Posts Tagged ‘experiment’

Progress and the Pixies Against Pride

March 28, 2018

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.

It looks slaunchygoggle here, but it is straight and flat

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.

White beads on white fabric = texture

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.

Luck and wisdom!

Return to Reality

April 27, 2016

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.

I didn't make time to put things away before I left

I didn’t make time to put things away before I left

Ah, well, there’s always the floor.

Working on the floor keeps one flexible, right?

Working on the floor keeps one flexible, right?

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.

These will become flower patches

These will become flower patches

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.

Could be star paths, could be map lines, could be coffee cup rings

Could be star paths, could be map lines, could be coffee cup rings

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?

Raw silk and spreading paint circles

Raw silk and spreading paint circles

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.

Luck and wisdom!


February 20, 2013

Yes, more fabric vases. I found the right combination of darts and gathers to make the vase curve.

It curves!

It curves!

Cutting a wedge and satin-stitching the edges together gave me a much smoother curve.

Cutting wedges makes a smooth interior, too.

Cutting wedges makes a smooth interior, too.

Eight wedges are needed, and they’re bigger than you might expect:

wedge from fabric vase

The vase puckers a smidge when gathered. I’ll cut slightly larger wedges for future vases, but I have the essentials down. Now to look for embellishments.

Gathered, not beaded

Gathered, not beaded


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.


February 6, 2013

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:

short round vase

This is what I started with:

fabric collection

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?