New toys, new projects

This has been tech week…meaning that I don’t know a whole lot about the new toys we have! Got our first smart phones and and ipad and I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at screens and trying to learn and coordinate. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to do that kind of stuff and it doesn’t come easy anymore.

So I resorted to doing what I DO know about–sewing!

Whipped up a quick ipad case…I had a pre-quilted piece that didn’t go anywhere and it was large enough to cover the ipad.

Simple fold up the sides and blanket stitch the edges—DONE–which is always better than perfect for something like this!

Now back to tech learning…

Friday roundup

Fridays are not usually too productive for me. I’m often prepping for something going on during the weekend. And we pick up the grandson at 3:30, so if I’m going to do anything I’ve got to get right at it. Today I kind of reviewed what this week brought and by the time this is posted, I should be looking forward to a nap!

I’m working on that embroidery piece, adding stitching to make it acceptable looking to me.

It’s getting there.

Yesterday was KEQ and we were doing a ‘fusey thing.’ Trying to explore the idea of working in a series, we made small fused pieces. Since we’re planning on putting these in an exhibit this fall, we decided on a mutual theme, rather than color or shape or common fabric. We aren’t very good at following rules, so we selected a loose theme of Buildings.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Here is my 4 piece series, so far.

I have an idea to put another layer of design over the top of this, with thread sketching. We’ll have to see how that goes.

USArtquest was having a big warehouse sale and even though I need NOTHING, I had to go check it out. I scored, but not in the typical way! Found these vintage linens and fell in love with them.

 

Don’t know how they’ll be used, but when has that ever stopped any of us from building our supply palette!!!

Grandson soccer in the morning then charity sewing in the afternoon. Right now I’m glad that my Sunday class had to be cancelled. I’ll be ready for a rest!

 

Where’s the work?

Since I changed the look of my blog, I took a little stroll through my pictures. Thought I’d update the galleries a bit, too. Well, I was quite surprised to find very little in the way of finished work to add!

Lots and lots of things got started.

Still ‘lots and lots’ of work to be done on these!

But all of these are ALMOST done, and just need a little bit of work to get to a final finish!

I’ll give myself a break and admit that I’ve had a few things going on this year that might have made it more difficult to get things completed. However, this is getting into the level of ridiculous. And I have finished a couple of things…like those quilts I finished at retreat last week. I have the real work done on this rust project, too, but no label or hanging sleeve so that I can call it ‘finished’ finished!

I’ve been working with¬† scraps and I’m tired of working with scraps. I think I’m actually at the point where I can bundle a lot of them up and get rid of them! I’m easily distracted when I start sorting them, though and start working on something new instead of concentrating on eliminating clutter! The hard part of getting rid of the excess is actually sorting through it.

What do I WANT to do? Right now I want to make stamps, print and dye fabric with my own tools and design, then stitch and bead them. I don’t want to make more real, useful, bed-type quilts. I want to make art with fiber!

All right! Now that I have my current goal defined, I need to make it happen. No ‘distractifying’ and the only procrastination allowed is for how long it takes me to pile things that are in my way a little deeper. Not going to worry about cleaning and organizing as long as I can function amid the mess!

Wow! I feel like I have a plan of action, nebulous as it is. Can’t wait to get into the studio now this week!

 

What a good day!

I finished the quilting on the orange and white quilt. That was a good thing. And THEN…

I got the binding done on the orange and white AND the triangle quilt!

Of course I do my binding all by machine, but it was still a good feeling to get both quilts finished!

Took a quick look at the pile of scraps I had on the table before the retreat weekend and I think I’ll go ahead and work on a quilt using them up.

Here’s the start—

Not too exciting, is it? There will be lots more next time! Quilt as you go, strippy scraps, bright colors…how much fun can I handle?!!!

What a weekend!

For the first time in several years, I went to a quilt retreat and it was wonderful! All the women are in my Creative Seasons art group and I could not have spent time with a better group of people. Supportive and helpful and complimentary and critical–in the best possible way!

And I got SO much done. I only brought two quilts with me, planning on concentrating on that one simple task. It worked out well, except for my tired shoulders…

This picture doesn’t even show the quilting, but I got it finished.

It’s a fun little quilt, used a lot of scraps and played Sunshine and Shadows as I hoped it would. Here’s a detail.

I will be the first to tell you that the quilting itself is not particularly good in this quilt. I had some thread issues and changed my plan and I decided that done was better than perfect for a little couch throw!

Most of the quilting got done on this even smaller couch quilt, too. I’m taking a bit more time with it and trying to do a better job, because it might not end up on MY couch. Spiral shape fillers in the big X’s and then I wracked my brain trying to figure out how I should quilt the rest. Finally put some big O’s in the blank spaces, filled those with pebble stitching and then I’m filling the rest of the background with free form rows of X’s.

And then I came home to a fantastic change! My son came over and changed the failing flourescent fixtures in my studio. As messy and disorganized as this section is–I can pretend that it got that way when I moved stuff in order for him to work, but we all know better than that!–I am totally thrilled to take this picture with the light on!!!

I haven’t had a light in this section for at least a year, and now I have plenty of light (to see to clean by?). My whole studio is bathed in great light now and I smile HUGELY every time I walk down the stairs. Can’t wait to get down there and get to work!

Thanks, Greg. Great job!

Discovering UFO’s

Our Creative Seasons art quilt group celebrated 10 years together this week. We were supposed to bring in any UFO’s that were that old or older. Very interesting to see what everyone brought. And I was very interested to see what I had on my shelves! I hung up the ones that I think I might finish someday!!!

There were more than a few that I will absolutely never finish, and those are going to the charity quilt table at the guild.¬† I will never, ever finish these, but there were not as many as I thought. I feel guilty about putting them on the charity quilt table without finishing them for charity, but I just cannot get motivated to even start on these particular tops! Someone else may really like them…hey! It could happen!

I even found one that I have absolutely NO memory of ever making! I know I made it, because it’s all from fabrics that I had and used, but any conscious thoughts of making it? Nope!

These two were mystery quilts, made at retreats. I had fun making them, but whenever you make a mystery quilt, your fabric choices are not always the best fit for the eventual result.

These next two were a pattern I was teaching at the quilt store. I didn’t like the first one, so I made the second and I like it much better. The first one is large enough for a charity quilt and the second one may make it to a shelf in my closet!

This top was one of the first ones I made when I started doing improv and curved seams. When I got it on the wall, it was quite different than I remembered it! I do still like it, and it may get finished this summer.

I’ve pretty much always been a fan of pink, and this next one is really pink!

I even have the binding made for this one, as well as some others!

To get to the shelf that all these UFO’s were ‘marinating’ on, I had to move the box of unsorted scraps. I have regular scrap bins, sorted by color, but somehow the unsorted box stays just as full as can be! Well, whenever I touch that box, it seems that the elements of another quilt jump out. This time it was bright scraps from many children’s quilts made over the years.

Sigh! Whenever this happens, I feel COMPELLED to get a top made. Hope that box gets emptied someday soon!

Dots and stitches

The larger of my two turquoise and gray pieces was where I started stitching with those luscious threads. I was immediately disappointed with what I was doing.

Can barely see the blanket stitch edging on the gray, but there will be more and maybe it will be all right….at least, that’s what I kept telling myself.

So I switched over to the heavier #5 thread and turquoise. The running stitch was where I started and took it out after the first 20 or so stitches. Went along the edges with a chain stitch and it was okay.

Visible and the cross stitch section was working all right. Then I tried more gray on gray–you can almost see it at the top of the turquoise strip.

Time to re-assess.

Looking at the whole thing again, it’s spare, graphic and all the separate parts are very directional. It needs straight lines, through the pieces, intersecting the pieces, uniting and extending the pieces in the design. I can do that with hand work if there is a straight line marked to follow, but I hate marking…it never comes out, no matter how vigorously I test. Back up a step…I hate marking because you have to get it out!

It’s relatively easy to do with machine stitching and no marking, using the edges of the various presser feet for my measurements and ‘marking.’ So I’m going to head to the machine and get some stitching done there. Those lines can be guidelines and another layer of texture. The hand stitching can be added afterward. And since I don’t add the backing until the handwork is done, I’ll leave plenty of space for machine quilting the background at that point.

Now this all sounds like it will work, but all my work is simply a series of ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybe this or that.’ I love creating this way, but I know it’s not for everyone. I do appreciate suggestions from those of you who have already tried something that I may be heading toward. I don’t need to re-invent the wheel and will happily learn from your mistakes as well as my own!

Oh, yes…I’m much happier already!