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!

 

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Bad Student and Big-Time Selfish!

There are several directions in which I could go with this blog post. But I’ll start by saying that I am not a professional writer and can’t just pick a topic and write 1000 words and post it on the guild blog to make everyone happy! I write about what’s happening in my life and what I’m working on, so this post will be on both my personal blog and the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild blog.

Now everyone who knows me or who has read blogs that I have written, knows that I love to take classes–especially with the world class teachers that the guild brings in. I firmly believe that there is something to be learned from every single class that I participate in. The next one I’m taking will be with Paula Golden on Nov. 17.

Class with Barb Vedder

Class with Deborah Boschert

I’ve been a sewer for over 50 years, so I do know a fair amount about what to do with fabric. In classes, I try to follow the teacher’s instructions, do it her way, learn her methods. Well, in this class, I am already planning to be a BAD student. I truly do know how to be free and easy, think outside the box and cut loose with what I’m doing. I’m going to listen and then go my own way with that instruction. What I will push for is instruction on using the unusual fabrics and embellishments that the supply list suggests we bring. I’ve experimented and am continuing to experiment, but I want to pick the teacher’s brains as much as possible for as long as I am with her!

And that is kind of what made me be big-time selfish at a recent meeting. There was a whole huge amount of those fancy fabrics on the ‘free’ table and I took them ALL! I plan to share in class, but I felt so greedy when I took all of THIS!

There is no way that I’ll be able to use all of this in my lifetime, but I want to have choices for class. I also want to encourage everyone in class with me to TRY something unusual, something that is not cotton, something that misbehaves until you learn how to handle it! (And to take a bunch of it home with them, too!)

So, yes, I am going to be THAT student–the one who doesn’t obey the rules, who doesn’t listen to precise instruction, who goes her own way. But I believe that is what this class is designed to do, and that’s my plan!

I don’t know if there is still room in that class for any other bad girls to join in, but I would welcome you! It’s always good to have a partner in crime!

 

Watching paint dry…

Remember how much fun that is? NOT! Right now I am waiting for paint to dry AND waiting for rinsed out flowers to dry. Booooooooring…

Here are all 5 of my flat flowers–some are still wet.

I think they will have enough texture and dimension, but it will be relatively easy to add to them if necessary. It’s helpful for me to have this time to wait for things to dry. It forces me to take that time and think about things and assess my direction.

I was going to ask your opinions about doing a little cutting and folding of the background pieces…

but I liked it so much that I went ahead and cut it! There were two small slices that I cut out that I  thought might look good attached to the background in the other direction. With nothing done to them, though, they were nearly invisible.

And now we come to the paint drying part….I added some darker green paint to those pieces with another stencil and I’m pretty sure that will work out fine.

When I was making the last two flowers, I added some glitzy threads before I stitched them down.

After stitching, they don’t show too much, but every little bit of shine does add to the total picture.

I have a plan for finishing but it entails finding a used painter’s drop cloth. If I don’t come up with that, I’ll have to make one myself, and that means there will be more watching paint dry!

This project has taken a turn away from my original idea, but I’m still very happy with how it’s going. I’m having a great time creating this one and I have more skinny scrap ideas churning around my brain, waiting to be born.

Having sooooo much fun!

Hmmm…is this what I wanted?

This project—-totally loved where it was when I started. Then I began the actual construction and now I’m not sure.

Okay–this is my concept with fabric choices laid out.

The plan is to use water soluble stabilizer to create these flowers, so I just plunged ahead, following the plan. Sandwich the pieces between two pieces of the stabilizer, pin-pin-pin and stitch all over, making sure that everything is secured.

Trim the excess stabilizer off and then dissolve the stabilizer in water. It really does start to dissolve the moment water gets on it.

You know you’re done rinsing when it doesn’t feel slimy anymore! If you don’t get it all rinsed out, it dries stiff, which some people use to their advantage when making thread lace. So, these are rinsed well and I usually squeeze out most of the moisture in a towel.

Since I am using raw edges, I threw it in the dryer with my clothes, but I decided that I’d rather dry these all flat…just in case my stitching wasn’t as good as I thought!

On the next one, I added some extra yarn embellishment on top of the sandwich, after I had the flower all stitched down. Really, now is a good time to add any other embellishments that you think you’d like, as long as water won’t hurt them in the rinse out.

There are three of them laying out on my work table drying right now. I’m not sure if this is the technique I should have used. I really liked the big fluffiness of the scrap piles when everything was laying around and choices were being made.

I thought they would be way too floppy if I attempted to attach them AND keep them in big piles. Now they are kind of cool, but flat. I’ll go ahead and finish up the other two and then decide how to proceed. I may add some fluff and raggedy on top of the flat…it will be controlled but still slightly wild…I hope…maybe…we’ll have to see as I proceed!

And moving forward…

The Artisan Showcase has had it’s day and I’m sitting around with my feet up for a bit. But I’m not one to sit around for long…probably a bit of ADD, which didn’t exist as a diagnosis when I was a youngster!

I have projects in various stages of existence and I’m ready to get back to them. This one is screaming at me, not only to finish it, but to make more in this manner.

As I was hanging my items for the showcase, I saw that I have been working in series more and more often. I’m taking more time to explore ideas and executing ideas in different ways. It’s a true luxury to have the time for this.

However, in terms of having something to show you……………well, I think there will be a lot of repetitious looking photos coming up!

And when I look deep inside myself, I hear the ticking of the old age clock and I want to explore as many ideas as I can before the ticking gets any louder.

Today is a day for relaxation, which always includes some introspection. Tomorrow it’s back to work (fun!) in the studio!

Let’s try this!

I’ve had water soluble stabilizer in a package on my shelf for several years. There have been projects that I have been going to use it for several times, but I’ve not actually explored it or it’s uses.

So today I decided to try it out on a pile of string scraps that have been hanging around for quite a while, too.

I spread the scraps across a base of batik striped fabric and then spread the stabilizer over the top and pinned it down.

Then it was stitch stitch stitch until I had everything fastened down.

The next step was to soak and rinse the piece until the stabilizer was dissolved, which only took a few minutes. I threw it in the dryer then pressed it and here is where I’m at now.

I can see that I didn’t think through my edges or I’d have had the strings go all the way across on both sides. But I’ll deal with that when I figure out what else I’ll do to it!

Here’s a close up of what I have.

I’m liking it, but I’m not sure what my next step will be. That’s the fun of exploring different techniques–you never know what you’ll come up with!

 

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!