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Chickens and Candy

Being creative does NOT mean that everything you attempt will turn out successfully.  Sometimes, my ideas just don’t work out like I thought.  Today was one of those days, but I learned a few things in the process, and that’s always a good thing.

Over a year ago, I started a large art quilt that was going to be for a SAQA show.  The theme was “Upcycle,” and my idea was to create a piece using an old feed sack and somehow incorporate candy wrappers into the design.  In my very first post here, I featured the feed sack that I chose, and you will see how the candy wrappers fit into the project.

I have yet to finish the quilt, today I thought I’d try an idea I have for the candy wrappers.  My original plan was to quilt the piece with thread sketches of chickens, and add the candy wrappers as random accents.  A few days ago, I thought I’d try making collaged chickens using the wrappers and applique the chickens to the quilt.  Using one of my own drawings, I first traced the drawing onto a piece of Foundation Stuff, and made another tracing onto paper to create a pattern.  I numbered and cut out the paper pattern pieces.

Next, I used lightweight fusible webbing to bond candy wrappers to additional pieces of Foundation Stuff.

Using the pattern pieces, I cut out pieces from the bonded candy wrappers, then assembled them on the Stuff with the drawing.  I often use a glue stick to tack pieces in place before sewing, once dry, the glue presents no problems to sew through.  However, I discovered that the glue does not work well on Foundation Stuff!  The Foundation Stuff is a new product to me, so I am learning the capabilities of it.  I was able to slather both sides of the parts I was trying to join, and weight them down until the glue dried.  Then, I carefully took the developing chicken collage to one of my sewing machines.

I use an 80 or 90 universal or topstitch needle and quality 40 or 50 weight thread when sewing with paper.  Use a long stitch length (straight or zigzag), and remember that paper will dull your needle very quickly.  I sometimes save needles that I have used for a little while, but are still useful, for sewing paper.  Once you finish your paper sewing project, discard that needle.

So, here is my trial chicken.  It is an interesting concept, but in the end, I just don’t like it.  I don’t like the candy wrappers, they overwhelm the chicken.  This isn’t going to work for the feed sack quilt.  At this point, I don’t even want to put the candy wrappers in the quilt at all, not even in my original plan of randomly stitching them across the surface.  Since the quilt is no longer for an upcycle challenge, I am fine with this.  Now, I am considering making 3-D fabric candy pieces for this project.  I won’t know how that idea will work out until I try it.

Later this week I will have some musings on music and trying to capture the moment that you first hear or see something that just rocks your world.

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Woven, Not Stitched

Yes indeed, I found the loom that I mentioned in my last post, and I remembered enough about it to start a woven… something:

I’m not sure what else to say about this weaving adventure at this point.  I’m stuck, I don’t remember how to secure the loose ends on both the warp and weft.  The loom came with an instructional DVD, and I need to watch it again to figure out how to finish what I started.  It has been unseasonably warm here, so I have not wanted to sit and watch, I have been picking daffodils, pulling weeds and sitting out on the porch with some hand stitching.  As for what my plans are for the weaving, I am envisioning using the pieces as embellishment appliques.  I could use a few small pieces separately, or put together several strips to make one bigger piece and use them in a fabric collage.  Up next on my stay-at-home punch list, sewing with candy wrappers.  Curious?  Find out all about it on Tuesday.

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Discovering Buried Treasures

Why didn’t I do this sooner?  By necessity, a vast amount of my textile art stash is stuffed in boxes.  As a result, I often forget about what I cannot see.  This morning, I went through my box of funky yarns and reacquainted myself with all of the wonderful colors and textures, and what they could add to my collages.  So, I spent a good bit of time freeing them from their hideaway and cut one or two yards of each one.  Next,  I hung the pieces on a vintage mini drying rack so that I have a sampling of my yarns easily accessible and ready to use.

These yarns are great for building up texture, outlining shapes, weaving, and making yarn “lace.”  Here, I am machine couching a line of eyelash yarn to an artist trading card using a zigzag stitch.

Using water soluble stabilizer, a thick “lace” can be made by sewing yarns in a grid pattern, than soak away the stabilizer and use the resulting openwork as an embellishment piece.  One of these days, I’d like to make some woven strips on a tabletop rigid heddle loom that I have.  I’ve used pin looms to create funky yarn squares that go into my fabric collages.  Now that I have more time, I should dig out that loom and start something with it.  Check back later this week to see if I stick to this goal, or uncover something else…

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Cancelations? Get Creative.

Here in Ohio, the coronavirus has caused a multitude of event cancellations, and the list seems to grow by the hour.  I’m not going to get on a political soapbox about the response to the virus, other than to suggest that if you suddenly have some spare time due to event, school or work closure, take the opportunity to learn something new.

Turn off the TV, turn off the news, get off the internet for a little while, (after you finish reading this post, of course!) get out your needle and thread, or pencil and sketchbook, or any tools or supplies that you’ve had sitting and make something!  If you’re like me, you might have a stack or two of craft books that are begging to be read.  Pick out a book, open it and start a project from one of those books.  Think about the creative skills that you have mastered, and take some time to teach it to someone else.  Making something or expressing yourself creatively is a great escape from the troubles of the world.  With, that I am off to escape from my laptop and get lost in some stitching.

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Scraps, Squares, Stitches

I am addicted to these little stitched squares!  This most recent bunch has turned out very well, I like all of them.  I am still amazed at how scraps can be transformed into little treasures.

In this set of four, I played with making stitch flowers by filling in petal shapes with combinations of stitches, and then tried out a monochrome color palette:

More trials with monochrome, and then I jumped back into multicolor mayhem:

These little squares are a great way to audition color combinations. Think of them as preliminary sketches for larger pieces.  I absolutely love the layers of textures that I combined in the square on the lower left here:

I wonder if the square I make for a given day reflects my mood at the time.  I’ll have to pay more attention to that.