Posts Tagged ‘beading’

Pink Elephants!

July 5, 2017

Pink elephants – need I say more? Alright, I will. I found a coloring book of animal designs. The elephant was fabulous. While considering what background to use, my eye fell on a piece of pink wool felt. I was determined to embroider myself a pink elephant. There was only one problem – transferring the pattern to the felt.

Who knew netting could become template material?

I decided to draw the elephant on some white netting, and transfer the pattern to the felt by going over the lines with a fine-tipped pen. Actually, I first thought of tracing the elephant on the netting and stitching through that on the felt, but the netting slipped around so much while inking the design that I abandoned that idea right away.

If you look carefully, you can see a fold of netting by the elephant’s ear

Choosing the thread posed its own problems. I have lots and lots of thread, floss, ribbon, whatever. In desperation, I chose a variegated thread for the outline and yellow for the tusks. I stitched those lines and let the piece sit for a couple of days until it told me what colors to use next.

This is the sort of project that could call itself finished more than once. I could have left off with the outline and tusks, but I did add some more stitching, then a piece of trim, then some beads. At the moment, this is where it stands.

Done until the elephant tells me it wants more stitching or beads

Luck and wisdom!

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The Beading Version of The Song That Never Ends

May 31, 2017

When my kids were little, they learned a wicked little song:

This is the song that never ends

Yes it goes on and on, my friends

Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was

And they continued singing it forever just because

This is the song that never ends . . .

It still gets stuck in my head, especially now that I’ve put aside my Santa Fe quilt.

This is on its side, although I might hang it this way eventually

Since an overall beading design didn’t immediately leap to mind, I started beading the sections.

Beads for the Turquoise Trail

There is more empty space for beading and quilting, but at the moment I’m out of ideas.

Perhaps the turtle will tell me what to do next

That’s okay with me. I have plenty of other projects to occupy my time. Also, like the song that never ends, I suspect I’ll revisit the project now and again, beading needle in hand.

Luck and wisdom!

Projects For Fidgety Fingers

February 8, 2017

Last month I attended an all-day writing workshop with some friends. I filled my tote bag with notebooks and pens. Then, for reasons I barely understand myself, I threw in a beading project.

So far, this is untitled with pearls

So far, this is untitled with pearls

My friends asked what the project was for. I said I wasn’t sure, but the truth is I knew my fingers would get fidgety. The workshop included a lot of time for discussion, and we all know that quilters/beaders/knitters/needleworkers can run both the mouth and the fingers at the same time. Sure enough, by the afternoon I was desperate for something to do with my hands when we weren’t actually writing.

When I got home, I noticed once again all the little boxes and bags I’ve collected over the years for portable projects. I opened a few and discovered that while I had indeed used all of them at one time or another, I had never cleaned out a single one.

A darning box for socks I no longer own

A darning box for socks I no longer own

Some of the boxes are big enough to hold several projects. This plastic stacking bin is a good example.

Lani Longshore small tote

I have no idea why I didn’t put another project in the bin. Heaven knows I have enough work in various stages of completion.

A cupcake container makes a wonderful sorting tool

A cupcake container makes a wonderful sorting tool

I’ve collected fabrics that I think would work well together so that when the need arises for a quick gift I can grab a bag and get started. This year, one of my goals will be to clean out the bring-along boxes, and have projects ready to pick and go when I suspect I’ll get a case of fidgety fingers.

Lani Longshore fabric collections

Luck and wisdom!

That Aha Moment

October 19, 2016

Two small solutions came to me in one of those lovely “aha!” moments. The first solution was for a Progressive Party project. The theme this round is movie quilts. It’s my turn to work on The Wizard of Oz quilt, and Jeanne Brophy suggested I do the scene with the house on the Wicked Witch of the East. I figured out how to make clapboard siding, but how to create the ruby slippers? Then I noticed I have crescent sequins. Red crescent sequins.

Check out those pointy toes

Check out those pointy toes

The second solution was for my map quilt. It needed more. I added more. It still needed more, especially around the edge. I explored my bead collection, and discovered I have plenty that work with this piece.

Lani Longshore map quilt

I even have beads of similar size but different colors for different sections of the edge.

Variation on a border

Variation on a border

Sometimes, solving one small problem is enough to make the whole day better. Solving two gives me a boost for a week. Being able to put out another Halloween decoration? Priceless.

Glitter and polka dots - heaven

Glitter and polka dots – heaven

Luck and wisdom!

Finding Focus

October 12, 2016

I’m building two quilts from the base up, letting the fabric tell me what it wants next. Turns out the fabrics I chose all have different plans, and while they are quite willing to sit next to each other they can’t agree on the direction the quilt should take. They have no focus.

Lani Longshore cityscape

This is my cityscape, which started when I made a mistake measuring. I found some other architectural fabric that I like. There is room in the white rectangles to create a focal point. I will be extremely happy when I know what that focal point should be.

Lani Longshore map quilt

This is my map quilt, which looks very different up close while beading than it does in a picture. I can see that I need to do something around the edges to tell the viewer “stop here.” I wanted the eye to travel easily over the surface, so there are several interest points. I’m not sure that qualifies as focus.

Lani Longshore beading detail

My go-to technique is always beading. There is room to add larger beads, or even make bead clusters, as soon as the piece starts talking to me.

Lani Longhore embroidery detail

My second favorite technique is embroidery. These trees reinforce the idea that this fabric represents hills. Perhaps the threads are too subtle if I feel the need to explain the image.

Lani Longshore map detail

Writing on quilts is a new technique for me. This compass is also subtle, perhaps even delicate. Perhaps too cautious?

The great thing about art quilts is that there is always room to try one more thing. These quilts may be in progress for some little while, but I’m learning as I go, and that’s good news.

Luck and wisdom!

Colors And Vineyards And All That Jazz

September 7, 2016

I’m working on a couple of challenge quilts that may never be finished. Oh, they’ll be turned in, but they both keep telling me there is always room for one more bead.

This looks more like a grape vine if you squint

This looks more like a grape vine if you squint

The challenge is Colors of the Vineyard. I started with the background fabric and put a vine on one and a tree on the other. My usual procedure is to quilt, bead and bind. This time, I bound them in the middle of beading so that at some point I can say the project is done (even if it is merely abandoned).

Beads, lots of beads

Beads, lots of beads

I started beading grapes. That got old real fast, so I started beading around the motifs. Since I bead while watching TV, the needle kind of takes over. It’s like eating popcorn while watching a movie. Suddenly the bowl is empty and you don’t know how that happened. In this case, the fabric is encrusted but I have no idea when it happened.

My mossy tree

My mossy tree

For this quilt, I intended to use a blanket stitch around the tree applique and leave it at that. Then I looked at all my beads, and realized the quilt desperately needed a bit of sparkle.

Finally, a place for these tear drop beads

Finally, a place for these tear drop beads

I’ve been beading this quilt in front of the TV, too, but I forced myself to cover only one side of the trunk. I want it to look like moss.

Auditioning fabrics - better one?

Auditioning fabrics – better one?

I hadn’t intended to enter the tree into the challenge because it doesn’t meet the size requirement. My quilting buddies reminded me that if I made an underquilt the tree would meet the requirements just fine, thank you very much. The above fabric was my first choice (and not just because I could reach it easily).

Auditioning fabrics - better two?

Auditioning fabrics – better two?

This is my second choice. My third choice is to go shopping. I know which path my budget tells me to take, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to listen.

Luck and wisdom!

Bound With Ribbons

June 22, 2016

I had a little “waste not, want not” talk with myself. Many quilts are stacked up, waiting to be bound. I dreaded the time spent cutting strips, much less choosing the fabric to make binding. “Self, use your leftover ribbon,” I said.

Pink organza ribbon gives just a little sparkle

Pink organza ribbon gives just a little sparkle

I ran out of blue ribbon for my Cuba quilt, so finished it with gold.

My Cuba quilt - blue ribbon on the side, gold on top and bottom

My Cuba quilt – blue ribbon on the side, gold on top and bottom

This quilt was buried in the middle of the pile. I ran out of brown ribbon when I started and didn’t get back to it. There was still gold ribbon on the spool, so I finished it, too.

Lani Longshore floral

The pink quilts were part of a series that I intended to bead. I’ve started the beading, but the exact right design hasn’t revealed itself yet. Until it does, I’ll keep the quilts next to me on the couch and add beads as the mood strikes (or the TV show gets boring).

Lani Longshore beading detail

Luck and wisdom!

Design by the Seat of Your Pants

June 15, 2016

In the writing world, there are plotters and pantsers. Plotters know where they’re going at every step of the way. Sometimes their plot outlines are so detailed they basically just have to add a few “ands” and “buts” and the story is done. Pantsers, not so much. They start writing and see where the words take them. I am a pantser, not only in my writing but also in my quilting.

A footed flower vase and falling petals

A footed flower vase and falling petals

The gray top is one that the Progressive Party made for me to embellish. The rose petals and leaves were made by someone else, too – Bella Nonna. They’re silk, but feel like a thick, handmade paper. I won the package at a silent auction (don’t ask why I put a bid on them, I’ve long since forgotten). The bag with the rose petals was on the ironing board, which reminded me of my collection of red beads, and then I started working.

Without a plan.

That happens a lot in my studio. There’s no better feeling in the world when things go well and the project tells me what it wants. Nevertheless, to make a quilt one actually has to sew the top to a batting and backing, and that’s when things get dicey.

Handquilting with beads

Handquilting with beads

Forget the trouble with sewing the quilting lines after you’ve done the embellishment. Just marking those lines is a pain in the . . . pants. You’d think I would learn my lesson and consider the end at the beginning, but it doesn’t always work. In my writing, sometimes the end is as much a surprise to me as it is to my readers – so also in my quilting.

The good news is, my idea for quilting continues to develop. I decided to start with diagonal lines and scattered beads. I like the look, but will have horizontal lines along the bottom and vertical lines on the remaining side. Today I thought, “Self, bind it in red and add more rose petals to extend the flowers beyond the edge.” We’ll see what ideas I have tomorrow.

Beaded centers

Beaded centers

The beading may evolve, too. I thought adding a few beads to the flower centers would look nice. It does. I may add beads to all the petals. Heaven knows I have enough to encrust those things.

With any luck, the creativity inspired by this project will spill over to The Chenille Ultimatum. I’m working on the last chapters now, and the characters have been better at telling me what they want. Every so often, however, one of them throws a tantrum and decides something else is needed. Just like my quilts.

By the way, today is a palindrome for those of us who write the date month-day-year – 6/15/16. Sounds like a reason for a cake.

Luck and wisdom!

Line and Repetition

May 25, 2016

This week I started the to-be-quilted stack. I had no design plans, which means the quilts had to tell me what they wanted. The bad news is the tops refused to talk to me. The good news is my art quilt group is exploring design elements now. I decided to use line and repetition.

Echoing the edges

Echoing the edges

This quilt was easy to start, because the collage style practically screams for repetition. I did one line of beading, then a line of hand quilting. I’ll continue the process until A) I get bored out of my skull, or B) the top is too heavy to lift any more.

One fabric to hold many threads and beads

One fabric to hold many threads and beads

This quilt suggested I start with machine quilting, which is fine, but the center section didn’t want to cooperate. Luckily, I was reminded that one can combine machine- and hand-quilting. So I did. I’ll also add beads (like you thought I wouldn’t).

I recalled having layered more quilts than I actually did. I don’t enjoy layering quilts. That may explain why these tops have remained unquilted for so long. If I’m very clever, I will schedule a time to put tops together with batting and backing. Once it’s on the calendar, I’ll have a harder time ignoring the task.

Luck and wisdom!

The Turquoise Trail

May 11, 2016

I received a wonderful collection of beads at the first Art Quilt Santa Fe. I’ve been saving them for just the right project, something to commemorate the Turquoise Trail (yes, it’s a real thing).

Lani Longshore embellishments

You know what happens once you reserve something for “the right project.” First, you put the item up against every piece of fabric in your stash, but nothing inspires you. Then it gets lost because another project comes up and you’ve got a deadline. Then you rediscover the item and put it in a safe place, which you immediately forget because you have at least half a dozen safe places in your studio (don’t lie, I know you do).

Eventually, the item resurfaces once again. If you are very lucky, you have a project that is just right enough. That’s what happened to me this week.

Lani Longshore turquoise trail top

I used some of my chenille tape for the horizontal turquoise lines, and some of the raw silk I had painted. I’m not sure how to quilt this top, but at least it is pieced. I even have a back for it.

While I was thinking about all things turquoise, I opened the bag with my next Progressive Party project. Inside was a wonderful collection of African-themed fabrics. I used a print of huts and a batik that could have been part of my Southwest collection for this block, as well as a solid turquoise for the separator strips.

Lani Longshore framed huts block

My next big push will be to clear off the sewing table for a marathon quilting session. I have a stack of tops that I must attack before it attacks me. After that, it’s beading time.

Luck and wisdom!