Mad dash….and wait!

I’ve been a little bit scarce on the blogging front for a few days now. I believe I told you that my friend Katie and I are prepping an exhibition entry for a two-person show. Well…my entries were not entirely compatible with hers even though we do ‘make’ in a comparable style. I ended up making one new piece and scouring my walls and tables and piles of quilts for a few more. Aaaaand the application was submitted today. So now we wait.

But now we can also relax and for me that means making something new, on a delightfully slow time line.

My goal is to use only/mainly fabric that I have made so I found some hand dyes that I liked together in a group. Did a little stack and slash and came up this little four patch.

It took me almost half a day to get this far. As I said, working slow! In between panic attacks for the exhibition application, I played around with it a bit, thinking about what other pieces to add and how big I want it to be.

I have quite a bit more of everything but the brown and that brown is what’s grounding all these busy elements. So I guess it won’t get very big. In fact, I think that I’m done with the piecing now.

Probably a facing rather than a binding, when it gets to that point–I like it like this. There are lots of raw edges and delicious areas for hand stitching and I’m eager to continue on with it.

And no hurry, no deadlines, no purpose but pure enjoyment. Aaaaaah, yes!


Discharge paste

I have tried to experiment with discharge paste before and was not too impressed with my results. My latest dye results were not my best either, so I thought I’d play with both. Nothing to lose, right?

The piece of fabric I used started as a black and white print. I did a single color deconstructed screen print over it and it came out very, very dark. I neglected to take a photo of the original!

I used stencils and discharge paste right out of the bottle and got a little bit of lightening of the darkest area.

I looked over the directions again and honed in on the possibility of adding water to the paste so that it was absorbed more into the fabric. Which I did and here are the results, in the same area of the fabric.

See any noticeable difference? I sure don’t! The discharge paste DID work on the fabric in many areas. Enough to make this an interesting piece of fabric.

I have another piece of fabric that I really, really did not like and I watered the paste down even more. After it dries, I’ll see if the paste had more of an effect than on this one, but overall, I don’t think that discharge paste is worth the effort for me! One more item I can clean out of my studio and pass on to someone else.

So now it’s back to working on items for my Artisan Showcase. I know I need to make some Christmas items. They were popular last time, but I’m not thrilled with making Christmas things. I opened up the drawer that I shoved all my Christmas stuff into and found this————-

A whole bunch of started items that only need some embellishment. Hooray! I feel like I’m almost done already now! Ready–set–go!


Had quite a bit of time in the studio today and it felt really, really good! Glued a couple more pieces to their canvases and painted a few more. I started to clean things up a little so that I could feel a bit more organized, and, of course…distraction!

One more scrap of interfacing, laying next to the bag of strings…what else could I do but make another string piece background?

These don’t take very long when they are this small-about 8 x 10-and I put all those tempting strings away as soon as this was done!

I decided that it was time to start getting those bright scrap quilts finished up. Yes, they have only been sitting in the stack for less than 2 months, but they are all basted and ready to go. No excuses. Pick one up and get it done!

So I did.

A question that occurred to me as I was quilting…what makes the quilting design ‘right’ for me on an improv beast like this one?

I decided against straight line walking foot quilting. Too boring for my mood, though it would have worked just fine for the quilt itself!

Mostly it’s a matter of sections and shapes. All of these small quilts are made with a total mix of scraps; no design, no background, no repetition of shapes. There are not rows or sections easily seen, though each individual piece is defined by the construction seams. Basically, then, an overall meander quilting seems like the best choice.

And the way to make it work is to be sure and overlap the quilting between chunks of fabrics.

Those swirls roam around that quilt top as though it were a whole cloth quilt, with no regard to which scrap is being sewn.

Totally suited my mood and goes so quickly. I got it done in an afternoon and I feel invigorated by getting some quilting finished. A happy, happy day!

Busyness abounds…

Have not spent any time in the studio this week! Grandson and friend here Tuesday, so I got to watch the race cars racing and the nerf guns shooting and listen to their lovely laughter.

Got some new shoes, though. Aren’t these perfect for a quilter?

Wednesday was lunch with friends, drive to Grand Rapids and dinner with other friends. A totally wonderful day.

Thursday–AQS quilt show in Grand Rapids and that is always a delight. Hubby went to the Gerald Ford museum right across the river and he had a good time, too!

Got to check out my friends working on an Art Prize neighborhood project…really cool! All four sides of the building will have a mural in this style.

Home again and an extra baby-sitting night with the grandson. BONUS! And then our regular summer Friday with him. Loved that he climbed high up in a tree…look at that smile!!

High enough to make me nervous, but also made me remember how much I loved to climb trees, too.

Maybe sewing time on Sunday, or maybe one more lazy day!


Magic fabric follow up

Using water soluble stabilizer to create fabric is one of the most fun things I do. The little houses I showed you the other day don’t require the water soluble, but the really skinny strips do.

With that soluble over the top, your quilting foot simply glides over all those edges without getting caught. I started this one with some ‘straight’ lines from top to bottom and I immediately started questioning whether or not I should leave them.

I finished the stitching and still didn’t like them, but decided to wash out the soluble before I made a final decision. Sometimes all the stitching covers up what you don’t like so much.

Nope–so now I have to wait for it to dry, but those long, straight, distracting lines will be coming out!

And I had a flower all ready to go from my demo of making magic fabric at quilt guild, so I went ahead and stitched that up, too.

This is only part way through the sewing. It needs a lot of stitches to hold this together! And before I finished it up, I put some glitzy thread in the bobbin and added that. You can always add more on top of the soluble when making this–that’s part of the magic!

And–voila–a hyacinth looking for a little flowerpot, I think!

And I still have that biiiiig piece of magic fabric background waiting to be used also. I think I’m going to have an entire garden made from mashed together scraps!

Let the purge begin…

Spending two weeks away from my studio, in a place with lots of peaceful vistas, a venue with a place for everything and everything in it’s place…lots of thinking got done. Coming home and unpacking led me to assess what I have in the studio.

Everywhere I looked, all I could see was disorganized chaos. Too, too much of everything and nothing really placed where it could be easily accessed.

I was thinking of the song lyrics–clowns to the left of me, jokers on the right, here I am–and all I could see was…projects to the left of me, samples on the right, woe is me!

Something must be done!

A teacher from camp will be able to use some yarn, if I get it to her, so I decided to start there. Didn’t get it all sorted yet, but there is a ton of it that I will never use! Time to move it on to where it will have a new and happy life.

There is still a bit more to sort through, and I should get it done tomorrow. I will be able to deliver it through a friend. Hooray! I’m pretty sure that teacher friend doesn’t know what she is in for, but she can always pass things along, too!

Purge is the word of the month for me. I had lots of time to think and there are certain things that I have played with in the past that I no longer wish to pursue. Those things will be GONE as soon as I can find new homes. Not much is trash, so craft adoption is the way I’ll choose to go.

Once again, I have a plan to clean up the studio space. I certainly hope I can stick to it all the way this time.

And maybe no new projects to show you for a little bit. If I stick to my guns and keep cleaning and sorting, new/old projects will be my reward!


Bits and bobs

After I sorted through all those foo foo fabrics,

I was left with a bag of tiny bits that I thought might work for one of those stitched-through-water-soluble-stabilizer scarves, so I laid one out. I don’t normally like using tulle, but these pieces were so tiny, like confetti, that I thought I needed it.

Step one–hard to see through the tulle and the soluble. The usual procedure, again, is to pin the heck out of the piece and then stitch, stitch, stitch. I decided to baste instead of pin because I hate maneuvering through all the sharp pinpoints and it really doesn’t take much longer. And the thread can be left right in the finished piece!

That was step two–

And then it really is time to stitch, stitch, stitch! Step three–I’ve got it started but it takes forever! Another good thing, though, is that you can use up any little bits of thread left on a spool or bobbin. You can add threads or yarns or ribbons to your heart’s content. Really can’t mess it up, but it does take a lot of time. I’ve got it started, but it may be one of those things that I only pick up in spare moments.

I really, really do not like the tulle, but I’m thinking when I get a bit more stitching done, I will be able to cut some of it and expose some of the underlying shiny bits. I do love me some raggedy bits hanging out!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But the main project I want to tackle over the next little while is the dyed grid. I put a green border on it and I plan on quilting it with a kind of grid.

Since it’s a hand dye, the colored grid is not machine precise–don’t you love that? And so my quilting will not be a precise grid either, but straight lines at ‘off’ angles. At least that’s the plan right now!

And just when I’ve finally got a project and a plan, it’s time to go work at camp for two weeks. I need that hand work project…………..which I don’t have because I’ve been playing with these two. I’d better get going on ONE MORE PROJECT, so I have fun hand work to take with me.

I have such a good life……………………