On to Stage 2…

I’ve completed the first, fast set of samples for camp. This is the last group, all ready for mounting decisions.

Now I need to make some samples in a different manner. I’m not looking for students to copy what I do, but to see different ways in which to express themselves and choose what feels correct for them.

This next week is a super busy one for us——lunches and dinners out every single day. Well, come on, someone has to do it! I’m grateful that we have a social life and are not reclusive or incapacitated shut-ins! But it means almost no time to sew. I am going to find and grab a chunk of creative time and put together some simple designs so that I will be able to stitch a minute here and there and keep going on these ideas.

The concept started with stitch meditation and daily stitch journals from others and it really does give me contemplative time, though not necessarily from my ‘thoughts of the moment.’

Loving this and I don’t see an end to doing it.


Retreats are for relaxing!

And I had a wonderful, relaxing weekend. The first thing I accomplished was quilting Deb’s quilt!

Hooray! After this milestone, it was all play time.

I wanted to start making samples for Blue Lake this summer and I got three little ones done…kind of.

I didn’t take tons of extra embellishment stuff with me, only fabric and thread. I believe that some of these may get some beads here and there!!!

Then I got distracted and started a project with some fabric given to me by Judi Hurwitt, one of my favorite artists.

This is how far I got by Saturday night.

And by the time I left on Sunday, I had quite a bit more stitching done. I’m really loving this piece!

Still need to work on stashbusters but that’s sewing machine stuff in the studio. Relaxing time in the evenings will be continuing on with the hand stitching and the samples.

I have so much good stuff to look forward to……………..

Improv is slow.

I’ll say it again. Improv is slow. It is also unique and often very easy. You are making free-form fabric and there is quite a bit of stitching, cutting, re-shaping and trimming. For me, it’s a process that I love.

Working with smaller pieces of fabric can force some creativity and this quilt is really using up all the leftover pieces of text fabric.

The most efficient use seemed to be making small blocks and I spent a lot of time working on those.

And the trimming…………..boooooring, but necessary when you decide that your design shape will be a block!

It was a bit easier to do it while watching a movie!

I started to place blocks back on the wall, thinking in terms of design now, rather than making more components.

Haven’t had time to make much progress there, but I have an idea floating in the back of my brain. I will be working toward that idea and will keep you posted, of course!

Improv is slow, though, so there may be gaps! Happy time, for sure!

Artsy calls to me…

It’s very hard for me to concentrate on making nice, useful bed quilts when I am surrounded by fabulous fabric choices that make me want to be creative! The leaves I made yesterday don’t really want to be part of a bed quilt at all, at all. They don’t want to be separated into 3 individual pieces either. Sometimes you just can’t win an argument with your fabrics………..no matter how crazy you sound to others!

This is my vision–a tree on the left, with the big leaves on the right.

My first ‘discussion’ with the fabrics was to decide if the leaves wanted a solid background or a bit more color.


At first, I thought the solid background was better, but when I stepped back, it seemed too blah. Boom! Decision made and leaf panel made! On to the second half of this big art quilt!

This panel is supposed to become a tree. I’m working on it, but I’m not so happy with it right now.

It’ll get there. Maybe I can blame it on the angle of the picture………………naw, probably not! Well, looks like tomorrow there will be more ‘discussions’ between me and my fabrics. But I’m not going to take any argument from THIS pile of dreary dyed failure!

So while I’m moving tree branches around, I’m going to be dyeing this and anything else I see that needs overdyeing! Playing with color always makes me smile!

Lakeside and snow dyes

Now that the Space Marine quilt is finished, it’s time to look again at the two other projects that are currently on the design wall.

This first one was totally conceived almost from the first moment I received the challenge materials. It’s simply a matter of doing the work. Spent some time composing after the fabrics and threads were dyed, mostly to make sure that my materials matched my plan.

And now it’s a matter of making it happen. Going to do all the stitching by hand but the texture is requiring pinning and then basting to keep the elements in the right places.

All laid out and ready to start the stitching…and that’s as far as my planning has gone.

I don’t have a stitching plan figured out–going to wing it, as usual, but that’s half the fun of it. I will have plenty of play time before I add the paper elements. There is no mind changing once I stitch a hole into paper!

And as I posted on IG, I had forgotten how long hand stitching really takes and this will NOT be done in a day…or two…or several! I need to relax and enjoy the process, not worry about rushing to the finish line. (Sorry, Linda, your challenge deadline is not going to be met!)

And since I had a whole, free day in the studio, I figured I could easily get the second design wall piece ready for stitching, too. I was going to do this one all by hand, also, but my imagination would not come up with a plan for that huge expanse of copper silk. So, figuring out what I really wanted led me to decide that a machine stitched field of contoured line would be fine. Anything that I embroider over it will be fine, but if I don’t cover an area too densely it will still look better than the blank silk.

That’s where my plan fell apart. I never think I have that much thread until I have to decide on which one to use!

Trying out the more red family

and the yellow/gold/metallic rayon types

and jumping over to the contrasting side of the color wheel with blue/greens

and even laying out my least favorite–purple! I do not want to admit that purple looks pretty good!

I’ve kind of got it narrowed down to these few, but I simply cannot decide!

I can hear someone yelling to use more than one, but that’s not gonna happen. This is to create a simple, stitched, textured background. Right this minute the blues are a very distant possbility but I’m not sure if I want the matte finish of the ginger thread, the bright of the middle, more orange rayon or the dark of the front spool.

So, I guess it can sit around for a little longer before I decide. This one totally jumped off the challenge situation it was started for, so there’s no hurry now. And I do have some other stitching to keep me busy!

Warning! When I’m working on a long, slow hand project, there may not be much in the way of postings, ’cause one day’s worth of hand stitching does not cover a lot of area! I’ll try not to bore you with too much of the same thing!

Red houses–essentially done!

When you finish up the quilting with the last spool of thread like this…

…you know that you are having a good day!!!

I’m certainly ready for this project to be finished and all I need is to decide on the binding and get it done. Probably traditional binding, in the dark blue.

What lessons did I learn from this piece and the way in which I constructed it? First, if there is going to be hand stitching involved, don’t build your piece on lightweight interfacing. It’s not strong enough to stand up to all that folding and handling. Better to build on a fabric foundation. Second, if you want to have lots of loose, raw edges, think carefully before you start quilting and quilt in the direction of the edges!

It was a fun project, done in a different way and I like the way it turned out. That’s the absolute best I can expect and now it’s on to something new….or old! I have quite a few quilts that need to be quilted and finished and off my to-do pile. It’s time to turn my attention to those and get them done! I think that pile has 17 bed size quilt tops on it, so we’ll see how far my resolve goes!

From purple to red

Moving on from the purple piece, I’m going back to finish up the cute little red houses. I have a whole jar of red buttons that were begging to become part of a project and this is it!

I had debated whether to quilt or embellish first, but the buttons won out. Pretty much going to be random placement of non-matching items–typical me!

And the red may not show up too much on individual houses, but the overall effect will show their presence.

I’m getting impatient to have this one done now, too. Must be time to get another one going………..