Clean and finish

Yesterday time spent in the studio was mostly for cleaning up and putting away the stuff from this weekend’s class and demo.

Add fabric to blank cards–easy peasy!

It seemed to take forever, and I’m always fighting distractions that take me away from cleaning! I stayed on track today and got the job done.

I figured the best way to take care of the demo stuff was to finish them all off and then all the pieces parts could be put back in storage, not left in the to-be-finished pile!

Success!

My class project is the only thing left sitting on the table and I’ll try to get at that sometime over the weekend.

I was struck by something I read today, though, about an individual’s creative process. She uses another person as a sounding board to move her work along. Just talking to her friend, even with minimal response, helps her to firm up her ideas as she works. We talked about the creative process in class on Friday, too. For me, I have always worked alone and those class situations are good for starting something but I can’t get too serious until I have quiet contemplation time. And since I have been doing this blog for a while, the pictures and pauses and comments have become a part of my process, too. It helps to take an occasional look at how you do things and assess if it’s working for you. This holiday weekend, which is an interruption of routine anyway, might be a good time to do just that!

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Borders…yep!

Continuing on with the red houses saga, I made the decision that I really did want borders on this and it will be finished square, traditional and bound. And when you have too much fabric, it’s hard to decide on a border treatment.

Started out with a piece of gray, thinking to keep things more neutral.

Then made a selection of lots of darks and very darks!

Not quite right, so I pulled tons more stuff off the shelves and finally got it down to a choice between these two.

I really, really wanted to go with the multi-color, but it was the dark blue that truly looked the best.

And now I have that step complete. Looks black in the pic, but it’s a navy blue grunge with scrapes of lighter blue and purple. I love that grunge line of fabric!

There is serious design work needing to be done now. Everything else has been tied to thoughts of basic construction, but now the “art” part of art quilt comes to the fore. Sure there was some layout and design work going on, but it’s the stitch and embellishment that makes the project come alive for me. I want lots of thinking time before I do anything further on this piece.

While that is stewing in my brain, I had the idea to make some cards from some of the leftover house fabric…and then since it’s red and the holidays are coming up, maybe some kind of traditional Christmas stuff. I don’t even send out regular cards anymore, but perhaps this year…

 

And now it IS decision day!

As workmen are banging and ripping and tearing out the floor above me, I’m trying to proceed with the next steps on this project. I took pictures and used input from Instagram and Facebook all day long. I’m so appreciative of everyone who takes the time to look at my posts and shares their opinions with me. It really does help!

I guess the thinking time did help, because when I came into the studio this morning, I knew that I wanted houses of different sizes and shapes, so that got me started. Then I asked my internet friends for opinions.

My first question was whether I wanted the houses in rows or more random.

I probably should preface this with a disclaimer: I always ask for opinions, but I also feel free to disregard them. Often the opinions come with some wonderful suggestions and sometimes they confirm what I’m feeling but they always make me think, and that’s just the best help I could ask for! Sooooo, the overwhelming response to this question was random placement, which echoed my feelings in this case.

Next question: doors or no doors? All the same color, different colors?

I truly couldn’t decide for myself on this question so went with the majority–yes, doors and multiple colors. Done with that part.

This is where I’m at now–buildings made and placed, doors added and ready for the next step…and here’s what I am contemplating…raw edge background or borders? If borders: pieced, plain, curvy, single color, each side a different color? If raw edge: stitch to a background piece, stop with the current background, add raw edge to a finished, quilted background? And then the stitching, which will have a bearing on those other decisions. Hand stitch, machine stitch, combo? Before or after borders or background?

Still a lot of thinking to do and the worst part is that the pile of strips is still huge! It seems as though the more I use, I more I have! And I swear I am not cutting into any additional fabric! All I can think is that those scrap bags I picked up were stuffed and compressed to the max and they exploded in my studio!

And this what I really think about that!!!  

Scarlett O’Hara: After all, tomorrow is another day!

 

NOT decision day!

Today has been a try-it-out day, not a day for making decisions. In fact, I’m so far from making decisions that I think possibly this may be a bit of a series!

Got the background laid out on the fusible interfacing and it looks like the pile of scraps has not been touched!

It’s either going to be plenty large–somewhere around 30″ sq–or it will need to be twice as large! I haven’t decided yet.

Laid out some papers for size and spacing ideas.

Pretty busy…

Fewer looks better…

I haven’t decided yet.

Various size ideas. Lots of small houses, some big, some small, one large house???? Straight rows, random, diagonal rows?

I haven’t decided yet.

Thought I’d make the doors all the same fabric. Which one do you like best? Maybe something shiny or glitzy? Maybe no doors?

I haven’t decided yet.

Lots to ponder and no questions have really been answered, so it’s definitely NOT decision day. However, that’s the point of playing and trying and moving things around…to GET to a decision that really says what I want it to.

Thinking time is as important as the doing time. Sometimes we forget that in our excitement about a new project and our eagerness to get to the finish. I used to worry about what I called ‘dithering over the decisions.’ Now I accept that it’s an essential part of the process, at least for me. And it took me a long time to realize that it might mean a particular idea needs more than one piece to explore it. That might be the case here.

I haven’t decided yet.

 

Ninety minute girl!

Ninety minutes is about the length of time I can work on something without a break anymore. I either need thinking time, or a drink of water or a trip to the bathroom to get rid of some water! Sometimes I actually need something like food…or a nap! You might wonder how I ever did my job, but it was not stationery work; I was up and down all the time.

Yesterday’s question was what method to use for making little houses out of the string fabric.

Fusible, interfacing, water soluble? I decided that it was going to be fusible because I’m not sure how much stitching/beading I’ll be doing. You can always ADD materials for structure and stability, but you can’t easily take any of it away.

All my strings started as offcuts from squares, so I clip the corners and I’ve decided to press them neatly  for building this fabric.

Boooooooring job and it took a couple of those 90 minute sessions to get all the background pieces done, plus the reds  and darks I want for those buildings.

I started with the idea that I would build a little house with small pieces of fusible.

Then I realized that it would take forever to work that way and I’m just not that patient! I had some larger leftover pieces and covered those to make fabric.

I’ll cut house shapes from that fabric and it will give me more room for variety of size and shape and direction of the strips.

You really have to draw a line somewhere when you start working with scraps. I’m already working with pieces that I would have thrown away a year ago. I will NOT keep these tiny pieces and make confetti quilts!

I also made a decision that I want this piece to be larger than the last few I’ve been playing working with. And that the background would be on my lightest weight fusible. This is where I’m at right now…

…and that’s when I decided that I was a ninety minute girl! Time for a break!

I’ll update you when I have the background put together and I’ve started on the houses! Now I think I NEED a drink…no, some food…ummm, really, a nap!

 

 

Beautiful fall……

It seems like in the fall, each tree has that one perfect day of color. Today was the day for the tree in my backyard closest to my house. I walked into my bedroom, looked out the window and was stopped by the beauty.

And it’s raining today and this still takes my breath away.

 

I love fall.

But now it’s time to stop staring out the window and get some work done!

Flittering and Floundering

A funny thing happened as I was working my way down the pile of unfinished projects. I picked up a piece that was prepped so that I could get the quilting done. When I picked it up and opened it out……………

It was already quilted!  I don’t have the least bit of memory about quilting it, but there it is! All I had to do was trim it and bind it. Oh, yeah…add that sleeve and label, too. But it’s done.

Those Flying Geese blocks jumped the line and called out to me next. I played with arranging them for a bit and finally told myself to quit procrastinating and get them sewn. To keep it simple, because they were lovely all on their own. The hardest part was finding a border that was the correct shade of blue, and right now my stash is loaded with blues. Again, I was surprised at how many shades were NOT right.

This batik is probably 10 years old, so it justifies the reason for having a stash! I kept the quilting simple also, so it didn’t take very long to finish it up.

And now I have one more finish…with the sleeve on it, too!

On to the floundering part…there is a large stack of kinda Christmasy fabrics staring at me. My ideas are not flowing for what to make with them. I got this far and don’t have a clue where to go next.

I like the little trees but the whole thing does nothing for me. It will be set aside until inspiration wanders by and I grab an idea or two, but that stack of fabric is making me feel very guilty. This is when the stash is NOT justified!

And the pile of to be finished items is down to full size quilts and only one large piece with a mounting problem.

So it’s wander around the studio, pretending to be busy time. There are a lot of final touches that are needed, but I’ll do those on one big assembly line day…which isn’t today. I’m hesitant to start a big project because I know it won’t get done before the show and I guess all my thoughts are really centered on that.

Blah, blah, blah…my thoughts go round and round, like circling the drain, and nothing gets started OR done. That show deadline is actually hindering me right now.

Today–yes, today–I must gather my wits about me and be productive, even if it’s a project that could take months. I need to be engaged in my work, not doing it because I have a pile of fabric to use up. Go, Kathy, get to the studio and find some fun!