Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wheww--it's been awhile

Still working on Lucifer's Tears.  The thread work, that I had planned, turned out to need about twice as much stitching, which meant that the background quilting needed to be twice as intense, to balance.  I'm pleased with what is happening so far, but I've come to realize that the design is not the wonderful thing I thought it would be.  However this is turning out to be a fantastic learning experience.

I've also been doing a little more discharging and now have a very interesting piece.  I had planned to discharge flame shapes to see if I could produce flames, as I'm doing in Lucifer's Tears, but with more discharging and less thread work.  The process worked beautifully, but the shapes produced would take an awful lot of imagination for anyone to see flames in them.  Actually, they make me think of bamboo bushes. (How's that again!)  So I thought of getting some fabric to match the discharged areas and cutting circles, that I could applique onto a piece of the orginal background fabric  and then applique over the discharged areas to tone down the discharging and create more of a focal point.  (Okay, I'm a little stressed and crazy here.)   Then I figured that I could match the colour of the discharged areas by discharging more fabric, and if I discharged in circles, it would eliminate one set of applique.

Well, the background is navy and the discharged areas a very pale yellow, so when the circles were discharged I had moons!!  So instead of another piece in my Hellfire series, I think I may have the start of the  Temple of the Moon piece that has been floating around in the back of my mind for over a year.  Could this be my subconscious at work.  Now I'm excited, and starting to think/work in an entirely new direction. And isn't that what taking a year of sabbatical is all about?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Studio Names

In one of my internet groups today, an art quilter stated that she had named her studio, and therefore, it needed a quilt ( a sort of quilted banner).  So I got to thinking about how I would design a banner for Mouse Factory Designs.  What does the name mean to me, and how would that be reflected in the design.  I came to realize tht the name in no way reflects the work I do today.  It came about in the 70's, when I was very busy making and selling stuffed mouse dolls.  So I discussed it with DH, and we both think it may be time to re-name the studio.  This would mean re-naming this blog (I'm not even sure that can be done).  But--how do I select a name?

Monday, June 20, 2011


The straight lines are pretty well finished, and I'm quite pleased with them.  My brain is already working on the FMQ'g, and we were off this morning to buy another spool of Sulky Blendable.  Well, one spool turned into 3, and I'm now up to 7 distinctly different colours of thread, including 5 Blendables--all to be used in creating the Flames of Hell in thread painting.  I've not done a lot of thread painting.  I wonder if I should have started with something simpler--DUH!  I've decided to plan it pretty carefully instead of just winging it, as I usually do.  I will sketch out each flame and plan the values before starting to stitch.  There will also be a"doodle cloth" to test out the way the colours work together, before making a final decdison on which to use and where.

The more I work with this, the less pleased I am with the discharging that was done with bleach.  Never again!

Friday, June 17, 2011

More comparisons

Have started the quilting on Lucifer's Tears.  I had wanted parts of the more background areas of quilting to be straight lines 1/4" apart.  This is a pattern I've used quite successfully in other pieces but I ran into difficulty keeping the lines an equal distance apart here.  Previously I had done this using my old Pfaff with its wonderful 1/4" foot.  I don't have such a foot for the newer Janome, and didn't figure out the problem until a fair bit of the work had been done.  ( I turned it over and looked at the back.  OMG!  You can see a lot of sins on the very plain coloured back that don't show up on a more varied-coloured front)  The lines are straight, but the distance varies.  Now, I know that I haven't used this pattern in awhile, and I am probably out of practice, but I'm darned if I'm going to take out all of that stitching!  So now I'm trying to make the lines slightly different distances apart.  With my luck they will all turn out to be exactly 1/4" apart.  So far the piece is looking very dull and uninteresting, but I've only been working on the background quilting, which is really of more structural importance than important to the overall design.  I hope it comes to life when the FMQ'g is done.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


The reading glasses work!  But with them on, and not doing close work, I can't see properly and get dizzy, so off they come whenever I'm moving around. Nuisance!  I had no idea how much of my time is spent in close visual work.  But I finished the machine work on charity quilt number 6, and they are all off to the ladies who do hand finishing.  So now I'm working on Lucifer's Tears.  This has involved discharging with both bleach and discharge paste.  I had wanted to compare the results of both and find that I very much prefer working with the discharge paste.  I have much more control and can do much finer work and there is little chance of bleeding.  Inktense pencils have also been involved, and I was comparing them with Daler Rowney FW Pearlescent black Liquid Acrylic.  Thank Goodness I always use a "doodle cloth" to test this sort of thing, as the acrylic ink turned out to be much more silver than black.  However, the Inktense Pencil, once wet, worked beautifully.  I can't show pictures, as this is for a juried show and must not have been displayed in any way prior to the show dates.

It feels great to be working!  There are even more ideas on the horizon.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

When life throws you lemons---

to heck with lemonade, bring on the brandy!  Had my second eye surgery done yesterday.  The results are disappointing.  My close vision is badly compromised--to the extent that reading, computer work and fine sewing are not possible right now.  With proper glasses, I should be able to continue with all of these, but I must wait, at least, two months for the eye to settle down before pursuing that.  I'm going to explore drug store reading glasses, in a few days, but in the meantime, DH has given me a four inch magnifying glass to use.  No handle, just a big round glass.  It works, and this morning I was able to read parts of the newspaper.  The good news is that I was also able to read the headlines without help, something I haven't been able to do since the first eye was done in March.

What does this mean in the studio?  I don't know.  Yesterday I managed to thread the sewing machine and sew some straight lines.   Before the surgery I had been doing some very fine hand work using both my normal glasses ( now toast!)and a special magnifier.  Once I have the reading glasses, I'll take another look at that.  I hope to be able to work on a new piece, tenatively titled "Lucifer's Tears".  This will involve a lot of FMQ'g, but with a stronger contrast in thread colour than I've used in the past.  There is also a new box on the horizon, and the basic machine quilted background should pose no problem.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Two steps back

Things were going well in the studio, but, now, for some reason, my shoulder has had enough of using a rotary cutter and is refusing any further activity!!  Thank Goodness for a supportive husband.  Yesterday he spent hours cutting for me, and a bit more today.  Yes, I'm making a few more charity quilts, for a total of six, but then NO MORE.  (There are more creative things on the horizon!)  The sewing is routine, but I believe in doing my best work, regardless of the ultimate purpose of the piece.  Is is so easy to slip into bad habits.  I think that, for me right now, the time in the studio is the best possible way of keeping on an even keel.  And I think DH realizes this and is willing to do whatever he can to let me have that time.