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 single drop of water…

There are many quotations that refer to starting with a small step, a single stitch, a single drop of water that leads to a journey, a garment, a waterfall. Today I felt like everything I was doing was but a single drop of water heading towards becoming a lake.

I wanted to mount some finished pieces on canvas, but I needed to screen print my label on the back of the canvas first. And then I need to paint the canvas to complement the work. And the canvas needed two coats, so I had to wait for the paint to dry. Some of the canvas blanks are too small for my screen, so I had to get out the multi-label screen and print on paper or fabric to make small labels………and wait for those to dry!

One step, two step…….and the string background was sitting there waiting to be noticed. I like to do an envelope turn on most of these, but with fusible interfacing, not fabric. And I play with designs by drawing on the back until I get close to what I want.

Sometimes I sew a guideline on the back and then stitch the design from the front. This time I put glittery thread in the bobbin and stitched from the back.

And now I have another one waiting to be mounted. More waiting for the paint to dry. Unless I look at it a while longer and decide that it needs something more!

Time to attack those little red houses. Might as well keep adding to that pile of pieces waiting for the finish! Didn’t take long for them to get some details and some quilting.

Thought I was going to quit there for the day, but I did one more bit of painting and while it’s drying, I finished the edges of these houses.

I need to finish them with some eye catching beads or buttons and then it will be back to more painting. At least there is no indecision in my mind on paint color for these. Dark blue will be perfect for a small edge all around.

Meanwhile………..back to paint drying. Wonder what else I can pick at, one little drop of water at a time………………..?


Oh, purple………….sigh!

Using a color that is far from your favorite is difficult. Purple is that color for me and I seem to fight it every step of the way, even when it is the only right choice for the project.

And perhaps you have had the experience of putting in a lot of work on a project, thinking you may have made an error…and you keep right on going, trying to convince yourself that the wrong choice was actually a good one?

That’s right where I’m at with this project.

I was too impatient to wait for the purple wool that I first thought I would use on it. I went ahead and used the purple silk I had on hand instead. Laid everything out, pinned it, added batting for stability, sewed it and selected beads and embroidery threads……………and absolutely could not make myself start on the additional handwork.

Deep down, I knew the silk was the wrong color. Yeah, it was purple, but NOT the right purple. Too bright, too shiny, fighting with the red….so it sat. Took it to my Knot Even Quilters group and asked their opinion and they totally agreed with my deepest gut feelings.

I even shocked them by grabbing a pair of scissors and cutting into the piece, trying to figure out an easy way to  rescue it. There was just no way to use that bright  purple with the darker purple wool.

And I have plenty of red silk to re-do this if I simply remove the rust fabric squares and start again. But I really didn’t feel like totally starting over so I deconstructed and trimmed this block.

Turns out that the red squares CAN be 1/2″ smaller and still work! And this looks so much better on the darker wool.

And here we are–lots of deconstruction and back where I started several weeks ago. A big pile of pieces, ready to be set together on the background.

And another pile of bright purple pieces, ready for someone to play with! I don’t think it will be me. I’m not a good fighter with purple!

Hopefully now, though, I can sit down with those beads and threads and do the handwork I originally intended to finish this piece.

Gosh………..purple! Sigh!

Magic fabric follow up

Using water soluble stabilizer to create fabric is one of the most fun things I do. The little houses I showed you the other day don’t require the water soluble, but the really skinny strips do.

With that soluble over the top, your quilting foot simply glides over all those edges without getting caught. I started this one with some ‘straight’ lines from top to bottom and I immediately started questioning whether or not I should leave them.

I finished the stitching and still didn’t like them, but decided to wash out the soluble before I made a final decision. Sometimes all the stitching covers up what you don’t like so much.

Nope–so now I have to wait for it to dry, but those long, straight, distracting lines will be coming out!

And I had a flower all ready to go from my demo of making magic fabric at quilt guild, so I went ahead and stitched that up, too.

This is only part way through the sewing. It needs a lot of stitches to hold this together! And before I finished it up, I put some glitzy thread in the bobbin and added that. You can always add more on top of the soluble when making this–that’s part of the magic!

And–voila–a hyacinth looking for a little flowerpot, I think!

And I still have that biiiiig piece of magic fabric background waiting to be used also. I think I’m going to have an entire garden made from mashed together scraps!

Scraps and strings again!

Finishing things up….well, there is quite a bit of time watching paint dry. That gives me an opportunity to continue cleaning and straightening things and, of course, to get distracted!

Small pieces of interfacing left from the small finishes, so it occurred to me to use even smaller pieces of fabric and make some quick pics.

Don’t know if you remember those red houses (here) that I made with these string pieces, but I have quite a few more strips!

Light neutrals for a quick background

and red strips for the houses

add a triangle roof

and boom! ready to quilt, embellish, stitch and have fun with!!!

I think some trees and flowers and we are done. I needed some hand work, so I think these will fill the bill.

And sitting right next to the bag of strips was the bag of even skinnier strips…and some wools from one of those fabric sample books…….all stuff that was going to go in the purge. But doesn’t this look like it has potential?

And now you can see why it’s so hard to purge and how many distractions jump out at me everywhere I turn.

Okay, so I may not quickly purge the studio, but I’ll keep plugging away at it. The distractions, though, both keep me sane and keep me from accomplishing my cleaning goal. What a dilemma to have, but it really is a good one.

Finishing edges

Working on finishing up the edges on a few more pieces. I realized that I’ve had these leaf pieces for almost two years. Yes, I’ve been using them for examples, but it’s time for them to move on.

I did want to show and tell on the way I do these with the turned edges. I use fusible interfacing and stitch it so that the fusible is on the inside when it’s turned. That does a couple of good things.

Look closely at the edge of this piece.

You can see that when I trimmed the edge, I cut off some of the knots on the embroidery. That is not really a good thing for a textile piece! By finishing with the fusible, any loose ends are sealed within the backing and will not come loose.

The other good thing about using fusible interfacing rather than a piece of fabric is that no additional quilting is required. Of course, you can accomplish the same thing with a piece of fused fabric. Since I mount my pieces on a stretched canvas, though, the back doesn’t show, and interfacing is cheaper than fabric!

Only have a few more on the pile to get done and then I can figure out best size of canvas to use, what color to paint them and how many more I need to buy! Just looking over at what I have, I am certain that I will need some more. Hmmm….shopping in the craft store is NOT a hardship!

Need a couple by Thursday, though, so I’d better get busy!