Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fabric Dyeing and More

It's been days since I last posted! This week I dyed about 50 yards of fabric for a booth I'm manning at Charmar's, Gaines School Rd. in east Athens, GA. It's only three miles from our house and it's an antique/retro/art market with lots of great items...including mine! Come by for a visit.
Here are some of the pieces I've dyed so far. The best ones are still waiting to be pressed following their quick trip in the dryer.

The piece above was dyed with Procion MX dye in grape and Havana brown; I discovered these colors at a Judy Simmons dye class. Aren't they beautiful together?
The next two pieces were dyed together in the same bath, but were folded differently (the color difference is because of my flash not the dye).

I tried over-dyeing a couple of pieces with some leftover dye to see what would happen. The original piece is the white with a blue flower print...

Not a bad over-dye, but the blue flowers still show. If that's not the look for you, take a look at the back of that overdyed piece...

The back is absolutely beautiful and the floral print does not show through. Here's a photo of the same piece with a flash for more detail...

Here's another over-dye job. I found this fabric on the 40% off rack and didn't like the colors at all, but the batik fabrics are so wonderful to dye with that I purchased it. The original fabric is on the right. I dyed it with a mixture of mostly red and some leftover grape dye. Let's see how it turned out...

Yummy! I'll definitely use this "new" fabric. I'll post more dye photos soon.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Felted Pincushions--A New Idea!

Today I made more felted wool pincushions and tried a new idea which I hadn't seen elsewhere before...

I cut scraps of wool batting into long, narrow strips, 1 to 2 inches wide, and rolled the strips into tight balls for the pincushion centers (this was last month's new idea). Thin wisps of wool roving were laid over the balls a little at a time until they were completely covered with color.

Then I got an idea; I was disappointed with the few colors of the roving I had (which were not very bright), but I did have some colorful wool yarns. Humm...could I use the yarn around the ball and felt the finished product?

I was hoping the idea would work because I made quite a few pincushions...

They turned out beautifully!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Photos from Germany, Part II

We visited this castle from the 1400's outside of Schweinfurt early one evening. The castle now hosts wedding receptions and Bryan had attended one there recently. This castle actually had a dungeon and creepy stories to go with it. This was one of the details that actually showed up with my flash...

The next day we were off to Munich by car and passed many of these huge windmills. Germany is very progressive in its Earth-friendly efforts. There are tens of thousands of these beautiful energy-generating windmills all over Germany, and this country alone generates almost 40% of the world's wind energy!
The recycling and other low-use initiatives are impressive also...
  • Recycling is mandatory throughout the country, and our hotels were fine examples of their efforts at saving energy and resources.
  • Our Munich bathroom had a towel warmer hooked up to the regular heating system which allowed the towels to dry for easy re-use.
  • We got one tiny piece of soap per room per 24-hour period to reduce waste.
  • Our hotel in Frankfurt had an amazing electricity-saving system. When we entered our room, we had to use our room key to turn on the lights, so every time we left the room all of the lights were disabled.
  • They also had the new energy-saving hot pots for coffee and tea which heat a cup of water in about 60 seconds.
  • We also saw several nuclear power plants around the Bavarian section of Germany.

On to Munich...this is the Glockenspiel in the centre of the Neues Rathaus square. This was once the castle for the Bavarian King and the Glockenspiel (life-size cookoo clock on the building) depicts the King's wedding day festivities. Amazing! In November the clock "show" only happens once or twice a day, so at 11:00am each day hundreds of people gather to watch the ten minute "show".

The city of Munich is quite large and loaded with history, charm and friendly people. The tram ran just outside our hotel for easy access to the entire city. We walked and walked and walked and ate lots of bakery goods and wonderful meals.

This was the first and only fiber arts shop I found because we only had 2-1/2 days in Munich and it would take 3 weeks to see everything worth seeing in town.

This was an amazing felt shop called Johanna Daimer, Filze aller Art -- Deeply Felt (, where I bought 8 circles of 1/8" thick felt for coasters.

Of course we had to take the tram out to the BMW World museum and Olympic park...

This is the BMW museum which is right next to the BMW plant...

Just outside the BMW museum was the Olympic Park...

Well, after 9 days it was time to head back to Frankfurt to fly home. Bry and his friends were lots of fun and we were sad that our trip was over, but we had one last thrill by riding the ICE high-speed train back to Frankfurt.

Great trip!


Photos from Germany

I'll try not to go nuts with the photos (vacations are never as interesting to those who aren't on them, ha ha), but here are a few from Germany...

First stop, the Autobahn. Hang onto your hat because that guy passing you may be doing 30 or 40 mph faster than you are! Next we had to learn how to read German road signs. This sign tells us to bring down the speed to 100 kilometers per hour or less (62 mph). There are no advertisement signs on the Autobahn to distract drivers.

Welcome to downtown Schweinfurt, Germany. Bryan's Army base is on the outskirts of town. These are photos of the main square with the Rathaus (city hall). There are several squares and many, many stores, bakeries, Apothoke (drug stores). There is an amazing Italian restaurant in the basement of this city hall through a side entrance. In the middle of the week this square had a farmer's market.

Parts of the original kingdom wall still remain and have been restored...

We were surprised to find very few homes on hillsides between towns. Almost all homes are located in small towns like the one below. Even farm homes are located near towns, and each town has its own local bakeries and necessary stores. Schweinfurt is the City of Pigs and there are humorous pig statues all over town. Note the one outside McDonalds...

Bill liked this pig who seemed to be talking out the side of his mouth.

Nearly every home and apartment had lovely lace curtains like this one...

We visited Wurzburg one day and parked at the Residence which is three times larger than the photo shows. It is now part of a University and is also a museum.

Town squares are vibrant and charming, and this town had a wonderful tram system for public transportation. Across the river on a hill above the city is a beautiful fort which offers tours (but not in November).

This post is long enough. One more is coming up with Germany photos, then you're off the hook, haha. Stay tuned for some amazing info. on Germany's Earth-friendly policies and procedures too.


Monday, November 17, 2008


Today we're leaving Schweinfurt, Germany after a wonderful 9-day visit with our son who is in the Army. We'll take a train to Frankfurt today and fly out tomorrow morning.

For three days we were in Munich, but we really needed three weeks to see it all. We were able to watch the Glockenspeil, the huge cookoo clock (spellcheck won't work here) at the Munich city hall, at the 11:00 hour and its ten minute show. The age-old clock depicts the festivities on the wedding day of the Bavarian King. Wonderful!

We stayed at a wonderful, mid-priced hotel called the Jedderman. It was right on the tram line for easy access to the downtown square. I've been to many large cities in the U.S. but have never seen a city with so many stores, cafes, restaurants, etc. We went to the BMW Welt (BMW World museum) which is right next door to the Olympic park. I'll post photos of these when I get home. We enjoyed the many historical churches and buildings, and were in awe over the Residence (that's the English spelling) which is blocks and blocks long. Munich is also a college town and we met several students including one from Toronto.

There was a political demonstration at the main square in Munich (which I won't discuss here) on Saturday so the police were out in force with their riot gear. We saw no disturbances. Actually, the city felt very safe.

Well, the boys are waiting to go into town for our last harrah. TTYL

Thursday, November 13, 2008


It's lucky I've posted a lot because we're in Germany and as I'm updating (on a computer on the Ledward Army Base in Schweinfurt), the words on blogspot are in German!

We're having a great time. Germany is lovely and it feels very "safe" in each of the cities we've visited. We've enjoyed Schweinfurt (which is the Bavaria section of Germany) and its lovely downtown area. The bakeries are expanding my waistline, so luckily we are walking quite a bit.

Yesterday we visited Wursburg (sp?), pronounced Versberg, which is loaded with history, amazing architecture, art, bakeries, bakeries, bakeries, chocolate, wonderful shopping and more. Today we'll be in Schweinfurt for most of the day to prepare for our three-day trip to Munich. We have heard that Munich is the most expensive city in Europe. Humm. We'll see.

What we've seen of Germany is very different from the US in that homes are in small towns only, not spread out across the countryside. The countryside is farmland here in Bavaria with few/none of the farm animals we are accustomed to. We've only seen 8 horses since we've been here and we have probably seen 100 km of farmland.

The food is wonderful, the people are charming, and the Autobon (sp?) is scarey because of the high-speed lane. We try to stick to backroads with our rental car, haha.

Well, Bill's waiting for me in the cafe...more tea, more patries today, so there will have to be more walking. More later...


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Anita & Bill Abroad

Today we're taking our first trip to Europe (actually to Germany) and it's very exciting. The Passports are with us, the house sitter is settled, and we're hoping our backs hold out with all of the lugging of "stuff" we're about to do. :) Winter travel is a lot more bulky than the summer type and our suitcases are stuffed.

We're off to see our son Bryan at his Army base in Germany. If I can post from Bry's computer (a super heavy duty laptop that survived the Afghanistan sand), I'll do it; otherwise there will be a good post when we get back. Let's see how many fiber art photos I can take in Munich, Schweinfurt and the castles we visit.



Thursday, November 6, 2008

Circle Quilt continued

Well, I picked out my circles for this quilt and have them pinned to their blocks. This will be my handwork project while we're traveling in Germany soon. This will be a basic background sample for the Asian Circle Quilt class I'm teaching in January for the Cotton Patch Quilt Guild in Athens, GA. The class is based on Reynola Pakusich's book, Circle Play. Reynola's book rates as a 5-star on and I totally agree. It's one of my best design books.

During December I'll make some other samples to show different backgrounds and circle choices.

Fiber Arts Alliance Felting

I drove up to Asheville, NC on Tuesday (a 3+ hour drive) with my friend Sylvia for a class and the regular meeting of the Fiber Arts Alliance. The FAA has branched off from the Asheville Quilt Guild and its focus, of course, is fiber art. So far I have introduced three of my friends to the FAA and we all agree that it's well worth the 6+ hours of driving on the 1st Tuesday of the month to get there.

This month Nancy Bruce (right), gifted yarn dyer and needle felter, gave a one-hour class on dry felting and then gave a wonderful program on
wet and dry felting at the FAA meeting.

We each got a wonderful kit full of colorful roving, yarn, goat curls (curly goat fur), felting needle, hand-dyed cheesecloth and silk and other assorted goodies. Nancy had beautiful samples to show us, and unfortunately I forgot to take photos of her larger wet-felted pieces.

Here is my project...

A good time was had by all! Thank you, Nancy.