Revisiting old matters!

Every time I turn around in my studio, I find something else to distract me and to play with. Picking my way through a pile of scraps, I saw a piece that made me remember a class that I designed for the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild. It was quite a few years ago, shortly after my book came out, and I wanted to create something unique for my guild class.

After I designed it and came up with a set of directions, I made it several times in different fabrics to illustrate¬† that each person’s project would be totally unique.

Crime Wave 3

Crime Wave 2

I had saved a bundle of the original class materials—who knows why? Some of the parts were made to illustrate the way to make a new section, and there is a bit of each of the original fabrics left.

I have started sorting through it and trying to decide if I should make another piece with the same color scheme and materials, or try to create something very different.

I walked away from it at this point for a while. When I looked at the pictures to begin this blog, I came up with a starting point!

I love the way the black and white piano key curved pieces look as a small striped section, so I’m going to start with that.

My style has changed a bit since 2011 also, so I don’t think I will be using as much of the colored fabrics as I did in the past. Starting with black and white should lead me in a different direction…maybe! I’m ready to start on a new vision from an old project.


Directed by a challenge

I know that I mentioned our Creative Seasons art group challenge–a Dirty Dozen objects to celebrate 12 years together. I finally got that started today.

This is my group of challenge objects and it’s some of my favorite colors! I have been wanting to do something with flying geese again, so this seemed like the perfect place to start.

And putting them together….

Overflowing shelves to the rescue for inspiration for the next step. Some of my previously screen printed cotton organza seemed like a perfect fit for this project, along with a couple of borders.

I’ve already decided that no matter what else is added, the turquoise border is going to end up smaller…and it’s only 1.5″ now!

My wonderful embellishments…

and I’ve started to figure out where they are going. Not totally set in my mind, yet, but getting there. I haven’t done any hand stitching for quite a while and I’m looking forward to that part of the project.

I’m having a good time working with horizontal and vertical directions. Not sure of the orange ribbon where it’s at right now, but this is the fun part. Playing…I suppose I could get all artsy/fartsy and say that this is the deep, dark, creative angst period that brings great meaning to my art, but that would be BS!!!

This is just plain fun!

Seascape, I think

Started work on another edition of “Find a Good Seascape” today. I thought I would begin with a bright, sunny day.

Sunshine and blue sky–perfect. It needs a few clouds, of course, so I went through my hoard of dyed cheesecloth.

I think I found what I need–so I went and found some more.

After I laid out my sky, I started to wonder about what process would work best for getting it stitched down. There was some green tulle on the shelf and I laid a piece of it over the entire piece. Not too sure, so I cut some pieces of the tulle to add a bit more texture and color to the sky.

I liked it and decided that those bits of green would stay even with the tulle over the top of the whole thing. That would be an easy way to finish things off, but I really do not like the look or feel of tulle over the top. It kind of defeats the purpose of having textured fibers!

But before I had to make that decision, I had to make some land for that sky to sit on! Came up with a very narrow strip of land/water/beach and added cheesecloth to that, too!

Yep–still like that bit of green tulle added to the sky.

Back to the technique decision. Don’t know if you can see it in the pic, but when everything is covered in tulle, I think it feels like a mesh bag of onions, ready for the fridge. Nope.

I went with my old standby next–water soluble stabilizer over the top. Usually works like a charm. This time it was a disaster. It was so bad I had to rip it out right away. Didn’t even take a picture of it. It pulled and wrinkled and distorted in a way that I have not seen before. And I’m not going to try to solve the issue when there is a way that always works.

Basting. Takes more time. It’s a pain to do. This time, it’s the only way that seems to work. But it always works!

Basting in a high contrast thread color because I want to easily see it when it comes time to remove it. That also forces me to look closely at all the areas when I’m doing that and make sure that I didn’t miss sewing something down.

That will be the next step in the process, but I won’t have much studio time in the next several days. It’s probably a good thing, since every step of this piece is taking a lot of thinking. And I THINK I’m on the right track now!

Going nowhere, fast!

Weekends are not very productive around here–and for exceptionally good reasons! Weekends are grandson time, whether it’s just hanging around the house or going to his hockey games. Much higher priority than playing in the studio!

I worked on my challenge and thought that it was finished. I didn’t take a pic of it, though. As I thought more about it, I felt that it needed something more. It did not speak to me very well. And now I am in the process of adding more to it.

X’s and O’s and the more I add of those, the less and less I like the beaded center strip. That may all have to come off and probably be replaced by small x’s and o’s. I think that’s what this started saying to me. And when your pieces talk to you, you need to listen!

Thoughts from a sleepless night…

Whenever I have a hard time going to sleep, I try to think and plan about unfinished projects or ideas for things I’d like to create. Sometimes I’ll wake up during the night and do the same thing, rather than turn on a light and read myself back to sleep. It often leads to solutions for design problems.

Last night was very wakeful and lots of thinking went on.

I figured out two different ways to continue working on this piece that has been put away for quite a while.

And I’m pretty sure I know what to do with some lovely silk charmeuse with which I was gifted.

These great text prints are going to work well with some gelli print experiments.

There are a couple of quilts that I should take off the unfinished pile and get busy quilting. Especially this one.

There are several new ideas for using these dark circles, too.

And did I write ANY of these ideas down? Wake up enough to make sketches? Absolutely not! My sleepless ideas sometimes stick with me and sometimes they don’t. They are mostly a way to help me fall back to sleep and surprisingly, many of them do stay with me. I’m hoping this blog post will help me out with that, too, if only as a memory note for the future!

Sleepless nights are not always worthless nights……..



Beachtime, wondering…

When I left the studio yesterday, I was all set to move on to the next step with this Beachtime project.

I added some contrasting pieces on the bottom/sand and another strip into the dark/water.

The stitching began, and I was planning on doing a LOT of hand stitching. What I had forgotten is how impossible it is to get a needle through 2 layers of tightly woven fabric WITH fusible! Immediate change of plans! Machine stitching only on this baby, but that also opened things up to a bit of metallic thread.

I put up a picture on IG and my daughter weighed in on my design, which I absolutely love. I value her opinion and she helped me tweak things.

Tick tock tick tock tick tock….that’s time passing while I did a bunch of straight line quilting and a few rows of curvy metallics.

And after this part was done, I wondered if I wanted to put the hand stitched piece back into the picture.

What do you think?

Since this is so close to final decisions and finishing, I also started to look for fabrics for the next project. I am determined to do something with the hand dyed circle fabric and I think I may do an almost repeat of another piece I did…whole cloth with the hand dye on a plain quilted background.

I MAY cut the fabric into a large circle, or one large and two smaller circles. But I know it will not have straight line quilting. I’ve done enough of that lately to last me for years!

However, I also discovered another piece of fabric that I had totally forgotten about. It’s certainly not my usual colorway, so it should be fun to find a way to work with this one, too!

You know, I can tell you exactly what tools I used to make this with, but I have no memory of this actual piece of fabric happening! Strange…………..but I like it and I think there will be more of this type of fabric making to come. It’s done with soy wax and dye and for me, that is a warm-weather-out-in-the-garage activity!

I think I need to go through my stacks of hand dyes more often. I’m finding all kinds of things that I like now and maybe didn’t when I first made them, or, like today, pieces that I have totally forgotten about!


Text and Texture

Text and Texture is the challenge I am working on right now. It’s not due for almost 3 months, but when the idea strikes, you have to roll with it.

There was one thing for sure that I wanted to get on the top before I attached a backing and did any quilting. Cording is always eye-catching and I wanted to create an image that looked like writing but not actually BE writing. Paper–always an easy way to create the image, even if it’s a pain sometimes to remove!

Worked like a charm!

I secured things in a few places and then added an envelope back. Several rows of stitching around the edge and it was ready for quilting.

I did not have a real plan, as usual, but knew at some point that I wanted to have stitching that looked like cursive writing but not real words. I didn’t quite achieve that because it turned out to be impossible for me to do without thinking of and using real words.

But I did it upside down and from the back so it’s not really readable…I think. When I pinned it up for blocking, I’m not sure it’s exactly what I want.

It may stay like this or it may need some more stitching…but for now, I’m done with it. And since you can’t tell the size from these pics, it’s about 26 x 37, so fairly large.

Don’t know yet if I’ll procrastinate on the sleeve or go ahead and get it done. Tomorrow could bring something to distract me, and I could……………..squirrel………….!!!