Friday, July 13, 2018

Week in Review 2018 - 07/13

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

Paraskevidekatriaphobia is fear of Friday the 13th, not be confused with triskaidekaphobia which is fear of the number 13. I've written a fair amount about fear over the years I've been writing this blog. Why? Because it is a topic intimately entwined with creating art. There is fear of failure. Just as paralyzing is fear of success. Thank goodness Friday the 13th and the number 13 don't phase me. I have enough fear to cope with simply walking into my studio and facing whatever challenge I've purposefully, or inadvertently created for myself.

Work on Cohasset Sunrise continues

I've been secretly trying to screw up my courage to start a regular practice of focused experimentation. I've watched with envy as other artists join the slow stitch movement, made a daily leaf, or create a variety of suns. Some how I just couldn't find the right project or incentive to get started. Then I saw it, the Monthly Art Project (MAP) facilitated by none other than Brenda Gael Smith. This had appeal. It took months of should I or shouldn't I join. I've done it now. I committed to completing a MAP. 

July's MAP 
Each MAP is unique, but it must be defined. I have decided to use something from my extensive studio supplies I have either never used or haven't used in over a year. Since this is my project I am interpreting this quite liberally. This month I pulled out Fantastic Fabric Folding  by Rebecca Wat. It must be close to a decade since I last attempted to make a flower from this book. I selected a flower I had never made before, a fairly simple rose. I succeeded, but was disappointed. It was too flat. However, the mere act of making the rose got me thinking about whether it would be possible to make 3D flowers following origami instructions. I found instructions for making a water lily on-line. I love it. I have a few kinks to work out and I am far to excited to let fear get in my way. 

Lola has no fear of the number 13.

Lola, my studio cat, is fearless. My studio is a loft that looks over the foyer of our home. One of her favorite spots is on the railing surrounding my studio, 13 feet above the floor below, where she can keep an eye on me, my husband's office just off the foyer, and of course the front door, should we have visitors.

I am linking up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays

Friday, July 6, 2018

Week in Review 2018 - 07/06

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

Last week I was bemoaning the fact I had a created a design which required precision curved piecing. Over the 30 years I have been making quilts I have tried many different ways to cope with curved design elements. None suit me perfectly, which is probably why I keep trying different methods and different combinations of methods hoping for one that feels right. Since the method I used this week works best for me, I thought I would share it here.

1. Create templates for each piece in the pattern from freezer paper. The template should include a 1/4" seam allowance.

2. Iron the templates to the RIGHT side of the appropriate fabric. This insures that you aren't dealing with the mirror image of the pattern.

3. Cut the fabric exactly around the template. 

4. Using a thread that matches the fabric stitch along the 1/4" seam allowance. I set my stitch length to the same length I would use for paper piecing. You want many stitches to the inch.

5. Using a water soluble glue stick add glue to the BACK side of the fabric along the seam allowance of any seam to be turned under. You are preparing the fabric for appliqué. So, wherever two curved pieces of fabric abut, one is turned under and laid on top of the other. It helps if the seam allowance of the fabric to be turned under has been clipped. This must be done before the glue is added.

6. Turn the seam allowance under using the stitched seam line as your guide. 

The seam allowance has been turned under
and the fabric positioned. It is now ready for
machine appliqué.   

7. Run another line of glue along the turned under seam allowance. This will hold the fabric in place while you stitch.

8. Position your fabrics using the lower fabric's stitched seam allowance as your guide for placement.

After machine appliqué is added.

9. Select the blind hem stitch on your machine. This is the one that looks like ....^....^. Make sure the "...." portion is as close to the seam allowance as possible, but stitches only on the lower fabric. The "^", or as I think of it as the bite, reaches out and anchors the top fabric. Once again, I use a very tiny stitch length. This ensures that many bites get taken and the fabric pieces are securely held together. 

Now it is ready to be added to the design wall. 

What I love about this method is the precision. What I struggle with is that close up it can be detected. Also, to get the precision I want, there are many prep steps. Sometimes it is just best to say "close enough" and move on. The reality is once the whole artwork has been made, especially once the quilting has been added, nobody but me (and now you) will notice the machine appliqué.

 I am linking up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays

Friday, June 29, 2018

Week in Review 2018 - 06/29

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

I have completed 12 of the 35 blocks for
Cohasset Sunrise. Now it is time to face
block #13, the first of 4 sun quadrants.
Gasp! It's time to face the blocks I dread piecing. I love the look of mariner's compass blocks, rays, NY Beauties, and double wedding rings, but balk at piecing them. I could simply fuse everything into place. I've done that and will do it again. However, if I want a crisp line with no threat of loose threads, I will opt for piecing every time. I confidently piece straight seams, can manage the scary Y seam, but when I face curved piecing, I feel as though I am asking myself to do a swan dive off of a high diving board. In other words, it is way out of my comfort zone. 

A partially completed Block #13

How do I overcome my fear? I take it one teeny tiny step at a time. The first was to select the fabric for the sun's rays. Done! Next, I printed out paper piecing patterns for the rays, and templates for the rest of the block. Done! I've even finished the paper piecing. I am gaining momentum, especially since I had do some problem solving. I have a limited amount of light value blue fabric at my disposal. I don't want to run out. So, I seamed scrap pieces together to create the sky fabric between the sun's rays. I can do this.  Curved piecing here I come.

Sometimes it is difficult to
tell where Lola ends and
the shadows begin. Her coloring
could have been the impetus for
the palette used by the original
owners of our new home. 

I am linking up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays

Friday, June 22, 2018

Week in Review 2018 - 6/22

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

Progress on Cohasset Sunrise is being made.
Now it is possible to see where I am headed compared
to the blind faith it would all come together I was
working under before.
What's the difference between work and play? When life is going well, not much for me. This is one more reminder of just how fortunate I have been in my life. I have been able to do what I love, create art. Since it brings me such joy, it rarely feels like work.

Our grandsons are staying with us for a
few days this week. They were here for less
than 30 minutes before heading out 
to the backyard to play frisbee.

Children's play is work. This is the time when they learn negotiations, cooperation, hand eye coordination, adaptation to rules, and even how to select their own guidelines. Children think they are playing. As adults we understand the value derived and the work involved.

It's late afternoon and Lola is queen of her
domain, surveying the yard for intruders.
I see  it differently, the lines, shadows, contrast,
and her silhouette fascinate me.

Is it any different for our pets? Aren't they creative, playful, hard workers? Our cat seems to know my routine even before I am aware I have one. Her play is infused with survival skills, especially the patience to observe a spot where her nemesis, a chipmunk, popped up the day before.

I am linking up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays

Friday, June 15, 2018

Week in Review 2018 - 06/15

Block #7 is partial pieced in units. It is
on a piece of space shuttle felt I can carry
from my sewing table to my ironing station
Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

Organization is the key. At least that is what I find works best for me when I am creating, especially when I am making yet another piece in my shifting value series. All the fabrics I might use are selected and divided by value. I have 7 value levels with my current piece, from barely a whisper of blue through to that inky blue seen just as the sky is switching from night to day. The stacks of fabric are laid out on my work table, in order, and labeled 1 - 7. Before I had a work table I would store them in file folders. I use EQ 8 to create the blue print, or piecing diagram. Note, I do not take advantage of EQ 8's ability to color the quilt. Why? That takes all the fun out of doing the work. Years of working in this way gives me the reassurance I need to know there is no need to pre-color. 

One distraction is our screened
porch. This is Lola's favorite
hanging out to keep tabs on the
local wildlife.
I'm just as organized when it comes to piecing the individual blocks. I layout the individual pieces on a 16" x 20" piece of space shuttle felt. (Yes, you read that right. My husband's company invented the felt for the space shuttle and my piece is scrap he brought home.) The advantage is that the felt is stiff AND the fibers keep the fabric from sliding off easily, as cotton clings, but does not adhere to it. If I wanted to I could iron right on it at the hottest setting. 

Moving into a new home, means a new studio layout, and learning about a new area of the country. I'm still not back to a point where I work in the studio for hours at a time, several days a week. However, by being, some would say, obsessively organized, I know just what I need to do next and can zip in for 30 minutes or several hours, a few days a week. Progress is being made. This week I finished piecing several more blocks. Six done, twenty-nine more to go. 

I am linking up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Week in Review 2018 - 06/08

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

This is block #2. I had it partially pieced
last week.

A comment I frequently hear when someone learns I am a fiber artist and sees my work is, "I would never have the patience to do that." This surprises me. I don't think of myself as impatient. Nor do I think of myself as a particularly patient person.

Block #3 is done
Today my husband and I spent the morning (from 8:55 am until 11:30) at the DMV. Clearly we weren't the only bright ones who thought getting there before the doors opened at 9 am was a wise idea. Our mission was to convert our driver's licenses from Wisconsin to Massachusetts and do the same for our car's registration. Although we sat quietly, waiting for our number to be called, I can't say I wasn't frustrated. I couldn't help but think of what I would rather being doing instead - working in my studio, of course. The good news is we now have Massachusetts driver's licenses, the car is registered, and miracle of miracles, our 20 year old car even passed inspection. Hurrah!

Here are all three in order.
I did manage to spend a few days earlier in the week working in my studio. I finished piecing the second and third block of my current project, Cohasset Sunrise.

Lola has the best view in the house. From
here she can watch me work, see my husband
in his office below, and watch the front door
in case we have visitors. 

I am linking up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays

Friday, June 1, 2018

Week in Review 2018 - 06/01

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

First block out of 35 done.
Baby steps, that is what I keep telling myself. I spent most of last week's creative time procrastinating or educating myself as I made my way through a backlog of EQ 8 lessons. I like to keep my skills up using this application. There are shortcuts that are not intuitive. 

Second block with its units ready to be joined.
It was my hope that as I worked through the lessons inspiration would strike for the next project to turn my attention to. It didn't or maybe it did. I have decided to begin how I have started many artworks in the past, with block blending and value shifting. Why not take it all the way back to beginning and choose a black and white palette? Turns out I was short on mid value black and whites. I've gone with blues instead. 

I'm working in my studio again. That is the primary goal. Hurrah!

I like to be surrounded by color. Check out
my mouse pad. Apparently, Lola approves,
since she is my constant companion when
I work at the computer.

I am linking up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays