Aaaaaaand….the fabric has to dry, too!

Working with the string pieces is a lot of fun, but the water soluble stabilizer adds one more dimension of waiting to the process. It actually needs to be washed out, so of course the fabric needs to dry. I could throw the pieces in the dryer, but on a larger piece where the stitching is not extremely close, you risk losing chunks. Oh, what the heck? It’s scraps and I have plenty more to replace any that get lost in the dryer!

In two widths, no less!

So…lay out the strips, cover with stabilizer, pin, stitch…

After rinsing and before anything else is done–actually, this is while it is still wet–and now is the time I check for any big loose chunks that will fall down by shaking it around and seeing what happens.

I can see that my ‘sky’ is not level and I found a few loose parts, so more scraps and more stitching will be happening. That’s as far as I got today….oh, I did get this pinned up on the design wall.

It’s waiting for the design part of my brain to tell me what the next step is. More embellishment? Beads? Hand stitching? How am I going to attach the flowers to the background? I have decided that those little strips with the dark paint are not needed, so that’s at least one decision made!

And I’ve been asked, “Why don’t you use tulle over the top and then you don’t have to wash away the stabilizer?” Mainly, I don’t like the look of the tulle over the top! But the stabilizer really does stabilize. It’s much thicker and gives a good base for the stitches to grab onto. If I’m going to use tulle, it’s going to be for adding color and texture, not as a stabilizer.

While the fabric is drying, I’ll try to figure out what silhouette I’m going to stitch on top of that background. I want something a bit more robust than the last one I did. And this one is also taller…so much variation possible from the same pile of scraps. Love this!


Watching paint dry…

Remember how much fun that is? NOT! Right now I am waiting for paint to dry AND waiting for rinsed out flowers to dry. Booooooooring…

Here are all 5 of my flat flowers–some are still wet.

I think they will have enough texture and dimension, but it will be relatively easy to add to them if necessary. It’s helpful for me to have this time to wait for things to dry. It forces me to take that time and think about things and assess my direction.

I was going to ask your opinions about doing a little cutting and folding of the background pieces…

but I liked it so much that I went ahead and cut it! There were two small slices that I cut out that I  thought might look good attached to the background in the other direction. With nothing done to them, though, they were nearly invisible.

And now we come to the paint drying part….I added some darker green paint to those pieces with another stencil and I’m pretty sure that will work out fine.

When I was making the last two flowers, I added some glitzy threads before I stitched them down.

After stitching, they don’t show too much, but every little bit of shine does add to the total picture.

I have a plan for finishing but it entails finding a used painter’s drop cloth. If I don’t come up with that, I’ll have to make one myself, and that means there will be more watching paint dry!

This project has taken a turn away from my original idea, but I’m still very happy with how it’s going. I’m having a great time creating this one and I have more skinny scrap ideas churning around my brain, waiting to be born.

Having sooooo much fun!

Hmmm…is this what I wanted?

This project—-totally loved where it was when I started. Then I began the actual construction and now I’m not sure.

Okay–this is my concept with fabric choices laid out.

The plan is to use water soluble stabilizer to create these flowers, so I just plunged ahead, following the plan. Sandwich the pieces between two pieces of the stabilizer, pin-pin-pin and stitch all over, making sure that everything is secured.

Trim the excess stabilizer off and then dissolve the stabilizer in water. It really does start to dissolve the moment water gets on it.

You know you’re done rinsing when it doesn’t feel slimy anymore! If you don’t get it all rinsed out, it dries stiff, which some people use to their advantage when making thread lace. So, these are rinsed well and I usually squeeze out most of the moisture in a towel.

Since I am using raw edges, I threw it in the dryer with my clothes, but I decided that I’d rather dry these all flat…just in case my stitching wasn’t as good as I thought!

On the next one, I added some extra yarn embellishment on top of the sandwich, after I had the flower all stitched down. Really, now is a good time to add any other embellishments that you think you’d like, as long as water won’t hurt them in the rinse out.

There are three of them laying out on my work table drying right now. I’m not sure if this is the technique I should have used. I really liked the big fluffiness of the scrap piles when everything was laying around and choices were being made.

I thought they would be way too floppy if I attempted to attach them AND keep them in big piles. Now they are kind of cool, but flat. I’ll go ahead and finish up the other two and then decide how to proceed. I may add some fluff and raggedy on top of the flat…it will be controlled but still slightly wild…I hope…maybe…we’ll have to see as I proceed!

And moving forward…

The Artisan Showcase has had it’s day and I’m sitting around with my feet up for a bit. But I’m not one to sit around for long…probably a bit of ADD, which didn’t exist as a diagnosis when I was a youngster!

I have projects in various stages of existence and I’m ready to get back to them. This one is screaming at me, not only to finish it, but to make more in this manner.

As I was hanging my items for the showcase, I saw that I have been working in series more and more often. I’m taking more time to explore ideas and executing ideas in different ways. It’s a true luxury to have the time for this.

However, in terms of having something to show you……………well, I think there will be a lot of repetitious looking photos coming up!

And when I look deep inside myself, I hear the ticking of the old age clock and I want to explore as many ideas as I can before the ticking gets any louder.

Today is a day for relaxation, which always includes some introspection. Tomorrow it’s back to work (fun!) in the studio!

And the final…

The final choice turned out to be two fabrics. The yellow block batik became a narrow flange around the piece and it was mounted on the deep teal fabric.

The combination was more effective than any single color and sometimes I forget that.

The teal is really no more than a frame and that’s appropriate.

Here’s another detail pic, just because I love this piece!

And now it will be moving to another home and I will be moving on to another project…in a few days!

Color choices…sigh!

Almost all pictures this time, not many words, because I’m trying to choose a fabric background for this piece. I really did not like the flat painted canvas that was my original choice. I did not try to get these straight–just looking for the right color!

Tried super busy, but it almost blinded me!

This was the favorite, so far.

I tried lots of very light ones.

This one was quite yellow–thought it had potential.

It was coming down to these two…

and I tried these two again, because I just wasn’t sure.

Hmmm….the one above was the same as this one, but look how differently they photograph in different light!

I’m quite perplexed because usually after I try this many choices, there is a clear answer. I have managed to eliminate many of them, but I haven’t got a definite answer yet. Does this mean I haven’t found the perfect one or that I’m simply very indecisive?

Think a nap will help? Perhaps I’ll try it and see………………………………zzzzzzzzzzzz!


Sleepless nights

We all have those sleepless nights upon occasion, but for me it’s usually a couple of hours with a runaway brain and then I drift off to sleep. However, last night was really sleepless. Tried a hot bath, reading a book, playing a game on the computer and finally went down to the studio.

I guess this design has been living in the back of my head for a little while and it chose last night to HAVE to be born!

It started with scrap strips of batiks that I’ve had for at least a year. (Not very long compared to some of the stuff I’ve had hanging around!) I laid them out on a piece of fusible interfacing, ironed them down, stitched on top and, of course, did NOT take a picture of that stage!

Then I got out the stencil and the paints and turned the piece 180 degrees.


Maybe a bit more color than I first intended, but I think it will be okay.

Then it was back to the scrap bags for the next layer. I tried out the very skinny strips that I used last week

but didn’t like what I was seeing. Maybe not enough contrast.

Then I tried the slightly wider strips in the batik bag.


A little more controlled and I feel as though I’m on the right track. Still have quite a bit of experimenting to do before I come up with a final design, but I feel good about what came out of my sleepless night so far!

Scraps are fun to play with!