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Springtime in Stitches

Short and sweet today.  I just finished a small, dual-purpose project:

This is a future class sample, and a teaser for some embroidery patterns that I hope to have available soon.  The base of the above piece is an example of fabric weaving from Fabric Embellishing: The Basics and Beyond by Ruth Chandler, Liz Kettle, Heather Thomas and Lauren Vleck (Landauer, 2009).  I’d love to teach a monthly workshop on fabric embellishing, there are so many surprising techniques to have in our art quilt skill sets.  I really enjoy learning and sharing new things with others.

From my “finding inspiration anywhere” files, here is a random snapshot I took last week of spring beauties and a few violets that I found on a walk around the countryside:

There is a little composition lesson here, this is an example of crystallographic balance, where there is no main focal point.  Look at it from a short distance, and there are still areas of negative space, where there are gaps in the flowers.  Visual interest comes from those gaps and in the contrast between the short star-like petals of the spring beauties against the long blades of grass sprawling in every direction.  Of course, the pop of color from the violets adds an element of surprise.  Yes, I am imagining how to turn this into a little stitched piece… someday.


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More Little Bits of Stitches

Back on November 15, 2019, I posted about some little 4″ X 4″ squares I had completed.  I have a goal this year to make four of these squares a week.  We are halfway through the first month of the new year, here are my squares from the past two weeks:

Some of them are lovely little gems, others are not so hot.  I’m not redoing any of them, or throwing any away.  These are sort of a stitching journal, and a way to experiment with color and composition.  Not everything that we make will be a masterpiece, and that is part of the creative journey.

On a side note, I am only going to be posting once a week this year in an attempt to work on some other things that desperately need my attention (UFO pieces and the rest of this website, for starters).  Next week, I will share whatever progress that I have made over the upcoming three day weekend.


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Rethinking Old Projects

Take a look at these three small wall hangings. 

What do you think?  Does one “speak” to you more than the other two?

These are not my latest creations, I made them in 2014 when I set out to complete all twelve of the design exploration workshops in A Fiber Artist’s Guide to Color & Design by Heather Thomas (Landauer, 2011).  You can definitely see how I was influenced by the collages of Kurt Schwitters.

The one at top left has been hanging in my sewing room, the other two have been in a suitcase, bumping along to the quilt shows, hoping to find new homes.  I dug them out today while looking for something else, and I am thinking of adding more hand stitching to the two that have been packed away.  I have since learned many more embroidery stitches, and looking at these early pieces, I think I could improve them a bit.  I don’t want to spend much more time on them, and I definitely do not want to make a habit of re-doing older pieces, but I really like this group, and I want to give myself a week to see what I can do with them.  In the very near future, I am going to start over with the workshops from the book.  I want to get through all twelve lessons in 2020.

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Summer Meadows

I have really derailed over the last week and a half – with this blog, the index-card-a-day challenge, and more.  However, I was having a fabulous time indulging in a hobby that has consumed me for most of my life at BreyerFest– the collectors’ convention for model horses.

I’m still trying to ease back into my usual routine, so here’s a couple of images of the meadows that surround my home.

I look forward to seeing the vibrant orange butterfly weed flowers each July, and I have captured them in an ongoing series of fiber art pieces:

Take some time this week to study a landscape that you see frequently, make note of what you notice most in it, then find something that you haven’t noticed.  Does it inspire you creatively?

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Three Strikes

Today’s post is a tough lesson in the reality of learning a new creative skill.  A lot of what gets made is not very good.  It is very difficult to admit that something (or in this case, three things) that I’ve spent a lot of time and materials on, is rubbish.  But there are a few positive things to take from this week’s work.  One, I finished three 8 X  10″ pieces.  Two, I tried some techniques that have potential.  Take a look:

I love the hand stitching that I did on these, and I am pleased with the effects created by the machine couching of the funky yarns.

What keeps tripping me up is the final assembly and quilting.  These three pieces were pillowcase bound and then lightly quilted to secure the layers.  I ended up with some lumpy areas and wavy edges.  The last one was especially troublesome:

These are just not up to my creative vision, and certainly showing my lack of technical skill.  Even though they are three strikes, I refuse to be called “out,” the only way I can get better with my quilting skills is to make more.  The really bad thing is that the color combination is making me crave Neapolitan ice cream!