Village ready to quilt

My little improv village is all ready to quilt. I selected the border that is the same as the background fabric, but threw in just a bit of whimsy!

I toyed with the idea of piping or multiple borders with this fabric, and another that I didn’t take a photo of.

I liked the look of the black/white and decided to use the colorful fabric as a binding. It will be just wide enough to act as a tiny border with color. I think that’s all it will need.

This weekend we also had a discussion of batting basting tape. With our little smart phones, we looked it up and found that there are several brands and sizes from which to choose. I happened to have some that I got in a gift basket at some point so I decided that today was the day to use it.

Totally simple to butt up those straight edges and iron on the tape. It holds, it doesn’t make a stiff line and it’s super easy to use. I will be using it again–I like it!

I’m eager to get this project quilted and finished. It has been pure enjoyment from start to finish. Should be able to get that done tomorrow and I’m looking forward to some quality time at the machine.

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Step by step assembly

Yesterday was a guild workshop day with Barb Vedder. We created Liberated Houses, totally in the way I usually work. On my own, I most likely would not have made these with fussy little details, but it’s great to now confidently know how.

That means that these lovely little blue flying geese blocks are completely on the back burner until this house piece is done!

A little warning–I’m going to take you through my assembly process, weird thoughts and all and this post is going to be kind of long!

In class, I got to the point of trying to select my color(s) for pulling all the blocks together into a final product. I really thought I had it narrowed down to turquoise or black and white.

When I got back to my studio, I tried all kinds of blues.

Nothing spoke very loudly to me, so I tried greens.

Really thought I had it with this cross-hatch fabric-

but it wasn’t quite right. Searched the shelves a bit more and came up with this gold fabric and it shouted at me!

Of course, when fabric starts shouting at you, you must listen! But every little step of putting unequally sized blocks together takes quite a bit of thought. You start by figuring out easy-to-balance sections.

And then the question of…gold on both sides of that top section or only one side?

You have to do that section by section and finally get to a point where it’s all assembled!

Except it really needs to have gold all around, no b/w left to drift off the edge.

And now I have to decide if it needs another border…the b/w of the background?

Or maybe another option?

I do have a few other pieces of fabric to audition before I make that final decision and then I have to think about stitching, quilting, embellishment…

You know, while every bit of this process is enjoyable to me, when I write it all out like this it seems exhausting!

But it’s such a good exhaustion, when you know you have created something. Now back to the studio and the rest of those decsions!

Fun idea

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…………….oh, wait. That’s another story. Anyhow, one of my inspirations was the work of Jan Mullen of Australia. She kind of dropped out of sight at some point and I haven’t heard anything about her in years. The other day I ran across a blog that she started a couple of years ago and I tried one of her ideas.

She quilted some feathers on paint chips for a project she was doing so I thought I’d try it.

It’s not great, but practice will make it better, and I HAVE paint chips!

I have no idea what I’ll do with them, but I’ve held on to them through several color decisions over the years and I simply could not throw them away. So, I’ll play!

These little pieces came out of the last workshop I took with Deborah Boschert. I love the way the mixed paint looks on the hand dyes.

I’m not going to force them into being something; I’m using them just as they are. I’ll be adding some stitching to begin with, using these thread colors.

And then there is another piece that I cannot cut up into smaller pieces. I want only a border around it, with the raw edges of the piece showing.

These colors are not true…the light color is a pale turquoise and the three colors on the right are what I am considering for the border right now. More thinking to do on this one, but I know which direction it will be taking. I’m not sure if this will be an all machine project or if there will be hand stitching involved.

It’s so much fun to have new ideas and projects on the design wall. Makes me impatient to get into the studio every day!

Contemplation

It’s approaching noon and I’m still in my pajamas. I didn’t get out of bed until after 7:00 this morning. I haven’t done anything but drink coffee and read.

This is the height  of lazy decadence and I’m enjoying every moment. However, this is not a sustainable state of being for me. I’m already getting a little antsy from sitting around too long. I’ve been worried that I’ll turn into a do-nothing, lazy bum. I’m pretty sure right now that that is not going to happen.

Retirement is, after a long time, becoming a part of my brain. I finally realize that I don’t HAVE to do something every single minute of every single day. I still like getting up early, but it doesn’t have to be before 6:00. I enjoy starting the day with a leisurely cup of coffee and time for the gym before doing anything productive.

And by productive, I mean making art.

And time is slowing down in that area, too. I’m being more thoughtful about what I produce. I have a very clear line in my head between what I think is commercial craft product and art—though I don’t really like the terms of ‘craft’ and ‘art’. I prefer the idea that art is the concept, the idea and that craft is the process needed to make the vision into reality. And that there are some items that fit into people’s homes more readily than others!

Ambition is not in my vocabulary anymore, if it ever even was! I have dreams of market viability but have no drive to do the work to make it happen. And I’m actually okay with that.

My life is at a place that I never dreamed it would be. I’m comfortable, happy and doing only what I want to do. How amazing is that?

I feel like I’ve written this same thing recently, but it’s still so very true. Life is good!

 

Moving ahead

There was progress made in the studio today, but it did not come easily!

Planned on getting all those canvases wired up and ready to hang today. See that drill with no battery pack? I have TWO batteries for it and both of them were dead as a doornail. Delay number 1.

Thought I would relax and quilt a bit while the battery was charging, but that didn’t work out so well , either.

I finished it later in the day, but I broke two needles in the first 15 minutes of working on the background. Thread was catching on the spool and when I got that adjusted, there was a cut spot in the thread so I had to unroll through that…………..sigh! But at least I did finish it. I’m going to add some small beads to this one.

This is the stack of stuff that needed to get ready to go to an exhibition. I needed to get these ready, at the very least. Time was getting short, so I had to screw on the hanging hardware by hand—-oh, the rigors of manual labor!

See the green and black piece on top? 30 minutes before it was to be picked up, I took it off a hanger and discovered that I had NOT made a sleeve for it! Seriously? How lame is that? Thought it was ready to go. I did a quick search in my scrap basket because I thought I had an unused sleeve there–and I did! Phew! Quickly cut down to size and then I pinned it on. Good enough for this exhibition and if someone wanted to actually buy it, I’d be happy to put a real sleeve on it! And ready before the girls came to pick up the stuff. Hooray!

And as I sighed in frustration from a broken needle, my gaze crossed an older, unfinished piece on the design board and I had a lightbulb moment on how to proceed. Much of the problem I had with it was solved with machine stitching, rather than more of the hand stitching I started with, which you can’t see well in this photo. Sometimes letting things sit in time out is the way to find a solution.

Finally, I was able to really relax and the rest of the planned screws and wires can wait until tomorrow. I made this little piece for an example of fabric manipulation and I’m going to use it without any additional stitching, but I’m going to add beads. It’s only a 6″ piece so I’m hoping I can handle it without any more delays or issues!

Today was another case of the hurrieder I go the farther behind I get. Looking for better results tomorrow!

And every day until Oct. 14, this will be on my mind!

Watching paint dry

Been doing that a bit the last several days, trying to get pieces mounted and finished. These are ready to be glued down now.

So, while I was waiting, I decided to distract reward myself with a bit of fun. I had these three pieces that I started on a play day and thought I’d pick one to work on.

This is what I picked and how it looked after I was done playing on the sewing machine.

Then I started playing with additional embellishments–beads

a funky little birdhouse

some lacy leaves that are hard to see!

and then I found the buttons! I think I’ve found the solution!

Maybe fewer……………

Feel free to chime in with your opinions! Whenever it’s decision time, that means it’s a good time to take a break, get something to drink, maybe write a blog post………..that’s where I’m at! Coffee and blog. Thinking………….

Gosh-I made a decision!

Many decisions are hard for me and I put them off as long as possible…it’s that I always see so many ‘what ifs’ and when a decision is made, that eliminates all the other possibilities. That’s a momentary sadness, but also a victory for moving forward!

This decision was aided by your input and I am going to finish each one of these pieces separately.

Which then involved some more decisions about edge finishes, final size and canvas paint color…mostly resolved when I found this great silk recycled yarn with which to finish the edges.

ALL the colors and thin enough that it wouldn’t overwhelm the pieces.

I especially loved the fuzzier bits! Decided on a nice deep brown paint for the canvases, after considering mounting the pieces on burgundy cotton or brown wool. I’m waiting for the paint to dry now before I mount the pieces and then I will actually have some total finishes for the upcoming Artisan Showcase.

Progress comes in little steps and I am continuing to take those steps, one after another! Soon I will have them done, right? Right?

I keep saying that, but then I start something new. It is a good thing when you never run out of projects or ideas….