Something new–again!

While I really need to stay at the sewing machine and try to put a dent in my fabric stash, I’m always easily distracted! I got a set of cutting blades for stamps today.


I’ve only tried stamp carving once before, in a class, and I really liked it. I have a ton of stuff for making stamps, like self-adhesive foam, hot glue, corrugated cardboard, foam core, shapes and pieces and bits and bobs, but not the carving stuff.

I took an old eraser, just like I used in my little class, picked up a blade and made some cuts! Didn’t even draw a picture; just wanted to get the feel of the blade.


When I stamped some fabric with it, I found out that it was not totally flat and it left a void in the center.


But with this simple carving it was easy to overstamp and fill in the void.


Feeling braver, I turned the eraser over and drew a little flower.


Picture of the carving was blurry, but here’s how it worked!


And then on paper


I’m sold on carving anything that is carve-able now! I’m going to try not to jump into stamping and neglect my sewing goals for the next week! Stash busting is at the top of the list for the next little while, with only a few little distractions allowed!



Filed under Art Quilts, Learning New Things!, surface design

And next up….

The Knot Even Quilters (AKA Whacky Quilters!) have chosen paper fabric for this month’s experiment. I have read about it but not done it, so that’s what I played with yesterday.

Start with plastic covering your table–for sure! There are many and various blogs and tutorials on the internet, so I just played with what felt right as I went along. Mixed glue and water and went to town.

One of the tips was to water color the tissue paper before you use it. I was planning on using old watercolor paintings for a base…maybe…so I wet a couple of paintings and put some tissue paper on them.

paper-fabric-1 paper-fabric-2

Picked up the color just fine, but very pale. Fine if you start with a white base, not so much if you start with color. But I had colored tissue paper for playing with, too.

I used three different bases for my experiment: a thin, mesh-y fabric, a regular cotton, dyed dark, and a relatively thin paper watercolor painting.

I added tissue and glue and threads and yarn.


When wet, you could see everything very well.

paper-fabric-4 paper-fabric-5

When I came down this morning to the dried pieces on the plastic covered table, here’s what I saw.


Nothing too exciting when I peeled the pieces off the plastic…I left half of each piece as is and took the other half to play with.


The dried tissue on the watercolor paper, without glue, actually looked the most interesting!


The thin, mesh fabric ended up being way too thin to use as is, but it can be layered on something else or more tissue and texture added to it. I did a bit of stitching on the other two pieces. The fabric base had white tissue over the whole thing and dried to a pretty boring piece. The transparency of the pieces when wet vanished when dry so the white tissue made the piece pretty boring and white! That will NOT be the top layer next time!

I tried tearing the tissue in a few places to expose the metallic thread I had inserted, but it didn’t want to tear very well. Verdict: I could use this, but it would need a lot of work before it would be something I liked.


The watercolor paper base also had a white tissue covering the top, but the yarn I inserted while layering didn’t seal tightly and was easier to tear open for texture. It stitched quite well and gave me a base that I think will make an interesting project, worth further development.


There will be more experiments, because I have a TON of old watercolor ‘paintings’ to play with…quite a few that are really ugly and now there is hope for new life! I definitely have a whole new area to explore. Hooray!


Filed under Art Quilts, Color, Learning New Things!, surface design

Facings and holes again!

The subject of making holes in a block–on purpose–has come up again! I wrote about how I make them here, here and here but I’ll give it another go with my current pile of scraps…just because someone asked how to do it and I really, really want to use up those scraps! I’ll try to keep it short and illustrate with pictures, but it’s quite easy to do.

WHY would you want to do something like this when it’s so much easier to fuse on a shape or applique it? Well, sometimes you don’t want the stiffness of the fusible or you don’t like to applique or you might like the added texture of the facing as a frame. Or it’s fun and different…

I had some leftover triangle blocks and will demo with those. First thing is to choose a shape and get it on a piece of fabric that will be your facing. The facing fabric will not show, unless you really want it to and press it that way.


Place your facing fabric on the right side of your block and sew all around it on the line.


You will then cut out the hole, inside the line, pull the facing to the wrong side and press it down.


Circles need to have the seam allowance clipped all the way around. Squares, rectangles, triangles, etc. only need to be clipped in the corners, but right up to the last couple of threads in that corner!



Once it’s pressed, you are ready to audition fabrics behind your hole. The piece of fabric you choose only needs to be large enough to cover whatever hole you have made.


After that, you get to decide how you are going to make that fabric stay where you want it. Sometimes I reach into my jar of fusible scraps and fuse them to the facing. Then I throw on the hole fabric and it’s all fused together, waiting for the next step.



Sometimes I use a glue stick, or glue baste or liquid thread. I almost never use pins and if your hole is no larger than these (the whole block size here is about 7.5″) you probably don’t need anything but your final solution. And that’s where the fun begins!


You can do any number of things to your lovely little holey block! I used one of the built-in stitches on my machine and a metallic thread here. I’m not 100% sure that it’s gonna stay that way! But since the fabric isn’t fused, even if I rip this out the holes will close up with a little spritz and ironing.


I love to embroider and bead around my openings and so I created this piece.


And that’s why the subject of holes in quilts came up again! I’ll be showing everyone in my Creative Seasons art group how to do this Monday evening. We’ve had it demo’d to us before, but if you don’t do something right away, you forget how to do it! Or what you see in a demo doesn’t appeal to you or have any relevance until further down the line…I know that I’m going to have fun with these small blocks and their little holes! And there will not be one little scrap left when these are finished!





Filed under Art Quilts, Contemporary, Designing Quilts, Non-traditional Quilts, Quilting

I made a quilt!

Though it’s certainly not the first quilt I’ve made, it almost feels like it. It’s been a long time since I’ve made a regular quilt, not an art quilt and it feels really good. I need to do it more often.

I could definitely use up a lot of scraps this way, as well as all that yardage sitting on my shelves. I keep telling myself to use it, use it, use it but I am so easily distracted…

Check out the finished top


No borders…this is the final product. It’s hard to see, but there is a little bit of a focal point with a pathway through the top.


It’s those few blocks that were made with multi-fabric strips. They are in a trail from top to bottom. I know it’s there, anyway!

No idea what happens next, but I’m sure some lovely bit of fabric will attract me as I clean up the trimmings and yes, scraps, from this quilt. I believe I will be donating them to the lady who uses them for stuffing dog beds!

On to a new adventure…


Filed under Modern Quilts, Non-traditional Quilts, Quilt Design, Use Up the Stash

Slow week, slow stitching

This week will be wonderful, because we will have our grandson every day. But that also means no sewing, for the most part. However, I have joined the 1 Year of Stitching group and will try to get a stitch in every day! If you note in my blog header, I have a tab just for that. I will document that project there, not here, because there’s just not that much to show on a daily basis!


IF there is something to show this week, I’ll post it for sure, but otherwise it looks like a week off from blogging!


Filed under Family news, Handwork, Thinking About Quilting!

Aaaand….we’re going THIS way!

Well, I persevered and did not take a nap instead of sewing! Decisions were made, though I did not get as far as assembling the quilt top.

Yesterday, my design wall had this layout of blocks. Not a true design layout; just put up on the wall as the blocks were made.


I made some multi-fabric blocks and added them to see how I liked them.

tropical-triangles-5 tropical-triangles-4

Yep-worth the time it took to make them, but I’m not going to have very many of them. And I will NOT be placing the blocks randomly. I only want it to LOOK like I did!

The blocks are all trimmed now and ready to start assembly. I trimmed them to the same height so rows will be easy to put together, but the widths will be different. The columns will not line up and I think that will be much more interesting.


There is still a small pile of fabric left. If I were a pillow person, I’d make some pillows to go with the quilt. For now, I can let the pile sit there–without guilt! But that fabric WILL NOT be returning to my stash. I am done with it!


Bag of scraps will be going to another home, one way or another!

One more day of sewing should get this top finished. First full size quilt in a long, long time and it feels good!



Filed under Art Quilts, Contemporary, Designing Quilts, Use Up the Stash

Which way to go?

As you are reading this, I am in the phase of the design process where I seem to have more questions than answers.

Should I trim the blocks to all the same exact size? Or, due to the way I made them, it would be easy to trim them to all the same height and have some variety in the widths. You know I’m good with things not lining up exactly as they would with the first option.


Do I want the blocks edge-to-edge or do I want some random strips of fabric here and there to break the rhythm of all triangles?

And color–do I want truly random? Or do I want it all planned out and then get freaky if things get out of order? (I think you can tell which way I’m leaning on this question!)

And here’s the hardest question of all…I have NOT used up all the fabric in this group. I have not made any funky triangles out of the smaller bits. That’s quite time consuming but could be the sparks of interest to use instead of random bits of color thrown in. Yes, all the fabric could go into the quilt back–and probably will–but I really hate piecing the backs. Would my time be better spent fussy cutting for the front or the back? Or throw/give away the rest of the scraps? Or make them up into a second, smaller piece? Or make my quilt top bigger?


There are so many questions to answer when you are making things up as you go along. Sometimes it’s a lot easier to follow someone else’s pattern and measurements and simply sew, after they have answered all those questions and served up a design to you!

Okay, back to the design board. I am going to stay strong and answer those questions, NOT procrastinate and take a nap!


Filed under Art Quilts, Contemporary, Designing Quilts, Thinking About Quilting!