Of Beautiful Things

Scooby, two weeks before his passing.

There’s a lot of life out there, if you look for it. This is what I had been telling myself pretty consistently a couple of summers back. Why the need for reminders of this fact, you ask?

Well, 2013 had not been that fantastic of a summer. My husband lost his job, among other things. But the worst day by far was August 7th, when I said goodbye to my beautiful Maine Coon Cat, Scooby… friend, quilting partner, conversationalist, moth-hunter extraordinaire. He was 14. He died of complications from 2 chronic diseases which he fought against valiantly, right up until the end. His passing broke my heart.

While I thought I would not recover, life continued on. About 2 weeks after Scooby’s passing I chanced to listen to my local radio station as they were introducing a black and white rescue kitty from the local shelter. He sounded cute, so I thought I’d look for a photo. I was so sure I’d never want another cat, but I recall thinking there was no commitment in looking…. unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your outlook) the cat’s bio was mysteriously missing from both the radio and the shelter websites. What I did find instead was another black and white kitty, a fellow named Gordon. His tag line read: A handsome young man who thinks he’s a person….

I remember melting into tears. Everybody who knew Scooby understood he was a person in a furry coat. Why did Gordon come up on the shelter site, with his description, when I hadn’t even been looking for him – or for ANY cat for that matter. Something about the way the whole thing played out felt…. neatly orchestrated. I began to think a certain Maine Coon kitty angel was directing me. I resolved to visit the shelter and check out Gordon in person.

Gordo, AKA Loafie, doing what naughty kitties do.

Now, coming up on 3 years later I have a new friend and quilting partner. Gordo – or Loafie, as he is affectionately known around here – is his own little self. Stubborn, loyal, naughty, affectionate, athletic, and very, very vocal – he is  an integral part of the life of everyone who comes to this cape house I call home. Though I thought I’d never have another kitty after Scooby, I can’t imagine my life without Gordo today. Life always goes on, and beautiful things will happen if you let them.

If you’re of a mind to hear more stories of feline naughtiness, follow Gordo’s adventures at my other blog: https://walkingloafie.wordpress.com

As for  my first best friend, Scooby, he makes his appearances now and again. I sometimes catch the sound of his trademark Coon trill from under the red maple tree where he sleeps… and every so often Gordo will completely freak when walking by the quilt room late at night.

Gotcha! Says Angel Scooby. It’s still my house, dontcha know…

Welcome to ColorWheel ArtQuilts

IMG_3656Hello!  My name is Sharyn Raiche. I am a fiber artist and an elementary educator. I began ColorWheel ArtQuilts about 5 years ago, after challenging myself to work with fiber every day during my summer vacation. For nine weeks in 2011, I documented my journey with words and pictures on Facebook.

At the end of 66 days, I discovered two very important truths about myself: the artist part of me was not content to be regulated to the sidelines anymore; and I loved sharing my creative journey with others.

This is my life –  it’s definitely a work in progress –  but I hope you will stay tuned  and follow me as I grow my art and my website!

Summer Quilts —-> ColorWheel ArtQuilts


It’s a warm night for May…. overhead gorgeous sky teems with color, Mother Nature’s artistry I only dream of reproducing. I’ve been outside all afternoon, since finishing work on this 145th day of school. My second graders are wrapping up the year, thinking first of the weekend with its baseball games  and First Holy Communions, and further then, to summer’s dreamy days.  

In the garden Hyacinths pop with bubble gum color, vying for space between creamy daffodils and lacy green poppy leaves. The lawn is a crush carpet, so thick you can’t see your toes. Tree bones get dressed, finally, shaking off winter’s grays for lacy gold leaves, unfolding and turning to green.

In my studio there have been many changes too. I have worked these last eight months with the motto: Slow and Steady Wins…. but it has not always been easy. My job is necessary to pay the bills but my art is never far from my thoughts and dreams. Last fall as I waded through a new school year in a new grade, I began thinking very hard about what I wanted to do with my quilting. No longer did I want the art to come second to everything else in my life… I wanted to acknowledge it as something of value, with equal right to my time and efforts. I set some goals, and then in January I opened a shop on Etsy: ColorWheel ArtQuilts. 

So this has been a great winter for me :-). I have completed more work using my nights and Saturdays than the past two summers combined. I have submitted pieces in three juried shows, and I will be displaying my quilts in my own show at a local venue this September.

I have learned to take myself seriously, to be persistent and to follow through on my plans and goals even if it meant 10 minutes on a Wednesday night to answer a post on my quilt group critique blog. 

I expect to see more of you, write more for you and share more of my journey… particularly as summer slides into place here in the Northeast and I am once again the Summer Quilt Girl. Right now, thanks so much for sticking with me, but it’s time for me to get into my studio. After all, another Friday night is here…

Happy creating!


I am remiss but very busy

Hello readers,

I apologize! It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything…. this time of year tends to get away from me as I move through the last weeks of summer and gear up for another school year. This year I am teaching a new grade level. In addition to that fun preparation I am also sending my first-born off to college. As you can imagine, there have been many, many items on my to-do list.

I want you to know that I am still making time for the quilting! It’s just the writing part that I’ve let slide a little… 🙂

Threads, sorted for quick load and use in the Red Rock quilt. Notice the sticky note in the upper right? A reminder to me of my upcoming school year… This year’s duty schedule is recess, twice per week. I love going outdoors with the kids!

This past week and a half was busy here in my little studio. I’ve been working steadily on the thread painting pieces, and I want to report that I’m fairly certain the first Red Rock quilt is finished! You can’t see me smiling, but those who know me will realize that “fairly certain” are the operative words here. I like to live with my quilts a bit before being completely ready  to call them “done”. The Red Rock is currently hanging in my living room. Actually it looks nice there, except for the fact that it’s not trimmed or bordered and is basically held to the wall by a strong piece of tape! When I’m sure it needs no other stitching I’ll back it and bind it, and share the photo.  Meanwhile, it’s on to the next piece.

I worked out the design issues with the reverse appliqué quilt, which I’m calling “Timeline”. After sewing – and subsequently ripping out the machine work – in the blue border several times, I finally settled on a strategy. (Or rather, my oldest settled it for me: “Mom, use this thread and that stitch! Gaahh… enough already!”) 🙂

I am happy with the machine quilting, and I’m working on the binding, for which I’ve pulled some wire ribbon. Not sure yet if I’ll leave the ribbon “floating” around the quilt as in this picture…

Lastly, I wanted to share with you how wonderful it was to visit the Lowell Quilt Festival yesterday. There were many tremendously talented artists displaying work in all quilt forms, from traditional to modern. It was inspiring to view such beautiful work!

Thread Details

Thread Details

Work today focused on adding more thread to the Red Rock quilt. The color are starting to become more complex as I add the layers.. the process reminds me very much of using glazes in oil painting.

New Ideas

New Ideas

Yesterday I visited a great little fabric store, here in North Conway. It’s called Vac-N-Sew, and if you can’t guess by the name they sell vacuum cleaners as well as sewing machines and fabric. It’s a stop I try to make every year when we are in the area, and if you are ever up this way I recommend it. 🙂

I had a wonderful time browsing. I came away with a stack of fabric in some very interesting colors and patterns…. we’ll see how this works together once I get home.

Today is a travel day. Most of my supplies are packed and ready for the trip home!

Thread Painting

Red Rock # 1Thread Painting

This is a thread painting I began working last summer. The subject matter is derived from sketches and photos I took of Red Rock Canyon in Nevada. To begin the process I made a template and then cut and affixed the fabrics to a heavy weight linen canvas, the kind painters use. I sewed a “base” of thread in colors that mirrored the drawing. I am adding additional thread and layering it, paying attention to the direction I sew to help create movement in the piece.

Patience…. and Perseverance

Saco River

Good morning 🙂

What happened to yesterday’s post is anyone’s guess. But once again let me explain: here I am, on the beautiful Saco River in Northern NH for my favorite camping trip of the year. Yes, I’ve brought along everything I need – my family, a good book, sunscreen – and of course… my quilting supplies.

Yesterday I was writing about my frustration level, and how the idea of something is sometimes better in your head than the reality. Lately, I have been experiencing this phenomenon with regard to my quilts. But since that post mysteriously vanished I have been thinking, and I would like to write about patience instead.

I am watching the river flow by my picnic table right now…  the water color is gorgeous this early in the day: mossy greens and shimmery golds and deep, mahogany shadows along the steeper banks below the trees,  all of it flickering with cerulean blues and teals (yes teal, like Miami) where the morning sky reflects over rocks and silt. It’s remarkably easy to get lost in the moment watching, and yet very difficult to reproduce on paper, film or fabric. The river is at her best this way, when she’s moving with unhurried purpose in the direction she’s chosen.

It’s still early yet, but I know over the course of the next few hours I will see many kayaks, canoes and tubes float by. A day’s worth of vacationers enjoying the river. Working people, taking a break midweek, perhaps. One or two, maybe, who make it a life’s goal to journey with the river everyday? My creative soul likes to imagine that. It would take more than patience… perhaps perseverance is a more likely word.

How does that relate to me… and my quilts? I think you must know the answer. How do patience and perseverance play out in any endeavor? If I stop obsessing in the moment and look at the big picture, I am a lot further along in my goals than a year ago. I am miles removed from the not-so-creative place where I started.

Patience and perseverance… moving with unhurried purpose in the direction I’ve chosen. 🙂

Beads, Beads and more…

Beads, Beads and more...

Hello readers 🙂

Okay, I’ll admit it, as much as I love my machine and everything it does, there is something very relaxing about hand sewing. What is represented here is about 6 hours of beadwork… and I know, it’s almost impossible to see. I apologize – I believe I need a better camera. I’ll work on that, but in the meantime this one is sandwiched and ready for finishing. Time to switch gears a bit. What will be next from the pile? :=)