Love being busy!

It’s so much better to be busy than to be bored, but sometimes busy is just too busy! I don’t have a bunch of pictures to show you, though I sure have been doing a lot of stuff.

Finally got the last of the leaves and garden detritus taken care of–at least as much as it’s gonna get until spring! Rain is what determined the end point there, and it was cold, too. I’m never ready for the cold weather and this year I wanted to do so much more dyeing out in the garage where I can spread everything out. There will still be dyeing done, but in my basement studio, it gets done on a much smaller scale.

Friday was a guild sponsored workshop with Paula Golden. As we were starting out, she had a small sample that she offered up to anyone who wanted to start creating with that. I did not volunteer, but was challenged to take it because it was mostly purple and my friends all know that I do not like purple!!! This is how far I got with it in class.

There will be more added to it before it’s done…quilting, for sure, and maybe some more metallic yarn or beads. I’m not sure, but something. Here’s a close up.

I took advantage of the fraying ability of silk…love those raggedy edges!

And, of course, I did the postcard demo on Saturday. Lots of supplies and choices, showing from start to finish, and as many edge finishes as I could work in.

Saturday afternoon was my rest and relaxation time, and  I’m making progress on my red houses.

Sunday, my usual day of doing nothing, has now changed to an exercise day! My daughter and I are now enrolled in kickboxing classes! I thought she was joking, but she was not and now Sunday afternoon is kickboxing time. We actually did a tryout class and found it to be a great workout, so we’re going to do it for a while.

And sometimes AJ has hockey on Sunday, too, so this is where our Sunday started!

He’s the one in black…this is part of the reason they have names and numbers on their backs!

This week will be devoted to Thanksgiving, of course, and we have to finish getting the furniture back into the house from the garage, too. I’m hoping to sneak in a little bit of sewing time, but the odds are against it! Oh, yeah–AJ will be here all day Wednesday, looking to start putting up Christmas decorations. I’m tired already!

Looking forward to fewer commitments and more couch time after this weekend. Lots more couch time. And naps….yeah, naps!

 

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Borders…yep!

Continuing on with the red houses saga, I made the decision that I really did want borders on this and it will be finished square, traditional and bound. And when you have too much fabric, it’s hard to decide on a border treatment.

Started out with a piece of gray, thinking to keep things more neutral.

Then made a selection of lots of darks and very darks!

Not quite right, so I pulled tons more stuff off the shelves and finally got it down to a choice between these two.

I really, really wanted to go with the multi-color, but it was the dark blue that truly looked the best.

And now I have that step complete. Looks black in the pic, but it’s a navy blue grunge with scrapes of lighter blue and purple. I love that grunge line of fabric!

There is serious design work needing to be done now. Everything else has been tied to thoughts of basic construction, but now the “art” part of art quilt comes to the fore. Sure there was some layout and design work going on, but it’s the stitch and embellishment that makes the project come alive for me. I want lots of thinking time before I do anything further on this piece.

While that is stewing in my brain, I had the idea to make some cards from some of the leftover house fabric…and then since it’s red and the holidays are coming up, maybe some kind of traditional Christmas stuff. I don’t even send out regular cards anymore, but perhaps this year…

 

And now it IS decision day!

As workmen are banging and ripping and tearing out the floor above me, I’m trying to proceed with the next steps on this project. I took pictures and used input from Instagram and Facebook all day long. I’m so appreciative of everyone who takes the time to look at my posts and shares their opinions with me. It really does help!

I guess the thinking time did help, because when I came into the studio this morning, I knew that I wanted houses of different sizes and shapes, so that got me started. Then I asked my internet friends for opinions.

My first question was whether I wanted the houses in rows or more random.

I probably should preface this with a disclaimer: I always ask for opinions, but I also feel free to disregard them. Often the opinions come with some wonderful suggestions and sometimes they confirm what I’m feeling but they always make me think, and that’s just the best help I could ask for! Sooooo, the overwhelming response to this question was random placement, which echoed my feelings in this case.

Next question: doors or no doors? All the same color, different colors?

I truly couldn’t decide for myself on this question so went with the majority–yes, doors and multiple colors. Done with that part.

This is where I’m at now–buildings made and placed, doors added and ready for the next step…and here’s what I am contemplating…raw edge background or borders? If borders: pieced, plain, curvy, single color, each side a different color? If raw edge: stitch to a background piece, stop with the current background, add raw edge to a finished, quilted background? And then the stitching, which will have a bearing on those other decisions. Hand stitch, machine stitch, combo? Before or after borders or background?

Still a lot of thinking to do and the worst part is that the pile of strips is still huge! It seems as though the more I use, I more I have! And I swear I am not cutting into any additional fabric! All I can think is that those scrap bags I picked up were stuffed and compressed to the max and they exploded in my studio!

And this what I really think about that!!!  

Scarlett O’Hara: After all, tomorrow is another day!

 

New projects, new decisions

Yes, I’m ready to start some new projects, but as I looked at my design wall, I felt that this one may not be quite done.

Seems I didn’t post a picture after I fringed the edges, but now I’m considering adding the extra pieces  along the bottom. Don’t know–have to look at it a few times before I decide, but I always welcome your opinions!

When I went to the store to get more water soluble stabilizer, I couldn’t remember which ‘strength’ I had used on my string projects.

Turns out I got a different one, so the next string project will be another experiment! The Super Solvy was very thick and it will be interesting to see if the ‘plain’ Solvy will stand up to my stitching. I’m betting that it will, and I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, I want to make something with the wider string scraps that I have, and probably I’ll start with the neutrals again.

Unpressed and needing some trimming

Pressed, trimmed and ready to use!

The stack looks so much smaller after pressing, and it is sooooo boring to do that, but it’s also soooooo much easier to use them this way.

I also have dark strips and lots of colorful strips.

The project hasn’t announced itself to my brain yet, so I’m not going to spend my time trimming and pressing all of this just yet. Simply having it out and looking at it will be enough to stimulate some ideas, I think….I hope! I certainly don’t want to repeat the flower idea, though it’s pretty easy and the first one came out nicely.

But moving furniture and new flooring comes first, so there will only be moments snatched for the next week or so. But that also gives lots of cogitation time while we’re working. Moving all the furniture out of the living room makes me want to repaint, even the file cabinet, and re-arrange everything and even get rid of some furniture and get some new, but I’m going to rein myself in this time. I’ll be happy with the new floor for now and think about the other stuff for a bit before I act….not my usual method!

Let’s see…the couch is not calling me for a nap, but to be moved…sigh! Time to get the work done!

 

Working and having fun

Had to do some of the fall yard work so I didn’t have much time to play with my projects today. You know, it’s great having lots of trees and plenty of shade in the summer, but in the fall when all those leaves are on the ground……………not so much. I wouldn’t mind so much looking like the derelict, unraked yard on the block, but then we’d actually BE the derelict, unraked yard!

I’ve been working on both my string scrap projects. Easy to do when you have wet paint and washed out stabilizer and you’re just waiting…and waiting! The taller one had a few spots–well, quite a few– where the fabric was very loose. I’ll admit that I was impatient to see it and did not stitch as well as I should have.

Lucky for me, I have a machine foot that allows me to address the issue and continue stitching without adding stabilizer over the top again.

It’s made to be able to add yarn or other embellishment, but all I needed for this was the ability to have it slide over the strings without getting caught.

Next step–deciding on the design that will be stitched on top of the strings. I loved the stencil that I had on the last one, and ended up going with it again, with a few adjustments.

I used black on the heavyweight stabilizer side that it was drawn on and I used bright red in the bobbin. I wanted to be sure to see it when I was stitching from the top!

I want to end up with very thick branches, so I might use that foot as it was intended and add some yarn, but COLOR??????? Do not know what to choose, so that’s where this is at right now. Waiting for the color to speak to me.

I also have to make some decisions on the other string piece. My original idea was to mount it to a piece of painter’s drop cloth, all raw edges and a turned over top edge for the sleeve. That idea is not eliminated, but I had to try some wool.

Threw both possibilities on the design wall and liked them enough to try each one separately.

Like them both, very much. Sigh! While I don’t want this to be done solely to say it’s finished, my decision making is moving very slowly. Not a bad thing, but it’s different for me. I don’t even know yet if or what I might be adding to the flower parts. But I want it right and I will take all the time I need to be happy with it!

Hockey season has started for the Wolverines as well as the grandson, so some of our weekend time will be taken up with games throughout the winter. Love it and the bonus is that there are TWO intermissions in every game and that’s lots of time to think about artwork!! All right–Let’s Go Blue!

And the final…

The final choice turned out to be two fabrics. The yellow block batik became a narrow flange around the piece and it was mounted on the deep teal fabric.

The combination was more effective than any single color and sometimes I forget that.

The teal is really no more than a frame and that’s appropriate.

Here’s another detail pic, just because I love this piece!

And now it will be moving to another home and I will be moving on to another project…in a few days!

Color choices…sigh!

Almost all pictures this time, not many words, because I’m trying to choose a fabric background for this piece. I really did not like the flat painted canvas that was my original choice. I did not try to get these straight–just looking for the right color!

Tried super busy, but it almost blinded me!

This was the favorite, so far.

I tried lots of very light ones.

This one was quite yellow–thought it had potential.

It was coming down to these two…

and I tried these two again, because I just wasn’t sure.

Hmmm….the one above was the same as this one, but look how differently they photograph in different light!

I’m quite perplexed because usually after I try this many choices, there is a clear answer. I have managed to eliminate many of them, but I haven’t got a definite answer yet. Does this mean I haven’t found the perfect one or that I’m simply very indecisive?

Think a nap will help? Perhaps I’ll try it and see………………………………zzzzzzzzzzzz!