On to Stage 2…

I’ve completed the first, fast set of samples for camp. This is the last group, all ready for mounting decisions.

Now I need to make some samples in a different manner. I’m not looking for students to copy what I do, but to see different ways in which to express themselves and choose what feels correct for them.

This next week is a super busy one for us——lunches and dinners out every single day. Well, come on, someone has to do it! I’m grateful that we have a social life and are not reclusive or incapacitated shut-ins! But it means almost no time to sew. I am going to find and grab a chunk of creative time and put together some simple designs so that I will be able to stitch a minute here and there and keep going on these ideas.

The concept started with stitch meditation and daily stitch journals from others and it really does give me contemplative time, though not necessarily from my ‘thoughts of the moment.’

Loving this and I don’t see an end to doing it.


Next set ready

Always sad when I don’t have much time for sewing, but I’m carving out a few minutes here and there.

The second set of samples for Blue Lake is ready to be mounted.

There are five pieces in this series to illustrate two things–series pieces do not all have to be the same size and a series is not a static number of pieces.

I like all the little pieces I’m doing, but this one is so me…all angles and asymmetrical and a bit of bright and a bit of glitz!

I have to start thinking about what finishing options I want to present. I want the students to have choices, to be able to DO whatever they choose and to feel they have completed an ART piece when they are done.

Much more work to be done, but I’m loving every moment of it!

First of the series

As promised, here is a picture of the first series in the samples I’m making for camp.

They are not mounted on anything, because I want to keep my options open. I want the kids to see mounting on a single backing, probably in an accordion book format, single entities, and sculpturally, as in a cube or pyramid. So I’ll need to keep making……..

Some of the fun parts of working on this today was looking over the buttons I was considering adding to the pieces.

I had no idea that I had so many of these white sculptural buttons.

Aren’t they gorgeous?

I didn’t use many since these pieces are so small, but now that I know I have them, it could be the basis for another larger piece.

My bead collection is pretty extensive and I thought it would be simple to find a few beads to go with this series. Not so much. That nice pure blue of the fabric apparently is not a bead color I have! So I spent some delightful time looking through my little container of leftover beads.

And I found six beads that matched each other and went with the fabric. And I realized that I have a LOT of beads in that little container of leftovers. I’d better get planning some beading projects to use up the stash as well as using up the fabric stash!


Working out the method

Teaching anything involves a lot of planning…at least it does for me. And it’s waaaay different planning for unskilled middle school kids than for adult quilters! I know what I want to teach them and now I’m working on how to get it across to them.

I know from experience that some of them have never even held a needle and some are already garment sewing, so I have to deliver the basics while keeping the others from total boredom. I think the idea of ‘teaching assistants’ may work just fine.

This is how I think we’ll assemble the little pieces–after a bit of design time and the lesson about threading and using that needle!

Actually, the first picture is probably NOT how we’ll do it, but I’ll give them the option.

These pieces are glue basted down. It avoids getting stuck with pins but for kids, the glue can get globby and maybe not so secure. They will have the option but not the recommendation. However, this will also be an example that pieces in a series can be different sizes.

So here’s what I will recommend. A piece of batting (or other support fabric), larger than the finished piece will be. Then trace out the area of the finished piece so they know how much area to cover.

And remember that the marking goes on the back, so they can see it until the end! I thought about just marking the corners on the front, but then remembered that these are inexperienced kids!

After the design is laid out, with those pesky sharp pins, they will be basting. It’s really going to be the best way for them to proceed.

And rather than random stitch meditation type ideas, I am going to have them work in a series mind-set. I think I’m set with my plan!

I know I’m set with quite a few pieces ready to embroider and embellish, but I needed at least this many to work out my planning.

I need a few more in the light blue series and I want to get all of these completely finished off before I do any others. Then anything additional between now and camp will be a bonus.

Feeling good about this!!!!

Retreats are for relaxing!

And I had a wonderful, relaxing weekend. The first thing I accomplished was quilting Deb’s quilt!

Hooray! After this milestone, it was all play time.

I wanted to start making samples for Blue Lake this summer and I got three little ones done…kind of.

I didn’t take tons of extra embellishment stuff with me, only fabric and thread. I believe that some of these may get some beads here and there!!!

Then I got distracted and started a project with some fabric given to me by Judi Hurwitt, one of my favorite artists.

This is how far I got by Saturday night.

And by the time I left on Sunday, I had quite a bit more stitching done. I’m really loving this piece!

Still need to work on stashbusters but that’s sewing machine stuff in the studio. Relaxing time in the evenings will be continuing on with the hand stitching and the samples.

I have so much good stuff to look forward to……………..

Issues of ‘too much stuff’

Quilt retreat this weekend–hooray! I decided to take my sewing machine and quilt my daughter’s quilt, rather than ONLY take hand work to do. That’s a simple bunch of stuff to pack…the machine, the thread, the quilt, even the binding…Bam! It’s ready.

Then it took me two days to figure out what I wanted to work on for the hand sewing. At first I thought I would use the pile of necktie fabric that I have collected.

You would be surprised at how much fabric there is in a simple silk tie.

And I have plain scraps and glitzy scraps galore, from which to choose.

I know that I want to make samples for our Blue Lake project this summer. Ooooookaaaay! The design of that project will be wide open for student imagination, so my imagination had an awful time trying to figure out what the best examples will be.

Poor empty box here, waiting for me to make a decision…

It’s not as if I’ll be leaving on Monday for that assignment and have to have everything ready. It’s not until July! I’ve got time! But you know how sneaky that time thing is…next thing I know, July will be here and I can’t stand the thought of being unprepared.

What? You think everything I do is totally improvised? HA! When I’m teaching, I like to show everything I can think of…and have samples of everything I can think of…so that the students can envision how to do improv. I was taught by nuns—I DO my homework, or else!

I was getting overwhelmed with too much stuff again, too many choices! I ended up going to the box of vintage linens, which also has a bunch of silk and sample fabrics, all in light colors. I have a charm pack of grunge fabric, a little wool and ALL my favorite embroidery thread. Surprise–no beads! That kind of embellishment can wait until after I get home.

I will make whatever I can with what I have! And, you know, it’s a retreat with a bunch of artists who use textiles. Everyone will have scraps and all of these women are sharers. It will work.

See the little carry-on bag on the right? That’s clothes. I can pack for a week in that little bag! All the rest is sewing stuff…so that means I’m headed for a good time.

I can’t wait to see what I come home with, and I’ll share it with you as soon as I get it figured out!

Busy weekend

Yep, this was a busy weekend. Hockey games Friday and Saturday night, Quilt Guild meeting Saturday morning, ice festival in the afternoon, and workshop all day Sunday. Whew!

Happily, I am not too tired to keep stitching. You need to check out Michelle May at The Raspberry Rabbits so you can check out what we did!

I’ve not worked with wool in this manner before and actually went to class wanting to do everything as differently as possible from my normal.

I chose muted colors of wool and neutral colored thread and had a lovely time. I could have finished in class but I wanted a size and color of bead that Michelle did not bring with her. But, oh my, did she ever bring tons and tons of stuff!

This was the first time I came to a class only needing scissors. We paid for a kit and then had our choice of wool, thread and embellishments. Soooooo easy! I will admit that I was skeptical at first, but at this point, if you are a program chair or know one, I highly recommend hiring Michelle May! Delightful and what she teaches is inspiration, not whatever kit it is that you choose.

And now I’m sitting at home, in front of the fire, adding some beads and planning on enjoying the rest of the evening. Aaaaaaaaaaahhh!