Friday, October 29, 2010

Always trying to confuse myself ;-)

So remember those mindless nine block squares I signed on to make this summer (some group on FB or a blog ;-)
Well maybe I should start calling mine 3 block rows instead? lol lol  I figured since  I finally got Brynn's wall quilt completed I would try to get a couple lap size quilts completed in a hurry just for fun?.. I was calling it my no brainer sewing, just go with the flow..... lol lol   Well maybe I should have labeled this brainteasers instead?  I always seem to make projects harder then they should be due to my brain's thinking pattern possibly? I'm always asking myself  "what if?"  Maybe these photos will help you understand what I mean? SO I am learning that sometimes it might just better to go with the flow and NOT ask the "Hmmm what if?" ;-)
Stay tuned......
I first used strips to create 3 rows and cut them to 3 inch blocks started placing them on my design board into various places to create 9 block squares.

Then I asked myself, what IF I really made the various 9 block squaresmatchy match?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Finally seeing the end of the tunnel...

I finally got in a complete afternoon of quilting today ;-) I must admit it felt great! There was some frustration I admit since I had a huge learning curve taking place. I completed the quilting on the wall quilt  I've had promised my daughter to decorate Brynn's bedroom wall. I am posting  photos showing the process or steps I completed. Tomorrow all I have to do is sew some binding and a hanging sleeve on and it will be complete. ;-) It's always a good feeling to see one of my ideas come full circle and it even totally work out as I designed. ;-) The size of this quilt is 3 ft high and 4 ft wide,  perfect to decorate my grand-daughter's new bedrrom of their new PA house.
first painted some primed canvas
cut the canvas in pieces and created a composition
constructing the wall quilt by sewing the pieces of canvas together....yes that is masking tape versus pins
 quilt top loaded on HQ16

Quilting and final piecing
adding some thread work details
close up of quilting

detail close up
finished waiting to be squared up

Surprisingly though the canvas seem to cause thread breakage, the back does not look that bad.;-)
Quilt has been squared up and is ready to have binding. It felt good to be back in the studio!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Just noticed it's been a little over a week?

Just curious if any other bloggers are losing their habit of posting due to other programs that we tend to use that will give us instant gratification in getting out photos or our thoughts into the Cybercafe-world?  Yes, meaning Facebook or other social networking programs?  I know these sure have caused a ripple effect in my posting habits. Sadly habits I had worked long and hard on.  ;-) lol  Oh well...enough excuses...
So I have been a little down this past week fighting my annual begin of fall season allergies so have actually been laying a little low to try to beat a sinus cold. As usual though I try to keep art happening all around me. ;-)
shell grandma created
So if you recall I was visiting my daughter a couple weekends ago to help with some yard work in PA. Before we drove up She had mentioned that she was hoping to create a special Halloween costume for my grandson Caleb. I had to "google" Lightening McQueen since I had no idea who that might be ;-) Heck I'm still stuck in Toy story Land. Anyway I grabbed a few items I had on hand: Core-board, some old film reels and their containers, you know stuff that I am trying to get rid of from my art teaching days ;-)) Sunday before we headed back to VA I began constructing the armature for the car my daughter had in mind, or so I hoped it was what she had in mind?  So this is what it looked like before I left. The rest was going to have to be up to Keli to complete since we had run out of time...

Caleb enjoying himself in the Halloween parade
I am thrilled to report that the costume is as my grandson Caleb emailed me "Awesome!!!" and I totally AGREE! Seeing the end result flashed me back to my own childhood.
Finished costume

"My mother used to make us the very best Halloween costumes every year!"  I mean she went for the bang, she loved for us to win the best handmade costume award!!! and we did consistently ;-)   I would like to thank my daughter for flashing back such great memories!

So the other art that is slowly happening ...I've got the canvas piece loaded and waiting for me to quilt on the HG16, will be interesting to see how the threads and needles work through the canvas, so a definite learning curve.
I have some mindless 9 piece squares going on, (this was actually a challenge posted on some one's blog this summer, I'm a little behind)

I'm still struggling or dragging on completing the re-piecing of my black and white piece I began wk two in July w/Nancy Crow. It  amazes me how much a design may change from the original design on design board to the completed sewn piece. I am still working on understanding how to build in the necessary 1/4 seam allowances automatically while designing spontaneously. ;-))) It's starting to become clearer I think? I am determined to have this piece end up as close to my original design as possible so I am having to fudge by adding some extra white or black along the way.  I imagine sooner or later my brain will accept this. ;-))) Remember the saying "Practice makes perfect"?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Back to making some art...

So I am trying to get back to a few of my on going projects. The first project I hope to complete is my grand-daughter's wall quilt. It was requested that the theme be a castle, (think Scottish castle) So here are a few of the steps I have completed so far... I decided to use painted canvas instead of fabric so first step of the process was to paint canvas. 
I'm making this a quick post so I can get back to work.  Here are photos of the piece so far....
Enjoy my photos and I'll try to be back to post soon.....
Step one: I painted canvas I've taped to my basement floor.
Next cut up canvas and create the composition

Now I sew the pieces together yup that's masking tape instead of pins holding it together

Close up of stitching.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I'm seeing the end of the tunnel ;-)

So my purging and re-organizing is still under way but  I am getting closer though to the end of my tunnel.... To reward myself  I took some time off during the past few days to just sit and sew ;-). I completed piecing my little Crow piece and I am pleased to be done with it!  I should state " it is as done as it will be"  since I do not have anymore of the fabric from this assignment so it became sort of became a point of "just be happy with what you got". I keep remembering though as mentioned in one of my older postings: " It's an exercise /or assignment...we complete them to learn from them. YAY!!!!  I am ready to move forward.... ;-) lol

Hard to see in this photo but this is strips of painted canvas
So today besides doing some endless paperwork, listing some old books online hoping to sell off cheaply to new homes, along with completing some other stuff  I  got back to working on my castle wall quilt.  I am creating this piece for my grand-daughter Brynn's room. I have the composition basically set and will begin to piece the canvas into one large piece and then detail or quilt it on my HQ16.
Possibly by next week I can get this piece completed and sent off. It's a shame I did not center on the piece this week since we head to PA tomorrow to return my grand-dog Rogue back to the daughter's family (we've been dog sitting).
We get to visit the grand-babies ;-) but also have 2 days of yard work ahead of us. We are going to help them tear out most of the old landscaping around their new/old house. [They moved from Denver CO to PA this past June and we had told them when they moved in that we would come in the fall to help.] Wish us luck! All we can do it try.  I sure hope the old bushes, etc. there presently are not too deep rooted ;-) our poor old bones...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Took a break and got re-aquainted with my machine for an evening...

So enough was enough purging...I took some time last night to sew and am trying to complete the little study that was assigned this past summer during my two week stint with Nancy Crow. It's been staring at me from design board for weeks ;-) ha-ha so imagined this figured into my purging and re-organizing chores. This needs to be finished and tucked off as a learning experience. ;-) Some have asked me why finish it? 'Heck the class is over, so just chuck it?' My thoughts though are: "It's meant to be an exercise or learning opportunity and if I chuck it what have I learned?"  I do believe the more practice pieces or exercises I complete the more I  learn about piecing or designing my own work.
My original design pinned on board.
I am always amazed at how designs can change as I sew the pieces together. If the design were a symmetrical design the shrinkage would be much easier to control or possibly be balanced. Here are some photos to hopefully help you understand what I am attempting to share or discuss.
 The process: First sew strips of fabric together selvage to selvage, Strips are 3/4 inch on up.
After you have completed your strips cut them into shapes and then work the shapes into a design.
When you are content with your design complete the piece by sewing the pieces together.
Sounds simple ;-) but when you are new to this process you don't automatically remember that the pieces will lose 1/4 inch on the edges as you piece them, and this can drastically change the design. Remember some of these strips are already sewn into little puzzle like pieces.
Piece so far, think small 12in x 13in..

Hoping you can follow what I mean when I say this is a definite learning exercise at least for me. Each piece I complete I feel I come closer to understanding the process of piecing and how it will play a huge part in my own design process. I feel I am getting close to understanding the shrinkage in this technique.
Now to coordinate this process with the way my brain thinks. ;-) lol...
JUST Remember be spontaneous and No over-analyzing!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Just a quick post.

Anyone interested in books about various art mediums?
So as you might have guessed I am still at it!....I have been very busy purging AND along the way I'm trying to re-organize my working areas. Yes sadly it is taking me longer then I would hope, but thankfully it is feeling good to finally have the opportunity and I am actually centering on the trying to DE-junk part of the process. I'm assuming we all can relate to how difficult it is to let go of things? Add to that 35 years of teaching Rrt grades k-12, which usually came along with very low budgets  which helps a teacher get into the habit of saving, collecting, etc. As I used to tell my student's parents, "Remember one mans junk could be some one elses treasure". ;-)
Yep I can also hear some of you asking; but didn't she retire over a year ago? Why didn't I purge then?  To be honest, I have been blessed with so many opportunities this past year that I have not really had time to focus on the effort to purge! (Actually I did do some major purging as I packed up and cleaned my final school art room.)....oh and add possibly that my attention span can be a little ADHD. ;-))))  I  like to flutter here and there in my art. For example last year I did some sewing of utilitarian quilt items; such as Christmas stockings, banners, then I created 160 wedding invitations for a special bride we know, I created a few baby quilts w/coordinating chairs,a long with my wall ART quilt pieces to give you a few examples.
OH well back to the topic at hand!  I AM PLUGGING AWAY!  I do see the end of the tunnel ;-) and hope to stay on task to meet my goal. ;-)  Enjoy your week....