Made on Monday 4 – Boxing Day

Boxing Day is the day for eating leftovers and playing with all the new toys. And we all finally got a good night’s sleep! We are suited up in new warm caps and scarves and taking a long walk in the cold, crisp morning. Step carefully, there is still some ice on the pavement there! Meanwhile, back home under the tree, there are still bright holiday-colored glints of discarded wrapping paper and ribbons, but the boxes have all given up all their mystery, and what remains is only sparkle and shine. Now we can relax with our feet up and ponder Christmas Day and the ending of another year.

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Techniques used in this piece included layering of multiple fabrics, improvisational machine stitching and slashing to create a sort of reverse applique, folding and application of heat, and couching yarns, to create an ‘excavation’ of layers underneath the background fabric.

Visit Kate Bridger ‘s web site for more information about Made on Monday, or the Textile Arts group on Facebook, to see what others are doing. References I’m using for my project include Ruth Singer’s Fabric Manipulation: 150 Creative Sewing Techniques, and The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Collette Wolff.

Happy Holidays!

Last post before Christmas for me. This is a bit of a departure from my improv quilting adventures posted lately, but I also enjoy the occasional traditional piecing. It has it’s own attractions, and it is a good way to work on certain skills. So, I’m sharing a few of the blocks I made on the Household and Singer 66-1 treadles, during 2015, as part of the Treadle Quilters Block of the Month and another online group focused on people-powered machines, TreadleOn. Hopefully in the next year I can use them to complete a quilt or two, when I commence my siege on unfinished objects!IMG_1127 - Version 2 IMG_0408 IMG_4869 IMG_4796 IMG_4606 IMG_4605

Thanks so much for visiting here, and a Merry Christmas to all!

Made on Monday 3 – Winter Solstice

The shortest post for the shortest day. A piece of black and silver silk brocade woven with bands of chenille (visible along the lower left side) was gathered and inset into the background using a “Square in a Square” quilt block arrangement. Furrowing tucks added texture to the inset, and a few strands of a novelty ‘eyelash’ yarn were couched around the edges. The variations of fiber and pattern in the silk piece added some interest to the texture created by the furrowing, and the metallic strands in the yarn explode the glittery effect out of the box.IMG_1188

Visit Kate Bridger ‘s web site for more information about Made on Monday, or the Textile Arts group on Facebook, to see what others are doing. References I’m using for my project include Ruth Singer’s Fabric Manipulation: 150 Creative Sewing Techniques, and The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Collette Wolff.

Happy Solstice!

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A Very Good Day

I really had a very nice day today. For starters, I went for a nice long walk with my friend who is also recently retired, and we talked about what that means to us and how we are coping with it. It turns out to be a process, and we are working through it together. We now have a standing date on Tuesday mornings, unless it is actually pouring rain which isn’t too usual in our neck of the woods. We walked on the Laguna de Santa Rosa trail and had some fine views of Mt. St. Helena, and some hot air baloons.IMG_1192            IMG_1193At home again I did a little improv stitching which I will share later.  Then I finished decorating the Christmas tree, which has been sitting there with just the lights on it for a couple of days.  It was much quicker to decorate and slightly more fun when the kids were still at home, but it is also fun to think of them decorating their own homes now. I have been having a hard time getting into the Christmas holiday feeling, but I think I’m catching on.IMG_1199 Finally, I went into the kitchen and did a little improv cooking. I think I have found the perfect combination of ingredients for the cold beet salad and it is like putting a bowl of Christmas jewels on the table.  Cold steamed beets, tangerines, Fuyu persimmons, raspberries and red onions, in a vinaigrette of white balsamic and olive oil with lots of tarragon, and a little each of cardamom, allspice, ground pepper and salt.

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Made on Monday 2

After I posted the first Made on Monday piece, I thought I should probably document what techniques I was exploring as I went along. I realized that I had completely omitted anything about the process, and since I like to read process posts myself, I decided I’d provide some of that along the way, as of possible interest to others. So, first, a little addition to the previous post.IMG_1162

The piece Cold Planet used a technique called “furrowing”. The ‘furrowed’ piece is the same shape as the shape it will be inserted into (or in my case, applique’d to), but it is larger. I used a three inch diameter circle as the target space, but the applied piece of fabric was cut with a six inch diameter. The edges are then gathered to fit the target shape, and then the furrowing commences. Tiny tacks are made to anchor the larger shape to the base. This creates deep folds and gathers in the top layer. I started out adding a little seed bead to each of the tacks, but I started leaving them out at one point, and didn’t miss them. I enjoyed sewing this; the furrowing process was relaxing and meditative, and fascinating as the piece kept transforming under my eyes.

Made on Monday 2 – Sunny Breaks

I learned the term ‘sunny breaks’ from a newspaper weather headline on a trip to Vancouver BC some years ago. For us travellers from California, it was an amusingly optimistic way to describe the prevailing weather up there. Here in California especially of late, we have been hoping for breaks from the sunny-ness, rather than the other way around. But the day I went hunting for fabric for MOM 2, it was finally trying to be dark and rainy. IMG_1191I had recently found a stack of someone’s old attempts at hand-dyeing in my resale shop and this particular one looked very much like what I saw out the window.

This piece also involved gathering, but the applied pieces were only enlarged in one direction rather than on all sides. This technique also results in a textured surface, and the direction and depth of the folds can be controlled somewhat, by pulling them one way or the other along the gathering stitches. I was searching for some thread to do some hand-stitching in the lower third of the piece, when I stumbled across a length of metallic ribbon that just seemed right. This was trimmed and fused to suggest a passing shower. Et voila!

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Visit Kate Bridger ‘s web site for more information about Made on Monday, or the Textile Arts group on Facebook, to see what others are doing. References I’m using for my project include Ruth Singer’s Fabric Manipulation: 150 Creative Sewing Techniques, and The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Collette Wolff.

Made on Monday

Recently, textile artist Kate Bridger announced a challenge called Made on Monday, on the Facebook group Textile Arts. (There’s lots of amazing eye candy popping up on this site every day, and from all over the world, so if you are in the FB neighborhood, check it out.) The Made on Monday idea is to create one small, two dimensional piece of art 5″ by 5″ square, each Monday for one year. Kate is constructing a web site to showcase these pieces, and once an artist has twelve pieces submitted, she will open a gallery page on the site.

I am relatively certain that I will not be able to accomplish this every week for 52 straight weeks, but I thought it seemed like something worth trying. I’ve been reading two books lately, on the manipulation of fabrics to create designs and textures– Ruth Singer’s Fabric Manipulation: 150 Creative Sewing Techniques, and The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Collette Wolff. Making a piece that is only 5″ square seemed like it might be a way to explore many of these techniques without the commitment of a huge piece.

I have set a couple of limits for myself (other than the 5 x 5 size):

  • I will use a common background fabric for all pieces; I have a nice little supply of this Kaffe Fassett Shot Cotton in Latte, which struck me as a good backdrop for various surface decorations I might apply.
  • I will not purchase any new supplies, but will limit myself to items already in the stash.
  • I will try to incorporate hand-sewing elements to each piece (though I reserve the right to use machinery and attachments as well).
  • I don’t plan to limit myself as to other textiles, colors, patterns, beads, bits and bobs that might be added as embellishment. 

I have not decided yet whether to finish these as individual pieces, or assemble them into a whole. We shall see! Here is my #1 – Cold Planet, 12/7/15.

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Have a great week.