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A Mini Maker Fair

A Mini Maker Fair

This week I went to a Mini Maker Fair at one of the local universities. I went representing my Guild with my friend Elizabeth.  there were some their guilds there but also lots of interesting science.  There was R2D2. They were using him to talk bout robots.

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There was a 3D printer, making some parts for something. I think it could make a cool spindle.

mmf 6 mmf 6b

This one they were have in the computer make picture using pointillism. they seemed to be writing it as it went.

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There was wood burning, print making and violin making.

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And a fun one, Banana Piano. the size of the banana didn’t matter. They had hopped that they could line them up smallest to biggest but no luck. You play by tapping the bananas.

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An now Us.

mmf 1 MMF 2

This is Elizabeth at her riged heddle loom and me teaching some kids show to make tube beads.

mmf 3 MMF 4

The beads are easy and fast to make. Just wrap some wool around 5 pencils, wet and roll in you hands. As it shrinks you remove pencils until you are down to the last one. When it’s tight around the last one, that’s it you have  bead. The kids like it because its a bit noisy too with the pencils clacking away. Well it wasn’t just the kids. We had lots of adults wanting to make them too.

mmf 12

Do you know any other fast easy ways to demonstrate wet felting?




Featuring Tips on Beading from Artist Mary Stori

Featuring Tips on Beading from Artist Mary Stori

Mary  Stori is  a new forum member, but has extensive experience in quiltmaking and fiber art.  She introduced herself to us in January as “‘ a wanna be felter living outside of Asheville, NC.  For the past 25+ years I’ve traveled the national and international quilting circuit as an author, lecturer, workshop leader, cruise host…..bla, bla, bla.  The focus of my work began with wearable art, fine hand quilting, whimsical and highly embellished quilts.”

She attended a class with Chad Alice Hagen a few years ago and is now “hooked.” Her focus went from quilts to felt.  But one thing hasn’t changed — her love of embellishments, particularly beading which she has authored several books on. So, with her permission I have put together some of her tips from her blog on beading.


I’m often asked how I organize my beads……this method works well for me.

First of all……you won’t use them if you can’t find them, so take the time to gather them from all your hiding places, organize them, and then put them in a convenient place…no matter how many or few you have.

A location away from sunlight, heat, and excess moisture is best.

bead storage 1

Because there are no closets in my studio, my teaching materials are stored in a large walk in closet in a guest room nearby. The bulk of my workshops in recent years have focused on beading techniques or projects that incorporate beads. Therefore, I purchase a LOT of beads in bulk from a distributor for my classes. They generally come as strung kilos, which I repackage into kits and store in boxes and plastic bins.

Above is my own personal stash…… One entire side of the closet is fitted from floor to ceiling with shelves…and almost all are used to store my embellishments. I could consolidate them if the space was needed for other things, but as it is now, I’m easily able to walk in and quickly find what I’m looking for without having to dig through dozens of items stacked on top of each other.

floss cases2

I like to use plastic fishing tackle boxes, or embroidery floss containers. Beads are stored by style and color in see-thru plastic tubes or small bags. Here you see some seed beads.

hardware storage unit 3

Besides using beads, I utilize many other embellishments, trinkets, charms, buttons, found objects into my work. This unit has plastic pull out containers with large divided sections which are more suitable for these items. It too goes on my shelves in the closet.

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If tubes or small bags aren’t handy for you….try storing beads in small containers such as film canisters, pill bottles, or metal breath mint cases. If you glue a bead to the lid….you’ll always be able to quickly know what’s inside!

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Another big key to beading……is making your environment comfortable during the task. A table top or floor model Ott light will save on eye strain. As will a pair of ‘cheater glasses’. I always tell my students that one of the biggest secrets to successful beading is ‘spacing’….and the ability to see the bead and to judge the placement of the needle into the fabric is vital.

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Bead Test

Many people are unaware that beads may not necessarily be colorfast. For instance, this beautiful blue bugle bead below may appear as if it’s blue glass. Not so……it’s clear glass that has been dyed or painted blue. Often the color remains secure on the bead, other times not. So…..if you think there’s a possibility that your project will be washed, become damp, or even require high steam for pressing…..take a few minutes and test your beads for colorfastness.

Most of the time, there isn’t a problem, but for that heirloom project….you’d be devastated if during a final steam pressing, the bead color ran into your fabric. The pricier beads may be just at risk as the less expensive ones… can’t tell by looking.

Here’s how to test:

– Fill a shallow dish with hot sudsy water….drop in a few beads….let it sit for 15 mins.
– Remove them…rinse and let dry on a paper towel.

Note….sometimes color will be visible in the water, other times….the color will slowly eek out as it dries. As you can see….this blue bead has run… is another color I check carefully.

Don’t let this scare you…….we are all aware that colorfastness can be an issue with fabrics……now you know that beads carry the same risk. Even if the bead color doesn’t run….sometimes the fancy coatings……that make a bead’s surface shimmer with various affects, (like rainbow) can dissipate……and the bead will lose its luster.

I’ve tested very, very few beads that I decided not to use……or that I’ve used with caution……beading is worth any effort….hopefully with this hint….all your projects will continue to shine brightly!

bead test

Beading Tip

I’m a stickler for good quality construction…..for me it’s not all about fast, rather…it’s about great design that has been executed to the best of my ability. If precautions aren’t taken, beading can cause fabrics to distort. Therefore, I ALWAYS secure my work in a Q-snap frame.  The only exception is when I’m beading the bindings/edges of my quilts.


Q-snap frames are simply PVC tubes which come in a variety of sizes. This one is 11″ x 11″, my choice for smaller projects. The work is attached using clips that snap over the frame. Though you could use a round embroidery hoop…..I don’t because it pulls the fabric diagonally which can stretch the bias. I’ve found it’s best to keep the fabric ON GRAIN by using a square or rectangular frame when beading.

As for felt, unless the felt is super thick and sturdy, I always secure fabric (of any kind) in a Q-snap frame for beading and embroidery. However, I generally avoid using the plastic clips…….instead I attach the material using muslin sleeves or pin the fabric around the frame to avoid damage to the fabric and beads. There’s nothing more unattractive than distorted, stretched out wool!!!


However, as the beading design develops, requiring repositioning of the fabric, I avoid using the clips in places where they could damage the beads. Instead, if the piece is large enough as it is in this sample, I wrap the excess snugly around the frame, and secure the layers together using straight pins or by thread basting. This keeps the fabric on grain, and well stabilized to assure good thread and fabric tension.


My ‘artist’ inspired piece is now in the beading phase…. The piece is attached to an 11″x17″ Q-snap frame…note I used 1 clip at the top, where it didn’t interfere with the beads.

I also want to mention that I’m beading through 2 layers only…..the quilt top which has been stabilized with batting. This approach will hide and protect the threads once the backing is added later.

You can find more information on Mary’s website and blog.  She’s also the author of “Beading Basics,” “All-in-One Beading Buddy,” & DVD – “Mary Stori Teaches You Beading on Fabric” & “Embellishing With Felted Wool”


Thanks Mary for sharing some of your beading tips with us!

My Beaded Book

My Beaded Book

One of the things I wanted to start doing was adding more video tutorials to the site. So I thought I would give making a video a try. My husband is running the camera and I am turning the pages of my beaded book. This is very primitive and we obviously have a long way to go. But it’s a start and I learned the very basics about how to edit and upload a video. I hope you’ll be able to see a few details on my beaded book.


The front page has a beaded cabochon and a single “zipper” beaded edge.


This page shows various ways of attaching rows of beads singly. The top edge is another “zippered” edge, the side is a single bead and the bottom is two stacked beads.


This page has various ways of stacking beads on top of each other. I have already forgotten what this edge is called but it makes a kind of diamond or vee shaped pattern.


This page is covered with brass washers. The ones on top are covered with buttonhole stitch and one is even beaded. The edge is a rope edge.


This page is various pieces of metal couched down with beads. The top and middle rows are couched down using raised chain band stitch. The edge is one I made up with two stacked beads and then connecting them with three smaller beads to make a “dome”.


This page I designed myself and is supposed to be an iris. It is a solid layer of beads. The edge is another one I have forgotten the name. I would definitely need to reread the instructions to remember how to do these all again.


This is the sequin page. A bit hard to get a good photo due to the shininess. The edge is a “wave” edge.


This is another page I designed myself. I wanted to use another cabochon and the long bugle beads. It looks like an Egyptian eye but the original design was from a birch tree if you can imagine that! The edge is two chains interlaced.


This is the scattered beads page. This is a “lacey” edging.


This page is making patterns with bugle beads. Again, a poor photo due to the reflection of the glass beads. The edge is a connecting type of short fringe.


This is the first fringe page. It shows a variety of ways to make fringe. The edge is a branched fringe edge. This edging took nearly a full tube of seed beads.


This is the last page and is another showing different fringes. The edge is made up of all different kinds of fringe and is a bit extravagant.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAAnd here is the binding which is done with raised chain band and I added a bead between each stitch for spacing. The book weighs over a pound and I did add a beaded tassel after this photo was taken. You can see it in the video above. I enjoyed making this book but it is probably the only one I will ever make. I hope you enjoyed seeing it closer. It was part of my homework for my Level 2 Stitch Class at the Gail Harker Creative Studies Center.

around the web

around the web

felting around the web 5 small 400

Recycled Knits and Fabrics combined with Felt Scarf by Sassafras Design

Heather’s Red and Yellow Scarves

Have you been following Liz’s journey with her students for Holocaust Memorial Day?

knitting around the web

stitching around the web

Nell’s Textile Art Gallery

mixed media around the web

Simple Directions for Covering a Lamp Shade with Felt

Acrylic Leaf Printing for your Art Journal Pages

Shrunken Books Tutorial from Maggie Grey

dyeing around the web

What i’ve been up to !!!

What i’ve been up to !!!

I really don’t have a huge amount to blog about at the moment, but I have added to my tree project in my mixed media course.  I”ve added some more stitching with some leaves and flowers  in straight stitches and French knots and I did try to be very clever and create a picot stitch, ( on the right up the trunk )  I haven’t done one of them before  but I want to do a vine going around and up the tree and in a 3d kind of effect,  so this is my first attempt at that stitch and while I thoroughly enjoyed how it works I will more than likely take those few out and re-do. That was just a bit of practise,  I’ve also added a spider web and the dreaded spider ( sorry zed )  he’s a friendly one lol.   I know that its out of proportion but that’s ok to !

I am really enjoying this and although nothing is perfect  and its not supposed to be, I’m loving how its all coming together.  I still need to add more foliage and I’m not really sure what to do with the background but it does need something, maybe a shrub or to in the far distants.   I’m just taking my time with this project and as things come to mind I’ll be adding them in !


I’ve also been working on another little note book cover , adding stitches and beads and I think I’m getting the hang of it more now.  I made this sheet of felt a while ago and I’m cutting it up to make 3 covers ,  can I tell you how hard it was to cut into that sheet lol  I struggled, held my breath, closed my eyes and made the first cut, let out a big breath and i’m OKAY !!!!

This one has lots of added silks, threads and sari ribbon !

This is the first of the 3, I’ve added stitches and beads and also a couple of my very own hand made beads.  I think I’m getting a lot neater as I go and the reason I’m doing these are all in practise for my so called album cover that I still haven’t picked up again lol   Once I feel that these covers are good enough I might even put them on Etsy lol   it’s a  long shot but we’ll see  🙂  otherwise i’ll save them for gifts !

I havent added any stitches on the back and i’m not sure i will either, I’m fairly happy with the way this turned out and i can only improve “right”

So thats it for me and i’d love to see what everyone else is working on !!!

Beading & Felting

Beading & Felting

Beading and Felting

I know there are some spectacular bead artists out there and this week I thought I’d try my hand at some beading, I’ve been following Robin Atkins blog called Bead Lust

 Her work is so beautiful. I’ve never really wanted to learn about beading before but since getting into more of the mixed media side of things it’s made me more interested in the beading process, of course not on the scale of Robins though , just enough to try to work into my pieces.  Robin has been beading for a long time and she has written a couple of books, she has now put out her first book as a free book for anyone to read, so since I was following along I thought I’d take the time to read it.  She explains her methods of beading and basically works free hand with no pre conceived ideas, or nothing set in stone.  So having read that I thought I’d give a small piece a go, mind you I don’t have thousands of beads to choose from so I started this little one with one of Zed’s hand made buttons and went from there.

It definitely helped to read her book as I was under the impression that I should have some sort of design in mind before I started, but I actually found it so much easier not to.  This is only a small piece I know but reading her book  gave me the courage to have a go !!

I’ve also made a couple of small note book covers, inspired by Zed once again, and I wanted to  do something else with my flat pieces of felt and not just wall hangings.  The first cut was the hardest I must admit, spending all that time rubbing and rolling the felt only to cut it up in the end. These 2 covers were made with the one piece and then cut in half so I had the 2 different colours in each cover.

I then embellished with embroidery stitches learned from the TAST 2012, so I used Blanket, Fly & Cretan stitches and then added some beads in too.

I did not have any success with creating skeleton leaves so we’ll leave that for another day lol

I hope everyone’s had a productive week and I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to.

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