Progress in small doses

Started the quilting on the hockey quilt. I don’t usually do much walking foot quilting, nor do I usually simply outline block shapes, but that’s exactly how I began this project.

And when that part was done, you couldn’t even see it on the front!

I had to check the back to spot anywhere I might have missed!

Then I started in on adding additional quilting to the sections. I had some issues wrestling the whole quilt around on my machine and was momentarily discouraged. My lines were so wonky………………….yes, I usually have those uneven quilting lines, but these were really bad! And then I reminded myself that this was a drag-around quilt and it truly didn’t matter. At all! It simply needed to be quilted to hold it together. Wonky lines hold equally as well as straight lines and it absolutely shows the ‘hand of the artist.’

So I will continue in the wonky way and it should be finished soon. I have some free time this week and I’d like to stick to it until it’s done.


Which direction to go?

Once there was a little stack of fabric that made it’s way upstairs to my table. I started putting little bits and pieces together and overlaying with gingko images. I liked where this was taking me and thought I would continue making the gingko images for quite a while.

Then this piece jumped into the series and it’s quite a bit different.

Really no place for a gingko here.

And the next pieces don’t seem to need a gingko image either.

The one on the left is only basted, but I don’t see anywhere for the gingko. So maybe the gingko series is done and I’m moving in another direction.

Maybe not, since I’m working with the same set of little fabric scraps and hand dyed squares…can’t wait to see what these little scraps direct me to do next!

A life of it’s own

Projects in my house often take on a life of their own. They dictate to me what they need and in which direction they need to go.

This is one such project. It started as scraps on my table, intended for a stitch meditation type project. I didn’t think much of it. Something to stitch on in front of the tv. I put together the scraps of fabric and then added some shiny gold mesh. Long embroidery floss stitches held that down and then I wove some eyelash yarn through the stitching.

I’m never one to let well enough alone, so I started thinking about adding beads. Something organic. Maybe some bead embroidered leaves. I did not take any interim photos, but my first attempts were NOT successful. Good thing beads were are easy to take out and re-do.

So this is where I am right now.

The piece is maybe too long–about 11″–to bead all the way to the top, but I’m pretty happy with what I have so far.

All these pieces of what I’ve learned float around in my head and come out in unexpected ways and at unexpected times. It’s so much fun to live in an art-tilted world. You are always surprised, often delighted, sometimes disappointed, but never bored!


Figuring out a pattern

Find a pattern or make an improv design………that was the question I asked myself when faced with the hockey fabric. I invest a lot of myself into improv designs and this quilt is to be a drag-around quilt, so I was definitely inclined to look for a pattern. As I said before, the hockey fabric is a big, busy print and will lose it’s impact if it’s cut into small pieces.

After a lot of internet browsing, I think I’m going to use square-in-a-square. It’s also known as the economy block, but usually that’s with two sets of corner triangles. I made a couple of sample blocks and now I need to decide a few things.

Sticking with the red and the black/white. The blues did nothing. This is the simple square-in-a-square, with one set of corner triangles. Easy, looks good, but I’d have to make a lot more blocks this way.

This is the economy block, with two sets of corner triangles. These are twelve inch  blocks and I wouldn’t need nearly as many of them to make the quilt. And it’s a simple pattern, so……….winner! However, in consultation with my personal design expert…seriously, my daughter is an expert…and we think the larger b/w print might be distracting.

Sounds like I have a plan now. The economy block, small print b/w and red fabrics and it should be done quickly. I was going to try and use up scraps, but the bigger blocks use bigger pieces. I think I have enough larger pieces, but if I have to get a little more fabric…that would never break my heart!

Lot’s of stuff happening this week, like dye day on Wednesday, so there may not be any long stretches of quilt making. However, I tend to get a little bit of hand sewing done most evenings. Mainly because I have everything set out on a little table in the living room and I can pick it up to sew a few stitches whenever I have a minute.

I’m working on a series of ‘circle explorations’ now. I’ve finished the basic stitches defining the circles and now I need to figure out what will be next.

You know, some artists run into creative blocks and struggle to move forward. I am so lucky that so far this has not happened to me. My creative blocks only involve making decisions about how to proceed, not how to start a new project. Hope it stays that way!

What are you doing?

My sewing life is kind of moving in slow motion right now. Since I finished that charity quilt, I’ve been indecisive about starting a new project. I have my little hand sewing projects to work on, but that’s slow by nature.

There is a stack and cut technique that I’ve been wanting to play with, but all the examples I’ve seen use a single background fabric with prints. I never have enough of any one thing to use it as a background for a whole quilt. I decided that I wanted to use up some brown fabric…………because I don’t like brown that much.

It was quite surprising then, when I started pulling fabric to find LOTS of brown.

It was a bit harder to find neutrals that went with the brown. I have even fewer neutrals than I have brown!

I collected what I could find on my shelves and started cutting squares. This idea is based on stacking, cutting and switching parts of the squares…and I am going to try very hard to do this in all even, straight pieces! No wonky angles! Though it would be very easy to make it wonky…

Cutting squares was as far as I got. I’m going to sew up some of them to see if I can continue with just the dark and light or if I’m going to have to add in some color, for my own sanity!

If you like brown, you will love this quilt. I hope I can love these browns long enough to finish!


Sooooo easily distracted…

There was a quilt backing that I wanted to dye today, so I went down to stick it in a tub. I was going to use fuschia, but somehow green jumped into the mixing cup…and since I was overdyeing a fabric that I thought was ugly, I don’t think I can hurt it no matter what color I use!

I started to put something away–I don’t even remember what–and saw something on the shelf that I couldn’t immediately identify. When I pulled it out, I found this ancient piece that I made when I first started exploring new techniques.

Weeellllll….since I was looking at backing fabric anyway, that’s all it took for me to decide that this piece needed to be finished! I thought I’d have to use the wide piece of plain muslin that I found, but then I remembered the pile of fabric that was going to be given away. Found the perfect piece…

and there is just enough extra to use for binding…I hope! It’s only a small piece so I think I might be able to finish it tomorrow. If I stand back and it still looks decent, it is destined for the silent auction at our guild quilt show.

Sometimes those distractions work out just fine!

Putzing and deciding…

Since I am teaching a basic dyeing class on June 2, I thought I should get some fabric ready for examples.  At least that’s the reason I’m using to play with fabric and dye! I always, always, always wash any fabric I’m going to dye, even fabric that says PFD. That way I’m sure that there is no sizing or dirt or oil or anything but fabric in my fabric. And I have a huge bolt that I got last summer that I did not use up, so that’s my task. Nothing to show you; just wash, dry, iron some, pre-soak some that I plan to print with dye on, maybe fold some for special effects. Plain white cotton, doing nothing but getting ready for COLOR!

However, I absolutely cannot decide how to display my Four Seasons series. My original intention was my normal mounting of each piece on an individual canvas.

And it’s nice and I like it. But then I wondered if it might not be better to leave all four pieces together, mounted on a larger canvas. Disregard the color of the canvas…it would be painted that same gray as the smaller examples.

If I’m thinking in terms of possible sales, smaller pieces sell better. If I think the series looks better kept together, even if the price would be higher, well…

And I’m so indecisive, it’s pathetic!

Maybe that’s why dyeing is so  much fun. I can have things in single colorways, gradations, blends, folds…… final decisions!