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!
The days around Christmas have always been relaxing, do-nothing times for me and this year was no exception. Jigsaw puzzles are a big part of how I spend my time and sometimes I actually do get a little sewing done. Not so much this week, but I did a little thinking about sewing!
When I put up the scrap fabrics I had stitched together on the design wall, I wasn’t sure where I was going with them.
Making the triangles is a super easy process, but I also saw a couple pictures with related tutorials about making wonky triangle blocks as I browsed the internet this past week. I have a LOT of fabric that I could put into this piece and having several methods of using up those scraps allows me to use all sizes of scraps and end up with blocks the same size…okay, that’s part of the design decision process.
This piece is only going to have the triangles, not the other chunks of scrap pieces. Those are all in a colorway that I also have tons of, enough to make another whole quilt, at least! I also decided that I’m not going to make my triangle blocks different sizes…probably not! I’m going to start out with that plan, but if it gets too boring, I’ll throw in some sections with different size blocks.
The plan here also is to concentrate on the contrast between the light and dark. The blocks will vary with some dark triangles and bright backgrounds and vice-versa. So with all those design decisions made–and not much sewing done–this is where I’m at with the quilt.
I’m going to keep going until I use up all the scraps in this designated “group” even if it makes enough for more than 1 quilt! It can be back and front or two quilts. I don’t care…I just need to get rid of some of my mountains of scraps and this is a start! I need to stay disciplined enough to avoid the distractions of new projects and pretty fabrics.
Wish me luck!
Today was a day with no pressing chores to do, no appointments–a day made for playing with fabric. I’m done, over it, for making more Christmas ornaments, but don’t have the energy to start a “real” creative project. So I did what I always do–grabbed a stack of fabrics from the scrap pile.
I’ve been wanting to play with triangles like I saw in someone’s post a few days ago. Stack and cut–right up my alley. The thing to remember, though, is to cut right through on one side and cut down a little from the top on the other. That gives you room to trim without cutting off your point.
Switch the triangles and sew each side…and I hit a “Duh!” moment. I sewed the full cut side (right side in the picture) first and then sewed the shorter cut side.
It will work, but take a closer look at the top.
It’s supposed to have the full cut side covering that shorter cut side! I did sew the rest of the them the correct way
and now I’m trying to decide if I want to combine them with some other blocks that I created on another ‘stack of fabrics play day.’
I have plenty of additional fabrics from both stacks.
I can just keep going and make a full size quilt or I can try to make some artsy stuff and keep them separate. I’m leaning towards ‘making’ because I do want to use things up. But those triangles are so cute! Not enough of those brights to make a full quilt…but maybe I have enough hand dyes to fill in when I run out of prints.
Stack of fabrics play days always lead to something even if it’s not at all what I expected!
Continuing on with snowmen…I found that my shortcut doesn’t always work. Some of the roving that I have does NOT want to felt when I put it in the bag. I had two balls that looked like this one.
Fortunately, despite what it looks like now, this is not a disaster. After it dried out, I simply smoothed it over as best I could and added another layer of roving. The needle felting worked and it ended up looking like this.
This is the other ball that misbehaved in the wet felting attempt. I turned it into a camouflage effect (I might know someone who would want it!)
THIS is how they are supposed to look when you take the wet felting shortcut.
I can’t tell you which type of roving misbehaved, since much of what I have was given to me. For me, it’s just a guessing game, trial and error and part of the process.
My little family of snowmen were very well behaved when it came time to pose for pictures, though. Not a one of them protested!
And it’s bitterly cold today, so they should be very, very happy!
Now…on to a different style!
Pretty much what I’m doing this week–experimenting with different types of hand made Christmas ornaments.
Today I tried an alternate “felted ball” technique. You are supposed to start with a styrofoam ball, so I picked one up from the store…they only had one size and it seemed rather large. The next step is to needle felt roving right into the styrofoam, until it is covered. Welllll….let me tell you, that is NOT the way I want to spend the next two years of my life. The roving did not want to stick to the styrofoam and even with my multiple needle felter, it was slooooooow.
Short cut! Wrap the roving, felt in a few spots to help it hold together, then throw it in a plastic bag with hot water and a little soap. Manipulate the bag kinda gently over the surface of the roving and it will felt itself small enough to surround and stick to the ball. It only took a few minutes–really! Dried it quickly with a hair dryer and hand felted into a few thin spots. Done in less than half an hour and doing it by hand would have seriously taken hours and hours!
That’s step one. The fun part began with addition of colored roving for a snowman face, hat, scarf and carrot nose! Love this ornament and will be making more, as soon as I find more styrofoam balls.
Learning curve–I think I will make future snowmen smaller on the balls. This one is so large that you can’t see the hat or scarf without moving the ball around. Ideally, you want to see the whole picture at once.
It’s really been a lot of years since I’ve taken time to make Christmas ornaments. I had forgotten how much fun it is. Looking forward to making lots more!
Judy Coates Perez was a guest teacher a couple of years ago at our guild. She is best known for paint and ink techniques and she is a wonderful artist. She recently had a wonderful blog post…which I am sharing with you.
She uses wool yarn and roving to create beautiful felted Christmas ornaments and anyone who loves to do handwork will surely love to try these!
The link to her blog is HERE and you owe it to yourself to check it out!
These look like so much fun!
I tried it–let me show you what I did!
According to Judy’s instructions, you make the felted balls with roving and stuff it all in old panty hose
run it through the washer and dryer and then you are ready to embellish!
Using templates for leaf shapes, I got a few pieces of felt ready to add to the felted balls.
Embroidery and beading added, this is the first ornament I completed.
Aaaaaand…it was fun, but not the favorite technique I’ve ever learned. However, I’ve seen a few ornaments that were needle felted and I want to try that, too! It is the season, after all!
Yeah, working in a series is not at all hard. You just make things the same size, or a common color or theme or variation and have lots of fun exploring a subject. That’s what I did with the little leaves for the new class and now the series is done.
Maybe…I’ve loved doing these and the results are very nice. It’s possible that I may make more of these. Maybe a series that ends up as a full quilt. I’m very much in the habit of finishing these little projects and putting them out for sale. I think with this series that I will NOT finish them until I am truly and completely done with making them. That’s when I will decide their ultimate fate…could be a while!