Posts Tagged ‘embellishments’

Nightmare Catcher

June 17, 2020

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!

My Quilt of the Year

June 10, 2020

The Challenge Group project this time was to find a tool or pattern we had bought long ago and never used, then make a quilt with it. I had acquired a yo-yo maker, possibly last year or the year before, and it was still in the original packaging. I made a few yo-yos and thought they might do well as embellishments for a crazy quilt. Then I saw a chart in the latest National Geographic magazine comparing past epidemics with the current one. The graphic they used to represent the death toll of the various diseases looked very like a yo-yo. “Self,” I said, “you can use this.” I disassembled a dream catcher and tacked it to a gingko batik that I had painted over long ago, then added some yo-yos. Since I intend to bead the daylights out of this there’s no telling when it will be finished. I call it Nightmare Catcher for 2020.

Luck and wisdom!

Changing My Mind

August 28, 2019

I unearthed this small top in one of my piles, put it on the design wall, and said, “Self, what were you thinking?” For some reason, just before abandoning it I decided this already busy piece needed sashiko. It doesn’t.

While I am quite willing to change my mind about the embellishment, I am now at a loss as to where I should go with the project. Make it larger? Bead it? Turn it into a tote bag?

The same goes for this piece. Don’t ask why I thought lobster and astronomical novelty prints should go together. Even if I remembered my reasoning then, I probably wouldn’t admit to it now.

Both pieces will stay on the design wall for a little longer. One of the advantages of being a sci fi writer is that I’m quite willing to indulge in magical thinking, including the (perhaps vain) hope that the quilts will tell me what they want me to do next.

Luck and wisdom!

Can I Have Enough Bling?

December 5, 2018

I have a reputation for embellishing a project to within an inch of its life. While I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, I do love bling on my art quilts. The quilt I’m working on now, however, may shake my style.

This is a block in my Progressive Party project on the theme of The Mummy (1932, starring Boris Karloff). The quilt is gorgeous, but I’ve found that beads (or sequins) can enhance almost anything. It appears I’ve met the exception to that rule. I put a row of sequins on the eyelid of this block and thought, “Self, that’s enough.”

I went to another block, one with lots of empty space, and started beading. Now this block is whispering that I should stop. So far I’m listening, but it is rather a shock to think I’ve got a quilt with enough bling.

Luck and wisdom!

The Felt-Melt Project: Before and After

August 16, 2017

The Progressive Party decided to play with felt melting after I showed them what I learned at Art Quilt Santa Fe. We all came with pieces ready to melt. Here are before shots of mine:

For these pieces, I sewed the patches on the felt with my quilting foot. That helped keep square patches square and round patches round. It also helped me with curved quilting grids.

The Dahlek patch on this piece comes from B. Coole Designs. She comes to the Caledonian Club of San Francisco Scottish Games every year, and every year I buy a handful of patches. Many of them are still in my “I’m going to use you someday, I promise” box. It seemed appropriate to use a Dahlek on a project that was going to be tormented.

This is the first piece where the felt to be melted was first attached to a small whole-cloth underquilt.

Now for the after photos:

You can see the lace-like effect of melting the felt when you hold this piece up to the light. I might hang it in a window, or attach it to a light fabric.

Just like a Dahlek, this piece was bound and determined to dominate me. I may leave it curled and crinkled, or I may try to include it in a different, non-quilted piece of art.

The felt took longer to melt, but the underquilt escaped without a single scorch mark. I attached eye-stems on the bottom for beading. I haven’t decided which beads I’ll use, so for the moment I’m enjoying being psuedo-steampunk with my metal fringe.

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!

Where The Buffalo Roam

April 6, 2016

Since I didn’t have a plan for the embroidery on my buffalo collage, I put the threads and a couple of pattern books next to my place on the couch. When I watched TV, I also picked up my needle and thread. Hey, if buffalo can roam, so can my stitching. This is what I had by the end of the week.

Lani Longshore buffalo collage

Most of the stitches came from one of my crazy quilt pattern books.

The stencil is probably an auroch, but that's close enough for me

The stencil is probably an auroch, but that’s close enough for me

The backing comes from leftover pieces in my collection of High Plains and Southwest fabric.

Lani Longshore collage backing

I might add more embroidery later, but for now I’m auditioning beads in my new sorting container, which is the carry-out shell from the really cool cupcake place downtown, Cake Delight. When I finally finish the piece, I’m heading back there for my celebration treat.

Lani Longshore beads

Luck and wisdom!

Filling Holes

January 13, 2016

I spent a lot of time filling holes this week. There was the hole in the blog line-up for Tri-Valley Writers, there was a hole in the flavor profile of my persimmon sauce, and there were holes on the contest quilt for Quilting Arts magazine readers’ challenge.

holes-C-1-13-16

The theme is your superpower. I decided my superpower is the ability to ignore the reality of finite space if I have more stuff to cram into any given spot. To translate that into an art quilt, I picked a limited palette of beads and started stitching.

holes-1-13-16

I also did some hand quilting

holes-B-1-13-16

There is every possibility I will miss the deadline for this challenge because I will keep trying to cram more beads on the surface. That is my superpower, after all. Not to worry. The Challenge Group project is about holes. I can easily rewrite my artist statement to say this quilt represents the absence of holes.

Luck and wisdom!

A New Start

October 29, 2014

It looks like I really did abandon the jazz project. I decided to consider my options for a new start while finishing up a few projects, including the quilt of valor.

Bordered, quilted and bound

Bordered, quilted and bound

Not long ago, Cloth Paper Scissors Today ran an article on doing self-portraits (click here). I decided to give that technique a try and see if it would help me resurrect the jazz project.

The plastic is on top of the mirror

The plastic is on top of the mirror

The idea is to use a piece of plastic and a mirror to trace your own face. Turns out that’s harder than you might expect, especially if your eyesight is as bad as mine. You’re supposed to get real close to the mirror and use one eye to draw the contours of your face. That means taking off my glasses and remembering which eye has the worst problem with astigmatism. I managed something of an outline, which you are then supposed to use from the opposite side so your self-portrait is the way other people see you. This is my first attempt on fabric.

Scary enough for a Halloween mask

Scary enough for a Halloween mask

It’s not what I would call jazzy, but I have some embellishments that I can bead with jingly-jangly stuff – which will fit the Challenge alphabet project using a “j” word.

I wasn’t thrilled with the idea, however, so once again I decided to consider my options while working on something else. Here is where I started:

A first draft

A first draft

Here is where I ended.

The finished project

The finished project

I turned it around to see what it looked like in different orientations, and I decided I could call it “Jog” – as in, be careful of that jog in the road or you’ll end up going the wrong way. If you squint, the interrupted line sort of looks like a “j” (one of the rules is to have your letter incorporated on the surface in some way). At any rate, that’s what I’m going to tell folks just in case I don’t finish the jazz project in time and have to use this for my challenge.

Luck and wisdom!

Strips and Stripes for Halloween

October 15, 2014

The best part about uncovering my Halloween fabric stash is that most of the collection are scraps. Knowing I will never get a full-size quilt out of this stuff, I felt liberated. Not inspired, mind you. It took a whole lot of staring before I decided to use my go-to technique and assembled strips and stripes for the Halloween projects.

If you really see four moons outside your window, lay off the whiskey

If you really see four moons outside your window, lay off the whiskey

This is the easy solution for a landscape fabric – turn it into a scene from a window, complete with window case treatment and wallpaper.

Yes, those are eyes in the dark

Yes, those are eyes in the dark

I used a modified collage technique for this very small quilt. Some of the top is pieced, but most is layered and zig-zagged around the edges. I may put a string of silver sequins around the gray moon-lit square after I quilt the piece.

Lani Longshore spider card

Once I made the backings for the first two quilts, I had such small pieces left that I indulged myself with postcard quilts and embellishments meant for scrap-booking.

Cats A

Cats and Bat A

I’m more a dog person, but you can’t beat black cat batiks at Halloween, so I made two.

Cats and Bat B

Cats and Bat B

The embellishment started with a wreath for a handmade Christmas card. I glued on a bat button, and now it’s a spiderweb-covered cave entrance.

An October-December marriage

An October-December marriage

I also found the bat applique I bought years ago from B. CooleDesigns. This postcard quilt is for me.

Lani Longshore bat postcard

Last but not least, the traditional witches hat –

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Luck and wisdom!