Posts Tagged ‘finishing’

The Joys of UFOs

October 9, 2013

I have an embarrassingly rich collection of UFOs – unfinished objects. We all do, of course we do. Usually our reward for such a collection runs along the lines of dust caches, spider colonies, and discovering you already have three fat quarters of that perfect rose print you just bought piled up in other places.

 

Yesterday, the universe was kind.

 

Soon to be an ex-UFO

Soon to be an ex-UFO

 

The leaf project from Laura Wasilowski‘s workshop has been whispering to me. I used some of her hand-dyed threads for small embroidered motifs.

 

Lani Longshore embroidery hand-dyed thread

 

Since there was no immediate place for this project to go, I figured it would be another UFO for some time to come. The next Challenge project, however, is on the theme of . . . LEAVES! Thank you, thank you, Linda Ballou and Kathy Levesque!

 

The best part of this theme is that they encouraged us to think of more than tree leaves. They even gave some examples – leaves in a book, tea leaves, Leif Ericsson. It just so happens I am writing a story about space Vikings, so I could make a quilt about that. I also drink a tremendous amount of tea, so I could aways tea dye some fabric and make a quilt from that. But I already have a UFO for leaves of a book.

 

Lani Longshore handmade booklets

 

The open booklet in front is from Doria Goocher, a quilt artist I met at the Studio Art Quilt Associates conference in Santa Fe. The covers behind are for the version I want to make for myself.

 

There are two other book leaf UFOs that are calling to me. One could use the badge I earned at Laura Wasilowski’s workshop as a book cover.

My Chicago School of Fusing badge

My Chicago School of Fusing badge

I also have a collection of hardware that I thought might make an interesting binding for a fabric book.

 

Lani Longshore hinges

 

The plan at the moment is to make a mixed-media travel book with fabrics from or referencing other countries, photos, mementos, and embroidery. Whatever comes from these experiments, I will at least experience the joy of finishing UFOs.

 

Chipping Away For Art

October 2, 2013

This was my week for listening to the inner artist rather than the inner art critic as I chipped away at the to-do list. I had ideas for the Progressive Party Calendar Project that won’t go with any other vision but my own. My inner art critic said I should come up with different ideas. I ignored her.

 

Lani Longshore November Progressive Calendar block

 

The November block is dark and impressionistic. I’ve added subtle embroidery and beading to show there is life in this seemingly lifeless month.

 

Lani Longshore November calendar block beading

 

It is a far cry from the Thanksgiving images one expects to represent November. Can I use the excuse that I’m a vegetarian?

 

Lani Longshore December solstice block

 

The December block celebrates the winter solstice, with night crowding into my waking hours. The sun knows it will return, and is willing to give the night a brief chance to revel.

 

While I was pawing in my piles for embellishments, I ran across some iron-on shisha mirrors. Heaven only knows how old they are, but the glue was still good so I scattered them across one of my Challenge Rainbow quilts.

 

Lani Longshore shisha mirrors

 

Of course, the universe would be remiss to let me finish even one project without reminding me that there is always something more to make. While searching for binding fabric, I ran across some prints and an orphan block that suggested I put them next to my leaf block.

 

There's a party on the design wall

There’s a party on the design wall

 

I’m not certain how many of them will be included in whatever project emerges from this collection, but they’re enjoying each other’s company for the moment. Eventually, they’ll tell me what they want me to do.

 

 

 

Another Take On Independence Day

July 3, 2013

I will celebrate Independence Day with more than usual exuberance this year. I finished the quilt for my brother’s second grandson, which means I am ready for my trip home next week.

Lani Longshore Avery Longshore's quilt

To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I had the gift quilts ready before a flight someplace. Usually I am stitching the binding while waiting for the final boarding call.

Coincidentally, my Challenge project is mostly finished.

Lani Longshore Challenge project

I would like to do more beading, but the quilt is starting to tell me there are sufficient embellishments right now, thank you very much. My quilts have always told me what they want, but lately they’ve become down right mouthy.

Still, I’m reveling in the unexpected sensation of having things done. I don’t imagine this is what the signers of the Declaration of Independence were feeling, but I think celebrating freedom from the to-do list is a lovely way to enjoy the 4th.

The Surface of Infinity, Wired

May 29, 2013

The most amazing thing happened to my Challenge Project – it told me it didn’t want beads. I’ve never had a project that refused beads before. Perhaps it was tired of being fussed over. First I had to wire its tail to make a Mobius strip.

Beading wire works well

Beading wire works well

 

I had considered satin stitching the edges in lieu of binding, but that didn’t seem enough when I finished the wiring, so I bound the quilt with a sheer ribbon.

Gauze ribbon is a great binding for small projects

Gauze ribbon is a great binding for small projects

 

 

The result was exactly what I wanted. You really can travel both sides of the loop without crossing the edges.

The finished project

The finished project

 

 

Since I was in the mood for handwork, I finished my cross-stitch kit. Well, I say finished but what I really mean is I adapted the pattern (because I can never quite count right) and kept adding embroidery and beads until it seemed like a good place to end.

Spider and bat button

Spider and bat button

 

I managed to get one more project off the pile, which was a pillow made from elephant fabric for my daughter.

Lani Longshore elephant pillow

It seems an appropriate comment on my life in the studio – never forgetting that my goal is to reduce the piles before they start creating their own gravity wells.

 

 

My Personal March Madness

March 14, 2012

March is a holiday-heavy month for me. Today is Pi Day, tomorrow is the Ides of March, Saturday is St. Patrick’s Day and next week is the vernal equinox. My synapses are tap-dancing with odd connections, ideas for special food, ideas for decorations and possible quilt titles (Leprechauns with Logarithms comes to mind).

While all this is going on, I’m still attempting to finish old projects that have languished in corners. I ran across a tote bag of cross stitch kits that I finished – which is good – but discovered that there are leftovers – which is not good. I also discovered that I still can’t count so the designs on my Aida cloth don’t look exactly like the designs on the kit’s cover, but that’s a story for another time.

In this story, the offending bits are the extra strands of floss the manufacturers include in case of stitcher error. While I made plenty of errors, I didn’t discover all of them until the very end, when I was in no mood to pick out the mistakes. So, I have a little purple, a little blue, some red, some orange – not enough to do anything big but enough to make me feel guilty for throwing it away.

Then I remembered the cross-stitch trim. For some unknown reason, I bought a yard each of gold- and silver-bound, 1″-wide trim suitable for cross-stitch. I decided to use up the extra floss with the silver-bound version. Here is the first experiment:

Next I tried a version of Greek Keys:

Once again, the simple act of getting from four spaces to five spaces eluded me, and the pattern went awry. More than once. After the third attempt, when I could see there was yet another mistake, I decided to turn a bug into a feature. I’m working on When Chenille is Not Enough, the sequel to Death By Chenille, with my friend Ann Anastasio (of Art Quilt Santa Fe fame). We decided we’re going to use the fragment of crazy quilt from the first book as a plot point in the second book, which means we have to come up with a real design for the quilt. The secret behind the quilt is that the woman who made it used designs from the writings of space aliens, so my wonky miscounted cross-stitch would fit right in. With that in mind, I made this:

and this:

I have a little more space on the silver trim, and the entire gold piece. If you have any wonderful, narrow cross-stitch patterns that I could easily mess up, please share or at least point me to a resource. The crazy quilt from space needs you!

By the way, Death By Chenille is available now as an e-book on Smashwords.com, and When Chenille is Not Enough will be available soon (okay, soon-ish).