Assessing the plan

Yes, assessing the plan that really isn’t a plan. My focus on the goal of using the stash could dissipate if I continue on the path I’m on. It will be too easy to get distracted and off track when selecting one group of fabrics at a time and making a quilt. I will continue to do that, but there has to be some immediate action to change bad habits.

My scraps, sorted into baskets by color, are very useable, but very distracting.

I often am pulled off-track by an intriguing bit hanging over the edge of one of those baskets.

And as I scroll through my pictures, I realize that I have tried this approach several times in the past. Obviously, it has not worked.

I became aware that I have been trying to avoid a REAL sorting of fabric. I don’t actually want to take everything off the shelves and see every piece of fabric. If I do that, it means I have to make a decision on each piece, whether is goes or stays. Making things is fine, but it doesn’t move fast enough to be effective.

More soul searching is in the works, but I believe my ultimate goal is to only make art with fabric that I have “made” myself. My decisions will involve facing some hard facts—like the fact that I have spent a lot of money on these supplies and now I am not going to use them? Absurd…but most likely true.

I have distinct areas in my studio–quilting/sewing, knitting, beads & embroidery, painting, stamps, stencils, and dyeing, as well as a library wall of ways to use them! I do use it all, but will I continue to use it all?

Hmmmmmmmmmm…………………….

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Thread lace and beads

Oh my word–making huge pieces of thread lace is a never ending project! I’ve never made anything but some small leaves before and making this huge sheet is taking way too long. If I had known at the beginning….in the category of  lessons learned, I’d really have gone about it in a different way.

My goal was to create sheer, shiny fabric to attach to the silk background already made. It would need to have beads on it, but those could be supported by a grid of beading thread as the beads were added. Okay–that was the plan. Using up tons of fibers and threads seemed like such a bonus, too.

I wasn’t too far into it before I realized that the threads alone would not create a strong enough fabric.

Adding a sheer fabric back was about the only answer I could come up with. Had I started with the fabric, I would have added light fusible and fused those fibers to it. Still would have added the stabilizer and the stitching, but maybe not as much stitch and maybe not so many thread/stitching frustrations. Next time for sure…

I stitched for hours, free form sewing and finally thought it might hold together. Then I added a grid of stitches just to feel better about it!

And suddenly it was time to bite the bullet, call it good and wash away the stabilizer!

It’s sheer, shiny and looks different from every angle. Can’t really show that in photos, but I think it’s going to work. We’ll judge the strength as I start assembling and adding those heavy beads!

Speaking of which…I have a few choices to make!

I always start by pulling anything that I think might have any possibility of working with my fabrics and colors…and because I have accumulated so many beads, that can become a large pile!

 

I almost immediately eliminated the darker gold beads and the darkest blue beads. The thread fabric changes color with every viewing angle, so most any color should work! I thought about green, but didn’t really have a good green jump out at me.

  

These three were ‘finalists’ and all looked pretty good. Then I kind of thought all white would really be best and spread these out.

The white along with some off-white looks like the solution. Sparkle all the way through and no dramatic color to draw the eye. The piece is going to reflect a snow storm, so the whiter the better………………..I think! It may yet change as I progress with the beading, but that’s the plan right now.

And I got to spend the whole day in the studio! Thought I was going to have most of the week in the studio, but I forgot to put several things on my calendar. So I’m extra grateful to have had today and to have progressed so far. There is no ‘fast’ in this project, so I will either post it so much that you will get sick of it, or I will try to restrain myself and there will not be as many posts.

But I know myself well enough to know that I will work on more than one project at the same time, so there should be something else to look at soon!

 

Threads and more threads

Have you ever made thread lace? With the water soluble stabilizer? I decided that was what I wanted for my curvy silk piece so I jumped right into creating it.

It started with the idea of a grid of beads and beading thread and then I figured it might be sturdier with a base of fabric,  but I wanted to keep the sheer idea of the bead grid, so….thread lace.

I have this cone of superfine ‘fiber’–one of the many items I’ve acquired over the years. Don’t know exactly what it is, but it shimmers and shines like a hologram so it seems perfect for this.

I’ll tell you one thing–that cone holds a whole lot of fiber, but it’s not enough to make thread lace.

I have a few spools of shiny specialty threads that I have not been successful in using, so I decided to throw them into the mix, too.

Then you layer the top with another piece of stabilizer, pin-pin-pin and start stitching.

I begin with a grid, but all those loose threads must be stitched closely together enough to hold up as a fabric after the stabilizer is washed away. It’s hard to see in photos, but this is the beginning of that stitching.

I tried using invisible thread for my grid, but kept having trouble with it. I have trouble with it on regular fabric, too, and hate it so it didn’t take me long to switch. I gave up on some of the transparency in favor of no thread breakage and used Bottomline. The fill in stitching is done with silver and I don’t think thread alone is going to do the job!

I found a tiny piece of this sheer poly, which has the same holographic shine as the mystery fiber.

I think it will be perfect to use as a base, if I can find some of the same or something similar. It will continue my sheer theme as well as make a better support for the bead grid that is still in the works!

But there’s a snow storm today, so fabric shopping will have to wait for clear roads! I am not a patient person when I have to stop in the middle of an active sewing day and wait for something that is totally out of my control. Grrrrr! But what about the other half of the split project? I could work on it, but I think I need to look at those sheers in the store for that one, too.

I guess I’ll have to keep myself busy using up the yarn stash. I can knit in front of the fireplace while it snows.

Drastic split!

My latest project has been sending messages as it marinates on the design wall. There is always a reason when my projects stall and if I give them enough time, that reason becomes clear.

This project had issues from the very beginning. It was huge and my original mental image did not plan for that. I had waaaaay too much fabric from which to choose and that always throws me. It makes me push to use it all and sometimes less is better.

As I was drifting off to sleep last night–that’s when I usually think about design issues–the answer came to me. I have been trying to mash two separate projects together into one big mess.  All the elements were fighting me. The jump from picture in my head to actual physical assembly was not made correctly this time! The materials I was trying to use were not mixing well and I figured out that they needed to NOT mix. I need to split those fabrics into separate projects. Sometimes the obvious is not at all obvious, but when you finally see the solution, it’s a relief.

The silk part that is almost finished as a background and support is actually the basis of the first part of the split. It will now get some…no, lots…of beads and embellishments and become a separate project.

The sheer fabrics that I  have been attempting to integrate with the silk are the focus of the second part of the split. Those fabrics were what gave me the original idea and it seems that it just took me a while to figure out how to achieve that. It will still have silk at the top, but thinner, smaller–still curvy, but daintier somehow. Oh, yes…I see how it should be now…………..

So that means I should be ready to head back to the studio and get to work again. Making the big split is the correct decision for the materials I have been playing with and I’m so relieved that I now know how to proceed!

Ready–set–sew!

Finished edges and floaty fun

At least I’ve made a start on a finished edge! I have hesitated for days in the past when I have needed to cut into a quilted piece to make a curvy edge. Sometimes you just need to pick up the scissors and cut!

Then to the finishing part–I love to use cotton yarn, couching foot and ziz-zag. One, two, three and you’re done!

At some point, for this piece, I will stitch over that edge again for a smoother, more filled-in finish, but this does the job for the beginning stage. All of this has been background and support, in my mind.

Now I’m ready to start auditioning final choices and placement for finishing…the fun part!

Construction challenges galore as well as design choices! Let the fun begin!

 

Nothing but thinking…

Today is a day of total relaxation. No obligations until hockey tonight, and that’s fun time. I like to begin my days with coffee and computer time, especially with blogs by people whose work I enjoy.

I have heard that blogs are a thing of the past, that no one is writing them anymore, that Instagram is the only viable social media app to use. It could be true. Many of the bloggers on my favorites list don’t post very often any more…but most of them have lots of posts on Instagram. Easier, quicker, and still keeps you in the public eye. I can understand that.

This was my IG post the other day!

However, I so enjoy learning more about the individuals and the work they do. I love to hear about their thoughts as they create and design. I want to learn more about them, not just a quick photo of one second of their day.

I’m disappointed in this trend. I understand it, as busy people are busy! For some, it’s a huge time burden to post a blog. I get it. I just miss that (electronic) connection, that ‘getting to know you better’ feeling. C’mon–if you are taking pics for IG or FB anyway, add a few words and post a blog!

Oh, well…I have never been the fashion queen, and will not be as a blogger, either. I will continue my blogging because it has become part of documenting my work processes. It tells my story, good, lazy, mistakes and all.

So today is coffee, computer, laziness and no planned sewing! Maybe ’cause I’m still designing my next piece, mostly in my head. I go down to the design wall and move a few pieces of fabric around and then go away and think for a while.

Add a few more or shift them around.

I will admit that I might be a tad bit afraid to start it. I may make the wrong choice or cut wrong or sew it wonky…………..oh, wait a minute! That’s my normal working method. I guess I simply need to get after it!

Or, maybe I’ll have another cup of coffee and think about what I’m going to cut and sew for a little while longer. Sounds like the best option for a no-obligation day.

Ooooo nooooo—-background

I was so totally sure of the background I wanted to create for Lakeside. I even had a hard time sleeping last night because I was planning my construction options in my head.

Navy and cream striped denim, the fabric I used for deck chairs–what could be better?

Doesn’t that look great? So lake-y…………..until I decided to try some of the dyed wool I have!

This one piece gave me three different looks, and I have yards and yards and YARDS of wool! Subtle differences, yet conveying different moods, more noticeable in person, of course.

I think I like the subtlety of the wool much better now than I like the stripe, but the stripe conveys more of that lakeside feeling to me.

I would really like to get your opinion on this……….really!