Slow stitching

Knot Even Quilters meeting today and we had decided to do a slow stitching round robin and simply enjoy the time. Everyone brought their project and the materials needed to work on it and even some general foo-foo to share. Not surprisingly, as soon as the stitching began, the conversation dropped to a low murmur!

The plan was for us to stitch and switch after 15 minutes and that time limit was immediately discarded. Most of us wanted to produce quality work on each piece we worked on, so we spent a bit more time before we switched. We had some “skip me, I need a few more minutes” but in the end we all worked on all the pieces. Sooooo much fun, but no pictures. Maybe when we bring them all back finished…don’t laugh! It could happen. In fact, most members of the group ARE finishers, so it will be fun to see.

My project was a last minute two-fer. Another group I belong to is going to have a challenge and make a round robin scroll piece…decided last night and I need to have a sample for the next meeting. Sooo–I grabbed a bunch of supplies, some background fabric and used my KEQ friends to get me started!

I am using lace, sheers, vintage linens and my aim is to have a lavish and vintage piece. They are such good friends and started me off so well!

I’m going to put so much more stitching into this and I don’t want to work on any of my other deadline pushing projects. However, I forced myself to put this away. Out of sight means that I will get the obligations finished first.

And, as promised, blog posts will be fewer during the busy-ness of summer fun. Grandson hockey camp this week.

Swimming and picnic with him and his friend Friday. Quilt guild Saturday………………….looking forward to Sunday. Maybe not a ‘day of rest’ but surely a day of quiet sewing.

And that darn grass just keeps on growing………………!!


Weekend fun

Another spur of the moment weekend trip for us and I did absolutely NO sewing. My family is originally from the Utica/LaSalle IL area and we decided to go back for a visit. The areas’s major attraction is Starved Rock State Park. It’s along the Illinois River, with limestone bluffs and canyons and trails and waterfalls……..lots of walking!

We have not actually walked those trails since our son was a baby, and things have changed a bit, for the better. There were no boardwalks or safety fences or STAIRS on the trails then. We stood on the bare rock, and didn’t dare get too close to the edge.

The view from the top of the rock is spectacular, and this will give you an idea of how high we are.

It is so much safer now, with these improvements and better for the area ecologically, too. Limestone wears down very quickly and hundreds of people go through the park every summer. Winter draws almost as many, especially since the eagle population has rebounded and they nest on a river island.

But the other half of the equation is the abundance of canyons in these limestone bluffs. Walking the trails, you look up and can barely see the sky.

From the heights, to the depths and no shortcuts! Soooooooo much climbing, and for every step up, you had to make the trip down to get out of those canyons. But it was totally worth it for those lovely waterfalls…that you can walk behind! My favorite kind!

With lovely pools beneath them.

I didn’t take photos of one waterfall and pool that was filled with joyous, laughing, wet children from a youth group. They were having so much fun!

We could barely move after we were done. It’s a bit different when you are a senior citizen than it was when we were young. We were able to make it to a lovely cafe and I liked the window treatments very much.

I think it’s a great use of all those vintage handkerchiefs you may not know what to do with. Of course, if they are precious to you, you won’t want to expose them to sun damage, etc. but do you want to enjoy them or hide them away to preserve them for another generation that won’t know what to do with them? Can you tell that I would USE them?

Had dinners with a couple of cousins and visited the museum that was once my grandfather’s workplace. Got some info about him there that I hadn’t known, so that was a bonus. We had some extra time and went to Galena IL, since hubby loves history and that’s the home of U.S. Grant. Turns out it is a totally charming town and may deserve another visit to just tourist around that area.

Our last minute weekends have been wonderful fun, but I do have things to get done now! Looking forward to some art group meetings, and Quilt University at the end of the month. Teaching at Blue Lake at the beginning of August–lots of decisions and projects to get ready for that.

Isn’t summertime supposed to be for rest and relaxation? Good thing I love what I do!

Have you ‘squashed’?

Something new and very interesting to me!!! I am not a scrapbooker or journal keeper so the idea of squash books came as a surprise to me when I saw one a few days ago. It’s a book that folds up into a small square and they are absolutely charming. I want to do it in fabric, with a professional look AND be able to teach it at Blue Lake in a couple of weeks. Yeah, right………..easier said than done, for sure!

First thing was to learn how to fold it and then to figure out which materials would work best with fabric. Heavy interfacing was my first thought and it is maybe too heavy. It will make a large package even before adding any fabric.

So, lighter weight interfacing. Had lots of fusible, but can’t iron in the folds that way! Sew in interfacing worked just fine.

Scraps and large pieces, no decorative stitching, so the premise works fine. But look at those raw edges!

One edge treatment often suggested is a dip in paint to seal the edge so that’s what I tried.

Ummmm–nope! Messy, uneven, ugly. The stitcher’s answer would be a machine sewn edge, but I want to teach this to unskilled children so I can’t plan on that. For adults who already know how to sew, probably! For camp, it’s important to me to teach hand sewing skills.

So I’m headed back to the drawing board–and more thinking–while I work this up. Oh, AND we want to incorporate a cross disicipline printing component with this, too. We are all good teachers, but maybe not this good, for this project. There are other ways to add mixed media.

Will continue to work on this idea–in a hurry–but I’m sure there will be some version of it taught at camp!


Bits and pieces, again!

Bits of time and bits of projects. That’s what’s happening around here lately. It’s summertime, so that’s how things go in the studio! You need to enjoy the time and the people and the outdoor things that don’t happen at other times of the year. Oh, yeah–that includes the lawn mowing and weeding the garden!

I’ve been working on several projects at once, with a lot of it only in my mind. And a lot of it is planning for teaching at Blue Lake in a couple of weeks. My co-teacher and I have a couple of good ideas, but it’s the translation from idea to TEACHING that idea that takes some work! Knowing that our students are primarily unskilled newbies to fabric arts really forces you to go back in time to memories of how you first learned these skills. I like to show why we tell them to do things certain ways rather than simply telling them to DO it.

3D is our focus this year, so they will have to take their art ideas, translate them to fabric, learn how to sew them and make them get up off the table! We are asking a lot of them.

I’m working on a sample that will show first, a simple design stitched on muslin with no interfacing or batting and a little paper embellishment added.

Then I will show them why we add those other things for support, even before we work on the underlying cardboard structures. Need to make those step out samples yet.

Also working on a challenge for my KEQ group and there is a deadline for that, too. I’m not going to show you my completed project just yet, but I did get it done. Just know that I used this artificial eyelash

AND these orange rubber flowers in the piece!

And while I had paint and glue and tools out, I got these pieces finished and mounted.

Trying to stay on track and work to deadlines, but I am easily distracted. My word for the day–every day–for the next couple of weeks is FOCUS!


Aaaaaand, it’s finished…sort of!

My big turquoise project is all quilted and I definitely could call it finished. It’s put together as I first envisioned it and I’m quite happy with it.

Even breaking 5–yes FIVE–needles on the stupid beaded peach fabric! I haven’t broken that many needles in five years, but those beads were vicious!

And it is actually incomplete. As I study it, I realize that it’s a pretty nice background. Color coordinated, nicely decorated, lots of good texture, but what’s missing? A good focal point!

And one of my first questions to myself is about that hanging sleeve. Is it all right as is?

Do I need to add stitch, paint or something to it? Or do I just need to fold it to the back and sew it down?

Then there are several ways I’m contemplating for adding a real focal area. First is area, such as a swath of color or a small, concentrated area.

Then there is color itself. All white, all peachy, various colors, black?

My plan is to create leaves from organza; same leaves that I used for the stamping. I would love to hear your opinions and ideas! There is no rush to finish on this one, so I can take my time and really think it through, not jump into it willy-nilly.

I have some leftover blocks that I want to utilize in a smaller piece, very similar, but no batting, more overlap of the leaves and probably no hand stitching…or maybe MORE hand stitching. Have a couple of challenge obligations to finish first, though! And Blue Lake teaching is coming up and I have no samples, so I’d better get on that, too.

I never yet have run out of things to do or ideas to try. The universe is soooo good to me that way!

Inspiration…or too many choices?

TV watching requires some type of hand stitching. It just does. So I grabbed some random wool scraps and some bright beads and started stitching.

That didn’t take long! What next? And that’s where the problems began………….

I went looking for some other beads to add, thinking I would do a color gradation in the spiral. It might still come to that, but I have so many cool beads tucked away that I have forgotten some of what I have!

I found these really lovely wooden beads and tried a couple of layout possibilities.


And more controlled.

And then these big black and white beads wanted to join the show.

And a baggie of big beads that look like they have once been made into a necklace, because they are coordinated.

I kind of want to do something with that elephant, but it’s really big for this little piece of scrap fabrics.

Really, decisions are so much harder when you have too many choices. I’m afraid to dig further into the bead storage drawers! Possibilities are endless!

KEQ Silk/wool Challenge

While I’m getting the big turquoise project quilted in odd bits of time, there are other odd bits of time more suitable for hand stitching. The latest KEQ challenge with wool and bits of silk is the perfect project.

Started at the last meeting and always intended for hand stitching, it seemed that simplicity would work best. I showed you how I added the cabachon . Then the rest of the project needed only rows of running stitch.

It was originally intended to become a 12″ square, but now it’s kind of rectangular. Usually I show you the finished product or a cropped picture before finishing. Since I’m not totally sure how it will be trimmed, this is the raw piece.

Another decision waiting to be made……….sigh!