The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Colette Wolfe

Fairly early on in my quilting career I wanted to create more 3-dimensional surfaces. I had heard of this book by Colette Wolff which explained various techniques of manipulating fabric into sculptural shapes.

This book is brilliant!

I have used many of these fabric manipulations in my quilts. A big section of The Cliffs of Progress is gathered silk, pinned down with beads. It gives a cloudy, wafty effect – perfect for the piece.

Summer Haze is all about 3-dimensions.

The center of Les Folies Bergêre is tightly gathered silk.

manipulating-fabric-septemberThe September Journal Quilt Page is all manipulated fabric.

Manipulating Fabric detail 1
Manipulating Fabric detail 1






The book covers several areas of stitching which can be used in quilting, dressmaking, any handwork involving fabric. The illustrations inside are in black and white and very clear. There are plenty of diagrams and drawings to follow.



There are six parts to the book:

  • Part One: Controlled Crushing encompassing gathering and shirring.
  • Part Two: Supplementary Fullness covering making ruffles, flounces, and godets.
  • Part Three: Systematic Folding including pleating, smocking, and tucking.
  • Part Four: Filled Reliefs which is of great interest to quilters and covers cording, quilting, and stuffing.
  • Part Five: Structured Surfaces using darts.
  • Part Six: Mixed Maniputations showing how to use combinations.

Probably the only book you will need for the many, many ways of manipulating fabric.

Published by Krause Publications

That Perfect Stitch by Roxanne McElroy

That Perfect Stitch by Roxanne McElroyOn joining my very first quilting guild all those years ago – my first thought was….. good gawd, you won’t catch me doing any hand stitching. Specially not hand QUILTING. No way.

Just remember – never say never, you will eat your words!

I watched the members create these gorgeous quilts, saw how they enjoyed quilting those tiny, tiny stitches. And thought, mmmm, this looks interesting. Maybe I should give it a try.

For a few months I struggled with different types of needles, a variety of ways to push the needle through the fabric, an assortment of thimbles. Continue reading “That Perfect Stitch by Roxanne McElroy”

Color by Accident by Ann Johnston

Color by Accident by Ann JohnstonAt some point in your quilting life you will want to play with dyeing your own fabrics. Either because you keep hearing about how others do it and how easy it is. Or because you really, really want to create your own colours for your stash or a particular quilt.

I did it initially because I was curious about the process then I found I really enjoyed coming up with piles of new colours for my quilts.

For several years the kitchen in our Virginia house would be taken over by a mask wearing fiend who spread ziplock bags filled with swirls of colour and scrunched muslin all over every available surface. It made sense to create great wodges of hand dyed fabric in one session because it is a fairly messy and intrusive process. It takes a couple of days – because you are leaving the cooking fabrics overnight and then washing them out the next morning. While my husband was travelling and didn’t need feeding the kitchen was mine! Continue reading “Color by Accident by Ann Johnston”

How to Photograph your Jewelry with Jim Lawson

In the early days, when I photographed my quilts, I used a digital point and shoot camera. A good one, but a point and shoot nonetheless. The images came out very well and many of them are on my website, or even in books and magazines.

However, this does NOT work for my jewelry. A friend donated one of his old digital SLR cameras, we bought a light cube, a tripod, and some lighting equipment. But still I had NO idea how to take decent photographs of my finished pieces. Continue reading “How to Photograph your Jewelry with Jim Lawson”

Nancy Cain – shaped peyote beads

Bead Stitching: Shaped Peyote

I finally got around to buying this online video from – Bead Stitching: Shaped Peyote with Nancy Cain. I never watched videos when learning to quilt but I find them very useful while learning to bead.

Nancy does a nice job of showing how to make a variety of beaded bead components. And then she explains step-by-step ways to put them together in wearable jewelry. Plus she talks about color and why she uses certain colors and when she wears them. Continue reading “Nancy Cain – shaped peyote beads”

Marcia DeCoster’s Beaded Opulence

Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Opulence
Marcia DeCoster’s Beaded Opulence

Having spent 3 days in June 2013 at Marcia DeCoster’s Masterclass – Playing with Possibilities it would be remiss of me not to review her book Beaded Opulence. This is from the Lark Books beadweaving master class series.

I bought this book a while ago as I understood Marcia was known for her right angle weave designs – and I do love the Lark Masterclass books. Truthfully I haven’t made any of the pieces yet but the book is constantly being pulled from the shelf, there are so many cool ideas.

There are 8 Chapters. The usual Basic Beading Kit and then the Fundamentals which are always necessary. I enjoy reading these chapters as each artist uses different tools. Plus they have useful tips on how they, in particular, work their stitches. Continue reading “Marcia DeCoster’s Beaded Opulence”

Craftsy Right Angle Weave Online Class

For a long time most of my learning was via books, diagrams and instructions. But when I began beadweaving I discovered all the video tutorials out there. There’s no doubt if you combine book learning with actually seeing how something is done you can really expand your knowledge.

I find the best way to deal with online videos is to first watch it all the way through. You can’t get all the information in one fell swoop. Or at least it doesn’t work for me. My brain does an overview and then it can work on details! Continue reading “Craftsy Right Angle Weave Online Class”

Contemporary Geometric Beadwork by Kate McKinnan

Contemporary Geometric Beadwork by Kate McKinnon
Contemporary Geometric Beadwork by Kate McKinnon

After a long gestation period this lovely spiral bound book arrived in my mail box. Along with some sweet ‘extras’ which Kate very kindly included. A tube of candy which I ate absolutely immediately – no hesitation. A tube of delica beads and an eraser in the shape of a small donut! Plus some postcards and a signed book plate to stick in the front of the book.

Actually, there is a very good reason for the donut eraser. The simplest way to crack out a bead is to slip a thumb tack through the bead into the eraser. None of the other beads get damaged, the thread stays intact and the bead pops out easily. Continue reading “Contemporary Geometric Beadwork by Kate McKinnan”