New games

As I said before, this week is shaping up to be very busy and sewing time is at a premium. I’m playing when I can and I have a new toy!

I succumbed to the allure of a new specialty ruler, the Classic Curves ruler by Sharon Mc Connell of Color Girl Quilts. I’ve been wanting to play with the Drunkard’s Path pattern again for a while, but wasn’t sure if I wanted traditional or improv. This decided it for me, along with the other possibilities she shows with the ruler. So, here’s my first try using it.

I’m also using some Sherrill Kahn fabrics that I have savored hoarded for years. I didn’t realize how much of that fabric I had until I grabbed it all off the shelf and unfolded it! Sheesh–yardage! I haven’t bought yardage in years…I’m a fat quarter buyer! This may end up as a very large quilt.

Hmmm….lots of waste fabric with the first few blocks. Each concave cut made from a single square leaves enough waste for a smaller convex piece.

That’s fine if you are planning on making two quilts and you want to buy twice as much fabric as needed! I hate waste and know that I will not make an entire quilt this way. On the instruction sheet is an alternate method of cutting the concave parts with less waste and I haven’t had time to try it yet. If I’m not happy with that, I will consider cutting this half of the pattern using a template. We shall see, when I have a bit more play time!

I also put together some basic step-outs for making a hanging sleeve. I have to do a demo for anyone at our next guild meeting who is unsure of how to do it. I thought it was a totally basic skill until I realized that many, many people never hang a quilt on a wall. They make them for beds, believe it or not!

I used a hunk of some of my oldest–should I say vintage?–fabric and every time a bit of that is gone, I smile! Happy to de-stash in any way I can!

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On to Stage 2…

I’ve completed the first, fast set of samples for camp. This is the last group, all ready for mounting decisions.

Now I need to make some samples in a different manner. I’m not looking for students to copy what I do, but to see different ways in which to express themselves and choose what feels correct for them.

This next week is a super busy one for us——lunches and dinners out every single day. Well, come on, someone has to do it! I’m grateful that we have a social life and are not reclusive or incapacitated shut-ins! But it means almost no time to sew. I am going to find and grab a chunk of creative time and put together some simple designs so that I will be able to stitch a minute here and there and keep going on these ideas.

The concept started with stitch meditation and daily stitch journals from others and it really does give me contemplative time, though not necessarily from my ‘thoughts of the moment.’

Loving this and I don’t see an end to doing it.

Next set ready

Always sad when I don’t have much time for sewing, but I’m carving out a few minutes here and there.

The second set of samples for Blue Lake is ready to be mounted.

There are five pieces in this series to illustrate two things–series pieces do not all have to be the same size and a series is not a static number of pieces.

I like all the little pieces I’m doing, but this one is so me…all angles and asymmetrical and a bit of bright and a bit of glitz!

I have to start thinking about what finishing options I want to present. I want the students to have choices, to be able to DO whatever they choose and to feel they have completed an ART piece when they are done.

Much more work to be done, but I’m loving every moment of it!

First of the series

As promised, here is a picture of the first series in the samples I’m making for camp.

They are not mounted on anything, because I want to keep my options open. I want the kids to see mounting on a single backing, probably in an accordion book format, single entities, and sculpturally, as in a cube or pyramid. So I’ll need to keep making……..

Some of the fun parts of working on this today was looking over the buttons I was considering adding to the pieces.

I had no idea that I had so many of these white sculptural buttons.

Aren’t they gorgeous?

I didn’t use many since these pieces are so small, but now that I know I have them, it could be the basis for another larger piece.

My bead collection is pretty extensive and I thought it would be simple to find a few beads to go with this series. Not so much. That nice pure blue of the fabric apparently is not a bead color I have! So I spent some delightful time looking through my little container of leftover beads.

And I found six beads that matched each other and went with the fabric. And I realized that I have a LOT of beads in that little container of leftovers. I’d better get planning some beading projects to use up the stash as well as using up the fabric stash!

Onward!

Lots of littles…

Working on the little samples for camp, but barely started on them so really nothing new to show.

My day started with an interview for the local paper about my art hanging at the library right now. I was glad to go in and chat because I hadn’t taken any pics of the show after I hung it. The nook they put the art in is very cozy, with armchairs and a fireplace and it makes you feel as though the art could be hanging in your home. I like that a lot.

This is still my current favorite piece!

And space on each side of the fireplace, along with their permanent art pieces.

It’s always fun to have your art on display!

My day included a little jaunt to a quilt shop about an hour away. I knew that I would not get away without some fabric, despite my attempts to destash, but I was very conservative!

Half yards and yards, though, where I usually only buy fat quarters, but aren’t they gorgeous!

And a quick step-by-step of the sample distraction project, because it is DONE!

Another one mounted on wool, with edges fringed and wild, but I’m liking the way these look hanging on the wall. I need to get out of the green/turquoise family, though. I’m feeling like it might be time for some orange on the next one.

And the most joyful part of the day came in the mail. My aunt was on a little trip, went into a store and saw THIS–

She knows I like colorful fabrics but she had no idea that I LOVE sugar skulls and this fabric is totally awesome. Aunt Jean is also super awesome!!! Thank you.

Now I need to get going on stitching up those sample pieces!

Working out the method

Teaching anything involves a lot of planning…at least it does for me. And it’s waaaay different planning for unskilled middle school kids than for adult quilters! I know what I want to teach them and now I’m working on how to get it across to them.

I know from experience that some of them have never even held a needle and some are already garment sewing, so I have to deliver the basics while keeping the others from total boredom. I think the idea of ‘teaching assistants’ may work just fine.

This is how I think we’ll assemble the little pieces–after a bit of design time and the lesson about threading and using that needle!

Actually, the first picture is probably NOT how we’ll do it, but I’ll give them the option.

These pieces are glue basted down. It avoids getting stuck with pins but for kids, the glue can get globby and maybe not so secure. They will have the option but not the recommendation. However, this will also be an example that pieces in a series can be different sizes.

So here’s what I will recommend. A piece of batting (or other support fabric), larger than the finished piece will be. Then trace out the area of the finished piece so they know how much area to cover.

And remember that the marking goes on the back, so they can see it until the end! I thought about just marking the corners on the front, but then remembered that these are inexperienced kids!

After the design is laid out, with those pesky sharp pins, they will be basting. It’s really going to be the best way for them to proceed.

And rather than random stitch meditation type ideas, I am going to have them work in a series mind-set. I think I’m set with my plan!

I know I’m set with quite a few pieces ready to embroider and embellish, but I needed at least this many to work out my planning.

I need a few more in the light blue series and I want to get all of these completely finished off before I do any others. Then anything additional between now and camp will be a bonus.

Feeling good about this!!!!

Slow decisions

It was actually a warm spring day today so I spent some time outdoors enjoying it. Naturally that means that sewing did not get done!

I keep stumbling over a little bundle of coordinating fabric that I once started playing with. I took it off the shelf today and spread the elements over the design wall.

I have no idea what my original intention with this piece was. I also have no idea what direction I want to go in to move it forward. It seems as though black is the only color that will coordinate things, but that seems almost like giving up to a challenge. Much more contemplation is needed, but I think this will be my next stashbusting project.

On the hand-sewing front, I have stalled out a little on the small samples for Blue Lake. I’ve been working on this larger project and I’m at another decision point. I selected some beads, but think that I’ll only use the magenta ones…a little emphasis that will not take over the design.

Maaaaaaaaybe………………………….I found a couple of ceramic buttons that look really good on this piece. If I use them, though, it really changes the feel of the whole thing.

What do you think? I’m leaning toward ‘no buttons’ but that might lead to lots more of the magenta beads finding their way into the piece. You know that I’m always good with more, more, more but I’m not sure the piece needs it! As I look at the pics, I’m also thinking maybe I need a bit more stitching to texturize the background, too.

Not much action, lots of contemplation and I’m okay with it. Thinking is good!