Edges – is there no end to the madness?

I shared the 12x12x12 with my informal art quilt group, Metrothreads last Saturday.  I meant to share some lessons from working small, and I realized that I got caught up in the fun of show-n-chat and may not have given specific details as promised on tips for working smaller... I'm sure there are a lot more tips for working small... but here's a couple that jump out at me..


check out the 12x12x12 in miniature... Peace, Love and Joy (top left) got a little bit "mushy, squishy", but the flogs still show up.  The rest seem to have some good pop.

That's not small enough, let's get really small and see what happens!
I think that small, large and medium works need to have appeal at different distances - from a distance, I've see art quilts that go mushy and don't draw you in.  I squint at my art as I work (or take off my glasses) if I like it squinty, I'll like it from a distance.  I also take photos from a distance and look at them on the small camera screen.  Oooh, now you know more of my secrets!


I think putting a traditional bed quilt binding on an art quilt is like wearing a cocktail dress with Danskos.  And I do love my Danskos (and so much more than I love cocktail dresses!), but they take the focus away from the dress and make you question what scenario led to that outfit - did the house catch on fire and you grabbed the closest shoes? Was it "laundry day, nothing clean"?

I love juxtaposition, like in steam-punk - but I think a lot of art quilters don't do traditional bindings becase they want to show juxtaposition...maybe they see it as expected, easy, safe and they know how to do it already!  But like scale changes things - If your big quilt bindings are great, good, okay, so so, or not even so - it's going to magnify mistakes, so great is now just good, good is okay, and so on.  So if you can do great bindings on big quilts, do it on small ones, but maybe try single fold and try small widths.  If you are in the not so great category, I think you have a decision to make.  Try facings, "try it, you'll like it." (Yes, I am heavily influenced by 70s TV).

Commercial break 

Do you realize that  "try it, you'll like it." is an Alka-Seltzer tag line?  
In my flawed memory it was Life Cereal... that was actually different... 
"I'm not gonna try it—you try it!" 

we now return you to your regular blogcast

You know from 2d paper art and photography - framing is an artistic element- and those who come from traditional quilting know what a good border will do for a bed quilt.  But the border also needs to be in scale with the item - a 2.25" double fold on a bed quilt has a appropriate scale look that it doesn't have on a small quilt.  I've played with faux binding using piping.  Wrapped fused binding or zigzagging can be appropriate for a small quilt.

Facings, like the palette cleansing sorbet, mmm such a great finish!  If you've never done facings, it's little harder at first, but soon you get used to the steps and can spin around the room and wow the crowd.  What is just a little harder, gives a look that can be flamboyant.  The pay offs of dancing the Facings Fandango include:
  • puts the focus on the quilt
  • nice crisp edges
  • not limited to straight edges
  • better hang-ocity - give quilts more stability in an unstable world!
  • gives you options (front, back, matching, contracts, insertions)
  • you can say "Facings Fandango", who wouldn't want to say that?

Check out, Day 11 Life on the Edge  for brainstormed ideas for quilt edges,

Thanks for having fun with me today!
Want more FUN? Follow and like us:

Make It Work – Reveal day 12

You heard my trials and tribulations yesterday. I didn't know what I wanted to "make". I knew I wanted to "make" something. During this Dozen Days, on my design wall is pinned an index card with "Make It Work" scribbled on it.  I totally believe in the power of positive thinking.  How many times in this Dozen Days did I use something that existed before, where I had invested time and effort then found a way to Make it Work? Feels good! Was it cause I was thinking of making it work?  I know that being on a deadline also helped creativity and productivity flow, and having permission to fail allowed me to take risks.

Make It Work is Tim Gunn's catchphrase that you hear repeatedly on Project Runway episodes.  As a recovering garment sewer, this show has a special place in my heart!

Tim Gunn clips from PR

In his own words about Make It Work

Tim Gunn's blog

If you want to be surprised, close your eyes right now... but since I know you can't wait (and would just scroll down til you see it) so here is the picture, and then you can sit back and read the story behind it...

So back to my story, here I was with my quiltless day 11 and the need to sew on Day 12.  The "need" is both for the challenge and as a result of the challenge, I'm more connected with my creativity and productivity, sewing time has become part of my routine.  So here I am looking back at the last 10 quilts, thinking, pondering...

Part of me thinks, I should do a new technique today.  But what did I say about thinking yesterday?

Step away from the brain and no one gets hurt! 

So back to feelings, desires, emotions... I want... what do I want? I want a Make It Work, that is more inspiring than my index card... I know that doesn't set the bar very high!  And I have far more light colored labels than I have dark ones, so if I want to play with labels more (AND I DO!!!) I better stick with light colored background.  I already had made "it" on Day 9, I didn't make "it" for this purpose, but I think it was "made" to "work out" for me!

So nowhere in my rules did it say that I couldn't repeat a technique... Nor did I say I couldn't make two quilts that were almost identical.  And it's my game, so if anyone doesn't like my rules, well they can make more strict rules for themselves!

So I built 2 backgrounds - it's fun to play with the labels!  The stickiness of Steam a Seam 2 works great with the labels.  I was on the couch relaxing with my dear hubby, there was a baseball game on and I had my big bucket of labels.  Like building a stone wall, I was adding bits and more bits til I had something pretty substantial, made up entirely of small parts...

I didn't want to make a predictable triptych with the same font.  Plus you may have noticed that the words MAKE and WORK are 4 letter words and you know what that means - yep they take up twice as much space a two letter word... so it's gotta be a smaller font but still needs to have strong impact.  I heard once if you use more than one font, just don't mix san-serif and serif, or was that you should always mix them? and what's a serif? "I shot the serif, but I did not shoot the de-pu-ty"... now Bob Marley has joined in the theme song of the day.   If you want to know more about fonts, there are likely books filled with that info.  🙂   But is there some contrast and commonality I ask?  The 2 fonts have a playfulness to them so that's their commonality.  The angles and curves, the size and weight of the font provides the contrast.

I also loved working with Ultra-Suede (now when I think the words "Ultra-Suede", it sounds very much like ... "here I come to save the day...Ul-tra-Suede"  any of you Mighty Mouse fans out there?

So I cut out the words "make" and "work".  Did I not cut out the centers of the a,e and o as a design element or just out of laziness? (it's not just the cutting it out, but I would also need to stitch around those centers)  But seriously, I intended to cut them out, but took a look-see after I cut out the outside and thought, ya know I like it that way.  Ser-en-dipity!  Sounds like a good name for a loveable but ditsy sidekick for my superhero!

When I fused down the "work" I kinda burnt the k - there is some slight darkness on it - dirty iron perhaps?  So that's why I decided I better do some stitching down - used the Free Motion Zig Zag and a Jean 16 needle.

Do you look at your work from 3 distances?  I think we tend to forget the far distance views... But I want to give my quilts the best opportunity to shine, and in a big crowd of quilts, you are likely to pay more attention to those that capture your eye from 20 feet away.

You need to keep their attention once they get up close, but it's the drawing them in that "makes it work".

I hope you have enjoyed this 12x12x12 challenge as much as I have, I'm pondering more lessons learned from this process, so of it I understood right away - other parts are taking more time to sink in.

As always, I wish you fun from A to Z! 

Want more FUN? Follow and like us:

Life on the Edge – revelations of day 11

Screech go the tires!

After putting the first 10 days quilts up on the design wall, I sat back and took a good look.  First I was happy, enjoying my creations and then SLAM my creativity hit the proverbial brick wall. All along, I had been smart in putting away previous days quilts.  Seeing it up there didn't give me a clear canvas, an open mind or any space for creativity to fill.

My OVERTHINK started up in overdrive. After 10 days, shouldn't these last few days be utter perfection? It should be a masterpiece...
That's crazy, this is an experiment, for fun and creativity.  I still can't believe I had those thoughts. 

Overthinking got me in this rut!
STOP over thinking! 
In fact stop thinking!

In a David Allen audio program, I learned that when you are not being productive (cause you feel like a slug) you should do slug like tasks. They need to be done anyway so why use up time when your creative energy is high for those slug tasks.

So what did this slug do.... Edges! So on day 10, I went back and did a lot of edge work  First I did some creative thinking on different kind of edges.
I didn't want to invest the time to face these, I do love faced edges, but they are major time drains.  Zig Zag seemed like a mighty fine idea so off I went... Didja notice yesterday I had navy thread on the machine ....
If I hadn't been thinking of different edge types, and having done the fused wrapped edge on the Criss Cross Applesauce, I don't think I would have thought of doing the chunks of fused fabric edge that I did on the Dragon - and doesn't that edge just make the whole thing pop?

Did I beat myself up about this day's worth of progress? 
Nope, I can roll with it.  

So what about my goal of 12 quilts in 12 days?  
If I do 2 quilts tomorrow (Saturday!), I still make my goal.  

So was the day successful? 
You bet! Even more than if I had completed a quilt today! 

I've done some of these "masterpieces" in 30 minutes or less, so I know it's doable, I can do 12, but I need to stop the OVERTHINK. Today's time spent edging previous quilts was super productive, just not what I originally planned,  it got me out of the OVERTHINK trap.  Productivity is one of my goals - especially for this challenge!

Being a SLUG is not so bad!
Want more FUN? Follow and like us:

Boone Moon – Reveal Day 10


  • Gelatin Plate printed the negative of a fern with light green metallic paint on Paprika kona (great name for a spicy color)*!!!
  • I looked around sewing studio for suitable background fabric - auditioned a few, then boom boom boom like the moon moon moon, I looked over on the back of my sewing chair I had draped this fabric print that I bought - well I copied my friend Linda Boone who had just bought the same fabric about 10 seconds before me - and it was exactly right.  Sometimes the right solution is easy and right in front of you (or in my case, draped on the chair behind me) and all you need to do is be open to it.
  • Free Motion ZigZagged applique on using multiple passes
  • Quilted in the stem
  • Free Motion Machine quilted the background fabric using the movement in the colors to maneuver the quilting stitches

      * - These steps were done prior to 12x12x12 challenge
    !!! - First time I ever did this type of thing

    Probably I would have tried to match the Paprika color for the stem stitches but out of pure laziness I did not change the blue thread on machine from Day 9 quilt - and I like the effect I got by adding the color to the stem. Luck of the Laze!
    Want more FUN? Follow and like us:

    "Tag you’re it" – Reveal Day 9

    I think I finally made "it"...  everybody talks about "it" cause they want "it", well I've got "it" now!

    If you think I will live "it" down or stop "it", you really don't know me...

    • Imagined a quilt made of clothing labels*
    • Saved clothing labels for "it"*,and  was given clothing labels* (receiving them in the mail, in person, via messenger; and yes, I will still accept more, this is not my last label quilt)
    • Created light colored applique letters, fused base fabric cream colored Kona !!!
    • Created dark colored background on base fabric using Steam a Seam sticky fusible!!!
    • Zigzag stitched applique - later inked in applique stitch with black Sharpie marker!!!
    • Free Motion Machine quilted the light areas with lime green, and dark ones with Navy Blue - this is why I had Navy Blue on my machine - so at this point I decided to edge many of the quilts from the early days of this challenge
    • Free Motion ZigZagged edge!!!
      * - These steps were done prior to 12x12x12 challenge
    !!! - First time I ever did this type of thing

    and what is behind "it" you ask...


    "its" backed with cash - well, cash fabric

    Want more FUN? Follow and like us:

    Dragon – Reveal Day 8

     Based on a sketch from spring 2011


    • Fused background fabric to Freezer paper for stability
    • Wavy S shape drawn with Sewline Air Erasable pen
    • Circles drawn along the line using the Staedtler Professional Combo Circle template
    • Colored in the spheres with Tsukineko Inks blending rainbow colors and adding some spherical shapes
    • Accidentally used steam when setting the inks, and got a nice smeary effect on the red to oranges and teals (interesting effect - may need to try on purpose) !!!   

    • Free Motion Machine quilted around spheres first
    • Quilted lines moving top to bottom around the spheres!!! and echoing curves on upper right
    • Added a dragon scale (or fern-like) quilting in areas that needed tighter quilting !!!
    • Did a vertical stitching below dragon echoing the tail - I like the checkerboard effect it gives.  I don't know if I like the quilting inside the dragon tail...
    • Bound using chunks of fused fabrics, fused on front and wrapped to the back!!!
      Fun to take an idea from the sketchbook to the quilt.  This was just a shape (not a dragon) til I took one look at it from a different angle, turned it upside down and voila - dragon.  After it was quilted, I really  liked this quilt - but then when I bound it I feel that it came to life in a whole new way- now I love it, it's one of my favorites.

        * - These steps were done prior to 12x12x12 challenge
      !!! - First time I ever did this type of thing

      pizza cheese fabric

      and I end this post with the cheese fabric on the back
      why you ask?
      because we all know "the cheese stands alone"!
      Want more FUN? Follow and like us:

      Bloom – Reveal Day 7

      I love my flower cogs (flogs), I find these to be a happy shape. I love when Art makes me happy!  Many happy mornings were spent watching Bob Ross painting happy clouds.  Again I diverge, but wait, isn't divergence part of the journey?  So I take this moment to thank those who came before and inspired me and taught me I can be myself and I can be silly, you don't need to be what others think is a serious mopey artist to be making art, seriously! 
      • Flogs cut from Artfabrik handdyes (leftovers from class with Laura Wasilowski last year) - circles drawn with Staedtler Halfpipe Pen Style Compass, circles cut and wedges cut out
      • Free cut stems on the bias
      • McTavishing Free Motion Machine quilted the background first then applique stitched since I wanted to overlap the applique over the quilting
      • Orange Flogs appliqued with a tighter freemotion zigzag
      • Red/Yellow Flogs appliqued with a free motion zigzag keeping the quilt oriented the same way no mater where on the flower I am, then turning quilt 90degrees and repeating
      • Hand sewed french knots in each flower - using DMC variegated floss (90, 106 and 51) - the Yellow Flogs have strands 90 and one each of 106 and 51, Orange has 2 strands 51, one each of others...  For the 2 strands that are the same floss, turned one so that the result is a more mottled look of color rather than the distinct color variations.

      The birth of "Flog"...
      Once upon a time in a challenge project long long ago, a tiny artist wanted to show the inner workings of her mind, so a cog or gear shape was in order.  She cut out a circle that was too static and round - so cut some wedge shapes out of it, kinda free and kinda messy like.  The cog was born, and all was good, but the cog looked kinda like a flower, and the tiny artist called it a "Flower Cog" for a while, but that is too long a name, so Flog it is!   I was pleased to find that Flog is an acronym: "For Love of God". Found that on Wikipedia, for the love of God!

      Want more FUN? Follow and like us:

      Long May She Wave – Reveal Day 6

      You know the last 2 words from the USA National Anthem?  It's "Play Ball!" for this baseball fan.  Seriously, I'm a big baseball fan, love the sights and sounds of the game.  I'm also very patriotic, so I mean no disrespect with my Play Ball joke. In my region (I'm ashamed to say its the Nation's Capital and Baltimore, ); we have a horrible disrespect of the National Anthem.  Some Baltimore Oriole fans yell out "O" during part of it at baseball games and some Washington Capital fans yell out "Red" during those parts of the Anthem.  If the Flag and the Anthem represent our Country, what does it mean when people yell words while we are standing respectfully holding our hats in our hands and with our hands over our hearts.  I want to ask each person that yells, if they realize that they are disrespecting my nation when they do that.  Even if it's not your nation, when a national anthem is sung it's still a time to be respectful.  That's my humble patriotic opinion... So when I was playing with ideas, I caught this symbol and gave it a wave.
      • Wrong side of denim used as background - great color
      • Appliqued fused bias wavy strips free cut using a Multi Step Zig Zag stitch - I love the shape created where the strips in the center meet forming a nice curvy v in lower right corner.
      • Free Motion Machine quilted - leaving the center bar unquilted
      • Hand stitched 13 cream buttons and 37 "X's" using 50wt sewing thread (4 strands red, 4 strands blue)... 13+37=50, get it?
      • Free Motion Zig Zag edging
      Lessons Learned - when the machine starts complaining and making noise - CHANGE THE NEEDLE - before it breaks - you still will need to change it if you wait, but then you need to find the piece of broken needle and hope that the machine didn't suffer.
      Want more FUN? Follow and like us:

      Criss Cross Applesauce- Reveal Day 5

      When I was young we would sit crossed legged and the name we had for that style, isn't politically correct, so now kids sit "Criss Cross Applesauce" style. 

      I find that to be pretty disturbing  - I ask, are the kids sitting in applesauce? Should I surmise that  applesauce can be created by kids sitting crosslegged?   I leave you to ponder that dilemma...

      This is the first piece that doesn't have any letters or numbers in it.  Nothing deep, just a realization.  You didn't really expect any deep thoughts after the applesauce talk, did you?
      • Lines are from leftover fabric from the background for Day 3 - Linear Thinking
      • Free cut with rotary cutter the lines (!!!- not sure if I've done this before)
      • Free Motion ZigZag stitched the lines down
      • Free Motion Machine quilted - alternating an overlapping square box pattern!!! and stippling

      • Fused raw edge binding with free cut batik strips

        * - These steps were done prior to 12x12x12 challenge
      !!! - First time I ever did this type of thing

       This was a simple quilt, put together with what felt like all gut feeling, no thinking allowed!  I really like the effect of the lines going over and under each other - woven in time...  Enjoying the fruits of creativity - even if "criss cross applesauce" plays in an endless loop in my mind.
      Want more FUN? Follow and like us:

      Lost Track of Time – Reveal day 4

      One of the joys and dangers of the sewing studio is that you get sucked into the vortex.  From watching SciFi I know that once the fabric of space and time is torn, it's hard not to lose track of time.

      I love the image of a clock - round, numbers, metal hands, movement, so many great symbols.

      • Background handdyed and gold lines and dots painted on left upper corner*
      • Stamped background with 3 different spools !!! using the leftover pain from the Day 3 stencil (in fact it was a "I have too much paint left over, what can I paint on?", and now I have extra spool prints that I added to my box of altered fabric)

      • Clock hands are "MicroSuede" from Joann's, cut and appliqued on (if UltraSuede is ultra good, Microsuede is micro good, it's ok, really - it just doesn't handle raw edge, but it's a Micro price compared to the Ultra price.  I can buy a 8"x10" piece of UltraSuede or a Yard of 45wide Micro Suede for the same price, but since the amount I use is small, may be worth the investment.  Cause as they say, time is money!

      • Cut out numbers from freezer paper and pressed onto background - tight quilting made each number an island of quilted puffiness!!!
      • Free Motion Machine quilted background and inside numbers very tightly - I really enjoy quilting the heck out of a quilt - this time quilted in a horizontally elongated meander!!!
      • Hand painted the numbers with gold fabric paint!!!
      • Free Motion ZigZagged edge - kinda heavier stitching than on Day 1 Peace, Love and Joy.  This time did a back and forth 5 times motion, covering about 3-4inches at a time  - I like the navy blue stitching with the black ink

        * - These steps were done prior to 12x12x12 challenge
      !!! - First time I ever did this type of thing

      I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.
      - Golda Meir

      Lost wealth may be replaced by industry, lost knowledge by study, lost health by temperance or medicine, but lost time is gone forever.
      - Samuel Smiles

      Time may change me, But I can't trace time
      - David Bowie

      I lost some time once. It's always in the last place you look for it.
      - Neil Gaiman

      I picked some fresh herbs from the garden for dinner tonight. Now I have thyme on my hands.
      - Misty Cole
      Want more FUN? Follow and like us:

      Linear Thinking – Reveal Day 3

      What besides Fear slows me down? Linear Thinking

      We should know step 1 before we do step 2.  Well, I already had the background fabric stitched together for use in a Maria O'Haver quilt block - I think it was the Maryland Flag, I had abandoned that project and relgated it to my orphan block box (also known as the land of misfit blocks). As it turns out - I really don't enjoy following patterns, I like the flow of the birth of a new creation.  There is a real artisan skill to following quilt pattern and I admire those who do enjoy it.  But to me, that is work, while creating is play.  I've learned that following a pattern is "recreating" and that's a line I now realize that I'd rather stay on the " birthing a new creation side."

      So I was at step 2 - background pieced without a clue what to do - so I thought of lines, and then poof I realized "linear thinking"... Love the irony that "Linear Thinking" was created with circular thinking.  Once I added the binding, I really started to appreciate this little quilt.
      • Paper pieced background *
      • Freezer paper stenciled words!!!
      • Wavy lines Free Motion Machine quilted with YLI London Drizzle

      • Hand stitched both lines on left and scattered seed stitch on right side!!!
      • Bound with a fused strip of fabric - used a plastic ruler to line up the strip so that it was perfectly in line !!! (lining up with ruler gets the !!!)

        * - These steps were done prior to 12x12x12 challenge
      !!! - First time I ever did this type of thing

       Linear Thinking
      Definition:    a process of thought following known cycles or step-by-step progression where a response to a step must be elicited before another step is taken
      Want more FUN? Follow and like us:

      Fear – Reveal Day 2

      As I started this challenge, I thought what is it that keeps me from doing my art. Simple answer - Fear! Fear, fear, fear - I say your name you monster and you don't have power over me! I fear I don't have the time to do my art, that I won't be able to make my vision a reality, that I'm not really an artist... Okay enough squishy deep thoughts.

      They say you need to "face" your fears, so I gave my little monster a face.  Monster represents both what causes the fear and the one who has the fear, hiding in his house.  Just look into his little monster eyes, do you see his fear that has left him speechless? well especially since he has no mouth!  I tried a few mouths - but with a mouth he looked either cute or scary and I wanted him to walk the line of fearful and frightful.

      Orange fabric is from an adventure with Cheryl Lynch to Lonni Rossi's studio/shop outside Philadelphia.  What fun fabric I found in my bag of fabric by the pound!

      • Background fabric hand dyed and gelatin plate monoprinted with large bubblewrap*!!!  The gelatin plate I made was in a round cake pan, so the large circles that you see are the edge of the gelatin plate.  I liked that it adds a design element.

      • Monster is fused applique - stitched with Free Motion zigzag
      • Word "FEAR" is cut from Ultrasuede in letters that had some shakiness to them and fused with Heat and Bond Ultra (no sewing thru that - that's a monster bond)
      • Free Motion Machine quilted with my favorite thread - Rainbows by Superior Threads  - trilobial polyester - sounds scary!
      • No edge yet - I said it wasn't part of the challenge and since I don't know how I want to finish it.  I have some thoughts on what to do, but til I'm sure enough, or just feel like doing it, I don't fear putting it out here without it's edge.  

        * - These steps were done prior to 12x12x12 challenge
      !!! - First time I ever did this type of thing

      I have to admit at first I felt a little foolish - this piece has a simplistic, childlike quality to it.  And I fear I'm not an artist, making childlike art seems to go against what I should want - but it was very liberating to play and know that this is not about making "ART" this is about playing with my creativity, enjoying the process and learning.  Of all my 12s, this little monster has a special place in the doorway of my heart!  I think that's why I want to give him a great edge.

      Hope you face your fears and find that they aren't really all that scary!

      We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot.
      - Eleanor Roosevelt

      The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.
      - Buddha

      Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.
      - Mark Twain

      He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

      Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
      - Dale Carnegie

      Want more FUN? Follow and like us: