Adventure is the word that resonated with me today. Every single time that I enter my studio, I feel as though I am embarking on a new adventure. Whenever I say ‘what if…’ and sparks of ideas fly into my imagination, the next escapade begins. And there is always a piece of fabric, or a color, or a bead that inspires action. I cannot imagine that I will ever run out of inspiration, though I am old enough that I CAN envision running out of time or physical ability!

This experiment is wrapping up. All the concepts are roughed in and it is at the point of filling in the blanks with the technical, mechanical details. Always fun, as well as being important to strive for excellence, but the mind is free to start exploring territory for the next undertaking.

Quite a few more sun ray lines to do, with some metallic thread added for a bit of sparkle! And more quilting to do with the leaves and grasses, but essentially done.

My mind has wandered on…and that’s a fitting phrase for what it wandered onto. Alzheimer’s is an affliction that is near to my heart, since my father had it. Every now and then I try to express my feelings about this utterly devasting disease with a piece of art. Not the cheeriest of subjects, of course, but art is emotional–ALL the emotions.

This is started and my mind now gets to ask ‘what if…’ for the next steps.

I believe it is headed for the foggier brain side of the disease rather than the loss of function of the physical side.

The daily adventure that is now my life continues!


Seascape, I think

Started work on another edition of “Find a Good Seascape” today. I thought I would begin with a bright, sunny day.

Sunshine and blue sky–perfect. It needs a few clouds, of course, so I went through my hoard of dyed cheesecloth.

I think I found what I need–so I went and found some more.

After I laid out my sky, I started to wonder about what process would work best for getting it stitched down. There was some green tulle on the shelf and I laid a piece of it over the entire piece. Not too sure, so I cut some pieces of the tulle to add a bit more texture and color to the sky.

I liked it and decided that those bits of green would stay even with the tulle over the top of the whole thing. That would be an easy way to finish things off, but I really do not like the look or feel of tulle over the top. It kind of defeats the purpose of having textured fibers!

But before I had to make that decision, I had to make some land for that sky to sit on! Came up with a very narrow strip of land/water/beach and added cheesecloth to that, too!

Yep–still like that bit of green tulle added to the sky.

Back to the technique decision. Don’t know if you can see it in the pic, but when everything is covered in tulle, I think it feels like a mesh bag of onions, ready for the fridge. Nope.

I went with my old standby next–water soluble stabilizer over the top. Usually works like a charm. This time it was a disaster. It was so bad I had to rip it out right away. Didn’t even take a picture of it. It pulled and wrinkled and distorted in a way that I have not seen before. And I’m not going to try to solve the issue when there is a way that always works.

Basting. Takes more time. It’s a pain to do. This time, it’s the only way that seems to work. But it always works!

Basting in a high contrast thread color because I want to easily see it when it comes time to remove it. That also forces me to look closely at all the areas when I’m doing that and make sure that I didn’t miss sewing something down.

That will be the next step in the process, but I won’t have much studio time in the next several days. It’s probably a good thing, since every step of this piece is taking a lot of thinking. And I THINK I’m on the right track now!

Finish and start

The orange circle quilt is finished!

Except for one little detail…I waited until I washed the quilt to make the decision. I did not know if the magenta stripe needed any quilting.

There is certainly no technical reason to add more quilting, but I think I want a tiny bit of additional detail. I have some matching thread (of course!!!) and I think a little ferny looking stitch down the center will make me happy.

And while this was washing and drying, I decided to start the seascape with the fabrics I showed you last time.

I got this far, spray basted it to the batting and came to a dead stop. I think it will make a nice little picture, but I think the colors are still wrong for my potential client. It just doesn’t feel right for her. It’s going to get set aside and I’ll try again tomorrow with some other fabric. If I can’t get it on the third try…well, let’s just hope for the best!

Progress and….oh, NOOOOO!

Progress was being made on another piece for our Text and Texture challenge. I found quite a few fabrics with Oriental text on them. Lots more than I thought I had.

Sometimes too much is just…too much. Not sure how to use this much variety, so I was going to go with my ‘standard’ improv of a strip of each and assemble with curvy seams and build from there. Then my love of raw edges took over and I tore some pieces and strips and laid them out on a piece of stabilizer.

I thought I would attach these English letters on the top.

The concept is good but the letters are not quite right. I thought perhaps text fabric as background would work and guess who has a lot of text fabric?

All fat quarters and the piece is bigger than that. Figured that a mixed up background would be too much with a mixed up foreground. So I grabbed a bigger piece of plain white fabric and wrote all over it!

Lots of nonsense–song lyrics of the music I was listening to, random thoughts, anything to fill the ‘page’. And it worked. Looks good, especially since it’s almost totally covered!

It’s all laid out-a bit different than the initial layout– and I used tape instead of pins or glue, simply because I had it out and it works! I’m using a beige felt backing that will have 1/4″ showing. I will have more pictures in a day or so, but as I was working on quilting and adding some cording…

OH, NOOOOOO… machine made a needle-breaking noise but there was no broken needle. The bobbin thread wouldn’t catch. Of course I did all the cleaning and checking and re-threading that I could, but it ended up taking a trip to the spa. It will be diagnosed and I’ll find out how bad the news is tomorrow. I’m hoping, hoping, hoping that it will be simple and fixable. I really don’t want to lose my dependable little workhorse, but it’s old enough that it’s time may have come. We shall sleep with our fingers crossed tonight!

At least I have another machine for quilting and piecing, and can do that while I wait. I am NOT a good wait-er. Sigh………….

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!

Thinking about the beach

My recent exhibition has generated a possible commission, but even if that never finalizes, my creative energy is on a new track. The thought process went from summer chairs

to feeling beachy. I auditioned a ton of fabric and decided today to work with these.

I thought my fabrics were a touch too busy and substituted a soft hand dye for the fabric in the upper left corner.

Spent the day playing, arranging, re-arranging, cutting and stitching and totally enjoying myself! This is what I ended up with at the end of the afternoon. Seeing the photo, I may want to change the bottom a bit, but overall, I’m pretty satisfied with my progress.

And as I was heading out of the room, my eyes fell on a stitch meditation piece that was sitting on the table………………..hmmm…………I think this might be a good addition.

Laid it on the piece…not great…moved it up a bit…

still not great…moved it up more and I think it’s getting there!

A good place to walk away and think for a while…with a big smile from a happy day!