Step by step assembly

Yesterday was a guild workshop day with Barb Vedder. We created Liberated Houses, totally in the way I usually work. On my own, I most likely would not have made these with fussy little details, but it’s great to now confidently know how.

That means that these lovely little blue flying geese blocks are completely on the back burner until this house piece is done!

A little warning–I’m going to take you through my assembly process, weird thoughts and all and this post is going to be kind of long!

In class, I got to the point of trying to select my color(s) for pulling all the blocks together into a final product. I really thought I had it narrowed down to turquoise or black and white.

When I got back to my studio, I tried all kinds of blues.

Nothing spoke very loudly to me, so I tried greens.

Really thought I had it with this cross-hatch fabric-

but it wasn’t quite right. Searched the shelves a bit more and came up with this gold fabric and it shouted at me!

Of course, when fabric starts shouting at you, you must listen! But every little step of putting unequally sized blocks together takes quite a bit of thought. You start by figuring out easy-to-balance sections.

And then the question of…gold on both sides of that top section or only one side?

You have to do that section by section and finally get to a point where it’s all assembled!

Except it really needs to have gold all around, no b/w left to drift off the edge.

And now I have to decide if it needs another border…the b/w of the background?

Or maybe another option?

I do have a few other pieces of fabric to audition before I make that final decision and then I have to think about stitching, quilting, embellishment…

You know, while every bit of this process is enjoyable to me, when I write it all out like this it seems exhausting!

But it’s such a good exhaustion, when you know you have created something. Now back to the studio and the rest of those decsions!

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No waste!

I always think everyone knows all the cool shortcuts and tricks and then I’m surprised when I talk about something and get those blank looks of whaaaaaat?

Just Pick A Direction, Already!

So it was when I talked about making Flying Geese and heard groans and those “I hate making those blocks and wasting all that fabric when you cut the corners” complaints.

Well, I don’t make FG blocks that way. I make them with the no-waste method, which has been around long enough that there is a ruler for it…of course! There are YouTube videos on how to use the Lazy Girl Flying Geese x 4 Ruler, but I’ll show you my little shortcut even using that. And then there is the old-fashioned math formula method, which is also a no-waste technique and also has lots of info available on the internet. Nobody likes doing the math anyway, do they? I don’t need to repeat everything here, but the math method does exist.

Here are the basics of how it works—to make 4 blocks at once, you need 1 large square and 4 small squares. The large square becomes the ‘goose’ and the small squares are the background.

Shortcut alert–they always tell you to mark a line diagonally across those squares so that you can sew along each side of that line. It’s so much easier to fold the squares and hit ’em with the iron–line made! I usually don’t do more than 2 or 3 squares at a time for a bit more accuracy. And why else would you have a 1/4″ presser foot if not to use it?!

You can chain piece them, up one side and down the other and then cut between the lines.

Press the background (in this case, light) squares up and lay out the next square onto this heart shaped piece.

Sew each side of that fold line again, cut and done! Chain piece, too, so it’s fast!

Tip: always line up the small squares with the outside corners of the large squares. Accuracy is useful with this technique. Sometimes my lines wobble a bit and I don’t rip, I just sew it again!

If you are accurate, you should have a nice, straight line across the top of your goose block, with 1/4″ seam allowance so you don’t cut off the point.

You can cut off the dog ears if you want. I usually don’t bother on a small art quilt piece, but I have done it on full size quilts. Maker’s choice! This method is so fast, it actually took me longer to take the pictures than it did to finish the blocks!

There are so many layout possibilities for the FG block! I just threw these up on the design board while I think about it.

Now all my Flying Geese hating friends, do you think you could show some love to this no waste, fast method of making this block? Four alike at one time, no waste, easy-peasy…could you ask for anything more? Go for it!

 

Lazy and loving it!

This was a decadently delicious lazy day today. We started out with breakfast with my niece, her husband and their daughter and my sister-in-law. Bacon…need I say more?!

All I did for most of the day was play on the computer and a little laundry. Aaaaah…the sweet sound of no responsibilities.

As I passed a pile of “stuff” in the studio, I decided to play a bit. It was a container of spilled and dripped alcohol inks, which I have never played with before. Well, alcohol is easy so I tipped some into the container and started laying down some deli papers.

I am thrilled with the results! The first ones, of course, had the darkest colors.

And it took several times of adding more alcohol to use up all the ink that had spilled.

Of course, I didn’t scrub or mix the colors much. I wanted all the variety I could get.

Even at the end, when I did scrub and mix, the color was beautiful.

Don’t ask me what colors were in that box—I can’t even read the labels on the bottles that were in there! And don’t ask me what I’m going to do with these papers, because I can’t tell you that right now either. All I know is that I need to get a new, full bottle of alcohol and play with everything left in the little treasure box.

Supposedly alcohol inks will stick to anything, and I have a few old tiles that might get a bit of paint thrown their way. Wish one of those ‘famous name’ teachers that know all about this stuff lived in my neighborhood!

There is research to be done, and fun to be had! Hooray!

Blue Lake 2017 Report 2

In addition to the design project, the art majors had to make an art doll. We had them displayed en masse at the final art show, so the pictures don’t single out any dolls.

The students were shown some examples of art dolls and then pretty much turned loose to design and create a doll.

Fabulous!

We also had a class where the students were music majors and took an art class as an extra. We taught them needle felting and there were just a few super-duper spectacular pieces that I have to show you!

Bringing new skills to young people is so very rewarding. It’s what keeps me going back to Blue Lake!

And that’s the end of this year’s Blue Lake Report! Back to reality again…which includes going to the gym first thing in the morning. I eat ALL the desserts when I’m at camp!

Blue Lake 2017 Report 1

Just in case you haven’t read one previous word that I have ever written, here’s what this is all about. In the summer, I go to Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp for 10 days and teach middle school kids fiber arts. We do different projects every year, because there are repeat attendees and we want them gaining additional skills all the time. Many of the students come into fibers not even knowing how to thread a needle or tie a knot, so what they accomplish is always impressive.

Let me show you the design phase of what the students did this week!

They were exposed to the design guides of Deborah Boschert, and totally understood the concept behind each one. I wish that I had learned some design principles in middle school!

They had to sketch out some possibilities and then make collages, starting with the one they liked the best. Most only completed one collage, but the time was very short for a project of this type.

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Tons of details, color choices, stitch notes–they planned well! I’m not going to try to match any of these design pages with the finished product, but you may see the matches as you see the pics.

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I am so proud of these young artists!

There will be one more Blue Lake post to touch upon a couple of other projects and then we can call Blue Lake done for another year!

A step at a time…

I don’t usually like to drag out a subject or project that I’m blogging about, but this may take a while. In Deborah Boschert’s classes this weekend, we created fabric (which I haven’t touched yet!) and then eight small pieces illustrating design concepts. I’m working on finishing the eight pieces and it won’t make sense to show them all and then every step along the way. I’m working on them as a group right now and adding machine stitching to the pieces.

Some of them are getting some stamping, painting and additional fabric. I will try to show what I’m doing as each piece is finished, so you will see this particular group of fabrics quite often until they are done…and I have a teaching trip to Blue Lake for 10 days starting next week. Could be a while!

The first composition I did in class was this landscape.

I knew that I wanted to add a large leaf or tree on the right in paint. So I went through all my stencils and stamps and couldn’t find one that was just right. Simple solution to that issue–freezer paper stencil!

Practiced on a scrap and didn’t like the opacity of the white paint and decided to go with orange. I also hate to waste paint, so after stenciling the piece, I flipped it over and pressed it onto another scrap for the reverse print.

This was after I played with oranges on a green scrap, with stencils and a screen.

This is where I’m at right now.

No stitching on it, but I’m pleased with stencil and orange paint.

I’ll continue working on this series, but I won’t detail each part like this! That would bore both you and me! More later, and I know that it will get done————–a step at a time, bit by bit!

 

Now to relax—-aaaaah!

Quilting Unlimited is over and it was another fabulous event. I was not involved in the planning or execution this time so it really was a carefree weekend. Of course, there is always the creative tension and exhaustion of teaching and taking classes, but it’s so much easier when you don’t have to worry about any of the logistics.

There really isn’t too much more to put into words. I’ll let the pictures show you the fun! This was what was happening in the class I taught.

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So much lovely work.

And here is a brief glimpse into the classes I took. Both were taught by Deborah Boschert and I absolutely learned a lot and had a wonderful time. Wonderful teacher and I highly recommend her to any program chairs looking for a teacher!

Surface design with stamping and ink and cool tools–

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Unfortunately, I did not get pictures of everyone’s pieces.

And Sunday was a design and composition class. We did 8 little examples of design principles and learned a lot as we created.

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These all will be finished with stitch and embellishment, too!

So much fun, creativity and learning in all the classrooms!! It was a great weekend at Quilt University.