Mad dash….and wait!

I’ve been a little bit scarce on the blogging front for a few days now. I believe I told you that my friend Katie and I are prepping an exhibition entry for a two-person show. Well…my entries were not entirely compatible with hers even though we do ‘make’ in a comparable style. I ended up making one new piece and scouring my walls and tables and piles of quilts for a few more. Aaaaand the application was submitted today. So now we wait.

But now we can also relax and for me that means making something new, on a delightfully slow time line.

My goal is to use only/mainly fabric that I have made so I found some hand dyes that I liked together in a group. Did a little stack and slash and came up this little four patch.

It took me almost half a day to get this far. As I said, working slow! In between panic attacks for the exhibition application, I played around with it a bit, thinking about what other pieces to add and how big I want it to be.

I have quite a bit more of everything but the brown and that brown is what’s grounding all these busy elements. So I guess it won’t get very big. In fact, I think that I’m done with the piecing now.

Probably a facing rather than a binding, when it gets to that point–I like it like this. There are lots of raw edges and delicious areas for hand stitching and I’m eager to continue on with it.

And no hurry, no deadlines, no purpose but pure enjoyment. Aaaaaah, yes!


Themes work for me…

On Tuesday I met with a tech group from my quilt guild, but that was side business for the REAL meeting I needed. My friend Katie and I are trying to put together an application for an art exhibition and we needed to organize ourselves and pick pieces. The rest of the group were happy to give time and share their insights with us—thank goodness! We got a title and theme, using hand dyes, circles and squares.

I feel that I don’t have as much work that complements Katie’s as I thought I might. Panic time (for me–she was fine!)!!!

After the meeting, I ran home and started assessing what I have and the panic did not abate. So I threw fabric around like a wild woman for a little while and found some scraps that fit the circle theme and a background and got a preliminary idea on the design wall.

I have learned to think about designs as I fall asleep and while I exercise in the mornings and it really does help! It was obvious that this rough ‘sketch’ would need some work, but I think this piece was meant to be. It almost created itself…


And a little rearrangement of the elements

And what I thought was a dye failure turned out to be perfect for the backing

The quilting has been started………………

One day wonder…still more to do, of course, but I am highly motivated! And I even really, really like it! The panic is subsiding. Phew!

A festival of…fiddly bits!

Of course, I spend a lot of time watching paint dry when I’m mounting work on canvas!

But I’m pretty happy when it finally dries and I get that piece mounted!

Today I thought I might do some more pieces with this type of string background, but I couldn’t make myself work with those strings. I decided to look through my unloved, previously quilted pieces and maybe cut them up for coasters. Thankfully I don’t have too many of those, but the first one I came across is not going to end as coasters!

It was pretty unattractive as a whole piece but when I cut it into smaller chunks—well, it will do! Two larger and two smaller pieces that look so much better in tiny doses!

And then there’s this–

big, very bright, in your face red and stripes. Don’t have a solution yet, but I’m pretty sure there are some coasters coming out of this!

And there is always more quilting to be done. In fact, I thought this piece would be finished with some straight lines in an afternoon. But noooooo–it needs much more stitching than I originally thought.

It really does. So it will take quite a bit longer, but I simply cannot be satisfied with it as it is here. Yep–quilted to death on this one.

All of this is in an effort to organize myself for three–yes, three–upcoming shows! And some of my stuff is out at yet another show now. Usually the shows are one at a time and what doesn’t go in one will go in the next. This time though, there are applications and photos, so some items have to be reserved for each show. I know this is normal for most artists who regularly enter shows, but I haven’t done this many at once before. Lots of fiddly bits to work out and forcing myself to finish all the way–including labels, sleeves, hardware, photos, and inventory sheets!

Not creative, maybe, but necessary.

Discharge paste

I have tried to experiment with discharge paste before and was not too impressed with my results. My latest dye results were not my best either, so I thought I’d play with both. Nothing to lose, right?

The piece of fabric I used started as a black and white print. I did a single color deconstructed screen print over it and it came out very, very dark. I neglected to take a photo of the original!

I used stencils and discharge paste right out of the bottle and got a little bit of lightening of the darkest area.

I looked over the directions again and honed in on the possibility of adding water to the paste so that it was absorbed more into the fabric. Which I did and here are the results, in the same area of the fabric.

See any noticeable difference? I sure don’t! The discharge paste DID work on the fabric in many areas. Enough to make this an interesting piece of fabric.

I have another piece of fabric that I really, really did not like and I watered the paste down even more. After it dries, I’ll see if the paste had more of an effect than on this one, but overall, I don’t think that discharge paste is worth the effort for me! One more item I can clean out of my studio and pass on to someone else.

So now it’s back to working on items for my Artisan Showcase. I know I need to make some Christmas items. They were popular last time, but I’m not thrilled with making Christmas things. I opened up the drawer that I shoved all my Christmas stuff into and found this————-

A whole bunch of started items that only need some embellishment. Hooray! I feel like I’m almost done already now! Ready–set–go!

More bits and pieces

As promised, here is a pic of the finished turquoise beaded piece.

Way different than I originally imagined, but that’s what happens when your art tells you what it wants!

Had some down time while I was deciding what to tackle next, so I deconstructed a collection of neckties that I had. There really is an unbelievable amount of fabric in a necktie. I’m always surprised. Anyhow, now I have a pile of necktie fabric sitting in a drawer, waiting for inspiration.

Let’s see…I’m putting a sleeve on an older piece and looked at the pile of canvas pieces that need hanging hooks and wires. I walked away from that chore!

Basted a quilt…wonder how long that will sit before I get around to the quilting.

And when I put it on the pile of basted quilts, I selected one to start working on. And it, too, sent me in a direction I was not expecting.

I had a plan to quilt an uneven grid, reflecting the uneven grid dyed into the fabric. And I started out that way, but instead did a random assortment of partial grid sections. Then, this happened…

It’s difficult to see in this next pic, but all this flower stuff is on the left side.

It doesn’t show up all that well, but…I’m toying with the idea of micro lines from the flower part to the other edge. Maybe a bit more of the flowers, first.

And if I do that, should it be the navy thread that I did the partial grid sections with, the variegated thread that I did the flowers in, or something else? Time to step away and let that decision float around in my brain for a while.

As I’m writing this, the weather tomorrow is supposed to be a real killer…high humidity and 90 degrees…and I’m teaching a dye class out in my garage. Hydration–move slowly–take breaks in the air conditioning as needed–right? There might be more breaks than usual……………..

A few beads

For some reason, unknown to myself, I have not done much beading lately. This week I’ve managed to get back to it. I also realized that I often show you in-progress work but sometimes forget to show the finished product!

The black beading definitely rescued this piece.

And I decided that beading was necessary on this piece, too.

Even though the thread was shiny and metallic, it wasn’t quite enough to stand out from the busy background.

Plain turquoise beads seemed like they would fill the bill. And it is too small a piece to agonize over beading decisions!

And as I added the beads in little staggered rows, I was distracted by my container of ‘leftover’ miscellaneous beads. So I added some.

I couldn’t decide if the plain dangles were enough or if I needed to emphasize them with more turquoise.

And neither was correct! I will end up continuing the staggered rows all the way to the tips and incorporate the dangles between the turquoise beads.

I was kind of surprised that the dangles looked so good, since they are totally strung by random selection. But my hindsight tells me that it makes sense, because of all the colors in the background. I may experiment with dark leaf shapes behind the ‘flowers’ before I call this one finished. And I will try to remember to show the finished piece!

I’m getting the urge to start on a BIG beaded project again, but don’t have one shaped up in my imagination yet. It may be that one with the rust fabric circles, but that one is still in a time out right now! I have even looked through my rarely used sketchbooks, but found more piecing ideas than anything adaptable to a beaded project.

It’s wonderful to have too many ideas and not enough time. I cannot imagine the horror of a creative block and hope I never have to work through one. For now, a bit of each of my loves–beading, quilting, embroidery, dyeing–makes me very happy!

Failure—is not an option!

Sometimes when things seem too easy, I get a bit suspicious. That was the case with this last string pieced background.

When it came time to add the design, I traced on my stencil design and decided on a simple black outline. And I continued stitching from the back because it’s really easier to see it that way on these type of backgrounds.

Looked good–nice and dark–couldn’t be easier. That is when I started to suspect that something might not be quite right. I turned it over and–

whaaaat?! You could barely see all that stitching through the fabric and color on the top! I was quite disappointed and couldn’t see a good fix right away.

I tried to add an outline stitch with black embroidery floss, but the background is too dense to get a needle through without a tractor pulling it! That’s why I do these with the machine in the first place.

However, I found that a beading needle is much thinner and goes through that fabric pile quite easily.

Back to the old standby, but it works for the desired effect. Fabric and thread will NOT defeat me. And I now have a handwork project…all is well.