Clean and finish

Yesterday time spent in the studio was mostly for cleaning up and putting away the stuff from this weekend’s class and demo.

Add fabric to blank cards–easy peasy!

It seemed to take forever, and I’m always fighting distractions that take me away from cleaning! I stayed on track today and got the job done.

I figured the best way to take care of the demo stuff was to finish them all off and then all the pieces parts could be put back in storage, not left in the to-be-finished pile!


My class project is the only thing left sitting on the table and I’ll try to get at that sometime over the weekend.

I was struck by something I read today, though, about an individual’s creative process. She uses another person as a sounding board to move her work along. Just talking to her friend, even with minimal response, helps her to firm up her ideas as she works. We talked about the creative process in class on Friday, too. For me, I have always worked alone and those class situations are good for starting something but I can’t get too serious until I have quiet contemplation time. And since I have been doing this blog for a while, the pictures and pauses and comments have become a part of my process, too. It helps to take an occasional look at how you do things and assess if it’s working for you. This holiday weekend, which is an interruption of routine anyway, might be a good time to do just that!



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…


Ninety minute girl!

Ninety minutes is about the length of time I can work on something without a break anymore. I either need thinking time, or a drink of water or a trip to the bathroom to get rid of some water! Sometimes I actually need something like food…or a nap! You might wonder how I ever did my job, but it was not stationery work; I was up and down all the time.

Yesterday’s question was what method to use for making little houses out of the string fabric.

Fusible, interfacing, water soluble? I decided that it was going to be fusible because I’m not sure how much stitching/beading I’ll be doing. You can always ADD materials for structure and stability, but you can’t easily take any of it away.

All my strings started as offcuts from squares, so I clip the corners and I’ve decided to press them neatly  for building this fabric.

Boooooooring job and it took a couple of those 90 minute sessions to get all the background pieces done, plus the reds  and darks I want for those buildings.

I started with the idea that I would build a little house with small pieces of fusible.

Then I realized that it would take forever to work that way and I’m just not that patient! I had some larger leftover pieces and covered those to make fabric.

I’ll cut house shapes from that fabric and it will give me more room for variety of size and shape and direction of the strips.

You really have to draw a line somewhere when you start working with scraps. I’m already working with pieces that I would have thrown away a year ago. I will NOT keep these tiny pieces and make confetti quilts!

I also made a decision that I want this piece to be larger than the last few I’ve been playing working with. And that the background would be on my lightest weight fusible. This is where I’m at right now…

…and that’s when I decided that I was a ninety minute girl! Time for a break!

I’ll update you when I have the background put together and I’ve started on the houses! Now I think I NEED a drink…no, some food…ummm, really, a nap!



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!

Sleepless nights

We all have those sleepless nights upon occasion, but for me it’s usually a couple of hours with a runaway brain and then I drift off to sleep. However, last night was really sleepless. Tried a hot bath, reading a book, playing a game on the computer and finally went down to the studio.

I guess this design has been living in the back of my head for a little while and it chose last night to HAVE to be born!

It started with scrap strips of batiks that I’ve had for at least a year. (Not very long compared to some of the stuff I’ve had hanging around!) I laid them out on a piece of fusible interfacing, ironed them down, stitched on top and, of course, did NOT take a picture of that stage!

Then I got out the stencil and the paints and turned the piece 180 degrees.


Maybe a bit more color than I first intended, but I think it will be okay.

Then it was back to the scrap bags for the next layer. I tried out the very skinny strips that I used last week

but didn’t like what I was seeing. Maybe not enough contrast.

Then I tried the slightly wider strips in the batik bag.


A little more controlled and I feel as though I’m on the right track. Still have quite a bit of experimenting to do before I come up with a final design, but I feel good about what came out of my sleepless night so far!

Scraps are fun to play with!

Subtle is good, right?

My string/stabilizer experiment continues. I decided that I wanted a simple silhouette of something organic on top of the strings and that I would stitch it on the machine, not by hand.

Having a tiny bit of experience with machine work like this, I knew it would need another fairly heavy stabilizer to stand up to the density of the stitching. Easy, peasy and it was also a chance to experiment with methods of transferring my design. Ended up tracing through the stencil–still the most accurate and needing the least number of tools. Yeah, one pencil or pen!

Here’s the start of my stitching, in black, which was done from the back. I ran out of bobbin thread here so it was a good time to take a photo and show you the detail.

And this is that same detail from the front.

Easy to see that there is much more stitching to do! (This would be a good time for you to think of the Jeopardy theme right now, ’cause all I did was stitch and stitch and stitch!) However, after I had the black done and looked at it from the right side, I decided it was too stark. And, of course, I didn’t take a picture of that!

My final step (maybe!) was to stitch from the front, to make sure everything was well filled in and to use another color. If you know me, you know that purple is my least favorite color. Guess what color looked best on this? Yep, sometimes you use purple because it’s the right color!

Now, overall, this is a rather dainty silhouette on top of the strings and the color makes it subtle. But subtle is fine now and again, isn’t it? Does it need something shiny or sparkly? I was all set to call it done and get it mounted, but I thought I’d give it a chance to speak up before I did anything permanent.

And I’ll be away from it for a couple of days, so I’ll have plenty of time to think about it.  Right now, though, I think it’s done!

Let’s try this!

I’ve had water soluble stabilizer in a package on my shelf for several years. There have been projects that I have been going to use it for several times, but I’ve not actually explored it or it’s uses.

So today I decided to try it out on a pile of string scraps that have been hanging around for quite a while, too.

I spread the scraps across a base of batik striped fabric and then spread the stabilizer over the top and pinned it down.

Then it was stitch stitch stitch until I had everything fastened down.

The next step was to soak and rinse the piece until the stabilizer was dissolved, which only took a few minutes. I threw it in the dryer then pressed it and here is where I’m at now.

I can see that I didn’t think through my edges or I’d have had the strings go all the way across on both sides. But I’ll deal with that when I figure out what else I’ll do to it!

Here’s a close up of what I have.

I’m liking it, but I’m not sure what my next step will be. That’s the fun of exploring different techniques–you never know what you’ll come up with!