Category Archives: Fabric

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!

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Filed under Non-traditional Quilts, Fabric, Thinking About Quilting!, Color, Use Up the Stash

Picking up scraps

Literally, walking around my studio and all the scraps on the floor were driving me nuts! Not enough to really clean, of course, but I kind of wanted to prove a point to myself. I’ve always maintained that we all work with a palette of colors that appeals to us individually and that you can combine pretty much anything from your shelves and it will look good. So I thought I’d try it with the scraps I found thrown around the studio.

Now you all know that I have many overflowing scrap baskets like this pile, loosely sorted by color.

I just kept picking up pieces and sewing them together until I ended up with these four blocks.

I thought about searching through the baskets for more, but stopped myself from crazy scrap madness! The other part of my color theory is that black and white goes with everything! And it did….all of the dozen or so fabrics that I auditioned looked fine, but I ended up going with the one that had a bit more color.

It will make a nice spot of color on someone’s wall!

And THEN…..I looked over at the shelves and this pile of leftover blocks and scraps jumped out at me!

I felt like I was on a roll and threw the blocks up on the wall, with some fabric that I thought I would use with them.

Then I started re-arranging the blocks and maybe something else will emerge!

That’s as far as the “scrap roll” has taken me, but that’s not too bad! I’m also starting to feel as though I can relatively quickly sort through those baskets of scraps next week and get rid of many of the pieces I’ve been holding on to for ‘someday’. I’m not as attached to them as I thought I was…so that means now is the time to make them gone!!! Even if they end up as dog bed stuffing, it will be nice to have them used and not just cluttering up my space.

Here’s to ‘good garbage’…

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Filed under Art Quilts, Designing Quilts, Fabric, Use Up the Stash

It does rain here…

Yes, indeed, sunny Florida does have rain, but it’s still warm and so much better than snow. And after the rain, the sun shines and the flowers continue to bloom!

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And I continue to sort my mother’s stuff, finding everything that no one needs anymore!

On the sewing front, there is not much to report. My project-that-I-cannot-show-you is coming along. I brought embroidery materials to finish it, but now that the main elements are together, I think machine finishing will be better and that will have to wait until I’m home with a machine.

I did go overboard with my pieces of sheer fabric, though.

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You can’t tell from the picture, but this is about a 6″ wide and tall pile of leftovers. The thought had crossed my mind to make a series using this sheer fabric concept…I think I will be obligated to do it now, just to use up those fabric strips!

Just a few more days to enjoy the warmth and sunshine and then back to a more typical spring in Michigan–cold, rainy and gray. Can’t wait!

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Filed under Fabric, Family news, Life

Hidden Challenge

Creative Seasons is the name of an art group of which I am a member. We are having an interesting challenge right now, called Chinese Whispers. Similar to the old game of telephone, each group starts with a photo. We have enough people interested that we actually have several small groups, but we are all starting with the same photo.

We then create a quilted piece based on an aspect of the photo that appeals to us. The second person in that group then gets to see the finished first piece but NOT the original photo. Her piece is based on that first piece and then she shows her finished piece to the next person and so on. I’m not sure how many rounds we will do, but I’m sure that the final piece will be far removed from that original picture. Can’t wait!

In the meantime, while I’m working on my piece, we can’t show anyone! So what will I have to show you? Pieces parts, I guess! Nothing in the composition itself!

My cutting table was cleared and clean just a couple of days ago. Not so much now.

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Part of my interest in this challenge is that I want to use less opaque fabrics, such as organzas, so that’s where I’m starting. Spent the best part of an entire day adding texture to my chosen fabrics…simple twin-needle stitching, but lots of it.

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I had a minor moment of excitement when I found this piece that I had dyed a bright green. It should make a wonderful highlight color.

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Then came adding fusible and cutting into small strips…

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a large pile of little strips! I might be nuts before this project is done.

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However, I do want to do more intentional, thoughtful art and taking the time to place these strips exactly where I think they need to be is part of that process. I may or may not be able to show you more as I proceed with this project, until the end. You can imagine me, though, playing with a pile of organza strips and hoping I’m nowhere near a high wind!

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Filed under Art Quilts, Color, Designing Quilts, Fabric, Learning New Things!

Did you hear the brakes squealing?

My brain took an abrupt turn around all the projects I have hanging around my studio and I practically got whiplash from the spin!

This

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and this

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are now going to be merged into one project!

I couldn’t decide what to do with either one of them separately but suddenly it seemed perfect to slam them together!

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I threw them up on the design wall and tried out a couple of sashing fabrics. Here’s how round 1 came out.

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One more row top and bottom and suddenly I have a full size quilt!

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I’d put a little border on it, but I don’t have any more of the yellow sashing fabric and nothing else really seemed to fit. And the best part is that I have only a tiny pile of scraps left.

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The strips equal about one more width of the quilt and they will be fine to go into any back I put on this. I’m feeling pretty good about my Use Up the Stash efforts this week!

Now–I almost forgot that I have a group project that is due a few days after I get back from my next trip. I won’t be able to take it with me, so I guess that jumped to the top of the list, didn’t it? And it’s one of those that I can’t show you until later. S0……………busy, busy, busy!

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Filed under Designing Quilts, Fabric, Thinking About Quilting!, Use Up the Stash

White on white

Definitely hard to photograph! I’m trying to learn how to be a better photographer, but the workings of f-stops and depth of field are like Greek to me. That’s my disclaimer, right up front!

My friend made a beautiful Christmas tree skirt for her daughter from her mother’s wedding dress–three generations remembered. She also embroidered her daughter’s name along with that of her husband and the husband part didn’t last forever. This tree skirt, along with a stocking, needs to be saved but the embroidery cannot be removed without damage.

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We brainstormed quite a few ideas and then mom left it in my hands! So trusting–I’ll do my best not to let her down.

Somewhere in my reading I saw that free motion stitching on a circle with felt backing will result in a nice, wavy floret. I have had my own issues with waviness and heavy stitching so I thought I’d try to do it on purpose.

Heavy stitching in a free form flower–

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Flowers on a piece of silk, fused to a scrap of the velvet from the tree skirt–

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Looks pretty wavy–

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And produces a cute little flower form when cut out! Looks like a winner!

I think I should be able to make a nice little 3-D embellishment and save this tree skirt!

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Some pretty trim, organza ribbon, 3D flowers and perhaps some beads. I think it will be elegant and look intentional, not like a repair!

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And it’s done! Haven’t shown it to the owner yet so I don’t know if she will like it or not, but it’s ready to be shown.

Here’s what I found out about the distorted fabric flowers…they are really, really distorted. EACH petal of the flower rolls up towards the center and that is not the look I wanted. The example I saw that used circles didn’t have that issue because there were not separate areas. I ended up sewing down almost every petal, but in the end it was worth it.

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I did not add any additional beads or organza. The beaded trim seemed sufficient. Hope she likes it!

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Filed under Fabric, Handwork, surface design

Barely sewing…

The days around Christmas have always been relaxing, do-nothing times for me and this year was no exception. Jigsaw puzzles are a big part of how I spend my time and sometimes I actually do get a little sewing done. Not so much this week, but I did a little thinking about sewing!

When I put up the scrap fabrics I had stitched together on the design wall, I wasn’t sure where I was going with them.

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Making the triangles is a super easy process, but I also saw a couple pictures with related tutorials about making wonky triangle blocks as I browsed the internet this past week. I have a LOT of fabric that I could put into this piece and having several methods of using up those scraps allows me to use all sizes of scraps and end up with blocks the same size…okay, that’s part of the design decision process.

This piece is only going to have the triangles, not the other chunks of scrap pieces. Those are all in a colorway that I also have tons of, enough to make another whole quilt, at least! I also decided that I’m not going to make my triangle blocks different sizes…probably not! I’m going to start out with that plan, but if it gets too boring, I’ll throw in some sections with different size blocks.

The plan here also is to concentrate on the contrast between the light and dark. The blocks will vary with some dark triangles and bright backgrounds and vice-versa. So with all those design decisions made–and not much sewing done–this is where I’m at with the quilt.

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I’m going to keep going until I use up all the scraps in this designated “group” even if it makes enough for more than 1 quilt! It can be back and front or two quilts. I don’t care…I just need to get rid of some of my mountains of scraps and this is a start! I need to stay disciplined enough to avoid the distractions of new projects and pretty fabrics.

Wish me luck!

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Filed under Color, Designing Quilts, Fabric, Thinking About Quilting!