Slow going.

Self discipline–I don’t have much of it. I was using up the stash, sticking to the idea that what went up on the design wall stayed there until a quilt was born. That just did not work with this batch of fabric.

It was a set that I picked up at a sample event and the featured fabric was the circle that was supposed to look like sun rays or a mariner’s compass. I have tried to make something of it before, as you can see, but didn’t get too far. I posted about this on FB and IG and someone commented on the “eyeball” fabric. Now that’s all I can see when I look at the group. And now that I think about it, why was I so insistent on keeping the group together, just because it came together in the same line? I’ve never done that much before–why start now? So this pile is folded up and back on the shelf until another time.

Time for FUN! Played a bit more with the new curves ruler. I was afraid that there was so much waste fabric that I couldn’t justify using it rather than a template.

There were instructions for cutting two concave pieces from a single square, along with a video and that helped a lot. This is the amount of waste, with two concave pieces from each square.

And the speed of cutting them quickly and precisely makes it worth while. The waste pieces are going to be headed for a new project, which I am starting to envision already!

So I got a few blocks put together and started throwing them up on the design wall. Very intense colors and not much value contrast, only color contrast. But I LOVE these fabrics and this is just how it’s gonna be!

After hoarding this line of fabric for years and not finding a pattern that I wanted to use, I previously used up a bunch of the blue. Of course now I’m going to be short on the blue to make this the size I’d like. BUT I’m using up the stash and however big it turns out to be is going to be the perfect size! Any extra fabric from this line will be on the back. Then this fabric that I have hoarded for years will be used, off the shelf and it will make me very happy!!

 

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New games

As I said before, this week is shaping up to be very busy and sewing time is at a premium. I’m playing when I can and I have a new toy!

I succumbed to the allure of a new specialty ruler, the Classic Curves ruler by Sharon Mc Connell of Color Girl Quilts. I’ve been wanting to play with the Drunkard’s Path pattern again for a while, but wasn’t sure if I wanted traditional or improv. This decided it for me, along with the other possibilities she shows with the ruler. So, here’s my first try using it.

I’m also using some Sherrill Kahn fabrics that I have savored hoarded for years. I didn’t realize how much of that fabric I had until I grabbed it all off the shelf and unfolded it! Sheesh–yardage! I haven’t bought yardage in years…I’m a fat quarter buyer! This may end up as a very large quilt.

Hmmm….lots of waste fabric with the first few blocks. Each concave cut made from a single square leaves enough waste for a smaller convex piece.

That’s fine if you are planning on making two quilts and you want to buy twice as much fabric as needed! I hate waste and know that I will not make an entire quilt this way. On the instruction sheet is an alternate method of cutting the concave parts with less waste and I haven’t had time to try it yet. If I’m not happy with that, I will consider cutting this half of the pattern using a template. We shall see, when I have a bit more play time!

I also put together some basic step-outs for making a hanging sleeve. I have to do a demo for anyone at our next guild meeting who is unsure of how to do it. I thought it was a totally basic skill until I realized that many, many people never hang a quilt on a wall. They make them for beds, believe it or not!

I used a hunk of some of my oldest–should I say vintage?–fabric and every time a bit of that is gone, I smile! Happy to de-stash in any way I can!

Working out the method

Teaching anything involves a lot of planning…at least it does for me. And it’s waaaay different planning for unskilled middle school kids than for adult quilters! I know what I want to teach them and now I’m working on how to get it across to them.

I know from experience that some of them have never even held a needle and some are already garment sewing, so I have to deliver the basics while keeping the others from total boredom. I think the idea of ‘teaching assistants’ may work just fine.

This is how I think we’ll assemble the little pieces–after a bit of design time and the lesson about threading and using that needle!

Actually, the first picture is probably NOT how we’ll do it, but I’ll give them the option.

These pieces are glue basted down. It avoids getting stuck with pins but for kids, the glue can get globby and maybe not so secure. They will have the option but not the recommendation. However, this will also be an example that pieces in a series can be different sizes.

So here’s what I will recommend. A piece of batting (or other support fabric), larger than the finished piece will be. Then trace out the area of the finished piece so they know how much area to cover.

And remember that the marking goes on the back, so they can see it until the end! I thought about just marking the corners on the front, but then remembered that these are inexperienced kids!

After the design is laid out, with those pesky sharp pins, they will be basting. It’s really going to be the best way for them to proceed.

And rather than random stitch meditation type ideas, I am going to have them work in a series mind-set. I think I’m set with my plan!

I know I’m set with quite a few pieces ready to embroider and embellish, but I needed at least this many to work out my planning.

I need a few more in the light blue series and I want to get all of these completely finished off before I do any others. Then anything additional between now and camp will be a bonus.

Feeling good about this!!!!

Sneaking Sewing Time

It’s not really sneaking, but simply taking advantage of every bit of free time I have!

I have always known that I was a bit spatially challenged, but this simple little pattern almost defeated me!

It’s a square, cut in half diagonally, right? In order to get it to line up in the zig-zag pattern, I thought you would make the cut and turn the block and zippity-do-dah-day-done!

Nope!

The diagonals have to be cut on the opposite angles for half the blocks so that the backgrounds and prints line up the way they need to. Sometimes I just cannot see those things!

Now that I have it figured out, though, it will be easy to cut and sew the rest of those squares…………for TWO quilts!

What was I thinking? Oh, yeah–use up the stash.

It was very necessary, though, to steal a bit of time and get this set in my head. And next week I should have a couple of days with big chunks of time to get sewing!

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!