And now…

Back to our regularly scheduled program! I feel as though I have taken a commercial break while I finished up this banner for Salt Valley Arts.

It’s finally done and ready for hanging and now I can get back to my own stuff!

Yesterday I got to play with gelli plate printing with my Knot Even Quilters group. Mixed results, since it’s really the first time I’ve played with it. I didn’t take any photos while we were working…we were very quiet as we concentrated on what we were trying to do.

I’ve been exploring gelli plate videos, of course, and I was taken with one that suggested printing on interfacing. The idea of using that to add another layer of texture or design to a piece really appealed to me, so I did a few prints on interfacing.

This was my favorite and I’m guessing it will be the first one used!

Using the same stencils/paints/marks on both fabric and interfacing was fun, too.

Most videos start you out with printing on white fabric or white paper and I decided NOT to do that. I wanted to use fabric that I didn’t care for too much. The existing colors theoretically would add depth to whatever paint went over them. Some success and lots of food for thought with some others.

I used paper to clean off my brayer. I hate to waste paint and couldn’t see rolling paint off on a paper towel and tossing it. Even “waste” papers like these can be used in future projects.

One thing I found out for sure is that I really love this process. Can’t wait to get back to it and do more. However, I am determined to use the fabric prints I make and not simply stack them on a shelf!!! There is so much experimentation yet to be done–exciting days ahead for me!



Absent but busy—

I don’t usually go this long between posts, but I spent a few days involved in my non-sewing life, so this went by the wayside. It was a wonderful grandson weekend and now it’s time to get back to studio time.

This project from Salt Valley Arts has turned out to be much harder than I thought it would be! All the blocks are slightly different sizes–but close! Some are so thick they really don’t fit under my presser foot, but it all needs to be sewn down to a support, since it’s a hanging sign.

But I’m closing in on the end of it, I think. A few more lines of stitching and then remove the basting.

There is the issue of the edge finish and the actual hanging sleeve, but I think I have solutions mapped out…at least mentally!

I have my art quilt group and lunches out with friends, though, so it might still be a couple of days before it gets done. I need to spend some time today prepping for gelli plate printing on fabric. I’m excited to do that–it’s something new-ish and there are so many options to explore! I need to keep it under control for our short meeting time, though! Ha!

Hopefully I can show you some cool prints next time. Or even failures. We certainly learn as much from the failures as the successes in the art world. I always like to say that it’s not a mistake, simply another design opportunity!


The pictures and info in this post may be a repeat for you if you are also my FB buddy. I spent part of yesterday felting a sweater.

It was one that I had knit–and re-knit–and re-knit–in an effort to make it fit well. The sleeves were humungous and I wore it a few times and then it has been sitting in a drawer. There is no desire to try and knit it again! I love the mixed yarns that I made this with and I knew that some would felt and some would not. Nothing to lose, so I went for it. Best tip: put the fabric/garment to be felted into a pillowcase so that the fibers don’t get into your washing machine pump! (Thanks, Lucinda!)

I have got some GREAT texture now. The main peach color was a cotton yarn, I believe, so it did not felt at all.  And the wools……..yummy felting! The mixed blends are very interesting, as well.

And I want to use it right now! It will make fabulous landscape material, even though I don’t usually do landscape type pieces. So I’m pondering…do I go ahead while the enthusiasm is high and dive into this or should I stick with my original 2019 plan to explore more painting? Or clean up more old projects? Distraction or exciting new project?

It’s winter, it’s snowing, I’m not going anywhere and I want to play in the studio. Maybe I can do it all today!

Quick switch

Making a quick switch from the precision planning and graphmaking of the weekend, to the improv challenge project that I was working on previously. I realized that I haven’t even mentioned it on the blog, maybe because it was so far onto the back burner. It’s moved to the forefront now, because it’s a tiny start to what I wish to study this year. Oh, also it is the last project I have lying around with a deadline!

I have wanted to make paper fabric and have even tried with less than wonderful results before. Thought I’d give it a try again for use with this challenge. So I started with newspaper pieces on fusible interfacing.

So far, so good. I watched several videos and one of them used a layer of fusible next, rather than a liquid glue product, so that’s what I went with. Added my favorite item–stuff– to the next layer, and followed another suggestion to add a layer of tulle.

Even gave it a layer of paint and planned on using it with a piece of painted/printed fabric. I did not take any other pictures of the fabric paper, but I added quite a bit more paint before I thought it was interesting enough to use. I wanted to rip it into pieces for use, but it didn’t want to rip. Too sturdy for that and yet easy to stitch through. So I proceeded with trying to design a piece.

This was getting way too busy, way too quickly so I walked away for a while to think about it. When I came back, I gave the elements a bit more breathing room and this is where I’m at.

The green and yellow background is wool so there is a lot of texture going on. This is pretty much the design as it will finally live, but there is a lot of stitching yet to be done. I’ll get back at it today and we shall see what happens!


Reminded, refreshed, re-energized!

Today’s design workshop with Heather Jones was so much better than I had anticipated. Oh-that sounded bad! I expected a good workshop and this one went beyond my expectations.

Now, let me remind you that I have been drawing, re-sizing and designing quilt blocks for close to 50 years. (Yeah, I’m old–you just hush now!) I was originally drawn to quilting by the wonderful patterns and graphic designs, the geometric precision of piecing. And my total immersion in improvisational work for the past 15 years has moved me away from that.

We brought inspirational photos. No problem…I’ve been taking them forever, but I really haven’t been using them. I will be now!

Step 2 was to decide what we were drawn to and what we wanted to emphasize from our photos. Then a rough sketch. Refine the sketch. Figure out size/ratio, colors–all the quilt math parts.

Abstracting what we needed from each photo——-I haven’t done that in just about forever. Many of the students refined through several iterations and got very abstract designs. I took the easy way out for the first one. I tell myself that I abstracted it as much as possible before I took the photo, but uncertainty in the process is the real truth.

Photo–sketch–drafted design

I started feeling braver, so I went with only a sketch for the next one, because I’m pretty sure I’ll piece it improvisationally.

And I had time to start a third one, which I feel that I have abstracted more to what was important to me in the photo.

I may or may not execute it in black and white, but after making the drawing, I’m leaning towards some bright, high contrast colors.

Bottom line on the day–I was reminded of how much I love drafting and drawing out designs. I remembered what drew me to quilting. I was inspired by the design/abstraction/drawings of everyone around me. I am full of enthusiasm about precisely drawn designs again.

This day filled me with love of my chosen art form, happiness to share it with like minds, and true joy.

This is why I take workshops!


Workshop report

Spent all day Friday at a guild sponsored workshop. The teacher was Heather Jones and the subject was working with large scale blocks/patterns. It was very refreshing to look at design and construction from her perspective.

I always arrive everywhere nice and early, thanks to my dad’s training, so I had plenty of time to get set up.

Only needed 3 fabrics and I was proud of myself for only bringing 15! Actually, it was only the fabric for the center square that was undecided, so I brought several black/white fabrics from which to choose.

The cutting and construction went very, very quickly. I was completely ready for the borders a full hour before class was scheduled to end.

But then I decided that the plain black borders just weren’t going to work for me, so I tried out several options.

First, just a thin strip of the black and white that I used in the center. That was okay. Then I added a strip of the print fabric to the mix.

Yep–that’s what I decided to use. However, that meant more cutting and stitching so that last hour was totally filled trying to speed sew and get it DONE!

I got all but that last black border on, so I left the workshop feeling really, really good!

FYI-I sew the two narrow strips together before I attach them to the quilt and then miter the corners. It’s much easier to keep the stitching a bit more precise when you are holding small pieces than when you have to hang onto the whole quilt. Those black borders could have been attached and mitered, too, but they are 9 1/2″ wide and easy to handle. Simpler to attach separately.

Looking forward to the second workshop with Heather. She will be teaching us how to abstract a design from an inspiration photo and turn it into a viable quilt pattern, shapes, measurements and all. Haven’t worked in this manner for years and years, so I’m eager to get her take on it.

Hooray for Guild workshops!

You will be jealous…

Yes, you will be jealous that you are not the new owners of this commission piece when it is done! I’m liking it a lot and I’m pretty sure the new owners will, too.

And BAM!!! There is a huge spike of uncertainty in my head as soon as I write that. Well, nothing to be done but continue on, because it has to get finished before that final decision is made!

Looking at possible embellishments.

At this point, the only beads I am positive that I want to use are the long yellow bugle beads in the center. Embellishment is a voyage of exploration, though, so we shall see.

Trying to get it blocked square and even and then a detail of what I have so far.

It’s coming along and should be done soon.

I’m also narrowing down what I want to spend some quality time studying. I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing a lot of gelli plate printing on fabric. Did I tell you that already? Anyway, I picked up a few more playthings while I was out yesterday.

Now all I need to do is clear off enough space to work effectively. THAT will not be an easy task!