Embellishment choices

I’ve often said that sometimes having too much from which to choose is simply TOO much to make a choice!


OMG! I have so many embroidery thread choices, as well as fabric choices…too much…

I had to decide on what would be the best choice for a class sample out of the light backgrounds and embroidery only pieces, or the dark background.


And I went with the very dark background. I also selected a piece of plaid silk for half of the leaf and will do embroidery only on the other half.


And to make it even more conventional, I turned under the edges of the fabric, as if I were going to gasp!–applique. Not to worry–I have not gone over to the traditional side. This is going to be sewn down with embroidery stitches, more embroidery and beads…pretty!


Good start, but not quite enough for a full class, so I added a bit more and this is what I ended up with.


On a side note, a few months ago I bought a Sticky Roller for lint and it was still sitting in the box. Look at all the lint on this dark background.


Time to break out that lint roller!


Wooo-hooo! One swipe and it worked like a charm! Hooray!

I have those other two light background pieces finished and I’m working on the embroidery only piece. I feel like the more options I can show in the actual class, the better the class will be.


Personally, I like pink a lot, but many people don’t, so when I decided to go with pink, I needed to do everything I could to make things look NOT pink! No pink thread or pink beads!


And this piece…well, I love orange and I totally let myself go with it. Just look at these lovely little orange beads.


I’m very relieved to have all those choices and decisions behind me now. It IS the Christmas season, after all, and there might be a thing or two I’d like to decorate. I might even want to buy a few presents…shhhh!



Filed under Beading, Designing Quilts, Fabric, Handwork, Teaching

Following the ‘what-if’ path

The new class design is decided and drawn out. Took several tries. My first attempt was a totally symmetrical leaf but that was pretty darn boring. Adding in a little curve helped.


I thought making a copy for each student would work for sharing the pattern. Though you can see to trace through the light fabric background, I thought making templates would be a better option.




Especially since I have decided to make my first sample with the dark fabric background. And so you know, I use colored pencils in light colors when I need to mark…BUT it’s usually when I’m going to follow the lines very closely. If there is a chance that your lines will show, do a test wash of your selected marker first.


And what shall I use for the other half of the leaf? I have lots of silks, but wouldn’t some sheer organza be fun?


Or some lovely soft wool? Or a real novelty fabric like dyed cheesecloth?


There seem to be too many ‘what-if’ trails to follow. I believe I will have to illustrate several of those options, but that will be impossible to get done by Dec. 10, my deadline for the publicity photo. So I will make a relatively conventional decision on this, I believe and get a finished sample. Then I will try to make several of the other ‘what-if’ ideas as quickly as possible. That way if there is a chance to submit a better photo, I’ll be ready for it.

Now I need to get off the computer and get to work!

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Filed under Handwork, Non-traditional Quilts, Quilt Design, Teaching

Follow my thoughts here…

Not getting any cleaning done, but I’m not going to subject you to any of that until it’s all done. (And that could be soon or it could be never!)

My next deadline is fast approaching! I have to have a class-selling sample ready to photograph and submit by Dec. 10. This is Dec. 1 and I’m still not sure of the best way to proceed. Here’s how I go about my planning, even though I don’t have it all figured out.

The class concept has been decided. I will be teaching an embellishment class, one day, with embroidery, beading, couching and working with unusual or non-traditional materials. This is the sketch I made of what I want the design to look like, except I haven’t decided if I want the more traditional look (not oak leaf, but smoother edges!) or the abstract look, multiple pieces or just two.

new-class-6 new-class-7

Now what size do I think we can successfully complete in a one day class? Ten inches is too small to make into anything useful, though if we start with a 12″ square and finish at 10″ it could be a small pillow or a pocket on a tote or skirt. That’s what I decided to go with…starting with a neutral. Next decision is what to make the leaves out of. I want to offer a variety of fabrics besides that traditional cotton. Silk, organza, wool and another size decision…


Too small, so I went with an 8″ square. First half of the leaf decision made. Now for the half that will actually be completed first in the process. Applique in a strong, contrasting color?


Or very neutral?


Or simply drawn onto the background fabric?


And what about using a very dark background?


Do I make samples of all these variations? Or decide on one, spend a goodly amount of time making it beautiful and use that for a single class sample? At least for that sample photograph!

Still many decisions to be made, but the process is started. I’m thinking that the best way to go is with a kit, with fabrics, beads, trims available. More thinking on this part of the class, too!



Filed under Beading, Fabric, Handwork, Non-traditional Quilts, Quilt Design, Quilting, Teaching

Tour of Shame

The mess in my studio has driven me away a couple of times now. It needs cleaning and reorganizing so badly, but I am dreading the task. I have decided to show you the shameful condition I have let things come to, in an effort to force myself into taking at least the first positive steps to redemption!

Of course, being technically challenged, I have to first learn how to upload a video to YouTube and then embed it in my blog, ’cause that’s the only way I can do it here for free. If I wanted to pay, I’m sure there are other ways…but I’m cheap!

So, after seeing this little video, can you understand why I don’t even want to walk into the space? I have to be careful where I step so I don’t knock something over from all the piles around the room. And I actually have a huge space–but you could never tell because of all the STUFF I have. I MUST get rid of things that I will never use.

I am using you to help me be accountable for making some clean-up progress, even if I don’t do a wall-to-wall reorganization. Hope this works, because I am highly UNmotivated to actually get in there and clean.

But I need to create and so I need that space to be useable. We all know about creative blocks, but I’m suffering from a clean up block! Aarrgh!



Filed under Life, Quilting, Thinking About Quilting!, Use Up the Stash

Glitter in the center

The ‘holes’ that started this Cosmic Winds piece are filled with fabric that has a very strong design element. I didn’t want to do anything that detracted from that design, so I wasn’t sure what I would add, but I knew something was needed.

My daughter to the rescue once again! She thought maybe a shiny thread…and, of course, I just happen to have a few of those available!

This is how they turned out, with just a tiny bit of glitter…

glitter-centers-1 glitter-centers-2

This piece might be done. I’ll let it sit and marinate for a few more days (since I won’t have any sewing time anyway!!!) and then I’ll give it a final assessment. It could be done and mounted by next weekend! Woo-hooo!


Filed under Art Quilts, Beading, Designing Quilts

My improv…

When I’m teaching an improv class, I’m sure to let the students know that there are many ways to do improv piecing and designing. There is absolutely NO WRONG WAY, but we all have our favorite methods and of course that’s what we teach. My favorite method is the stack/slash/switch method because you get a lot of related ‘elements’ in a very short time.

This past week my students had fun making stacks of elements, even though they had no idea what they would be doing with them! (And I’ll ask pardon in advance–I’m pretty sure I didn’t get everyone’s piece. I forget to take pictures during classes and sometimes miss things when I’m hurrying to make up for it!)

Things started making a bit more sense to them when they started to lay them out, either on the design walls or tables.

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It takes quite a while to get an arrangement that you like and even longer to get it sewn together! You can spend an hour or a week at the design wall stage–you just never know!

It was another great time for me…and I always hope my students enjoy what they are doing,too! Now I am home, no teaching, for almost 8 weeks. Holiday events will fill in any spare time I might have thought I had, but it is so good to be home with family for the whole holiday season!

I plan on being back to some sewing tomorrow. Maybe I’ll even have something to share with you. If not, it’s because I am too relaxed to write a post!


Filed under Art Quilts, Designing Quilts, Quilting, Teaching Quilting

Cosmic Winds

Sometimes pieces name themselves. This one is now Cosmic Winds and I’m so happy that I finally got to work on it some more.


I think the beading is done, but it needs more stitching. My first thought is to do a simple echo of the beading.


I will be using the same variegated floss that I used around each circle, but maybe it needs to be all six strands. Or…do I need to continue the circles until they meet or overlap? Don’t know an easy way to figure it out without simply trying it out!

Stitching time is at more of a premium than ever before right now. By next week, things should be more relaxed. Looking forward to some quiet time for Thanksgiving. I’m almost positive I can see a nap AND dessert in my future there. In the meantime, I get to take a class and teach 2 classes. It always thrills me to show people a new way to play with fabrics and tap into their creativity. Busy, busy, busy, but fun, fun, fun!!!


Filed under Beading, Designing Quilts, Learning New Things!, Teaching