Busy week

I always hate to go a long time between blog posts, but sometimes that happens! There were so many interruptions to studio time that I didn’t get any stitching done. Happily, they were fun interruptions, or necessary like PT for my bum knee and hip. Art quilt group on Monday and Tuesday I got to spend the afternoon with my grandson on their trip to the one-room schoolhouse. Wednesday I could not put off cleaning up the garage and getting set up for dye day on Thursday. I got a start on rinsing things out today, but then I got distracted by my design wall.


I got all my pieces selected and pinned to my foundation/backing.

Nothing is stitched down yet but I thought I should take a look at it before I start on that. In particular, I can’t decide if I want a bit more of the peach or if there is sufficient. Maybe one more skinny piece somewhere in the bottom right area.

Then it’s going to be stitch, stitch, stitch. Most likely not all at once because this truly is a huge piece–about 60 x 60 in–and I plan on a massive amount of stitching. Oh, in case you are eyeballing that turquoise strip at the top, that is the hanging sleeve. It can stay there or be tucked and stitched in the back. That decision will be made later.

Glad to have it this far because the lawn mowing and gardening are calling to me, too!


Bits at a time

Between spring flowers, grass mowing and lots of rain, I’ve had bits of time to work on my big project.

I am stamping leaves on each of my turquoise scrap blocks as the first prep step. They are pinned to the design wall and I take each one down, put the paint on it and return it to the wall to dry. This system is working very well for me.

I am using real leaves that I collect and preserve either with watered glue or glycerin. I roll the paint onto the leaves and then stamp them onto the fabric. There are sure to be other methods that people use, but this is good for me.

My work area is plenty large enough and I could have done all of the leaves at once, but my timeline didn’t lend itself to that. So I did a few each day for 3 or 4 days and today I finished them up.

And now I can wait for the paint to dry again, get the table cleared off and get ready to start the assembly portion of this project…which is actually another reason why I have not rushed to finish the leaves!

This project is huge right now and I think I want to keep it that way. It will in no way be a functional quilt. In my mind, it is totally a piece of art, made to hang on a wall. But it’s going to have to be a big wall. It will be difficult to put together and manuever around the sewing machine, as well as doing the hand stitching with which I plan to begin. I’m wondering if I would be able to work it in smaller sections and then assemble the sections or if that will disturb the narrative in my mind…………..do I really need to make it harder on myself? I think I do. Sigh. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. Sigh, again!

Paint is drying, I am pondering and the rain has stopped for a while! Sounds like it’s time to catch up on grass mowing and mulching while I procrastinate on that decision for just a bit longer!

More dye and discharge

Quick post to show you the pieces so far–these are up on the wall grouped by type.

I’m thinking of arranging things in traditional forms–kind of, of course.

I have more of both colored and black fabric and there is always tons and tons of arranging before I come to any final decisions.

And you ask about size? We are looking at a design wall area about 5′ x 6′. The finished piece will probably be smaller than that, but it could just as well grow with those extra pieces. Hard to say at this point! I do think I want to get this to the finished top stage before I work anymore on the turquoise one, but I sure am eager to get some leaves painted.

I am so lucky. I never run out of ideas to play with!

Dye and discharge pieces

Doctor appt and blood donation took care of my time yesterday, but I’m back to the black discharge and hand-dyed fabrics today. I have had several people tell me that they like to follow along with my thought process in designing a piece, so I’ll continue to do that!

I made just a few more of the wacky nine patch blocks, for a slight variety of color, but decided that the majority of the fabric will be used in bigger chunks.

Chunks of square-ish fabrics, folded over with a line pressed into it…sew on each side of the line, cut and press open.

Simple half-square triangles, only I don’t care if they are square, rectangle or just plain wonky!

Sometimes they come out almost perfectly square.

A little trim and they are just perfect.

However, when using oddball shapes and random folds, you often get unusual pieces.

Before I trim these up square/rectangular, I will want to entertain the idea of adding additional strips to fill in the holes.

No decision on that, yet. Since I don’t know how this work will grow, I’m going to hold off on that decision until I get started with this up on the design wall.

I did decide that I’m going to make it easy on myself and keep everything straight and squared off. No funky curves or hard to fit angles.

I randomly paired hunks of the fabrics and now have a lot of dark and dyed building blocks. I’m ready to start building the entire piece and will make further decisions as I go along from here.

However, my design space is taken up right now with turquoise pieces waiting for paint and I don’t have quite enough room for both. Some re-arranging is needed before I continue…………..stay tuned! I’m not sure which piece will get worked on next, since that paint should be here today!

And I really do enjoy working on more than one piece at a time. Design decisions occupy different corners of my brain at various stages and flipping between them gives me more time to plan for each one.

Good times…………….!


Discharge and dye

While waiting for my paint order, I thought I would try to clean something else off the shelves. My eyes landed on this pile of discharged black fabric that I have hoarded conserved for a while.

Some of it was used with my pile of rust dyed fabrics and I still think that’s a great combination.

But I feel like ‘been there, done that’ with that idea, even though it does fit in with my exploration of high contrast.

I am trying to use my hand dyes more, and I have a pile of scraps from my last project.

How about that combination?

Seems like it might work, but I’m not totally sold on it. I made a few wacky nine-patch blocks to see and I’m still not sure.

Maybe it will look better with simple squares or half-square triangles. I’ll try some of those next.

Red-violet seems to be my color of the week, though. I need some hand stitching and thought I’d embroider these pieces together.

Started out with a traditional brain and layered the wool, batting and a backing piece and now I’m wondering why. The red-violet is tightly felted, so there won’t be the unraveling edges that I like, but I definitely don’t want binding on it and I don’t need the extra thickness of the batting. Probably I will stitch just the wool, fuse a back or mount this on a canvas. But that color…..I need to play with it!

I put all my turquoise blocks up on the design wall, ’cause I was doing some thinking ahead. One reason was to make sure I had enough blocks!

The main reason, though, is a process decision. Since I plan to paint leaves on the blocks before any next steps, I figured it would be really easy to take a block down, paint it and pin it back up to dry. Less likely to drag a block through unwanted paint or drip on it that way! And it will help my decision making process on large/small leaves if I can see them laid out as I make them. Hurry, hurry paint order!


Thinking, thinking, thinking!

Not much sewing going on right now. Mostly I am spending all my time plotting out a biiiiiiig project that jumped into my brain last week.

Part of it was trying to use up all those turquoise scraps. The pile was going down a bit at a time, until I looked in another scrap basket and found more! I piled those on the stack and decided to keep going until I USED them all. I got to a point where I eliminated the solids and used up only the prints and it worked. I made it. A huge old pile of scraps, made up into blocks. Don’t know what size any of them are, but I trimmed them up and squared them up and they are ready to be used.

That’s when the big idea hit…and I had to dye batting to use to make up all these individual blocks to fill this huge piece of wool that will be my backing!

The batting project slowed me down a bit and it’s good that it did. Lots of planning for this one. Here’s the batting drying, in the absolute darkest part of my basement, so the pic is what it is! But that batting is sturdy and took a beating and hung together well. Some of it will show, so it is now a color that will blend well and still add texture.

Now that backing—it’s 60 x 68 and part of my thinking is deciding which direction I will place it, how I will attach the top/batting…a block at a time, or quilt from the center out or one end to the other, or baste in the whole thing and quilt however I wish, or divide the design into sections. Or even make it a much smaller piece. All of that thinking was about the actual construction process and I didn’t even have a design figured out!!!

I thought I might do a tree and a reflection of a tree, in black and white stitching. I rarely sketch things out, but I grabbed my sketch book and it opened to a page that had…leaves drawn on it! I added a ‘feeling’ of the tree idea, but it may change into a more leaf oriented piece.

So, of course, I had to follow a tangent idea…if I use leaves, would they look good as painted/stamped/stenciled and then stitched? Stick with the black and white idea?

I have not been impressed with any white paint I have tried so far, for opacity.  I have not purchased everything that has been suggested, so I went with I had. Trying out stamping on a print fabric block, with real leaves, in white…………

Used craft acrylic and acrylic from a tube, with a bit of textile medium

Not much difference, but I liked the tube paint a bit better because it was thicker. Now to try it out with the black and white stitching that I’m pretty sure I want to do!

Since I don’t like to waste paint, I grabbed some dark teal and a piece of black and used up the rest of the white on those.

Of course they show up really well on a dark solid! It’s those turquoise prints that I’m interested in right now, though. I’ll work on my practice piece and see where all my thinking takes me next.

It’s a really good thing that I have had to wait for the batting to get dyed and then dry. Planning is not my strong point, so I’m happy to have a lot of time to think about this one!


Back at it!

Didn’t get an early start, but I have had time to play in the studio today. I made the decision to go with the brighter batik and not only the dark and light for my curves.

When in doubt, I always go with the bolder and brighter colors.

I did not take any pics when I started cutting–mainly because I forgot, but it would not have been any different than the last time I did this. I actually thought I would be trying out something new, but it ended up pretty much like I always cut and sew curves!

My only real decisions were what edges I wanted to use!

Okay-NOT batik all the way around! I put the batik on one side and black on the other and liked that much better.

And as I made the sandwich for quilting, I think I may want to rotate this and have the curves flow from top bright to bottom dark.

Probably make the top and bottom pieces smaller, too. May even take off the bottom black entirely! We shall see………..

Ready for quilting and maybe some embellishment.