Hooray–Finally quilting!

Yes, I finished the hand stitching on my big turquoise project and I can start on the machine work! Hooray, hooray, hooray!

And I keep referring to this as a huge project, but it’s not even bed quilt size, so it’s not so very large! But for a wall hanging, it’s pretty humongous.

I got that first leaf quilted and I’m going to be very happy with the choice of black thread.

However, my choice for the areas surrounding the leaves was not so wonderful. I had planned on random interlocking square and rectangular shapes and started with that…….and ripped it out! I simply didn’t care for the look at all. So now I’m trying pebbles.

Not thrilled with those either, but the more organic is definitely better than the straight lines. This is not coming out exactly how I had imagined, but they never do, do they? My raw edges and batting showing may need more enhancement than I thought to say what I mean……….working like this is so much fun!

Probably no more stitching time until Saturday or even Sunday, but it is progressing!

Beading a cabachon

When we were working on our wool and silk challenge at our recent KEQ meeting, I selected a cabachon to add to my piece. I didn’t get far enough to start beading it that day, but one of my friends wants to see how it’s done. I can show the simple beaded cage that I’m using but anything complex………..well, I have books and videos that can guide me through that because I don’t have that knowledge embedded in my brain at all!

(Here’s my caveat–there are many ways to do this and I’m showing you only what I find easy to do and that will hold the stone on the fabric!)

The first step is to decide where you are going to place your stone and then trace around it. You build a wall of ‘posts’ right around that line.

Test your wall now and then to make sure nothing has shifted and your stone fits in the space you are defining.

Now you are ready to start connecting your fence posts together to cage in the stone. This is a trial and error process and you may need to work back and re-do several times before you get a tight fit, especially if your stone is very odd shaped. This particular one is smooth and even. I still needed to work sometimes two or sometimes three beads between posts and keep trying the stone in the space to make sure it would be snug enough to hold it.

Some folks glue the stone in place before they do this, but I find it easier, since it is trial and error fitting, to add a few beads and try the stone and add a few more and try again. The beading is easier without the stone in place.

After your cage is fitted, it is highly recommended that you DO glue that stone into place. This cage can hold the stone in place, but it’s on fabric, which can be manipulated and stretch and pop that stone right out! If you are putting large stones on a wearable or a bag, this is not the best cage for durability!

That’s all there is to it for this one, though.

Now I’m ready to finish this piece. Have to decide if I want negative space to the right of the focal point or if it needs some more threadwork to connect the sections. Or maybe more beads!

My evening relaxation task. Looking forward to it.

Yes…no…maybe…

Decisions along the design path are extremely difficult for me. Most become pretty clear cut with a little study but almost always there is a wall. You can’t quite seem to make the decsion that will lift you over that wall and on to the finish line. Today was that day for me and this piece.

Good like this, right?  It’s a little piece of silk, though, so it needs some finishing. First thought was to satin stitch the edge, as I often do, and mount it on a canvas. No extra spark of interest that way, though.

Then I thought to mount it on wool felt.

Plain white, but it will have navy cording lines added to stitch the pieces together. Plain white doesn’t look too bad. So how about adding another layer? I have dyed cotton organdy that is semi-sheer and I tried a couple of pieces.

Darker, mostly navy with a bit of purple.

Lighter, lots of turquoise and shades of blue.

Can’t seem to make a decision. Does that mean none of the options are the correct one? Or only that I cannot see a solution that might be obvious to you?

Sticking point, so what did I do? Put this aside and stitched on the turquoise beast. It’s getting closer to the next step, but there will be a sticking point on that one also. I can almost feel it breathing down my neck. I hear that dreaded inner whisper…’focal point, focal point’. It’s gotta be time to step away and let my subconscious work on this for a while!

Weekend Surprise!

We took off for a little weekend break and picked Springfield, IL since  hubby is a history buff and…Lincoln, you know. I did a bit of the tourist stuff with him but I am NOT a history buff, so I had some sewing time. I had planned on lounging  by the pool, but it was not heated enough for me. I’m a real wuss and like it bathwater warm!

Got the beading done on my Paper Moon, though, and I really like it.

And then Keith came back from the museum and hurried me out to the street–HAD to see this, he said! And he was absolutely correct. The Springfield Art Association had an event, called Paint the Street. Four whole blocks of people painting squares on the streets. It was awesome and totally makes me want to get something like this going back home. Loved every bit of it!

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There was more Lincoln stuff, but you know it was the art that I loved. Great weekend getaway!

KEQ Dirty Dozen

It’s always easy for a group to have a Dirty Dozen Challenge because the limits are so flexible. But I have to say, I am looking at an extremely varied pile of objects for this one.

Our rules are very flexible, though. For example, we don’t actually have to USE the orange foam rubber shapes, but can reference them through stamping or painting or using just the shape. Same with the iced tea bottle. But still………..

I try to think about projects like this as I am falling asleep at night. Often I can work out construction problems or at the very beginning like this, my subconscious can come up with ideas while I sleep. This one, however, has not been making it easy to drift off.

I think I have the beginnings of an idea, though, and it’s wacky enough to even need those foam shapes!

It’s going to take more thought, though, before I truly have a good plan.

In the meantime, the group is going to have a simple stitching day Thursday, with a “Common Ground” beginning. I’m bringing squares of wool and silk and each of us is blindly bringing some embellishments to add.

Doesn’t it sound delightful to have a stitch and chat, with no real expectations? I’m looking forward to it, for sure.

Work on the turquoise big project continues, a few inches at a time. As eager as I am to start on the next phase of construction, is as slowly as I proceed on this one. I am glad that I remembered a trick from my hand quilting days.

You unwind double the amount of thread that you normally would and start sewing in one direction…but only pull that first stitch through to the halfway point. Then when you have used the first half of the thread, you go back and start the other half in the other direction.

And since I’m stitching around squares and rectangles, and it’s not easy to turn the entire piece, it’s much easier this way. Obviously half the starts and stops!

Slow living in the summertime, for sure. Always something like grass mowing or gardening or grandson time to pull me out of the studio. Summer in Michigan is so unpredictable that you have to stop everything and enjoy the delightful outdoor time when you can! Even when the deer make a delightful dessert of your beautiful hostas!

I am replacing some of those hosta with more deer resistant plants. Let them dine elsewhere!!

More paper play

Not many minutes to spend playing in the last couple of days, but my thought about wetting the paper stuck in my head. So I did it.

It didn’t add quite as much texture as I thought it would.

But a little bit of crinkle is fine. And since it was thick paper, I may have been a bit rough with it. There are a couple of small holes, but they can be covered with whatever additional embellishment I do……….or they can be made a bit bigger! Don’t know which yet!

I did decide to add a tree, rather than my original thought of a woman’s form.

And after I fused it down, I had a few different ideas for what I could have done. Oh, well, not the first time that has happened!

I really do have so much fun playing like this. It’s 166% satisfying and even more relaxing! Important to play, no matter what your age!

Paperwork–lessons learned!

This piece is not even finished and I’ve learned a lot from it already.

First, don’t grab a piece of paper for the sake of using paper.

Next, have something special planned that really requires the use of paper.

And, for goodness sake, don’t use paper for something that would give the same effect with fabric!

The paper I used was thick and simply had a nice texture so I thought it would be fine. It is, but paper wasn’t needed! And if I really wanted to have a ‘paper moon’ then I should have used some of the beautiful specialty papers that I passed by. It wasn’t horribly difficult to use, but I did try to be careful not to fold or wrinkle it. I’m tempted to play with it a bit, though and maybe wet it and crinkle it to see what happens….hmmm….

And I think I would have liked using torn paper better than this nice, precisely cut circle. Next time.

I want to add more to this and finish it up but I’m torn as to what I want to add. I have a couple of ideas—wait–this might mean I need to do this more than once! That could happen, with variations, of course! Beads. It needs beads. Lots of beads. Yep!