Adventure is the word that resonated with me today. Every single time that I enter my studio, I feel as though I am embarking on a new adventure. Whenever I say ‘what if…’ and sparks of ideas fly into my imagination, the next escapade begins. And there is always a piece of fabric, or a color, or a bead that inspires action. I cannot imagine that I will ever run out of inspiration, though I am old enough that I CAN envision running out of time or physical ability!

This experiment is wrapping up. All the concepts are roughed in and it is at the point of filling in the blanks with the technical, mechanical details. Always fun, as well as being important to strive for excellence, but the mind is free to start exploring territory for the next undertaking.

Quite a few more sun ray lines to do, with some metallic thread added for a bit of sparkle! And more quilting to do with the leaves and grasses, but essentially done.

My mind has wandered on…and that’s a fitting phrase for what it wandered onto. Alzheimer’s is an affliction that is near to my heart, since my father had it. Every now and then I try to express my feelings about this utterly devasting disease with a piece of art. Not the cheeriest of subjects, of course, but art is emotional–ALL the emotions.

This is started and my mind now gets to ask ‘what if…’ for the next steps.

I believe it is headed for the foggier brain side of the disease rather than the loss of function of the physical side.

The daily adventure that is now my life continues!


Seascape, I think

Started work on another edition of “Find a Good Seascape” today. I thought I would begin with a bright, sunny day.

Sunshine and blue sky–perfect. It needs a few clouds, of course, so I went through my hoard of dyed cheesecloth.

I think I found what I need–so I went and found some more.

After I laid out my sky, I started to wonder about what process would work best for getting it stitched down. There was some green tulle on the shelf and I laid a piece of it over the entire piece. Not too sure, so I cut some pieces of the tulle to add a bit more texture and color to the sky.

I liked it and decided that those bits of green would stay even with the tulle over the top of the whole thing. That would be an easy way to finish things off, but I really do not like the look or feel of tulle over the top. It kind of defeats the purpose of having textured fibers!

But before I had to make that decision, I had to make some land for that sky to sit on! Came up with a very narrow strip of land/water/beach and added cheesecloth to that, too!

Yep–still like that bit of green tulle added to the sky.

Back to the technique decision. Don’t know if you can see it in the pic, but when everything is covered in tulle, I think it feels like a mesh bag of onions, ready for the fridge. Nope.

I went with my old standby next–water soluble stabilizer over the top. Usually works like a charm. This time it was a disaster. It was so bad I had to rip it out right away. Didn’t even take a picture of it. It pulled and wrinkled and distorted in a way that I have not seen before. And I’m not going to try to solve the issue when there is a way that always works.

Basting. Takes more time. It’s a pain to do. This time, it’s the only way that seems to work. But it always works!

Basting in a high contrast thread color because I want to easily see it when it comes time to remove it. That also forces me to look closely at all the areas when I’m doing that and make sure that I didn’t miss sewing something down.

That will be the next step in the process, but I won’t have much studio time in the next several days. It’s probably a good thing, since every step of this piece is taking a lot of thinking. And I THINK I’m on the right track now!

My friend, the bleach

Sometimes I act against all the best advice, as I did yesterday. I used household bleach on fabric, in a normally vented space, without a gas mask on, and no gloves. And I survived.

This was said a bit tongue-in-cheek, because there are safety precautions that are necessary and I try to stay safe with all the products I use. However, in this case, I put bleach and water on previously dyed ugly fabric and it was no more than you’d use for a load of dirty athletic socks! And I did use anti-chlor to remove the last of the chlorine from the fabric before it went back on the shelf .

I didn’t take a before photo of the first little piece I did, but it turned out beautifully–and much more useable.

I took a look at my shelf of hand dyes and decided on a few that I really disliked. What did I have to lose if they did not improve, since I already didn’t care for them?

Different fabrics and dyes will discharge differently and these were no exception. I was so pleased with the improvement on most of them.

Now I’m looking at the shelf again for more candidates!

There was really only one that I hated when it went in the bleach and still hate now!

Both the orange and green are very obnoxious, so it will get thrown in with something else next time I’m dyeing.

I always have so much fun when I’m coloring–or UN-coloring–fabric!

Finish and start

The orange circle quilt is finished!

Except for one little detail…I waited until I washed the quilt to make the decision. I did not know if the magenta stripe needed any quilting.

There is certainly no technical reason to add more quilting, but I think I want a tiny bit of additional detail. I have some matching thread (of course!!!) and I think a little ferny looking stitch down the center will make me happy.

And while this was washing and drying, I decided to start the seascape with the fabrics I showed you last time.

I got this far, spray basted it to the batting and came to a dead stop. I think it will make a nice little picture, but I think the colors are still wrong for my potential client. It just doesn’t feel right for her. It’s going to get set aside and I’ll try again tomorrow with some other fabric. If I can’t get it on the third try…well, let’s just hope for the best!

Beachtime, wondering…

When I left the studio yesterday, I was all set to move on to the next step with this Beachtime project.

I added some contrasting pieces on the bottom/sand and another strip into the dark/water.

The stitching began, and I was planning on doing a LOT of hand stitching. What I had forgotten is how impossible it is to get a needle through 2 layers of tightly woven fabric WITH fusible! Immediate change of plans! Machine stitching only on this baby, but that also opened things up to a bit of metallic thread.

I put up a picture on IG and my daughter weighed in on my design, which I absolutely love. I value her opinion and she helped me tweak things.

Tick tock tick tock tick tock….that’s time passing while I did a bunch of straight line quilting and a few rows of curvy metallics.

And after this part was done, I wondered if I wanted to put the hand stitched piece back into the picture.

What do you think?

Since this is so close to final decisions and finishing, I also started to look for fabrics for the next project. I am determined to do something with the hand dyed circle fabric and I think I may do an almost repeat of another piece I did…whole cloth with the hand dye on a plain quilted background.

I MAY cut the fabric into a large circle, or one large and two smaller circles. But I know it will not have straight line quilting. I’ve done enough of that lately to last me for years!

However, I also discovered another piece of fabric that I had totally forgotten about. It’s certainly not my usual colorway, so it should be fun to find a way to work with this one, too!

You know, I can tell you exactly what tools I used to make this with, but I have no memory of this actual piece of fabric happening! Strange…………..but I like it and I think there will be more of this type of fabric making to come. It’s done with soy wax and dye and for me, that is a warm-weather-out-in-the-garage activity!

I think I need to go through my stacks of hand dyes more often. I’m finding all kinds of things that I like now and maybe didn’t when I first made them, or, like today, pieces that I have totally forgotten about!


Workshop report

Spent all day Friday at a guild sponsored workshop. The teacher was Heather Jones and the subject was working with large scale blocks/patterns. It was very refreshing to look at design and construction from her perspective.

I always arrive everywhere nice and early, thanks to my dad’s training, so I had plenty of time to get set up.

Only needed 3 fabrics and I was proud of myself for only bringing 15! Actually, it was only the fabric for the center square that was undecided, so I brought several black/white fabrics from which to choose.

The cutting and construction went very, very quickly. I was completely ready for the borders a full hour before class was scheduled to end.

But then I decided that the plain black borders just weren’t going to work for me, so I tried out several options.

First, just a thin strip of the black and white that I used in the center. That was okay. Then I added a strip of the print fabric to the mix.

Yep–that’s what I decided to use. However, that meant more cutting and stitching so that last hour was totally filled trying to speed sew and get it DONE!

I got all but that last black border on, so I left the workshop feeling really, really good!

FYI-I sew the two narrow strips together before I attach them to the quilt and then miter the corners. It’s much easier to keep the stitching a bit more precise when you are holding small pieces than when you have to hang onto the whole quilt. Those black borders could have been attached and mitered, too, but they are 9 1/2″ wide and easy to handle. Simpler to attach separately.

Looking forward to the second workshop with Heather. She will be teaching us how to abstract a design from an inspiration photo and turn it into a viable quilt pattern, shapes, measurements and all. Haven’t worked in this manner for years and years, so I’m eager to get her take on it.

Hooray for Guild workshops!

Just a taste–

Since I got some new paint and a couple of new stencils, I HAD to try them out and see how everything looked. I cleared tabletops and laid out table covers and the paints and stencils……………and could not find my paint rollers! I think they are out in the garage, but it was cold out there so I wimped out and just used what I had.  Another day will get more action!

I painted over some previously dyed/painted fabric and I think the tree is going to be very popular in my future work!

And the circles printed clear and crisp and the paint colors are ones that I love!

So I got that out of my system, even though I didn’t use the green, black or white. I still have two projects with deadlines (self-imposed!) before I can spend tons of time painting and playing. And a couple of classes to teach and a couple to take…………

I guess it might be a couple of weeks before I get back to the paint, but that’s all right. Sewing on my other projects will not be a punishment!