Tag Archives: challenges

One step ahead

Sometimes my teaching style only keeps me one step ahead of the students! I do try to explore all the possible issues the students may have with whatever I’m teaching, but in some areas I will readily admit to limited experience.

That is true for weaving, which I will be teaching in a couple of weeks. I’m exploring and learning just enough to get a sample to show the students I’ll be with. Fortunately, I can do this because I’ll be teaching with a woman who is a very experienced weaver and she can handle all the hard parts! My sample will be very similar to the level of the student’s work, except that I have a few years more experience with fibers in general!

The plan calls for the students to work with a frame loom that they will make. There are several ways to make these and we will demonstrate and give them the choice. This one is made from push pins in the back of the frame.

Frame loom 1

Evenly spaced along the top and bottom and then the ‘string’ (I’m using a bamboo yarn) is wrapped around the pegs.

Frame loom 2

Small nails are often used as well, but I think push pins will be easier for students to use.

When weaving, a bobbin is often used to get the warp threads over and under the weft threads. Doesn’t that sound like I know what I’m talking about? I don’t really know the warp from the weft, but that’s what the dictionary and google are for, right? Anyway, a simple shuttle bobbin can be made out of a bit of cardboard.

Frame loom 3

Check out the fancy ‘bridge’, I think it’s called, that separates the strings for easier over and under. That does give you an idea of the size of this project, though.

I found using the bobbin difficult, perhaps because the project is so small. For an alternative, I used a yarn needle and simple pulled the yarn through.

Frame loom 4

One of the choices the students will have to make is how tightly to weave. Since my plan is for these weavings to remain in the frame as a background, I thought I would do this loosely so the sides remain mostly straight, not pulled in. It may be easier for the students to pull things in a bit more snugly. One more design decision for them!

I haven’t progressed very far on this, but at least I will have learned the basics a couple of weeks before I need to “teach” them! I will have this small sample finished!

Without knowing that I could rely on the expertise of my co-teacher, I never would have embarked on this type of a project. However, I expect some really outstanding results from these middle school aged students. They have no fear and wonderfully creative minds!

I do have another sample to show them–wild and crazy and not at all the recommended way to make a weaving, but an example of multiple fibers and an alternate way to work.

India challenge 1

India challenge 2

I’m really looking forward to this experience!

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Filed under Art Quilts, Fabric, Learning New Things!, Teaching

Projects on my mind

There are several projects that keep popping up to the top of the “Finish Me First” list. My Knot Even Quilters group (AKA Wacky Quilters) has been looking at fabric manipulation.  We made this at one meeting,

KEQ fabric manip

and I completed this block, both of which I have shown you before.

Fab manip 5

I started 3 others in this same manner, just to see how the different patterns will look.

Manipulation started

They are started, but they are dropping much further down on that list. I believe they will be take along hand work for those times I am waiting somewhere.

My rainbow piece will never be a take along piece. It’s big and when I start adding embellishment to a strip, I need a huge selection of beads and “stuff” from which to choose. I never know what will be added next.

Rainbow partial

It’s getting there, but every time I look, I see where I want to add more!

rainbow detail

And the finished product is so clear in my mind that I really want it finished!

I did get one thing finished. My Creative Seasons group is celebrating their ninth year with a 9 Challenge. Our group always has such stringent rules (HA!) and the only rule on this one is that it have something to do with 9!

9 challenge

9 stacks—wool, cotton, silk, beads–everything tactile that I love!

Next on the list is a piece that I finished a while ago. I have never been happy with the way I ended up mounting it. It just looks unfinished.

Wool:storm re do

It’s all so organic that the straight square edges are just not right. And no matter which way I pulled and tweaked, it doesn’t look straight. Soooooo, I think I will take it off the stretchers and give it a little organic edge cut. Then I will mount it on another quilted piece and it will be a soft wall-hanging, not a hard-edged canvas-mounted uneven piece that makes my eyes twitch!

I want to do ALL of these things as soon as possible, but I have an actual must be done list, too! Seems like I’m always whining about too much to do and not enough time to do it, too many ideas and too many starts, not enough finishes. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with all I want to do. That’s when it’s time to step back and remind myself that it’s all supposed to be enjoyed, not stressed over. That’s when I need to relax and remember that everything gets done one step at a time and the priorities will identify themselves.

That’s a time like right now, when I’m going to make myself a cup of tea and do a little knitting!

 

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Finished–nearly!

The beading and stitching is done on my 9 Challenge! All that is left to do is mount it on the canvas. It went so quickly and I’m so happy to have it finished already!

CS 9 challenge 6

Lines and layers and textures and a little sparkle! Details–

CS 9 challenge 9 CS 9 challenge 8 CS 9 challenge 7

Now I have to organize some take along projects for vacation. I’m finding it very hard to figure out, without having all my choices of fabric, thread and beads available. I need simple and time consuming, easy to pick up when I have a few extra moments and not a ton of things to carry around. Maybe it’s time to knit a sweater…

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Filed under Art Quilts, Beading, Big Wool Adventure!, Handwork

New challenge

Creative Seasons is an art group to which I belong. The group has been in existence for 9 years and the founder of the group suggested that we make something to celebrate. Something–anything–related to the theme of 9.

Nine patch, of course, is the obvious starting point. Heaven forbid that I would ever do the obvious!

Actually, I had an idea almost from the moment Carol suggested the theme. The design flew right into my head and the only decisions became fabric ones. Ha ha ha ha…like that has ever been easy for me!

There are no pictures of the piles of fabrics I played with before I made my choices. Actually, I was so focused on putting things together according to the picture in my head that I didn’t take any process photos until I had it all laid out!

CS 9 challenge 1

Pieces of silk from silk sari yarn, fabric with text, felted wool strips all on a felted wool background. The background looks black in the photo, but it’s really a pinstripe.

CS 9 challenge 2

There will be stitchery and most likely some beadery before it’s done.

Sometimes things come together like a dream…

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Filed under Art Quilts, Big Wool Adventure!, Designing Quilts, Quilting

It’s feast or famine now!

This busy season makes time stretch and contract in mysterious ways. It seems that we are either franctically trying to finish something or running late to be somewhere, or we are in a dead time, either waiting for the next frantic rush or too exhausted from the last one to do anything!

Yesterday I had a chunk of time that was a real blessing. It was the annual daddy/daughter Christmas shopping trip, which gives both of them some time for a nice lunch, some people watching and a bit of buying! It gives ME time to do whatever I want, and I wanted to do some sewing!

My project that I can’t share yet needed something of interest right in the center. I hit upon the idea of a garden gate and went searching for images. I found a few (copyright free!) that I liked and made a transparency.

CS challenge gate 1

I hung the piece on a closet door and tried them out.

CS challenge gate 2

BTW, I love having an old overhead projector for this purpose. I use it a lot. Adjusted the size easily because I could project directly on to the piece. Then traced the design onto paper.

CS challenge gate 3 CS challenge gate 4

I’ve done this before and it makes things so easy. Simply stitch right over the lines and it’s ready to go, for further stitching. And, yes, I could do this by tracing the design onto the quilt, but I don’t like any kind of marking line if I can possibly avoid it. The hardest part is picking paper out of the tiny places in the design. The big sections are simple!

On this piece, I did not aim for perfection in following the lines. I wanted a sketchy look–and I’m not a very good thread sketcher–but I like this.

CS challenge gate 5

CS challenge gate 6

This project is nearing completion. I need to make a decision about edge finishing and there are beads and ribbon from the challenge elements that I have not incorporated. Not sure how/what will happen there, because I’m feeling like the piece may be done now. But, what the heck! I’ve never been one to follow the rules very well—even when I am the one who made the rules!

 

 

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Filed under Art Quilts, Contemporary, Designing Quilts, surface design

What I can’t show you…

I’ve been working on that challenge piece that our group is not showing until the final reveal in February. I’m ready for it to be done now! However, I haven’t done any work on it until the last few days, so of course it’s not finished!

This is the pile of stuff from which I’ve been working.

CS challenge3

I created the challenge, so it’s all my fault if things are hard to work with, or coordinate! The hardest thing for me is this black braid, but I have managed to work it in. Successfully is yet to be determined!

CS challenge 2

And here’s what the quilting looks like, so you can guess that the design is rather square-ish.

CS challenge 1

More work to be done. Still have ribbon yarn, embroidery floss and beads to add in. Yes, I created it and it is all my fault!

 

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Filed under Art Quilts, Designing Quilts, Quilting, surface design

Tiny bits at a time

Made some decisions and a little progress on my new distraction. I felt that the fabric squares were still too big and that the color was too bright. A little spritz of green took care of the color and it’s always easy to make fabric pieces smaller!

New distraction 4

I wanted to fuse things in place but still have my raw edges, so I went for my fusible scraps. Do you have some type of container that you save all those little bits of fusible you trim off? I keep mine in a plastic jar and it’s perfect for something like this.

New distraction 5

Fusing just a bit in the center leaves me with options for loose thread or scrunched edges later.

AAARGH! For the first time in all the years that I’ve been rotary cutting, I took a little slice off my finger! And for all the years that I had adequate first aid supplies for kids, I did not have any for this. But I’m a woman…there are always panty liners and tape!

New distraction 6

My husband said to be sure and say that he laughed at me, but he didn’t! After a trip across the street to the store, he bandaged it up for me (with a real bandage) and I’m thankful that if I had to slip, it was not a bad accident!

So, a bit slower now, I trimmed up a piece of wool for the background, the commercial tree fabric on top and the bright fabric on the topmost layer.

New distraction 7

I’m happy with the piece so far, with plans for embroidery and beads, probably some machine stitching, too. But right now I can’t quite hold a needle and I didn’t realize how often you use your index finger when you type!

Good thing I have lots of other stuff to do this week…which will NOT include cleaning! I’ll need a few days to heal up. I need to give a beading demo this coming weekend. That could be funny without a needle!!!

 

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Filed under Art Quilts, Designing Quilts, Life, surface design