Sojourn

Usually I try to post every 2-3 days and that’s not a problem because I am always working on something. Well, right now I am not actively working on anything! Here is a stack of things that are in progress, so it’s not like I don’t have projects that are moving in the finishing direction.

UFO pile

My problem is that I work so extemporaneously that I can’t simply pack up a project and take it with me…at least not when I’m going to be away from my supplies for two weeks. I never know which thread or bead or piece of fabric or yarn I will need next. I simply cannot pack up my whole studio and take it with me. That would be a bigger suitcase than the one I need for my clothing!

Handwork and stencils 18

This one could be a prospect for finishing…one pile of beads could do it!

Perhaps I’ll be able to narrow it down to one manageable, planned pile of things to do. Perhaps not.

This is where my mind is at in July!

This is where my mind is at in July!

In any event, I believe my internet access will be limited, my work progress will be limited and my postings will be limited. Hang in there with me, though and I’ll be back to normal within a couple of weeks!

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Filed under Quilting, Thinking About Quilting!

Basted and ready to go

This is what I do when I don’t know what to do next. I looked over my pile of partially completed pieces and rather than work on any of them, I basted a few more to get started on!

Gingko prep

This gingko has been around for quite a while now. So long, in fact, that I can’t remember my original plan for it! No fusing on this one; simple basting on to batting.

I did fuse this one onto a heavier backing.

Painting basted

I may be sorry, but I think it will get a lot of stitching and beading. I want it flatter than it would typically be if I only used batting before the stitching.

This piece got machine quilted. Not sure what else is going to happen to it, but if it gets beads it’s better to have it quilted first.

Silk strips basted

Not sure which orientation it will end up with either. This is sideways to my first thought…I think I like it.

The pile of UFO’s is growing. I have at least a dozen partially finished pieces sitting in a pile and am not motivated to go further on any one of them. Perhaps it’s just summertime laziness. Sometimes it’s a lack of decisiveness on what the ‘next step’ will be. In any case, I will need to take something with me to work on while I’m at Blue Lake. Or perhaps I’ll bring a stack of books and no handwork! Hmmmm…sounds like a big bunch of indecisive to me!!!

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Filed under Art Quilts, Handwork, Life

Done and eaten!

The ‘done’ part is the sample for Blue Lake.

BL project done

I could have added a lot more ‘stuff’ to it, but I really wanted to hit a level that I think all the kids can easily attain. I’ll leave the ‘over the top’ ideas for them to discover on their own. Done!

Eaten! We do have a lot of deer around our neighborhood all the time. We are on a path, probably ancient, between two good watering holes for them and there is enough habitat that they have never needed to really leave the city. Consequently, we are also on their munching route.

My hostas this week went from this…

Full hosta

overnight, to this…

Hosta eaten

And it’s not just the giant hostas they like. They are happy with the small plants for appetizers.

Small hosta eaten

I always joke with people that they come up and ring my doorbell when the plants aren’t watered and juicy for them! Seriously, these plants are steps outside my door! I really don’t mind sharing my plants with the deer, though. There are a lot of plants that they don’t seem to care for, like peonies and iris and the decorative grasses. They don’t bother my daylillies, roses (Ouch–thorns in the mouth!), hibiscus, lavendar, coreopsis…there is a reason I try to only plant perennials. Even if they munch the plants waaaaay down, they are not killing them, so no permanent damage.

But that giant hosta was sooooo pretty!

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Filed under Designing Quilts, Life

Busy-ness

Summertime is strange as far as my work in the studio goes. There are days when I work like a demon and get tons of stuff done and then there are days on end when I don’t get a chance to even look at a needle! That makes for very inconsistent blog posts, but I guess that’s real life!

I’m pushing to get the more ‘normal’ sample of the bead and weaving projects for Blue Lake done. I finished the weaving part.

BLake project 1

Now I’m on to making the beads. Variety is NOT what I want for this project, so I selected some compatible fabrics and this little bit of lace and beads that I found.

BLake project 2

I don’t think I’ve shown you how to make a lot of same/similar beads at once. Instead of using a small strip and making the beads individually, you use a larger piece of fabric and roll it along the entire length of the straw.

BLake project 3

When I make these, as well as my other beads, I take the straw out before the glue dries. They will retain their center hole and their shape just fine.

For the lace, I lined it up with the edge of the fabric and rolled it until it was almost at the edge of the lace. I had to trim a bit of the other fabric, but it made a wonderful bead.

BLake project 4

BLake project 5

I think these long pieces will make enough beads for this little sample.

BLake project 6

As soon as the glue is dry, I can simply cross cut these all to the same size or various sizes. If you don’t use a ton of glue, they cut very easily with your scissors or rotary cutter. I promise that I’ll show you the finished project…maybe I’ll get it done tomorrow!

On another subject, I recently made a trip to IKEA, which is about an hour away from my house. There is always something that I must have, and this trip was no exception. I found two little metal frames with a lacy design.

IKEA frame 2 IKEA frame 1

Now, I have no intention of using them for frames. Oh, no, these are stencil/stamp pieces, with an empty center all set for some special needlework or beading. Since I’m loving vintage linens right now, there might be something along those lines…can’t wait to have some time for playing with stencils, stamps, paints and thickened dyes. But, again, it’s summertime and sometimes the old swimmin’ hole calls my name, especially on those days when the grandson is here!

 

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Filed under Art Quilts, Beading, Designing Quilts, Quilting

One step ahead

Sometimes my teaching style only keeps me one step ahead of the students! I do try to explore all the possible issues the students may have with whatever I’m teaching, but in some areas I will readily admit to limited experience.

That is true for weaving, which I will be teaching in a couple of weeks. I’m exploring and learning just enough to get a sample to show the students I’ll be with. Fortunately, I can do this because I’ll be teaching with a woman who is a very experienced weaver and she can handle all the hard parts! My sample will be very similar to the level of the student’s work, except that I have a few years more experience with fibers in general!

The plan calls for the students to work with a frame loom that they will make. There are several ways to make these and we will demonstrate and give them the choice. This one is made from push pins in the back of the frame.

Frame loom 1

Evenly spaced along the top and bottom and then the ‘string’ (I’m using a bamboo yarn) is wrapped around the pegs.

Frame loom 2

Small nails are often used as well, but I think push pins will be easier for students to use.

When weaving, a bobbin is often used to get the warp threads over and under the weft threads. Doesn’t that sound like I know what I’m talking about? I don’t really know the warp from the weft, but that’s what the dictionary and google are for, right? Anyway, a simple shuttle bobbin can be made out of a bit of cardboard.

Frame loom 3

Check out the fancy ‘bridge’, I think it’s called, that separates the strings for easier over and under. That does give you an idea of the size of this project, though.

I found using the bobbin difficult, perhaps because the project is so small. For an alternative, I used a yarn needle and simple pulled the yarn through.

Frame loom 4

One of the choices the students will have to make is how tightly to weave. Since my plan is for these weavings to remain in the frame as a background, I thought I would do this loosely so the sides remain mostly straight, not pulled in. It may be easier for the students to pull things in a bit more snugly. One more design decision for them!

I haven’t progressed very far on this, but at least I will have learned the basics a couple of weeks before I need to “teach” them! I will have this small sample finished!

Without knowing that I could rely on the expertise of my co-teacher, I never would have embarked on this type of a project. However, I expect some really outstanding results from these middle school aged students. They have no fear and wonderfully creative minds!

I do have another sample to show them–wild and crazy and not at all the recommended way to make a weaving, but an example of multiple fibers and an alternate way to work.

India challenge 1

India challenge 2

I’m really looking forward to this experience!

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Filed under Art Quilts, Fabric, Learning New Things!, Teaching

Same series, different fabric

The fabric really does make a difference! Those wonderfully soft, vintage damask napkins let my needles and threads slide through like a hot knife through butter. I’m starting my last one of those now.

Handwork and stencils 25

The softness and the looser weave are perfect for either the perle cotton or embroidery floss I’m using.

Handwork and stencils 26

At the same time, I’m trying to work on this larger compatible piece and it is much more difficult. The fabric is a much more tightly woven cotton, like a batik, which I love for dyeing. In addition, it’s fused to the batting with Wonder Under. There will be more experiments with the various fusibles out there, but this one is what it is!

Handwork and stencils 27

I used a backstitch for the outlining, rather than a stem stitch and by the time I decided I didn’t like it that much, my fingers were way too sore to rip it out and start all over! It is best to use a large needle for this fabric/fusible combo, but even that doesn’t make the stitching easy!

I have decided to add a strand of the same color perle cotton and make it into a threaded back stitch. It’s not a major difference, but it’s enough to make the outline a bit bolder and smoother looking.

Handwork and stencils 28

Most of the feathers on the bottom of the spine are threaded and those on top are not. I like it quite a bit better, and I think the single color will work fine with future beading…multi-color thread would be too much.

And judging by the dificulty of getting my needle through this fabric, I’m pretty sure the background stitching will be done on the machine! Nope–simply not worth the struggle of hand stitching through this tight fabric.

However, I have decided that my thrift shop visits in the future will include looking for more of those lovely vintage napkins…maybe layered with some lovely vintage hankies and lovely vintage lace…

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Filed under Color, Fabric, Handwork, Quilting

Dye day re-dye

Last post about dye day! There were two pieces that I knew I wanted to add some dyeing to…

Dye day folds 8

I folded it into small squares, with the idea of adding a dark grid over what I had. I love what I got and want to use it as a whole cloth piece, raw edge appliqued to a backing, so that I don’t lose those dark edges.

Dye day re-dye 1

This piece was my least liked piece and the second dye did not make me like it any better.

Dye day folds 2

Second dye

Dye day re-dye 2

So I took it the dye bath a third time

Dye day re-dye 3

And I still do not much like it! I am totally done with it for now. There will be more dyeing in it’s future, because I need to kill that green! It’s a shade that hurts my eyes so it needs to go into hiding until I decide what it needs.

Now it’s back to some sewing and beading and being summertime lazy.

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Filed under Color, Dyeing Fabric, Fabric