Little bits at a time

When I am in the middle of quilting a regular sized quilt, I try not to look too far ahead. It’s easy to see how far you’ve come and how far you have to go when you have a long arm, but when you quilt on a domestic and things are bunched up, it’s not as clear.

I try very hard NOT to know how far I have to go because that could be discouraging.

If I keep plugging along, I know that eventually it will be done. And when I get to that point, I’m always pleasantly surprised. Well, I’m not there yet, but I’ll keep stitching away!

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And the news is goooood!

My machine is not dead. Far from it. It was a broken gear, caused by who knows what, that is very fixable. I will be up and running early next week. I am eager to get back to this piece, though I may change my mind about what all I’m going to do to it!

The raw and wonky are all right, but I want to take it up a notch. We shall see!

In the meantime, this orange and blue circle quilt came to the front of my attention.

I have absolutely no idea how I’m going to quilt it, but the outside edges of the circles are only fused on so the finishing will have to include a plan for sewing them down somehow.

And then I went looking for a back. I have quite a few odd chunks of blue and thought I could easily find a couple of pieces for a back. I hate hate hate to piece quilt backs and do everything I can to avoid it. However…………this quilt began as an attempt to use up as much orange as I can and I had chunks of these fabrics left.

How else am I going to use ’em up? Don’t like it, but certainly am not going to spend extra time and thought to make it other than a utilitarian back!

And now the quilt is all basted and ready for quilting. I will not be without sewing while my multi-stitch machine is in the shop. So glad I have my straight stitch machine for piecing and quilting!

Now to decide what color thread to use and how to quilt it. Good times!

Progress and….oh, NOOOOO!

Progress was being made on another piece for our Text and Texture challenge. I found quite a few fabrics with Oriental text on them. Lots more than I thought I had.

Sometimes too much is just…too much. Not sure how to use this much variety, so I was going to go with my ‘standard’ improv of a strip of each and assemble with curvy seams and build from there. Then my love of raw edges took over and I tore some pieces and strips and laid them out on a piece of stabilizer.

I thought I would attach these English letters on the top.

The concept is good but the letters are not quite right. I thought perhaps text fabric as background would work and guess who has a lot of text fabric?

All fat quarters and the piece is bigger than that. Figured that a mixed up background would be too much with a mixed up foreground. So I grabbed a bigger piece of plain white fabric and wrote all over it!

Lots of nonsense–song lyrics of the music I was listening to, random thoughts, anything to fill the ‘page’. And it worked. Looks good, especially since it’s almost totally covered!

It’s all laid out-a bit different than the initial layout– and I used tape instead of pins or glue, simply because I had it out and it works! I’m using a beige felt backing that will have 1/4″ showing. I will have more pictures in a day or so, but as I was working on quilting and adding some cording…

OH, NOOOOOO…..my machine made a needle-breaking noise but there was no broken needle. The bobbin thread wouldn’t catch. Of course I did all the cleaning and checking and re-threading that I could, but it ended up taking a trip to the spa. It will be diagnosed and I’ll find out how bad the news is tomorrow. I’m hoping, hoping, hoping that it will be simple and fixable. I really don’t want to lose my dependable little workhorse, but it’s old enough that it’s time may have come. We shall sleep with our fingers crossed tonight!

At least I have another machine for quilting and piecing, and can do that while I wait. I am NOT a good wait-er. Sigh………….

Thoughts from a sleepless night…

Whenever I have a hard time going to sleep, I try to think and plan about unfinished projects or ideas for things I’d like to create. Sometimes I’ll wake up during the night and do the same thing, rather than turn on a light and read myself back to sleep. It often leads to solutions for design problems.

Last night was very wakeful and lots of thinking went on.

I figured out two different ways to continue working on this piece that has been put away for quite a while.

And I’m pretty sure I know what to do with some lovely silk charmeuse with which I was gifted.

These great text prints are going to work well with some gelli print experiments.

There are a couple of quilts that I should take off the unfinished pile and get busy quilting. Especially this one.

There are several new ideas for using these dark circles, too.

And did I write ANY of these ideas down? Wake up enough to make sketches? Absolutely not! My sleepless ideas sometimes stick with me and sometimes they don’t. They are mostly a way to help me fall back to sleep and surprisingly, many of them do stay with me. I’m hoping this blog post will help me out with that, too, if only as a memory note for the future!

Sleepless nights are not always worthless nights……..

 

 

And now…

Back to our regularly scheduled program! I feel as though I have taken a commercial break while I finished up this banner for Salt Valley Arts.

It’s finally done and ready for hanging and now I can get back to my own stuff!

Yesterday I got to play with gelli plate printing with my Knot Even Quilters group. Mixed results, since it’s really the first time I’ve played with it. I didn’t take any photos while we were working…we were very quiet as we concentrated on what we were trying to do.

I’ve been exploring gelli plate videos, of course, and I was taken with one that suggested printing on interfacing. The idea of using that to add another layer of texture or design to a piece really appealed to me, so I did a few prints on interfacing.

This was my favorite and I’m guessing it will be the first one used!

Using the same stencils/paints/marks on both fabric and interfacing was fun, too.

Most videos start you out with printing on white fabric or white paper and I decided NOT to do that. I wanted to use fabric that I didn’t care for too much. The existing colors theoretically would add depth to whatever paint went over them. Some success and lots of food for thought with some others.

I used paper to clean off my brayer. I hate to waste paint and couldn’t see rolling paint off on a paper towel and tossing it. Even “waste” papers like these can be used in future projects.

One thing I found out for sure is that I really love this process. Can’t wait to get back to it and do more. However, I am determined to use the fabric prints I make and not simply stack them on a shelf!!! There is so much experimentation yet to be done–exciting days ahead for me!

 

Absent but busy—

I don’t usually go this long between posts, but I spent a few days involved in my non-sewing life, so this went by the wayside. It was a wonderful grandson weekend and now it’s time to get back to studio time.

This project from Salt Valley Arts has turned out to be much harder than I thought it would be! All the blocks are slightly different sizes–but close! Some are so thick they really don’t fit under my presser foot, but it all needs to be sewn down to a support, since it’s a hanging sign.

But I’m closing in on the end of it, I think. A few more lines of stitching and then remove the basting.

There is the issue of the edge finish and the actual hanging sleeve, but I think I have solutions mapped out…at least mentally!

I have my art quilt group and lunches out with friends, though, so it might still be a couple of days before it gets done. I need to spend some time today prepping for gelli plate printing on fabric. I’m excited to do that–it’s something new-ish and there are so many options to explore! I need to keep it under control for our short meeting time, though! Ha!

Hopefully I can show you some cool prints next time. Or even failures. We certainly learn as much from the failures as the successes in the art world. I always like to say that it’s not a mistake, simply another design opportunity!

Art Group Challenge

My imagination is not in high gear but a quick little challenge piece was fun to play with today. The challenge was to open a non-quilting magazine to page 20 and use something from that page as inspiration. Could be a picture, a word, a color, a concept—and I took the easy way out and went with the shapes.

The magazine was an Architectural Digest that was in a doctor’s office waiting room. No need to hijack the magazine. I snapped a pic of the page and I was ready to roll!

I was taken by the lines and shapes and shadows of the picture on the left and my interpretation was very literal. But it definitely represents what inspired me, so I’m happy with it.

And I played with fabric all afternoon, so that made me happy, also! Always a good day when it’s playtime in the studio.