It’s Goldilocks time

My little rust fabric squares have been done for a while and sitting in a little stack waiting for some more attention. Because of the colors in the variegated floss I used, I was pretty sure of the background colors I wanted to use, but not exactly the size and placement of the pieces.

So………….on point on a piece of red wool. Good color, red is too big.

And then we tried the medium bowl of porridge………..er, a smaller square of red.

Still not quite right, and I tried a smaller piece so that the edges of the cotton hung over the wool a bit more.

Aaaah–just right. The full background layer will be a single piece of deep purple wool, but I don’t have any of that right now. I was able to find a small piece to try out the color scheme and it will work very will.

My camera exposure wasn’t correct, but you can see how deep this purple is. I think this layout will work just fine and I’ll have lots of opportunity for hand stitching embellishment. This Goldilocks will live happily ever after!

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Bored and lazy…sigh…

Boredom is, of course, a reflection of a lazy mind. And my brain is very lazy today. It’s a too hot summer day—I’d much rather be sitting outside on a normal hot summer day than in the air conditioning–and my energy level is near zero.

It’s about all I can do today to lift a needle, much less thread it and actually use it!

I picked up a few scraps and started to work on another little block and hated it. The background was fine–on it’s own–and the scraps were fine–on their own. Not so good when I tried to put them together!

That sent me on a search for some better background scraps. I’m a lot happier with this piece now.

I have so many of these little pieces now and most of them are still waiting for me to decide on beading or no beads. They are certainly fine as they are, for what they are. I simply need to decide if spending more time on them, adding more embellishment to them, will raise them above the level of ‘okay’ to ‘very nice’.

And my lazy brain is not up to that task today. Must be time to lie around on the couch for a while and read a book. Might even slip into a nap!

Which direction to go?

Once there was a little stack of fabric that made it’s way upstairs to my table. I started putting little bits and pieces together and overlaying with gingko images. I liked where this was taking me and thought I would continue making the gingko images for quite a while.

Then this piece jumped into the series and it’s quite a bit different.

Really no place for a gingko here.

And the next pieces don’t seem to need a gingko image either.

The one on the left is only basted, but I don’t see anywhere for the gingko. So maybe the gingko series is done and I’m moving in another direction.

Maybe not, since I’m working with the same set of little fabric scraps and hand dyed squares…can’t wait to see what these little scraps direct me to do next!

Spinning around

Working on a little of this, a little of that.

My Wacky Quilters group met this week and we tried pulled string painting, on paper and on fabric. This will not be my technique of choice!

My first try, on paper, was about as expected…too much paint and kinda sloppy looking.

Until you get a feel for it, you can’t think it’s going to come out perfectly, but we helped each other sort things out.

I tried multiple pulls and multiple colors on top of some thick black and that wasn’t much better.

I went on to trying it on fabric. Several attempts…

This is not something that I like well enough to follow on the learning curve. I’m not going to devote any more time to it. But if something came up that I thought could benefit from this type of figure, I wouldn’t be afraid to play with it some more.

My luck is much better when I’m working with needle and thread! I always have some scraps and my embroidery threads in a corner of the living room and I stitch while we are ‘watching’ tv. I refreshed my pile of scraps the other day and decided that I would explore gingko leaves a bit again.

Little 8.5″ pieces, playing with color. Not sure that they will be finished in a hurry–or ever, actually. They are a great size to work up quickly and I believe they will lend themselves to some ‘what if’ experimenting with beads and/or paint. I thought I wanted the background to be seen through the stitching, but now…maybe not so much! I’ll probably stitch up a few more before I play any ‘what if’ games though. Very relaxing to simply sit and stitch and let life flow around me.

And look what I found! Brass stencils, like I used to use in one of my first jobs! Found enough letters to spell out

Gonna be some kind of wall art for my studio, not used as stencils. It just makes me smile!

Family dinner coming up to celebrate all our June birthdays and Hallmark Holidays. Looking forward to time spent with my loves…

Figuring out a pattern

Find a pattern or make an improv design………that was the question I asked myself when faced with the hockey fabric. I invest a lot of myself into improv designs and this quilt is to be a drag-around quilt, so I was definitely inclined to look for a pattern. As I said before, the hockey fabric is a big, busy print and will lose it’s impact if it’s cut into small pieces.

After a lot of internet browsing, I think I’m going to use square-in-a-square. It’s also known as the economy block, but usually that’s with two sets of corner triangles. I made a couple of sample blocks and now I need to decide a few things.

Sticking with the red and the black/white. The blues did nothing. This is the simple square-in-a-square, with one set of corner triangles. Easy, looks good, but I’d have to make a lot more blocks this way.

This is the economy block, with two sets of corner triangles. These are twelve inch  blocks and I wouldn’t need nearly as many of them to make the quilt. And it’s a simple pattern, so……….winner! However, in consultation with my personal design expert…seriously, my daughter is an expert…and we think the larger b/w print might be distracting.

Sounds like I have a plan now. The economy block, small print b/w and red fabrics and it should be done quickly. I was going to try and use up scraps, but the bigger blocks use bigger pieces. I think I have enough larger pieces, but if I have to get a little more fabric…that would never break my heart!

Lot’s of stuff happening this week, like dye day on Wednesday, so there may not be any long stretches of quilt making. However, I tend to get a little bit of hand sewing done most evenings. Mainly because I have everything set out on a little table in the living room and I can pick it up to sew a few stitches whenever I have a minute.

I’m working on a series of ‘circle explorations’ now. I’ve finished the basic stitches defining the circles and now I need to figure out what will be next.

You know, some artists run into creative blocks and struggle to move forward. I am so lucky that so far this has not happened to me. My creative blocks only involve making decisions about how to proceed, not how to start a new project. Hope it stays that way!

Goal–met!

My goal for today was to finish sewing the brown quilt. I was so tired of sewing with brown, sewing blocks made the same basic way, no improv………………the thought of any additional days was mind-numbing!

I stuck with it and got it done! Hooray!

The plain brown didn’t get it for me. I decided that I needed a touch of a color to pep it up and found a bit of turquoise that looked pretty good with the brown.

I also figured out a way to add the color that could make the seams NOT line up–much easier to only have to match the ends of the rows!

So hip hip hooray—it’s done and ready to be added to the Use Up the Stash pile of UFO’s…………and that’s a whole different story!

Potato chip quilting

There are some stack and switch techniques that are done with two fabrics at a time, making opposite or reverse blocks. I like many of those, but making them is like eating potato chips. You can’t eat make just one! Using the brown and light neutral needs that type of technique.

Brown is definitely NOT my favorite color–though it does rank higher than purple! My daughter asked why I was making a brown quilt if I don’t like it much. Simple–use up the stash! My thought on this one is that the brown and light/neutral will be high contrast and look just fine.

Simple technique, yet it makes unique blocks. Start with stacked squares–mine are 9″–and make two cuts straight across the stack. Measurements are random!

Take the center strip and make two cross cuts. Again, measurements are random. Switch the center squares and you are ready to start assembling the blocks.

Sew the side strips to each side of the center square. Then the top and bottom strips will be added. Now, remember that there are no added seam allowances here, so the top and bottom strips will be longer than the center strip now. You don’t have to match at either end, or you can start out even at one end.

After sewing, trim those extra bits off the edges and you have two blocks that are the same, but look different when you start arranging them.

Hmmm….these look crooked in the pic, but they are really nice and square!

Anyway, make blocks in the same manner, random cuts on all sides, and keep making and making like eating those potato chips. You can certainly stack more than one light and one dark square together when making those cuts. I don’t like to do more than 4 simply because those random cuts make for more variety.

So here are the first few I made. Some of my light is not as light as I might have wished, but it will work. I’m going to go ahead and make as many blocks as I can from the browns I have. If I decide that I need added color, I believe I have an idea of how to add that easily and effectively later. And I’ll have lots of time to decide what color will work best…potato chip sewing is a touch slower than production chain piecing!