Thursday, July 28, 2016

Blue Tape Reminder

 Blue painter's tape is handy for a lot of things in the studio. I'll share one of the ways I use it with you right here, when I'm piecing with a 1/4" seam, I use my 1/4" foot (a Little Foot specifically) and it has only enough space for the needle to go through in one small circular spot. So that means No Zig-Zag allowed. Thus the tape over the stitch-width button. I've learned my lesson after hitting the foot with the needle, yikes!
Here's the Little Foot in action, sewing together the last of the tumbler rows. One little zig or zag and pow, broken needle which is scary. The blue tape visual and physical reminder to not adjust the stitch width unless I change the presser foot works for me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Tahoe for Former Skiers

Bringing back the old label I used to use, Wandering Wednesday so I can go back in time and share some of the things I've seen in various places I've been lucky enough to travel to.
Here's some snow and ice pictures to help cool you off in July. Early last December for my birthday we took a short weekend trip to Lake Tahoe with my parents.
 None of us ski any longer, but a lot of Fun (note the capital F) was had. I hadn't walked on a frozen lake in quite a while.
 For some reason I thought it'd be scenic to take a cruise across the part of the Lake that wasn't frozen. It was just on the edge of snowing the whole time so it was quite chilly. But was it ever scenic!
 I was mesmerized by the ripples in the shallow bay near the dock, the sun was hitting them just right.
 The clouds were very dramatic.
 The color of the lake changed from one second to the other as the cloud cover shifted.
 The wake we left behind was pretty.
 Did you know you can take the gondola ride up to the top of Heavenly round-trip?
 I appreciated my husband going on yet another gondola even though he hates them.
It was so beautiful up at the top, sunny and warm, we sat out and watched the snow tubing hill for a while.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Tuffet Happy Ending

 So, yes, the tuffet story ends happily ever after.

Spike sits on it whenever I'm not in the studio.
But when I am working in the studio, Meg usually is in there too, so she gets to sit on it.
And my feet go up on it when I'm hand sewing, just as planned.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Weekly Study Square

I've been casting about for a new weekly project that I could attempt, because I've found that I've been missing having a small regular goal for motivation. Over the years I've done a few of these projects, the six word memoir, the 8" abstract challenge - eight inch squares inspired by one abstract concept, a few years worth of journal quilts - 8.5 x 11", daily paper/mixed-media collages, etc. All of these projects gave me a deadline (which I find I need) as well as some rules and limits (but not too many.)  I learned how to work smaller and faster with an emphasis on improvisation.

The above is a 5x5" piece I made at a CQFA retreat out of my table scraps at the end of the weekend. I can look at this little thing and remember what pieces I was working on that weekend even though it was four years ago, just from these little bits of fabric. And I like that, it's a journal of sorts, a very personal one that would probably not interest anyone else, but I find it valuable.

So, as I'm trying to control the amount of scrap-page that's accumulating around here (I literally have boxes full) my new project will be a weekly one, with these rules:

  • At the beginning of each week, I'll use the scraps that have accumulated on my work table from the previous week to make one Study Square Quiltlet
  • The study doesn't have to use up 100% of the scraps, but I'll try to use as much of them as possible.
  • If I don't have enough scraps to make anything, I'll use the leftovers from the previous weeks.
  • I won't purchase anything new to make my weekly study.
  • My prompt will be drawn from here. Any combination of the random 8 words generated.
  • I  can make more than one thing per week if I find it necessary.
  • Other things besides fabric scraps are allowed to be incorporated, but I can't buy anything new specifically for this project.
  • The size of each piece will be 8.5 x 8.5" (to fit this box I've had for ages.)
  • I will make a blog post with a picture of the weekly study sometime in the following week.
Weekly Study Square Project is beginning today!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

What's on the Wall

 The design wall that I have in my workroom is pretty big, so it takes up a lot of visual space in my working realm. I tend to keep things up there for longer than I maybe should. Even when they're done like the quilt on the left, False Flag Sorbet. In theory I'm supposed to be using the design wall more for the recently Sizzixed (yes that's a word as of now) Wavy Scales and the Pies & Points pieces.
Part of it is that i like looking at something that's done when I'm working on the next thing, like a reminder that I can do it. I can actually finish something. I find it encouraging, which I need sometimes. All the positive self-talk in the world doesn't hold a candle to looking with your own eyes at something that you've recently completed (and that you hopefully still like.)
So for the big switcher-oo, I pinned up most of the smallish quilts that are close to being done. And it's like I'm having my own private art show. I haven't looked at many of these in months, so I'm finding all sorts of details I've forgotten. A list has been made of what I'm calling each of these things, where I'm going with them and what's left to do. I'm happy to say that I can see that they were made by the same person, there's that at the very least.

I'm thinking of making this a regularly scheduled blog post, maybe weekly or bi-weekly, just so I can look back over a year's worth of how this visible component of my artistic output changes over time.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Neither a Big Shot nor a Pro

 New machinery in the studio to learn, after waiting for a good sale price, the Sizzix Big Shot Pro arrived a few weeks ago. Without the screw to attach the handle, but that was quickly handled by good customer service at . That was a hard couple of days to wait when I wanted to play with my new toy.
It is a pretty big machine, quite heavy so not something to put away and bring out again, it needs a dedicated spot. I'm still rearranging stuff in my studio, so for now it's on one of the reinforced Gorilla Rack shelves. But it may end up on the top of a short bookshelf that I have.
 I have my Pies and Points die from the class I wrote about a few days ago and I also purchased two small dies that were on sale. This is the small Wave, also from Victoria Findlay Wolfe. Here's a stack of six piece of fabric run through the machine all at once. That's why I bought this thing, the convenience, accuracy and saving the wear and tear on my hands. If I'd cut all these out with a rotary cutter...oh I don't want to really think about it. Let's leave it at there would have been a few days of consequences. As well as the pieces wouldn't have all ended up being the same size and shape.

 I chose this wave die because I wanted to try to refine my curve-sewing skills with this gentle curve shape. I really love the clamshell look to this, a bit like scales or something similar. I started out cutting fat quarters that had been washed but not ironed, but then remembered that ironing was recommended.

Color corrected so the fabrics look a little closer to reality. So, looking at this picture this shows me right away that I need to pay attention to which way directional prints are placed on the die. "We learn by doing," is echoing in my ears. Something to remember to use intentionally, I really like how the zig-zags look in the two orientations.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Sewing at QuiltCon

One of the fun things at QuiltCon was getting to hang out in the Marcus booth and hand-sew some blocks with Victoria Findlay Wolfe's new fabric line, Mostly Manor for a fund-raising ALS quilt.
 After all the walking around I was really excited to sit down, what a great picture of Jaye though.
 I managed to only finish one, Jaye did two, I know I'm usually the slowest hand-sewer around since I don't do much of it. But luckily the block went together easily with the great curve-sewing instruction we'd gotten the day before from Victoria Findlay Wolfe.

 There wasn't any yardage available but we managed to find a layer cake of the new VFW fabric line in another booth, so that was cool. I like these fabrics, lots of color/pattern energy and variation in design scale.
 Were we fan-girling VFW by then just a teeny little bit? Yeah probably, she's pretty charismatic and we'd had an all-day class with her, plus she had this awesome quilt hanging in the booth too. So pow!

There were so many buttons being given away, it was hard not to take every single one on offer, but it got rather heavy and clanky towards the end. Some of them are funny, 'Fee, Fiber, Fo, Fun!', Quilt Like You Mean It, No You Couldn't Make That.