Posts Tagged ‘embellishments’

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!

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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!

Return of the Deadline

September 24, 2014

Summer is over. The projects on the to-do list are increasingly colored like holidays – black and orange, pumpkin and roasty brown, red and green. Before daylight savings time arrives and the urge to hibernate takes over, I will revisit my calendar and the return of deadlines.

The first thing I need to do is trick myself into finishing things that aren’t going to become presents. This is the little quilt I made from scraps of my Viking journey tote bag.

Lani Longshore Viking quilt base

Here’s a detail view.

Lani Longshore Viking quilt binding

This project has no immediate home, but if I put the embellishments in a basket and put the basket on the couch, I’ve got a better chance of finishing it on those nights when my brain is only good for watching movies.

Lani Longshore Viking embellishments

Remember, finished projects can go in a cupboard, but materials live in the sewing room, taunting you (what, you mean I’m the only one who hears my beads trash-talking?).

The next deadline trick is to take out a UFO for friendship group discussion.

Connections in a quilters brain

Connections in a quilters brain

My art quilt critique group is going to be discussing works-in-series in November. What better time to revisit my brain quilt series? My goal is to cut some of the fabric I’ve collected, piece or applique enough to see what embellishment techniques will work well, and put those on the couch, too.

My hope is that the habit of finishing will carry me through the holidays. Then I hope that momentum will drop-kick me well into the new year.

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!

Spring Snowflakes

May 28, 2014

 

Even without the drought, my part of California rarely sees snowflakes. I’m not complaining, since this gives me a chance to make my own.

Lani Longshore bead snowflakes

I found a cute snowflake form from Beadsmith (click here for the Amazon.com link), and pulled out the plastic beads I inherited from my grandfather.

Lani Longshore plastic beads

He used these to make flowers for his small wood vases. I’ve used them in a few projects, but the little buggers multiply (much like the pieces in my scrap bin). The snowflake project might be the answer I need, since I have a huge collection of stone beads that could also make interesting snowflakes.

I have some ideas for how to use these snowflakes. My gardening friends, for example, might enjoy getting these black and yellow cuties.

Calling all honey bees!

Calling all honey bees!

These could be interesting decorations on gift packages.

Pretty with or without ribbon

Pretty with or without ribbon

I’m not sure I can use the snowflakes as an embellishment on art quilts, but that won’t stop me from trying. The forms are inexpensive, and making the snowflakes takes mere minutes. It’s another addiction, I’ll admit, but it uses up stuff in the sewing room and creates cute things that will go away. That’s good enough for me.

Luck and wisdom!

 

Luck and Wisdom

February 26, 2014

There are times when I write myself into a corner. I found myself trapped in a chapter of the next book in the Chenille series – The Chenille Ultimatum – and despaired. When I despair, I talk to myself. When I talk to myself, I ask questions like, “Self, what do you need?”

 

Turned out what I needed was luck and wisdom. So I had one of the characters comment on how the universe occasionally rewards our perseverance with luck and wisdom. A few hours later, I finished the chapter.

 

When I rewarded myself with some time in the sewing room, it occurred to me that I was very lucky to have a huge stash of embellishments, a lovely glass bottle, and an open tube of glass bead glue. I’m not always the cleverest person in the room, but I decided I was wise enough to seize the moment.

 

Shiny things!

Shiny things!

 

There is still room for more embellishments, and I’m just the gal to glue them.

 

As an added reward, I found this lovely, gutsy flower shoving through the cracked ground in our back yard after our first rain in months.

 

Growing in spite of it all

Growing in spite of it all

 

May we all be blessed with luck, wisdom and perseverance.