Tuesday, August 15, 2017

What Influences My Work.........

As I sit ironing yards and yards of hand-dyed fabric my mind wanders, over this past few days I have been wondering about the influences that have been most important to my work.  My daughter and a good friend of hers noted years ago that I am happiest when "near" water....they loved to tease me whenever we headed south to the Gulf, but they just did not realize how they had hit the nail on the head.  They knew me so well.  I love the water.....lakes, rivers, oceans...it really doesn't matter, just the peace that comes from being near a body of water is enough for me.
 Lake Superior, Duluth, MN. 
Frequently, my work depicts water, it just happens.  It seems that my hands go to work and before I know it; blues, muddy greens begin to emerge.  Sometimes I am surprised by how quickly my hands/mind go there....but over the last several years I have come to realize that it is who "I" am.
 Lake in northern Minnesota
As you can see the evergreens of the northern woods also emerge, they are part of my soul.  I was brought up to appreciate, respect and love nature.  To be a caretaker is as important to me as it is to pass along an appreciation of this beautiful country.  I think I am succeeding as my grandson now feels that it is an important part of his summer to make the trip north to the lake and upon arriving runs for the dock, breathes deeply and says "it is so good to be back....I love it here".
 Gulf Coast, Sarasota, FL

The seagulls have also begun to surface in my work over the last several years, along with sea oats and the grasses found on the dunes along the Gulf Coast.  To feed my soul a trip south to the beach works wonders mid-winter when I begin to notice myself craving the feel of the sand beneath my feet, the warmth of the sun on my skin, the need to fill my mind with all the shades of blue I can see to bank in my "minds eye".  That color....referred to as "sky blue" will forever take my breath away, as will what seems like the layers of blues I view across the water's surface.

 Carmel and Big Sur, CA

Since returning to the west coast a few years ago for a quilt show, I have found another favorite place to feed my soul.  When I was a teen my family took a road trip to California, my memories from then do not match those of a trip we took with our kids when they were in elementary school....I loved the ruggedness of the western coast line.  Returning several years ago reinforced my love affair with the central California coast and I have found myself back there many times of late.  That feeling I get while there has surfaced in our work, over and over, sometimes quite simply with just a simple branch, but it creates in me a feeling of peacefulness.

Years ago I was asked for an artist statement to accompany my work for an exhibit I had been juried into, at the time I struggled to write those words.  Now I realize that the statement about my work being influenced my "nature" was so very true.  However, I have come to realize that it is even more specific than that...."water and trees" are at the very core of who I am.  In order to survive each day I need to fill the "well" periodically throughout the year with time in my favorite places in order to keep producing work that make me feel at peace within.

I hope that each of you have such a place that is important to you and your work.
Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Back To Work, Means Gearing Up For Fall.....

The weather this week has not been cooperating with our efforts to prepare for the fall shows, guild lectures and classes....but we out foxed it by opening up the drying area to other spaces in order for the air conditioning and fans to assist us.   Results have been very effective 13 bolts of Osnaburg so far that have been dyed, dryed and ironed, there are still still 7 bolts washing out, 6 bolts drying (and a few odd sized pieces).  I'd say that is pretty doggone good.  Now add to that 1100 skeins of Perle Cotton and 1200 yards of Rayon Seam Binding. 

 Pieces to create Bindles in the foreground, with bolts to the back.....

 They look so pretty once they are twisted.....
 This pile makes me want to stitch.....
A basket full of newly created Bindles, needed to fill these empty shelves.....
We still have Linen bolts, Cheesecloth, Burlap, more Perle Cotton, Organdy, Silk Throwsters, Cocoons and  Carrier Rods.  I'm sure I have left something out, but I think you can get a picture of what we are looking at.

Tomorrow we are not doing a single thing related to "work", I'm hoping to get a few minutes gardening around home.  Oh how I'd like time to play too....but I will take what I can get.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Vacation Over, Back to Work....

A great time was had during our vacation;
 a little fun in the lake...a flotilla was usually part of the fun,
nightfall found us gathered around the fire.
A little too much rain almost cancelled our "glow stick" party, but as you can see we found a way to have a bit of fun anyway.

Most vacations must come to an end at some point and ours did with a great deal of discussion about next year.

Our newsletter went out today announcing our "Sale of the Week";  Whisper Silk Thread.  I thought I would say a bit about our hand dyed silk threads.  Whisper is a "spun" thread, it gives a softer look when using it in your embroidery.  Compared to the other two silk thread lines; Luster and Shimmer are both "reeled" threads which have a sheen and subtle twist to them.  In the piece below I used the silk threads and silk ribbon, I love working with Whisper on our hand dyed Osnaburg and on wool.
Also included in our newsletter were details about our classes this fall at International Quilt Festival in Houston.  They are not listed as being taught by Fiber on a Whim, but under our names Kristin Rodriguez and Janelle Girod. 

 Altered Art Journal-#117  Monday, October 30th; 9am to 5pm
Layered Pages-Fabric Book-#217 Tuesday, October 31st; 9am to 5pm
Texture Explorations-# 546 Friday, November 3rd, 9am to 12pm
You can go to www.quilts.com to find out more information and/or to register.  We look forward to having a lot of fun in these classes and sharing many different techniques. Come play with us.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sweet Summer Days......

The sweet days of summer are fully upon us and it is time to retreat to my childhood refuge for a week....
We are headed to my favorite place, a place that is so dear to my heart that it will draw me back for the rest of my life.  This is where I spent much of my childhood,  in turn I took my children there as often as I could during their childhood and where I now take my grandson.  They in turn have come to love this special place as much as I do....the second year my grandson returned, he ran from the car to the dock, where he breathed in deeply and said; "oh it is so good to be back".  Out of the mouth of babes....

My grandparents built here when I was but a infant, I grew up surrounded by family all around the lake and I can feel all those people watching as we come together here.  Siblings, husbands, in laws, cousins, children, nieces, nephews and grandchildren; and I know my grandparents are there with us reveling in the fact that we are all coming together in this special place.

In this day and age of technology it is surprising we all pretty much embrace being "unplugged", that we choose to spend this time with a sketchy internet connection and phone service "for some of us" is available without bouncing off a tower in Canada....this is my way of letting you know another blog will probably not appear for a week or so....

Thank you for stopping by and we will return, recharged and ready for another year!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Ta Dah......

I think this needs a drum roll and a shuffle step dance move with arms outstretched as I say "Ta Dah"!  On March 27, 2017 I ended the blog post saying to stay tuned that a pattern for the pillow would be coming soon....welllll.....3 months later....okay that isn't really soon, but it is now available.

This is the first version of the pillow that has attracted many of you as you passed our booth during this last year or so and each time we were asked about a pattern I had to say, sorry we don't have one.
During vending in March at the Quilts in Paradise Show put on by Friendship Knot Guild in Sarasota, FL I was embroidering on this pillows center panel and once again many of you asked about a pattern...
Okay we finally got the message....yeah....I know it takes us awhile, but we finally got it accomplished.  The pattern cover has a third rendition of the pillow photographed, we absolutely love making them .  Trust me you can put any combo of colors together and it will look wonderful. 
 Then a couple of "sweet" friends and they know who they are started "hounding" us about more patterns....yeah....they seem to think we are just sitting around with nothing to do...but...they had and have a point.  So....we finally put together the pattern for our Textured Collage that we filmed for Quilting Arts TV.  For those of you who found the article in Quilting Arts Magazine, or have taken a class from us on this technique...we thank you.  Now it is available for those of you who have asked for the pattern.
This is another version of the collage and it can be found on the back of the pattern cover.
 You can find both these patterns at www.fiberonawhim.com   Oops...they will be up in the store before the Fourth of July I promise, you won't have to wait three more months, I swear.  We just shipped out the market orders, cleaned up the website and did a inventory in house of things we were getting low on...but today we did yard work...in anticipation of hosting what is becoming our annual July 5th barbecue.

Thanks for stopping by and for keeping us on the ball.
To everyone here in the States have a wonderful Fourth of July.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Sometimes It Looks Like This.....

Whatever you call your work space; be it sewing room, studio, office....or something else it is a space we cherish.  Today as I briefly walked in and out of my space I looked at this...
this is my design wall.  Do you see a problem with it, I sure do, there is nothing on it.  This has been what it has looked like for quite awhile.  Has this happened to you?  Have you had a dry spell creatively?

For me it is an on and off kind of thing, especially when I have been working on shop models.  I then find myself exhausted for doing my own work, but usually there is something on the design wall.  Just viewing something waiting for me does trigger ideas, desire to plot out something new....I found myself mulling over "when" do I find myself in this place.....summertime!  Time for so many other things...yard work, gardens, possibly some discharging of fabric or even printing on fabric.  Oh so many things I could be doing....hmmmm!  Or simply a book, a chair and a cold drink on the porch, time to be....we all need that to...right?

My problem isn't lack of family support, daughter is my business partner, grandson spent last week helping in the dye studio (at 11 1/2 years of age he really is a help) and my hubby has always been my biggest supporter.  Look what he brought home over the past couple of weeks!

When he came in and set this Bernina down, all I could do is look at him. How does he find these?  At this point I haven't even had a chance to see how it stitches.  This makes 3 Bernina's he has come home with over the last 7 years or so.  I have to admit his timing on the first couple was excellent because I had run my Pfaff to the brink of no return and I really needed a new machine.  Now....well I'm going to check this one out, cause it seems a lot lighter weight wise and might be perfect to take on the road.
 A few days later he walk in with this little gem....a white Featherweight!  As with the one above I haven't even plugged it in yet.....but as I gazed upon it today....I think I have got to try it out this week...just want to see how it stitches.  I think this means there are presently 3 different Featherweights around here.
He is also pretty good at spotting vintage quilts too!  He brought this crazy quilt home last fall.  It smelled, so I did something I never really do....I left it all winter on a table on the screen porch.  You know what, it doesn't smell bad anymore...probably helped that I took it apart, removed the back and edging.  It does have some rough areas, so I am planning on creating other things with it...pillows, critters or maybe a surprise or two.  When I questioned him about why he brought it home....his response went like this; "I know how much time it takes you to do this kind of stitching, I just couldn't let it get thrown out."  Oh I have trained him well...haven't I?

Wishing you all some creative time.
Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Road Trip.....

Cleveland bound, to teach a class and lecture for the North Coast Needlers....well, if you get time in a city you have only been in once before (when we filmed with Quilting Arts TV and many of you know that was a fast turn around trip) you have to take advantage of it.   The trouble was many places are not open on Mondays....and let me tell you this happens to us a lot as we travel across this country.

But....guess what?  We found a few places to visit and had a fantastic time in the city on Lake Erie.  First up, once I squeezed into Kristin's fully loaded car at the airport, City Market....Yummy!

We took a short break and checked in early at our hotel...it was very hot and humid, we both needed a break to recoup....recoup we did and headed off to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  This buildings' architecture is gorgeous and with a back drop of the lake I was a goner....the moment we walk into the building, the young one started singing....didn't seem to matter the era or genre she knew the words to everything she heard.....Proud Mama, she was raised with music.....all kinds of music!

Our final stop of the day was Barrio Tacos in Lakewood,  OMG.....I walked into this restaurant and loved the decor....fantastic....unique.....I couldn't concentrate on anything my head needed to be on a swivel....
Then our waiter delivered our fortification...delicious....oh yeah and the food was excellent too!
We will remember the wonderful time we had with the "Needlers" and the fun we had in this great city.

Thanks for stopping by.....

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Unexciting Job.....

Sometimes work can be just a tad bit dull....okay, colors are definitely luscious, but the view just never changes.  Since the grandson is not here I figured I needed to get some things out of the way....the ironing....needed to be done.  I should have taken a photo of the "mound" of fabric I was looking at before I started.  However this is what it looks like now....
 This photo just doesn't seem to do all my work justice.  I have been ironing for the past 4 days, okay maybe not from morning to night, even though that is what it felt like. Tried from a different angle, hopefully that's a bit better...but this is 18, 8 yard bolts of fabric ready to be wrapped on a reel.  That will have to wait a few days.
During these days this beautiful little bag stayed fairly close....it was my saving grace. Ahhhhh!
The rest of the work needed to have these ready to go will have to wait till we are back from Ohio.  We will be in Cleveland teaching and lecturing for the next few days.  Tomorrow we are hoping to do a little sightseeing, think we will go to the Rock and Roll Museum.  We are debating staying a bit later Wednesday so that we can go to Morgan Book Conservatory, we have heard it is fabulous.  Will try and not be totally awestruck and take a few photos to share.

Thanks for stopping by....

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Ahhh Summer Days.....

For many of you, you will understand why I haven't written a blog in a couple of weeks.  It's summertime, the kids are out of school and it's time to enjoy everything summer brings.  Well.....I'm not used to having a young one around the house everyday, but it has been great having my grandson hanging out.  Now he may not be so sure about that, but...then again....he seems very pleased with how the days have gone so far.

After handling the orders, packing and shipping we headed to Barnes & Noble to find a copy of Stampingtons' Sew Somerset because Deborah Boschert has an article in the Summer 2017 issue.

In these fantastic little pieces she uses many of our textured fabrics/fibers.  She gave us a great shout-out which we are very grateful for.

Don't know about you but I cannot go into a book store without spending a small fortune before I make it back to my car....so I recently found the second issue of a new magazine I came across while vending at Mid-Atlantic in Hampton, VA in February.  I passed up buying the first issue in February......well I left Barnes & Noble the other day with Issue 1.  I can honestly say I will keep my eye out for Issue 3 as I contemplate subscribing.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this new magazine.
Upon reading this issue I almost flipped out when I got to the piece about Hen & Chicks Studio in Conrad, IA owned by Heidi Kaisand.  Heidi was one of the first shop owners/quilters to discover us at quilt market and designed projects using our products. 
Imagine my surprise and pleasure when I saw this photo, I recognized our burlap through the bike spokes.  The pillow "Burlap and Blossoms" is really adorable.  I love the vignette,  gratefully the other pieces in the photograph made me stop and look closely.
Quiltfolk is an advertisement free magazine, that is highlighting/showcasing various areas/states around the country.  The first issue highlighted the quilters of Oregon, issue two highlights Iowa.  As someone who travels around the country vending, I am finding the magazine delightful and will surely look into visiting some of these places as I travel.  I also found it fantastic to see familiar faces and actually get to see their shops.  Check it out.

My guy, was not disappointed as you can see....I took this photo over my shoulder at a stoplight.  He left with reading material that as you can see had him engrossed.
The remainder of the day was spent like this, and each day he carried his bag of "stuff" home with him at night, back in the morning.  Think he will want to keep his eyes open for subsequent reading material. 

Besides helping with Fiber on the Whim stuff,  he has been helping me with projects around here that we just haven't had time for, because of  traveling and dyeing.  First up, was the deck and porch that were still covered in pollen and cobwebs.  Somehow during this project Grandma wound up wetter than the grandson....hmmmm....can you figure out "who" had the hose.

These two really appreciated his efforts because they had not been allowed out there because they would've been covered with yellow pollen and let me assure you they love being out on the porch for long stretches of time...just like me.

Next up we tackled a tree that needed trimming and big pots that needed plantings.  To accomplish the first job, he climbed a ladder and sawed off these limbs.  Backing my car in and out of the driveway is no longer a noisy, scratchy affair.
We then headed to the local nursery where we picked out plants, let me clue you he had some very strong opinions about the color combo's.  As we were waiting to pay, he started talking about what his favorite colors are....that he really likes the "pure" colors best not necessarily those that you mix to get.  When he mentioned "purple" I stopped and turned....he picked up on my move very quickly...."I know, I know...it takes red and blue to get purple".   I started laughing, at least he realized what he had said.  You can tell he is used to working with color, guess he may have spent some time in the dye studio.

I might be biased but I think he did a pretty darn good job....think I will have to keep him busy this summer cause he is very proud of his efforts.  Once finished we headed to White Water (local water park)....my guy told me as we entered the park that this was the best way to end our first week and a half together.  Of course this made Grandma's heart swell.

Thanks for stopping by....hopefully I will find time during these "lazy days" of summer!