Tag Archives: Quilting

Little steps and decisions

Over the weekend, I worked on two things. Saturday was a sewing day with some of my friends from my Creative Seasons art group. Our challenge was to make something using only solids. I have a large tub of silk in solid colors along with a collection of solid cottons from a month-by-month club, so this was a perfect opportunity to use them.

I started with two pieces of the silk that spoke to me and started cutting and piecing. Then I added a couple of colors of the cotton and continued cutting and piecing…this is where I ended.

CS sewing day solids 1

It needs quilting and embellishment, of course…I can see big globs of beads on the royal blue bits. However, before I start that, I need to decide which direction I want it to go, vertical or horizontal.

CS sewing day solids 2

And Sunday I finished the quilting on this piece and now just want to add some beads and get it mounted.

Shredded leaves unbeaded

I’m not happy with my facing with the fusible interfacing, either for the backing of the silk or the backing of the whole piece. I think this silk needs something a bit lighter than what I have. Or maybe something a bit heavier for the batting, to get the effect I want. Next time…


Filed under Beading, Color, Designing Quilts, Fabric, Learning New Things!, Quilting

Love small projects!

There is so much satisfaction in completing any project, from housecleaning (Ugh!) to art making. It makes you smile and feel good about yourself simply to be able to say ‘Done!’

I’ve been getting a lot of little things finished–though absolutely NO housework!–so I’m feeling really good. Over the weekend I did a book signing at a quilt show. Had a great time with a great group, and I had time to do a bit of beading. I finished another one of those ‘stuffed in the back of the drawer’ projects and that’s always fun.

WS Plum Blossom

This is a Weekly Special called Plum Blossom. Ordinarily I don’t make anything so monochromatic, but this seemed to call for beads in the same color family as the tree. Even so, they make the piece sparkle.

WS Plum Blossom detail

And another something that I don’t usually do–put a piece in a frame. This piece is very small at 5 x 7 and needed the emphasis of the frame.

Small city beads

And as long as I’m on a finishing roll, I don’t believe I ever took a finished picture of this piece until now.

City Park CS challenge

It’s the result of a challenge I coordinated and all our projects will be on display at the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild show later this summer. I’ll be sure to give you all the details as the date comes closer. It was astonishing to me how different all the pieces were. Minimal supplies and minimal rules equaled maximum diversity. Wonderful! Hope you get a chance to see them!


Filed under Art Quilts, Beading, Handwork, Weekly Special

The last turquoise block….really!

Yes, I thought I was done with that pile of scraps I left you with, but nooooooooo!

WS scrap pile 5

There was enough fabric left to make at least one more block and part of the Weekly Special mission is to use up as much of the scrap pile as possible. Thus, one more block!

WS 4Turq scraps 9

I started with that wonky turquoise piece and then started adding whatever piece came to hand around the edges. You may already know how to add skinny lines on top, but I’ll tell it just in case you’ve never done it.

Take a skinny strip of fabric–it can be straight or bias, which is great for narrow flower stems! Fold it in half, wrong sides together and press. Place it on your fabric and stitch down very close to the unfolded edge.

WS 4Turq scraps 1

After stitching, simply turn the folded edge over the stitched line and press down. Topstitching with either a straight or decorative stitch then holds it in place.

Continuing on with the block building, keep adding pieces. All you need to do is find a straight line to sew along. Trim as you go to keep things neat.

WS 4Turq scraps 3

Use large or small pieces–it really doesn’t matter because you cut chunks off as you need to make straight lines to sew along.

WS 4Turq scraps 4

Continue adding chunks at random until you have made enough fabric to fit the block size you desire.

WS 4Turq scraps 6

Nothing has to be all finished and even, because you are going to trim to the size you want.

WS 4Turq scraps 7

One thing to remember is that with all those random choices, most of your edges will have bias sections. It doesn’t hurt to add some stay stitching at this point, to help prevent stretched sides.

And with that, I really, truly, totally, completely and utterly am DONE with that pile of turquoise scraps! Now I just have to decide how to embellish each of them, but that’s the most fun part!



Filed under Art Quilts, Color, Designing Quilts, Quilting, Use Up the Stash, Weekly Special

Blue background and paint

Plain blue background, made to be nothing more than the support for…..something. But what?

WS blue strips

I think it seems to be calling for paint! So, I spent more than a few happy moments going through my stencils and stamps and screens. And quite a few more moments deciding on paint colors. Always a good time–and then I get to actually use them!

Went with an all over grid of circles-

Blue bkgrd step 1

and green, orange and white paint, with a touch of yellow. Lots of nice circles, but most of them were too fuzzy and the overall effect was still all background and no focal point.

Blue bkgrd step

I thought I would try to emphasize a couple of the larger circles as focal points, so I made a couple of freezer paper templates. More paint, paint, paint!

Blue bkgrd step 2


Worked like a charm! And it’s always good to have a scrap of fabric handy for using up excess paint.

Blue bkgrd step 3

Blue bkgrd step 5

Blue bkgrd step 6

It’s hard to see the quilting lines, but I used copper colored holographic thread for a little sparkle, and of course, there will be beads! I will have to figure out what color to paint the canvas, since a bit will show on the top as well as the sides.

Blue bkgrd step 4

And black is not always the answer! I’ll try for that blue, I think. But beads first!!!


Filed under Art Quilts, Color, Quilt Design, surface design, Weekly Special

Scrap pile

Started with a pile of scraps today because I wanted something in blue. The first thing I made was a simple strip set background–and I used up all seven royal blue strips that I found! Success! Probably needs some paint on it, right?

WS blue strips

The rest of the pile had a slight bit more variety, with a single strip of green, shiny Radiance thrown in.

WS scrap pile 1

I started with a single strip set and cut it into pieces, added other pieces, turned and cut and got a Weekly Special size piece.

WS scrap pile 2

But there were still pieces of fabric on the table. So back to sewing and slashing and turning and there was block 2!


WS scrap pile 4

Not much of the scrap pile left, but still too much fabric to throw away. Keep sewing…

WS scrap pile 3

And I’m not sure there is enough left in this little pile to make another one.

WS scrap pile 5

But I think that if I have three similar blocks to embellish and turn into Weekly Specials, I won’t be looking too hard to turn those scraps into yet one more block.

Of course, the scrap basket these little bits came from isn’t even close to empty, but every little bit out of the basket helps! And now I need to get out the beads and embroidery threads and add some special finishing touches to these little blocks. So much fun…



Filed under Art Quilts, Color, Designing Quilts, Weekly Special


Couldn’t wait to get those cute little red flower beads on the circle piece.

Beads for circles

And I was totally disappointed in how they didn’t show up as a focal feature on the piece.

WS circles bad beads

Even when I got in closer, they weren’t strong enough to stand up to the graphics of the rest of the piece.

WS circles bad beads 2

So I decided to go a different direction and played with adding more circles.

WS circles more circles

I moved them around a bit and added a couple more…I like it better, but I love those beads sooooooo much!

WS circles more circles 2

I may add some black and white beads and some stitching, but now I’m on a mission to find the right spot for those flower beads!

Perhaps something like this.

WS flower beads 1

Or maybe just the black–

WS flower beads 2

And I haven’t even looked at any reds…

This is the other side of the coin of disappointment…playing some more with design possibilities!


Filed under Art Quilts, Beading, Color, Designing Quilts, Quilting, Weekly Special

The red thread made me do it!

When I headed down to the studio today, I had no idea what I would be working on. I brought these two pieces down to add to the pile for mounting.

WS Fern WS Festival Flower

Added some beads and hand stitching to each and I must admit, I’m not really in love with either one of them!

I had some circles set out from the other day, trying to decide on what background fabric to use.

Beginning circles 1

Tried a lot and narrowed it down to two.

Beginning circles bkgrd

Went to a gem show and bought these beads, so that settled the issue for me!

Beads for circles

And that’s when the red thread attacked…it seemed perfect for making a grid on the background fabric and emphasizing the red on the fabric. It will help to tie in the beads, too.

Basic grid quilting WS circles laid out

I always like to have extra fabric when I make these pieces, but there is a disadvantage when I do an allover quilting design.

WS circles trimming 2 WS circles trimming

The actual size is drawn on the batting and it usually makes for a better finish if I trim that extra batting off before I finish the edge. When it’s already quilted, that just doesn’t happen. I think that darn red thread wants me to finish with a red corded edge to disguise that extra bulk!

I’m really looking forward to getting those pretty little beads on this one…and more red thread, of course!



Filed under Beading, Color, Designing Quilts