Friday roundup

Fridays are not usually too productive for me. I’m often prepping for something going on during the weekend. And we pick up the grandson at 3:30, so if I’m going to do anything I’ve got to get right at it. Today I kind of reviewed what this week brought and by the time this is posted, I should be looking forward to a nap!

I’m working on that embroidery piece, adding stitching to make it acceptable looking to me.

It’s getting there.

Yesterday was KEQ and we were doing a ‘fusey thing.’ Trying to explore the idea of working in a series, we made small fused pieces. Since we’re planning on putting these in an exhibit this fall, we decided on a mutual theme, rather than color or shape or common fabric. We aren’t very good at following rules, so we selected a loose theme of Buildings.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Here is my 4 piece series, so far.

I have an idea to put another layer of design over the top of this, with thread sketching. We’ll have to see how that goes.

USArtquest was having a big warehouse sale and even though I need NOTHING, I had to go check it out. I scored, but not in the typical way! Found these vintage linens and fell in love with them.

 

Don’t know how they’ll be used, but when has that ever stopped any of us from building our supply palette!!!

Grandson soccer in the morning then charity sewing in the afternoon. Right now I’m glad that my Sunday class had to be cancelled. I’ll be ready for a rest!

 

Uh-oh…trouble at the corners!

When I mounted the embroidery that I thought was finished, it did not lay nice and flat on the canvas. I was afraid that, even though I spread it out nicely, it would wrinkle up as the glue dried. Guess what? Unfortunately, I was correct. Damn!

I think you can see that, even in this low resolution photo. As you are reading this, the piece has been removed from the canvas—and who knew that that was so easy to do?!–and has had a layer of batting and layer of wool added. I will be doing more stitching on it. I have also decided that it will not be mounted on canvas, but will have a hanger of some kind added and be a flat wall hanging. At least, that’s the plan right now! You know that these things have a fluid decision life!

As I fiddled with this, another unfinished project came to light. My class with Frieda Anderson produced this piece and it needed to be quilted and finished.

I had almost forgotten how to quilt anything but straight lines!

And now I have one finished project for this month, anyway!

Wacky Quilters group is up next this week and we will be exploring working in a series. Who knows what I’ll come home with from this group, but I surely know that I will enjoy whatever we do!

Scrap strip QAYG

After talking to my friend Sue about her plans to sew up her late sister’s stash, I was inspired to put my money where my mouth is and sew up some of my own scraps! (FYI, local people–we will be working on making charity quilts from Sue and her sister Kathy’s fabric on Saturday, April 22. Email me if you would like more info!)

I thought making things Quilt As You Go would be a super fast way to use a lot of fabric and have things quilted and pieced at the same time.

My plan was to make a baby quilt out of the pile of bright scraps that I had culled from my stash. Do I need to tell you that I have more fabric than I thought I did? More about that dilemna later…So, you start with a chunk of backing fabric, which for me was a yard of a stripe. I cut it into three strips, width of fabric, each about 12″ wide. On top of each strip I placed a corresponding strip of batting and then proceeded to sew and flip scrap strips at an angle across the strip. As you can see, the strips don’t have to be the same width at all, either.

 

I started in the middle of each strip and kept adding out from each side until the backing was covered. Here’s what my first two strips looked like.

And you can see that they are quilted when you look at the back.

They don’t always have to be placed on an angle, of course. They can be straight across, which means the strips can be a few inches shorter.

Before and after trimming…just trim along the edge if you started with a nice, straight piece, or trim to a size you want.

I’m not going to give you the QAYG instructions here, but I’ll give you the link to the master of the easy QAYG!

http://www.thequiltingedge.com/p/tutorials.html

Now I have a small quilt, about 34 x 40. I could simply bind it and pass it along to the next person who needs a baby quilt. OR I could continue to use up the pile of bright scraps that never seems to get any smaller! This method allows me to add more sections, or borders, or even insert a section down the middle, as long as I want to continue. You may be able to see that I added some additional quilting down the length of each strip and I may add even a bit more, because I like a lot of quilting. However, it has sufficient stitching in the construction that it really doesn’t need any more.

This took me one afternoon to make, so that you have an idea of how quickly this goes. I hope we can make a huge dent in the fabric that Sue has…I’m sure Kathy would approve of using her stash this way!

What a good day!

I finished the quilting on the orange and white quilt. That was a good thing. And THEN…

I got the binding done on the orange and white AND the triangle quilt!

Of course I do my binding all by machine, but it was still a good feeling to get both quilts finished!

Took a quick look at the pile of scraps I had on the table before the retreat weekend and I think I’ll go ahead and work on a quilt using them up.

Here’s the start—

Not too exciting, is it? There will be lots more next time! Quilt as you go, strippy scraps, bright colors…how much fun can I handle?!!!

What a weekend!

For the first time in several years, I went to a quilt retreat and it was wonderful! All the women are in my Creative Seasons art group and I could not have spent time with a better group of people. Supportive and helpful and complimentary and critical–in the best possible way!

And I got SO much done. I only brought two quilts with me, planning on concentrating on that one simple task. It worked out well, except for my tired shoulders…

This picture doesn’t even show the quilting, but I got it finished.

It’s a fun little quilt, used a lot of scraps and played Sunshine and Shadows as I hoped it would. Here’s a detail.

I will be the first to tell you that the quilting itself is not particularly good in this quilt. I had some thread issues and changed my plan and I decided that done was better than perfect for a little couch throw!

Most of the quilting got done on this even smaller couch quilt, too. I’m taking a bit more time with it and trying to do a better job, because it might not end up on MY couch. Spiral shape fillers in the big X’s and then I wracked my brain trying to figure out how I should quilt the rest. Finally put some big O’s in the blank spaces, filled those with pebble stitching and then I’m filling the rest of the background with free form rows of X’s.

And then I came home to a fantastic change! My son came over and changed the failing flourescent fixtures in my studio. As messy and disorganized as this section is–I can pretend that it got that way when I moved stuff in order for him to work, but we all know better than that!–I am totally thrilled to take this picture with the light on!!!

I haven’t had a light in this section for at least a year, and now I have plenty of light (to see to clean by?). My whole studio is bathed in great light now and I smile HUGELY every time I walk down the stairs. Can’t wait to get down there and get to work!

Thanks, Greg. Great job!

Dots and stitches

The larger of my two turquoise and gray pieces was where I started stitching with those luscious threads. I was immediately disappointed with what I was doing.

Can barely see the blanket stitch edging on the gray, but there will be more and maybe it will be all right….at least, that’s what I kept telling myself.

So I switched over to the heavier #5 thread and turquoise. The running stitch was where I started and took it out after the first 20 or so stitches. Went along the edges with a chain stitch and it was okay.

Visible and the cross stitch section was working all right. Then I tried more gray on gray–you can almost see it at the top of the turquoise strip.

Time to re-assess.

Looking at the whole thing again, it’s spare, graphic and all the separate parts are very directional. It needs straight lines, through the pieces, intersecting the pieces, uniting and extending the pieces in the design. I can do that with hand work if there is a straight line marked to follow, but I hate marking…it never comes out, no matter how vigorously I test. Back up a step…I hate marking because you have to get it out!

It’s relatively easy to do with machine stitching and no marking, using the edges of the various presser feet for my measurements and ‘marking.’ So I’m going to head to the machine and get some stitching done there. Those lines can be guidelines and another layer of texture. The hand stitching can be added afterward. And since I don’t add the backing until the handwork is done, I’ll leave plenty of space for machine quilting the background at that point.

Now this all sounds like it will work, but all my work is simply a series of ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybe this or that.’ I love creating this way, but I know it’s not for everyone. I do appreciate suggestions from those of you who have already tried something that I may be heading toward. I don’t need to re-invent the wheel and will happily learn from your mistakes as well as my own!

Oh, yes…I’m much happier already!

There’s basting and then there’s basting…

Thread basting…glue basting…my preference is always going to be spray basting. On these first polka-dot pieces I wasn’t sure how I was going to construct them, so I started out with pinning. I knew that I did not want any fusible because it’s harder to stitch through, especially if you have multiple layers.

I picked out some really gorgeous threads to embroider with, too.

As I’m looking at them now, I may have to ask Denise to order more. I took the last she had of most of those skeins and I’m really falling in love with them.

Thinking….thinking…and I got out the glue stick and stuck some pieces down on the smaller piece. It’s about 20″ square or so, and I’ll feel better if that’s spray basted to the batting. If I were only doing machine stitching, it would be fine.

On the larger piece, I basted around the edges of each piece with thread. This piece is roughly a yard square and when I made the decision to hand stitch on batting, I just went ahead and spray basted it to the batting. Life is too short to spend it basting. I’d rather spend my time stitching with the pretty thread!

Ready to go!

So what’s the big deal with the basting, you ask? It’s an art quilt so what does it matter? Well, I have this idiosyncracy that if there is glue sprayed or glue stick spread, the glue must be washed out of the piece before it is hung up. Fusible–that doesn’t bother me at all, but other glues need to be washed. I have no idea how that will affect the threads I add because I usually avoid the issue and work on smaller pieces.

This will be an interesting experiment in the end…but that won’t be for quite a while. I plan on lots of stitching and nothing in a hurry!