No fashionista here…

The Fashion Police would lock me up and throw away the keys. I hate to shop and my clothing consists primarily of exercise clothes and work-with-paint-or-dye clothing. Since I don’t work in an office anymore, I really don’t need much in the way of nicer things. However, it’s gotten to the point where I HAD to go shopping, but it was a nice outing with my daughter and daughter-in-law. We had lunch at a really nice Mediterranean restaurant and slowly worked our way through several shops. We all managed to find a few things, too, which is not always the case!

Today hubby and I stocked up on groceries and I found even more clothing, but it’s more of the kind I usually buy…not pretty little one of a kind items, but a decent shirt and buy one of every color! Yep—same shirt, 4 ways, and that kind of fashion life is just fine with me!

Not much sewing going on lately, though. I have a few small pieces that I want to work on, but spring is finally here and I’m mowing and planting a few annuals and hanging around outside more…and that’s just fine with me, too!

And then I run into one that I can’t decide on the orientation OR what beads to use……….UP?

Or DOWN?

And it’s not like I don’t have plenty of beads! Bonus time—my former sister-in-law knows that I’m a beader and she has decided that she doesn’t need any of the beads she has collected, so she gave them to ME!!!! A huuuuuuge tote full of them.

And there were some in there that were perfect for this piece. I am such a lucky person.

I need to get the garage cleaned out and ready for the dye class that I’m teaching. It’s a real mess out there! It will be ready for class, though, no matter what else is going on.

My daughter surprised me with a new mug for Mother’s Day. I had seen and liked it a few months ago and promptly forgot about it—but she remembered!

And I’m drinking my coffee out of it right now!

So blogging is probably going to be sporadic, as it usually is in busy times, but I’ll try to get at least a couple of posts out a week.

Oh—I’m planning on getting some lavendar plants at the nursery tomorrow. I’m excited about that because I love them and have forgotten to look for them in previous springs…….they do not thrive where I have had them, so I will have to ask some questions this time about what they really need.

 

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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!

On to Stage 2…

I’ve completed the first, fast set of samples for camp. This is the last group, all ready for mounting decisions.

Now I need to make some samples in a different manner. I’m not looking for students to copy what I do, but to see different ways in which to express themselves and choose what feels correct for them.

This next week is a super busy one for us——lunches and dinners out every single day. Well, come on, someone has to do it! I’m grateful that we have a social life and are not reclusive or incapacitated shut-ins! But it means almost no time to sew. I am going to find and grab a chunk of creative time and put together some simple designs so that I will be able to stitch a minute here and there and keep going on these ideas.

The concept started with stitch meditation and daily stitch journals from others and it really does give me contemplative time, though not necessarily from my ‘thoughts of the moment.’

Loving this and I don’t see an end to doing it.

Next set ready

Always sad when I don’t have much time for sewing, but I’m carving out a few minutes here and there.

The second set of samples for Blue Lake is ready to be mounted.

There are five pieces in this series to illustrate two things–series pieces do not all have to be the same size and a series is not a static number of pieces.

I like all the little pieces I’m doing, but this one is so me…all angles and asymmetrical and a bit of bright and a bit of glitz!

I have to start thinking about what finishing options I want to present. I want the students to have choices, to be able to DO whatever they choose and to feel they have completed an ART piece when they are done.

Much more work to be done, but I’m loving every moment of it!

First of the series

As promised, here is a picture of the first series in the samples I’m making for camp.

They are not mounted on anything, because I want to keep my options open. I want the kids to see mounting on a single backing, probably in an accordion book format, single entities, and sculpturally, as in a cube or pyramid. So I’ll need to keep making……..

Some of the fun parts of working on this today was looking over the buttons I was considering adding to the pieces.

I had no idea that I had so many of these white sculptural buttons.

Aren’t they gorgeous?

I didn’t use many since these pieces are so small, but now that I know I have them, it could be the basis for another larger piece.

My bead collection is pretty extensive and I thought it would be simple to find a few beads to go with this series. Not so much. That nice pure blue of the fabric apparently is not a bead color I have! So I spent some delightful time looking through my little container of leftover beads.

And I found six beads that matched each other and went with the fabric. And I realized that I have a LOT of beads in that little container of leftovers. I’d better get planning some beading projects to use up the stash as well as using up the fabric stash!

Onward!

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!!!!

No waste!

I always think everyone knows all the cool shortcuts and tricks and then I’m surprised when I talk about something and get those blank looks of whaaaaaat?

Just Pick A Direction, Already!

So it was when I talked about making Flying Geese and heard groans and those “I hate making those blocks and wasting all that fabric when you cut the corners” complaints.

Well, I don’t make FG blocks that way. I make them with the no-waste method, which has been around long enough that there is a ruler for it…of course! There are YouTube videos on how to use the Lazy Girl Flying Geese x 4 Ruler, but I’ll show you my little shortcut even using that. And then there is the old-fashioned math formula method, which is also a no-waste technique and also has lots of info available on the internet. Nobody likes doing the math anyway, do they? I don’t need to repeat everything here, but the math method does exist.

Here are the basics of how it works—to make 4 blocks at once, you need 1 large square and 4 small squares. The large square becomes the ‘goose’ and the small squares are the background.

Shortcut alert–they always tell you to mark a line diagonally across those squares so that you can sew along each side of that line. It’s so much easier to fold the squares and hit ’em with the iron–line made! I usually don’t do more than 2 or 3 squares at a time for a bit more accuracy. And why else would you have a 1/4″ presser foot if not to use it?!

You can chain piece them, up one side and down the other and then cut between the lines.

Press the background (in this case, light) squares up and lay out the next square onto this heart shaped piece.

Sew each side of that fold line again, cut and done! Chain piece, too, so it’s fast!

Tip: always line up the small squares with the outside corners of the large squares. Accuracy is useful with this technique. Sometimes my lines wobble a bit and I don’t rip, I just sew it again!

If you are accurate, you should have a nice, straight line across the top of your goose block, with 1/4″ seam allowance so you don’t cut off the point.

You can cut off the dog ears if you want. I usually don’t bother on a small art quilt piece, but I have done it on full size quilts. Maker’s choice! This method is so fast, it actually took me longer to take the pictures than it did to finish the blocks!

There are so many layout possibilities for the FG block! I just threw these up on the design board while I think about it.

Now all my Flying Geese hating friends, do you think you could show some love to this no waste, fast method of making this block? Four alike at one time, no waste, easy-peasy…could you ask for anything more? Go for it!