Magic fabric follow up

Using water soluble stabilizer to create fabric is one of the most fun things I do. The little houses I showed you the other day don’t require the water soluble, but the really skinny strips do.

With that soluble over the top, your quilting foot simply glides over all those edges without getting caught. I started this one with some ‘straight’ lines from top to bottom and I immediately started questioning whether or not I should leave them.

I finished the stitching and still didn’t like them, but decided to wash out the soluble before I made a final decision. Sometimes all the stitching covers up what you don’t like so much.

Nope–so now I have to wait for it to dry, but those long, straight, distracting lines will be coming out!

And I had a flower all ready to go from my demo of making magic fabric at quilt guild, so I went ahead and stitched that up, too.

This is only part way through the sewing. It needs a lot of stitches to hold this together! And before I finished it up, I put some glitzy thread in the bobbin and added that. You can always add more on top of the soluble when making this–that’s part of the magic!

And–voila–a hyacinth looking for a little flowerpot, I think!

And I still have that biiiiig piece of magic fabric background waiting to be used also. I think I’m going to have an entire garden made from mashed together scraps!


Let the purge begin…

Spending two weeks away from my studio, in a place with lots of peaceful vistas, a venue with a place for everything and everything in it’s place…lots of thinking got done. Coming home and unpacking led me to assess what I have in the studio.

Everywhere I looked, all I could see was disorganized chaos. Too, too much of everything and nothing really placed where it could be easily accessed.

I was thinking of the song lyrics–clowns to the left of me, jokers on the right, here I am–and all I could see was…projects to the left of me, samples on the right, woe is me!

Something must be done!

A teacher from camp will be able to use some yarn, if I get it to her, so I decided to start there. Didn’t get it all sorted yet, but there is a ton of it that I will never use! Time to move it on to where it will have a new and happy life.

There is still a bit more to sort through, and I should get it done tomorrow. I will be able to deliver it through a friend. Hooray! I’m pretty sure that teacher friend doesn’t know what she is in for, but she can always pass things along, too!

Purge is the word of the month for me. I had lots of time to think and there are certain things that I have played with in the past that I no longer wish to pursue. Those things will be GONE as soon as I can find new homes. Not much is trash, so craft adoption is the way I’ll choose to go.

Once again, I have a plan to clean up the studio space. I certainly hope I can stick to it all the way this time.

And maybe no new projects to show you for a little bit. If I stick to my guns and keep cleaning and sorting, new/old projects will be my reward!


It’s a beautiful world

Had a bit of free time today, so I took a little drive around the Blue Lake area. I should say the White Lake area, because that’s where the towns of Whitehall and Montague are located and where I actually wandered through.

My first stop was a quilt store that I have visited each time I’ve been here. You may be surprised to hear that there is always something that I cannot leave without! Today, however, had a huge bonus.

Yes, quilt show AT the store. I’m missing my Ann Arbor Guild quilt show this weekend, so this was a wonderful consolation! I only took a couple pictures, but there were quite a few quilts and it was just lovely.

As I headed back to my room, I definitely took the scenic route!

It’s so nice to have some time to relax and really enjoy the beauty around us. It was a glorious day.

Creating fabric with…magic!

At least it seems magical to me to use water-soluble stabilizer for the creation of new and unique fabric. I gave a quick demo about it at quilt guild and was asked to write a blog with a few more details, so I’m gathering together a few of the blogs I’ve written about it. I’ll post this here and on the guild blog as well.

There are quite a few methods and variables, but the basics are simple…

lay down a base of stabilizer–I have used Solvy brand, in a heavy weight and a lighter weight and had success with both.

add threads, fabric bits, yarns, etc. over it

cover with another layer of stabilizer

pin, pin, pin and stitch over the top to hold it all together

aaaaand stitch, stitch, stitch

keep stitching….

wash away the stabilizer and use the fabric you have made!!!

Variations are infinite and I’ve gone into more detail on several projects on which I have worked. Here and here.

I had a great time making these large, funky flowers, using a flat background with a fusible interfacing base. The links to those how-to’s start with this one and continue here .

There are more variations and instructions while I was working on this project also.

I don’t have everything all neatly gathered in one place, since I don’t write blogs with the idea of a specific technique tutorial. I jump from project to project and write about what I’m doing as I’m doing it! The links posted here should give you a good idea of how this magic water soluble works. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I’m happy to share anything I’ve learned while playing this way.


As I mentioned, I need some hand work to take to camp with me so I’m trying to get that ONE MORE PROJECT ready to go. This one–the Goldilocks project– is actually mostly planned out and it’s only a matter of execution. Ha!

I totally changed my mind on the materials I’m using, though. The rusty pieces were going to be placed on wool squares on a wool background. I changed to silk…because I have a ton of it!

Decision 1–red on purple

or purple on red?

Aaaand….it’s going to be red on purple, like this.

All laid out and ready to stitch down. I fused the purple to batting first because I want a bit of stability when I start doing the hand stitching. I’ll add a back later to hide all the messiness.

And I had a Duh! moment…..square the background up by using the straight edges of the table it’s laying on! Too easy!

Next decision–what color thread to sew the squares down with, red or purple? Well, thanks to Teri Lucas, who suggested using both threaded through the needle at once! Brilliant!

Little issue, though. The red was on a free-standing thread stand and the purple was on the machine. The red was a bit looser and got a little loopy. Not enough for me to consider ripping anything out!! You can see loopy red towards the bottom and fixed and better above it. I came up with a Rube Goldberg fix, and I still can’t believe it worked!

Wrapped the thread around the bobbin tensioner and set a spool of thread on top. Amazing that that little bit of extra tension fixed the problem!

I thought I had stitched 12 of the circle studies, but it turns out I had 13! I will need to spend a bit of time figuring out how I want to arrange them……..or it may not matter one little bit.

But I believe I have eliminated that #13 odd man out already. I just don’t care for this one that much.

Not asymmetrical enough, I guess.

I feel much better about heading off to camp now. I have a project, and it’s plenty large enough to keep me busy for quite a while!

May not post much from camp, so don’t worry if I seem to be missing! Rest assured that I will be having fun. I love teaching these kids.

Bits and bobs

After I sorted through all those foo foo fabrics,

I was left with a bag of tiny bits that I thought might work for one of those stitched-through-water-soluble-stabilizer scarves, so I laid one out. I don’t normally like using tulle, but these pieces were so tiny, like confetti, that I thought I needed it.

Step one–hard to see through the tulle and the soluble. The usual procedure, again, is to pin the heck out of the piece and then stitch, stitch, stitch. I decided to baste instead of pin because I hate maneuvering through all the sharp pinpoints and it really doesn’t take much longer. And the thread can be left right in the finished piece!

That was step two–

And then it really is time to stitch, stitch, stitch! Step three–I’ve got it started but it takes forever! Another good thing, though, is that you can use up any little bits of thread left on a spool or bobbin. You can add threads or yarns or ribbons to your heart’s content. Really can’t mess it up, but it does take a lot of time. I’ve got it started, but it may be one of those things that I only pick up in spare moments.

I really, really do not like the tulle, but I’m thinking when I get a bit more stitching done, I will be able to cut some of it and expose some of the underlying shiny bits. I do love me some raggedy bits hanging out!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But the main project I want to tackle over the next little while is the dyed grid. I put a green border on it and I plan on quilting it with a kind of grid.

Since it’s a hand dye, the colored grid is not machine precise–don’t you love that? And so my quilting will not be a precise grid either, but straight lines at ‘off’ angles. At least that’s the plan right now!

And just when I’ve finally got a project and a plan, it’s time to go work at camp for two weeks. I need that hand work project…………..which I don’t have because I’ve been playing with these two. I’d better get going on ONE MORE PROJECT, so I have fun hand work to take with me.

I have such a good life……………………

The dreaded choices

Yes, dreaded choices! I am so very bad at making decisions. I see too many possibilities when I start pulling out fabrics and cannot settle easily on only one.

I have some hand dyed fabric that I intend to leave uncut and want to finish with a small border to set it off. HA! Choosing that border fabric has been almost impossible for me.

I did start by eliminating the idea of commercial fabric, though I did look over the stash. I pulled out a stack of other hand dyes from which to choose.

Tried almost everything…

Settled on yellow-green, which shows up as very, very yellow in my photos!

Limey green with a second light blue border?

Or limey green with a second multi-colored border?

Or a slightly bluer green with a blue square and no second border?

I’m pretty good at knowing when something is right, but none of these jumped up and said that they were perfect. I went back to commercial fabric and really like this more olive grunge fabric.

Not screaming ‘perfect’ but better than the others. I’ll let them all hang around for a few more days before I decide, but I’ve been in this spot with this piece before and have yet to make a final decision. I think I’ll have to force the issue this time because I want to work on this fabric!

And, as I recall, done is better than perfect!