Frustration!

This circle piece has me totally frustrated. I was happy taking it in a new direction, but none of the plans I had for finishing are working out.

I wanted to quilt in the blocks with metallic thread. I have used this particular copper thread many times with no problems…put the spool in a mug, tension down very low and don’t move too quickly. Not happening, no matter what adjustments I tried to make.

Bottom thread pulling up…thread breakage…and then I remembered that rusted fabric is not kind to any type of further sewing. The rust is IN the fabric and does not yield gracefully to the needle. So, this got ripped out and I thought I would try that lovely ribbon yarn, sewn down on the sashing strips with the metallic.

I didn’t even take pics of that disaster before it got ripped out. The turquoise fabric is rust fabric that was overdyed, so it did not play well either.

Plain thread, straight stitch worked so I reluctantly got all the blocks and sashing lined with that.

Not at all sure what to try next. I’m not happy with any ideas that have been drifting in and out of my brain.

Frustrated! Time for a nap, I guess!

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Done? Is that a real word?

Having little bits and pieces of time in the studio mostly means piddling around with bits and pieces of projects, too. I KNOW that I have to do some serious thinking before I start carving into my latest striped bits. AND that I want to have dedicated, uninterrupted time when I start working. Not gonna happen for a day or two at least.

But I did think about what color(s) I want to add into the piece with the narrow strips. Oh, wait–I skipped a step for you. I have decided that I want to insert very narrow curves into whatever I make with the stripes. And I do not want plain black or white!

So off from the shelves comes the fabrics…I’ll spare you many of the possibilities, but there are still a lot that I am contemplating!

Greens, golds, neutrals…

And the current favorite is a batik bright botanical.

I think the changing colors in narrow strips will be more effective than a single solid color or more graphic print.

I found lots more turquoise family fabrics to add to the mindless sewing of improv blocks.

I cannot believe how much I have in scraps alone that goes with this color family! It never seems to end. However, in my online time-wasting today I came across an artist whose style I fell in love with and one of her posts gave me an idea of a different way to use these. And as long as this “project” is simply sewing up the scraps to use them up, the ideas can marinate a little and maybe get a bit refined before I try them out. Love it when I come across something new and different.

Random fabric and beading got finished a couple of hockey games ago. Planning on it being an addition to something more, but I haven’t gotten any good ideas for that ‘more’ part yet!

And another internet picture had me trying crumpled tissue paper, india ink and water………..not at all what the original artist did, but I wanted to implant the concept in my brain while it was fresh.

Here are three layers of tissue, each crumpled, wet and dripped with India ink.

After it dried, I separated the layers, smoothed them out and I like what I got.

Top layer–more white and easiest to flatten

Layer 2–I know I was less gentle when I crumpled it on top of the first layer and it had quite a bit of tearing as I flattened it. Still distinctive dark and light markings.

Bottom layer–ended up being the wettest, of course and had most of the ink seep down into it. Some fragility and quite dark.

It was interesting to do this little experiment and the tissue will be useful in something, sometime. But when I do it again, it will probably be with fabric, dye and a resist, not just crumpling! Or more and different paper. It’s experimenting with the very dark and the very light that has caught my interest right now, not the materials I am playing with…

Bits and pieces of time, bits and pieces of projects and experiments. I’m ready to concentrate but it’s spring time. Yard work and sewing do NOT mix well. When the yard is ready to face the summer, I will get back to regular studio time, for sure!

 

Too much and too little

This was supposed to be a week of plenty of time in the studio, getting lots of things done. And I did get some things done…no, actually, I got ONE thing done! My retreat project is finished, and that includes sleeve and label!

Wow! This WAS blocked straight and square and flat, but I sure didn’t smooth it out correctly for this photo!

I’m very pleased with how it turned out and I am firm in my resolve that there will not be a series repeating this design…well, unless I vary my technique and capture the essence of the design rather than the exact drafted picture. I have been known to do that.

I had to shop for border fabric for the crosscut piece. Mission accomplished on that and the quilting is started.

And look at this great package of items for our latest CS challenge! (Another “not start” for the week, BTW.)

It’s a ‘Dirty Dozen’ challenge to honor 12 years of our Creative Seasons art group. Probably my favorite combination of colors.

Have not made any progress in a decision on what to do with the blocks of hand dyes I made at retreat, but perhaps that will be next week’s project. However, since I love these challenge items so much, I think this will have the top spot on the priority list.

Also found out that there is not enough interest in improv right now to run a second series of classes at Textiles Fabrics in Milan. I’m not surprised, since this is a low-percentage specific interest. And the bonus is that it frees me up for one of AJ’s spring hockey games…always a silver lining!

It’s really hard, sometimes, to get out of the ‘production’ mode of living. There is not one single reason for me to produce anything, except for my own pleasure. There are really no deadlines or demands that are not self-imposed and if I want to be lazy, I can. I’m glad, though, that I have an inner drive to ‘make’.  It gives me great happiness in every moment in which my heart and mind and hands are engaged in the process of creating. That makes life so much sweeter than indulging in terminal laziness!!!

Start and stop

It’s been a few days since I posted and there is not much to show you, either! Sad, sad post……. However, I taught an improv class on Thursday. It was a full class and a short time, so I did not get even one picture to show you. It was a very fun day for me!

I finished the last of my ‘seashore’ projects and really want to move in a different direction now.

Lots of couching on this one because I got my repaired machine back, purring like brand new!

Hey–quick tip for fuzzy yarn. Couch it down in the direction that the fuzz lays down. Then use the (in my case) rubber end of the toothbrush handle instead of the bristles to fluff out those fibers. Accidental discovery for me, since I was using the toothbrush, but it would actually work well using a soft eraser instead!

Today I have to pack up for a quilt retreat this weekend and I am totally undecided as to which project I will attempt. I don’t currently have a UFO to work on, which is usually great for a retreat project. There is an abstract design that I really want to work on, but that doesn’t give me a lot of time to agonize over fabric choices–hahaha!

There are no burning ideas that I want to pursue, yet there are dozens of things that I could work on. So much indecision, and I am not packing up the whole studio to take with me! Beading, embroidery–nothing started so too hard to figure something out in an hour.

Soooooo, I procrastinate by writing this blog post and then I’ll scramble to get everything packed and out the door by noon! I will try to take some pics of what I finally decide to take with me.

At least I have this one finish for the week and I will enjoy every minute of the retreat with my friends, even if I sit and dither about what I work on!

Like my brain right now–all wonky edges!

Turquoise scraps…sigh!

There is so much turquoise in my scrap pile that I am positive I shall never see the end of it. I am trying, though.

Pulled out everything but yardage and started putting blocks together.

As the pile of blocks grows, I am able to get rid of the bitty scraps that are left without feeling any guilt about my eco-footprint being too heavy.

I put these blocks up on the design wall just to see what they looked like. I have enough now to make a nice sized couch quilt…………..and enough in that scrap pile to make probably two more quilts that size.

The odd positioning of the blocks makes me happy, but as I studied it, I found that there is no good way to assemble them. And I am NOT a newbie at this process. So I have to decide if the weird placement is worth the hassle of fiddly assembly.

Working with scraps like this is tedious and time-consuming. The results are not always cohesive or attractive. It’s just plain boring and I am not convinced that it’s worth it! And I am not someone who wants to follow the organized way many people have with their scraps…you know, cut strips and squares in regular sizes, all ready for the next project. I don’t work that way and my scrap baskets reflect that. All full of oddball shapes and sizes and totally overflowing.

What can I do to effectively use up these scraps, AND get it done in a reasonable portion of my remaining years? The hours I spent today making the blocks and the hours I will spend putting them together…it’s enjoyable up to a point, but it sure doesn’t leave me any time for the fun and experimental stuff I really want to do.

Feeling overwhelmed with all my stuff right now. I’ve got some thinking to do!

Busy but not terribly productive!

There have not been too many finishes lately, but I have spent some extra time with my grandson, and that’s better! However, today I finally got things done, done, done!

I haven’t even had anything new to take pictures of. I think the only thing you haven’t seen is the final of this piece.

I periodically have to express my sadness for the terrible affliction of Alzheimer’s disease…and my deep hope that someday there will be a cure.

So challenge pieces got facing, labels, sleeves, artist statements, measured and recorded. Client pieces got the same treatment. I’m caught up with deadline materials and ready to move on.

I wanted to make some new class samples for upcoming teaching days, but that doesn’t really inspire me. I can illustrate how to do things without remaking whole pieces! My scrap piles, which I have been trying so hard to diminish, seem to keep growing instead.

I have a quilt retreat coming up and think I want to only bring hand-stitching to work on, but I don’t know what. My brain is spinning like a top and no decisions are being made.

When days of indecision happen, my typical response is to try and do something simple, usually using up scraps. I’m always happy when sewing and working on something that doesn’t take much concentration will work. I’m going to tackle those scrap baskets and cut every possible piece I can into 2.5″ strips. I’ll have it sorted by color and I’m sure I can make a rainbow something with easy piecing. This may not be close to finished by retreat time and may go with me there.

At least for now, I have a plan to work on. There are several projects I want to get started, but my current timeline doesn’t lend itself to new starts. So easy and happy and more use up the scraps…nothing wrong with that!

Adventure

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!