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Latest Experiments

A friend and I were talking about pearl cotton, and my brain started creating. Pearl cotton is fairly thick. Yes, you can quilt with it, but it takes determination to pull the needle and pearl cotton through the quilt sandwich. What about couching? I’ve got a special sewing machine foot that has a groove in the bottom. It’s used for couching cords, thread, yarn, whatever. The drawback is that I can only use a zigzag stitch with that foot and I wanted something more subtle. Or… maybe if I used a blind hem stitch with the couching foot???? I’ll have to play around with the foot.


I made a thumbnail quilt. A scrap of fabric, a scrap of batting, some pearl cotton and started playing. I used the close up setting on the Canon for these shots. Notice how well that bit of thread I didn’t see shows up.


For the top four branches, I used crochet cotton for the couching. The lower left branch has double thickness green holographic thread. The right lower branch has double thickness copper holographic thread. The stem has a strand of green and a strand of copper holographic threads. I have magpie tendencies and like the copper holographic thread the best. Somewhere in the sewing room I’ve got some pale gray pearl cotton. I think pale gray would be better for showing off the fancy threads used for the couching.

I like the couching, but I don’t think this is the best design for that technique. I think trapunto would work better. On my next thumbnail quilt, I’ll pay with trapunto.


For this bit, I used a variegated green, polyester thread, single thickness. I think this is a better design for couching, but I’m not happy with the ends of the pearl cotton. I think if I do this again, I’ll grit my teeth, thread a needle, and pull the pearl cotton through the quilt sandwich. A knot on the back of a quilt is less distracting than a fraying end on the front. Unless I exploit the fraying and deliberately leave frayed fringe.

This morning, I had better luck with sunrise shots. I wanted to take photos of the western sky because the sky in the west had all the lovely rose colors. Although these shots look like they were taken at different times, they weren’t. They were taken one right after another.

I’ve been playing with the close up setting on the Canon. I may be able to avoid having to buy a macro lens.

Some of the shots, which aren’t posted here, would have been far better had I used a tripod. Next time.


I finally got the kiln to fire evenly. From the bottom, bottom shelf, next to bottom shelf, cones I looked at, top shelf. I’m used to seeing all the cones on the top shelf flat and the cones on the bottom shelf standing upright. This was a bisque firing, and I used ^06, ^04, and ^03. Only ^06 went down although I was sure I couldn’t see any cones through the peep hole.

A friend on the Claybuddies page (Facebook), suggested putting a post or soft brick that had been painted with red iron oxide behind the cones so I’d get better contrast and be able to see the cones. I’ll be making a standing slab to coat with RIO later today.

I wanted to be able to remember where I had the damper and lever that controls the gas when the kiln was firing evenly. I usually sketch, but this time, I took a photo. It’s an Olympic round gas kiln fired with propane. We don’t have a gas line out where I live. I printed out the photos and put them in my kiln log.



I retired from the Public Defender Dept. November 12, 2015 after 21+ years as a criminal defense attorney. Now, I'm a full time multi-media artist and writer starting on a new adventure. As an artist, I create with beads, fabric, fiber, and ceramic clay. Sometimes separately; sometimes in assorted combinations. You can find my on-line store at: