A little thinking…

As I have mentioned more than once, I don’t usually pre-plan my quilting designs. I know that many people do, but it’s just not my way of working.¬† So I got the Harvest Moons quilt ready to go and pretty easily figured out what I wanted to do…until I came to the crescent parts!

Quite a few sections like this and I didn’t know what to do with them.

Thought about pebbles…random meandering…echoing the curve…outlining each crescent piece…nothing seemed right and all seemed like it would mean a big wrestling match with the quilt. After a little thought, I had a Duh! moment. The quilting was simply outlining the geometrics in the print and it seemed like something similar would be perfect for those spaces.

Yes, there was some wrestling, but I guess you can’t avoid that when doing a large quilt on a small machine! And it actually went very quickly.

Tomorrow’s job will be label, binding, sleeve and deciding if this is something that should go in the January exhibit! And I thought I was done with those exhibit thoughts………….need to make my selections and stick with them.

Anyway, this¬† will be done tomorrow and that means moving on to another new—oh, no-no-no–older project. I have several of those scrap baby quilts left to quilt. They are ready to go and looking at me with guilt making colors! Better get them done, even though there are no babies on the horizon. They will find a new home, though, but that can’t happen until they are finished.

ONWARD to finishing!


Night Lights BRIGHT

Dissatisfaction can make me put up a piece on the shelf or DO something about it. This time I got right after it and added lots of stuff to the unsatisfactory Night Lights piece.

This is the piece as I left it yesterday.

Rather blah and not conveying my idea of bright city lights at night at all.

After looking at the picture for a while, I got a few ideas.

I started adding yarns………

and more yarns and a bit of ribbon. It made the image pop.

I quite like it now. It’s got a bit of character. It will do!

Now on to the next adventure!

Night Lights

That’s the title of that new little sample I worked up for Textiles in Milan. I made blocks to show how to sew and assemble and enough blocks to make a finished sample. This is the second time I’ve tried to make a black and brights sample and I’ve not been thrilled with either one. But it’s almost finished and it will make a good teaching tool.

Arranging the blocks is very arbitrary and size doesn’t always matter.

That’s why I wait before I trim them. I add bits and pieces and trim as needed during assembly!

Remember that with most improv sewing, exact size doesn’t matter until final assembly and when adding those bits and pieces, it’s mostly important to find or make a straight edge and sew a straight seam.

I was more focused on getting it done than I was on the artistic aspects of what I was trying to convey, so I will readily admit that this could be quite a bit more attractive. In fact, I added one more little bit of color after this pic!

Now it’s all quilted and ready for squaring up and binding. I think it’s never too late to add more and this may really need it. I’ll get that finishing done and then decide.

Yeah, not lighting my fire, and just looking at the picture, I’ve got several ideas for improvements. I’d like to get it to the shop tomorrow, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen. Got more work to do…………..


Experiment time

Last summer at Blue Lake the print teacher let us play in her studio one afternoon. I had the idea of combining paper and fabric prints so I made some of both.

It turns out that we were using water soluble ink, so the fabric prints would not be washable. Bummer! Today I decided to try and make them more permanent.

Mat gel medium, rolled out on a plastic sheet (usually pick these up as cutting mats from a dollar store)–one was a very thin layer and the pic shows the thickest layer.

The next step was the hardest–lay the fabric face down and wait for it to dry!

I was a little impatient and pulled the first one, the one with the thinnest layer of medium, while it did still feel a bit damp. Not good!

Pulled the ink off the fabric and left it on the plastic. The other prints came off very nicely, but the gel medium gives them that nice plastic finish that I’m not crazy about.

Next experiment–iron, wrinkle, iron again…some of the wrinkle lines remain, even though the back looks perfectly flat. Not a problem for me, since I will want the texture when I use these.

Now the original question–will this make the inks permanent? No, it does not!

A lot of the color came out with just a quick rinse and the medium got kind of flaky. It laid down smoothly again after another ironing. Also, I used the piece that was not completely coated…again, I’m a mixed texture lover, so none of this is a disaster to me. Simply additional texture.

My last experiment was to lay one of the prints ‘plastic’ side down and get it wet to see what would happen. Aaaand………the ink would have rinsed out if I had done this in a sink. As it was, the ink pooled and moved but remained and the print still has good color. (No pic, sorry.)

I decided that I did not want to bother putting medium on both sides of the prints. That would have made them very, very plastic-y and having it on the right side of the fabric is enough to protect it from casual water drips during or after construction use.

The next step will be to sew with it, but that will have to wait for another day! I love ‘what if’ days!


Funky edges

It’s all about the fun and funky and unique! The striped chair was both fun and unique, but it’s the edging that wins for funky!

Yes, I wanted my quilting to have a sketchy look and this one came out closer to that than the first one, for sure.

And all that boring straight line quilting made it very, very easy to add lines when I added the backing.

See–can’t even tell which are original and which are added, yet necessary to hold the three layers together. That part was actually pre-planned!

But it’s the edging that I am totally in love with! Re-cycled sari yarn–I love to pick it up when I see a good color skein and I use it whenever I can.

THIS–yes, this–

I’m soooo happy with this!

But, it’s done………………what’s next? I have no idea. Isn’t that exciting? The entire world of possbilities awaits me now. Hmmmmmmm….

Chair, chair, chair

Can’t concentrate on anything else until I get some of this chair project started! I chose the cotton organza for both the single color test and the precut and fused strips of color. Turns out that using those strips was a real pain to work with!

I wanted to simply create a fabric and then trace the chair onto it, but it looked stupid and disorganized that way. Laying it out following the contours of the chair worked, but it was definitely work!

After laying them both out on the background, I found the plain fabric much more appealing than the strippy.

And there was no doubt that it needed to be fused down before stitching. Oh, yeah, I stitched the background, too, but kept it very simple.

Somehow, my original intention of greens and blues to indicate summer, turned into shades of rose for a feeling of sunset…must be a summer sunset!

Love the striped chair, and it will be used sometime, but this is what I ended up stitching down.

At some point in the process, I got ink or fusible junk on the chair fabric. I am so glad that I have gotten over the need for pristine work.

I decided that there would NOT be a do-over and that it would never be noticed in the final project. Of course, now that I’ve told you, you will look for it, but it really isn’t a problem!

My original thought on this changed as I started the stitching, too. It was going to be very sketchy and loose and I couldn’t seem to get off those drawn lines! I’m sure it’s because I’m not good at drawing and had no confidence to make this look like a chair with more free form stitching! But I’m quite happy with the way it turned out. Maybe it will be looser when I get around to using that stripey fabric.

Ordinarily I might start working on the next one right away, but I’m trying to be more disciplined about final finishes so that when a piece is done, it’s ALL the way done! So tomorrow will be trimming and finishing on this–nothing new until this is complete…she said with a wink!

Using My Hand Dyes

I’ve been trying to use more of the fabrics that I have altered for my pieces. Hand dyes count! There are several partially done pieces laying on my worktable and I need to get them done, so I charged right in today.

I grabbed a scrap and cut it into smaller snips and laid them on this piece. I liked the turquoise, but the design itself might not work.

And then I dropped a piece and it turned over and lo and behold! It’s a print

And it looks so much better! I remembered getting it as a small accent piece from a friend in a workshop and this is literally all I have of it! Lucky me to have found it today.

As I said, I am not sure if this is the final design placement.

It’s pretty symmetrical, which is not my style, and maybe even a bit cliche. I have to play around with it a bit before I add any stitching to it. But then I got distracted……as usual. No wonder I always have partial pieces laying around.

As I picked up these pieces to move them out of the way, I decided that they would look good together as a little strip set. So that’s what I did.

And then I found a bit of this and a bit of that and put it all together and I’m liking it!!

Working improvisationally is soooooooo much fun. Takes a while longer, but it’s exciting every step of the way.

So now it’s time to get some stitch embellishment and some beads on these and get ’em finished. I have another show coming up and I need to replace a couple of pieces that sold.

Sewing projects…………hooray!