Tag Archives: challenges

Calling it good!

There is only a week until the Artisan Showcase and I’ll pretty much need that time to clean the house and prep it for the show. That means that I need to be done with any new creating, or even any finishing up of found UFO’s. There is just no more time!

There are a few things I need to keep working on, like sleeves and labels. I have a few of those to do!

little-christmas-pieces sleeves

Hand sewing anything is relaxing–except when you have a deadline and can’t get into the slow stitching mode! Almost done, though. I think I only have one more sleeve to attach.

Here are some pictures of things I may have left hanging with you…


This is what I chose for the final look of this piece–detail below. I want it to have a title that includes something like Underwater Reef Surprise but that doesn’t sound as good as I would like. Time to hit the thesaurus for this title, as well as others.


Did I show you this one? Started out large and discouraging and I cut it in half and now it’s two pieces that I like!


Another piece that I found in the UFO pile was this tropical island that I made over a year ago. Finally mounted and ready to find a new home.


And speaking of discouragment…this desert city piece did not go according to plan at all! It was supposed to get beads and with the fused fabric and the quilting I did, that plan did not work. My art quilting group suggested foiling and I thought it would work just fine…until I tried it on a practice piece of fabric. Totally disastrous. The only thing that worked was fusible web and that would have taken longer to put on than the original planned beads!

I decided to go with paint and stencils, which is what I created the original fabric with. I got out all my shiny paints and tried them on the type of fabric I would be painting.


If I had planned this from the beginning, of course I would have painted the fabric before I cut it and fused it to the background. This will work, but I needed to mask off the parts that I didn’t want metallic paint on! What a pain!

desert-city-painting-1 desert-city-painting-2

It worked, but this whole piece took a big track away from the original plan. Because of that, I don’t like it as much as I thought I would…but it could be a favorite for someone else!

Final finishing details are all that remain for me for the next week. That and cleaning…doesn’t that sound like fun? NOT! But it is so worth it because I absolutely love hosting this show. I most likely will not have much to blog about but I definitely will not subject you to pictures of my housecleaning adventures!


Filed under Art Quilts, Designing Quilts, Non-traditional Quilts, surface design

BIG problem–solved!

And it’s not my most recent issue with the fused, not-square, impossible to bead piece!

Probably the oldest unfinished object on the to-do pile, I had a lot of concerns on how to fix the issues with this one. I checked and this one was last worked on in February…that’s a long time for me to leave something sit.

FL paint leaf 17

I think you can tell from this next picture that there’s a bit of warpage going on after my intense quilting.


I tried every stretching and blocking technique I knew and there was no hope to make it flat. So I decided to cut it and overlap the stem and leaf sections. What did I really have to lose? If I couldn’t make it lay flat, I could always cut it into sections and use them for backgrounds for something else. But it still took a deep breath before I could make that first cut!


I overlapped and flattened and pinned and proceeded to quilt it down in the circle area. I am so careless sometimes! I had the wrong color bobbin thread in–really wrong!– and had to spend a couple of hours ripping out 10 minutes of quilting. But the second time, I did a better job of it!


You can hardly tell where the overlap is, until you get really, really close up.


I added heavy couching around the cut leaf parts along with couched leaf centers and a heavy center stem. It worked quite well!


You can see that it really makes a difference in how big this piece will be when I finally square it up. It will be more like this when finished.


The whole piece started out at about 45″ square and will probably end up about 34-36″. There is more quilting to finish around the outside edges, which I can happily do now that I know how big I’ll make it.

Decisions still to be made…edge finish. I can go conventional with binding, non-traditional with cording, even a sculptural corded edge, or faced. Original plan was corded, either straight or sculptural and I’m probably going to stick with that idea.

Original plan also was to add lots of beading. I’m not sure if I want to do that now. I’m kinda liking this just the way it is. AND I want it to be done, done, done!!! I’ll finish up the quilting and go ahead with an edge plan because this one can definitely still be beaded after the rest of that finishing work. OR I may quit right there, depending on the mood of the moment when I get those last stitches in!



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

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!


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!



Filed under Art Quilts, Designing Quilts, Handwork, Learning New Things!, Thinking About Quilting!


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…


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…


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!




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