Adventure is the word that resonated with me today. Every single time that I enter my studio, I feel as though I am embarking on a new adventure. Whenever I say ‘what if…’ and sparks of ideas fly into my imagination, the next escapade begins. And there is always a piece of fabric, or a color, or a bead that inspires action. I cannot imagine that I will ever run out of inspiration, though I am old enough that I CAN envision running out of time or physical ability!

This experiment is wrapping up. All the concepts are roughed in and it is at the point of filling in the blanks with the technical, mechanical details. Always fun, as well as being important to strive for excellence, but the mind is free to start exploring territory for the next undertaking.

Quite a few more sun ray lines to do, with some metallic thread added for a bit of sparkle! And more quilting to do with the leaves and grasses, but essentially done.

My mind has wandered on…and that’s a fitting phrase for what it wandered onto. Alzheimer’s is an affliction that is near to my heart, since my father had it. Every now and then I try to express my feelings about this utterly devasting disease with a piece of art. Not the cheeriest of subjects, of course, but art is emotional–ALL the emotions.

This is started and my mind now gets to ask ‘what if…’ for the next steps.

I believe it is headed for the foggier brain side of the disease rather than the loss of function of the physical side.

The daily adventure that is now my life continues!


Little time, little progress

My time was constricted in several ways this week. My repaired sewing machine had to return to the shop…it wasn’t quite right with the decorative stitches. That added a trip to Ann Arbor, but also cancelled out the guild workshop for Sunday on using those decorative stitches. But we had bonus time with our grandson on school conference days, lunch and movie with his friend. As well as hockey practice and games to add to the time crunch…………and not one moment of regret or hesitation. Love every minute we can spend with this guy! Studio time will always come second to him!

Along the way, we were treated to this marvelous rainbow.

So–what got done? Almost finished this, but I wanted to add one more round of decorative stitching around the edge.

….with the machine that went back to the shop. Sigh…

Made progress on my seashore project. I quilted the sky with simple swirls, using variegated thread. Really like it.

I started on the ground area and used some lovely silk thread. It really stands out, even on the similarly colored background.

And I’m planning on adding some sun rays. Those can’t really be totally free motion stitched without some direction. Otherwise the angles get all wonky and weird looking. I used a circle and my old reliable, painter’s tape, and I think this will work.

That’s waiting for me when I get back into the studio. But right now those hockey games are waiting!

Seascape, I think

Started work on another edition of “Find a Good Seascape” today. I thought I would begin with a bright, sunny day.

Sunshine and blue sky–perfect. It needs a few clouds, of course, so I went through my hoard of dyed cheesecloth.

I think I found what I need–so I went and found some more.

After I laid out my sky, I started to wonder about what process would work best for getting it stitched down. There was some green tulle on the shelf and I laid a piece of it over the entire piece. Not too sure, so I cut some pieces of the tulle to add a bit more texture and color to the sky.

I liked it and decided that those bits of green would stay even with the tulle over the top of the whole thing. That would be an easy way to finish things off, but I really do not like the look or feel of tulle over the top. It kind of defeats the purpose of having textured fibers!

But before I had to make that decision, I had to make some land for that sky to sit on! Came up with a very narrow strip of land/water/beach and added cheesecloth to that, too!

Yep–still like that bit of green tulle added to the sky.

Back to the technique decision. Don’t know if you can see it in the pic, but when everything is covered in tulle, I think it feels like a mesh bag of onions, ready for the fridge. Nope.

I went with my old standby next–water soluble stabilizer over the top. Usually works like a charm. This time it was a disaster. It was so bad I had to rip it out right away. Didn’t even take a picture of it. It pulled and wrinkled and distorted in a way that I have not seen before. And I’m not going to try to solve the issue when there is a way that always works.

Basting. Takes more time. It’s a pain to do. This time, it’s the only way that seems to work. But it always works!

Basting in a high contrast thread color because I want to easily see it when it comes time to remove it. That also forces me to look closely at all the areas when I’m doing that and make sure that I didn’t miss sewing something down.

That will be the next step in the process, but I won’t have much studio time in the next several days. It’s probably a good thing, since every step of this piece is taking a lot of thinking. And I THINK I’m on the right track now!

Going nowhere, fast!

Weekends are not very productive around here–and for exceptionally good reasons! Weekends are grandson time, whether it’s just hanging around the house or going to his hockey games. Much higher priority than playing in the studio!

I worked on my challenge and thought that it was finished. I didn’t take a pic of it, though. As I thought more about it, I felt that it needed something more. It did not speak to me very well. And now I am in the process of adding more to it.

X’s and O’s and the more I add of those, the less and less I like the beaded center strip. That may all have to come off and probably be replaced by small x’s and o’s. I think that’s what this started saying to me. And when your pieces talk to you, you need to listen!

My friend, the bleach

Sometimes I act against all the best advice, as I did yesterday. I used household bleach on fabric, in a normally vented space, without a gas mask on, and no gloves. And I survived.

This was said a bit tongue-in-cheek, because there are safety precautions that are necessary and I try to stay safe with all the products I use. However, in this case, I put bleach and water on previously dyed ugly fabric and it was no more than you’d use for a load of dirty athletic socks! And I did use anti-chlor to remove the last of the chlorine from the fabric before it went back on the shelf .

I didn’t take a before photo of the first little piece I did, but it turned out beautifully–and much more useable.

I took a look at my shelf of hand dyes and decided on a few that I really disliked. What did I have to lose if they did not improve, since I already didn’t care for them?

Different fabrics and dyes will discharge differently and these were no exception. I was so pleased with the improvement on most of them.

Now I’m looking at the shelf again for more candidates!

There was really only one that I hated when it went in the bleach and still hate now!

Both the orange and green are very obnoxious, so it will get thrown in with something else next time I’m dyeing.

I always have so much fun when I’m coloring–or UN-coloring–fabric!

Finish and start

The orange circle quilt is finished!

Except for one little detail…I waited until I washed the quilt to make the decision. I did not know if the magenta stripe needed any quilting.

There is certainly no technical reason to add more quilting, but I think I want a tiny bit of additional detail. I have some matching thread (of course!!!) and I think a little ferny looking stitch down the center will make me happy.

And while this was washing and drying, I decided to start the seascape with the fabrics I showed you last time.

I got this far, spray basted it to the batting and came to a dead stop. I think it will make a nice little picture, but I think the colors are still wrong for my potential client. It just doesn’t feel right for her. It’s going to get set aside and I’ll try again tomorrow with some other fabric. If I can’t get it on the third try…well, let’s just hope for the best!

So little, so much

I’m not doing my usual bunch of  projects, scattered all over the house. I have gotten a bit into doing one project from start to finish and it’s been nice. But my sewing machine breakdown interrupted the flow of one project so I started in on the quilting of the orange circle quilt, including the dreaded piecing of the back! I’ve stuck with it, even though quilting a large quilt start to finish is usually quite boring!

All I have left is about half the border and the binding.

I really wanted to start in on a possible seascape abstract, but really didn’t want to change the set up on my machine from quilting to piecing…which is not a major thing, but if I changed away from the quilting I might have procrastinated and put it away for a while. So I pulled fabrics and have an idea of what I want to do.

And I went through my boxes of buttons and beads and even my mom’s old sewing case searching for something unusual to put on the project that is waiting!

I found these two pincushions in mom’s sewing things–numbers 3 & 4 that I have ended up with from her house! As I said on FB and IG, I cannot remember the last time I actually saw her sewing, but with all those pincushions, she was always prepared!

I even found the darning egg that I remembered from my childhood–not using it, but in with the sewing things! All in all, there were a surprising number of choices for embellishing the text project. Can’t use them ALL, but I’ll bet I can use quite a few without overdoing it.

I’m leaning heavily towards one of the necklaces rather than any kind of eclectic mix. But I need to finish the couching before I decide.

I’ve been wanting to make some different samples before the next couple of classes I’m teaching also. My style has changed and I think it would be fun to do what I do in other colorways and pare things down to the essentials. Improv is not as unknown as it was 10 years ago, so I can throw in a bit more on the assembly and design side! Fun!

Bright spot of the week (pun intended!) was getting the old kitchen light replaced with an LED one, and the difference is amazing! Lucky that I have a wonderful son that can do that for us, since I don’t know how and the hubby has shoulder and knee issues that prevent climbing the ladder and working overhead. It’s actually light when the switch is flipped. Wonderful improvement.

Sooooo….not doing much, but keeping busy. Should be up and running with the repaired machine by this time tomorrow but I am resolved to finish the orange quilt FIRST. It’s so close to done, I cannot put it aside now!

Rarin’ to go!