Changing direction

This summer I will be teaching at Blue Lake again. Middle school children, fiber arts. I love doing this and I have my major project for them all figured out. It’s time to make a sample, because if I expect the kids to do it, I’d better be able to do it, too!

My material choices were made for me, because I decided to use the items we received from Kathy from India. KSmith challenge

There are no process photos, because I just started making it, without thoughts of a camera. Basic process is to string a frame for weaving and create a background upon which to showcase the beads and trim…

Strung the frame with recycled silk yarn…two errors here. The yarn is kind of thin and not very showy and it’s also not very strong. I ended up being concerned the whole time that it would break. Second error in the plan is that the loose weaving of the yarn that I had decided upon simply isn’t enough! It looks haphazard and wimpy rather than the strong statement that I wanted it to make.

Woven sample 4

Here’s what I have so far. There will be bling added with the trim and beads and fabric beads that I have yet to make, but in coordinating colors from silk fragments that I have.

Woven sample 1

Possible solution? I will scrunch the scarf part down a bit and add more—lots more!–to the weaving. What have I got to lose? I may even weave in some ribbon and some other strips of silk.

More to follow on this one…


Filed under Art Quilts, Fabric, Non-traditional Quilts, surface design, Teaching

Things are getting done…

…but they aren’t sewing things! I have a bum shoulder right now and lots of outdoor work to do, so it’s been slow going.  I had some rocks and dirt to move, and I was lucky enough to get a neighbor boy to come do manual labor for me. Should be done with rocks, dirt AND mulch tomorrow. Then I can sit down and watch the grass grow and throw a few stitches into fabric!

I did get the Shreds piece finished.

Shred final unmounted

This is upside down from my original intention, but I like it better with things growing up rather than hanging down. I ended up with these two as my favorite leaves.

Shred final favorite 1

Shred final favorite 2

And I was totally entranced by the iris blooming in the garden.

Yellow iris 1

They went from buds to blossoms overnight. Now, all my iris are gifts from other people’s gardens and I’m never organized enough to mark the colors and separate by color when I move them. However, this entire bunch is my favorite yellow so I must have been organized at least on one planting day!

Yellow iris 3

So beautiful!

Yellow iris 2

Yes, indeed–today’s inspiration!


Filed under Color, Life, Quilting, Thinking About Quilting!

KEQ–making beads

Our meetings are not nearly long enough to make tons of beads! We needed more time! It’s lucky for us that the clay making didn’t happen, because lack of time would have been utterly frustrating!

Apologies to Denise in advance…my pic of her beads did not come out right.

We made small beads, wrapped around toothpicks and slightly larger ones, wrapped around straws.

KEQ May 7

Carol was experimenting with glued and wrapped threads.

KEQ May 9

I was looking to make larger beads and wrapped some around dowels, but Sharon made a large one AND got it all decorated and fancy. Beautiful!

KEQ May 8

We tried making beads that started with cotton balls or balls of polyfil. I got that orange and blue one done that was in the first picture. Kathy ended up making hers flat, more like a hexie.

KEQ May 4

Trish made some very delicate beads. She referred to the white one as a wedding bead!

KEQ May 10

She also brought some show and tell. We have a challenge going to use a scarf, trim and beads that Kathy brought us from India. Mine is still planned out in my head, but Trish and Kathy both have theirs done!

KEQ May 1


KEQ May 3 KEQ May 2

And Kathy’s…

KEQ May 5KEQ May 6

I definitely need to make more beads…because even with all the ones I’ve purchased, the ones I make myself will be special. And maybe even fabric coordinated with the pieces I’ll create!


Filed under Beading, Color, Fabric, Learning New Things!, surface design

Keepin’ on…

Very little time for sewing this week, but I grab a few minutes here and there. That’s how I’ve always worked on my projects and eventually they get done.

Adding beads to the leaf piece…no more words needed…just pictures!

Shred leaf bead 1 Shred leaf bead 2 Shred leaf bead 3 Shred leaf bead 4 Shred leaf bead 5 Shred leaf bead 6


Filed under Beading, Designing Quilts, Handwork

Little steps and decisions

Over the weekend, I worked on two things. Saturday was a sewing day with some of my friends from my Creative Seasons art group. Our challenge was to make something using only solids. I have a large tub of silk in solid colors along with a collection of solid cottons from a month-by-month club, so this was a perfect opportunity to use them.

I started with two pieces of the silk that spoke to me and started cutting and piecing. Then I added a couple of colors of the cotton and continued cutting and piecing…this is where I ended.

CS sewing day solids 1

It needs quilting and embellishment, of course…I can see big globs of beads on the royal blue bits. However, before I start that, I need to decide which direction I want it to go, vertical or horizontal.

CS sewing day solids 2

And Sunday I finished the quilting on this piece and now just want to add some beads and get it mounted.

Shredded leaves unbeaded

I’m not happy with my facing with the fusible interfacing, either for the backing of the silk or the backing of the whole piece. I think this silk needs something a bit lighter than what I have. Or maybe something a bit heavier for the batting, to get the effect I want. Next time…


Filed under Beading, Color, Designing Quilts, Fabric, Learning New Things!, Quilting

Couldn’t stop sewing…

Yes, I started that little handwork project, taking shreds

Shreds 1

and sewing them into a leaf design.

Shreds 3

I could not stop! Perhaps because it was a ‘sitting on the couch’ handwork project or perhaps because I never knew what the next scrap would lead to!

It’s not finished yet, but the primary handwork is done. Shredded Leaves 1

Happy, happy leaves! I am going to outline quilt around the leaves and add some beads, then it will be mounted on a 16 x 20 canvas.

Look at this delicious leaf!

Shredded Leaves 2

The only drawback to this project is that the basket of shreds is just as full as when I started. Doesn’t even look like I touched it! So this is NOT recommended for efficient use of scraps, but I’m pretty sure there will be at least one more project before these pieces go away!


Filed under Art Quilts, Contemporary, Designing Quilts, Handwork

Handwork project

There are 360º on a compass, so that means we could be going in any one of 360 directions, right? I’m working on so many things at once that I’m not sure which direction I’m headed!

Had some cement work done, so there is dirt and rock to be moved to new homes–that’s going to be ongoing for a few days. I just can’t shovel as much in a day as I could when I was younger. And the rest of the spring yard work…a little bit every day and it WILL get done!

And I’m always working on several sewing projects at once, and work on those depends on my mood at any given free sewing time. But I always seem to be starting a new one before I get very caught up on the old ones!

This weekend I needed a take-along hand sewing project. I had a huge pile of shreds from a fabric store that I always intended to do something with…you’ve got something like that in your studio, don’t you? I’ve also been loving pictures of raw edge applique, recycled fabrics and of course I love embroidery and beads!

Shreds 1

The idea was born–draw a simple design on fabric and embroider the shreds down to fill in the drawing. Then probably add beads.

Shreds 3

The background is a piece of silk, shiny and soft. I back that with fusible interfacing and then I’m ready to start stitching. You can barely see the drawing, but I kept it very simple. I decided to use a hoop for sewing these leaves and it has been a good decision. Much easier to manipulate as I embroider.

Shreds 2

Color is actually that turquoise from the above picture! I’m progressing much more quickly than I thought, but that may be because I’m spending more time on the couch stitching than I like to admit.

Shreds 4

I’m liking this playtime with the shreds, but I’m also pretty sure this is not an efficient way to use up scraps! Don’t really care, I guess, as long as I’m enjoying my sewing time.

Pure relaxation and enjoyment!


Filed under Art Quilts, Designing Quilts, Handwork, surface design