White on White Theme

This theme was so popular that we had two groups of traders interpreting it. Click on an image for a larger view.

See the more interpretations of White on White here.

Spring Trade!

Here’s what five enthusiastic artists created during our last trade for the theme Spring. Click on an image for a larger view.

What would your postcard feature for Spring?


Another fun theme interpreted by five members of the group. Click on an image for a larger view.

Carve Your Own Stamps

What a great challenge — to carve your own stamp!  And here is what our traders came up with. Click on an image for a larger view.

What do you think you would carve?


The last round of trading fabric postcards included the theme of giraffes. It’s always fun to see the varied interpretation. Click on an image for a larger view.

How would you interpret the theme?


4th of July

This month, instead of our usual First Friday Studio Tour, we will celebrate the 4th of July.

These cards are from an earlier 4th of July post. Thank you to Karen Musgrave for that original post.

A couple of stars:

And some red, white, and blue:




Positive Affirmations

Our 19th round of trading fabric postcards just ended. One of the themes that inspired our traders was Positive Affirmations. Here are the creations that were traded. Click on an image for a larger view.

What images come to mind when you think of positive affirmations?

First Friday Studio Tour – Suzanne Kistler

This month we are visiting with Suzanne Kistler in Visalia, California.

Do you call it a studio or sewing room? To yourself, to friends and family? Why do you think this is so?

Depending upon its state of tidiness, the room’s title varies. I prefer it as The Studio, but sometimes it’s a studio, sometimes it’s a sewing room, and too often it is simply “The Dump.” I’ve long debated this picture, but here’s an honest view at the room in late April:Kistler tour 1

Difference in starting point between quilting and art? Thinking of this as a business rather than a hobby?

I always refer to myself as a quilter, never an artist. What I have a passion for is needle and thread. If others choose to sometimes call me an “artist,” I no longer feel uncomfortable with the title. For the past 12 years, I have done quilting-for-hire. I closed my business on April 9, 2014. For the first time in a LONG time, my quilt time is my own. Maybe this new-found freedom will be used to explore the suppressed artist in me?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What do you have in the room? machines, supplies, fabrics, paints, etc. Anything that might surprise the rest of us?

I have all of the above. I have 3 Berninas that I rotate through, but I only use one at a time. One is an embroidery machine, that I only pull out for label-making, unless the others are at the doctor. I have fabric – boy do I have fabric – and lots of supplies. You won’t find much paint or fusible materials – only the tiniest amounts. I prefer handwork, and if it doesn’t needle easily, it becomes a last resort.Kistler tour 3

How is your “stuff” organized?

In 2009, I made the decision to declare the sewing room to be a Studio. I removed my son’s bed and other personal items, painted the walls, and had a carpenter custom-build my Studio furniture. At that time, I sorted through everything, and tried to keep like with like, whether it be items and then subspecies of items. In Sept 2012, we recarpeted the house, so I went through everything again. The carpet was defective, so in 2013, it was replaced and I went through everything yet again. You would think that my space would be extremely organized by now, but it’s only organized inside the cabinetry. The outside is a whirlwind.Kistler tour 4

Kistler tour 5Kistler tour 6How do you organize your fabric? By color? Amount? Any separate categories (batiks, hand dyes)? How do you organize your thread (color, weight)?

My fabrics are primarily organized by color, but then I am most attracted to “blenders.” I have a separate storage cabinet full of batiks – and the pinks and reds that don’t fit in my main fabric storage. Florals/fruits/vegetables have their own area, as do animal prints. I have bins of fabrics that don’t fit into the shelving: juvenile, Christmas, sports, etc., but every time I try to sew my way through the excess, I find myself shopping to fill the empty space. I just may be a fiber addict.Kistler tour 7Kistler tour 8

I organize my thread by weight/type. All the Sulkies are together, the King Tuts are together, the Mettlers are together. I usually go for thread weight first, before deciding on a color, depending upon the project.Kistler tour 9

Do you have anything, supplies, more machines, etc. tucked away in any other rooms of the house. How many other rooms? (My husband likes to talk about that one.) Has a family member or significant other ever accused you of “taking over” the entire house? If you have a separate building, we want lots of pictures.


I’ve seeped into one of the guest bedrooms. It happened during Carpet Installation #1, and I haven’t been able to get it under control. In June 2013, my husband bought me a Tiara (Baby Lock’s version of HandiQuilter’s Sweet Sixteen), and it’s too big for anywhere else.Kistler tour 10

My cabinet of batiks is in the master bedroom – think of it as a living sculpture. A sewing box and hand quilting frame are in the living room. Everywhere you look are signs of a quilter. Like Charles Schultz’s PigPen, I leave quilting (not dust) in my wake.Kistler tour 11

How much horizontal surface do you have, and is it ever enough? Do you have to move piles of stuff to cut anything bigger than a fat quarter?

Definitely not enough, but my Studio is only 10′ x 11′. I’ve taken to trimming finished quilts on the kitchen table, and that has been working well. I do have 3-8′ tables, that I can put up in the living room when I need to pin-baste anything larger than 30” square.Kistler tour 12

Do you straighten/organize as you go, putting each fabric away as you cut, or do you clean up after a project?

As I am working, I tend to explode. But as my workspace decreases, I will stop, reevaluate, and put away everything that no longer is needed for my current project(s). Sometimes “put away” means that I will fold it into a neat pile, for later “filing.”Kistler tour 13

How many projects do you work on at a time and how do you keep them organized?

I have untold numbers of current projects. I have the UFO’s, the pending deadlines, and the “I want to do’s” all intermingled. If it gets big enough, it gets its own Rubbermaid box. I can’t tell you how many Rubbermaid boxes I have – I seriously don’t want to know. I keep notifications of calls for entry and deadlines on my design wall. Sometimes they come and go, sometimes they’ll be just the thing that get my juices flowing.Kistler tour 14

Anything more you want to add about your studio, organization, working methods, etc., please do.

I’d like to thank you, Lynn, for this opportunity to consider my working area and once again evaluate exactly what it is and what I do. Since Christmas, I’ve had one commitment after another, and when that happens, quilting time evaporates and the floor of The Dump disappears. I haven’t recovered yet – but I’ve been able to get into the room and dig through much of the mess, and for the past week or so, I’ve been back to creating. It’s balm for the soul, and I highly recommend it! I’ve pulled pictures from several years, to give you an idea of my space, but this last one was taken 10 minutes ago. Honesty is the best policy!!! :)Kistler tour 15

Thank you Suzanne for allowing us to peek into your studio.  I’m certainly envious of your custom made cabinets.

Next Month:  Lisa Alff

First Friday Studio Tour – Storage Options

Since we had no volunteers for the May Studio Tour, I decided to write about a couple of storage/organization ideas.

My first post in this series, a view of my own studio, showed my foldable cutting table with open metal shelves under it storing paints, brushes, colored pencils, and many other odds and ends that I might use for surface design.

Lynn Chinnis, Studio 1

Unfortunately things got extremely dusty and everything always looked cluttered. After much dithering about what to do, I bought two base cabinets from Home Depot and placed them back to back. I removed the top from the folding table and placed it on top of the cabinets. There is some overhang on both ends, but not enough to interfere with using the cabinet drawers. If I had not already had the table top to use, a sheet of plywood cut to fit my large cutting mat would also have worked.


Lynn Chinnis, mat on base

This does not mean, however, that the insides of the cabinets are particularly neat. At least the clutter doesn’t show on the outside.

Lynn Chinnis, inside of cabinetA fellow Guild member has become enthusiastic about her new system for fabric storage. She is using Magazine Boards to wrap her fabric and store it vertically as we would see it a fabric store. Since my own method is less than neat, and results in pieces being “lost” in the stacks, I thought I should at least give it a try.

Lynn Chinnis, Studio 7Interestingly, when I went to order the boards online, most of the reviews were from quilters who use them to organize their stashes.Chinnis, magazine boards

The boards are 8.5 x 11, so we start by folding the fabric in half, selvedge to selvedge, then in half again, folded edge to selvedge. (This method would be ideal for anyone who does not pre-wash fabric, since the first fold done as the fabric is put on the bolt.) At this point you have a length about 11 inches wide, just right to wrap around the board.

Chinnis, fabric wrap one

Wrap until you get to the and fold into a point.

Chinnis, fabric wrap 2

Finish the wrap and fasten. My friend uses quilt binding clips (the one that look like hair clips), but I used paper clips because I have what seems to be a lifetime supply.

Chinnis, fabric wrap 3

My friend cuts the boards in half lengthwise to wrap lengths of fabric smaller than half a yard, and cuts most pieces under a fat quarter into squares of various sizes for the scrap quilts she likes to make. As I worked on this, I realized that my one shelf of stacked fabrics was going to become at least two shelves of wrapped pieces. I decided to fold anything smaller than half a yard and put it into a flat tub.

Chinnis, wrapped fabricChinnis, folded fabric

The advantages of this method are obvious from the photos. The wrapped and folded fabrics are easy to see, nothing will disappear on the bottom of a stack, and fabrics can be removed and replaced easily without making a mess. The big problem for me is that it takes so much more space than simply stacking the fabric in shelves.

I hope this has given readers a couple of ideas for their own studios.

Next Month: Suzanne Kistler 

First Friday Studio Tour – Myfanwy Hart

This month we travel to England to visit with Myfanwy Hart in Fleet.  Myfanwy’s studio renovation has been interrupted by some health problems, but she has graciously offered to show us her current workspace, and share her ideas for her future studio and some of her work.

Do you call it a studio or sewing room?  

At the moment I don’t have a specific place to work. My ‘studio’ is no more, and, until I can continue with the details for the renovation, it will remain like that. I have had severe back problems since last summer which have severely curtailed my creative activities. However, I’m still having fun – more about that later.

Myfanwy, sample 3Myfanwy, sample 7

What are you planning to have in the renovated studio?  Anything that might surprise us?

Well, this is the theory…… I need room for all my machines. All? I have two computerised sewing machines, one little basic sewing machine that I use for machine embroidery workshops and 13 Embellisher machines. No, that isn’t a typing error – I have 13! I had the first Embellisher machine in the UK and have written a book and made DVDs on the subject, so 7 of my machines are for lending to students when I teach. The others are examples of all the machines on the market that I trust. (I don’t trust all makes of these machines). I use most of them from time to time – take the examples around when I give my talks – but most of all I USE my Janome machine. This hasn’t given me as much trouble as some of the others. There will be storage space par excellence too – eventually – and water for dyeing and mixed media work. The way things are going it might be a while, though…..

Myfanwy, sample 2

How is your “stuff” organized?  How do you organize your fabric? By color?  Amount? Any separate categories (batiks, hand dyes)?  How do you organize your thread (color, weight)?

Almost all my fabric is hand-dyed. I also teach dyeing and dye a range of threads and fibres for sale – so I can always squirrel away the ones I don’t want to leave home yet! I have mountains and mountains of thread samples – all catalogued with recipe references and books of details of the dye recipes. I use a number of different dye methods, and very little leaves here having only seen one dyebath.

Myfanwy, Just a few of my helpful dyeing instruments....Just a few of my helpful dyeing instruments

Myfanwy, My very reduced outside dyeing area

My very reduced outside dyeing area

Do you have anything, supplies, more machines, etc. tucked away in any other rooms of the house.   If you have a separate building, we want lots of pictures.

Currently our ENTIRE HOUSE is overtaken with bits and pieces! I have even had to move some dye bits and pieces into our almost outside bathroom! I sometimes use this for dyeing. My husband takes great delight in saying to telephone callers “I’m sorry, she can’t come to the phone at the moment, she’s dyeing in the bath.”

We also have a small supply business – called Winifred Cottage – and we sell machine embroidery mixed media supplies as well as my own hand-dyes. We don’t have a shop but move around visiting specialist courses, colleges and groups. There are very few supply shops in the UK; many quilting suppliers, but not many that specialise in my sort of creativity.  My first studio, shown below, hasn’t been used as a studio since about 1990, but it is current filled to overflowing with boxes of stock.

Myfanwy, My first studio

My first studio

How much horizontal surface do you have, and is it ever enough?  Do you have to move piles of stuff to cut anything bigger than a fat quarter?

If I need to cut anything I do it on a bed! I have a board that I place on top and use that as a base. My current working space is very small – you will see that in one of the pictures. It’s hard to get used to only a small space after having a whole room.

Myfanwy, My current workspace!  Just big enough for a small sewing machineMy current workspace! Just big enough for a  small sewing machine

Myfanwy, Workspace covered and ready for some mixed mediaWorkspace covered and ready for some mixed media

Myfanwy, All set up and ready to playAll set up and ready to play

Do you straighten/organize as you go, putting each fabric away as you cut, or do you clean up after a project?  How many projects do you work on at a time and how do you keep them organized?

I work on many at a time. Almost all my work is Mixed Media – apart from the Embellisher I love working with paper. I also use odd bits and pieces as I find them. I try to be methodical – starting with an idea – sketching and note-taking then on to sampling and finally the piece. I am currently working on a series based on Alzheimers. I’m investigating the feelings and thoughts of the family carers of sufferers, if anyone has anything to contribute I’d love to hear from them. Obviously anything that is said is held in the strictest confidence.

Myfanwy, sample 1

I am very careful to keep projects ‘filed’ in an orderly manner. I use storage boxes of various sizes. At the moment  EVERYTHING is filed in boxes! The studio was being planned when our severe wet weather hit – suddenly the storage place was damp and not suitable at all so our ideas had to change. We had a winter of wet weather, but you probably all know about that. Dampness is the terror of textiles!

Myfanwy, Everything is filed in boxesEverything is filed in boxes

Myfanwy, just some of the damage caused by the recent stormsSome of the damage caused by the recent storms

Myfanwy, Some of my equipment for dyeing - safe, but now stored in a moss covered area until it is all cleared.Some of my equipment for dyeing – safe, but now stored in a moss covered area until it is all cleared.

Anything more you want to add about your studio, organization, working methods, etc., please do.

I’m also delighted at how popular my recent introduction of the Facebook group ‘Be Creative’ has become. We have just had our third weekend session and some lovely interesting work was produced. Some of the Postmark’d Group are taking part and it’s been wonderful to get to know them in a new way.

Until I can sit for longer at my sewing machine I am concentrating on mixed media – I have to stand to use any of the machines, and that isn’t comfortable for long.

Myfanwy, sample 4 Myfanwy, sample 5 Myfanwy, sample 6


Thank you Myfanwy for sharing your ideas for your renovated studio and letting us see some of your work.

Next Month:  Some changes in some studios