Spinning around

Working on a little of this, a little of that.

My Wacky Quilters group met this week and we tried pulled string painting, on paper and on fabric. This will not be my technique of choice!

My first try, on paper, was about as expected…too much paint and kinda sloppy looking.

Until you get a feel for it, you can’t think it’s going to come out perfectly, but we helped each other sort things out.

I tried multiple pulls and multiple colors on top of some thick black and that wasn’t much better.

I went on to trying it on fabric. Several attempts…

This is not something that I like well enough to follow on the learning curve. I’m not going to devote any more time to it. But if something came up that I thought could benefit from this type of figure, I wouldn’t be afraid to play with it some more.

My luck is much better when I’m working with needle and thread! I always have some scraps and my embroidery threads in a corner of the living room and I stitch while we are ‘watching’ tv. I refreshed my pile of scraps the other day and decided that I would explore gingko leaves a bit again.

Little 8.5″ pieces, playing with color. Not sure that they will be finished in a hurry–or ever, actually. They are a great size to work up quickly and I believe they will lend themselves to some ‘what if’ experimenting with beads and/or paint. I thought I wanted the background to be seen through the stitching, but now…maybe not so much! I’ll probably stitch up a few more before I play any ‘what if’ games though. Very relaxing to simply sit and stitch and let life flow around me.

And look what I found! Brass stencils, like I used to use in one of my first jobs! Found enough letters to spell out

Gonna be some kind of wall art for my studio, not used as stencils. It just makes me smile!

Family dinner coming up to celebrate all our June birthdays and Hallmark Holidays. Looking forward to time spent with my loves…

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Always something new

It doesn’t matter how often I work on finishing a project in a particular way, there is always something new to try.

I like to mount my small pieces on canvas and I most often simply glue the piece to the painted canvas. Couldn’t be easier. Sometimes I mount the piece on a background piece of fabric and stretch it around the canvas. That’s what I decided to do on the small piece I was working on.

And then I decided to try something new. I had read that some people use a fusible web to attach their pieces to the canvas, so I thought I’d try it. I ironed a line of fusible to the back of the canvas, right on the wood. One example I saw used fusible on the sides of the canvas as well, but I decided to start with this little strip and see how it went.

The rest of the process is usually to pull the fabric to the back and staple it down. The difference here is that I could pull the fabric to the back and iron it in place! I finished the corners with staples and I think I could leave it like this.

However, my motto is never trust the glue, so I’ll add the staples around the sides, too. This made the process much easier and faster though, so I think I’ll be using the fusible again.

Here’s how the piece ended up, with a close up of the beads.

On another project, I also used up every scrap I could to piece the back of the hockey quilt. This little scrap is all that is left of the darker blue hockey fabric.

The other chunk of lighter fabric that I had, I simply centered it for the back and built around it.

It’s ready to be quilted, but the urgency to get it done has abated now that I’ve actually used up that hockey fabric. As long as I get it done by the time hockey starts in the fall, I’ll be satisfied. Oh, and AJ was quite surprised. He said, “You never told me anything about a hockey quilt. Cool.”

I think I have to give up sewing for a day, though, and take care of some necessary chores in the yard and in the house. Boooooring, but must be done!

Wonder what will jump out at me for the next project…hmmmm!

Sooooo easily distracted…

There was a quilt backing that I wanted to dye today, so I went down to stick it in a tub. I was going to use fuschia, but somehow green jumped into the mixing cup…and since I was overdyeing a fabric that I thought was ugly, I don’t think I can hurt it no matter what color I use!

I started to put something away–I don’t even remember what–and saw something on the shelf that I couldn’t immediately identify. When I pulled it out, I found this ancient piece that I made when I first started exploring new techniques.

Weeellllll….since I was looking at backing fabric anyway, that’s all it took for me to decide that this piece needed to be finished! I thought I’d have to use the wide piece of plain muslin that I found, but then I remembered the pile of fabric that was going to be given away. Found the perfect piece…

and there is just enough extra to use for binding…I hope! It’s only a small piece so I think I might be able to finish it tomorrow. If I stand back and it still looks decent, it is destined for the silent auction at our guild quilt show.

Sometimes those distractions work out just fine!

Slow going.

Self discipline–I don’t have much of it. I was using up the stash, sticking to the idea that what went up on the design wall stayed there until a quilt was born. That just did not work with this batch of fabric.

It was a set that I picked up at a sample event and the featured fabric was the circle that was supposed to look like sun rays or a mariner’s compass. I have tried to make something of it before, as you can see, but didn’t get too far. I posted about this on FB and IG and someone commented on the “eyeball” fabric. Now that’s all I can see when I look at the group. And now that I think about it, why was I so insistent on keeping the group together, just because it came together in the same line? I’ve never done that much before–why start now? So this pile is folded up and back on the shelf until another time.

Time for FUN! Played a bit more with the new curves ruler. I was afraid that there was so much waste fabric that I couldn’t justify using it rather than a template.

There were instructions for cutting two concave pieces from a single square, along with a video and that helped a lot. This is the amount of waste, with two concave pieces from each square.

And the speed of cutting them quickly and precisely makes it worth while. The waste pieces are going to be headed for a new project, which I am starting to envision already!

So I got a few blocks put together and started throwing them up on the design wall. Very intense colors and not much value contrast, only color contrast. But I LOVE these fabrics and this is just how it’s gonna be!

After hoarding this line of fabric for years and not finding a pattern that I wanted to use, I previously used up a bunch of the blue. Of course now I’m going to be short on the blue to make this the size I’d like. BUT I’m using up the stash and however big it turns out to be is going to be the perfect size! Any extra fabric from this line will be on the back. Then this fabric that I have hoarded for years will be used, off the shelf and it will make me very happy!!

 

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!!!!

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!