Beads and bits

Rainy and cold today, so no yard work. If I put it off long enough, last fall’s procrastination will morph into next fall’s procrastination and the projects will never be done!

I was up early and got a chance to sew a bit, so I finished up this project.

Totally fun and I am sure I will make more than one of these. This one is only 36 x 52, so the next one will most likely be larger.

Everyone is doing stitch meditations now. (Liz Kettle video: I’ve done it off and on for quite a while, but currently I feel like I have too much material available and simply cannot make easy choices. Thus, I have turned to easy beading. And it’s also hockey playoff time so I’m doing a lot of TV watching, which works well with my beading.

The beads and fabrics from my CS 12 Years Challenge were all still out, so that was an obvious and easy start.

Little postcard size and done a bit too quickly…there is a LOT of hockey to watch!

So between periods of one of the games I ran downstairs to grab some different beads and fabric. Quick and pretty random………

…but I think it will work out well. And if I fill in all the circles I drew on the wool, it should take a while! Easy, no-brainer and perfect for TV watching.

Maybe tomorrow will be better for yard work.




You can always tell when a project goes well because it actually gets done! My Dirty Dozen challenge quilt was completed very, very quickly, mostly because I liked everything about it.

Adding the embellishments was the most fun, and I loved the choices that were in that challenge bag of goodies.

I usually quilt pieces to death, but this ended up with only minimal stitching. I’ll see when I add the sleeve if the layers will hold together…there may have to be a tiny bit more since I added a back with an envelope turn. But adding more is easy if needs be.

All this stitching is through top and batting only.

I’m calling it done!

And when a project goes well…getting the quilting done on this one, too.

Keeping it simple with straight lines, but at random angles. My blue painter’s tape and I are having a good time. Hope to finish it tomorrow, but we’ll see how lazy I am.

It’s really getting to be spring now and there is a TON of yard work that I want to do. When I’m doing that manual labor and getting all dirty, I try to stick with it until it’s done. No little quilting and stitching breaks in between, so there may not be much sewing done. I will be getting another challenge bag from a different group next week–looking forward to that one, too. But dirt and mulch should be my new best friends in the near future.

I love spring almost as much as I love fall!

Directed by a challenge

I know that I mentioned our Creative Seasons art group challenge–a Dirty Dozen objects to celebrate 12 years together. I finally got that started today.

This is my group of challenge objects and it’s some of my favorite colors! I have been wanting to do something with flying geese again, so this seemed like the perfect place to start.

And putting them together….

Overflowing shelves to the rescue for inspiration for the next step. Some of my previously screen printed cotton organza seemed like a perfect fit for this project, along with a couple of borders.

I’ve already decided that no matter what else is added, the turquoise border is going to end up smaller…and it’s only 1.5″ now!

My wonderful embellishments…

and I’ve started to figure out where they are going. Not totally set in my mind, yet, but getting there. I haven’t done any hand stitching for quite a while and I’m looking forward to that part of the project.

I’m having a good time working with horizontal and vertical directions. Not sure of the orange ribbon where it’s at right now, but this is the fun part. Playing…I suppose I could get all artsy/fartsy and say that this is the deep, dark, creative angst period that brings great meaning to my art, but that would be BS!!!

This is just plain fun!

Too much and too little

This was supposed to be a week of plenty of time in the studio, getting lots of things done. And I did get some things done…no, actually, I got ONE thing done! My retreat project is finished, and that includes sleeve and label!

Wow! This WAS blocked straight and square and flat, but I sure didn’t smooth it out correctly for this photo!

I’m very pleased with how it turned out and I am firm in my resolve that there will not be a series repeating this design…well, unless I vary my technique and capture the essence of the design rather than the exact drafted picture. I have been known to do that.

I had to shop for border fabric for the crosscut piece. Mission accomplished on that and the quilting is started.

And look at this great package of items for our latest CS challenge! (Another “not start” for the week, BTW.)

It’s a ‘Dirty Dozen’ challenge to honor 12 years of our Creative Seasons art group. Probably my favorite combination of colors.

Have not made any progress in a decision on what to do with the blocks of hand dyes I made at retreat, but perhaps that will be next week’s project. However, since I love these challenge items so much, I think this will have the top spot on the priority list.

Also found out that there is not enough interest in improv right now to run a second series of classes at Textiles Fabrics in Milan. I’m not surprised, since this is a low-percentage specific interest. And the bonus is that it frees me up for one of AJ’s spring hockey games…always a silver lining!

It’s really hard, sometimes, to get out of the ‘production’ mode of living. There is not one single reason for me to produce anything, except for my own pleasure. There are really no deadlines or demands that are not self-imposed and if I want to be lazy, I can. I’m glad, though, that I have an inner drive to ‘make’.  It gives me great happiness in every moment in which my heart and mind and hands are engaged in the process of creating. That makes life so much sweeter than indulging in terminal laziness!!!

Projects and progress

My weekend projects are starting to come together! The first thing I just HAD to get at was cutting into that cross block quilt. It’s such fun to cut anywhere and re-arrange the pieces. This is what I ended up with and I love it!

It started out with a 4 x 4 grid of 12″ blocks and I re-arranged it into a 4 x 6 grid of 8″ blocks. I had a tiny bit of fabric left, and if I had arranged the blocks in a 5 x 5 grid, I’d have used these scraps, too!

I think it needs a bit of a border and I tried every piece of fabric that was already IN the quilt and none of them looked right. I started looking through the stash and finally decided that a rosy burgundy looked nice…………and the only piece of the perfect color that I had was about an 8″ square. What a pity–now I have to go buy more fabric!

And while I was looking, I wanted to find a good background for my hand dyed blocks. I liked charcoal and my navy ‘grunge’ fabric the best, but of course I don’t have enough of either of those! More shopping…sigh….but it’s a job that has to be done…

The only project that I actually had a plan for is now quilted and ready for an edge finish…but I can’t decide on binding or facing. I think facing, but I hate to make it.

Started out with the “wood” part. I love using variegated thread. It gives a lot of depth to simple lines of quilting. Remember, the whole thing was abstracted from a garden pavilion, so I wanted to add some of that feeling with the stitching.

I then added a little rock wall and some grass.

Sky and flowers…

And suddenly it was done!

Only that final decision to be made and the actual finish work to be done. It’s only Tuesday and I feel like this is a gooood week already!

CS Retreat Fun

Retreat weekends are so much fun! It’s a shame that we can’t do them more often, but then it wouldn’t be so special, would it?

As I mentioned in my last post, I really had no projects-in-waiting to take along with me. I pulled a bunch of fabrics with a few vague ideas and went off for a weekend of relaxation. I did not care if I accomplished exactly nothing at all!

I actually did want to try and make a piece from the design I created in a class with Heather Jones.

Abstracted from this picture

With no attempt at realism

I’m quite pleased with it and so glad that I am a quilter. Stitching adds another layer of texture and design and there is always the possibility of additional embellishment for even more layers of yummy! I had first thought that I would create multiples in a four seasons format, but it was more difficult to put together than I thought! This is the only season of this design that we are gonna see!

And I’ve had a picture in my head of rectangles of hand dyed fabric set in a complementary grid. I added a curve to the rectangles for a bit more pizazz and I’m pretty sure I made enough for at least a full sized quilt. Didn’t have enough of anything I thought might work for a background, but I laid out a few blocks on white and on black to see in which direction I might want to go.

I’m not thrilled with either one, so I’ll search from the full stash as I get back to the studio. Maybe charcoal or dark blue.

I had been watching the project going up on the design wall across the room from me, and it was really cool. In talking to Sonja, I found out that it was a technique in which you make a quilt top with criss-cross blocks and then cut it up into smaller blocks and re-sew it. I looked at some internet examples and I was on board all the way!

I didn’t think I had the right fabrics with me to make an effective design, but I love the technique so much, I absolutely could not wait to try it!!! I pulled what I thought would work and went at it.

I finished step one and got the quilt top part finished.

I really, really wanted to start cutting into it for the next step, but I truly did not have the proper equipment with me to ensure success. It shall be the first project I work on when I am back in my studio and I am so excited to see how it works out!

Stay tuned!

Start and stop

It’s been a few days since I posted and there is not much to show you, either! Sad, sad post……. However, I taught an improv class on Thursday. It was a full class and a short time, so I did not get even one picture to show you. It was a very fun day for me!

I finished the last of my ‘seashore’ projects and really want to move in a different direction now.

Lots of couching on this one because I got my repaired machine back, purring like brand new!

Hey–quick tip for fuzzy yarn. Couch it down in the direction that the fuzz lays down. Then use the (in my case) rubber end of the toothbrush handle instead of the bristles to fluff out those fibers. Accidental discovery for me, since I was using the toothbrush, but it would actually work well using a soft eraser instead!

Today I have to pack up for a quilt retreat this weekend and I am totally undecided as to which project I will attempt. I don’t currently have a UFO to work on, which is usually great for a retreat project. There is an abstract design that I really want to work on, but that doesn’t give me a lot of time to agonize over fabric choices–hahaha!

There are no burning ideas that I want to pursue, yet there are dozens of things that I could work on. So much indecision, and I am not packing up the whole studio to take with me! Beading, embroidery–nothing started so too hard to figure something out in an hour.

Soooooo, I procrastinate by writing this blog post and then I’ll scramble to get everything packed and out the door by noon! I will try to take some pics of what I finally decide to take with me.

At least I have this one finish for the week and I will enjoy every minute of the retreat with my friends, even if I sit and dither about what I work on!

Like my brain right now–all wonky edges!