Sunday, 27 October 2013


Some years ago the Edmonton Needlecraft Guild along with the Greek Kyklos dancers invited Joan Petrakis to Edmonton to teach an emboidery class.  A number of members of the ENG took this class...but not me.  Why was that?  Well I was likely up to my eyeballs in little kids and with husband working out of town most of the time there was little time for fitting in a weekend class and no one to babysit small people.

I have been enjoying the company of a group of friends from the ENG for many years.  The Greek gal had this lovely finished piece on her table at one visit and I complained that I didn't know why I hadn't taken that class.  I loved this piece.  One of the other gals in this group came the following week and flung a package at me saying ' here you are...enjoy'.  It was the kit from the Joan Petrakis class.  Grace had added it to her UFO box and never intended to finish the piece.

Well with that in hand I really had to hop to it.  Well I must have hopped around the world a few dozen times by now.  Grace gave me this kit at least 6 years ago and I have faithfully taken it to the Wednesday stitching group to work on it over all of those years.  And I am finally finished.

Joan Petrakis taught this class in about 1983 - at least that is what the copywrite on her notes say..  By the way these are notes typed on probably an IBM Selectric typewriter with hand drawn illustrations.  Anyone remember that.  This was done long before the iPad and iPod and Adobe Illustrator and Embroidery design software and likely long before any of you even owned a computer.  I have to tell you that my family did own a computer in 1983.  It was a 'portable' weighing in at about 20 pounds (remember those) with a screen about 5 X 5 inches (remember those).

We've come a long way baby!  Here are photos of the embroidery and of Joan's notes for this class.
Enjoy a wee bit of nostalgia...and No Grace I am not giving you this embroidery back.  You can come to my home any time to enjoy it here.  Thanks a mil for your generosity!

Design From Western Macedonia, Greece
Joan Petrakis
Stitched by Jackie Van Fossen
Completed in 2013

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Monoprinting With GOLDEN OPEN Acrylics featuring Patti Brady

This video shows a great method of 'print making' with Golden Open acrylics.  I have been doing some print making this summer with my own carved lino cuts as well as gelli plates.  You will be seeing those over the next few the meantime you can purchase Golden Open acrylics and try this.  (From the Cloth Paper Scissors magazine daily blog post 2.9.2013).  Have a look at these acrylics at

Friday, 2 August 2013


I have postponed posting more photos of the Saskatchewan Conference for no particular reason except that life at times gets in the way.  But here they are now.


My students were disappointed to miss out on the Sunprinting with Setacolor class last year so since we were a small group I incorporated a few of the techniques from that class into this one for backgrounds.  Using Setacolor fabric paints and laying interesting shapes onto the fabric, they were 'printed' in the sun.  This is a unique aspect of Setacolor transparent fabric paints.  Try it out.  You only need a sunny day and of course the Setacolor Transparent paints.  Leave the fabric quite wet.  Lay out the paint on fabric.  Lay some interesting shapes of stencils or leaves or other items of this sort and let the fabric dry in the sunlight.
Try 'scrunching' up the fabric, or adding salt, or laying your fabric over an interesting texture such as wire or manhole cover or possibly uneven gravel surface.  Students in past years tried these techniques and came up with fabulous backgrounds.


Donna was barely home from a fabulous vacation to Switzerland and this was her inspiration.
I am waiting for photos of the finished piece.

Valinda really had the juices flowing in her imagination.  Fairy imagery is high on her priority in her work and this is what she chose as her 'mapping journey'.
In the class we discussed many different imageries for maps and mapping projects.  Jill Berry's book 'Personal Geographies' was the inspiration for this class.  There are many ideas and ways to interpret 'mapping' in your work and these two were amazing to me..
As usual my students came up with ideas that I would not have thought about...they are always an inspiration to me and I learn something new from every class I teach.


For new work for me.  This is an aerial photo of Citeus Britannieus in northern Portugal.  I visited this ancient Celtic site on a vacation some years ago.  The mystery still lies close with me.  The shapes and lines - the map of this ancient town where lives were lived on a daily basis more than one thousand years ago - are inspiring for me.  Production of this work will be a series of cloth and paper works.  More on that as the story unfolds.
So for inspiration look to your own experiences and travels for ideas and inspiration.

Summer is in full force here in Edmonton.  My garden is quite lovely right now.  Festivals abound in our fabulous city and I with husband have been on the move a bit enjoying the Alberta summer.

DID YOU KNOW...India Flint has written a really interesting book about natural dyes...ECO COLOUR, Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles.  The photos in this book on their own are fabulous.  Borrow it from your local library and enjoy.  It's summer.  Try out a few of these projects.

Well on to the long weekend and the Heritage Festival.  Another Edmonton summer festival providing inspiration for textile and paper work!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013


Everyone knows by now that many people lost their homes and many homes and businesses were severely damaged during the Southern Alberta floods over the past week.
High River received the most damage along with the First Nations just south of Calgary, Bragg Creek area, Canmore and Calgary itself.

Calgarians amazingly have pulled up their socks and are producing the Calgary Stampede as usual.  I spoke to a chuckwagon driver at the Ponoka Stampede this past weekend and he advised that the races and rodeo will be going forward as planned.

If you can help these people in flood ravaged communities, please contact
Check their website for donations and contributions.


Look at the results of painting and playing and stencilling and stamping and beading and stitching with glittery thread!

Cyanotype or Blueprinting - Stamping - Glitter Glue

Stencils - Paintstiks - Rubbings - Setacolor

Paintstiks - Rubbings - Glitter Glue

Paintstiks - stencils - glitter - Setacolor

Indian wood stamps - Setacolor - glitter glue

Setacolor - stencils
Amazing and creative students.   Each student brought their own commercial fabrics and turned them into something fabulous.  They experimented and played with all of those interesting techniques.  And the results are here.  Everyone went home with at least a small art quilt top...several finished the projects in class.
I had a great time coaching and watching the creative process with this great group!
Send me photos everyone.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013


Take a plain piece of fabric; it can be a solid colour or pattern, a single colour or many.
Add some of this
And this
Using this
 And this
Working like this

Playing like this
Add some of this

And maybe even this
And what do you think you can come up with?
Most of the students came into this class with 'no idea of what to expect'.  My comment to them was that they were not to 'work' too hard.  Take one small piece of fabric or several small pieces.  Plan a finished piece of size 20 X 20 cm or as large as 30 X 60 cm.  Keep it simple and small and just
Now how hard is that?
Stay tuned for my students 'playing around' in Saskatchewan!

Sunday, 5 May 2013


I have just had a fabulous runaway to Jasper in this glorious weather.  My husband and I ran around Geocaching.  Our second stint of treasure hunting in the Jasper area.  We are now over 70 caches found.  I must post them today as well so I can add more smilies to my Geocache site.

News on the fiber front:
Hinton has a new quilt fabric shop called The Hen House.  They are in a lovely bright space that was the Husquvarna dealership.  Alas they do not carry sewing machines so that means that all of my friends and former students from Hinton will be coming into Edmonton to purchase their sewing machines.  I hope they all stop to visit me.
Drop in to the Hen House when you are travelling toward Jasper.  It is a block from the Information centre and across the street from the elementary school.  Say hi to Sue for me.

On other news - sadly the lovely shop Stychen Tyme in Jasper is closing...unless you want to buy it.  They carry a great selection of quilting fabric and supplies as well as lots of great knitting or weaving yarn.  They have a great sale on now 30 to 50% off of everything.  Of course I couldn't resist purchasing yarn.  Now I will have to add the equal amount to my retirement fund.

I am also a member of the Edmonton Calligraphic Society and for entering a post card in their ongoing guild exhibit, my name was drawn for a gift card to the Paint Spot.  They have a 30% off sale this Thursday, May 9th, just in time for Mother's Day.  Put in your order.  The ECS has several exhibits coming up.  One will be at the Grey Nuns Hospital on the maternity floor for June until September; the second will be a small exhibit at the Paint Spot Nuess Gallery in the fall.  I already have one piece nearly finished.

The Edmonton Weavers Guild and the ECS are planning their windup banquets and they are always fun.  Join in.  Have a look at the websites for both of these organizations.  Maybe you too would like to join.

The Edmonton Quilters Guild is having their annual exhibit on June 8 and 9th at the Central Lions Seniors Centre 11113 - 113 St.  Check the EDQG for times and entrance fees.

The annual Heritage Park Festival of Quilts is being held on May 25 and 26.  A newly formed group called The Alberta Quilt Study Society will be joining the festival this year to promote their project of studying and registering Alberta quilts.  My friend Helena Perkins will be doing a presentation called What's In Your Quilt on Saturday afternoon.  Check out their website for more details.

Well I have had a lovely read of the Country Register this weekend and plan to visit exhibits and shops over the summer while Mark and I are driving around Alberta camping and geocaching.  I hope that many of you will plan to participate in at least a few of the many activities relating to your 'string theory' addiciton.
Patricial Lake Bungalows is the place we stayed in Jasper- Peace, Postcards, Projects.  It was Perfect!
More soon on upcoming plans for the Saskatchewan Stitchers Conference at the end of May.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Isn't It Supposed to Be Spring?

Well, yes, it is!  But in Edmonton you would never know it.  Yesterday the sky fell in least the snow kept coming and coming and coming down until we ended the day with about 24 cm of snow....and for all of you non-metric thinkers, that was about 12 inches that all happened in the morning.  It did continue falling all day but somewhat less as the day went on.

Today driving was interesting as I followed graders all over the south side of Edmonton.  Anyone with a Tonka grader?  Get it out and send along to Edmonton so we can dig our way out of the snow.

I came home early yesterday and spent the afternoon cooking things that could bubble on the stove, preparing a sourdough starter and baking.

I also hunkered down in my studio to work on the current project of printmaking.  A friend went off to Colorado this past summer to take a print making course from a Japanese instructor.  She came home with a fabulouse body of work and really inspired me to get at it.  I have taken a class from Sara on Solar Print Making and want to expand my work in this area.  so I am carving print blocks and finding and developing ideas for more solar prints which I will work on in the spring and summer.

I have finished several projects.  My canvas work embroidered 'Biscornu' is done and was fun.  I am set to start another one.  They are lovely gifts and maybe some day I will use up the embroidery thread that I have collected over years.  I have been working on calligraphy projects following a three week class with my instructor.  I now have lots of new ideas to incorporate into my calligraphic works, books and even thinking of ways to apply this technique to my cloth works.  Look for those ideas in the future.  I have finished another 'Map quilt' for my Saskatchewan class this summer.  I have used the Batoche River Lot survey as my inspiration.  All of you who are planning to take my class this summer might develop some ideas from this project.

The knitted baby blanket is finished and presented to wee Tess.  Where is the photo?  I'll have to run across the street to photograph it again.  Now I have started a knitting project of wrist warmers for myself.

More baby business.  I finished and delivered the quilt to Liam for his first birthday.  Happy Birthday Baby!

That sounds like a pile of work.  However, since I cannot seem to post this
blog more than once a month, I should be able to produce quite a body of work in this amount of time.

DID YOU KNOW that there are wonderful books available showing many different book forms.  I have been devouring these titles from the public library and the Edmonton Calligraphic Society Library.  Here are the titles:
ARTFUL JOURNALS by Janet Takahashi
Alisa Golden.
MICHELLE MILLER from Estevan Sk has had her lovely hooked rug published in the current issue of 'A Needle Pulling Thread'.  Congratulations!

Front and Back of Liams' quilt

Cover of Accordion Book
Made in a printing workshop with the ECS
My Front Yard March 22nd
Calligraphy Class with Jeanine Alexander
Inspired by Joanne Sharpe in Letter Love
Biscornu in Canvaswork Embroidery
And hoping the snow melts soon.  Can't wait for spring!
Here are some photos of the day...

Wednesday, 23 January 2013


Well finally I can load this photo.  Obviously my computer skills of uploading photos leave something to be desired....or maybe it was a gremlin.

Here are the fingerless mitts that I knit for Daniela for Christmas.  I love them so much that I am starting a pair for myself.  I will be able to txt madly all winter then.

How do you like my knitting?

Today, I am finishing the quilting on Liam's quilt.  It is his 1st birthday this weekend; an appropriate occasion to receive a quilt from his aunty.

Get knitting and here are two books that will get you inspired (besides the snowy, cold weather that is working hard to keep us all indoors).

DID YOU KNOW about two great knitting books:

SOCKTOPUS - Alice Yu - 17 pairs of socks to knit and show off.

101 DESIGNER one - skein WONDERS - Ed. by Judith Durant - A world of possibilities inspired by just one skein

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Goals for a Happy New Year

People with goals succeed because they know where they are's as simple as that. Earl Nightingale
A few of my goals for this upcoming year relating to my artwork...
Make a studio space where I can 'spread out'
Spend time each day doing artwork
Explore new techniques...this seems to be including printmaking projects like Blueprints, Solar prints, Block prints, Stamp prints
Inkblots have become an interesting project for exploration and the end of 2012 journal is full of them.
Make a book a month...explore new book structures
Enjoy the Edmonton Calligraphy Society workshops and produce something for the June exhibit
Create a 2013 journal
Publish an ebook for Amazon.

I did lots of knitting this past has been an easy way to accomplish completing projects without having a 'space' to work.
I completed a journal for my 'mapping project' based very loosely on Jill Berry's book "Personal Geographies". Now I have much fodder for projects that will be quilts of sorts.  mmmm sewing, how I have missed you. Worked on some print making - gelatin prints, solar prints, and a teensy bit of blueprinting. I have new ideas already this year and I am laying awake at night thinking about them.
This is a basketfull brimming with ideas for my artwork and I will have to fit it in between my other life work but it will happen.
Let me know what your plans are for this year. I look forward to comments on my blog.

DO YOU KNOW that the library is a fount of books for inspiration. I ordered up several mixed media books that you might be interested in.
ACRYLIC FUSION - Dan Tranberg - Experimenting with Alternative Methods for Paint, Collage, and Mixed Media
WATER PAPER PAINT - Heather Smith Jones - Exploring Creativity with Watercolor and Mixed Media
SURFACE TREATMENT WORKSHOP - Darlene Olivia McElroy & Sandra Duran Wilson - Explore 45 Mixed-Media Techniques

Here is my Christmas knitting project - a gift for a special girl. She watched me knitting and was still surprised when she opened her Christmas package.

Well Blogger doesn't want to let me upload a photo so will try again soon.