Thread lace and beads

Oh my word–making huge pieces of thread lace is a never ending project! I’ve never made anything but some small leaves before and making this huge sheet is taking way too long. If I had known at the beginning….in the category of  lessons learned, I’d really have gone about it in a different way.

My goal was to create sheer, shiny fabric to attach to the silk background already made. It would need to have beads on it, but those could be supported by a grid of beading thread as the beads were added. Okay–that was the plan. Using up tons of fibers and threads seemed like such a bonus, too.

I wasn’t too far into it before I realized that the threads alone would not create a strong enough fabric.

Adding a sheer fabric back was about the only answer I could come up with. Had I started with the fabric, I would have added light fusible and fused those fibers to it. Still would have added the stabilizer and the stitching, but maybe not as much stitch and maybe not so many thread/stitching frustrations. Next time for sure…

I stitched for hours, free form sewing and finally thought it might hold together. Then I added a grid of stitches just to feel better about it!

And suddenly it was time to bite the bullet, call it good and wash away the stabilizer!

It’s sheer, shiny and looks different from every angle. Can’t really show that in photos, but I think it’s going to work. We’ll judge the strength as I start assembling and adding those heavy beads!

Speaking of which…I have a few choices to make!

I always start by pulling anything that I think might have any possibility of working with my fabrics and colors…and because I have accumulated so many beads, that can become a large pile!


I almost immediately eliminated the darker gold beads and the darkest blue beads. The thread fabric changes color with every viewing angle, so most any color should work! I thought about green, but didn’t really have a good green jump out at me.


These three were ‘finalists’ and all looked pretty good. Then I kind of thought all white would really be best and spread these out.

The white along with some off-white looks like the solution. Sparkle all the way through and no dramatic color to draw the eye. The piece is going to reflect a snow storm, so the whiter the better………………..I think! It may yet change as I progress with the beading, but that’s the plan right now.

And I got to spend the whole day in the studio! Thought I was going to have most of the week in the studio, but I forgot to put several things on my calendar. So I’m extra grateful to have had today and to have progressed so far. There is no ‘fast’ in this project, so I will either post it so much that you will get sick of it, or I will try to restrain myself and there will not be as many posts.

But I know myself well enough to know that I will work on more than one project at the same time, so there should be something else to look at soon!



Okay, I tried it.

I tried alcohol inks and they are not going to be part of my regular work. Nope.

Quite a while ago I showed you my clean out of a container of inks put onto deli paper and they were very interesting. Last week we played with the inks at art group.

Playing with them is super fantastic fun and the end products that I got are very pretty.

On tiles–they were beige, so the colors didn’t stand out as much.

On Yupo paper–nice and bright.

And on a canvas–I really like this one.

I did not try it on regular fabric, either plain or treated with a coating. And I have decided that I am not thrilled enough to devote the amount of time and study that would be required to become proficient with them–to try to control the uncontrollable. I will admire and enjoy the results others have and continue my experiments in other areas!

Speaking of which—I have a boatload of fused, sheer strips that I cut for a project and did not use up. I thought I’d throw a few onto the piece I’m playing with to see if that’s the direction I want to explore.

I don’t know yet, but it’s not a total negative! My problem right this instant is that the piece is very large and will require a lot of time and work. I might not be ready to commit to that, but I don’t want to do a quickie something just to have it done. This may be sitting and marinating for a while………..

The results are in…

Snow dyeing is something I haven’t done for quite a while so I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect. I used the dyes below: the top 6 are new to me and the bottom 4 are some that I had and wanted to throw into the mix to see what would happen!

I did some scrunching, some folding and a jar of parfait dyeing. I’ve discovered that I almost always like the pieces that are folded to give a radial design. Still true with these!

The bottom right design that looks black actually has quite a bit of purple popping through, too. The top left is called lime pop and it truly is eye-popping! I love it, but it needs to be used sparingly, I think.

I really wanted to see what the chile fuego, pumpkin spice and soft orange would give me, so I tried not to mix those in the little containers. I like them all very much.

There is not as much crystallization on the snow dyes are there are with ice dyes—I think. The next dyeing experiment will be to test that out. And I think I’ll fold all the pieces I use so that I get radial designs. Maybe then I will USE the dyed fabric!

Love being busy!

It’s so much better to be busy than to be bored, but sometimes busy is just too busy! I don’t have a bunch of pictures to show you, though I sure have been doing a lot of stuff.

Finally got the last of the leaves and garden detritus taken care of–at least as much as it’s gonna get until spring! Rain is what determined the end point there, and it was cold, too. I’m never ready for the cold weather and this year I wanted to do so much more dyeing out in the garage where I can spread everything out. There will still be dyeing done, but in my basement studio, it gets done on a much smaller scale.

Friday was a guild sponsored workshop with Paula Golden. As we were starting out, she had a small sample that she offered up to anyone who wanted to start creating with that. I did not volunteer, but was challenged to take it because it was mostly purple and my friends all know that I do not like purple!!! This is how far I got with it in class.

There will be more added to it before it’s done…quilting, for sure, and maybe some more metallic yarn or beads. I’m not sure, but something. Here’s a close up.

I took advantage of the fraying ability of silk…love those raggedy edges!

And, of course, I did the postcard demo on Saturday. Lots of supplies and choices, showing from start to finish, and as many edge finishes as I could work in.

Saturday afternoon was my rest and relaxation time, and  I’m making progress on my red houses.

Sunday, my usual day of doing nothing, has now changed to an exercise day! My daughter and I are now enrolled in kickboxing classes! I thought she was joking, but she was not and now Sunday afternoon is kickboxing time. We actually did a tryout class and found it to be a great workout, so we’re going to do it for a while.

And sometimes AJ has hockey on Sunday, too, so this is where our Sunday started!

He’s the one in black…this is part of the reason they have names and numbers on their backs!

This week will be devoted to Thanksgiving, of course, and we have to finish getting the furniture back into the house from the garage, too. I’m hoping to sneak in a little bit of sewing time, but the odds are against it! Oh, yeah–AJ will be here all day Wednesday, looking to start putting up Christmas decorations. I’m tired already!

Looking forward to fewer commitments and more couch time after this weekend. Lots more couch time. And naps….yeah, naps!


Bad Student and Big-Time Selfish!

There are several directions in which I could go with this blog post. But I’ll start by saying that I am not a professional writer and can’t just pick a topic and write 1000 words and post it on the guild blog to make everyone happy! I write about what’s happening in my life and what I’m working on, so this post will be on both my personal blog and the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild blog.

Now everyone who knows me or who has read blogs that I have written, knows that I love to take classes–especially with the world class teachers that the guild brings in. I firmly believe that there is something to be learned from every single class that I participate in. The next one I’m taking will be with Paula Golden on Nov. 17.

Class with Barb Vedder

Class with Deborah Boschert

I’ve been a sewer for over 50 years, so I do know a fair amount about what to do with fabric. In classes, I try to follow the teacher’s instructions, do it her way, learn her methods. Well, in this class, I am already planning to be a BAD student. I truly do know how to be free and easy, think outside the box and cut loose with what I’m doing. I’m going to listen and then go my own way with that instruction. What I will push for is instruction on using the unusual fabrics and embellishments that the supply list suggests we bring. I’ve experimented and am continuing to experiment, but I want to pick the teacher’s brains as much as possible for as long as I am with her!

And that is kind of what made me be big-time selfish at a recent meeting. There was a whole huge amount of those fancy fabrics on the ‘free’ table and I took them ALL! I plan to share in class, but I felt so greedy when I took all of THIS!

There is no way that I’ll be able to use all of this in my lifetime, but I want to have choices for class. I also want to encourage everyone in class with me to TRY something unusual, something that is not cotton, something that misbehaves until you learn how to handle it! (And to take a bunch of it home with them, too!)

So, yes, I am going to be THAT student–the one who doesn’t obey the rules, who doesn’t listen to precise instruction, who goes her own way. But I believe that is what this class is designed to do, and that’s my plan!

I don’t know if there is still room in that class for any other bad girls to join in, but I would welcome you! It’s always good to have a partner in crime!


Hmmm…is this what I wanted?

This project—-totally loved where it was when I started. Then I began the actual construction and now I’m not sure.

Okay–this is my concept with fabric choices laid out.

The plan is to use water soluble stabilizer to create these flowers, so I just plunged ahead, following the plan. Sandwich the pieces between two pieces of the stabilizer, pin-pin-pin and stitch all over, making sure that everything is secured.

Trim the excess stabilizer off and then dissolve the stabilizer in water. It really does start to dissolve the moment water gets on it.

You know you’re done rinsing when it doesn’t feel slimy anymore! If you don’t get it all rinsed out, it dries stiff, which some people use to their advantage when making thread lace. So, these are rinsed well and I usually squeeze out most of the moisture in a towel.

Since I am using raw edges, I threw it in the dryer with my clothes, but I decided that I’d rather dry these all flat…just in case my stitching wasn’t as good as I thought!

On the next one, I added some extra yarn embellishment on top of the sandwich, after I had the flower all stitched down. Really, now is a good time to add any other embellishments that you think you’d like, as long as water won’t hurt them in the rinse out.

There are three of them laying out on my work table drying right now. I’m not sure if this is the technique I should have used. I really liked the big fluffiness of the scrap piles when everything was laying around and choices were being made.

I thought they would be way too floppy if I attempted to attach them AND keep them in big piles. Now they are kind of cool, but flat. I’ll go ahead and finish up the other two and then decide how to proceed. I may add some fluff and raggedy on top of the flat…it will be controlled but still slightly wild…I hope…maybe…we’ll have to see as I proceed!

And moving forward…

The Artisan Showcase has had it’s day and I’m sitting around with my feet up for a bit. But I’m not one to sit around for long…probably a bit of ADD, which didn’t exist as a diagnosis when I was a youngster!

I have projects in various stages of existence and I’m ready to get back to them. This one is screaming at me, not only to finish it, but to make more in this manner.

As I was hanging my items for the showcase, I saw that I have been working in series more and more often. I’m taking more time to explore ideas and executing ideas in different ways. It’s a true luxury to have the time for this.

However, in terms of having something to show you……………well, I think there will be a lot of repetitious looking photos coming up!

And when I look deep inside myself, I hear the ticking of the old age clock and I want to explore as many ideas as I can before the ticking gets any louder.

Today is a day for relaxation, which always includes some introspection. Tomorrow it’s back to work (fun!) in the studio!