Friday, March 20, 2015

Decision made

Yes, it will have to be a "landscape" format rather than "portrait".  Which means that I need more space than the four linear feet I asked for at the upcoming art show.  So I contacted the show organizer today and arranged for 8 linear feet.  This just might allow for three pieces rather than two.  Oh dear, need to get to work.

My own worst enemy

I've reached the place in "Icarus' Dream" that comes at about the mid-way point in almost every piece I make.  I'm so close to the work that it looks awful, is not representing the vision, I had, and I'm wondering why I do this, and whether I should just throw the whole thing out.  I have been known to throw the wretched thing across the room, at this point.  Usually I can talk myself into finishing it, and usually I'm pleased with the result.  This time, just looking at the piece through the camera, showed me that it's probably better than I think it is.  The beading is about 2/3 done, and I think you can see where I'm headed.

But my basic insecurities always spring to life when I'm trying to get to sleep.  Last night, I suddenly thought, --since it is intended as a stylized wing, what if--tada--I rotate it into the position of a wing?  I think I'm onto something here.   This looks much happier in a landscape orientation than a portrait orientation. Sometimes, the sub-conscious knows what it is doing.

Friday, March 13, 2015


Life has been in the way of creativity lately, but, hopefully, I'm back on track.  When I'm feeling out of sorts, I find it useful to just concentrate on the "donkey" work.  That routine, concrete rather than creative, stuff that is always a part of our lives.

I had been bothered by the value problems in "Whispers", and decided to do something about it.  I wanted to achieve both a sense of value and a sense of movement.  The piece has now been re-titled  " Go With the Flow".

I have started to bead the "Icarus' Dream" piece.  This is proving quite a challenge to my poor old eyes, as I'm using yellow and cream beads, with yellow thread, on yellow fabric.  I swear the holes in those beads get smaller every year.  From what I've been able to do in attaching the cabochons, I figure the actual beading of the fabric should be okay.  

As is my habit, when beading on a quilted piece, I've used my old Q-Snaps.  I've used these for about 20 years, I'm sure.  The clamp pieces are getting cracked, and after all this time, it really doesn't owe me anything. So I bought a new set, opened it up and tried to separate the pieces so that I could put the fabric in it.  No way!  Even between the two of us, DH and I couldn't get those pieces apart!  So off it went back to the store, and I'm still making do with "old reliable", cracked and dis-coloured as it is.

 As part of the recent "donkey work", I re-purposed a piece of densely quilted, hand-dyed fabric.  Just a small piece, using some of the purple circles left over from "Go With the Flow" .  I'm not sure what I'll do with it, but it's more likely to find a home finished than unfinished. 

 And finally, I've been sewing hexies.  These are 1 1/2" hexies that are destined to become  a knitting bag once I add wooden handles.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Lesson Learned

The past few days have involved in very intense machine work on my new piece, tentatively titled "Icarus' Dream".  The basic premise in several stacked "feathers" fitted into the shape of a wing, done with machine Trapunto.  Yeah, a little weird, I know.  The piece is about 16" by 30", a good size for me.  I dyed fabric, selected and mail ordered thread, drafted a pattern, marked the fabric and started quilting.  Two very intense days--I was exhausted,  and the quilting done.  A step back--and OMG--I've done it again.  Not enough value change to create a good visual image.  Reviewing my colour scheme of yellow and yellow green, I decided to go over the actual quilted feathers with a darker green to improve the value distinction.  Absolute disaster!  You can never FMQ exactly over previously quilted lines.

Heart breaking, I decided to start over again.  Thank Goodness, I had dyed enough fabric!  This also gave me an opportunity to re-draft the pattern.  I have done so much lately using Victorian feathers, that I had used them again in trying to fill the space.  So I drafted 5 stacking feathers instead of three and used more traditionally shaped feathers.  Usually I echo around the whole shape three times, twice with the colour of the FMQ'g and the third in the colour to be used in the filling stitches of the background.  On my second attempt I echoed around each feather, as I finished it, and then once around the whole shape, using a dark orange and tan Sulky Blendable.  In the original piece I had used Superior's King Tut in "Nile Delta".  I see quite a difference, even with the background grid not yet done on the second piece.  I am much, much happier.  The funny looking little round spots at the base of the first feather in each, are places where I plan to add fused glass cabochons--yes, the piece will be beaded.

The lesson in all of this, is to use a "doodle cloth".  This is a quilt sandwich using the same fabric, batting, backing, and thread, that you plan to use in the main piece.  Try out your threads and contrasts and design elements on this first!  I could have saved a lot of time and money, had I remembered that.