Surprisingly fast…

Some days, even when you don’t have much to do, you just can’t quite seem to get it done! I did a little bit of the beading on my Neighborhood Walk piece. And then I wasn’t happy with my original bead choice for the rest of it, so now I’m in beading indecision time again. And it took two trips to the bead stash to get this far!

But I got a new beading book for Christmas so after I finally decide, I will have some new things to try.

Yesterday was a quick decision and basting of my next UFO. I really like the batik Flying Geese one and so I’m going to get it done for ME!

I have had some pink batik and an orange-y print batik for years, sitting on the shelf waiting for the right project. And much as I hate to piece backs, 3 big pieces is perfectly fine!

Check out that first picture to see how perfect they are for this quilt!

I’m so glad that I stocked up on some variegated threads the last time I ordered because I also had the perfect one for this quilt.

And the surpising part is how quickly the quilting is going! I had a little bit of time today and got a bit more than half of the big squares finished. I’m quilting free form leaf shapes in a large size……soooo much better than my usual intense fill-up-every-inch stitching.

No idea what I’m going to put in the flying geese parts or the wide border but that is normal for me!

Stuff to do the next couple of days, so that’s probably it for this week. Not much hope of any more this coming weekend, either, since it’s a hockey tournament weekend for the grandson. Can’t wait for that…watching those kids play is so much fun. AJ’s other grandma doesn’t have as much fun, though. She says she gets too stressed by the competition AND the possibility of injury. I guess after watching hockey all my life that I am more inured to that than she is! Let’s go, Ann Arbor Wolverines!!!!

Machine trapunto demo

I got a little full of myself at one of my meetings and my reward was a “put up or shut up” moment. I think machine trapunto is pretty easy so now I get to do a demo on it. I’ll show you what I’ll be showing my art group.

You can certainly get more elaborate than this, but this works well for a demo. Find a shape that you like that is a closed shape. I am using a leaf. Trace it on to your fabric (lightly).

Layer batting behind the shape–as many layers as you desire. I used two layers of a poly batting because I wanted the loft that poly (or wool) will give. I could have–maybe should have–used more so that you could see the effect better in the pics. Next time!

Outline stitch the shape. You can decide if you want thread that won’t show much or as I did, use contrasting thread. I didn’t follow the traced lines exactly, which is why you trace lightly! I also went ahead and stitched in a few of the vein lines…just because. You can do this with ONLY the outline of your shape.

The boring and careful part comes next. You need to trim the extra batting away from the shape you have stitched.

Trim close and DO NOT cut into your lovely fabric! Now you are ready to use your trapunto block in any way you wish. Keeping this demo as simple as possible, I added a border, another layer of batting and a backing. Quilt away and your piece is finished.

As I said earlier, it’s not easy to see in the pictures that the leaf has extra padding, but it is apparent in person. If your quilting around your trapunto is very dense, it is even more of a standout.

Your trapunto shapes can be as simple as this or as elaborate as you would like to make them. They can be done a block at a time or you can trapunto an entire quilt this way. Is it faster/better/easier than the traditional methods? Research those methods and decide based on your preferred method of working. For me, this is the only way I would ever get trapunto done! It’s never fast, no matter which technique you choose. But when you need that extra padded effect, it’s totally worth that extra effort!


UFO old stuff inventory

I have several stacks of UFO’s on the shelves. I’ve mentioned before that I am determined to get things quilted so today I decided to grab a stack and take a good look at them, see what I really have and evaluate the chances of completion for each one!

What I found were several small, square, essentially useless pieces, a few couch cuddler size and some that are actually bed size. They all have a history but most of them don’t have a place in my heart!

The first one I pulled was a small square sample for a pattern I wrote. I like it and it might do for a baby quilt or I could easily add some bright fabrics top and bottom for a good toddler or crib quilt.

Other small ones will NOT remain with me! Specialty ruler quilt samples–small and useless, but I like the black/red one. That may remain…….maybe.

And a ‘what the hell was I thinking’ one–I like the sparkly fabric, which doesn’t shine and sparkle in the picture!

Can’t find any ‘like’ for these at all! Then I pulled this one out and it’s another one that I absolutely do not remember!

It seems to be a sample of simple improv techniques added as a border and I even got distracted and quickly pulled some fabrics to think about adding to it!

Then I got back on track…and when this one emerged, I thought it might be possible to combine the two. Some similar and some contrasting colors and it can all make a useable size.

And cutting things up and recombining them is fun!

I knew these next two were in the pile because I have thought about trying to combine them, too…one for the front and one for the back.

Same pattern, same size, but lining them up will be a pain, so no! I like the batik one and the bright one not so much. One for me, one for charity.

OMG! The pile is never ending…more larger, useable quilts. This one is sooooo old…one of the first quilts I did, many years ago, to use up scraps. A very familiar theme around here, it seems. And I have a second one from these same fabrics that has been in use for a long time.

This one is almost as old! I think we are talking in the 20 year range!

Couch cuddler sizes–I even have the backing ready for this one.

I think these were mystery quilts made at retreats and they will also go in the charity pile.

As I said, these are mostly old and should have been done or found a new home long ago. I have two more piles of newer stash busters and I’m scared to get those down and start looking through them. What I have here should see me through a good part of this year, if I stay determined and carry through.

Wish me luck!






Back to creative thinking

Trying to finish up the few projects I started over the holidays. I need to think things through a bit more than I have been doing so I like the outcome better.

In that spirit, I bundled up the parts of this project and put them on the shelf for later consideration.

Simply not happy with any of the fabrics or ideas that went through my head. It will wait!

The next project on the roster was intended for the challenge we have going in one of my art groups. I’m not sure it will make the cut, but I’m going to continue working on it.

This was the last look at it and I improved it by taking OFF many of the pieces I thought it needed and also making it smaller. When you take time to think a bit more, sometimes things improve. I kept throwing more pieces of fabric onto it to fill up the empty spaces. The reality was that it needed to be smaller, not more cluttered!

I have added some hand stitching and had to think again about what I actually want to do to it and in what order it needs to be done. I don’t like to have a messy back so I need to do hand work and beads before the back goes on. However, you can’t do machine quilting too well over beads, so SOME of the quilting needs to be done before the beads go on.

Mostly especially on the tree and bushes. No way that could be done after beads! Beading is only going to be done on those parts and on the white lines on the “house” part so that I can manage some other quilting to hold the final layers together and have a clean finish on the back.

I always like the look of thread sketching on pieces and that’s how I addressed the outlining of the figures. It’s enough.

Now on to the beading. I will finish and then assess whether or not it will be my challenge piece. I can always do something else…….it IS a challenge, after all!

A different type of challenge, though, has presented itself after a clean out of a storage unit that belonged to my brother-in-law. He was a world wide citizen and some things just had to come home and live with me. But what am I going to do with a 1992 Chinese calendar?

Love the artwork and I was happy to find that all the calendar lines are only stick-ons. This will find a way into my art at some point, for sure.

The next treasure is so lovely to me that I think it will live on my wall.

It has some damage and it could be saying horrible things in the writing, but I will never know that. I think it’s a wonderful scroll.

The biggest challenge came from a box that contained these beads. If you know me, you know that I could never let any beads escape me!

The penny is placed there for size comparison. These are HUGE and seem to be aimed for a children’s market, maybe necklaces or bracelets. Sooooooo many! There is no way for me to use all of these big guys. I will probably select a few and pass on the rest to a school or thrift store. Why he would have these is anybody’s guess! However, there is also a big box of coloring books to pass on so he must have wanted to do something good for kids. I will make sure that happens!

So……….today it’s beads, beads, beads.


Clear the decks……….

As life is starting to settle down again, it felt wonderful to simply sit and quilt. I finished the latest of the clean-up-the-UFO quilts and it’s ready for it’s life as a couch quilt. So glad it is small and was easy to handle.


I filled in most of the blank space with a simple ‘flame’ type of meandering. Fast and easy and no big thinking…just what I needed.

I had a very good moment when I finished the binding, took the quilt off the table and saw this…

Clear and clean and ready for new things. So rarely happens and while I have a few projects in beginning stages I felt as though everything is fresh and new.

I am eager to begin serious work on the challenges and projects that I have committed to and to further exploration of techniques that I have dabbled in previously.

Studio time–hooray!!


It’s a strange new year.

There will be a little break in my blogging this week. This is a full hockey weekend for our grandson with games Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Two games in Traverse City and one back in Ann Arbor. In the midst of losses and game winning goals for the kids, my husband lost another brother…as we are still grieving the passing of his eldest brother two weeks ago. And getting to know a newly found sister. An emotional roller coaster for sure. This blog is mostly about my textile journey, but all the parts of my life make their way in here, too. Hope to get back to ‘regular’ stuff later in the week.

Today is all about this guy………

these two scored the goals for a win last game!

My diamond project is on hold because I’ve not been happy with any of my solutions thus far.

And my new project is getting better because I am taking OFF many of the little elements that I thought it needed. Leftovers…………..

It will all be waiting in a few days, when my brain is settled down again!


Half time projects

Bowl game season is here and there are so many games that no one can possible watch them all. While I love football, there are many games that don’t interest me at all. But TV is upstairs and the studio is downstairs, so only short little bursts of work get done. And even calling it work bothers me sometimes, because it’s really all playing!

I remembered that I had some leftover dye sitting on the steps going out to the garage.

Can’t remember how long it’s been there, but several weeks at least. Have some ugly fabric that I used for a dropcloth.

Time to get the two together and see what happens.

Thought I might get started on the quilting on this quilt, but all I managed to do was decide on the color of the thread!

Don’t know how well it will go with the whole quilt, but there are parts that are that lovely magenta color and I really like it. But no stitching actually started.

I was distracted by a piece of fabric…and then another piece…and next thing I knew I was trying to design a piece for a challenge I have upcoming.

Kind of liked this layout but I think I want to see more of the black/white print and that rust dyed piece does nothing for it.

Take 2! Better, but I’m still not happy with it. I’ll keep playing with it for a while. Perhaps it needs to be smaller rather than the ‘larger’ I’m trying to make it. I can play with this in between games.

By the time this posts, I hope to be enjoying that hot tub at the hockey weekend and relaxing. Design decisions can wait!