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!!!!

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Sneaking Sewing Time

It’s not really sneaking, but simply taking advantage of every bit of free time I have!

I have always known that I was a bit spatially challenged, but this simple little pattern almost defeated me!

It’s a square, cut in half diagonally, right? In order to get it to line up in the zig-zag pattern, I thought you would make the cut and turn the block and zippity-do-dah-day-done!

Nope!

The diagonals have to be cut on the opposite angles for half the blocks so that the backgrounds and prints line up the way they need to. Sometimes I just cannot see those things!

Now that I have it figured out, though, it will be easy to cut and sew the rest of those squares…………for TWO quilts!

What was I thinking? Oh, yeah–use up the stash.

It was very necessary, though, to steal a bit of time and get this set in my head. And next week I should have a couple of days with big chunks of time to get sewing!

Thread lace and beads

Oh my word–making huge pieces of thread lace is a never ending project! I’ve never made anything but some small leaves before and making this huge sheet is taking way too long. If I had known at the beginning….in the category of  lessons learned, I’d really have gone about it in a different way.

My goal was to create sheer, shiny fabric to attach to the silk background already made. It would need to have beads on it, but those could be supported by a grid of beading thread as the beads were added. Okay–that was the plan. Using up tons of fibers and threads seemed like such a bonus, too.

I wasn’t too far into it before I realized that the threads alone would not create a strong enough fabric.

Adding a sheer fabric back was about the only answer I could come up with. Had I started with the fabric, I would have added light fusible and fused those fibers to it. Still would have added the stabilizer and the stitching, but maybe not as much stitch and maybe not so many thread/stitching frustrations. Next time for sure…

I stitched for hours, free form sewing and finally thought it might hold together. Then I added a grid of stitches just to feel better about it!

And suddenly it was time to bite the bullet, call it good and wash away the stabilizer!

It’s sheer, shiny and looks different from every angle. Can’t really show that in photos, but I think it’s going to work. We’ll judge the strength as I start assembling and adding those heavy beads!

Speaking of which…I have a few choices to make!

I always start by pulling anything that I think might have any possibility of working with my fabrics and colors…and because I have accumulated so many beads, that can become a large pile!

 

I almost immediately eliminated the darker gold beads and the darkest blue beads. The thread fabric changes color with every viewing angle, so most any color should work! I thought about green, but didn’t really have a good green jump out at me.

  

These three were ‘finalists’ and all looked pretty good. Then I kind of thought all white would really be best and spread these out.

The white along with some off-white looks like the solution. Sparkle all the way through and no dramatic color to draw the eye. The piece is going to reflect a snow storm, so the whiter the better………………..I think! It may yet change as I progress with the beading, but that’s the plan right now.

And I got to spend the whole day in the studio! Thought I was going to have most of the week in the studio, but I forgot to put several things on my calendar. So I’m extra grateful to have had today and to have progressed so far. There is no ‘fast’ in this project, so I will either post it so much that you will get sick of it, or I will try to restrain myself and there will not be as many posts.

But I know myself well enough to know that I will work on more than one project at the same time, so there should be something else to look at soon!

 

Okay, I tried it.

I tried alcohol inks and they are not going to be part of my regular work. Nope.

Quite a while ago I showed you my clean out of a container of inks put onto deli paper and they were very interesting. Last week we played with the inks at art group.

Playing with them is super fantastic fun and the end products that I got are very pretty.

On tiles–they were beige, so the colors didn’t stand out as much.

On Yupo paper–nice and bright.

And on a canvas–I really like this one.

I did not try it on regular fabric, either plain or treated with a coating. And I have decided that I am not thrilled enough to devote the amount of time and study that would be required to become proficient with them–to try to control the uncontrollable. I will admire and enjoy the results others have and continue my experiments in other areas!

Speaking of which—I have a boatload of fused, sheer strips that I cut for a project and did not use up. I thought I’d throw a few onto the piece I’m playing with to see if that’s the direction I want to explore.

I don’t know yet, but it’s not a total negative! My problem right this instant is that the piece is very large and will require a lot of time and work. I might not be ready to commit to that, but I don’t want to do a quickie something just to have it done. This may be sitting and marinating for a while………..

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!

The results are in…

Snow dyeing is something I haven’t done for quite a while so I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect. I used the dyes below: the top 6 are new to me and the bottom 4 are some that I had and wanted to throw into the mix to see what would happen!

I did some scrunching, some folding and a jar of parfait dyeing. I’ve discovered that I almost always like the pieces that are folded to give a radial design. Still true with these!

The bottom right design that looks black actually has quite a bit of purple popping through, too. The top left is called lime pop and it truly is eye-popping! I love it, but it needs to be used sparingly, I think.

I really wanted to see what the chile fuego, pumpkin spice and soft orange would give me, so I tried not to mix those in the little containers. I like them all very much.

There is not as much crystallization on the snow dyes are there are with ice dyes—I think. The next dyeing experiment will be to test that out. And I think I’ll fold all the pieces I use so that I get radial designs. Maybe then I will USE the dyed fabric!

Love being busy!

It’s so much better to be busy than to be bored, but sometimes busy is just too busy! I don’t have a bunch of pictures to show you, though I sure have been doing a lot of stuff.

Finally got the last of the leaves and garden detritus taken care of–at least as much as it’s gonna get until spring! Rain is what determined the end point there, and it was cold, too. I’m never ready for the cold weather and this year I wanted to do so much more dyeing out in the garage where I can spread everything out. There will still be dyeing done, but in my basement studio, it gets done on a much smaller scale.

Friday was a guild sponsored workshop with Paula Golden. As we were starting out, she had a small sample that she offered up to anyone who wanted to start creating with that. I did not volunteer, but was challenged to take it because it was mostly purple and my friends all know that I do not like purple!!! This is how far I got with it in class.

There will be more added to it before it’s done…quilting, for sure, and maybe some more metallic yarn or beads. I’m not sure, but something. Here’s a close up.

I took advantage of the fraying ability of silk…love those raggedy edges!

And, of course, I did the postcard demo on Saturday. Lots of supplies and choices, showing from start to finish, and as many edge finishes as I could work in.

Saturday afternoon was my rest and relaxation time, and  I’m making progress on my red houses.

Sunday, my usual day of doing nothing, has now changed to an exercise day! My daughter and I are now enrolled in kickboxing classes! I thought she was joking, but she was not and now Sunday afternoon is kickboxing time. We actually did a tryout class and found it to be a great workout, so we’re going to do it for a while.

And sometimes AJ has hockey on Sunday, too, so this is where our Sunday started!

He’s the one in black…this is part of the reason they have names and numbers on their backs!

This week will be devoted to Thanksgiving, of course, and we have to finish getting the furniture back into the house from the garage, too. I’m hoping to sneak in a little bit of sewing time, but the odds are against it! Oh, yeah–AJ will be here all day Wednesday, looking to start putting up Christmas decorations. I’m tired already!

Looking forward to fewer commitments and more couch time after this weekend. Lots more couch time. And naps….yeah, naps!