Posts Tagged ‘fabric’

Choices

February 1, 2017

Anyone walking into my sewing room knows I like to have choices. There are stacks of fabric everywhere, waiting to be chosen for the next project. Sometimes the stacks are organized, and sometimes they just exist.

Lani Longshore fabric stack

I used to feel guilty about this need to collect fabric, until I noticed all the other choice categories around the house. Some are mine alone, like the hand cream collection.

Lani Longshore hand cream

Others are collective choices. The whole family loves tea, so I keep a variety in stock.

Lani Longshore tea

What brought me joy, however, was recognizing I am not alone in my desire for choice. Only one person in the house eats breakfast cereal, and here’s the shelf where the cereal lives.

Lani Longshore cereal

It occurs to me that I will only be judged a hoarder by those who don’t appreciate what I collect. In the greater scheme of things, I am providing employment for those who make and sell the fabric that I love, I use my fabric (albeit slowly) for gifts and to make art, and I try to share when the opportunity arises. That makes for a balanced ledger in my mind.

Luck and wisdom!

Finding Focus

October 12, 2016

I’m building two quilts from the base up, letting the fabric tell me what it wants next. Turns out the fabrics I chose all have different plans, and while they are quite willing to sit next to each other they can’t agree on the direction the quilt should take. They have no focus.

Lani Longshore cityscape

This is my cityscape, which started when I made a mistake measuring. I found some other architectural fabric that I like. There is room in the white rectangles to create a focal point. I will be extremely happy when I know what that focal point should be.

Lani Longshore map quilt

This is my map quilt, which looks very different up close while beading than it does in a picture. I can see that I need to do something around the edges to tell the viewer “stop here.” I wanted the eye to travel easily over the surface, so there are several interest points. I’m not sure that qualifies as focus.

Lani Longshore beading detail

My go-to technique is always beading. There is room to add larger beads, or even make bead clusters, as soon as the piece starts talking to me.

Lani Longhore embroidery detail

My second favorite technique is embroidery. These trees reinforce the idea that this fabric represents hills. Perhaps the threads are too subtle if I feel the need to explain the image.

Lani Longshore map detail

Writing on quilts is a new technique for me. This compass is also subtle, perhaps even delicate. Perhaps too cautious?

The great thing about art quilts is that there is always room to try one more thing. These quilts may be in progress for some little while, but I’m learning as I go, and that’s good news.

Luck and wisdom!

The Value of Gray

June 8, 2016

I’ve been known to binge on color. Mostly I binge on pink or purple, but a while ago I fell for gray. After accumulating a stack I could never get through alone, I packaged some of it and gave it to the Progressive Party to make backgrounds for me. Here are some of the pieces they made.

Three backgrounds, waiting for embellishment

Three backgrounds, waiting for embellishment

I asked for something I could use for applique, beading, embroidery – any kind of embellishment. Here is a piece that will push my design skills to come up with something worthy.

I like this just as it is, but my bead box is overflowing, so embellished it will be

I like this just as it is, but my bead box is overflowing, so embellished it will be

Luckily, I met a writer and painter recently whose work has given me a few ideas. Harry Freiermuth wrote and illustrated Lo! Jacaranda, the story of a gypsy woman who escapes the Spanish Inquisition and ends up in colonial California.

Harry's book

Harry’s book

Harry is a much better painter than I am, but I’m thinking I could try mixed media techniques to evoke the feeling of being at the coast on a foggy, misty day.

Harry's paintings

Harry’s paintings

Perhaps I’ll take a field trip to Ocean Beach in San Francisco for additional inspiration, with appropriate side trips for chocolate.

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!

Of Parks and Fabric

February 24, 2016

Because I have many works in progress at any given moment, the chances are good that pieces of one project will wander into another. The chances are also good that some of those pieces won’t age as well as others. I discovered this when I started the latest Challenge project, which is to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

Lani Longshore Grand Canyon

The fabric in this quilt is from a collection of Southwest prints and other prints that sorta, kinda, maybe go with them. The photo is from the Grand Canyon. It still gives me the screaming heebie-jeebies to see all those people on the other side of the little stone wall (which was put there to tell us not to be an idiot and fall off the cliff).

Those aren't all trees

Those aren’t all trees

I printed the photo on canvas. It aged well enough. I can’t say the same for the pictures I printed on cotton.

Auditioning the prints

Auditioning the prints

These pictures have been sitting in a pile so long that I may never get the paper stabilizer off the back. The ink faded a little, too, but nothing so bad that a little touch-up with my watercolor pencils won’t fix it.

Lani Longshore audition detail

This striped fabric is from a collection of landscape prints. I believe I wanted to embroider trees and flowers on it. Now it’s going to stand in for striated rock. If I’ve got a big enough scrap left after I finish the park quilt, I may still embroider a few trees and flowers. In the meantime, I’m using up my stash.

Luck and wisdom!

A Game of Inches

May 27, 2015

This was the week to face the stacks of fabric I have been pushing aside for a long, long time. I started with the stack on the cutting table. Originally collected for one quilt, I finally admitted the quilt I started probably wouldn’t use all the fabric.

My row quilt

My row quilt

“Self,” I said, “do another row, maybe two, and call it good.” I made blocks for another row, but when I put them on the batting wall, I discovered another stack that needed immediate attention.

Playing peek-a-boo with my blocks

Playing peek-a-boo with my blocks

This is the stack I’ve been collecting for donation quilts. At least, I thought that’s what it was. Turned out I had some other things underneath the fabric, which I discovered when I started making 9-Patches.

Sheep and cow 9-Patches

Sheep and cow 9-Patches

The 9-Patches will take up less room than the scraps, so I’ll continue making them until the pile is gone. I put the books and beading supplies where they belonged, and now have a little more room to design the next part of the row quilt.

A game of inches, round 1

A game of inches, round 1

Yes, the shelf underneath the batting wall is still chock full of stuff, but that’s a project for another time. Clearing the stacks is a game of inches.

Luck and wisdom!

Labels

January 14, 2015

Labels for people are rarely useful, unless you are planning a potluck. In that case, making sure you invite the people known for their signature dishes – The Fruit Salad Lady (my mom) and The Deviled Egg Lady (my friend Ann), for example – guarantees the rest of your guests are happy. Aside from that, save the labels for your boxes. It should go without saying that you should use the labels you save, but here’s the evidence that I don’t always follow my own advice.

Manufacturer's labels - useless after you've bought the item

Manufacturer’s labels – useless after you’ve bought the item

When I cleared away the piles in front of these bins, I realized I had no idea what was in them. Worse, I couldn’t remember when I had put those bins at the bottom of the stack (which I removed before I took this picture). Clearly, whenever it was I had already decided I didn’t need to get to the bins in a timely fashion.

So, I bit the bullet, pulled out the bins and filled that hole with fabric that I hope to use in the near future.

The box holds pillow forms, the crate fabric - both are open to view

The box holds pillow forms, the crate fabric – both are open to view

The bins held a pleasing variety of treasure and trash. I’ve put the treasure in bins with like items and tossed most of the trash (well, you never know when you’re going to need something to embellish a trashy quilt).

A side benefit of pulling out the bins was I managed to unearth some forgotten fabric collections.

Lani Longshore fabric

It is possible that I collected these black-and-gold fabrics for high school quilts for my kids. Given that my youngest graduated in 2005, I’m guessing I can use the fabric for something else.

There were several other fabric collections that had outlived their project deadlines, but I’m certain I’ll find something to do with them. If all else fails, I’ve got stuff to make backs.

Luck and wisdom!

My Kind of Forest

September 10, 2014

I was able to see forests and trees this week by turning dog bed forms into daybed pillows.

A tidy forest close at hand

A tidy forest close at hand

I brought my husband to the fabric store to show him the kinds of pillows I could make. As we strolled through the display, I noticed a clearance sale on small dog bed forms. My husband pronounced them the perfect size and squishiness.

When we got home, I showed him my collection of tree fabric. For once, reason prevailed – I held nothing back because in my heart I know I will never finish all the quilts my collected fabrics could make. Better to get them out as pillows than have them hiding in a pile. He chose some and I got to work.

Lani Longshore green pillow detail

My go-to design with home dec is a simple stripe. The best part is there is a decent sized square of this left over, so I’ll get to turn it into a small tree quit after all.

Lani Longshore mountain detail

I could never bring myself to cut up these mountains. I still haven’t cut them up, and I used them in a project. That’s a victory in my book.

Lani Longshore green fabrics

The last pillow will be made from these fabrics. When it is done, I’ll have reduced a fabric pile by one-third, made another corner of the house colorful and comfy, and put myself back on the path of finishing things. Time for the happy dance.

Luck and wisdom!

Art and Guilt

December 18, 2013

My daughter walked into the sewing room just as I tossed some scraps of yellow fabric into the trash bin. “You aren’t letting those go to waste, are you?” she asked. I thought I detected a note of glee in her voice, since she’s heard those words from me often enough over the years. I showed her four bins of scraps. She just said, “Wasteful.” She was grinning when she left the room.

 

Although I left the scraps in the trash that night, the next morning I fished them out. They were pretty yellows, and deserved a better fate than the landfill. I found a backing and let guilt inspire art.

 

Lani Longshore art and guilt backing

 

I decided to make a small piece with only a few other yellow scraps from one of my bins. I used Pellon Decor instead of batting so that I could use my hot glue gun to attach some yellow beads that deserved a better fate than living in my bead box. I knew I would never use them if I had to sew them on, because most of them were odd shapes meant for jewelry, not quilts.

 

Lani Longshore art and guilt button

 

Yes, the top bead isn’t an odd shape, but the one in the lower left corner is, and don’t get me started on the string of beads in the lower right corner.

 

Since the solstice is nearly here, and the fabric was yellow, the piece is based on the theme of sunshine.

 

Sunshine for a Winter Day

Sunshine for a Winter Day

 

Sometimes guilt can be a great motivator.

 

 

The Accidental Halloween

October 23, 2013

The Christmas project schedule is progressing so well I forgot that Halloween comes first. I nearly tripped over the bag of Halloween fabric, which is how I remembered. Those goblins don’t like to be overlooked.

 

My Halloween collection tucked in a tote

My Halloween collection tucked in a tote

 

While unpacking my collection, I realized that I haven’t made anything with it because I don’t want to cut it up.

 

Too cute to cut

Too cute to cut

 

When I have a creative problem that is turning into a fur ball, I try solving it by the Wandering Method. Amble aimlessly about the house and see what leaps out at you. Usually what leaps out at me is the box of cookies I tried hiding on the shelf, but this time I was lucky. First, I noticed my collection of picture frames.

 

Lani Longshore picture frames

 

Then I noticed my collection of Halloween flowers, feathers and stuff on sticks.

 

The little arrangement that grew

The little arrangement that grew

 

For the past few years, I’ve decorated the table with a small Halloween- or harvest-themed centerpiece. I folded the small centerpiece into a larger floral arrangement in the living room when it was time to decorate for Christmas. As you can see, that arrangement is spreading out from its vase like the monster that ate Cleveland. “Self,” I said, “it is time to do something different.”

 

Lani Longshore Halloween decoration

 

This is only a prototype of a fabric collage. I wanted to see how much space I really have between the back and the frame. The next step will be to experiment with wrapping the back with fabric and placing other fabrics and embellishments only in the area that clears the edges of the frame. While I would prefer to use the glass to protect the piece, it is designed to go over a photograph, not a three-dimensional collage. Of course, I could try gluing things to the glass to get a floating effect . . .

 

Excuse me, but I think it is time to wander around the house again, this time in costume –

 

Boo!

Boo!