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!

 

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Abundant paralysis

Too much of a good thing isn’t always a good thing! I wanted to work with black and white today and I knew that I had a ton of scraps from at least 2 previous black/white/red quilts that I had made.

And the scraps were all together in one place! I felt super-organized. And then I started spreading them out on the table,

sorting through them and they kept spreading and spreading…

And these were only the scraps! I have a bit more on the shelves, too.

The scraps mostly had text, but some were pieced nine patch blocks and there was even a diamond already pieced.

With so much more than I had anticipated, I couldn’t figure out what to make with them. I had planned on using them up in another small art piece, but I have enough for ANOTHER entire quilt, with only the scraps!

So I resorted to the only logical course of action. I put all the black and white away and did a thread sketch!

And quilted yesterday’s small quilt. (No pics of that. I spray basted it and I always wash after basting, so it’s in the wash now!)

Obviously with so much black and white fabric from which to choose, I MUST have a definite plan in place before I get them out again. As my dad always said, “Plan your work and work your plan.”

I’d better get planning!

Flittering and Floundering

A funny thing happened as I was working my way down the pile of unfinished projects. I picked up a piece that was prepped so that I could get the quilting done. When I picked it up and opened it out……………

It was already quilted!¬† I don’t have the least bit of memory about quilting it, but there it is! All I had to do was trim it and bind it. Oh, yeah…add that sleeve and label, too. But it’s done.

Those Flying Geese blocks jumped the line and called out to me next. I played with arranging them for a bit and finally told myself to quit procrastinating and get them sewn. To keep it simple, because they were lovely all on their own. The hardest part was finding a border that was the correct shade of blue, and right now my stash is loaded with blues. Again, I was surprised at how many shades were NOT right.

This batik is probably 10 years old, so it justifies the reason for having a stash! I kept the quilting simple also, so it didn’t take very long to finish it up.

And now I have one more finish…with the sleeve on it, too!

On to the floundering part…there is a large stack of kinda Christmasy fabrics staring at me. My ideas are not flowing for what to make with them. I got this far and don’t have a clue where to go next.

I like the little trees but the whole thing does nothing for me. It will be set aside until inspiration wanders by and I grab an idea or two, but that stack of fabric is making me feel very guilty. This is when the stash is NOT justified!

And the pile of to be finished items is down to full size quilts and only one large piece with a mounting problem.

So it’s wander around the studio, pretending to be busy time. There are a lot of final touches that are needed, but I’ll do those on one big assembly line day…which isn’t today. I’m hesitant to start a big project because I know it won’t get done before the show and I guess all my thoughts are really centered on that.

Blah, blah, blah…my thoughts go round and round, like circling the drain, and nothing gets started OR done. That show deadline is actually hindering me right now.

Today–yes, today–I must gather my wits about me and be productive, even if it’s a project that could take months. I need to be engaged in my work, not doing it because I have a pile of fabric to use up. Go, Kathy, get to the studio and find some fun!

Village ready to quilt

My little improv village is all ready to quilt. I selected the border that is the same as the background fabric, but threw in just a bit of whimsy!

I toyed with the idea of piping or multiple borders with this fabric, and another that I didn’t take a photo of.

I liked the look of the black/white and decided to use the colorful fabric as a binding. It will be just wide enough to act as a tiny border with color. I think that’s all it will need.

This weekend we also had a discussion of batting basting tape. With our little smart phones, we looked it up and found that there are several brands and sizes from which to choose. I happened to have some that I got in a gift basket at some point so I decided that today was the day to use it.

Totally simple to butt up those straight edges and iron on the tape. It holds, it doesn’t make a stiff line and it’s super easy to use. I will be using it again–I like it!

I’m eager to get this project quilted and finished. It has been pure enjoyment from start to finish. Should be able to get that done tomorrow and I’m looking forward to some quality time at the machine.

No waste!

I always think everyone knows all the cool shortcuts and tricks and then I’m surprised when I talk about something and get those blank looks of whaaaaaat?

Just Pick A Direction, Already!

So it was when I talked about making Flying Geese and heard groans and those “I hate making those blocks and wasting all that fabric when you cut the corners” complaints.

Well, I don’t make FG blocks that way. I make them with the no-waste method, which has been around long enough that there is a ruler for it…of course! There are YouTube videos on how to use the Lazy Girl Flying Geese x 4 Ruler, but I’ll show you my little shortcut even using that. And then there is the old-fashioned math formula method, which is also a no-waste technique and also has lots of info available on the internet. Nobody likes doing the math anyway, do they? I don’t need to repeat everything here, but the math method does exist.

Here are the basics of how it works—to make 4 blocks at once, you need 1 large square and 4 small squares. The large square becomes the ‘goose’ and the small squares are the background.

Shortcut alert–they always tell you to mark a line diagonally across those squares so that you can sew along each side of that line. It’s so much easier to fold the squares and hit ’em with the iron–line made! I usually don’t do more than 2 or 3 squares at a time for a bit more accuracy. And why else would you have a 1/4″ presser foot if not to use it?!

You can chain piece them, up one side and down the other and then cut between the lines.

Press the background (in this case, light) squares up and lay out the next square onto this heart shaped piece.

Sew each side of that fold line again, cut and done! Chain piece, too, so it’s fast!

Tip: always line up the small squares with the outside corners of the large squares. Accuracy is useful with this technique. Sometimes my lines wobble a bit and I don’t rip, I just sew it again!

If you are accurate, you should have a nice, straight line across the top of your goose block, with 1/4″ seam allowance so you don’t cut off the point.

You can cut off the dog ears if you want. I usually don’t bother on a small art quilt piece, but I have done it on full size quilts. Maker’s choice! This method is so fast, it actually took me longer to take the pictures than it did to finish the blocks!

There are so many layout possibilities for the FG block! I just threw these up on the design board while I think about it.

Now all my Flying Geese hating friends, do you think you could show some love to this no waste, fast method of making this block? Four alike at one time, no waste, easy-peasy…could you ask for anything more? Go for it!

 

Contemplation

It’s approaching noon and I’m still in my pajamas. I didn’t get out of bed until after 7:00 this morning. I haven’t done anything but drink coffee and read.

This is the height¬† of lazy decadence and I’m enjoying every moment. However, this is not a sustainable state of being for me. I’m already getting a little antsy from sitting around too long. I’ve been worried that I’ll turn into a do-nothing, lazy bum. I’m pretty sure right now that that is not going to happen.

Retirement is, after a long time, becoming a part of my brain. I finally realize that I don’t HAVE to do something every single minute of every single day. I still like getting up early, but it doesn’t have to be before 6:00. I enjoy starting the day with a leisurely cup of coffee and time for the gym before doing anything productive.

And by productive, I mean making art.

And time is slowing down in that area, too. I’m being more thoughtful about what I produce. I have a very clear line in my head between what I think is commercial craft product and art—though I don’t really like the terms of ‘craft’ and ‘art’. I prefer the idea that art is the concept, the idea and that craft is the process needed to make the vision into reality. And that there are some items that fit into people’s homes more readily than others!

Ambition is not in my vocabulary anymore, if it ever even was! I have dreams of market viability but have no drive to do the work to make it happen. And I’m actually okay with that.

My life is at a place that I never dreamed it would be. I’m comfortable, happy and doing only what I want to do. How amazing is that?

I feel like I’ve written this same thing recently, but it’s still so very true. Life is good!

 

Up or down?

Started adding some quilting to this piece and thoughts of Irma were in my head as I created this swirling design.

I worry about my relatives in Florida and my son in Charleston, who may evacuate to my brother’s home in upstate SC. Hope for a good outcome for all of them–that’s all I can do at this point.

So I continued to quilt and to fret and now I can’t decide which way is up on the piece!

This way, with the turquoise wide end pointing up?

Or turquoise pointing down?

It’s been around for a while, so I’m at the point where I simply want it done! But I don’t want impatience to push me into the wrong decision, so I’ll let it rest!