Tag Archives: just for fun

KEQ–making beads

Our meetings are not nearly long enough to make tons of beads! We needed more time! It’s lucky for us that the clay making didn’t happen, because lack of time would have been utterly frustrating!

Apologies to Denise in advance…my pic of her beads did not come out right.

We made small beads, wrapped around toothpicks and slightly larger ones, wrapped around straws.

KEQ May 7

Carol was experimenting with glued and wrapped threads.

KEQ May 9

I was looking to make larger beads and wrapped some around dowels, but Sharon made a large one AND got it all decorated and fancy. Beautiful!

KEQ May 8

We tried making beads that started with cotton balls or balls of polyfil. I got that orange and blue one done that was in the first picture. Kathy ended up making hers flat, more like a hexie.

KEQ May 4

Trish made some very delicate beads. She referred to the white one as a wedding bead!

KEQ May 10

She also brought some show and tell. We have a challenge going to use a scarf, trim and beads that Kathy brought us from India. Mine is still planned out in my head, but Trish and Kathy both have theirs done!

KEQ May 1


KEQ May 3 KEQ May 2

And Kathy’s…

KEQ May 5KEQ May 6

I definitely need to make more beads…because even with all the ones I’ve purchased, the ones I make myself will be special. And maybe even fabric coordinated with the pieces I’ll create!


Filed under Beading, Color, Fabric, Learning New Things!, surface design

Handwork project

There are 360ยบ on a compass, so that means we could be going in any one of 360 directions, right? I’m working on so many things at once that I’m not sure which direction I’m headed!

Had some cement work done, so there is dirt and rock to be moved to new homes–that’s going to be ongoing for a few days. I just can’t shovel as much in a day as I could when I was younger. And the rest of the spring yard work…a little bit every day and it WILL get done!

And I’m always working on several sewing projects at once, and work on those depends on my mood at any given free sewing time. But I always seem to be starting a new one before I get very caught up on the old ones!

This weekend I needed a take-along hand sewing project. I had a huge pile of shreds from a fabric store that I always intended to do something with…you’ve got something like that in your studio, don’t you? I’ve also been loving pictures of raw edge applique, recycled fabrics and of course I love embroidery and beads!

Shreds 1

The idea was born–draw a simple design on fabric and embroider the shreds down to fill in the drawing. Then probably add beads.

Shreds 3

The background is a piece of silk, shiny and soft. I back that with fusible interfacing and then I’m ready to start stitching. You can barely see the drawing, but I kept it very simple. I decided to use a hoop for sewing these leaves and it has been a good decision. Much easier to manipulate as I embroider.

Shreds 2

Color is actually that turquoise from the above picture! I’m progressing much more quickly than I thought, but that may be because I’m spending more time on the couch stitching than I like to admit.

Shreds 4

I’m liking this playtime with the shreds, but I’m also pretty sure this is not an efficient way to use up scraps! Don’t really care, I guess, as long as I’m enjoying my sewing time.

Pure relaxation and enjoyment!


Filed under Art Quilts, Designing Quilts, Handwork, surface design

Bead day decisions

Several of my projects are at the point where they need beads. Sometimes I know exactly which beads will work best and other times…well, let’s just say that I enjoy reviewing every. single. bead. that. I. own.

This one was decided pretty quickly–almost! I will be using black beads, but do I want the tiny ones or the ones that are a bit larger?

WS red thread beads

It was the large bead that inspired me to do a little thread sketching for this small (5 x 7) piece.

WS Smaller bldgs beads

I’m pretty sure that I want to fill in the ‘buildings’ with the brightly colored beads in the tube. That’s one good thing about beading. If I don’t like it, it’s easy enough to remove them and try something else.

I really want to make the correct choices for this piece. I definitely feel that beads are needed, but I’m not sure about placement OR color.

WS blue bkgrd beads

I think some lines radiating out from the two main circles…multi-colored? Muted and darker? Orange? Still making decisions about this one and since it is painted fabric, it’s harder to re-do if I change my mind. If I bead through a painted area and then take it out, the little hole remains and will show. So for these type projects, I want all my decisions made before I start.

Lovely little piece of embroidered fabric that I’m using in the 5 x 7 size. I just want to pump it up with some beads.

WS smaller floral beads

I think a mix of beads that reflect the colors of the flowers will work well.

Now that I have a few beads out and ready, I have to actually get the work done. I’m hoping the weather cooperates and I can sit outside on the deck for some relaxing handwork time!

Oh, no—the grass is growing!!!! Maybe not quite so much relaxing time…sigh!


Filed under Beading, Color, Designing Quilts, Handwork

Quick time

Didn’t have much time today so I grabbed the first scraps I could find. It happened to be 6 strips, gold, that were about 11″ long. I joined them and stacked them with a piece of painted fabric that had some gold paint on it. Sliced through the pieces, rearranged strips and ended up with two gold and red blocks.

Those 2 blocks were stacked and sliced with a curve. I ended up with two 9″ blocks and added wide borders. Think I’ll try to add beads and stitching to emphasize the curves, but this is all I had time for today.

Blue bkgrd other

However, any day that includes sewing is a good day!


Filed under Art Quilts, Designing Quilts, Quilting, Weekly Special

Scrap pile

Started with a pile of scraps today because I wanted something in blue. The first thing I made was a simple strip set background–and I used up all seven royal blue strips that I found! Success! Probably needs some paint on it, right?

WS blue strips

The rest of the pile had a slight bit more variety, with a single strip of green, shiny Radiance thrown in.

WS scrap pile 1

I started with a single strip set and cut it into pieces, added other pieces, turned and cut and got a Weekly Special size piece.

WS scrap pile 2

But there were still pieces of fabric on the table. So back to sewing and slashing and turning and there was block 2!


WS scrap pile 4

Not much of the scrap pile left, but still too much fabric to throw away. Keep sewing…

WS scrap pile 3

And I’m not sure there is enough left in this little pile to make another one.

WS scrap pile 5

But I think that if I have three similar blocks to embellish and turn into Weekly Specials, I won’t be looking too hard to turn those scraps into yet one more block.

Of course, the scrap basket these little bits came from isn’t even close to empty, but every little bit out of the basket helps! And now I need to get out the beads and embroidery threads and add some special finishing touches to these little blocks. So much fun…



Filed under Art Quilts, Color, Designing Quilts, Weekly Special

As previously planned…

Found a small stack of batting squares that looked like they had been cut for a purpose.

WS 12 in batting 1

Yep! Ready to go into my Weekly Special series of 12 x 12 pieces.

I had red thread in my machine, so I grabbed the red scrap basket and started adding pieces to cover up the batting. Some raw edge, some sewn and flipped–a quick way to get a background made up.

WS 12 in batting 2

Now comes a tiny bit of a tutorial, another quick way to get that background ready to embellish and mount on the canvas. Since it doesn’t need backing, per se, because it will never show, I chose to use fusible interfacing.

Cut the piece of interfacing the exact size that you want your finished piece to be, plus seam allowance. Place it fusible side UP on the right side of your square. Pin it in a few places and sew a 1/4″ seam all the way around.

WS 12 in batting 3

Trim the edges, including clipping the corners.

WS 12 in batting 4

The next step is to pull the interfacing out and away from your square and put a slit in it.

WS 12 in batting 5

Turn your piece through the slit and push out the corners. I use a fancy tool for that called a pencil with a dull point! Now, if you are doing this with backing fabric, you can just press those corners and edges and you are good to go. However, using fusible interfacing, you need to iron veeerrry carefully.

I do the corners first-

WS 12 in batting 6

making sure to apply enough heat to set the fusible. Carefully do the same to the sides. You have an opportunity now to make any adjustments you may need. The fusible, at this point, looks totally too big, but it will fit just fine. And guess what? Even if it’s a bit stretched or big, it doesn’t matter! It’s going to be ironed down and never be seen again!

WS 12 in batting 7

Nice, finished edge and ready to embellish and mount on the canvas.

WS 12 in batting 8

Okay–quick background done, so what are we going to put on it? (And it actually took longer to explain using the fusible than it does to DO it!)

I had some leaves leftover from another project and thought I might use them.

WS 12 in batting 9

The composition was okay but this background is way too busy for so many different leaves. I tried another leaf, much lighter, already sewn to a dark background piece. It looked like a winner!

WS 12 in batting 10

I trimmed it close to the leaf and stitched it on. Ta-da!

WS 12 in batting 11

Another Weekly Special done and I have more pieces of batting and lots more scraps. I think I can use this process and empty out a few scrap baskets……………….hahahaha! I’ll never use all those scraps, but it will be fun trying!



Filed under Art Quilts, Designing Quilts, Fabric, Quilting, Tutorial, Use Up the Stash, Weekly Special

Sewing Day Project

These were my leftovers from the sewing day…didn’t use one bit of the bright color jelly roll and just half of the shades of blue roll.

Jelly Roll leftovers

And which project from the sewing day was mine? Well, after studying up on our inspiration artists, I opted for the easy way out and bought those jelly rolls so that the fabric selection was done FOR me. I used the shades of blue and made two identical pieces so that I could stack and cut them with a curve.

CS sew day 15

And that’s where the lessons learned began! I assembled my strips on a fusible interfacing base. I thought that would be an easy way to keep them in place while I did the sewing. First mistake of group sewing: I forgot that I would have to carry my piece over to the shared ironing surface, so of course the strips moved out of place. Second problem: ironing surface was smaller than my piece so as I moved it to get it fused to the interfacing I had to keep adjusting my strips. Third problem: Test the iron you are using before you find out that it’s hotter than hell and you melt your interfacing!

CS my project 1

All small problems, but the distorted interfacing did cause a problem when I started stitching. The top edge of this section should be straight across and square, but there was that tiny bit of distortion that carried up through the entire side of the section.

CS my project 4

Again, a small problem, because the entire piece will be trimmed up before it’s done. The stitching that I did to secure the pieces ended up being a bit excessive. After I sewed a bit, I decided that I liked it as a design element, for a bit of added texture, so I continued sewing lines over both pieces.

CS my project 6

From the beginning, I knew that I would be adding some bright contrasting color to those blues, in some way. After auditioning several colors, I ended up using red. It’s very bright and you don’t need much of it to do the job!

CS my project 5

This is where it’s at…two pieces ready to quilt. Oh, and just so you know, the decisions made to get here included trying to combine these into one larger piece, in most every configuration and solution I could imagine. I even considered making two additional pieces with the rest of the fabric from the jelly roll and turning it into a much larger piece.

No…I’m going to quilt them first and then add some red beads in the red areas and I’ll be happy with them.

Group sewing days…awesome!


Filed under Art Quilts, Designing Quilts, Fabric, Learning New Things!, Quilting