Continuing on with the red houses saga, I made the decision that I really did want borders on this and it will be finished square, traditional and bound. And when you have too much fabric, it’s hard to decide on a border treatment.

Started out with a piece of gray, thinking to keep things more neutral.

Then made a selection of lots of darks and very darks!

Not quite right, so I pulled tons more stuff off the shelves and finally got it down to a choice between these two.

I really, really wanted to go with the multi-color, but it was the dark blue that truly looked the best.

And now I have that step complete. Looks black in the pic, but it’s a navy blue grunge with scrapes of lighter blue and purple. I love that grunge line of fabric!

There is serious design work needing to be done now. Everything else has been tied to thoughts of basic construction, but now the “art” part of art quilt comes to the fore. Sure there was some layout and design work going on, but it’s the stitch and embellishment that makes the project come alive for me. I want lots of thinking time before I do anything further on this piece.

While that is stewing in my brain, I had the idea to make some cards from some of the leftover house fabric…and then since it’s red and the holidays are coming up, maybe some kind of traditional Christmas stuff. I don’t even send out regular cards anymore, but perhaps this year…



And now it IS decision day!

As workmen are banging and ripping and tearing out the floor above me, I’m trying to proceed with the next steps on this project. I took pictures and used input from Instagram and Facebook all day long. I’m so appreciative of everyone who takes the time to look at my posts and shares their opinions with me. It really does help!

I guess the thinking time did help, because when I came into the studio this morning, I knew that I wanted houses of different sizes and shapes, so that got me started. Then I asked my internet friends for opinions.

My first question was whether I wanted the houses in rows or more random.

I probably should preface this with a disclaimer: I always ask for opinions, but I also feel free to disregard them. Often the opinions come with some wonderful suggestions and sometimes they confirm what I’m feeling but they always make me think, and that’s just the best help I could ask for! Sooooo, the overwhelming response to this question was random placement, which echoed my feelings in this case.

Next question: doors or no doors? All the same color, different colors?

I truly couldn’t decide for myself on this question so went with the majority–yes, doors and multiple colors. Done with that part.

This is where I’m at now–buildings made and placed, doors added and ready for the next step…and here’s what I am contemplating…raw edge background or borders? If borders: pieced, plain, curvy, single color, each side a different color? If raw edge: stitch to a background piece, stop with the current background, add raw edge to a finished, quilted background? And then the stitching, which will have a bearing on those other decisions. Hand stitch, machine stitch, combo? Before or after borders or background?

Still a lot of thinking to do and the worst part is that the pile of strips is still huge! It seems as though the more I use, I more I have! And I swear I am not cutting into any additional fabric! All I can think is that those scrap bags I picked up were stuffed and compressed to the max and they exploded in my studio!

And this what I really think about that!!!  

Scarlett O’Hara: After all, tomorrow is another day!


NOT decision day!

Today has been a try-it-out day, not a day for making decisions. In fact, I’m so far from making decisions that I think possibly this may be a bit of a series!

Got the background laid out on the fusible interfacing and it looks like the pile of scraps has not been touched!

It’s either going to be plenty large–somewhere around 30″ sq–or it will need to be twice as large! I haven’t decided yet.

Laid out some papers for size and spacing ideas.

Pretty busy…

Fewer looks better…

I haven’t decided yet.

Various size ideas. Lots of small houses, some big, some small, one large house???? Straight rows, random, diagonal rows?

I haven’t decided yet.

Thought I’d make the doors all the same fabric. Which one do you like best? Maybe something shiny or glitzy? Maybe no doors?

I haven’t decided yet.

Lots to ponder and no questions have really been answered, so it’s definitely NOT decision day. However, that’s the point of playing and trying and moving things around…to GET to a decision that really says what I want it to.

Thinking time is as important as the doing time. Sometimes we forget that in our excitement about a new project and our eagerness to get to the finish. I used to worry about what I called ‘dithering over the decisions.’ Now I accept that it’s an essential part of the process, at least for me. And it took me a long time to realize that it might mean a particular idea needs more than one piece to explore it. That might be the case here.

I haven’t decided yet.


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!


Ouch–sore fingers!

I’m adding some hand stitching to my floral piece. It’s not particularly noticeable, what with all the color already in the flowers, but it seems appropriate.

However—and it’s a BIG qualification–sewing through layers and painted fabric is  hard to do. My fingers are very, very sore from pushing and pulling the needle.

Here are pictures of each flower and that is really as far as my fingers can go right now!

I’m hoping that adding beads, with the finer needle, will be a little easier on the fingers. I need to attach the stems first, though, so that I won’t have any more pins sticking me while I’m working! Then beads–hooray!

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!


Little bits of finishes

This year’s Artisan Showcase is fast approaching and I need to finish up whatever pieces I can. Occasionally I mine through the stacks of fabrics that clutter up my worktable and organize what I find. A pile of ‘to be finished’ pieces grows on one corner and I sometimes admit to myself that there are pieces that will never make it to a finished afterlife! Deadlines are the motivators for going through that pile and actually doing the final finishes.

This piece is the cornerstone of  my unfinished pile.

It was a challenge piece from my Knot Even Quilters group and was finished for a show deadline. Unfortunately,  it was too big to be hung in the available space. I don’t want to take it apart and return the sections to their owners yet, because I would like to find at least one venue for it!

I got another piece close to the finish line…just needs a label and the sleeve sewn down!

It was originally going to have a bunch of beads on it, but I fell out of love with that idea. I finished it up with machine quilting, sewed a sleeve on it and now it only needs a label. Done!

And I can’t resist one more photo and a detail of my little village. It’s actually hanging on my  wall as I’m writing this. It’s just so cute and I really, really love it.

There will be more of these little villages in my future!

But it’s the weekend which is grandson time. I’m much more concerned with quality time with him than I am with any pile of unfinished art pieces or deadlines!

But those deadlines are still there, so I do hope to have a few more finishes next week….