I love to dye fabric, make thread pictures and quilt. I live in the Yukon on an acreage with my husband, 2 dogs and 34 fish. It's the 'good' life.

Friday, December 28, 2012


I am still on "holidays" in Alberta, so I am spending lots of time with family. Hope you all have had an opportunity to do the same..

See you in the new year!

Monday, December 3, 2012

My Latest Thread Painting Class

Last Friday was my Thread Painting class. The weather did not help--it was minus 34 but I still had a lady drive 1.5 hours to get into town for the class! There were the usual sick people and those with commitments  and the class was a manageable 6 people.
One of the ladies brought in her mom's beautiful clamshell thread holder. I am absolutely in love with this thing. 
Isn't it fabulous?! 
And she also brought in this thread piece that a friend of her mom's had made in the 50's. It is in a very elaborate frame and I could not get a good picture without glare, but here it is. Trust me, it is quite spectacular. 

The ladies seemed to have a good time. At least I hope they did. I tend to pack a lot in the 4 hours we are together and they are such good sports. I am always amazed at their abilities..
In the end, I decided that a simple tree branch image would be the best for practice, but I threw in 3 of the my old class pieces just in case people didn't want the branches. Naturally, 4 of the 5 wanted the northern lights and trees and they had to fight over the 3 samples. Doesn't it always go like this?!  lol
The trees and northern lights one is not the picture I used. I don't have a picture of the actual piece, so I stole this off the internet to show you something like the  of the northern lights and trees picture that was used in class. 
Then time almost got away from me! I had to hurry them along to the final piece, but I am happy to say that everyone who had a working machine finished. Whew! 

But in the rush to get the piece done, I didn't have time for photos. Here is a re-enactment of how everyone felt by the end of class...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It’s Cold!

Not much to say as I ramp up to my class on Friday, but I wanted to say it is really, really cold here! This week we have averaged minus 30 during the day that’s minus 22 F for my American peeps..

I just got a new phone today and took a few pictures--and it looks like I take way better pictures with my cell phone than I do with my expensive camera!  LOL
Trees on the same street, just taken at different times of the day—noon and 5pm.

One of the nice things about Whitehorse, Yukon is that in winter it gets cold but there is rarely ever any wind and this is the driest place on earth--you need moisturizer for your moisturizer!  When I was in University in Vancouver, BC, I found it much colder there because of the damp and wind even though they rarely got into the negative temperatures.

When it is perpetually dark, it is a struggle to come to work in the dark and go home in the dark, and one must work at staying engaged and optimistic throughout the winter.
treesdark2    tree light1
One of the great things that I love about winter is the look of hoarfrost on the trees at this time of year. I MUST do a thread painting with this subject…

And since I mentioned it, the phone I just got is the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. So far, I love it. These bigger phones are now called a “phablet”—and I have to agree it fits the bill pretty closely. Awesome toy for this geek girl..

Now back to my class prep!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Is this thread painting?

I have a class this Friday for intro to thread painting. I have taught this enough times in the past that I am looking for new material that will be the basis of the practice section of the class and something fun. I usually have students practice writing their names, making a flower, following a grid that I provide and tracing ‘something’.
Today I was reading the Aug/Sept Stitch Magazine  (the British Publication with the Embroidery Guild) and HAD to try the project called ‘Stepping Out in Style”.
14   13
It was like playing with dolls all over again. LOL

Make a few templates.


I have a TON of fabrics that I apply fusible web to and put in this large container. Then when I need something, I just grab fabric from here.. All of the fabric I used was obtained from this container.


The fabric I chose.

Attached the fabric to a drawing I did on muslin.Put it in a hoop and start free motion sewing. Next time I would use a stabilizer as the facial features got a little squished.


All finished and cut out carefully.

I just couldn’t resist adding her to a bunch of projects I have laying around.  Hahahaha.
7           8 
   9       11

Do you think my class might want to do something like this?? I usually make have them draw different flowers. I don't know about this...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Felted Landscapes

Hello, my name is Dahn and I am a hoarder. Well, not like the lady who keeps her dead cats stacked like pressed flowers, but I appear to be a memory card hoarder. Today I was looking for a specific item in one of my purses and I looked through a lot of satchels, quilted bags, Ikea plastic bags (my all time favourite things) and purses. I found seventeen memory sticks. Seven. Teen.
But it’s funny what you find when you clean out your memory cards. I really should be getting my lesson plan together for my thread painting class next Friday, but I was fascinated to see what was on these cards. I have only seen half of them, and I had forgotten most the pictures I had taken.
So far the ones that stand out are these ones—felted landscapes I made for a class a couple of years ago.
felt snowfelt summer
These involve simple free motion quilting on the snow piece and no stitching on the summer piece. If I remember correctly, on the summer piece I was trying to demonstrate that you could hand felt a lot of fabrics. Here there is a piece of a yellow and white rayon shirt, some threads and a curled up piece of painted cheesecloth. Nothing fancy, but I remember how much fun this class was to do and how wonderful the student’s work was.
Then I saw the only piece of hand work I ever did that was totally hand work. It is about 4” x 4” and I remember that I did this piece with my non dominant hand after getting carpel tunnel surgery!
I usually don’t like to make things that don’t look like anything, but I really like the piece for some reason..

Last in this long, rambling post I fixed the truck painting a bit and here it is. First, the original piece:
truck finished
And here is the tweaked picture. I don’t think its done yet, but its getting there.. This is a little brighter than the original, but not by much.
truck fixed
I’m off to see what else is on these memory sticks. They sure are bringing back memories!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am back from Vegas and was not arrested, assaulted or robbed, so it was a pretty boring trip.

Here is a big happy thanksgiving wish to all of my many  both of my American blog friends. Gobble, gobble!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Viva Las Vegas!

Well we are off! Hubby and I are going to Vegas for the first time tomorrow.

I hope this is me:

And not this:

But what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, so you may never hear about it..  ha!

See you all in a week or so.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Red work

In my post yesterday <<ahem>> I said I would show some of my Red work. I actually hate, loathe and detest any form of handwork, but I love the look of red work. What's a girl to do?  I decided to do this on my trusty sewing machine.  A pattern I have wanted to try for some time now is the Winter Twittering pattern by Purl Louise Krush. I took this to the retreat, but it was not worked on at all.

Finally, I decided to do this in blue instead of red. So without further ado, here are my designs so far. After the pictures, I added a really cool tip how you can trace these patterns. 
But first a disclaimer...

I think I take the worst pictures on the net. A 90 year old who has never held a camera could do better. My dash hound could do better with her paws tied behind her back. The flash went off, I had the exposure open too far (I hit a button by accident), and it was really dark outside. When I should do is take 2 minutes and take the pictures again, but nope, here they are. Wince and enjoy! 

Gack! These are worse that I thought. I think I will redo them, but you get the idea. These were done free motion with thick thread (to mimic hand work) using my sewing machine and they averaged around 7"x8", so they are pretty tiny. Those leaves were tricky and the snowflakes were fudged a bit. O

On to the tip
Did you know you can print on water soluble Solvy? And that you can iron in it too? Oh yes you can! So here is what I did:  
1--cut a strip of 8.5 x 11 piece of freezer paper. 

2--have a piece of solvy about the same size as the freezer paper. 

3--Iron the solvy onto the freezer paper. Iron both sides. Do NOT have steam going. Remember this is water soluble solvy so water will disintegrate it. 

4--cut the solvy to the same dimensions as the sheet of freezer paper. 

5--Scan the image from the book you want into your computer. Or take a picture of it and then crop it to whatever size you want. Or do like did and download the book from the internet (PLEASE buy these books and don't pirate them) and you will have the images already there. 

6--Place the freezer paper/solvy sheet into your printer and print.

7--Give the sheet a few minutes to set, then peel the solvy off of the freezer paper. Finish printing all of your images and you are ready to go!

When these were printed, I pinned the solvy sheet onto my fabric and started sewing. I did not use a stabilizer or hoop, but that is not a bad idea.. 

PPS--I am relieved to say that Michelle received the give away book. That was fast delivery. I enjoyed that so much I think I'll do another one before Christmas. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Its Done?

This week I worked a bit more on ‘the truck’. It has taken me a lot of time to finish this piece because, quite frankly, I started it out in an unsatisfactory way and needed time to noodle out how to proceed.
Overall, I am content with this re-creation but there are a few things I would do differently. I'll talk about this later.

I normally do not do this, but for some reason I messed around with the trees and while they look good after, they had looked really good before hand.

The fall fireweed looks better now that it was been tweaked and I like the look. It took about 10 colour changes to get to this point however.
fireweed close up
I ended up with a wicked ripple after all that work and the only way to control it, other than cutting the design and and restitching it, was to do some vertical zigzag across the whole grass area. This did relax the speed bumps a lot. Unfortunately, like an idiot, I used a really light brown, like a taupe, to do this and I had to spend several hours covering it up with reds, greens and browns.

Oh well, I'm Ok with it now.

I really should spend more time  getting the engine more realistic looking, but those shadows are killing me. I'm really not much of an artist and black just looked like a gigantic hole. I should get some highlights on the little pine trees. And the rust colour around the fenders detracts rather than enhances the great curve of this fender.

But as I said, I am OK with it so far..

So thanks for listening! I am going to put this on my design wall and come back to it at some point. Talking it through has made me see the areas I want to work on.
Tomorrow I will show you my redwork (bluework actually) that I am doing by machine since I don’t “do” handwork.. It’s a great Christmas project. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tin Lizzy Fun

My friend Robin got herself a very nice Tin Lizzy system and I went over to help her set it up properly.

Five hours later, four You Tube videos and several cups of tea, we had it figured out and I had completed this quilt.

This is the result of the 5 minute block  I had read about by Kathy on Tamarack Shack. The blocks themselves took us hours to do, and I blame Janet's unusual decision to have 5 or 10 glasses of wine plus a gin and tonic when we were cutting fabric. Well, she probably had 2 or 3, but she is a lightweight and it made us giggle. Luckily, we have enough for another quilt and got these together. 

And yes, lots of other quilters laughed at us for how long these blocks took. I stole a bunch of their fabrics and embellishments, so take THAT laughing girls. Take. That. 

I lked Kathy's idea of a simple meander around the cream area and I totally stole her pattern for the brown wheels. I ended up doing those on my own Bernina since I didn't have enough time on the longarm (and Robin was going away).

So now it waits for Janet  to put on the binding on when she returns from her wonderful holiday in Newfoundland.  I am sure her boss is going to be tickled to get this quilt. I think I need to make one for me.

PS--I have 2 more quilts I was hoping to quilt before Christmas, so I am going to do nice things for Robin in the hopes that she lets me use her machine again. I told her that the Tin Lizzy is a perfect size for 'us'.  LOL LOL

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Winner Is....

drum roll please.....

Michelle G!   Michelle blogs at Love Chinook Winds in Calgary. Michelle, I was born in Calgary and lived in Montgomery along the Bow River until my family moved to the Yukon when I was 12 years old. I went to University there for my first degree (Sociology) and still have family and friends in Bowness. I know exactly what a Chinook wind is and often pray it will come north, but it never has..Anyway, congrats on the win!

For everyone else, I just want to thank-you all for sending me a note--I love to hear where you all are from and what you do. I even met another Yukon quilter (hi Vivian!) so it was a win-win for me as well.

Dahn   :-)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Give Away!

I love books. Educational, thrillers, mysteries, self-help, humour and everything in between. Mostly though, I love quilting books.

I received a number of new books recently and I ordered this one twice! Since I don't really feel like going through the hassle of sending it back,I am giving away this book:

What an awesome book! Many of the projects use hexies and really simple quilting designs. There are some good, quick tips and as expected, some crisp and detailed photos throughout. On top of that, Malka's blog is great too..

OK--here are the RULES!  You must be a real person, living somewhere in the world and you must leave a comment. (and it wouldn't hurt to follow me!). I will ship world wide.

The draw will  CLOSE Wednesday, October 24 @ 6pm PST.  

I'll post the winner on Friday, October 26.

Good luck!     :-)

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Thank-you for the nice comments yesterday! Given that there is some interest, I am going to post more about thread painting trees—my way. Believe me, I am no expert, nor would my final pieces win any prizes, but I like to think about myself as an enthusiastic amateur.  : )

It is always a good starting point to find something familiar and close to you and use that as your inspiration. For me, I have no further to look then from the window of my craft room.
Yes, I know I am lucky. And yes, I do know there is snow on the ground. I am trying to ignore it.

Way back when, I initially thought the colours of pine trees were brown, ash and black. And I kept trying to make realistic looking trees in these colours and was never happy. One day at 40 below I had had enough. I grabbed my threads and ran outside in open toed crocks to find out what the true colours were. I  held thread up to the tree as my husband stood inside shaking his head. Yah, he does this a lot..  I remember I was shocked at how off the colours were that I was using. Pine tree don’t have ash or black colours, and the brown I was using was not even close to the brown of the bark. My pine trees actually look like this (see below), and the threads that matched it are light grey, dark grey, chocolate brown and butterscotch brown.
   tree thread2
Another tree in my yard is the birch tree. I was using light grey with a green/yellow and black for the knots and bands across it. Again, I got the colours completely wrong. The true colours of the bark are light moss green overall with mid moss green striations in certain areas and smoky grey knots and bands across it.  Sorry I do not know the real colours of these these greens, but I hope the pictures help.
Tree1    Tree thread1
Lets talk more about birch tree. Below is the way I started creating a match for birch trees (click on it to see a larger image if you want). So that you know, I do this every time I try something new. Yes, I really do. The birch tree are the green ones, not the 2 trees on the far left.

This chart was made when I had just started thread painting and I wanted to capture everything I was doing. What colour thread to use, what the tension should be on the top and the bobbin and what width I was using for the zigzag. It was really helpful. Even though my newer ones have less writing, the way I test thread and tension has not changed.
birch trees
And yes, it IS hard to slow down and do a sample sheet like this. I am a free spirit and like to jump into things with both feet without a plan or roadmap. That may be the way you want to do thread play and I encourage you to just go for it! And if you ever want to be more ‘scientific’ about the process, I hope you remember this post. Maybe it will give you a direction to go in when you want to chart your own process. And maybe you will always wing it and do terrific work.

Later this week I’ll show you what I do once I have the samples—how I practice actually drawing trees. That is definitely the fun stuff!