Too, too much!

I have said it before but too many choices make things so much harder. I have such an over-abundance of materials that I can say “What if…” just about 100 times too many! I was pretty sure that I wanted to use the black and white with bright leftovers that I had. I figured I would either put them on individual squares and embellish them or try to put them on a background all together. Here’s what happened when I started to pull fabrics.

Individual blocks on these light backgrounds (because they were already cut into squares) did absolutely nothing for me. And I tried one more light background, a vanilla grunge.

Even less than blah.

Could I possibly use the leftovers of that orange line of fabric?

Absolutely no way!

I knew that I did not want plain, flat black so I tried some prints and colors. Soooo many more than I have pictures of here!

Again…not! So I went to what I wanted to try in the beginning–but I had felt the obligation to try out some cottons first. Open up those silk plaids!

Easily eliminated all the ones that were mostly red. The ones with blue, pink and purple-ish were kept for further consideration.

I liked this one a lot with the orange petals. And this one with the blue petals.

Laid them out next to each other for a possible combined piece, but that’s probably too busy-busy.

Still haven’t eliminated all the plaids–

and it could simply mean that I need to make two similar pieces.

As I looked over my stash of fabrics, and had so many possibilities running through my head, I felt overwhelmed by the potential. I totally could not process any more and need a break. Time for my brain to slow down that spin and make some choices subconsciously. When I go back to it, things should be much clearer. Aaaand, I posted on IG and FB and got some feedback help from my friends. Things should be much clearer tomorrow!

 

Revisiting old favorites

This was a piece that I sold shortly after I made it. Often I get to hang on to things for a bit before they leave me, but the timing on this left me wanting to love it a little bit longer!

It was/is a very simple idea. Strings of fabric, shaped into leaves, embroidered and beaded onto a silk background.

I still have the pattern sketch I drew up for it and would love to make it again…but not really. I am always a proponent of unique artwork so I never want to duplicate something I’ve done before. However, this is such a classic picture that I may have to do it.

Black and white is attractive to me right now, as well as that plaid silk that I never thought I’d find a use for…or maybe some of that stash of silk ties…glad I’m looking in the far corners of the studio for inspiration. This could actually be another series that I carry along in spare moments. I’m sure that I’ll start out like a house afire, but it may peter out after a bit. Who knows? Right now I’m just sure that it’s a good place to start.

Oh, I just remembered that I have a bunch of these leftovers from a project,

along with a ton of these

and I may try to meld them into something I like. Soooo happy to have the time, materials and inclination to play like this!!

Simple choices

HA! There is no such thing as a simple choice for me. I flip back and forth over some of the simplest decisions.

I only have one decision left to make for the Corona piece. Am I going to mount it on a larger canvas, so there is more of a border around the piece?

Or mount it on a smaller canvas so that only the piece itself shows?

How hard can that be? Evidently pretty hard, ’cause I cannot seem to make a final decision. Sheesh!

Quick–spring is here!

Several warm and sunny days have made me ready to celebrate the arrival of spring. It’s supposed to be cold and rainy tomorrow, so I had to take advantage of the mood today. Another old project surfaced and finally I knew what I wanted to do to finish it up.

This is free cut and fused. Actually several layers of fused fabric in many spots and I’ve played that game with hand stitching before. Not a chance on this one!

I love simple thread sketching. It gets color and, in this case, quilting done with a look of imperfection that always charms me. I first thought I would do the entire picture in a single color but soon abandoned that idea for using a few more defining colors. Most of it is done with a variegated purple, though. I do love my variegated threads!

And even though just yesterday I said that I am not good at meandering, that’s what I chose for the gold background on this piece. It worked out fine.

Happy spring!

.

Rocks…

I am so happy with my rocky ridge project, and it’s done! I completed the beading of the rocks onto the background and that forced decision time for the rest of the finishing.

I thought I wanted to add some shiny threads…I have a few.

And I pulled some from here, and some from there and concentrated on the greens.

I always pull anything I find when looking in a particular colorway. When they are all together it makes it easier to eliminate those that definitely won’t work, instead of digging repeatedly through the supply. As I studied, and tried to figure out how I wanted to quilt the background, most of these were eliminated.

I wanted a background that was simply there, to provide a support mass for the rocky ridges and not take attention from the main design. I’m horrible at meandering, scrolls and feathers were not appropriate, and more tree branches would make it look as if the mountain ridges were shorter than the trees. I ended up with pebbles and it seemed perfect.

Colors were funny. I ended up using these three variegated cones because there seemed to be three color areas in the background.

Some colors the same and some variety. Can you even tell that I used different thread?

Well, I can tell…a little bit, and I’m glad I went with the variegated. Did you notice that there were no shiny threads? Yep, I passed on shiny. Did not feel appropriate again for this piece.

As I was thinking about which thread to use, I was also planning the finishing details. I may have mentioned this before, but those rocky beads are heavy! No wall hanging for this one. Definitely needs to be mounted on a canvas. And soooo….do I want to put it on a cloth and wrap that around the edge of the canvas? I threw it on the same fabric as the background fabric for a first look.

Ummmm…don’t think so. I laid it out on the plain white canvas and now I have to figure out what color to paint it. Yes, it must be painted, even when I use a white canvas. Without paint the piece never, ever looks finished.

That’s where I’m at! Just a color decision left to make and implement. HA…that could mean another long dithering delay. So glad that I don’t have a deadline of any kind for this one!

And it doesn’t yet have a title. I probably should name it for the exact spot that inspired it, but that’s too unimaginative. I’d like to call it Dry Ridge, but there’s a real place called Dry Ridge and it is NOT where these ridges are. Gotta think some more about this now. Usually a piece tells me it’s name while I’m creating it, but this one has not. It needs to speak up-or maybe I need to listen harder!

Adding Bias

To answer a question about adding bias strips…I first learned this little technique when I thought I would love applique and wanted the easiest method possible for narrow bias stems. I’ll keep this as basic as possible because once you get the concept, you will want to do it the way it looks best in your project.

First thing is to cut some bias strips, as wide or narrow as you want. They do not have to be ‘true’ bias, just close to that 45° angle. I’m not going to show extremely narrow–that’s a bit fiddly and I’ll let you play with that on your own.

Fold in two and press.

Now you are ready to stitch the bias strips to your background, and you can do curvy lines or straight. For this sample, I chose curves. Sew close to the raw edge.

You may pin your bias down where you want it or you can simply curve as you go if you’re doing improv. Then all that’s left is to fold that bias back over the stitching and press it flat. That covers the raw edges and you can make various choices for the other edge.

Sometimes you need to gently persuade the bias to lay flat, especially if you have made very tight curves, but gentle curves are happy to do what you want.

Final finishing decisions are where you will want to add your own touch. (I’ve used very dark thread so you can see what I’m talking about!) You can hand stitch the edge down. Not ever going to be my first choice, but perfect for applique flower stems. I usually machine stitch the edge.

If you use matching thread, it doesn’t show, but I often use this method for wider strips and like to stitch on both sides of the strip.

You can sew the whole thing down with a zig zag or a fancy stitch, instead of a straight line.

 

Boy, those look pretty ugly done right over the top of the straight line, don’t they?  Pretend the straight stitch isn’t there! Sorry……………..but that’s all there is to it! Took about 5 times longer to write this than to do it, of course!

Questions? I’m happy to go into greater detail but try it first. It’s easier to do than all my words, words, words would have you believe!

Time for introspection

Self isolation is a wonderful time for a lot of “self” things…reflection, evaluation, self care. And I think I’m going to do some of that. There are lots of posts on FB about ways to keep yourself occupied during quarantine. I’ve never had a problem finding tons of things to do and I love being home with time to do them. But those posts are also illustrating many techniques that I may have learned or tried and thought, “oh, I’ll get back to that when I have more time.”

I think now is that time.

Yes, I’m spending some of it finishing up old projects. Like this one, that was made as a sample, along with the one I showed you the other day.

It was so poorly sewn together that the first thing I did was remove those wonky borders. I decided that since this is the school we are fans of, I will make this bigger so hubby can have a new quilt for his recliner.

Not sure exactly how I’ll make that happen, but I picked some fabrics with which to work and it will be a ‘background’ project to work on while I reflect and explore other options.

I have often said that I want to incorporate more paper into my work. I have learned how to do some of that and want to learn much more. Now’s the time.

I would like to utilize more of the beads, buttons, ribbons, yarns and foo-foo stuff that I have acquired………..or make a decision to pass on much more of it to others. Now’s the time for that decision.

I want to dye and paint and print and stencil and it’s so messy and the results are so wonderful and I always have an excuse to not make that mess. Now’s the time.

I have more fabric than I can sew up in the rest of my lifetime. I love it. I love looking at it and dreaming about it and feeling the texture of it. Do I need to keep it? Will it hurt anyone or anything if I have this huge hoard? Will it help anyone if I can share some of it out? These are some big decisions and now’s the time to seriously ask myself for some answers.

Self-reflection and maybe some tough love for those hoarded items. Now’s the time.

Self care includes taking long walks, since the gyms are closed. Love doing this and it also gives me lots of time to think about these issues.

Gotta do it. Now’s the time.