Paperwork–lessons learned!

This piece is not even finished and I’ve learned a lot from it already.

First, don’t grab a piece of paper for the sake of using paper.

Next, have something special planned that really requires the use of paper.

And, for goodness sake, don’t use paper for something that would give the same effect with fabric!

The paper I used was thick and simply had a nice texture so I thought it would be fine. It is, but paper wasn’t needed! And if I really wanted to have a ‘paper moon’ then I should have used some of the beautiful specialty papers that I passed by. It wasn’t horribly difficult to use, but I did try to be careful not to fold or wrinkle it. I’m tempted to play with it a bit, though and maybe wet it and crinkle it to see what happens….hmmm….

And I think I would have liked using torn paper better than this nice, precisely cut circle. Next time.

I want to add more to this and finish it up but I’m torn as to what I want to add. I have a couple of ideas—wait–this might mean I need to do this more than once! That could happen, with variations, of course! Beads. It needs beads. Lots of beads. Yep!


Paper work

Not boring tax or business paper work, thank goodness. I have wanted to include paper in my work for a long time and just haven’t done it until now. Maybe I was inspired by the infused paper workshop, but I grabbed a chunk of silk and a piece of paper and I’m making it happen.

It’s not the thin and supple rice paper that was on the top of the pile…no, that might have been best but that’s not the way I roll. I took a piece of thicker paper that I colored with something–paint or ink, I don’t remember. I cut a large circle and a few snips of fusible and melded the two. No going back now! (On purpose!)

Of course I had to add some clouds drifting over the moon. It’s totally clich√© so far but I hope to ‘drift’ away from that as I proceed.

My subconscious must be working full time, too. I dyed some thread on dye day and this full skein of rayon lusciousness is perfect for this piece.

It’s still a bit damp from the rinsing out so I won’t get started with it tonight. That’s probably a good thing since I have no idea what stitching I’ll be doing.

I need something to work on while in front of the TV at night and my Big Project won’t do. I did get it started and I think it’s going to take even longer than my first estimates. The hand sewing part is strictly utilitarian, to keep it together when I start on the quilting, so it’s boring and I’ll get tired of it. Got to keep several other projects going at the same time….good thing I have a couple of challenges to work on, too!

It’s summer time–busy time–fun time–life is sooooo good!

Floating on the Forest Floor

That might be the name of the big turquoise painted leaf project. At least it’s something different to call it while I’m working on it…and I finally got a serious start on the assembly.

That first little piece on the sea of background fabric seems like such a lonely tiny first step! It only took me about three pieces before I realized that my construction plan would not proceed as it had in my brain in the middle of the night. See, I thought I could slap each piece down, do some hand stitching to keep it in place, do some quilt as you go with small sections…………..ummm, not so much.

My wool backing is the finished size of the project. No trimming to size after all the stitching is done. So I have to place the blocks to fit and that means laying out the whole thing before I sew. First issue was whether or not to fill in odd holes with this peach, beaded, sequined prom dress fabric.

Yes to the peach, no to black edge stitching on it and probably no to peach raw edges. Onward!

I also found out quickly that my rough layout of blocks on my design wall was way too casual and I started changing them around right away. I also think that I have way more than I need, so I might get a bonus piece along with this large one. That wouldn’t bother me at all because I like the painted leaf fabric blocks a lot.

Slow progress was always going to be the route of this project. I look at what I have laid out on the table and I think I’ve really gotten a lot done. But then I realize that I still have at least two feet of blank background hanging over the edge and I don’t have any of the stitching done that I planned to do as I went along.

But it was my choice to go big with it. If it takes forever, that’s what it takes! If you have a picture in your head, you have to keep working to make it happen. I will try not to bore you with progress reports where I’m the only one who can see any progress!

I need to get some sitting-on-the-deck stitching going, too, because this thing is not portable! And we have had a couple of days here and there without rain, so I’m hopeful that I WILL get to sit outside and relax sometime this summer…oh, wait…I’m not sure we will ever get to real summer this year either! And my heart is breaking for the travails of flooded towns and fields. Here’s hoping for better days, soon…

Bits at a time

Between spring flowers, grass mowing and lots of rain, I’ve had bits of time to work on my big project.

I am stamping leaves on each of my turquoise scrap blocks as the first prep step. They are pinned to the design wall and I take each one down, put the paint on it and return it to the wall to dry. This system is working very well for me.

I am using real leaves that I collect and preserve either with watered glue or glycerin. I roll the paint onto the leaves and then stamp them onto the fabric. There are sure to be other methods that people use, but this is good for me.

My work area is plenty large enough and I could have done all of the leaves at once, but my timeline didn’t lend itself to that. So I did a few each day for 3 or 4 days and today I finished them up.

And now I can wait for the paint to dry again, get the table cleared off and get ready to start the assembly portion of this project…which is actually another reason why I have not rushed to finish the leaves!

This project is huge right now and I think I want to keep it that way. It will in no way be a functional quilt. In my mind, it is totally a piece of art, made to hang on a wall. But it’s going to have to be a big wall. It will be difficult to put together and manuever around the sewing machine, as well as doing the hand stitching with which I plan to begin. I’m wondering if I would be able to work it in smaller sections and then assemble the sections or if that will disturb the narrative in my mind………… I really need to make it harder on myself? I think I do. Sigh. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. Sigh, again!

Paint is drying, I am pondering and the rain has stopped for a while! Sounds like it’s time to catch up on grass mowing and mulching while I procrastinate on that decision for just a bit longer!

Watching paint dry

I know, I know…watching paint dry is so exciting you can hardly stand it! But I’m excited about it because today I started painting leaves on blocks. My turquoise scraps project is REALLY, finally, actually started now.

I am using the super opaque screen printing ink and I’m so glad that I ordered it. The consistency is perfect and the prints are exactly what I had in mind.

The first print was deliberately done with a pale section on the background and the white is definitely there. I don’t want it totally opaque, but I feel that I could get it there with more paint on the leaf.

It shows up well on all the prints so far and pull-a-block-paint-a-block-pin-a-block on the design wall is working out perfectly. It will be so easy this way to distribute the variety of shapes of leaves. Designing with immediate visual feedback, and pinning them right back up on the wall while they dry is really making the whole process a breeze.

I didn’t get them all done today. I’m doing a few at a time. My ‘mass production’ of painting is very slow, but with experience it may go faster. On the other hand, I’m enjoying each block this way.

I printed a leaf on some scraps to decide what color thread I’m going to quilt these with. My initial thought was keep it white on white.

Ummm….nope! That is definitely a big nothing!

Of course, I wanted to see how turquoise would do, in keeping with the turquoise scraps!

Probably adequate, but it really won’t show up that much.

My real love, black, is clearly the way to go!

No doubt about it.

Slow printing and watching the paint dry will be my excitement this week. Lots of outside activity going on so the little bit at a time approach will fit my schedule. I also have to gather materials for a class I’m taking this weekend. I’m going to Quilt National for the first time. I’m sooo looking forward to seeing it in person instead of only in pictures.

Right this very minute, though, all I can think about is how cold it is for this time of year. I need a sweater and a fire…what I WANT is to have all the windows open and feel a warm breeze! Sheesh!

It’s kinda cool!

I finished putting the dyed and discharged fabric piece together. When I started, I wasn’t sure if there would be enough contrast. By leaving a lot of my scraps in large pieces, AND not using as much of the black as I intended in the middle, I got a piece that looks pretty good! At least I’m happy with it.

Probably going to quilt it with black, but I have a brand new spool of a magenta thread that has been calling my name. With all the colors in this, maybe that will be fun to play with.¬† And to give you some perspective on size, it ended up about 52 x 62–just a bit smaller than my original guess.

Now on to my larger project–the turquoise, painted leaves, maybe weird project!

Experiment and play, that’s my motto!!!!

Happy accidents

Sometimes things fall on the floor or you turn your head a different way and the design changes. It happens and I love it when it does!

I was planning on sewing these four flying geese blocks together in a totally traditional little line.

As I picked them up to move them to the sewing machine, this is how they appeared on my table.

Totally different perspective on them and that is how I assembled them! Too good of an accident to pass it by. That’s also the glory of improv…… it however it happens!

I rarely sew elements together until I have my whole design worked out, but this piece seemed to call for a bit of pre-sewing. The upper left nine patch checkerboard is sewn, with the two longer strips on each side. The flying geese units are also already sewn together. The rest is still to be assembled, but I finished planning with those sewn elements in place.

And I changed a couple of pieces, maybe not noticeable to you, but it added a bit more light into the design to have a tiny bit more turquoise.

And now for technical details–how in the world do you assemble all those disparate parts into one piece? Sometimes you make everything into same-size squares. Sometimes things go together easily into rows or columns. Well, what I did on this one is to find other sections that can be pre-assembled. Sections that appeared to be close in size to those already sewn.

This part looks like it will go together well and fit the part right above it. And the section directly below this one should sew together easily also.

Since this is improv, it’s not likely that anything will be an exact match, so you need to be prepared to add a bit or trim a bit to make things fit.

And when you are building around a pre-sewn section, it’s better to have too-big chunks and trim than it is to have to add little pieces.

When I get to this point, I feel as though I am on the downhill slope of a hilly course and it should be easy from here on. I hope so, because I am ready to move on to the paint and leaf and design phase of my other current project!

The ideas are over-flowing right now and I cannot work fast enough to keep up with them. Fun times in the studio!!!!