Would you like to have a class with Ellen?

Ellen would be delighted to have a class with you or your group! You can check out her classes at www.ellenanneeddy.com. She also offers independent studio time in her studio in Indiana. Talk to Ellen about classes at 219-921-0885, or contact her scheduler Sarah at 616-485-5646 to set a date

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Ellen Anne Eddy
Author of Thread Magic: The Enchanted World of Ellen Anne Eddy Fiber artist, author and teacher
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Musings: Art Outside the Box- Someone Else's Eyes

When someone asks me what makes medicine or science an art, I always think it's a point of perception. Hard sciences that depend entirely on tests and testing, strike me as a form of slot machine. I'm not a scientist, so it's not how I understand the world. But I do know scientific and medical people whose work turns not on tests but on their perception. It's a matter of eye. They make science and medicine an art.


Often someone else's eye is a huge gift. The person who looks at your work and says,"Move it over 3/4" left. Or you need more yellow. Or have you turned it sideways yet? I'm always awed by the gifts that come through someone else's eyes.


I have huge respect for the people in my life who can do this. It's not always who you think. My god daughter, Sarah, is faultless. If she tells me a piece is wrong, I hop like a frog to fix it. For years it was a confessor priest of mine. My friend Rebecca can see if a text is one point off. Eye is a gift that does not respect positions. You have it or you don't.


I got given an unexpected gift last year, of that nature.  Lynne Clayton,who is an art teacher in Michigan,  came visit me on a dye day. I was trying to get the dye book together so she agreed to take pictures for me. Not only did she take some very decent process shots, she also took pictures of me.


I have body issues. I know no woman of my generation who doesn't. We're all too fat, too thin, to tall, too short, too something. We can't all be.  Which tells me the problem is not about the physicality.


Now I was, on that day, as fat as I've ever been. I was dressed in dye clothes and covered largely in dye. And somehow she took pictures of me that made me feel lovely.


How could that happen? I have no idea. But I never refuse a good miracle that washes up on my shore. I bless the eyes of those who can see what I can't, and let them guide me where I need to go.
Monday, February 15, 2010

The Whys?

Recently I've asked quilters to send me animal quilts that I might use in an upcoming lecture.  (See Thread Magic Events). 


What an amazement to see all the wonderful work people have sent  me. I'm waiting for a couple of weeks until I have everything in to choose. It's going to be hard. I will post up a Picasa gallery of everyone's work, just to celebrate the fabulous things people have sent me. Then I'll have to choose, or else offer an 8 hour lecture. I do think the group would shoot me if I did.

The Beautiful Beast lecture is all about the whys. So often, in a group, the question is how. What needle did you use? What thread? What machine? On what setting? As valid as those questions are in some settings, there's a whole class of quilter who really isn't based that way. She wants to know why.

Now why's are funny. Sometimes they're incredibly personal. Or noble. Or funny. One woman said, "I'm sorry this isn't about curing my neighbor's kid from cancer. It was a design challenge."I love it.

I love it all. The whys are fascinating, but they're never wrong. And why shouldn't we tell why? The things that move us to pour out time, energy, passion, fabric and thread deserve illumination. And they make great stories.

Why is there a big bug on my quilt? I'm still working out how I ended up not looking like Barbie. If the bugs are beautiful, maybe I am too.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

No-Tears Ripping

I really am tired of certain fantasies. My least favorite is that the world has some sort of perfect somewhere and the rest of us our just falling down somehow.


Please.  Real boats rock. Dip. Sometimes roll over. The question is not will it happen. It's what will you do when it does.


To that effort, I offer my favorite frog-stitch tools. (Rip it, rip it, rip it.) Everyone has a moment from time to time where they stitch down something in a way they wished they hadn't. For zigzag stitching, I recommend the Wahl Half Pint Mustache Trimmer. This little wonder works on a double AA battery. You turn it on, turn it over and shave across the stitch. Turn it off. Turn the piece over and use the blade head to brush off your stitching. That simple. Be still, my beating heart. There are several versions of this available at Amazon.com .


The small blue seam ripper is a surgical seam ripper. The flat blade slips right under straight stitching and lifts it right off. You'll find these at Nancy's Notions .
Of course there's lots of thread fluff after you rip. Take some masking or packing tape, tape the surface and the fluff comes off. You're ready to sew again. If you have big holes from your stitching, steam iron your piece and they should shrink right down.


If you have a local store that carries these, please support your local store. It's a treasure that deserves your support. They make your community. Make sure you support them, so they can be there for you.


Wrapping it up:
Remove zigzag stitching with a mustache trimmer.
Use a surgical seam ripper for straight stitching.
And don't let any one tell you it never happens to them.

No-Tears Ripping

I really am tired of certain fantasies. My least favorite is that the world has some sort of perfect somewhere and the rest of us our just falling down somehow.


Please.  Real boats rock. Dip. Sometimes roll over. The question is not will it happen. It's what will you do when it does.


To that effort, I offer my favorite frog-stitch tools. (Rip it, rip it, rip it.) Everyone has a moment from time to time where they stitch down something in a way they wished they hadn't. For zigzag stitching, I recommend the Wahl Half Pint Mustache Trimmer. This little wonder works on a double AA battery. You turn it on, turn it over and shave across the stitch. Turn it off. Turn the piece over and use the blade head to brush off your stitching. That simple. Be still, my beating heart. There are several versions of this available at Amazon.com .


The small blue seam ripper is a surgical seam ripper. The flat blade slips right under straight stitching and lifts it right off. You'll find these at Nancy's Notions .
Of course there's lots of thread fluff after you rip. Take some masking or packing tape, tape the surface and the fluff comes off. You're ready to sew again. If you have big holes from your stitching, steam iron your piece and they should shrink right down.


If you have a local store that carries these, please support your local store. It's a treasure that deserves your support. They make your community. Make sure you support them, so they can be there for you.


Wrapping it up:
Remove zigzag stitching with a mustache trimmer.
Use a surgical seam ripper for straight stitching.
And don't let any one tell you it never happens to them.
Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bling bling bling! Angelina and Crystalina, The Sun the Moon and the Stars!

Every so often something comes out that completely changes your world. Don't think that's comfortable. It's marvelous, but like ice water down your back on a skillet-hot day, it's a shock. So sometimes it takes a bit of time to even try it.

Angelina fiber was like that for me. Pat Winter brought me a  little envelope of it that must have sat in my studio for around 9 months before I got to it. If you don't know Pat's work, you need to. She's at Winter Gatherings, and her crazy quilting is like no one elses'.

Angelina Fiber is a test tube baby. Crystalina is a coarser version.I believe it's lurex, but it does resemble Easter grass. It looks like cotton candy in far too bright colors. That's all before you iron it. Afterwards it's the most reflective shiny bit of sunshine,flower petal or moonshine you could imagine.

I've used a lot of different sheers, organzas, laces and lame's for light. Angelina came along and those lights went dim.
How  do you use Angelina?
First you arrange it on a non-stick pressing cloth. It comes in colors that can be mixed. You can add little thread bits if you put strands of Angelina over top of them.
Iron it on medium heat with a non-stick pressing cloth over the fiber. The pressing cloth will help protect the fibers from burning. The brown ones actually are specially for Angelina, and work even better.
Here's what it looks like ironed. After it's ironed, take Steam-A-Seam 2 and pat it on the back. You can cut moon, star, flower, or sun shapes after that to your delight.
Peel off the backing paper and you have moon crescents. Place them on your quilt and iron them again with the pressing cloth.
You'll find Angelina and Crystalina at Textura Trading
Ellen's book, Dragonfly Sky gives full step by step instructions on making Angelina moons, or see her video on YouTube

Bling bling bling! Angelina and Crystalina, The Sun the Moon and the Stars!

Every so often something comes out that completely changes your world. Don't think that's comfortable. It's marvelous, but like ice water down your back on a skillet-hot day, it's a shock. So sometimes it takes a bit of time to even try it.

Angelina fiber was like that for me. Pat Winter brought me a  little envelope of it that must have sat in my studio for around 9 months before I got to it. If you don't know Pat's work, you need to. She's at Winter Gatherings, and her crazy quilting is like no one elses'.

Angelina Fiber is a test tube baby. Crystalina is a coarser version.I believe it's lurex, but it does resemble Easter grass. It looks like cotton candy in far too bright colors. That's all before you iron it. Afterwards it's the most reflective shiny bit of sunshine,flower petal or moonshine you could imagine.

I've used a lot of different sheers, organzas, laces and lame's for light. Angelina came along and those lights went dim.
How  do you use Angelina?
First you arrange it on a non-stick pressing cloth. It comes in colors that can be mixed. You can add little thread bits if you put strands of Angelina over top of them.
Iron it on medium heat with a non-stick pressing cloth over the fiber. The pressing cloth will help protect the fibers from burning. The brown ones actually are specially for Angelina, and work even better.
Here's what it looks like ironed. After it's ironed, take Steam-A-Seam 2 and pat it on the back. You can cut moon, star, flower, or sun shapes after that to your delight.
Peel off the backing paper and you have moon crescents. Place them on your quilt and iron them again with the pressing cloth.
You'll find Angelina and Crystalina at Textura Trading
Ellen's book, Dragonfly Sky gives full step by step instructions on making Angelina moons, or see her video on YouTube

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Musings Art outside the Box: Lecturing: Being the Voice in the Dark

I love lecturing! Perhaps it's because we were all told bedroom stories. Perhaps we're used to the voice in the gathering dark. It's the voice of someone who cares for us. It caresses us into a state where we can take things in perhaps differently. And it seduces us to let things go and simply listen to the voice.

There's an odd thing that happens if you are the voice. It seduces you too. You don't just tell the story, explain the theory. You become it. You too, are caught by the voice in the dark.

I remember my first professional lecture. I had not joined a quilt guild simply because I was too far out there. I began to quilt in the mid 70s and I was quilting by machine because I couldn't by hand. My hands already went numb when I tried to hand stitch. There was no way to explain it to a group then. The attitude was that if you were stitching by machine, it wasn't quilting. It was a strong enough sentiment that I knew it would throw me off what I needed to do. I didn't need them telling me no. I'm the only one who ever gets to tell me no. So I had worked alone and read anything I could get my hands on.But I did send work to shows, local and otherwise, and at some point, someone hired me for a lecture.

So I didn't know much how guild meetings worked. But I did know about giving lectures. When I was eight years old my teacher mother pulled out the overhead for a class presentation I was supposed to give and said"It's time now."She polished my presentation like a diamond. Like most of my mother's instructions, it was insane at the time, but has proved providential. She also threw me out of the house at five years old with a stack of potholders I'd made and told me not to come home until I'd sold them all. It sounds pretty rough, but if you're going to live as an artist, you can see the point. And our neighbors knew her pretty well. I was able to go home that night. It was good training for an artist-in-process.

I walked in to that lecture room and found a group of women handing out a pattern for crosses and losses, and I thought to myself, " This can't be it. There's another group of quilters in the building that wants to hear about bead work on machined quilts and I need to go find them." 

But they called me up, turned down the lights and there we were. I became the voice in the dark. I soothed, I titilated, I wound stories into ribbons of words. I told silly stories. Sad ones. And being the fabulous, gentle people quilters are, they suspended their belief in a world of nothing but hand-stitched quilts and they came right along with me, through that journey of words in the darkness. Except for the one woman who clearly needed a nap. There's always one of those and I'm never offended. If I'm in the audience, it's usually me.

I love giving lectures. That's good, because I'll be doing two of them for the IQF show in Chicago on Friday, April 16th. I'll be offering "The Visual Path" from 11 - Noon, and The Enchanted World of Ellen Anne Eddy at  5:30-6:30. It will be just about when you're ready to sit and rest for a moment. And I'll tell you stories in the dark.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Who bent my scissors? Pelican Applique are bent for a purpose

Probably the oddest tool I bring out of my bag at a class are my pelican scissors. These are not little scissors with pelicans on the handle( although I've seen something awfully close to that and it was cute.) These are scissors that are bent oddly and have a bill.


These are my warhorse scissors. They were originally made for rug workers. The bill in was made flat so you could cut the loops of the rug evenly. The bend makes the blade slip right along the edge where you're cutting.


What I love these scissors for is appliqué. You can cut directly on the line, as close as you need. I use them for almost everything. They're perfect for cutting shapes, cut-away and mole` appliqué and for those sad moments when you need to cut mats out of your cat's fur. Momo thinks it's a dreadful idea, but then again, he doesn't want to be brushed either.


Joking aside, and the cat trim is not a joke, they're perfect for cutting an edge you need to stitch around. The closer you can cut the edge, the tighter and neater your stitched edging around it will be.


Do I have a separate pair for paper? That would assume I was organized enough to find two pairs of scissors at the same time. I'm afraid that doesn't happen.I just buy a bunch of them and use them until something awful happens to them.




Sadly, they do not come in a left-handed version. It is unfair, and I apologize.


Gingher makes the best version of these and they're worthy. You can sharpen them on a stone, if they get dull. Don't drop them, though. They can spring out of alignment, and that's the end of that.


Amazon has them available. They're listed as





Gingher G-6R 6-Inch Knife-Edge Appliqué Scissors


But it's always best to buy from your local sewing store if you can. You're local store is a treasure that deserves your support and patronage.


Wrapping it up:Pelican appliqué scissors are perfect for just that, cutting the best appliqué edge.

Who bent my scissors? Pelican Applique are bent for a purpose

Probably the oddest tool I bring out of my bag at a class are my pelican scissors. These are not little scissors with pelicans on the handle( although I've seen something awfully close to that and it was cute.) These are scissors that are bent oddly and have a bill.


These are my warhorse scissors. They were originally made for rug workers. The bill in was made flat so you could cut the loops of the rug evenly. The bend makes the blade slip right along the edge where you're cutting.


What I love these scissors for is appliqué. You can cut directly on the line, as close as you need. I use them for almost everything. They're perfect for cutting shapes, cut-away and mole` appliqué and for those sad moments when you need to cut mats out of your cat's fur. Momo thinks it's a dreadful idea, but then again, he doesn't want to be brushed either.


Joking aside, and the cat trim is not a joke, they're perfect for cutting an edge you need to stitch around. The closer you can cut the edge, the tighter and neater your stitched edging around it will be.


Do I have a separate pair for paper? That would assume I was organized enough to find two pairs of scissors at the same time. I'm afraid that doesn't happen.I just buy a bunch of them and use them until something awful happens to them.




Sadly, they do not come in a left-handed version. It is unfair, and I apologize.


Gingher makes the best version of these and they're worthy. You can sharpen them on a stone, if they get dull. Don't drop them, though. They can spring out of alignment, and that's the end of that.


Amazon has them available. They're listed as





Gingher G-6R 6-Inch Knife-Edge Appliqué Scissors


But it's always best to buy from your local sewing store if you can. You're local store is a treasure that deserves your support and patronage.


Wrapping it up:Pelican appliqué scissors are perfect for just that, cutting the best appliqué edge.
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