I discovered that I can embroider and bead on the drape fabric without much fuss. I marked the pattern with a sliver of soap, and the markings lasted throughout the whole process. The floss looks great, and although it was fussy getting on the needle, it eased through the fabric nicely. I planned to use round beads for the circle around the tree, but the oval beads were readily available. I like them better. This tree doesn’t need sequins, but I might do another one with sequins for leaves. After all, I have plenty of fabric to experiment with.
At the risk of angering the Pixies Against Pride, I am celebrating progress again by almost completing something from my list of unfinished projects for the guild challenge.
Yes, this quilt looks horribly off-kilter. Trust me, the blocks are straight, but my camera angle wasn’t, and I suspected the pixies were trying to knock me down a peg so I let it go. I quilted most of the piece on my home machine, then decided to add a few beads with hand quilting.
My art quilt group is exploring texture, and I briefly thought about using this quilt because of the beads. It doesn’t really fit the parameters of the assignment, however, so I took another look at my list of unfinished projects and pulled out a collection of embroidered and appliqued blocks.
I’m not sure these blocks fit the assignment either, but I’ll try to get double-duty from the project. Just don’t tell the pixies.
I returned from Art Quilt Santa Fe with new ideas. That’s only to be expected – Betty Busby is a fabulous teacher, and Ann Anastasio and Gale Oppenheim-Pietrzak do everything in their power to create the ideal space for experimentation. The reality, given that I am the queen of messy studios, is that once I returned home I had no place to work on these new ideas.
Ah, well, there’s always the floor.
The good news is, the little pieces I used for an experiment will work with the fabric I have on the cutting table. This will give me one more opportunity to put things away, not put things down.
I made these pieces with silk, Sharpies and rubbing alcohol. Yes, it’s an old technique but I never used it so it’s new to me. Later, I added some black for definition with a Pigma pen.
This piece might become part of a space quilt, or I might use it in a map quilt, or even in a Route 66 quilt. I don’t know how it would fit in a Route 66 quilt, but that’s the whole idea of trying something different, yes?
This raw silk patch is probably going to become a floral scene. Even the high desert has flowers once or twice a year (although these don’t look anything like those flowers).
The best news about this experiment is I thought I had lost my raw silk, but it was where it was supposed to be all the time. Part of me wants to blame the stash pixies for hiding it the last time I wanted it, but more likely I just overlooked it. Either way, I’ve got it now.
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:
Next, I gathered my supplies:
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:
For this piece, I decided to sew ribs rather than darts:
This created a nice, shallow bowl:
Since I wanted a shaped vase, I sewed a casing to the top edge, ran some ribbon through it and gathered it up:
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.
I finally made it into the sewing room to work on fabric sculpture. Vases, boxes and bowls were first on the list. My last attempts were successful, and I was feeling confident. Cue the irony gods laughing. This is what I wanted to replicate in fabric:
This is what I started with:
This is what emerged from the sewing machine:
Oy. The moral of the story is confidence will only take you so far. Tomorrow I’ll start again with a different approach, and I’ll sew until I get the shape I want. As for the failed experiment, I’ll keep it around and play with it. Who knows what it might turn into with the right beads – or combination of scissor snips?