a weak moment

To say that I do not like to stand in front of a group of people and speak would be a huge understatement.  The thought of being a public speaker creates waves of panic in my mind.  No matter that it might be speaking to a group of people that I know very well, many who are close friends, my heart begins to pound fiercely in protest.  You would think this silly, I think it is ridiculous, never the less, there it is.  Along with that predicament, there is this idea that I have;  that for a person to speak publicly about what one does indicates to my mind that one actually knows what one is doing. Nowadays I rarely do the same thing twice. When I am in the midst of a project, I usually don't make conscious decisions about the process.  It has always been an intuitive thing, based on what I've seen or read, or what I might be feeling at that time and place.  (yeah, ok, call me moody)  Now comes the ringer.  I was asked to present a program to my quilt guild on how I do what I do when I make an art quilt.  I was so flattered that I agreed to do it.  What was I thinking?  Or better yet, why was I not thinking?  The words "no, thank you just the same", didn't come out of my mouth.  My mind was saying, "no way, are you crazy?" and my mouth was smiling and saying, "well yes, of course, I would be delighted."

Regardless, the time has almost arrived and I have spent the last 3 days trying to figure out how I do what I do and put it all on paper.  After typing for 2 hours, non stop, which resulted in 4 single spaced pages in size 10 font, I realized that I had only just begun.  Where do I go now? 
When I asked a friend to read over those four pages (I owe her big time), she said many kind words, but then she delicately suggested that it would be helpful if I had an actual sample to visually enhance the process . As usual she was correct.  No matter how I wrote and rewrote instructions on technique, it didn't make sense, even to me. The clock is ticking and I have procrastinated far to long.  Well, the best place to go would be to my drawing board, and my fabrics.  I need to physically reproduce my methods step by step, which will result in a sample design.  I don't have time to do a large piece and  I normally do not make small pieces.  But then, maybe this could be one of those small pieces that I could hang in a local gallery to sell, at a reasonable price?  

 So here goes.
I grabbed some maple leaves that are falling from the spectacular tree in our front yard.

Then I chose 3 leaves and arranged them on the bed of my copy machine, punched the enlarge button, hit copy and out comes the basis for my pattern.  Simple Simon, huh? 

The next step is to trace the these leaves with a pencil.  I use vellum for this step as I have found that it holds up to wear and tear, as well as being able to easily see through for tracing.

Now to add a few more design lines.  Once I am happy with the design I will go over each line with a black Sharpie Fine Tip Marker.

One of the most important things is to label every piece on the drawing, which, incidentally is known as a cartoon.  I use numbers, letters, or a combination of both, to suit whatever I've got going on.  Once this is completed, I'm good to go onto the next step.  
I am really getting excited now and I've forgotten all about having to do this presentation about it next week.
(footnote: if the size of the paper doesn't meet the requirements for the size of the finished piece, simply cut and use masking tape to afix additional pieces of paper to the drawing.)

For the actual pattern, I tear off a sheet of freezer paper and tape it, shiny side up onto the cartoon and trace all the lines with my Sharpie.

Once that is accomplished, I turn the freezer paper over to the dull side, retrace all the lines and label all the pieces exactly as the pieces are labeled on the cartoon. 

And the finally,  but one of the most important things, is to make registration marks.  See all those little red marks that are slashed across every single line.  This does try my patience, but having skimped on this step before, I learned that I won't be skimping again.  This way you are able to fit the pieces together nicely when you begin to sew all those pieces together.  

Another tip:  using another colored marker, draw around all four edges of the piece.  This helps you in cutting your fabric pieces for the edges on the straight grain of the fabric.  Which in turn helps with distortion of the edge of the fabric piece. 

One more tracing needs to be done onto Sulky Totally Stable,  This is iron on, tear away stabilizer which is used when I begin to place and sew the piece together.  Using a fine tip Sharpie marker, once again, trace the design on the shiny side of the Totally Stable.

Now comes more fun. Choosing the fabrics.  Oh, the possibilities.  But time's a wastin', so make a choice and get on with it.  Having all those fabrics from my summer of dyeing in the garage, (it was a scorching, hot summer and I was about to die on several afternoons)  I decided it was past time to put them to use.  This pile includes old shirts, sheets and scraps of gray, blue and natural fabrics that I was experimenting with.

Terrific background material.
I don't think I was wrong here. 
 I'm doing what I love best.  Selecting fabrics for each piece.

I like to begin with the focus of the piece.  Being the maple leaves in this case.  Using my small paper scissors, I cut a few of the pattern pieces from the freezer paper.  Select a fabric and iron the pattern piece onto the back of the fabric.

Cut out the pattern piece with a 1/4" seam allowance.

 Pin each piece onto the corresponding space of the cartoon.

Continue in this manner until all pattern pieces have been cut and pinned onto the cartoon.

Are you following all this?  

This is as far as I gotten today.  It's been a long day.  I think my brain is saying that it is time to shut this project down for a bit.  Not to worry, I'll be back with more in a few days with more details and techniques.   
Tick tock, tick tock.

Where have I been?

Where have I been?  Up a tree, out to lunch, over the edge`you get the drift. . . . . .
It has been well over 2 months since I have taken the time to put thoughts into words. In that amount of time there have been too many thoughts, many better left unsaid and so many I wish I could remember "because they were so brilliant"! (This said with tongue in cheek). Well, actually I did write down thoughts in a separate travel journal, as my husband and traveled through the north west for a few weeks during August and September. I'll not repeat all that, as who wants to spend their blog  time reading about other folks' vacations. However, I did take a multitude of photos and was constantly inspired by all the flora and fauna I  would never see in the south east.

There are now so many more wall quilts in my mind, I think that my brain is in total overload. Where do I start? Better question~when do I start? Do I wait to finish up all those pieces begun months ago? Am I still inspired enough to complete them? I do realize that at least one of those MUST be completed, as it has been promised. So I've sucked it up and worked played away on this one. I decided that I should go ahead and do a preview showing of the lap size top for the future owners. Just in case it turns out to be something that doesn't thrill them.  I showed it as being a prototype, just in case it was way too unstructured for their tastes. 

Well, its seems that they were delighted with everything about the quilt. WHEW! Now I can't wait to finish it up. And I am rejuvenated as well. Can you see me grinning from ear to ear? Now to squeeze in some time to dye the fabric for the back of the quilt. This one is really personal and I want to do something very special for such a special young couple.

In between all the latest life occurrences and family crisis', my mother has finally decided that it is time to leave her home of 52 years. This has been an extremely difficult decision for her, as she is a very independent lady. Among other concerns (she is now 90 years old) the hustle and bustle of the city is literally moving into her back yard. So I've been busy repainting and sprucing up our basement apartment. Mom is movin' in. It will be a huge adjustment for her, I am certain. But I look forward to having her so close for so many reasons. Perhaps I can persuade her to attempt a bit of hand piecing to occupy her time - when she isn't working on her Sudoku puzzles, hanging out with her friends, and going to exercise classes.

Once we get Mom established in her new digs, I am hoping to get back into my studio and play around with some of those travel photos. I have really been missing the opportunity to do some sketching and pattern making for a new art quilt. I've come full circle here. Think I've gotten it figured out as to when to start on a project, the most difficult is deciding which one to finish first!


Quandary:  Obsessive purchasing of Kaffe Fassett and  Rowen designer fabrics. 

Solution:  Jump to Victoria's new blog for inspiration from that group of designers.

Results:  Oh what fun it is to sew.