Assessing the plan

Yes, assessing the plan that really isn’t a plan. My focus on the goal of using the stash could dissipate if I continue on the path I’m on. It will be too easy to get distracted and off track when selecting one group of fabrics at a time and making a quilt. I will continue to do that, but there has to be some immediate action to change bad habits.

My scraps, sorted into baskets by color, are very useable, but very distracting.

I often am pulled off-track by an intriguing bit hanging over the edge of one of those baskets.

And as I scroll through my pictures, I realize that I have tried this approach several times in the past. Obviously, it has not worked.

I became aware that I have been trying to avoid a REAL sorting of fabric. I don’t actually want to take everything off the shelves and see every piece of fabric. If I do that, it means I have to make a decision on each piece, whether is goes or stays. Making things is fine, but it doesn’t move fast enough to be effective.

More soul searching is in the works, but I believe my ultimate goal is to only make art with fabric that I have “made” myself. My decisions will involve facing some hard facts—like the fact that I have spent a lot of money on these supplies and now I am not going to use them? Absurd…but most likely true.

I have distinct areas in my studio–quilting/sewing, knitting, beads & embroidery, painting, stamps, stencils, and dyeing, as well as a library wall of ways to use them! I do use it all, but will I continue to use it all?

Hmmmmmmmmmm…………………….

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Drastic split!

My latest project has been sending messages as it marinates on the design wall. There is always a reason when my projects stall and if I give them enough time, that reason becomes clear.

This project had issues from the very beginning. It was huge and my original mental image did not plan for that. I had waaaaay too much fabric from which to choose and that always throws me. It makes me push to use it all and sometimes less is better.

As I was drifting off to sleep last night–that’s when I usually think about design issues–the answer came to me. I have been trying to mash two separate projects together into one big mess.  All the elements were fighting me. The jump from picture in my head to actual physical assembly was not made correctly this time! The materials I was trying to use were not mixing well and I figured out that they needed to NOT mix. I need to split those fabrics into separate projects. Sometimes the obvious is not at all obvious, but when you finally see the solution, it’s a relief.

The silk part that is almost finished as a background and support is actually the basis of the first part of the split. It will now get some…no, lots…of beads and embellishments and become a separate project.

The sheer fabrics that I  have been attempting to integrate with the silk are the focus of the second part of the split. Those fabrics were what gave me the original idea and it seems that it just took me a while to figure out how to achieve that. It will still have silk at the top, but thinner, smaller–still curvy, but daintier somehow. Oh, yes…I see how it should be now…………..

So that means I should be ready to head back to the studio and get to work again. Making the big split is the correct decision for the materials I have been playing with and I’m so relieved that I now know how to proceed!

Ready–set–sew!

Nothing but thinking…

Today is a day of total relaxation. No obligations until hockey tonight, and that’s fun time. I like to begin my days with coffee and computer time, especially with blogs by people whose work I enjoy.

I have heard that blogs are a thing of the past, that no one is writing them anymore, that Instagram is the only viable social media app to use. It could be true. Many of the bloggers on my favorites list don’t post very often any more…but most of them have lots of posts on Instagram. Easier, quicker, and still keeps you in the public eye. I can understand that.

This was my IG post the other day!

However, I so enjoy learning more about the individuals and the work they do. I love to hear about their thoughts as they create and design. I want to learn more about them, not just a quick photo of one second of their day.

I’m disappointed in this trend. I understand it, as busy people are busy! For some, it’s a huge time burden to post a blog. I get it. I just miss that (electronic) connection, that ‘getting to know you better’ feeling. C’mon–if you are taking pics for IG or FB anyway, add a few words and post a blog!

Oh, well…I have never been the fashion queen, and will not be as a blogger, either. I will continue my blogging because it has become part of documenting my work processes. It tells my story, good, lazy, mistakes and all.

So today is coffee, computer, laziness and no planned sewing! Maybe ’cause I’m still designing my next piece, mostly in my head. I go down to the design wall and move a few pieces of fabric around and then go away and think for a while.

Add a few more or shift them around.

I will admit that I might be a tad bit afraid to start it. I may make the wrong choice or cut wrong or sew it wonky…………..oh, wait a minute! That’s my normal working method. I guess I simply need to get after it!

Or, maybe I’ll have another cup of coffee and think about what I’m going to cut and sew for a little while longer. Sounds like the best option for a no-obligation day.

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!

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.