Sunday, August 26, 2012


View from On High - Judy Warner

It is now almost 8 months since my ‘retiring from my paying job.’ I awarded myself six months of freedom to simply get used to the lay of this new land and to not make any big decisions.

It has been a wonderful time. Of course, there are always the moments when I miss the regularity of my prior life, but, in truth, I am having too much fun exploring new possibilities to be sad for long.

The most fascinating aspect of my new life is the total freedom to do as I wish. In a sense, I am responsible to only me for how I use my time. I have found that in no way does that look like someone skipping about doing only what benefits me. Rather, I find myself choosing wisely.

At the end of eight months, I am still involved with my aikido dojo and the Indian charity that my family has been involved with for years. I still travel to visit family and for a bit of inspiration for my artwork. What is different, to my total delight, is the increase in time that I can devote to my art.

I have learned is that my art is simply a new way of expressing the essence that has always been me. Where before I shared my vision of life through teaching workshops and supporting Tom Crum, now my artwork is my voice. What fun!

I am noticing that all that I learned in my work with Tom is oh so relevant in what I am now doing. My inner awareness practices of meditation and contemplation have deepened with this new life. I give more and more attention to being present in the moment. As I relish the richness of each moment and funnel the energy created in this process into my art, new works seem to flow effortlessly and feed back into my joy of living.

The result is a rich feeling of contentment – which translates into growth and anticipation on what is yet to come.

If you want to be sad,
no one in the world can make you happy.

But, if you make up your mind to be happy,
no one and nothing on earth
can take that happiness from you.

Paramhansa Yogonanda

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rochester Area Fiber Artists Present "Branching Out"

Hope that you have a chance to visit the latest show of my local fiber arts group.

Fiber Art exploring the concept of ‘Branching Out’
with new materials, ideas, and complexity.

 Williams Gallery
First Unitarian Church of Rochester
220 Winton Road South
Rochester, NY 14610 


Opening Reception: Friday, August 24, 5pm-8pm

Gallery Hours: M-F 10am-2pm and 4:30pm-8pm


It’s best to call the church office at 585-271-9070 to confirm.

Image above: ‘Swampwood’ by Kate Wylie

I am pleased that one of my latest art quilts, "Winter Morn," is in the show.


Winter Morn by Judy Warner

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Continuing Saga of the Cotton Dishcloth

I ordered some great blue cotton yarn by LionBrand to try one of the variations for the pattern Grandmother's Favorite Dishcloth that I mentioned in a previous post . Success! I completed a dishcloth in one evening.

This pattern was so much easier to follow that the last pattern I tried. And, it yielded a perfectly reasonably sized cloth. (I dramatically reduced the length of my last project. :) )

The finished cloth is soft and pliant. I could see using it as a facecloth. In fact, it reminds me of a gift that I received on a trip a few years ago. I was on a tour of Kyoto open markets and temples with a small group. We met in Kyoto and one of the participants gave each of us a cotton washcloth she had made. What a wonderful way to start a trip!

So, now I am really attracted to this idea. I used less than one skein of yarn for this little cloth and I had bought two skeins to be safe. I decided to play with crocheting a cloth. I crochet much more quickly than I knit so this little sample took only an hour or so.

Yes, I know. It is not exactly square. :) You can tell that I was improvising as I went along, but I suspect it will work just as well.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Izzy Bag

Marlous Designs has a delightful pattern for what they call The Izzy Bag. It is handy size bag with an adjustable strap that can be worn across the body or over a shoulder. Fellow Bernina owner, Rosemary Grandusky, had an Izzy Bag at a meeting of the Bernina Club at my favorite place, the Bobbin Case. I particularly liked the bag as there was a convenient pocket on the front that held an iphone. So, when Rosemary offered a class in how to make an Izzy Bag, I was one of the first to sign up. I thought it would be a fun break from my art quilts and what else is summer for except to have a little fun.

The class was held last week and I was thrilled. The write-up promised that the project could be completed in the class. Now my track record on such objectives is not great. But, I decided to keep an open mind. It turns out Rosemary is the most wonderfully patient instructor. She was fully prepared with templates and labels to aid each of us in the class in the cutting out of the various pattern pieces. If you have ever tried to make one of the many bag patterns sold in fabric stores, you are aware that cutting out and keeping track of the various pieces is often the most challenging part of the task. This was particularly true in this case as the bag uses four different fabrics that blend together for an attractive design for the front of the bag and its many pockets.

Rosemary reading through the Izzy pattern with a student
But, as I said, Rosemary is a great teacher. Therefore I am happy to report that I actually finished my Izzy bag before I left the store. The pattern is fairly easy to follow. Rosemary had already made a number of the bags so she had some well thought out tweaks to the pattern and knew exactly where we all would need coaching. Having completed one, I am confident that I can easily follow the pattern that came with the class on my own and make another bag independently.

In the meantime, I have a handy bag in beautiful fall colors all ready for when the temperatures begin to drop!

My finished bag!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fun Summer Projects

I spent some time this summer on a couple of small projects. The first was to make a cotton dishcloth. Certainly not an original idea, I read about handmade dishcloths somewhere on the web and decided it would be a quick, fun item to explore.

Of course, it seems that nothing is as simple as it appears when you read about it. First, I had to find the right yarn to have that wonderful soft absorbent feeling when you are actually using the dishcloth. I learned that Lion Brand Yarns makes just the right product - Kitchen Cotton. It comes in 2 oz balls and is 100% cotton.

I chose a fairly traditional pattern - the ball band pattern - which required two colors. As soon as I started knitting I realized that dishcloths are much larger than I ever appreciated. It turned into more than an overnight project and in the end, I opted to not have a very large dishcloth.

I thought I had resolved to not make any more dishcloths. But, I've noticed that I actually prefer my little dishcloth to the sponges that I usually use. And, in looking on the web for the name of the pattern I used, I found this really neat site called Dish and Wash Cloth Mania with a page that listed variations of another pattern, Grandma's Favorite Dishcloth. They are darling. I think I am going to have to make another!