Posts Tagged ‘creative process’

Scary Stories

October 25, 2017

I’ve been thinking about scary stories set in my sewing room. The room itself is a scary story, but let’s not dwell on that. On the other hand, perhaps we should, and keep the title I came up with earlier in the year – Thread Brain: A Story – in mind.

So, let’s suppose the schnibbles and thread snips have gone beyond the dust bunny stage. They’ve accumulated critical mass and developed language skills.

Schnibbles of the world, unite!

Then they make an alliance with the stuffed toys to take over the sewing room, and then the world. Or maybe they infect the stuffed toys, like a parasite, and turn them into their own little army.

Birds worked for Hitchcock, why not for me?

Now let’s add another critter, one I only bring out once a year. Like this Halloween spider.

Halloween decoration or guardian angel?

This spider opposes the schnibbles. Why? To have the sewing room for herself? Or is the spider my guardian angel, sent to protect me from my willingness to create art in squalor and chaos?

This is the outline of a story. I have no idea if it should be funny or scary, short or long. It’s like a sketch of a quilt. Whether it should be king-size or miniature, art or utilitarian – those are questions that sometimes won’t take the answer I give myself at the beginning of the creative process. If you’ve got an idea for the story, write it in comments and we’ll see what happens.

Luck and wisdom!

Advertisements

Sacrificed For The Greater Good

July 15, 2015

When I first started quilting, I was too frugal to waste fabric. That included putting a throw-away border around projects to hand quilt. I’m wiser now (older, too, but we won’t mention that), and I have a lot of fabric in my stash. Some of it was never great to begin with, and time hasn’t made it better. There are two projects I intend to hand quilt, and I am ready to sacrifice some of my scraps for the greater good.

The brown stripe on the edge is the throw-away border

The brown stripe on the edge is the throw-away border

The frugal part of me still balks at not saving all my scraps, but the realistic part is getting the upper hand. There is only so much one can do with bits and pieces that don’t match one’s current artistic vision. To help quiet that shrill voice, I am using my scraps of embroidery floss to finish some marked squares I inherited from my grandmother.

Using what I have

Using what I have

I’ve used several different shades of yellow. They blend just fine, and I used a variegated floss for the flowers (also a scrap left from another project), so it looks like I intended to have variety in the piece.

My citrusy flower ring

My citrusy flower ring

I realized early enough that I didn’t have enough leftover floss for all the flowers, but I had enough orange for half of the center flowers. As it turns out, I found another few strands of the red, which I used on the points. The piece is balanced, which is all that counts. I’m not entering it in any contests, so I don’t have to justify my decisions to anyone but my own inner critic.

Luck and wisdom!

Recalculating

September 3, 2014

Despite my best intentions, and a brand new notepad, the new schedule I wrote up didn’t work this week. Part of that was due to the end of summer festivities – Labor Day Weekend and the Scottish Games – and part was due to the tortuous path creativity often takes. Oddly enough, stomping around the house in a snit did not help the creative process. Then I remembered the little voice from my GPS, who finds another way to my destination when I take a wrong turn even though the route is mapped out right there, on the screen. “Recalculating,” she grouses. I did, too.

Lani Longshore Viking tote

My go-to scheme when the task at hand proves difficult is to do something else. Instead of staring at the pile of fabric that wasn’t making itself into my Challenge project, I made a tote bag. I bought two yards of this Viking journey fabric, intending to make a quilt when my story about space Vikings is finished. Since I’m still working on the third book in the Chenille series (The Chenille Ultimatum), the space Viking story is on long-term hold. Instead, I lined the tote bag with space fabric.

Lani Longshore space fabric

I also put some jingly-jangly stuff on the outside of the bag.

Lani Longshore Viking motif keychain

It’s probably no surprise that I have more lovely embellishments. They didn’t quite fit the requirements for a tote bag.

Lani Longshore Viking embellishments

Since it is easier to make a new small project than put scraps away, I started a base quilt that might be a better home for the embellishments. It will also be a nice escape project for the next time I get writers and/or quilters block.

Luck and wisdom!

The Surface of Infinity, Quilted

May 22, 2013

Making progress on my own projects is such a rare event I had to rest after my last session in the sewing room. There are still piles everywhere, but I worked through a few issues with The Surface of Infinity – at least enough to get it quilted.

 

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

The fabric I used for the border has a subtle print that begged to be stitched.

 

Lani Longshore The Surface of Infinity quilted detail

 

Other parts of the piece are whining for more attention, but I’m putting that off for the final embellishment. There will be beads, of course, but perhaps some hand-quilting, too.

 

The long tail is a Mobius strip, or will be once I wire the edge. At the moment it is merely a loop.

 

Lani Longshore The Surface of Infinity Mobius strip tail

 

Lucky for me, Holly Altman taught a class on making three-dimensional embellishments – including wiring edges for bendable leaves and vines – at Art Quilt Santa Fe. One more reason to keep taking classes, especially ones that don’t exactly match your current style – you never know when what you don’t know will be just what you need to know.

 

Experiment, Take Two

February 14, 2013

The nasty cough that is going around found me, so while I was sniffling on the couch for the last week I spent some time thinking about my curved fabric vase. One of my quilting buddies (thanks, Jan Maxwell!) showed our friendship group a product she had found for making purses. It is called Soft and Stable (ByAnnie.com), looks like lined foam, and held the promise of being just what I needed.

Before I cut into the fabric and foam, however, I decided to do a proof-of-concept piece. I took a square of canvas, cut it into a circle, marked some darts and sewed. Then I gathered the top edge. This is the result:

Canvas proof-of-concept, with darts

Canvas proof-of-concept, with darts

Next, I gathered my supplies:

Soft and stable, fabric

The product instructions claimed that sewing around the edges would be sufficient, so I assembled the three layers:

layers

Then I sewed two circles – one around the outside edge and one in the center for the base. After that, I marked where the shaping would go:

first stitches, layered bowl

For this piece, I decided to sew ribs rather than darts:

fabric bowl, ribs

This created a nice, shallow bowl:

flat bowl

Since I wanted a shaped vase, I sewed a casing to the top edge, ran some ribbon through it and gathered it up:

From the side . . .

From the side . . .

. . . and from the top

. . . and from the top

The end result is closer to the shape I want. Soft and Stable is a great product for this application, and I think I can achieve my goal. For the next version I’ll go sew darts rather than ribs, which should create a gentle, gathered curve. I’ll also cut a wider casing. The 1″ strip I cut was so narrow after subtracting seam allowances and turn-over that it was necessary to use many naughty words before the bodkin would slide through easily.

While I can’t say I’ve enjoyed being sick, I must admit that the enforced stillness gave me an excuse to take the time I needed to think through the next steps in my design. My reduced energy level encouraged me to do a simple version to see if I was on the right track. Now if only I can be this methodical when I’m feeling energetic and anxious to just get on with things.