One little bit MORE

What’s a night light picture without a bit of glitter? Had to add a little bit more to that piece and now I think I can let it alone…perhaps!

In the full picture, you can’t even tell I’ve added any gold sparkly thread.

It does sparkle a bit in the light. You can almost tell in the detail shots.

But even if the pictures don’t show that detail, it adds enough to make me happier.

Now I am going to get it out of my house or else I will keep adding more things to it!


Night Lights BRIGHT

Dissatisfaction can make me put up a piece on the shelf or DO something about it. This time I got right after it and added lots of stuff to the unsatisfactory Night Lights piece.

This is the piece as I left it yesterday.

Rather blah and not conveying my idea of bright city lights at night at all.

After looking at the picture for a while, I got a few ideas.

I started adding yarns………

and more yarns and a bit of ribbon. It made the image pop.

I quite like it now. It’s got a bit of character. It will do!

Now on to the next adventure!

Night Lights

That’s the title of that new little sample I worked up for Textiles in Milan. I made blocks to show how to sew and assemble and enough blocks to make a finished sample. This is the second time I’ve tried to make a black and brights sample and I’ve not been thrilled with either one. But it’s almost finished and it will make a good teaching tool.

Arranging the blocks is very arbitrary and size doesn’t always matter.

That’s why I wait before I trim them. I add bits and pieces and trim as needed during assembly!

Remember that with most improv sewing, exact size doesn’t matter until final assembly and when adding those bits and pieces, it’s mostly important to find or make a straight edge and sew a straight seam.

I was more focused on getting it done than I was on the artistic aspects of what I was trying to convey, so I will readily admit that this could be quite a bit more attractive. In fact, I added one more little bit of color after this pic!

Now it’s all quilted and ready for squaring up and binding. I think it’s never too late to add more and this may really need it. I’ll get that finishing done and then decide.

Yeah, not lighting my fire, and just looking at the picture, I’ve got several ideas for improvements. I’d like to get it to the shop tomorrow, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen. Got more work to do…………..


Experiment time

Last summer at Blue Lake the print teacher let us play in her studio one afternoon. I had the idea of combining paper and fabric prints so I made some of both.

It turns out that we were using water soluble ink, so the fabric prints would not be washable. Bummer! Today I decided to try and make them more permanent.

Mat gel medium, rolled out on a plastic sheet (usually pick these up as cutting mats from a dollar store)–one was a very thin layer and the pic shows the thickest layer.

The next step was the hardest–lay the fabric face down and wait for it to dry!

I was a little impatient and pulled the first one, the one with the thinnest layer of medium, while it did still feel a bit damp. Not good!

Pulled the ink off the fabric and left it on the plastic. The other prints came off very nicely, but the gel medium gives them that nice plastic finish that I’m not crazy about.

Next experiment–iron, wrinkle, iron again…some of the wrinkle lines remain, even though the back looks perfectly flat. Not a problem for me, since I will want the texture when I use these.

Now the original question–will this make the inks permanent? No, it does not!

A lot of the color came out with just a quick rinse and the medium got kind of flaky. It laid down smoothly again after another ironing. Also, I used the piece that was not completely coated…again, I’m a mixed texture lover, so none of this is a disaster to me. Simply additional texture.

My last experiment was to lay one of the prints ‘plastic’ side down and get it wet to see what would happen. Aaaand………the ink would have rinsed out if I had done this in a sink. As it was, the ink pooled and moved but remained and the print still has good color. (No pic, sorry.)

I decided that I did not want to bother putting medium on both sides of the prints. That would have made them very, very plastic-y and having it on the right side of the fabric is enough to protect it from casual water drips during or after construction use.

The next step will be to sew with it, but that will have to wait for another day! I love ‘what if’ days!


I cannot wait!

There is absolutely no need for me to have two chair pieces right now. I have one completed and available for my Northville show so my striped chair could easily sit on the shelf for a few weeks. But I just could. not. wait.

I auditioned several…no, more than several…fabrics for a background. That chair didn’t look so commanding when I made it, but it sure was demanding when it came to an underlying fabric!

Neutrals were the only fabrics that could stand up to that brightness. But then I didn’t have a big enough single piece and thought several pieces would work equally well. My background ended up as a patchwork of neutrals and it looked just right.

Construction issue next–I hate having to plan everything out, but the memory of the issues in the previous chair piece were fresh in my mind. After a lot of inner consultation, I decided to quilt the background and batting, then add the chair and stitch it. I didn’t really want that ‘iffy’ stitching to show on the back, so there will a backing and a bit more quilting to hold it all together. Let me tell you, though, that straight, narrow quilting on a neutral background could not be more boring!!!

It may sound like all of this happened in a few minutes, but it actually took me all day to get the point of fusing the chair down and ready for the stitching. I hope to be able to make this a very sketchy, loose finish, much freer than the last one.

I’m excited to get back at it. This whole process has been lots of fun and I have ideas for so many more in this series. I don’t want to get in a rut, but I think there will be more chairs coming before I am ready to branch out into some of my other ideas!

Chair, chair, chair

Can’t concentrate on anything else until I get some of this chair project started! I chose the cotton organza for both the single color test and the precut and fused strips of color. Turns out that using those strips was a real pain to work with!

I wanted to simply create a fabric and then trace the chair onto it, but it looked stupid and disorganized that way. Laying it out following the contours of the chair worked, but it was definitely work!

After laying them both out on the background, I found the plain fabric much more appealing than the strippy.

And there was no doubt that it needed to be fused down before stitching. Oh, yeah, I stitched the background, too, but kept it very simple.

Somehow, my original intention of greens and blues to indicate summer, turned into shades of rose for a feeling of sunset…must be a summer sunset!

Love the striped chair, and it will be used sometime, but this is what I ended up stitching down.

At some point in the process, I got ink or fusible junk on the chair fabric. I am so glad that I have gotten over the need for pristine work.

I decided that there would NOT be a do-over and that it would never be noticed in the final project. Of course, now that I’ve told you, you will look for it, but it really isn’t a problem!

My original thought on this changed as I started the stitching, too. It was going to be very sketchy and loose and I couldn’t seem to get off those drawn lines! I’m sure it’s because I’m not good at drawing and had no confidence to make this look like a chair with more free form stitching! But I’m quite happy with the way it turned out. Maybe it will be looser when I get around to using that stripey fabric.

Ordinarily I might start working on the next one right away, but I’m trying to be more disciplined about final finishes so that when a piece is done, it’s ALL the way done! So tomorrow will be trimming and finishing on this–nothing new until this is complete…she said with a wink!


My search for symbols was lots of fun, and also quite enlightening. I selected a Hawaiian symbol that means ‘light that makes you gasp’ and fell in love with the meaning as much as the symbol. I might have to change the title of my piece, which currently is You Cannot Constrain the Light. I’ve been using Instagram and FB quite a bit lately, and sometimes that makes me forget the details when I write a blog. Therefore, to make sure it’s all covered, when I’m old and looking back on my memories….

Symbol–beading started.

Symbol–on the background.

Where I’m at now…

Need to add the rest of what are turning out to be background beads, rather than the main story. Then I think I need to continue the dark of the symbol out into the ray area. After that, I may consider some rays in different colors, or it may be done. I’ll decide that when I get to that point!

It never ceases to amaze me when a piece takes off in an unexpected and unplanned direction. But then, when I listen, I am usually pleased with the outcome. Sometimes I find myself resisting because I don’t want to do that much work. I’m usually sorry when that happens, so I HAVE learned a thing or two over the years.

Listen to your ‘instincts’. It is usually your years of study and experience whispering into your heart to help you create art that makes you happy.