Exploring a thought

As I’ve said in the last couple of posts, there has not been much time for sewing lately. However, things are evening out and I finished a charity quilt….hooray!

It’s a lovely top and I have no more guilt at having it sit on my shelf waiting to be finished.

I’m continuing my small pieces, trying to make them be daily stitching. I have quite a bit of rust dyed fabric and thought it would be good to play with. My samples for camp have been 4 piece series and this was going to be another one. Then I realized that I already have enough samples and so now this is for me. And I immediately expanded the idea to at least 12 little squares that may–or may not–end up assembled into a single larger piece. I’m going to explore simple circles, with each piece having at least one large circle that is the same. I may have to think about this same type of exploration with other shapes. We’ll see how this goes.

So now I have to narrow down my technique choices.

I really liked how this rusty piece turned out, but do I want another one in this same color scheme? And the squares are only 7″…

Simple embroidery stitches– single color or each piece in a different color? Try more complex embroidery and FILL each piece of fabric? Single row of black beads defining each circle? Lush, overabundant piles of beads? Oh, goodness–more and more decisions! The hardest part of every project, but on this one, once I DO make a decision, it will be the same all through the work on each piece.

I’m ready to have a needle in my hand right now, but I simply do not make decisions that quickly! I need to go stare at my fabric for a while!

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Putzing and deciding…

Since I am teaching a basic dyeing class on June 2, I thought I should get some fabric ready for examples.  At least that’s the reason I’m using to play with fabric and dye! I always, always, always wash any fabric I’m going to dye, even fabric that says PFD. That way I’m sure that there is no sizing or dirt or oil or anything but fabric in my fabric. And I have a huge bolt that I got last summer that I did not use up, so that’s my task. Nothing to show you; just wash, dry, iron some, pre-soak some that I plan to print with dye on, maybe fold some for special effects. Plain white cotton, doing nothing but getting ready for COLOR!

However, I absolutely cannot decide how to display my Four Seasons series. My original intention was my normal mounting of each piece on an individual canvas.

And it’s nice and I like it. But then I wondered if it might not be better to leave all four pieces together, mounted on a larger canvas. Disregard the color of the canvas…it would be painted that same gray as the smaller examples.

If I’m thinking in terms of possible sales, smaller pieces sell better. If I think the series looks better kept together, even if the price would be higher, well…

And I’m so indecisive, it’s pathetic!

Maybe that’s why dyeing is so  much fun. I can have things in single colorways, gradations, blends, folds……..no final decisions!

 

Four Seasons

Is a seasonal series a cliche? It might be, but it’s what I ended up with. I started playing with fabrics and embellishments, as usual, and the seasons just popped up!

Does this say winter? It does to me!

I wanted summer to be exuberant and abundant…maybe should have had a few more beads, but this kinda gets the feeling across.

I really revved it up for fall. There were even a few more beads added after this pic.

And I totally changed my bead plan for spring after I found those sweet little butterflies in a bag, in the back of the bottom drawer of my bead stash!

Now the embroidery and embellishments are done and I’m ready to mount them on canvas…………..but I have to wait for the paint to dry. I’m using a soft gray and hope they will look good on that color. I’ll try it as soon as that paint is safe to touch.

Cliche or not, I like this series!

Doodle to real!

Yes, indeed, sometimes those little play pieces can turn into something a bit more serious. I guess I posted this pic on IG but not here, so these are the doodles that are getting serious ideas!

I’m beginning to add some embroidery to each of these.

I started with this one, because…orange! And then I had to determine what could be different and what should be consistent for the sake of the series.

So far, it’s gray thread and simple stitches on the gray part and a variegated thread and following the lines on the bottom part.

An embroidered “plant”  on the right side of the stones and single thread grass on the colored strips.

It’s fun and a bit of a challenge to make them separate and yet connected.

And there will be beads……………………………..

Thread lace and beads

Oh my word–making huge pieces of thread lace is a never ending project! I’ve never made anything but some small leaves before and making this huge sheet is taking way too long. If I had known at the beginning….in the category of  lessons learned, I’d really have gone about it in a different way.

My goal was to create sheer, shiny fabric to attach to the silk background already made. It would need to have beads on it, but those could be supported by a grid of beading thread as the beads were added. Okay–that was the plan. Using up tons of fibers and threads seemed like such a bonus, too.

I wasn’t too far into it before I realized that the threads alone would not create a strong enough fabric.

Adding a sheer fabric back was about the only answer I could come up with. Had I started with the fabric, I would have added light fusible and fused those fibers to it. Still would have added the stabilizer and the stitching, but maybe not as much stitch and maybe not so many thread/stitching frustrations. Next time for sure…

I stitched for hours, free form sewing and finally thought it might hold together. Then I added a grid of stitches just to feel better about it!

And suddenly it was time to bite the bullet, call it good and wash away the stabilizer!

It’s sheer, shiny and looks different from every angle. Can’t really show that in photos, but I think it’s going to work. We’ll judge the strength as I start assembling and adding those heavy beads!

Speaking of which…I have a few choices to make!

I always start by pulling anything that I think might have any possibility of working with my fabrics and colors…and because I have accumulated so many beads, that can become a large pile!

 

I almost immediately eliminated the darker gold beads and the darkest blue beads. The thread fabric changes color with every viewing angle, so most any color should work! I thought about green, but didn’t really have a good green jump out at me.

  

These three were ‘finalists’ and all looked pretty good. Then I kind of thought all white would really be best and spread these out.

The white along with some off-white looks like the solution. Sparkle all the way through and no dramatic color to draw the eye. The piece is going to reflect a snow storm, so the whiter the better………………..I think! It may yet change as I progress with the beading, but that’s the plan right now.

And I got to spend the whole day in the studio! Thought I was going to have most of the week in the studio, but I forgot to put several things on my calendar. So I’m extra grateful to have had today and to have progressed so far. There is no ‘fast’ in this project, so I will either post it so much that you will get sick of it, or I will try to restrain myself and there will not be as many posts.

But I know myself well enough to know that I will work on more than one project at the same time, so there should be something else to look at soon!

 

Threads and more threads

Have you ever made thread lace? With the water soluble stabilizer? I decided that was what I wanted for my curvy silk piece so I jumped right into creating it.

It started with the idea of a grid of beads and beading thread and then I figured it might be sturdier with a base of fabric,  but I wanted to keep the sheer idea of the bead grid, so….thread lace.

I have this cone of superfine ‘fiber’–one of the many items I’ve acquired over the years. Don’t know exactly what it is, but it shimmers and shines like a hologram so it seems perfect for this.

I’ll tell you one thing–that cone holds a whole lot of fiber, but it’s not enough to make thread lace.

I have a few spools of shiny specialty threads that I have not been successful in using, so I decided to throw them into the mix, too.

Then you layer the top with another piece of stabilizer, pin-pin-pin and start stitching.

I begin with a grid, but all those loose threads must be stitched closely together enough to hold up as a fabric after the stabilizer is washed away. It’s hard to see in photos, but this is the beginning of that stitching.

I tried using invisible thread for my grid, but kept having trouble with it. I have trouble with it on regular fabric, too, and hate it so it didn’t take me long to switch. I gave up on some of the transparency in favor of no thread breakage and used Bottomline. The fill in stitching is done with silver and I don’t think thread alone is going to do the job!

I found a tiny piece of this sheer poly, which has the same holographic shine as the mystery fiber.

I think it will be perfect to use as a base, if I can find some of the same or something similar. It will continue my sheer theme as well as make a better support for the bead grid that is still in the works!

But there’s a snow storm today, so fabric shopping will have to wait for clear roads! I am not a patient person when I have to stop in the middle of an active sewing day and wait for something that is totally out of my control. Grrrrr! But what about the other half of the split project? I could work on it, but I think I need to look at those sheers in the store for that one, too.

I guess I’ll have to keep myself busy using up the yarn stash. I can knit in front of the fireplace while it snows.

No sew Monday!

It was supposed to be a day to finish up my Lakeside piece, but, as usual, I got distracted. However, it wasn’t for anything fun. Nope–it’s that time of year to get the rat’s nest of paperwork organized for taxes. Really wish I was more organized throughout the year, but at least the stuff is all in the same drawer/pile/folder–that’s what the messy desk area is for, right?

It’s something we all have to get done, and I’m almost there, so it wasn’t a totally bad morning.

It’s snowing, too. Soft and beautiful. So what do we do when it snows and we spent the whole morning on paperwork?  SNOW DYE!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOORAY!!!!

When I look at the picture, I feel like it’s a big waste of dye powder, because it seems like I put it on a little thick this time. Oh, well…I have a lot of fabric in the tubs and we’ll just have to see how it turns out!

That’s the excitement of dyeing…the unknown! And now I do have a bit of time if I want to sew a bit…but I know better than to try that anywhere around that dye table. So I think the rest of today is Designated Couch Potato Day, TV time and laziness. Ain’t retirement grand?!!!

By the way, have I ever told you that you can follow what I post on Instagram, too? I’ve only been doing that recently, but it’s easy, so I’m sure I’ll do it a lot more.  https://www.instagram.com/quirksltd/

Next time we’ll see what this snow dye day produced!