Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Just like you, I cannot always be sitting in front of my machine. (If I were forced to, wouldn't it become a job instead of a pleasure?)

But, doodling can be done when and where ever we might be. All we need is a scrap of paper and a pen or pencil. I find myself doodling when I'm on the phone, waiting for an appointment or during the commercials of my favorite television show.

It's a great relaxing technique to forget, momentarily, the problems of the day. Or, it may be something for your hands to do as you are mentally solving the problems of the day.

I've found I can easily get lost in a doodle and find it hard to put away. I've also found these silly little sketches stimulate me and maybe some day a doodles may turn into a quilting idea. I am playing with design, pattern, and value; all those art principles that can improve my quilts.

This zen-doodle was done in my sketchbook with a permanent marker pen (no second chances, no going back). For me the first lines are easy. What I fill in between those lines is the fun and creative challenge. It's a little piece of paper. If I like it, I can keep it.  If not, no problem.

Is there a quilting idea hiding in there somewhere or should I add it to the paper recycling box?

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Zen-Quilting Tile
8" x 8"
Sharon V. Rotz

I have heard of zen-doodles and Zentangles, but as free-motion quilters we can certainly be the artists who create beautiful Zen-Quilting. I found this a relaxing activity and a fun way to practice (or design) lines and shapes that I can use in the future on larger quilting projects.

Being so much a color fanatic, I keep thinking of various ways that I could add color to my quilt tile. Am I done? Should I hold back? Or, should I splash color all over?  I am trying hard to keep my hands tied behind my back and just stop. I keep telling myself, this tile is done and bound, get past it.

Do you create in black and white? Or are you, like me, ready to throw each piece into a multi-color dye pot?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Scrap Play

Spilling Over- Color and Pattern
8" x 8"
Sharon V. Rotz

Gathering my scraps, I decided it was time of a bit of play. First, strings of fabric were randomly stitched together. This, of course, is liberating fun -- no seam allowance concern, no matching, no pattern arrangement -- anything goes. Pressed and trimmed when necessary to keep things flat.

After I had an 8" square, it was time for embellishing. I added shiny candy wrappers after taking a moment to relax and enjoy the candy. Only then did I decide to divide my project into three sections with the addition of a narrow strip of navy. No plan, just playing.

A strip of narrow ribbon, curling off the spool, was draped across the fabric. It was definitely more interesting left curled, instead of when it was straighten. So curled it went on.

What next? Digging in my thread box, orange embroidery thread popped up. Perfect for some of my favorite candlewicking knots. (Candlewicking knots are similar to french knots but looped in figure eight fashion around the needle and pulled through. They give a heavier look then a single french knot.)

For the binding, again I had fun using three fabrics adding different colors to finish the piece. A fast, easy project. A perfect distraction for the day.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

We've Pressed Our Last Seam Together

I checked to see if it was still plugged in to the wall outlet. I checked to see that it was turned up to the right setting. It just wasn't doing a thing to press my fabric. I hesitantly touched the bottom. Then I placed my whole hand on the bottom. Nothing but the tiniest of warmth.

It's time had come. My iron had pressed it's last seam. It's a sad moment because we do become friends with our tools. We like the way they feel in our hands. We find comfort in their familiarity. We become in tune with them as we see them as an extension of our body.

My iron. I remember where and when I purchased you. We've built a lot of quilts together. We've scorched a bit of fabric, and we've melted some, too. When I fused adhesive and interfacing to your bottom, you patiently waited for me to scrub it off.  Was this your spa treatment?

I know you weren't always happy with me. When I was impatient and didn't give you time to warm up, you spit water on my fabric. But, we did work well together and I am sad to see you go.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Reduced to Strings

Now my scraps have been reduced but there are still some left and I still love the bright colors. So, one more project is in my future.

Only narrow pieces, oddly shaped, strings of fabric. Perfect for string piecing. Obviously, I have stars on my brain so a star shape it will be.

The first step is to cut out muslin diamonds as a foundation for the strings. Then on to the fun part of selecting each fabric and stitching it on to cover the foundation. A little trimming and I have one point of my star.

Seven more points and I have a star. As I'm laying them out, I play with the arrangement, of course. The trouble (or really the beauty) of random is that it is just that. No amount of arranging and rearranging will really make a difference. Enjoy it as it happens.

I can't wait to stitch my star together but I have yet to decide on a background fabric. Should I use white as I've done on the previous projects?  I did really like the look. Or, should I choose a different color? How about blue? What do you think? Which would you choose?

Friday, March 11, 2011

From Strips to Stars

Some of my favorite quilts are star quilts. After some thought, I chose to arrange my half square triangle blocks in a star shape. Immediately, I realized that I would need points and reverse points to keep the strips all going in the same direction. (No, you can't just turn them.) Some days, a little playing before we plunge in and make all of the blocks is a good thing.

Also the center blocks will combine two stripped triangles rather than a stripped triangle and a muslin triangle. Because the strips were random widths the seams are not meant to match. Ha, ha, no stress.

And here we go, arranging the blocks into a star pattern. Because the muslin is light and the seams are more likely to show through, I pressed the seam allowances toward the colored sections as much as possible.  

At this point, we always have to play with the block arrangement to try to get the best coloring distribution. Let's face it, it's impossible to improve it. Too many colors, too many fabric combinations. Let it flow and enjoy it as it happens.

My completed star

Have a little fabric left. What comes next?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Distracted and Pulled in by the Brights

While I am pondering and plotting what to do with my star quilt, I'm distracted by another collection of scraps that popped up.

In a previous post, I showed the pillows that I made from the remnants of my serged 13's a Charm quilt.

I've been sucked in by the bright colors and now I've found more of the fabric. What can I make now? Can I keep thinking up more projects until I have no fabric left?  What a fun challenge!

There is a pile of serged strip ends. These were left when the triangles were cut for 13's a Charm.

Obviously, they are not big enough to cut more triangles. Or are they? What about a smaller triangle that could be used for half square triangles combined with muslin?

Now there are so many optionals, where do we go from here? What is your favorite block or quilt made from half square triangle blocks?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bang, Hit the Nail on the Head

I love Sharyn's comment about moving on. Yes, every project that we start does not have to be finished. We can certainly learn lessons along the way and benefit from a start that isn't completed. A smart, logical person would look at this as a lesson learned and get on with their life.


Just as there are animal rescuer's (my sister), there are crazy, insane quilt rescuers (me). I look at this start as a quilt to be rescued. After pressing, I unpinning the pieces from around the edge. By the way, what a bad idea to leave pins in stored work for rust spots are sure to be part of your future. I was lucky not to have found any. This doesn't look too bad, I still like the fabrics and I have plenty of my favorite, the deep purple Hoffman print.

The little gears in my head are starting to turn. And they are beginning to gather speed. What if I took my few corner applique pieces and placed them like this?

Or like this?

More applique from another fabric? Borders?? So many options to be explored. What comes next? And, there still is that circular file if all else fails.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What to Do with the Hole in my Star?

While I had my head in the closet, searching and cleaning, I discovered an unfinished project.  Surprise! Surprise!  Please, tell me you have one hiding in your closet as well.

My project was wrapped up in a bag with assorted fabric to finish it right there. Easy task, right? Roll it out, do a little pressing and I'm on my way.

I remember there was a book on adding applique to a pieced project that I thought was a most creative idea. Mmmm......who was the author? Jinny Beyer, perhaps? Obviously, this was the start of a project with applique done in the center of the star. I see the plan was to add more applique around the points. Two sections are pinned on. There are also two outer corners ready to go.  

No problem, I'll just cut two additional sections for the points, or maybe 6 to go between each of the remaining points. Then I'll find two more outer corners and I'll be ready to sit down and applique.

Unwrapping and sorting the additional fabric, I found one flaw in this great plan. There is extra yardage of all the fabrics, except the one that I needed, the one that was used for the applique. Was there more but somehow it wandered into another project? (yes, you know how that occasionally happens) Or wasn't there ever enough and that was why the project was tucked away?

What do I do now?  Try to come up with another solution or abandon the project entirely? What if I took the applique off? After all, only the center was attached so far. Quick decision was made, yes, that's what I will do.

Well........ until I turned the quilt top over and looked at the back.

I had neatly trimmed away the fabric under the applique. I'm sure it was to eliminate the bulk in the center of the star. Well, that certainly "eliminated" my quick and easy resolution to finishing this project.
Now what do I do?

Do you have any helpful suggestions?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...