Always a little bit of progress…

There are very few days that I don’t do a little something on a project. This turquoise and gray one is getting under my skin, though. I work on it for a while, decide I don’t like what I’ve done and rip it out.

I added black cording to the part I ripped and I’m not sure that I like that either. Perhaps I should have found something gray.

So I went on to other areas and added some more stitching.

And took it outside in the daylight to look at the ‘big picture.’

The best I can say for it is that I’m not going to rip any of that stitching out (for now!) and I’m getting more and more sure that I will be adding beads!

Taking a break let me concentrate on other beauty around me, too.

I’m very happy that someone planted this forsythia years ago, and didn’t groom it into submission. I love this hedge, from across the yard AND up close.

NOW spring is here and I think creativity will rise with the rising sap!

 

Walk away from the cutter…

Started with a blank design wall again today. This is nice! Sooooo…I have a lot of polka dot fabrics and I’ve always thought I wanted to make a polka dot quilt. I started pulling all my dots from the various colorways. FYI–my stash is mostly sorted by color.

Not surprisingly, I have more oranges than any other color.

Aren’t they cute? And they could all live together in one quilt.

But then there are these darker, more conservative reds, and a pile of things that don’t go with anything else.

And these lighter coordinates…

I love all these greens, too.

I purposely eliminated anything that was strictly black and white, but these dots are all in that same family.

Of course there are other things that come to light when you are looking through the stash. I had this stack that was intended to go together into something at some point in the past.

It looks like I even started to put some strips together.

What an eye-gouging mess!!! This may have been when I discovered that if you have a busy print like these are, it needs to be used in big chunks, with some breathing room. I’ll be working on that soon, but it was a bit much for today!

I decided on the softer grays and laid out my pieces and as I was about to make a cut…I just could NOT cut into the fabric.

I laid it all out again and looked and looked and the right combination of ideas simply would not align themselves in my head.

That’s when it’s time to walk away from the cutting table and go think for awhile! That may mean that when I come back to it, I may end up working on something entirely different!

Thinking time….

All the choices!

Yesterday I had a clean slate on the design wall and time to play. I thought I’d start some big new art project  or at least transform an old project into some cool new art piece. I looked through piles of stuff that had been sitting on the shelves.

Selected a queen size top to get ready for basting and decided that it could wait until warm weather. Then I can set up several tables in the garage, spread the thing out and make it easy on myself. Went through all the other tops in that stack–nothing spoke to me, but I don’t have as many waiting as I thought–only 8 or 9, not the 17 I thought were there! I guess I have managed to reduce the stack a bit over the years. I have sent a few out to longarmers!

On another shelf, packed neatly away in it’s own little bag, with all the extra fabric, was a quilt I had started in a workshop. I liked the fabric quite a bit, but never quite got back to finish it. By the time I got everything out of the bag and looked it over, I figured I might as well make it a useful size and at least add it to the stack waiting to be quilted!

As I looked over the parts, I remembered part of the reason I packed it away. It was one of those mystery patterns, and you put squares over the end of the rectangle and sewed it and trimmed it to make the triangle at the end…and I did that with the wrong fabrics right at the start. I hate the wastefulness of that, but I did it–and with the right fabrics–and got the thing put together.

I spent most of the afternoon putting together those little cut off triangles because I couldn’t stand to throw them away! They were mostly a little bit different in sizes but I persevered and got them together well enough to use for a little border.

It was frustrating at first, but after a while I slowed down, let go of the frustration and it became a relaxing, repetitive exercise.

And I’m going to use those blue and blue ‘wrong’ rectangles for another border. It will simply read as blue and it will be fine.

And I will be happy because I’m using up that wasted fabric, the top will be a good sized throw and one more project will be out of it’s bag and on it’s way to a useful life!

Not what I thought I’d be doing at all, but simple and relaxing are often the best things for you, in spite of yourself!

Rusty, from start to finish

My intention when I went into the studio today was to use up some of my stash and make a polka-dot quilt. I never even touched the polka-dots! I got sidetracked by rusty fabric and discharged black…a whole pile of it.

I’ve been wanting to make something with this for a long time. There is easily enough fabric for a whole, real bed quilt, but I have not found a pattern or idea that I’m happy with. So, the hell with all this wishy-washy procrastination…pick up the fabric and cut into it…make something!!!!

Four light squares, four dark squares, about 8″ or so.

Four separate stacks and four separate cuts, simply to have them all different. Certainly I could have stacked them all up, but…

Now remember that the pieces and curves fit together perfectly before they are sewn.

But when you are sewing without added seam allowances, the edges SHOULD NOT line up.

Start with 8 squares, end with 8 squares and I decided to make them into split-circle blocks, sort of!

And added random red-orange strips between the quarters. And those uneven edges are simple to sew by laying the straight edge of the strip along that uneven edge and sew.

Trim now or trim later…it doesn’t matter. There’s always a lot of that when you are doing improv. I was deliberately trying to keep seams from matching and all the edges uneven. Sometimes thing match by accident, though!

I made a couple more blocks and then auditioned fabrics for setting the blocks together.

Red–too cliche.

Aha–frame each block, as unevenly as possible with the rust and black fabrics! I like it!

Ready for basting and quilting!

The outside edges will probably get trimmed a bit more after the quilting, to keep them the same size as the inner edges. Now to agonize for a while over what color thread to use for the quilting, and how to quilt it!

It was a good day in the studio today, even though no polka-dots made it off the shelves!

 

Is it done?

There are not nearly as many beads on this piece as I had first imagined that it needed. Actually, I started out with the idea of beads in the circles and then arcing outward.

As soon as I did that, I questioned it! I continued for a while and then took that arc out. I put beads in every circle, randomly.

I cogitated for a while and added some beads as outlines of the big thread circles.

Better–but is it enough?

And will it bother everyone who looks at this that the top is not one circle but two arcs on different circles?

Or shall I call it done and get it trimmed and mounted on a canvas?

Back to beads–hooray!

One triangle piece is done with the stitching, but there may have been a better way. I used #3 perle cotton and a running stitch and it looks the way I expected it to, so there’s that. It was very hard to get the needle through, even using one that was plenty large enough for the size of the thread. My fingers are very sore! However, with the dark color on the dark background, it’s a bit hard to see.

If I had couched the thread down, there would have been a solid line of thread and perhaps that would have shown up more. Did not want anything blatant, though, so I’m okay with it as is.

And now I will be adding beads…yummmmm! I think the title of it came to me while I was selecting them…The Sunny Side of the Mountain.

Not certain exactly where or in what pattern I will be applying these beads, but the bright colors seem just right. It seems as though it’s been just about forever since I’ve done any beading and I’m excited to get at it again!

Once again…where to now?

The fact that I have no chores to do and time to sew is wonderful! My fingers are still sore, but my calluses are coming back and my fingertips will soon be tough as nails again!

The constant dilemna–and delight!– of my life is figuring out the next step in each project as I do it.

This is as far as I have come with my last little triangle undertaking.

tri-fl-9

I like this embroidery detail on my circle holes and I’ve used it before, with additional stitching and beads.

holey-piece-beading-2

Those details don’t feel necessary for this project, but I’m not sure which direction to head in for the next part of the journey.

tri-fl-10

There is a lot of empty space in this one and I’m thinking that while it may need filling, it should be simple stitching, probably only a running stitch. Matching colors? Perhaps. Beads within the circles? Only there? Maybe.

Have several days in the car to think about it…since I can’t work or read in the car without getting carsick. Love those audio books!

And I’ll be desperately working on finishing the project-that-I can’t-show, so you may not see these again for a little while. I WILL show you the finishes, though, I promise! And, of course, I always enjoy your suggestions.