Discovering UFO’s

Our Creative Seasons art quilt group celebrated 10 years together this week. We were supposed to bring in any UFO’s that were that old or older. Very interesting to see what everyone brought. And I was very interested to see what I had on my shelves! I hung up the ones that I think I might finish someday!!!

There were more than a few that I will absolutely never finish, and those are going to the charity quilt table at the guild.  I will never, ever finish these, but there were not as many as I thought. I feel guilty about putting them on the charity quilt table without finishing them for charity, but I just cannot get motivated to even start on these particular tops! Someone else may really like them…hey! It could happen!

I even found one that I have absolutely NO memory of ever making! I know I made it, because it’s all from fabrics that I had and used, but any conscious thoughts of making it? Nope!

These two were mystery quilts, made at retreats. I had fun making them, but whenever you make a mystery quilt, your fabric choices are not always the best fit for the eventual result.

These next two were a pattern I was teaching at the quilt store. I didn’t like the first one, so I made the second and I like it much better. The first one is large enough for a charity quilt and the second one may make it to a shelf in my closet!

This top was one of the first ones I made when I started doing improv and curved seams. When I got it on the wall, it was quite different than I remembered it! I do still like it, and it may get finished this summer.

I’ve pretty much always been a fan of pink, and this next one is really pink!

I even have the binding made for this one, as well as some others!

To get to the shelf that all these UFO’s were ‘marinating’ on, I had to move the box of unsorted scraps. I have regular scrap bins, sorted by color, but somehow the unsorted box stays just as full as can be! Well, whenever I touch that box, it seems that the elements of another quilt jump out. This time it was bright scraps from many children’s quilts made over the years.

Sigh! Whenever this happens, I feel COMPELLED to get a top made. Hope that box gets emptied someday soon!

Always a little bit of progress…

There are very few days that I don’t do a little something on a project. This turquoise and gray one is getting under my skin, though. I work on it for a while, decide I don’t like what I’ve done and rip it out.

I added black cording to the part I ripped and I’m not sure that I like that either. Perhaps I should have found something gray.

So I went on to other areas and added some more stitching.

And took it outside in the daylight to look at the ‘big picture.’

The best I can say for it is that I’m not going to rip any of that stitching out (for now!) and I’m getting more and more sure that I will be adding beads!

Taking a break let me concentrate on other beauty around me, too.

I’m very happy that someone planted this forsythia years ago, and didn’t groom it into submission. I love this hedge, from across the yard AND up close.

NOW spring is here and I think creativity will rise with the rising sap!

 

Picking up scraps

Literally, walking around my studio and all the scraps on the floor were driving me nuts! Not enough to really clean, of course, but I kind of wanted to prove a point to myself. I’ve always maintained that we all work with a palette of colors that appeals to us individually and that you can combine pretty much anything from your shelves and it will look good. So I thought I’d try it with the scraps I found thrown around the studio.

Now you all know that I have many overflowing scrap baskets like this pile, loosely sorted by color.

I just kept picking up pieces and sewing them together until I ended up with these four blocks.

I thought about searching through the baskets for more, but stopped myself from crazy scrap madness! The other part of my color theory is that black and white goes with everything! And it did….all of the dozen or so fabrics that I auditioned looked fine, but I ended up going with the one that had a bit more color.

It will make a nice spot of color on someone’s wall!

And THEN…..I looked over at the shelves and this pile of leftover blocks and scraps jumped out at me!

I felt like I was on a roll and threw the blocks up on the wall, with some fabric that I thought I would use with them.

Then I started re-arranging the blocks and maybe something else will emerge!

That’s as far as the “scrap roll” has taken me, but that’s not too bad! I’m also starting to feel as though I can relatively quickly sort through those baskets of scraps next week and get rid of many of the pieces I’ve been holding on to for ‘someday’. I’m not as attached to them as I thought I was…so that means now is the time to make them gone!!! Even if they end up as dog bed stuffing, it will be nice to have them used and not just cluttering up my space.

Here’s to ‘good garbage’…

Rusty, from start to finish

My intention when I went into the studio today was to use up some of my stash and make a polka-dot quilt. I never even touched the polka-dots! I got sidetracked by rusty fabric and discharged black…a whole pile of it.

I’ve been wanting to make something with this for a long time. There is easily enough fabric for a whole, real bed quilt, but I have not found a pattern or idea that I’m happy with. So, the hell with all this wishy-washy procrastination…pick up the fabric and cut into it…make something!!!!

Four light squares, four dark squares, about 8″ or so.

Four separate stacks and four separate cuts, simply to have them all different. Certainly I could have stacked them all up, but…

Now remember that the pieces and curves fit together perfectly before they are sewn.

But when you are sewing without added seam allowances, the edges SHOULD NOT line up.

Start with 8 squares, end with 8 squares and I decided to make them into split-circle blocks, sort of!

And added random red-orange strips between the quarters. And those uneven edges are simple to sew by laying the straight edge of the strip along that uneven edge and sew.

Trim now or trim later…it doesn’t matter. There’s always a lot of that when you are doing improv. I was deliberately trying to keep seams from matching and all the edges uneven. Sometimes thing match by accident, though!

I made a couple more blocks and then auditioned fabrics for setting the blocks together.

Red–too cliche.

Aha–frame each block, as unevenly as possible with the rust and black fabrics! I like it!

Ready for basting and quilting!

The outside edges will probably get trimmed a bit more after the quilting, to keep them the same size as the inner edges. Now to agonize for a while over what color thread to use for the quilting, and how to quilt it!

It was a good day in the studio today, even though no polka-dots made it off the shelves!

 

Back to beads–hooray!

One triangle piece is done with the stitching, but there may have been a better way. I used #3 perle cotton and a running stitch and it looks the way I expected it to, so there’s that. It was very hard to get the needle through, even using one that was plenty large enough for the size of the thread. My fingers are very sore! However, with the dark color on the dark background, it’s a bit hard to see.

If I had couched the thread down, there would have been a solid line of thread and perhaps that would have shown up more. Did not want anything blatant, though, so I’m okay with it as is.

And now I will be adding beads…yummmmm! I think the title of it came to me while I was selecting them…The Sunny Side of the Mountain.

Not certain exactly where or in what pattern I will be applying these beads, but the bright colors seem just right. It seems as though it’s been just about forever since I’ve done any beading and I’m excited to get at it again!

Once again…where to now?

The fact that I have no chores to do and time to sew is wonderful! My fingers are still sore, but my calluses are coming back and my fingertips will soon be tough as nails again!

The constant dilemna–and delight!– of my life is figuring out the next step in each project as I do it.

This is as far as I have come with my last little triangle undertaking.

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I like this embroidery detail on my circle holes and I’ve used it before, with additional stitching and beads.

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Those details don’t feel necessary for this project, but I’m not sure which direction to head in for the next part of the journey.

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There is a lot of empty space in this one and I’m thinking that while it may need filling, it should be simple stitching, probably only a running stitch. Matching colors? Perhaps. Beads within the circles? Only there? Maybe.

Have several days in the car to think about it…since I can’t work or read in the car without getting carsick. Love those audio books!

And I’ll be desperately working on finishing the project-that-I can’t-show, so you may not see these again for a little while. I WILL show you the finishes, though, I promise! And, of course, I always enjoy your suggestions.

VERY sore fingers now!

I stitched and I stitched and I stitched and I used up all of that variegated thread that I started this project with!

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It was enough to get a layer of stitches throughout the project–but where do I go now?

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I can add more stitches to the triangles, and the cut-out triangles and the background rectangles or some combination thereof. But not with that same thread. Of course, I can look for more of that thread when I get home. I believe that it was a purchased product, not one that I dyed. Or I can use some of the 20 skeins of floss in that thread bag that go with what I have! Probably, in the spirit of unity, I should put on a lot of beads that are the same, don’t you think?

My beads and beading supplies are at home, except for the ones I bought down here. None of them are right for this project. Do I need to buy more? I DON’T think so…and thank goodness the store is closed for two days. I may get out of here without another stop there!

In the meantime, I have another project that I can start on. Similar to this one, but a bit more subdued. I’ll give my fingers a bit of a rest and then I’ll begin on that!

Love stitching!