It’s a beautiful world

Had a bit of free time today, so I took a little drive around the Blue Lake area. I should say the White Lake area, because that’s where the towns of Whitehall and Montague are located and where I actually wandered through.

My first stop was a quilt store that I have visited each time I’ve been here. You may be surprised to hear that there is always something that I cannot leave without! Today, however, had a huge bonus.

Yes, quilt show AT the store. I’m missing my Ann Arbor Guild quilt show this weekend, so this was a wonderful consolation! I only took a couple pictures, but there were quite a few quilts and it was just lovely.

As I headed back to my room, I definitely took the scenic route!

It’s so nice to have some time to relax and really enjoy the beauty around us. It was a glorious day.

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Creating fabric with…magic!

At least it seems magical to me to use water-soluble stabilizer for the creation of new and unique fabric. I gave a quick demo about it at quilt guild and was asked to write a blog with a few more details, so I’m gathering together a few of the blogs I’ve written about it. I’ll post this here and on the guild blog as well.

There are quite a few methods and variables, but the basics are simple…

lay down a base of stabilizer–I have used Solvy brand, in a heavy weight and a lighter weight and had success with both.

add threads, fabric bits, yarns, etc. over it

cover with another layer of stabilizer

pin, pin, pin and stitch over the top to hold it all together

aaaaand stitch, stitch, stitch

keep stitching….

wash away the stabilizer and use the fabric you have made!!!

Variations are infinite and I’ve gone into more detail on several projects on which I have worked. Here and here.

I had a great time making these large, funky flowers, using a flat background with a fusible interfacing base. The links to those how-to’s start with this one and continue here .

There are more variations and instructions while I was working on this project also.

I don’t have everything all neatly gathered in one place, since I don’t write blogs with the idea of a specific technique tutorial. I jump from project to project and write about what I’m doing as I’m doing it! The links posted here should give you a good idea of how this magic water soluble works. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I’m happy to share anything I’ve learned while playing this way.

One done and movin’ on!

The hockey quilt is totally done! Hooray! Complete with this little label…

I’m not totally sure what I will be moving on to, but getting ready for camp is one thing on the agenda. And let it be known, I absolutely HATE shortening pants.

At least I have a pile of fun stuff to sort and fold.

All this stuff was given to me and I’m not totally sure what all is here…but I knew it was going to camp with me. The kids will love using this stuff, and I will encourage it rather than anything without some fancy embellishment!

I’m never without ideas, but right now I really want something long term and hand-stitched. Looking forward to peruse the piles of stuff in the studio and having inspiration jump out at me. That’s how I work the best!

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.

Projects select us!

The table was cleaned off and ready to begin the next project. Of course I had no idea what it would be, but I knew that something would jump up and say “Me–me–me!” and it did.

I will be teaching fibers at camp in two weeks and started to gather up my many samples. And one set decided that it needed to be finished.

Actually demanded to be finished! Not even time for pictures of the materials…I had some dyed cotton organza and some navy wool and they were made for each other. I put some pleats in the organza and laid it on the wool and now it’s ready to add some stitches to it…………………….whew!

And it wouldn’t leave me alone until I did some stitching!

And my camera really does not show navy well at all! Anyway, I think the stitching of the background is done. The pieces look like they will be happy here.

And they are demanding that this be finished today! Guess I’d better get busy!

 

Scrappy brights wrap-up

This pile of scraps was the start of the last scrappy bright quilt!

I was tired of these same fabrics before I started on my mission to use them up, and I’m totally sick of them now! But I got 5 baby quilt tops done from the fabric, so I feel good about that. I’ll put the pics in here, but they really look very much alike!

I probably should put a border on each one for a bit more stability, but I don’t have yardage of anything that would work. I do have a little bit of this scrap stuff left, but it’s in slightly larger chunks and I think I’ll throw that into the backs, or piece one back, and then I’ll be totally and completely done with these fabrics. Whew!

My goal is to get them backed and basted within the next week and quilted by the end of the summer. I still want to get my grandson’s hockey quilt quilted before summer is over, also. And, no, I don’t have a long-arm, so it’s wrestling everything on my domestic machine. It will take more than a couple of hours, but that’s why it’s called a goal!

The scrap mess is cleaned up and the table is cleared off.

I am ready for the next fabric adventure, whatever it may turn out to be!

 

Roadblocks

Do you ever make your own roadblocks? I found myself doing that whenever I started thinking about all that bright fabric to use up. It was mostly leftovers from baby quilts and my mind kept thinking it had to stay as baby quilts—and there is enough fabric for at least 6 quilts that size!

And then I looked online for ideas and most of the advice started with “Decide what size you want your blocks to be…” I don’t necessarily create from blocks, but I got hung up on that phrase. Also advice to sew small pieces together and then keep adding to them. Not too conducive to using up those large chunks of fabric piled up on the table.

Finally, my brain kicked into my normal creative mode and I got started on the sewing. I make things from a stack/slash/sew method, not sew tiny to get bigger method! Easy then, to stack fabric and make some quick wonky strip sets.

I gave myself some ‘rules’ to follow on this project also. All cuts will be straight–yeah, wonky angles are fine, but no curvy piecing. No more than one piece of black in each set. And nothing…NOTHING…will be going back into the container this stuff came out of!

This part went super fast and I ended up with quite a large pile of strip sets, ready to go!

Then I started the slow, boring sewing of the small pieces. I made quite a bit of progress, but still have so far to go!

I had really hoped that I’d get much further than I did, but this type of sewing takes forever! You not only need to sew the small pieces together, but each pair needs to be pressed and trimmed to a straight edge before you can go on to the next step. On the other hand, it’s these pieces built from small to large that give so much charm to a scrap quilt!

My entire day was spent working on this and I’m not nearly ready to start putting pieces on the design wall for assembly decisions. As I sorted through and worked on the fabrics, though, there were some chunks that said ‘block size’ to me.

I may turn to a block style assembly and start with these. Maybe not all the same size, but square them up and use them ‘as is’ for even more variety.

Soooooo much more to do before I can make real design decisions, but at least I got over the roadblocks I set up for myself. Lots of fabric spread over the tables yet, and that is both a roadblock and an incentive. Can’t do anything else until this is out of the way, but the best way to get it out of the way is to get it sewn up!