The Experiment Worked!

I discovered that I can embroider and bead on the drape fabric without much fuss. I marked the pattern with a sliver of soap, and the markings lasted throughout the whole process. The floss looks great, and although it was fussy getting on the needle, it eased through the fabric nicely. I planned to use round beads for the circle around the tree, but the oval beads were readily available. I like them better. This tree doesn’t need sequins, but I might do another one with sequins for leaves. After all, I have plenty of fabric to experiment with.

Luck and wisdom!

Something in the Air

I added more beads to “Something in the Air” and decided it was enough. Next is binding, but I won’t tackle that until my sewing machine comes back from the shop.

The beads I used came from the collection I had taken out for another project, all except the little star beads.

The white star bead is from my grandfather. He did all sorts of crafts, from carving to turning wooden vases and bowls, to beadwork. I’ve used quite a lot of what I inherited from him, but there is still more.

I also did a little work on some contest pieces. This is the first one, which I may enter in a contest that wants summer colors on a green background. I’m not sure it says summer, but it certainly says shades of green.

Luck and wisdom!

Guilty Pleasures

Now that my sewing machine is in the shop for a well-deserved cleaning, I’m allowing myself to do handwork during my productive hours. Usually I do handwork at night, when I’m watching television or listening to music. I got in the habit of doing handwork while I waited for the kids at lessons. It’s a good habit – to bring something along for my hands when my full attention isn’t required – but I soon discovered I felt guilty just sitting down to handquilt or bead. I have a similar feeling when I sit down to read in the middle of the day, as if I’m playing hooky. Either I have to shake the feeling or learn to revel in it, and I’m not sure which will be best. In the meantime, I finally finished the piece pictured above. It needed handquilting, but I wasn’t sure what to do. Here is one detail:

I named the quilt “Pear Without Partridge.” As well as the cross-stitch pear, it features a quilted pear.

The next quilt was another I started ages ago. I mean, like, years and years ago. I never found a particular home for it, so it languished as a top.

The fabrics are just busy enough that neither quilting nor beading shows well. I finally accepted that, used very simple quilting patterns, and added only a few beads for sparkle. It’s called “There’s Something About A Fish.”

Luck and wisdom!

Nightmare Catcher

I expected to bead this project for many weeks. Although it is small, I had no plan for the embellishments other than putting the bat charm on a fringe of some sort. By the end of the first beading session, however, it was clear the project would take on a life of its own. When I finished the border rows, I wasn’t even thinking in my own voice. I’d pick up a container of beads and yes or no would echo in my head. It seemed appropriate for a piece that is meant to capture the nightmares of 2020, so I let the work talk to me until I heard I’m done.

Luck and wisdom!

Figs In Space

I unearthed an experiment of space fabric layered on batting and quilted, and decided it would be an ideal foundation for my fig applique. Don’t ask why, just go with it. I attached the applique with some running stitches, and added beads and embroidered leaves.

The binding is narrow sheer ribbon. The planet patch covers the spot where the ribbon ends meet. Technically, this is a single fig in space, but the plural sounds better to me so that’s what the piece is called – Figs In Space. Consider this your whimsy for the day.

Luck and wisdom!

What’s At Hand

The curse of productivity is that you find yourself repeating the same pattern because it is efficient. After running through a bunch of tops for donation quilts, my creativity decided to take a vacation. Realizing I needed to do something completely different so I could face my fabric collections again, I took a look at what was at hand. This is what I found.

My original idea was to create a forest scene, but that wasn’t working. Someone suggested I cut it up, bead the units, and make pins. That may still happen, but for the moment I’m beading the piece whole.

I have a box of beautiful green beads that I would love to use, but not a lot of any one variety. I may bead the center and turn it into an art piece, then trim off the edges to make small pins. Regardless, the project at hand is letting those little gray cells work again, and that’s good enough for me.

Luck and wisdom!

Overkill – It’s Genetic

My grandmother used to say it was nothing for one woman to cook for fifty people. Trouble was, she cooked for fifty even when she was serving five, and her food was so delicious we five would eat as if we were fifty (and starving). I guess I learned the overkill lesson a little too well, because I took along three projects when I demonstrated quilting at the county fair last week, and only worked on one.

I call it Forest Floor – Abstract

At least I finished the embellishment part of the project at the fair. I will use a facing rather than a binding for this abstract forest floor. I didn’t get a chance to start the piece I intend to turn into an impressionist landscape until later in the week.


As I suspected, the paint on this fabric is really stiff. I started beading the sections that look like flower beds with the idea of embroidering leaves and vines later. The leaves and vines might have to be sketched in with a permanent marker. I am beading and stipling through the fabric and a layer of batting.

I will probably finish the piece with a Laura Wasilowski technique, demonstrated in this tutorial. She is as wonderful a teacher of fiber art as my grandmother was a teacher of cooking. I hope you are also fortunate enough to be able to learn from the best.

Luck and wisdom!

Demonstration Projects – Beginning

I volunteered to demonstrate quilting techniques at the county fair, which means coming up with projects. There are 1001 projects waiting for attention in my sewing room, and I had the hardest time choosing. In the end, I decided to go with what I could reach.

A few beaded flowers, and I’ve got myself a landscape

This piece of fabric is the last one I “printed” from a tray of acrylic paint. I gently pressed the fabric into the tray and let it absorb the paint, then moved it to other areas to get the last blobs. Viewing the piece from this angle, it looks like an impressionistic landscape. I plan to demonstrate beading techniques to enhance that effect.

Think trees

While searching for a background for a Challenge Group assignment, I found this commercial print. It will work perfectly for my idea of an abstract landscape (specifically a forest floor). Beads, embroidery floss, and sequins are in its future.

Whether these experiments work or not, at least I’ll have something to show today. If the crowd is particularly creative, they may give me better ideas.

Luck and wisdom!

Beading Projects, Holiday Miracles, and Me

The first of the holiday miracles occurred this week. I finished the beading-projects-in-progress. The shy little orange piece finally told me what it wanted.

I considered making more tassels, but then I saw some other large beads and knew that less would be more with something that measures only 4″ x 6″.

The less is more school of beading worked for the green stripe piece too. I added a few extra lines of embroidery after I did the running stitch around the edge and called it good.

The piece begged for minimalist embroidery. I used a turquoise silk ribbon. This is my first foray into silk ribbon embroidery, but definitely won’t be the last.

This piece really kept its wishes hidden. I put on the two small gold beads, waited a day, beaded the lines with the large wooden blue beads, waited a day, and attached the bronze rectangle. By that time I was done listening to the piece. A double row of running stitches seemed sufficient.

My holiday wish for you is that all your projects go well throughout the season.

Luck and wisdom!

When You Inherit Fabric

Being a quilter is a little bit like being a crazy cat lady. There’s always one more cutie that needs a good home, so you open the door and say, “Come on in! We’ll find a corner for you someplace.” The problem is when you go to that Great Fabric Store In The Sky someone else has to find a new home for your treasures. I’ve inherited a little bit of fabric from relatives, but a lot more from other people’s relatives. I don’t feel bound to finish someone else’s project, but I do enjoy seeing if I can be inspired by it.

My friend Sue Waldron gave me a small bag of fabric cut and ready to make pins. I actually intended to make a few, but when I looked through the bag some of the pieces whispered, “Say, wouldn’t we make great miniature beading pieces instead?” So that’s what they’re becoming.

Pretty fabric, beads, and black felt – what could be easier?

This turquoise one wanted to be minimalist. A disc and a few beads and snap! We’re done.

How fortunate to have beads that match the green stripe!

This one begged for a little loop. It might be begging for a fringe or a tassel, but I’m not sure. It could be the extra piece of chocolate-cherry trifle I ate talking and not the art piece.

Still in progress

This one is a little shy. I used a variegated thread to attach the silk to the black felt, then put down a squiggle of beads. It needs another squiggle or two, but after that, who knows. I’ll have to listen a little more carefully, and avoid overindulging in cherry-chocolate trifle.

Luck and wisdom!