Fun times!

When I’m not working towards a deadline, it is so much pure fun to sit at the sewing machine and stitch! I know that I’ve shown you this before, but I like to make new fabric from string strips.

I use a base fabric or a piece of interfacing and cover it with a layer of strings. Then I pin water soluble stabilizer on the top.

Then it’s nothin’ but stitchin’ until I’m sure everything is secure. LOTS of stitching!

Washing the stabilizer out only takes a few minutes, but I really don’t like to throw the piece into the dryer. It’s small, there may be spots where I’ve missed stitching and I like to leave it flat. Soooooo…like watching paint dry, now I have to wait for the fabric to dry! This will eventually have a design, probably a flower or tree, stitched on top of that newly made fabric and then heavily beaded. It may be hard to believe, but I’m running low on skinny strips…and I have no intention of cutting to make more. These are fun, but they may be done for a while!

And there is nothing like having a waiting-to-be-finished-piece staring you down while you work on something else. This dude really has an attitude and got snarky with me when I hung him on the design wall to wait his turn. Well, he got finished (or close to it!) today and he can quit bugging me!

I have always had a soft spot for the kids who get in trouble so I really like this little smart-ass kid. However, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and you might see someone different than I do! He makes me laugh, so I’m very happy that he is now finished. ‘Sup, dude?

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Time to Prioritize…again!

It helps so much to have goals and deadlines and plans. Things stay relatively organized that way and you can feel like you are working toward set results. And then life happens and you have to rearrange the whole kit and kaboodle!

Grandson hockey and

Michigan hockey….and working those events into the calendar!

My Artisan Showcase is coming up and that has really been the current end date on my goal list. But I had an event as a vendor on Friday so I had to detour and get things ready for that. What an advantage that turned out to be. I prepped everything I had and now it’s ready for the showcase, too! IF I have a chance to make anything else, it would be a bonus, but I now know that I have plenty of inventory.

I’ve been working on creating some patterns and quilts for a fabric vendor, Turtle Hand Batik, but keep getting delayed! I got these wonderful fabrics for backings and I think they are my favorites of all the wonderful fabrics I’ve worked with!

Quick quilting trick–when working with straight lines in a border area, they may not fit evenly into that area. If it’s close, quilt lines from both of the edges of your space and leave a space.

Then quilt that last line down the middle and even if it isn’t exactly the same distance as your other lines, your brain will “see” it as even.

Also, if your lines are not perfectly straight, they will still read as straight lines in the overall picture you make. Perfection is a goal, but done feels real good, too!

So the patterns and quilts are finished and almost ready to be shipped. I’ve not created patterns for a vendor before…it’s waaaaay different using fabrics that someone else has selected than ones you picked out.

Simple quilting makes the task go quickly!

Here is Frame It Up

36 x 36

and this is Tropical Shadows

35 x 47

Part of having any type of event in your home is making sure that every nook and cranny is sparkly clean. I really hate this part of it, but that has now moved to the top of the priority list. And as you might suspect, it’s a big job because I’m not that concerned with sparkly clean on a day to day basis! Cobwebs and dust and clutter DO reside in my house and I’m pretty okay with it. Sigh…can’t put it off any longer, though.

Sewing on the bottom of the priority list until “sparkly clean” blinds me!!!!

 

My question is…

Yes, the question came up again in a discussion about whether or not to pre-wash fabrics.

I do, and here’s why. When I started quilting, fabrics were treated with LOTS of chemicals, including formaldehyde. I knew a shop owner who suffered great lung distress from this chemical alone. Dyes were not nearly as colorfast as they are today and it was expected that most were going to bleed a bit. Cotton always shrank (shrunk?), sometimes more than other times. Pre-washing took some of the unpredictability out of the process.

And then I started dyeing my own fabric, so washing, washing, washing was necessary. Check out Vickie Welsh’s blog for lots of great info on that!

Let’s see…we had dogs, so there was always dog hair. I spray baste my quilts and I like to wash that out before I use the quilts and pre-washed fabric/quilts are always softer and more cuddly.

Now, on the other side of the discussion, when working with art quilts, is there ever going to be a need to wash them? Fabrics directly off the bolt are stiffer, easier to use with applique or cutting machines. Spending time washing, drying, pressing all that fabric is wasted. Since I clearly don’t fall into this camp, I’m not sure of the other reasons not to wash.

Well, I tried everything I could see to add a poll to this post, but I couldn’t quite make it work. So, in your comments, please let me know if you pre-wash your fabrics

Always

Sometimes

Never

Depends on what I’m making

Re-imagining

This piece has never made me entirely happy. I loved the dye job and thought I wanted it to be a whole cloth piece, but it really didn’t turn out how I thought it would.

So I put it away for awhile. It sat on the shelf and you know it was thinking all the time about what it wanted to become. I think it spoke to me in a dream last night!

Diamonds…that’s what it said. Set that squareness on point, make diamond shapes and it will be a lot more interesting. Maybe keep it all together in one piece or maybe make them separate.

Don’t know where the idea will take me yet, but I think it has lots of possibilities to make me become happy with it.

Experiments shall commence………..sometime after my showcase!!!

 

Unsewing

Between other projects, I have been working on my big leaf piece. It has a distant deadline so there’s no push to grind it out. It’s giving me time to think and plan.

When I thought I had a good solution to sewing my transparent leaves down, I really went to town and did a lot of stitching.

It held it down, all right! Waaaaaay too much. I wanted to end up with floaty, loose edges and didn’t get that effect at all.

Lots and lots of overlapping stitching holding the organza down. It looked nice–if the stitching was the part I wanted to show off.¬† So now I get to go over the whole thing searching for those edges and UNSEW. I think I would have been better off going slowly and hand sewing these leaves to start with. Unsewing takes F.O.R.E.V.E.R.

Whenever I get done, I hope to have all the floaty edges I could wish for, just like this!

I am also continuing to unearth bits and pieces of projects. Deciding whether or not they can be utilized is rather refreshing, now that there has been some time distance from them. One piece I found went right to the cutting board to salvage large bits of the ONE fabric I liked in it!!! That actually felt rather good.

It appears that I attempted a bit of play with transparent fabrics before this latest venture, too. I found these purple leaves made with organdy–not nearly as transparent as the organza–but I liked it enough to finish it up.

Yes, it’s my least favorite color, but it may have originally been an attempt to use up those purples! I’m pleased with it now, and even though it was started a while ago, I learned from it. Yep–learned that I still don’t care for purple, but magenta thread helps! And that I now use a lighter weight fusible and it is much easier to sew through. Also, some metallics work better in the bobbin and some are fine on top, even sewing through heavy fusible!

Daily work on final, boring details on lots of stuff–hanging sleeves, wire on stretched canvas frames, labels. Nit-picky work that must be done, and then I can do the boring cleaning required to have my Artisan Showcase here on Nov. 2. Looking forward to that, for sure! The show, NOT the cleaning……………..

 

 

 

Loose ends

I seem to have quite a few small, unfinished pieces laying around and I’d like to get them into final shape. I don’t usually frame pieces because people think frames need glass. Glass doesn’t make me happy with textile work because most of the beauty of the texture is hidden that way.

I have a few 5×7 frames and those small pieces fit into them just fine, so I’m going to use them without the glass. Also a couple of 8×10’s. Smaller, inexpensive pieces sell better, too, so why not?

This little piece looks like a piece of stained glass. I didn’t think it needed any beads, but it’s not totally impossible to still consider that as an option.

These are very plain but they look good in the black frames. Originally, they were going to get beads also, but I think they are good like this. What do you think?

This one is one of my favorites. I love trees and making trees and leaves and it doesn’t matter if they are ‘naturally’ colored or ‘fantasy’ colored…love ’em all.

Then I found a couple prints that I must have originally intended to go together, so………

All set and ready¬† to go and I could NOT feel as if they were finished. I took out all the staples and tried to decide what else they needed. I have been playing with sheer fabrics and I love metallic thread, so that’s what I tried.

I think that may be all they need, but I’m not going to be in a hurry to staple them back to the canvas. I do want to have these small bits available for a show I’m doing on Oct. 11, though. Deadlines help so much to push the decision making process!!!

Bits and pieces, loose ends, finishing up small jobs…it feels like spinning my wheels because it’s not a ‘big idea’ project, but it all needs to get done. And it’s working with textiles, so it’s not bad at all!

Routine is a good thing.

A whole week since my last post! I don’t like going that long between posts, but I was mostly off the grid last week. Aaaaaand………..I didn’t do too much. It was a totally lazy vacation and I loved it.

Mostly this is what I did….

 

A little bit of stitching…

Our gracious hosts

are in the process of re-habbing their new home, which will be gorgeous. But the most gorgeous part about it is the view

with this wonderful viewing spot.

I did a little thrift store shopping and picked up some spindles for making spool books

and a few pieces of interesting fabrics for future projects.

The views were wonderful, everywhere we went, including at dinner on our last evening.

And after getting home, I think it might be a little bit more of this type of thing!

Maybe with stitching instead of reading so much. But laziness is definitely my goal for a bit longer!

Then it will be back to the regular routine, and I will be relaxed and ready for it!