Monday, February 29, 2016

mindful sewing...

Warning, if you don't like green, turn back now!

I needed to sew yesterday.
When I need to sew, I don't necessarily want to work on a project, or learn anything, or achieve anything.

I began by pulling out the most overstuffed scrap bin, the greens. Tiny little scraps of green in fact. I made these...
okayyyyy but so what. Then I turned to the very little strips, about 1 inch by 4 inches and sewed them together, then slightly larger strips on a new sew, just sewing, one color to another.
I made three strip sets, very ragged on the top and bottoms.
I free-cut some curves with a longer scrap strip and joined two, then the three into the piece you saw at the top.
I worked on it oriented like this the whole time...

But then turned it just to see if it might look better...
and settled on the one you see at the top. There, now it reminds me of a stand of trees with shadows.

I like to see something representational.
Now I want to finish it, so I am looking at possible borders...

how about this brown batik?

or this speckled one

Or both!
boy the color got washed out on this pic!

When I work on abstract pieces, I must see something in them or the experience is flat to me.
I do love trees, and recently wrote a poem about two trees    See the drawing and poem HERE

I plan to use darkest brown threads to quilt the trunks heavily. Sparkling blues to hint at water streams.
It goes into my abstract nature series.

So far I have loved each one and I started them as a learning exercise  in abstraction, with the plan to sell them all.

Now I'm not sure about selling them.
"I am still learning" , said Michaelangelo

What do you think?
On my design wall this morning

Saturday, February 27, 2016

a failed project

well, that's done.
The blocks made from the book Stratavarious  do not show well with my brown scraps. I'm sure I could go to the scrap drawer and find better mixes of texture but that's not the challenge right?

I do not like them, and doubt they'll find their way in a finished quilt. They don't even look good mixed with the blue ones or I'd show you. Want to see the blue ones? look here  (post )

Pictures of the two other block sets I'm making this year, and I like them both:
They seem to work a bit better.

They are all made from strings/strips.
The stratavarious pattern is a half-square triangle block.

The next one down with no name, is a four-patch of diagonally set triangles.
The diamonds are randomly pieced, then cut.

Being analytical by nature, I thought about why the first blocks do not look good.

1. I am cheap. I keep almost every scrap people give me even if I don't like them because I know there will come a time when that will be the perfect color or print for a project.
2. I used those brown strips I don't like much for this project
3. The tones just do not resonate with me and there is no other way to view them in this block, meaning they are not part of a tree trunk, or a bird's wing, or someone's hair.

When ugly colors/prints are used as a component for bark for instance, you don't notice the fabric, you notice the blend of fabrics.

I don't often make something I feel is a total failure, as I figure out how to use stuff. It's one of the creativity exercises I do. These blocks are a loss, no way around it. For now they are stored with the others. 

So what do you do with blocks that don't turn out the way you expected? 

 See other brown blocks at the RSC2016 party today. Looking forward to a color change next month.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Another UFO saves me from cleaning up...

One day I faced my fears, and entered the studio with the intention to clean it up!
Of course as I started to sort the piles, I ran across a UFO... so I dropped everything in the creative questioning... what could I make with this??
I found the strip pieced and stamped blue section, a silk hexie section, and some scraps folded together...
So I pieced the scraps. I couched , a black and a sparklky green ribbon around. The bottom edge was sewn with my specialty stitch and gold thread. I used the silk hexie scrap to border and folded it to the back as a binding too.
I decided to bead some drop beads to the bottom. I love how they look!

I also hand sewed some little seed beads to the centers of the hexies, making them look like clouds or little pillows to me.

The whole thing has sort of a dreamy feel...

The whole piece started as sewing little blue scraps together. (I can't find that post) then stamped with three different stamps, and added some zentangle inking.

The words say, The journey is never truly over It just changed course.
I drew in little circles next to the stamp, then last night added golden beads which add sparkle and dimension.
The gold thread is YLI metallic, free motion spirals down the side and around the sun.

The sun fabric was a scrap from one I hand penciled and used in another large piece. I couldn't bear to throw away the smallest piece! So here it is again!

I love how the delicate gold beads look circling the sun.

and on this one. See the beads?

You can see the black ribbon, and the green threads here. I put the black one first. Then went back and put a row of the green. I will use that again.

I used scraps, stamps and ink, zentangle pens, beads specialty threads all from stash. Yea!
What did I learn?
1. not everything I sew has to be used... maybe this little blue center could have been a greeting card, but it didn't. I listened to my creative side and put different elements into the one piece.
2. I developed another edge treatment to show in my workshops.
3. The blue strips were about 1" X 3". Certainly worthy of throwing away, but I didn't.

4. Go ahead and keep elements, but keep them together and see what might work together.
5. Sometimes you don't know what you have til you stand back. When I stand back I see the word IF
created by the banner and the bird!!! couldn't have planned that
6. I am ready to return to sorting now... got that out of my system!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Cole's view of fine dining

Why, is that the FRIDGE?? I think it's a magical place!!
My poodle, the one who has always been given organic expensive dog food, who now is fed allergy food from the vets that costs a lot, eats weird stuff.

 my vet calls it....dietary indiscretions. 

We went in once and she asked "what has he eaten?"
blink blink
I answered, "he goes out back by himself, so you'll have to ask him"

Over the years he has eaten paper especially clean tissues from the box, TP, dance shoes, straight pins, tin foil, watercolor paintings, cigarette butts, stuffed toys, rawhides in entirety, cigar butts, wood chips, grass, and a multitude of items that are un-recognizable when they are urped up.
Dog food??? ewwww
 Who among us hasn't had that momentary panic when hearing the start of that  urp, urp, urp sound.
Woken from a sound sleep leaping from bed to find something to protect the carpet.
Gazed at it like it was a crystal ball to decipher what the fizzy it used to be.

Cole:  these days my tastes run to the after dinner Whimsey. I had one two days in a row, so now it's EXPECTED. EVERY NIGHT. Heaven forbid they stop making these, and our local store has run out.
I had my peeps order a bag from Amazon. Crisis Averted.

My lab once ate borax tablets in FL, the ones we leave in cabinets to kill bugs. She once ate nearly to the bottom of her 20 lb food tin while I was at work. She ate Christmas tree ornaments and shoes. In fact nearly everything in my house had a Chelsea-bite out of it. I called her my refrigerator retriever.

My fave story about her was the time we walked the 'hood looking at Christmas lights. She began to drag behind, we turned to see why, and she was trotting along with a full hamburger-in-bun in her mouth! Waiting for us to stop and admire the lights so she could eat it I suppose. She looked and forgive me here, a bit like Al Jolson. (Apologies for that reference but that's the first thing I thought of)

I heard a  comedian say once, when asked if her dog would like some expensive organic biscuits,
"I don't know. He's out back eating poop right now, I'll go ask him"
I ask for nothing more special than what you eat...
Does your dog or cat enjoy this kind of variety in their diet?? Tell me your story.
linking to

Sunday, February 21, 2016

A thimble full of color

My scrappy tumbler project has grown.

Little by little...choice by choice... slowly done by hand, basted on printed thick paper templates, tiny pieces of fabric scraps come together.
It's a study in:
Line and  repetition.  How do the lines intersect? Where do they cross and how does it feel when they come close but don't match?

Scale... from 1" to 2.5". How does the scale effect the mood of the piece? large next to small...

Color... Mostly chosen from one side of the color wheel, cool colors of green to turquoise to blue to purple, then one step toward red. The red sparks it to me. The red and the flashes of yellow in the green. Warm against all the cool colors.

Shade... from deepest dark black to almost white aqua. The variation makes it sparkle.

Print to solid ratio... if there is a print, it's blendable. I chose to include only a couple of recognizable prints, for instance the tiny thimbles of black are actually black with tiny stars of bright color. Otherwise the print looks mottled, hopefully like tiles or glass.
Right now before borders, it is about 20" X 26". I have pieced in the stonehenge border fabric with an eye to putting one of them on the outside. Or both.

My inspiration for this piece are tile mosaics hanging on the wall in the Baltimore Museum of Art.
Etruscan I think. Old for sure. The broken areas make it more interesting to me. The colors no longer brilliant but faded to an organic soft look.

My friend asked why I am so invested in working small, with little scraps of fabric when I own so much yardage. I feel free when playing with my scraps. And it's physically easier to work small. And I get such joy from seeing the colors blend in artwork.

This has been on the cutting table, slowly growing long enough and it's about ready to finish.

How thrilling!

Funny that they tell you when they're done, isn't it? 

Interested in more handwork? I believe the label on the right, "this is gonna take a while..." has more posts!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

brown dress, sofa, tv and recliner

whew! That's done.
Brown is the focus color of the month at RSC2016
Using the book, Paper pieced home I did these retro blocks in browns from scraps...
The tv is my favorite. We had a tv like this when I was growing up, as I told you about here: CLICK
The one in brown seems to have a fuzzy picture, guess the station went off the air for the night, time to go to bed!

First of all, I love the designs.
Second, I hate, and I know that's a strong word, hate her patterns. 

The only way I got through them this time was to print one out from the cd (I bought that book of patterns with good money, thinking she would have done that for us)

Cut CAREFULLY along the faint blue lines separating the 7 sections on just the chair block alone, RE-COPY them separated into sections so that they can be Paper pieced in a normal fashion.

She does not do this for us despite it being on a CD. She does not enable us to resize or flip orientation despite it being on a resize them,  I get in the car and drive to office depot and fuss with their copier.
Who doesn't remember lazy boy recliners??

grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.    (SewPrecise software is SO MUCH BETTER)

But I do like her line drawings so I did the work to make my own patterns from them. I guess Ill go to the store to try and mirror image the chair if I do another one. Which is questionable.
The things I do like. The shapes. The Fabrics I found in the scrap bin that look so interesting on the sofa and TV. The brown and pink fabric scrap for the dress. In our 1960's house, we had a rattan porch sofa with cushions similar to the palms on this one. The hexies on the seat cushion are for my love of that shape and metallic gold. The turquoise legs are just plain fun.

 I wouldn't mind brown so much if I found a sofa like this one.So here's the room of mismatched furniture...
just like around here.

Friday, February 19, 2016

"Silent Snowmen" from UFO to Finished

"Silent Snowmen" shown on our king-sized bed as it's too heavy for my design wall!
I have made many bed sized quilts over the years but am primarily an art quilter now and working smaller. Working on large quilts is a challenge on me physically.

 This was quilted in 3 center sections, and 4 border sections, then put together.

 The joins are virtually invisible in the areas with the same backing fabric and it allowed me to more comfortably handle the work.You can see the join above because I backed the borders with different fabric so I could use my stash.
this is a pic of the top half. Pattern source is QuiltDoodleDoodles from 2014 BOM.
I made each block on the given month.
This is the bottom half...

Snowmen have button eyes but no mouths, hence the title.
The house has words and hearts, and threadwork

laughter, happiness, gratitude
gratuitous cows, of course

and notice the different snow fabrics. I had fun with my stash of snowy blues! Many of the 2.5" squares came from scrap bins and the others from yardage.

I love that snowflake on batik fabric...

Appliqued Contra dancing snowmen
The top and bottom borders were quilted, then binding put on the section,  then sewn to the body of the quilt.

When they went on the quilt, they already had binding on them with an un-sewn tail left to join with the adjoining border.

It was so large and heavy with flannel backing that I saved myself by  binding each border, as I went. The joins are invisible!

I'll use this method again.

 I wrote about each block showing details as I made them. In case you want to look back...
One post is here...  quilted-mugs  and others are monthly posts throughout 2014 under BOM's  label
My tutorial on QAYgo is here:   two-ways-to-quilt-as-you-go-king-size

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Cole's Commandments... kieep your people busy

Cole here, to discuss an important topic.
"What to do when your people have obsessions"

Sure, they call it hobbies, but a hobby is ball chasing, squirrel watching, removing the insides from stuffies, stuff like that.

My momma is obsessed with fabric. (You'd think she'd dress better, but I digress)
Even little throw-away bits like this. People give them to her, she washes them in a bag and sorts them into little bins so that she can disappear for hours while I sit doing nothing.

I decided to give the scraps a real sniff when she was in the studio, just to see what the fuss was all about.
Shrug. Smelled like soap, blech.
 Daddy is obsessed with his guitar. This is the take-along guitar.
 He and I usually entertain ourselves when we are taken along to a quilting store. I don't touch it. First of all, my nails are long but I can't get a good grip on the thing.

The strings might be like floss though...

Usually when Dad goes up to practice, I go up to protect him.
I lay just outside his cave, and watch.

I listen to the music but he likes folk and I like new age

When I feel he's had enough, I nose him.
Dogs know this technique.
Put a cold wet nose directly under an arm and jerk your head up, causing their arm to rise up abruptly and getting their attention. Much more effective than a bark.

When Momma is in the studio I pace around inside the door.  I have had to resort to the "nose technique" but she isn't nearly as nice about it as Daddy.

 "Cole QUIT!"
(To her credit, if I do that during a vacuuming session she brings me deep into her cave and closes the door to keep the noisy thing out)

The thing is, these hobbies keep them busy and when they're busy they are NOT grooming  me.

And that's a good thing.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Three bloggers walk into a restaurant....

Nancy (pugmom), ME!, and Mari (academic quilter)

When my friend Nancy from Boston contacted me asking to meet at the Michener Museum in PA for the Kaffe exhibit, I said yes.

Nancy and her husband Mike,  Mari   my husband Drew, and myself met for lunch then went to the Museum.

<= Look at that door! This museum is full of the most interesting artful crafts.
I did not take any pics of the actual Kaffe exhibit but look at the ones I took of regular exhibits.. Very quilty aren't they?

This is like a forest of glass and paper trees...

My camera would not take a true color pic of this one, but it was intensely dark and reflective. I just love the color peeking through the black tiles.

I really want to make a quilt like this... and do not want to make it like a snowball pattern which would be super easy to piece. Then I would get seam lines in the colored centers. I have to devise a super Hard way to piece them with inset seams.

Yep, that's the kind of quilter I am.

made of glass and tile
This was SO wonderful. Textured and colored and looking for the world like a quilt I made once of hoodoos. ( STAT quilt representing Paul Klee)
Now I want to make that one too!
The actual exhibit was interesting to me because of the antique quilts. I am not a traditionalist but I found I preferred the mismatched seam lines and odd coloring of the antiques far more than the modern interpretations with the busy fabrics, all in medium tone.

We all like something different.
I saw a child playing in the hands on area, where scraps and design walls were available. I asked what she liked about quilting, and she said, the shapes.
Me too.

All in all, what fun to meet up!

What do quilt blog people do when they meet? They shop for fabric, so we left the museum for the Byrne's  fabric store where we encouraged each other to buy more fabric. Just in case.