Tag Archives: just for fun

Slow stitch and strange flowers

I’ve made quite a bit of progress on my vintage napkin. The lacy effect looks really good to me.


Not finished, but so far I’ve been able to restrain myself and only use little tiny beads that give just a hint of sparkle.


The unfinished areas may get more beads and less lace for contrast, but I’m going to stick with only that one same tiny bead. Restraint–I may have finally found it!

I’ve also found some more Florida flowers that I’ve not seen before. So many of them look similar to what we have in Michigan, but the tropical climate makes such a difference in size alone. This one looks like it has the same floret as phlox.


But what I’ve seen is in big tall clumps like a hedge, so it seems a lot sturdier.


And then this flower looks like a petunia


but it’s sparse on the plant and it grows on tall woody stems.


And then there are those that look totally unlike anything we see at home!


Pretty, but also pretty unusual. The flowers grow into pods, maybe like lillies or rose hips.


Orange and red attract me as if I had hummingbird blood in my veins. The red here looks like a regular honeysuckle or trumpet vine, but tropically large.


There is another plant with a very similar flower that grows on a delicate fern like stem, much, much smaller.



If I ever intended to spend more than a short vacation down here, I’d probably want to learn more about all of these plants. In reality, I’m happy to look at them from an air-conditioned car or building and never learn how to grow or plant anything in the heat! Home soon and looking forward to it being fall and my favorite season. I even like the cool and rainy days they have had lately.

And, I’m sure, I’ll be snapping some photos of glorious fall leaves, sparkling in the sunshine!



Filed under Art Quilts, Beading, Learning New Things!

Holes in Quilts part 3

One more hole today–I want to do a triangle. Same method–main fabric and facing right sides together, stitch around the shape and clip the corners. Turn and press.


I’m feeling very confident with this technique now and this only took a few minutes to do. Seriously, it was about 5 minutes!

Decided to forge ahead and try to finish this one. Placed it on a variegated wool square, at an angle.


Rather than keep it all neat and tidy, I decided that I wanted frayed edges. And that I would do all my stitching by machine, not hand embroidery.

This is as far as I got—close to done.


Of course I want to add some beads, in and around the center section. I may add some hand stitching before I’m done, too. Don’t know that yet, but I’m happy with it so far.

All in all, I’m quite pleased with my hole-y quilt experiments. Lots of fun and I’ve increased my confidence in creating holes by quite a bit. I think there will be more holes in my quilts in the future.


Filed under Designing Quilts, Learning New Things!, Non-traditional Quilts, Thinking About Quilting!, Weekly Special

Holes in Quilts part 2

Circles! I want to make big hole-y circles! More than a single hole in my piece of fabric, like the rectangle I just did.

Dark fabric is attracting my attention today, so I started with this.


I cut a bunch of squares (about 3.5″, but remember that size is optional–whatever you want to work with!) and placed them on the main fabric where I wanted my holes to be. And that’s where I made a rookie mistake.


I wasn’t going to try any overlapping or partial circles, but notice how I artfully angled each of the squares? Didn’t want everything facing the same direction. Forgot that I was going to do circles…duh! no angles in circles! I was originally thinking square holes and the angling would have been cool. However, this is only facing, so it really didn’t hurt anything.

Created the holes the same way as the earlier rectangle. Stitched around each drawn circle and cut out the centers through both layers. The main difference with a circle is that you need to clip all around the seam allowance, not just a clip in the corner!


Circles done and now to decide what I want to see behind them.

holes-in-quilts-16 holes-in-quilts-17 holes-in-quilts-18 holes-in-quilts-19

All those above were single pieces of fabrics and this next one has patches from a charm pack.


Don’t know yet what one I’ll go with but I want to try one more hole before the end of the day…holes today, finish later!



Filed under Designing Quilts, Learning New Things!, Tutorial

Holes in Quilts part 1

Nope–not horrible accidents with your favorite snuggly quilt, but deliberately creating holes while you’re making a quilt. I was reminded of this technique last week and it’s been nagging at me until I did some today. If you have ever sewn clothing, it’s simply a facing, like a pocket opening. If you haven’t done that, here’s how to make a hole-y quilt.

There was a scrap of wool that jumped out of the scrap basket, begging to be used, so I obliged. Partnered it up with some squares of African fabric that I had and I was ready to go. By the way, size doesn’t matter with these…you can make the hole any size or shape that you’d like. I’m working with pieces here that are in the 5-10″ range.


You need a main fabric and a facing fabric. The brown wool is my main fabric and the facing fabric is the light brown print. Put them right sides together, where you want your hole to be. Then draw your shape on the facing fabric. Or draw your hole shape on the facing first and then put the fabrics together!


Stitch completely around the shape, directly on the line. The next step is to cut through both layers about 1/4″ inside that stitched line. Don’t be shy now–you’re trying to make a hole!


You will need to clip the corners right up to the stitching–be careful not to cut the stitching! All that’s left is to turn the facing all the way to the back and press.


You can see that my corners aren’t very smooth, but I worked them a bit more after this pic and got them nice and flat.


Now you do have a couple of options. I wanted a teeny bit of that facing fabric to show on the front, so I pressed it to show. You can press so that none of your facing fabric shows. You can trim the facing fabric smaller or it can actually be the same size as your main fabric. After you fill the hole, you can choose to topstitch around the edge, plain, fancy or by hand! What’s missing in this picture, though, is what I want to have show through that hole!

It can certainly be a single piece of fabric, but I wanted to have a little pieced design inside that dark color. And to refresh your memory, my most basic improv block is stack-slash-move—stack your fabrics right side up—cut through all layers with angled cuts–move the fabric in each stack to a different position in the stack.

holes-in-quilts-6 holes-in-quilts-7

Then stitch each layer back together. So, I pieced together a little block and put it behind the hole!


It worked! And I like it! So now I’m not simply playing with scraps–I want to finish this! Time to audition background fabrics. But first I had to audition beads, of which I knew I had quite a few that would work with these fabrics.


Yep–beads will be added!

First I tried a dark background, discharged black.


Maybe light would be better.


Not horrible, but let’s just say that I tried many, many more and I think I have decided on this one.


The entire piece will be another of the 12 x 12’s that I do, but further work will have to wait because I want to make more holes!!!

Next time will be all about circles…and a rookie mistake!


Filed under Art Quilts, Designing Quilts, Learning New Things!, Weekly Special

Geodes again

But I’m not talking about those lovely geodes that come from the Gem and Mineral Show.

Pink white 2

One of the things we did with the kids at Blue Lake this summer was to make geodes out of wool roving. It’s pretty easy to do. You make a super jumbo stack of roving, any and all colors. Then you roll and stuff it into a small bag, tie it tightly and run it through the washer and dryer.

I used a lot of the brightest colors I could find and the unsplit geode came out pretty darn lovely.


Now you generally only split a geode into two halves and enjoy the loveliness of the inside. And it was indeed lovely. But my plan was to make several thin slices–harder to do than I thought–and use them in a similar manner to the stone slices.


They are bold and bright and they can be sewn through or have beads added or…or…or…


I love new and exciting possibilities!


Filed under Art Quilts, Big Wool Adventure!, Color, Contemporary, Learning New Things!

Dye day results Aug 2016

Since I’ve posted the results of so many dye days here, it seemed to need the date added! And d’ya know how some bloggers draw things out over several days to make sure you keep coming back? Well, that’s not me. I’m gonna tell you all about it, right now!!

First off, I was anxious to see how my stitched shibori pieces came out and it’s something that I think I will explore further. The simple curved lines showed up best.

Stitched shibori dyed 3 Stitched shibori dyed 4

The piece where I only stitched on the ends and then folded and clamped a shape on the middle came out all right.

Stitched shibori dyed 2 Stitched shibori dyed 1

The stitched leaf outline had a mixed result. Some of the lines showed up very well and some did not. Can’t state a definitive reason why, but I think it’s usually due to not pulling the threads tight enough.

Stitched shibori dyed 5 Stitched shibori dyed 6

There will be more experiments with stitched shapes!

I’m thrilled with the wine-bottle shibori! Click on the link for more details.

Wine bottle shibori 3

It opens the door for me to do small batches of shibori, multiple colors–no more big buckets, PVC pipes and single color for efficiency. I probably should say that any large bottle will work, but it’s more fun to think about drinking the wine before you use the bottle for shibori.

Had a couple of failures…disappointing. Previously dyed damask napkins, and I didn’t like the color. Then I tried some soy wax patterns on them and went with a dark overydye. Yuck!

Damask failure 1 Damask failure 2

Don’t know that there’s anything I can do to save these. But I was completely in love with these next two pieces. Again, previously dyed, and now waxed and overdyed.

Waxed planets

This was simply wax splattered on the fabric before overdyeing! I’ve always loved paint splatters, so I really love this one!

Wax splattered

Love ’em and can’t wait to use ’em!

AND I finally remembered to locate and use my packages of cheesecloth! I’ve been wanting to get some dyed up and either put it where I couldn’t find it when I wanted it, or forgot I had it. I thought I had a disaster on my hands, though, when I first took it out of the dryer. A pile of crunched up threads…

Cheesecloth crunched

But it opened up just fine and now I have a wonderful rainbow of dyed cheesecloth.

Cheesecloth opened

There were some other pieces, of course, but nothing that I particularly loved OR hated.

The real gem of the day however, was a reminder by my friend, June, that you never really have to USE the fabric that you dye or paint or screen or marble or manipulate. The joy is in the process of creating!

And this was such a joyful day!!!


Filed under Color, Dyeing Fabric, Fabric, soy wax dyeing, surface design

Dye day prep

As if I didn’t feel like my to-do is too long to get to-done…I’m trying to squeeze in another dyeing day with my friends. Do I actually need to dye more fabric? Of course not. I just want to have fun!

Stitched resist shibori has captured my attention so I’m going to try some of that on dye day. It’s not something that you decide and do immediately, because the stitching does take a bit of time. These pieces of bright, bright yellow were headed for some soy wax and overdyeing but they are taking a detour to stitching.

Shibori yellow stitch 1

I’ve read just enough about this technique to know that I don’t know much about it, but here goes! I drew a leaf outline with vein lines on this piece and stitched around it.

Shibori yellow stitch 2

I know enough to make the vein lines separate threads from the outside line and that you have to pull the threads very tight! Here’s what it looks like now, waiting for the dye pot.

Shibori yellow stitch 4

Then I looked at some techniques and patterns online and thought I’d go for basic plain lines and see how that looks.

Shibori yellow stitch 3

Hmmmm…how about trying some pleats and making a double line? That might be more interesting and if it doesn’t work out quite right, it will still have some kind of curvy line!

Shibori yellow stitch 8

And it doesn’t look like much when it’s all gathered up either!

Shibori yellow stitch 9

This technique often combines stitch and clamping, so I’m going to try that–in a very simple way, of course.

Shibori yellow stitch 5 Shibori yellow stitch 6 Shibori yellow stitch 7

And just for fun, I tied knots in the corners of this piece and we’ll see what happens there!

Shibori yellow stitch 10

Hope to get some appealing results. If I do, I might actually do a bit of serious research on the technique and try to intentionally create an interesting pattern.

Learning new things is always such fun!


Filed under Art Quilts, Color, Dyeing Fabric, Quilting, surface design