Another busy week

Seems as though there is a lot to do every single day lately. Makes me wonder sometimes how I ever had time to go to work. One of the items on my calendar this week was to fill in for a speaker at the library who had to cancel. I never have a problem talking about quilts, so of course I said I could. I took this stack of quilts with me,

plus a few more. Had a weird experience, though, when I got light-headed and had to sit for a bit in the middle of my talk. Never had that happen to me before except one time when I gave blood and drank coffee. Since I had given blood this week, I immediately linked the two, along with a flu shot and a cold. Drink lots of fluid, they said, and I think I didn’t! I will listen and do the right thing from now on, I promise.

I’m not getting much sewing done, and it doesn’t look like it will be moving too quickly for the next few days either. We have 2 grandson hockey games this weekend as well as two college hockey games. What I have going is slow, slow, slow……………….s-l-o-w filling in an area with French knots.

It doesn’t look very large in the picture but it’s about 6 x 8. Ordinarily I would fill some of it with beads–and I may, yet–but this piece really doesn’t call for beads. We shall see, after I get a few more knots in it.

So, off we go to hockey and more hockey! Glad I love the sport.

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Using My Hand Dyes

I’ve been trying to use more of the fabrics that I have altered for my pieces. Hand dyes count! There are several partially done pieces laying on my worktable and I need to get them done, so I charged right in today.

I grabbed a scrap and cut it into smaller snips and laid them on this piece. I liked the turquoise, but the design itself might not work.

And then I dropped a piece and it turned over and lo and behold! It’s a print

And it looks so much better! I remembered getting it as a small accent piece from a friend in a workshop and this is literally all I have of it! Lucky me to have found it today.

As I said, I am not sure if this is the final design placement.

It’s pretty symmetrical, which is not my style, and maybe even a bit cliche. I have to play around with it a bit before I add any stitching to it. But then I got distracted……as usual. No wonder I always have partial pieces laying around.

As I picked up these pieces to move them out of the way, I decided that they would look good together as a little strip set. So that’s what I did.

And then I found a bit of this and a bit of that and put it all together and I’m liking it!!

Working improvisationally is soooooooo much fun. Takes a while longer, but it’s exciting every step of the way.

So now it’s time to get some stitch embellishment and some beads on these and get ’em finished. I have another show coming up and I need to replace a couple of pieces that sold.

Sewing projects…………hooray!

Directions and sleeves, again!

Are you tired of looking at this piece, yet? Here’s the newest rendition ————

And the detail

I had always planned on making the spot where the bead is my focal point. And I thought this large bead, surrounded by small beads would work. Played with laying out more and more beads and it simply was not working for me.

So I took them all off.

There is not a single bead or button or rock in my collection that is just right for this spot. For the moment then, I have decided to stick with the total hand stitching aspect and  identify that focal spot with a few French knots.

They don’t stand out very much, so I know that won’t be the final look. I changed the direction I was thinking of, too, because I don’t want to give the idea of a picket fence!

This one is going into temporary time out until I get it all figured out!

And since I’m working on several shows right now, I have sleeves and finishing…always!

Sleeves last night

and today I will work on adding hanging hardware and wires to my canvas pieces.

When everything is actually ready to be sold, I can relax and think about new pieces again!

There’s probably a better way…

The construction methods I am using in this scrap project are very time consuming. I am positive there is a better way, but…these scrap projects are make-it-up-as-I-go-along. Sometimes you go forward, then backward to make progress.

I started with the dark blue background and put some contrasting strips on it. Tried lots of variations but didn’t have what I wanted to add with me so I basted it and put it aside until I got home.

Original idea

I ended up adding only a couple of little strips and basted again. At this point of construction, I baste to a piece of batting or felt. Then I can do any stitching or beading without worrying about the messy back showing. I add a backing after all that work is done. That requires a bit more stitching to hold those layers together, but I can plan for that!

Thought I wanted to add tons of glitz and foo-foo, but really couldn’t figure out what would look good AND not totally obscure the strips! Then inspiration struck, thanks to a picture from Katie McGrath and I decided that a simple circle pattern would work the best. Sooooo, I machine basted that, using the presser foot as my guide.

Basting all over this baby! Started hand stitching, again keeping it simple and removing basting stitches as I went along. The basting on the machine took about 5 minutes. The hand stitching takes a bit more time! Here’s where I’m at, hours later, with lots more stitching ahead.

But guess what? Simple stitches are so relaxing. No worry about which new stitch to use, or to learn or balancing the variety of stitches chosen. Simply sewing. Lots of basting, and more basting and taking out the basting. Then lots of stitching and when I add the back, more stitching.

Yes, there probably is a better way, but this way gives me lots of decision making time and every bit of it is working with the textiles I love! It’s all good!

And it was our local Appleumpkin Festival this weekend, so we took time out to walk uptown and check out everything. It’s also become a family tradition to visit one particular vendor who creates metal yard art. I ALWAYS find something I love and here is this year’s winner.

I have a pretty good metal art garden going on now. I plan to arrange it more purposefully in the spring, and make it a nice feature in the front of my house. Always have more plans than time, but this is a spring project–lots of time!

Right now it’s finishing time for all my pieces—Holiday Show in Lansing, through Grove Gallery, my Artisan Showcase on Nov. 3 and a joint show with Katie McGrath at the Northville Art House in January. Life is busy, but it’s soooooo wonderful!

Happy stitches

It looks like I got more done on vacation than I really did! When you put the little bits and pieces up on the design wall all together—yep, looks like I worked very hard.

But these are only the very beginnings of new pieces. I am excited to have them to work on, but I needed to get this finished.

I will get a better picture of it up on the design wall, but I got it done right at the last minute before we had to leave and pick up the grandson for our regular Friday night sleepover. Boy, did I ever miss that while we were gone!

Of course the vacation had to include a visit to local quilt stores and even though I tried, I could not resist picking up a few more pieces of fabric!

It’s always good to get home, and I’m especially happy that it’s home with lots of new ideas!

Family connections

This past weekend I had the opportunity to reconnect with family that I have not seen in years and years. A simple suggestion to meet my aunt while she was back in the midwest from California blossomed into a family get-together. And from a large family, of course it grew into a very large gathering. It was everything we wished for–so much joy and happy memories and laughter…wonderful.

The little town we are from is trying very hard to take advantage of the great local scenery and become a tourist destination. This little park is a good example and I wish them all the luck.

I didn’t have much time for sewing, but I managed a visit to a quilt shop!

I am not doing so well on stash reduction when I keep buying more, but it’s mostly Halloween fabric! That’s really the only specialty fabric in which I indulge, but I sure do love to indulge!!

There is progress being made on this little hand stitching project.

It’s a treat to have a project like this. Totally relaxing.

And that’s about it for how I have spent my time lately. Still have several exhibits that I am preparing for, but my frantic pace has slowed. What I have finished is pretty much what will be on offer, with perhaps a few more odds and ends. Life is slowing as the summer fades into fall and it feels fantastic!

 

Not too fussy!

When I began the stitching on this project, I thought that I would be adding lots of bits and pieces of fabric and paper and ribbons and yarn and beads to it.

And then I stitched for a while. And a while longer. And just a bit more.

And my heart stilled and my mind rested and I enjoyed the serenity of simple stitching.

The pieces always tell me what they want.