Posts Tagged ‘design’

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 (, 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:


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.


April 18, 2012

The latest Challenge assignment will again give me a chance to finish a UFO, and again it is a Progressive Party project.

The quilt began its journey as a bordered rectangle of fish fabric. By the end it had blossomed into a fish tank on a book shelf. I was so pleased with it that I set it aside until I had the perfect quilting design for it.

Finished laughing, have you? Of course the perfect quilting pattern never revealed itself, and the darling little fish tank languished in one corner or another for more years than I care to admit. Then came the Challenge assignment – Fish. That’s all, just Fish. I can do anything I want as long as I can somehow relate it to the word Fish. I decided it was time to finish this quilt.

Which isn’t to say I couldn’t have done a brand new fish quilt. I have a sewing room full of fishy things.

One might ask why I have so many fish-related items. I can’t honestly tell you. I don’t eat fish and I prefer dogs as pets, but show me some fish fabric and it’s like putting a 5-lb box of chocolates in front of me. I start drooling, and before you know it my little hand is reaching out to snatch something. Occasionally I make something from my fish fabric –

– but for the most part I just keep adding to the collection. I can only hope that the integrity of the space-time continuum won’t be compromised if I actually use up my pile of fish fabrics.