Funky edges

It’s all about the fun and funky and unique! The striped chair was both fun and unique, but it’s the edging that wins for funky!

Yes, I wanted my quilting to have a sketchy look and this one came out closer to that than the first one, for sure.

And all that boring straight line quilting made it very, very easy to add lines when I added the backing.

See–can’t even tell which are original and which are added, yet necessary to hold the three layers together. That part was actually pre-planned!

But it’s the edging that I am totally in love with! Re-cycled sari yarn–I love to pick it up when I see a good color skein and I use it whenever I can.

THIS–yes, this–

I’m soooo happy with this!

But, it’s done………………what’s next? I have no idea. Isn’t that exciting? The entire world of possbilities awaits me now. Hmmmmmmm….


Next design decision–

First, though, here is a picture of my happy place finished piece. It even has a sleeve and label on it, so it’s all ready to roll.

I probably should give it a title of My Happy Place, but it says it’s real name is Whereabouts.

The next project is the start of a series, I’m sure. I thought I talked about this here, but maybe not. I have a couple of Adirondack chairs that I just love. I kept them stained for quite a number of years, but I finally ended up painting them with bright, bright lime green paint. Over the years I’ve taken a few photos of them and now I want to translate those into fabric.

First step was printing on a transparency.

Then project and trace at the size desired.

And now I’m trying to decide which fabric direction in which to travel on this first piece.

The design will rely primarily on the stitching and I want to use a sheer-ish fabric. I have some lovely cotton organza

in a soft green, and not pictured, poly organza in a light green and an olive green.

And then I thought about all those strips of fused organza that I have used in a couple of other pieces. Could I–should I–make the chair fabric out of those?

Still not sure, but the background might be a bit too busy for this application.

What I think I will do is make them both and try them out. I certainly do plan on making more in this series, though not necessarily two of the exact same chair view. What is playtime all about, if not to play and try out options!

Fun ahead in my future!

More happy place…

It was so much fun getting my little quilt put together and ready to quilt. I spray baste and usually like to wait a bit to let the glue set up before I quilt…also to let those nasty fumes get exhausted. That’s the major drawback to spray basting, but it’s worth it to me. Also, FYI, I always wash a spray basted quilt when it’s stitched to try and remove as much chemical as possible.

But back to the little quilt. I told you I’d show how I put on that little decorative edge you can see in this pic.

This is also the same way I finish the edge on some of my little pieces. Having a braiding or cording foot for your machine makes it magically easy. There’s a little hole in the foot that you thread cording through and it keeps things straight as you stitch.

On this one, I used two thin yarns and couched them down with a metallic thread. As you sew, it lays down a beautiful little edging! Check out the feet your machine has. There will be one that can help you lay down a nice finished edge.

I couldn’t wait to get started on the quilting. No, I don’t have a plan–I seldom do. No, I don’t mark things, unless absolutely necessary. I rely on the edges of my presser feet and seam lines for straight stitching, or painter’s tape for longer straight stretches. And free motion for me is truly free motion!

So, it’s started, but I ran out of time to get very far. Every moment working on this has put me in my very happy place. Not likely to get it finished right away over the Thanksgiving weekend, but that’s fine. Thanksgiving is family time and that will keep me in my happy place, too!

Hope your weekend is wonderful, as well.

My happy place…

Background beading is boring! I wanted an instant gratification project to offset that slow and boring stuff, so I headed to the studio and grabbed up a couple of the little pieces that I put together while on vacation. I decided that I would combine them rather than make 2 smaller pieces. Quick and easy, right? Actually, yes it was!

And then the ‘bright idea’ kicked in and I decided to place the piece on a large background. I pulled fabrics and played for well over an hour, and it’s always so much fun to be reminded of what you have in your stash. And when I finally did make a selection, it was hand dyed with lots of visual texture and I wrestled with orientation for a while!

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Sooooooo, I got that settled and ready for stitching and you’d think it would be go-go-go. But nooooooo! I had to pull more fabrics for a backing and that led to more fabric discoveries and time wasting.

I had such a delightful afternoon!

In the end, though, I got my little quilt put together and ready to stitch.

Even got a little decorative stitching on it before I spray basted. See that little decorative edge around it? I’ll show you how I did that on tomorrow’s blog.

Maybe not instant gratification, but pretty darn enjoyable!

Using My Hand Dyes

I’ve been trying to use more of the fabrics that I have altered for my pieces. Hand dyes count! There are several partially done pieces laying on my worktable and I need to get them done, so I charged right in today.

I grabbed a scrap and cut it into smaller snips and laid them on this piece. I liked the turquoise, but the design itself might not work.

And then I dropped a piece and it turned over and lo and behold! It’s a print

And it looks so much better! I remembered getting it as a small accent piece from a friend in a workshop and this is literally all I have of it! Lucky me to have found it today.

As I said, I am not sure if this is the final design placement.

It’s pretty symmetrical, which is not my style, and maybe even a bit cliche. I have to play around with it a bit before I add any stitching to it. But then I got distracted……as usual. No wonder I always have partial pieces laying around.

As I picked up these pieces to move them out of the way, I decided that they would look good together as a little strip set. So that’s what I did.

And then I found a bit of this and a bit of that and put it all together and I’m liking it!!

Working improvisationally is soooooooo much fun. Takes a while longer, but it’s exciting every step of the way.

So now it’s time to get some stitch embellishment and some beads on these and get ’em finished. I have another show coming up and I need to replace a couple of pieces that sold.

Sewing projects…………hooray!

There’s probably a better way…

The construction methods I am using in this scrap project are very time consuming. I am positive there is a better way, but…these scrap projects are make-it-up-as-I-go-along. Sometimes you go forward, then backward to make progress.

I started with the dark blue background and put some contrasting strips on it. Tried lots of variations but didn’t have what I wanted to add with me so I basted it and put it aside until I got home.

Original idea

I ended up adding only a couple of little strips and basted again. At this point of construction, I baste to a piece of batting or felt. Then I can do any stitching or beading without worrying about the messy back showing. I add a backing after all that work is done. That requires a bit more stitching to hold those layers together, but I can plan for that!

Thought I wanted to add tons of glitz and foo-foo, but really couldn’t figure out what would look good AND not totally obscure the strips! Then inspiration struck, thanks to a picture from Katie McGrath and I decided that a simple circle pattern would work the best. Sooooo, I machine basted that, using the presser foot as my guide.

Basting all over this baby! Started hand stitching, again keeping it simple and removing basting stitches as I went along. The basting on the machine took about 5 minutes. The hand stitching takes a bit more time! Here’s where I’m at, hours later, with lots more stitching ahead.

But guess what? Simple stitches are so relaxing. No worry about which new stitch to use, or to learn or balancing the variety of stitches chosen. Simply sewing. Lots of basting, and more basting and taking out the basting. Then lots of stitching and when I add the back, more stitching.

Yes, there probably is a better way, but this way gives me lots of decision making time and every bit of it is working with the textiles I love! It’s all good!

And it was our local Appleumpkin Festival this weekend, so we took time out to walk uptown and check out everything. It’s also become a family tradition to visit one particular vendor who creates metal yard art. I ALWAYS find something I love and here is this year’s winner.

I have a pretty good metal art garden going on now. I plan to arrange it more purposefully in the spring, and make it a nice feature in the front of my house. Always have more plans than time, but this is a spring project–lots of time!

Right now it’s finishing time for all my pieces—Holiday Show in Lansing, through Grove Gallery, my Artisan Showcase on Nov. 3 and a joint show with Katie McGrath at the Northville Art House in January. Life is busy, but it’s soooooo wonderful!

Stitch your way to happiness

Designing, piecing, fusing, texture stitches, quilting–all parts of the textile world that take me to a happy place. I had a free weekend, fabrics calling out to me and right now I’m in a very happy place!

Decision made on the old leaf piece–straight across.

I did not do a lot of quilting on it, but made all the motifs leaves. I used variegated thread to add a little sparkle (without glitter!) and finished the edge with the same thread. Here’s a detail.

And I ALSO finished that bossy little mountain sunrise piece that told me what it wanted to be!

Focus pieces with straight edges, all fused down, none of the raw edges I like so much. Straight line quilting from edge to edge. Sometimes I don’t clip my threads as I go along, and I’m always sorry when I have to clean up a thread mess like this.

A few lines of trim added

and bam! Another finished piece.

Traditional binding finish on this one.

I could stay holed up in my studio for days right now and never run out of ideas or enthusiasm for what I’m doing. I feel like I’m chock full of creative juices and can’t wait to get to work every day. I am so very lucky and truly brimming over with happiness these days. I say it often and mean it every time–life is sooooo good!