Liz Kettle
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  • Monument, CO
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The First 100 Days ~ Stitch Meditation

stitch meditation1

Today is day 100 of my friend Deb Prewitt's 100 Days to 100% challenge! I took on the challenge of doing a stitch meditation every day. If you have been following along you know I didn't stitch every day and have not achieved my 100% goal.  I did make great progress towards my goal of taking time to slow down and stitch or just be every day.

The progress is what is important more than the 100%. 

I pushed through some layers of excuses along the way. 

stitch meditation3

I discovered ways around some stumbling blocks like not having everything ready to go ahead of time. I created a stitch basket and box that have lots of bits and leftovers that I find when I clean my studio up. Now, I have lots of ingredients for my daily stitch at hand so I can just sit down and grab some things and stitch.

I did not beat myself up when I didn't meet the daily challenge. Life is about flexibility and forgiveness.

stitch meditation

I did fall in love with the process of stitching small bits of things together. When I am not able to make the time to stitch I miss it! That means I am well on the way to making my stitch meditation practice a non-negotiable in my life. 

On some of the days that I couldn't stitch I did use a traditional guided meditation. Yay for me!

Tomorrow starts another 100 days. I will continue my stitch meditations and will add another challenge to myself. 

stitch meditation4

I think my new challenge will be a daily sketch. That will be challenging for me. Actually trying to do something every day in and day the real challenge. :-)

Want to play along? What will you challenge yourself to do during the next 100 days? Eat better, walk more, create something, love more? 

Leave a comment and share your goals.

Use the hastag #100daysto100% in your social media posts so we can cheer you on too.


The Business of Art

I am in Vail CO this week on a business retreat with my mastermind group. I know....tough place to have to work! :-) I spent much of the day working on the deck with a beautiful wild flower tangled hillside as my view. We also have a stream out the front door. This week we will map out new programs, brainstorm ways we can better serve our students and clients, fine tune our goals and spend some time thinking about how we can change the world.

vail business full circle 1 of 2

business planning tools for artists!


We are a group of 5 entrepreneurs who share an passion for the art and business. Our businesses are all different but they are held together by the thread of art. We are great friends who support each other 100% and we also hold each other accountable to keep moving forward toward our unique visions.

We meet once a month for a mastermind circle where we brainstorm solutions to problems, set goals, explore 'what ifs' and share updates on progress on our big goals. I have to add that we laugh a lot and are frequently totally silly.

So often people forget that art is a business as well as a passion and calling. If you neglect the business side of art it will be very difficult to see your vision become a reality. I know! I did that for years and I even have a business degree!

Fortunately, I had a friend who invited me to a business networking event a little over 3 years ago. I really didn't want to attend because I tend to be an introvert and thought I hated that sort of thing. But, my friend bought me a ticket for the monthly luncheon so I went out of loyalty and maybe a bit of curiosity. This event was held by eWoman Network in Colorado Springs; a chapter of the international networking organization that is focused on the way women do business. I never looked at my business the same way again.

Not long after I joined the organization I attended their annual conference in Dallas TX. We just got back from our third conference earlier this month and you may have seen my Facebook posts about it. The conference changed the way I looked at woman entrepreneurs and opened my eyes to bigger dreams and possibilities. I highly recommend looking for a chapter near you.

I hope I don't sound like a commercial for eWoman Network but I really love being part of this inspiring and energizing organization. :-)

This week I will be working on some new programs I will be launching next year that are aimed at bringing creativity and innovation into business culture for small to mid-sized companies. I will also be working on my Threads On-Line class. I hope to have the first of the three part series up by the end of September. The technological learning curve slowed us down from our intended start date last spring. Stay tuned for updates on when it goes live. If you have taken my Threads class live you will have instant access to the on-line version!

Some time will be spent looking through all my class lists to decide what other classes I want to add to to my new on-line classroom. Let me know if there is one that you have wanted to take but just can't get to where I am teaching. I will put it on the list. It takes a lot of planning and time to shoot videos for these on-line classes so I won't be traveling quite so much next year.

I won't bore you with all the rest of my to do list for this week! I will post some photos on Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr of the stream and the flowers!

vail business full circle 2 of 2

Don't worry that it will be all work and no fun. I will be doing my stitch meditation by the stream tomorrow and today, we took time out this evening to relax with a few heated rounds of Rummikub. After all the number crunching that went on today, it was too much thinking to bother to keep score during the game but I am sure that I won!





Teacher of the Year Nominee

I am not very good at shouting my wins from the mountaintop but I have been encouraged to share my Teacher of the Year nomination here with you!


That old is a pleasure just to be nominated is so true. I am touched that students cared enough to take the time to seek out the process and then submit my name for consideration. 

The taleneted Jacquie Gering won (check her out here) but all of us who were nominated were featured in the current issue of The Professional Quilter: the Business Journal for Serious Quilters. This publication is created by The International Association of Creative Arts Professionals.  It is very worthwhile assocation for those of us in the industry. 

Part of the nomination process included a very detailed questionairre about our teaching style and philosophies. That isn't something I generally verbalize so I really loved the process of explaining why I love teaching and explaining my teaching process. Because most of you won't have access to the Professional Quilter magazine, I thought you might like to read my answers so here they are. It is pretty long so you might want to grab a cup of tea. 

a. What standards of workmanship do you require of your students? What do you do if they don’t attain them?

My classes focus more on creativity then precise traditional workmanship. I share my struggles with perfectionism and its stifling results. I also encourage excellence over perfection and challenge them to master the technical skills I teach.

b. How do you encourage creativity in your students?

I have a series of exercises I teach to help develop the creative muscles in my students. I continually ask ‘what if’ and openly experiment in classes.  I know that opens myself up to failure in front of my students but that also shows them that failure can be a great option.

c. What accomplishments of your students make you proudest?

I am thrilled when students take a leap of faith and trust their intuition and voice. It may be a student being brave enough to learn how to adjust their bobbin tension or it may be them giving themselves permission to find value in and create their unique personal vision.

d. How do you encourage students’ further growth in quilting, beyond the formal class?

I encourage them to experiment and play. Growth comes from allowing mistakes, failures and open-ended time for experiments. Play time is so important. We get caught up in have to constantly be making something for a specific purpose but our greatest growth happens when we have unscripted recess time. I host a free on-line book study on for the book Fabric Embellishing: the Basics and Beyond. The book is designed as a series of sampler pages or mini-quilts to experiment with techniques without a major project. It is all about playing and trying things out.

e. What makes you a good teacher?

There are quite a few things that go into being a good teacher. I think that my life learning experiences gained from raising special needs children gave me the skills to meet each student where they are and patiently bring them to the next level. My love of research and technical details helps me to analyze techniques and discover the best technique for the desired result helps me clearly relate that information to my students. I am a global thinker and that helps me to organize my classes by visualizing and thinking through problems, issues and timing.

2. Involvement in and contributions to the field of quiltmaking:

a. How long have you been teaching quilting? In what, if any, field do you specialize?

I have been teaching since 2006. I specialize in thread…in all aspects of thread. I realized that thread is the unsung hero of the quilt industry. When you think about it, fabric without thread is simply a pile of fabric. It takes thread to turn it into something magical. The lack of understanding about thread and how to use your machine are the most common stumbling blocks to creative work. Once you understand all the nuances of threads and tension you become queen of your machine. You are in control.

b. Do you belong to any quilt groups? In what activities do you participate? Have you held any office?

I belong to Front Range Contemporary Quilters in Colorado. My travel schedule prohibits holding an officer position with FRCQ but I volunteer on the exhibit committee. I recently finished a 2 year stint as a SAQA regional co-rep for the Colorado, Wyoming and Utah area. That was a great experience and I learned a lot about hosting exhibits, jurying and curating. I am a current member of Surface Design Association.

c. In what other quilting areas are you involved (writing, judging, designing, etc.)? How do they relate to your teaching?

I am the author of three books to date: Fabric Embellishing; the Basics and Beyond, Threads; the Basics and Beyond and First Time Beading on Fabric. I have a needle guide book coming out this year as well.  I love writing and have written numerous magazine articles. I find that writing makes me a better teacher. I really enjoy examining each step in a technique or process to distill it down to the easiest to follow process for the student and myself. I also love doing research and like to find every option available, test them and discover the ones that are the most time efficient, least costly, uses available materials and gives the most valuable to the student.

d. What do you feel is your greatest contribution to the field of quilting?

My book, Threads; the Basics and Beyond is my greatest contribution. It is focused on machine stitching but has a little hand stitching and beading thrown in for fun. This book is the ultimate guide to understanding thread, stabilizers, fusible webs, needles and ultimately your sewing machine. I spent 5 years focused exclusively on researching and learning about threads. I experimented with needles and stabilizers to understand how they affected stitching. I tried every thread I could get my hands on to discover what differences they may or may not have. I busted a bunch of thread myths and I found that all that technical knowledge allowed me to create whatever I could imagine. Threads: the Basics and Beyond is the culmination of all that research and is designed to take the beginner and experienced quilter to the next level in technical skills and creative expression.

e. What has quilting contributed to the quality of your life and to women and men in general?

Quilting and sewing are my personal grounding stones. I had very high levels of stress raising and homeschooling special needs children. Quilting, both the act of quilting and my quilt community were my saving grace, my support network and my distraction from a chaotic life. I am sure I would not be sane today if it weren’t for quilting in my life.

Quilting as an art form is just beginning to change the lives of society as a whole. I feel very strongly that textiles connect with people on a different level than say an oil painting. Textiles are more accessible, we understand textiles, and they evoke memories and emotions in and of themselves. I am excited about the possibilities of connection and communication our world will experience as textiles become more prominent in the traditional art world.

3. Professionalism, including personal code of ethics and serving as a role model:


a. Why do you teach?


I teach to change lives. My biggest teaching secret is that students think I am teaching stitching and quilting techniques and I am but I am also teaching them how to embrace and develop their creativity, honor and respect their own ideas and vision and how to practice self-care. It is sort of like sneaking spinach in the bacon cheese quiche. 


b. How did you learn to teach? Do you have any degrees or certification?


I have always taught…never in a school system but any other way possible. I guess it is in my DNA. I learned my most valuable teaching skills homeschooling my children. That was an amazing experience. I learned patience, how to plan and guide experiential instruction and I learned a lot about how we humans learn, the different types of learning and about learning differences. In addition, each time I teach I become a better teacher. I fine tune timelines, techniques and wording in order to be as effective and inspiring as possible.


c. Who inspires you most as a teacher? Who inspires you most as a quilter?


I am continually inspired by my students. I teach them a technique, an attitude and open the door to possibility. What they do with it is always incredibly inspiring.  I am also inspired by other teachers. I love to watch and learn how other teachers bring out the best in their students.


There are so many amazingly talented quilters and artists that I find personally inspiring I couldn’t possibly narrow it down to one. If I started the list it would go on and on like an Emmy awards speech.


d. What accomplishment in the last five years makes you proudest?


I am really proud of how far my artwork has come in the last 5 years but would have to say that being part of helping my sons become awesome men has been the thing that I am most proud of.


e. Where would you most like to improve?


I have two areas I would like to improve. The first is class content balance. I sometimes overwhelm students with information because I want to share everything I know. It is difficult for me to leave things out but I know it is better for the students to give them more manageable chunks of information. 


Secondly, Iam always working to improve my marketing skills. That isn’t a glamorous answer I suppose but it is big part of the business.


f. What advice would you give others who want to teach quilting?


Teaching is a business. It is a fun business to be sure but it is still a business. Learn the business skills you need from day 1. They are just as important as classroom management, quilting and sewing skills. In addition, don’t sell yourself short. Just because it is fun doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be paid fairly.


I thank you for reading all the way to the end.... :-)








Loving Contemporary

I am in Dallas Texas this week for the eWomen Network annual conference. I really enjoy this conference because it is all about women entrepreneurs and the unique way women do business. Sandra Yancy, the founder, has a different, more contemporary philosophy about doing business. Sandra's tag line is 'lift as you climb' which resonates with me and the way I live my life and run my classes, workshops and lectures. We can all reach higher and bring others along as we go.

We arrived early enough that we had some free time to head down to the Dallas Museum of Art. Did you know that the DMA is free every day! Is that not cool? I grew up just outside of Washington DC so I always thought museums were free. I had quite the shock when we moved to CO and they wanted me to pay to visit! What is so wonderful about free museums is that they are teaming with energy and life. We could not believe the number of children at the museum! It was wonderful and exciting to see so many people enjoying the art. The Dallas Museum of Art has made a big effort to make kids welcome with a large engaging and interactive area just for them.

How would our world be different if all museums were free??

We didn't have much time for our visit so we concentrated on just a couple exhibits. The first was modernist jewelry by Art Smith. His pieces were beautiful and made from the late 1940's to the 1970's. They are timeless pieces that resonate today as much as they did when they were first created. These two are a couple of my favorite pieces.

art smith exhibit dma 1 of 2    art smith exhibit dma 2 of 2

We spent most of our time in the Contemporary art hall. This exhibit ranged from abstract expressionism through the present in a large exhibit of post 1945 art. I love this period of art. It challenges me and makes me think. There were huge pieces, small pieces, assemblage, performance and even a textile piece. My favorites included the Rothko, Pollock and Jasper Johns pieces. I did have a lot of favorites though. :-) 

contemporary art dma 1 of 4

Portrait and a Dream by Jackson Pollock

contemporary art dma 2 of 4

Orange, Red and Red by Mark Rothko...I never 'got' Rothko until I saw them in person. His work always inspires me. If you are ever in Houston you must go to the Rothko Chapel.

contemporary art dma 3 of 4

I completely forgot to write down the painter of this piece...doesn't Deb Prewitt look perfect in front of it? Very graphic! This piece has so much energy we both liked it.

contemporary art dma 4 of 4

Ivory Spirit by David Hammons. This piece is ethereal and strong at the same time. Unfortunately for me it was in the same gallery as a dual televised performance piece that was disturbing...intentionally so but it seemed so jarring. Perhaps that was the intention of the curator.

contemporary art dma 1 of 1

This piece, Slip Zone by Jack Whitten is my very favorite from the exhibit. The colors and texture, layers and implied aging and sense of history mesmerize me. It was very, very, very difficult not to touch it!!

Liz Kettle's Blog

Obviously I need to get Organized!

Posted on February 1, 2011 at 8:22pm 2 Comments

I post on my website blog ( frequently but can't seem to remember to bring those posts here so you all know what is going on in my world! It's not like I am not here...I am here all the time. I am sure you would at least want to know about my tutorials and giveaways! I promise to get organized!


My mom and I have a running joke about 'getting organized'. It is always someday! LOL! Hasn't happened…


Blog giveaway!

Posted on September 3, 2010 at 9:39pm 0 Comments

Hi Everyone,

My newest book Threads: The Basics and Beyond by Debbie Bates and Liz Kettle is now shipping! Yippee...I am so excited. I am having a bodacious boook giveaway on my website blog.

Leave a comment before midnight Sept 12.

A bit more beading...

Posted on August 12, 2010 at 10:29am 0 Comments

I was distracted by summer yesterday! Reading on the deck and a sudden urge to pull some weeds kept me from beading for very long. I uploaded the photo of the afternoon's progress on the beaded cuff to the photo album.

I had some trouble starting...Yikes! I said I would share photos of my progress with the world so it has to be really great! I had to shake my finger at myself sternly and accept that it would be ok if you all saw some mistakes and imperfections in my work!…


A Beaded Cuff

Posted on August 10, 2010 at 7:10pm 0 Comments

I had a wonderful girls stitching weekend in Breckenridge planned for this past weekend. Unfortunately, I had a severe allergic reaction shortly after our arrival on Friday that knocked me flat out for Friday evening and most of Saturday. My visions of a beading marathon to create a delicious beaded cuff were quickly dispelled because I simply couldn’t see. Incredibly irritating to say the least! But, I made the best of it and enjoyed…


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"Judith, I call this process intuitive beading. So much fun to have no set plan and just let the beads tell you where to go next. :-)"
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"Thanks Judith! Glad you like it. Be sure to share your photos!!"
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Profile Information

Where I live
Monument, Co
About me and my connection to fiber art & mixed media
I started my love affair with fabric when I was just a little girl. I just can't get enough fabric or thread. I am co-author of three best selling books: Threads:the Basics and Beyond and Fabric Embellishing: the Basics and Beyond. My newest book is First Time Beading on Fabric. Today I write about fiber, teach about it and run a fiber focused mixed media retreat!

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At 7:34pm on September 11, 2008, Donna Funnell said…
Hi Liz, How are you doing? I guess I haven't seen you since Jan and Jean. I finally bought an embellisher in May this year and I've been taking an embellishing class with Dale Rolerson of the Thread Studio. I highly recommend the online classes.Have you been embellishing? and what are the two goddesses up to lately? Donna
At 11:01am on July 17, 2008, Marilyn Weyman Kegg said…
Hey Liz! Nice to see you here. I still have not finished my Passport, but I still want to so I'll get to it! Marilyn (from Fabric in Altered Art and your 1st Passport class on QKL)
At 1:28pm on December 10, 2007, Marie Z.Johansen said…
No - Auntie is 89 and very proper.She would not know what to do with an "artsy" bag ! The Dresden's take months to complete !! I have one that is traveling with IQA - but DH wants to keep that one - so I will set out on a new one for her birthday in August-- all vintage fabrics - I love working with those !
At 12:12pm on December 10, 2007, Marie Z.Johansen said…
I just noticed that everything is Eastern time on this ! Jeez - a studio overhaul - you have NO idea how good that sounds to me! I have been very negligent in my quilting lately - it's all felted & quilted ... along with some knitting too(felted of course!) DH wants me to make a Dresden Plate for Auntie though - so I might have to change directions for awhile ! Your starlit phase was grand - Bonnie does such a good job of making us feel good !
At 11:33am on December 10, 2007, Marie Z.Johansen said…
Hi Liz! I should have know that you would be here ! I saw a photo of you on Bonnie McCaffrey's latest Vidcast. ...the one she did in Houston ! Nice work ! Hope life is finding you happy and well !
At 11:03am on December 10, 2007, Diane Harman-Hoog said…
Hi Liz, fancy finding you here! Great group of artists.
At 4:14am on September 27, 2007, Robinsunne said…
Hi Liz,
I'm at Will you write to me there?
At 10:40am on September 26, 2007, Barbara said…
thanks for looking on my new page! GreetingsBarbara
At 11:45am on September 19, 2007, Terri Stegmiller said…
Oh my gosh Liz, I'm so glad you brought up that ATC swap, I didn't put 2 and 2 together. Small world huh? I'll be there for the show, Sue and I both fly in on Wed.
At 11:30am on September 19, 2007, Terri Stegmiller said…
Hi Liz! I look forward to the chance to meet you in Houston in November!

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