to choose just a few, we saw so much. The green and ocean were always there. So just one - rocks above from a favorite day of beach and tide pools at Klaloch on the coast of Washington.

So we are back and traveling here and there around Indiana for the rest of the summer. The plants here at home are happy and huge from all the rain and warm. It really is beautiful. They offer more inspiration than I have time to act on at the moment. Happy summer.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

off in search of...

ferns and green. I will be back later. Happy summer to all.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

bit if a square

On Friday I did a bit of sun printing with squares - in between some computer work and last day of school festivities and ceremony.

I am really liking an idea of pixelated color. How that translates really well into quilting and traditional quilt block patterns but is also directly related to all of these digital images we share, send, print and lay eyes on outside of our own act of vision. I have been piecing lots of squares but wanted a few different ways of using that idea without always having to do the piecing.

Those tulip leaves I loved, stitched and painted in April never bloomed. I am working on a cloth that sort of grows out of those leaves and so I am making my own imagined bloom out of squares. I have even added bit of appliqué.