A Finish--Just Playin'

 A few weeks ago, I decided to play with a technique I'd been wanting to mess with for awhile. So I gathered up a bunch of snippets of embellishment threads, yarns, and cords.


Became this... 

 (This a little more close up...)

And soon became this after I soaked off the water soluble stabilizer.

And then it sat for awhile.

Last night I dug into my fat quarter stash and turned it into this:

Which is dimensional, by the way. My current modus operandi.
 Each layer was done by itself, quilted, and then attached the layer beneath or above. 

 (Can you see I free-handed some feathers to frame the thread? First time for that too!)

Ahem. Currently no idea what I'll now do with this. It doesn't have an obvious way to hang it (no binding to sew a sleeve into), so I need to do some more thinkin'. And playin'. But even if it never hangs anywhere, it served it's purpose. I experimented, tried a few techniques at once that I've been wanting to try, and I had a ball playing. What have you experimented with lately? Fabric-wise, that is.

Another finish and some homework

 I finished the first of two receiving blankets tonight. These are going to be for a friend of mine who is expecting her first baby, a little girl, this July. I'm also going to be making her a quilt but just couldn't resist making a couple of these really cute receiving blankets using the same Missouri Star Quilt Company technique I used for all the donation quilts I helped new sewers make back in March.

I'll finish the second one tomorrow or Wednesday--it's all cut and ready to go.

Tomorrow night is our quilt design study group. Since we had to shuffle our schedule around a bit in April to accommodate travel schedules, we ended up with a six-week stretch between meetings. I suggested we do homework, which is supposed to be a regular part of our experience but we've been skipping a lot. (We do a lot more in-session, however, so it's sort of a toss-up.) I figured with six weeks, it wouldn't be a problem. Of course, I left it to tonight to do. Yes, I can spell procrastination.

We had just done a segment on color and Vicki, who led the session, had prepped all the materials for us to each make our own fabric color wheel and it contains little spinny cards to put in the center with a variety of color schemes on them. Our homework was supposed to be to choose a color scheme we wouldn't normally use and do something with it.

So, tonight, I pulled out the color wheel and threw all the little center spinny cards face down on my table and shuffled them up. Drawing one at random, I then put it in the center of the color wheel and, eyes closed, spun it around a few times then landed it somewhere. Opening my eyes, this is what I found:
(The writing says, "4 points on a square.")

Yep, that's definitely a color scheme I wouldn't normally use. Yellow, blue-green, purple, red-orange. My first thought was, "ick."

I burrowed through my scraps for awhile, still thinking at that point that I might just do a little fused something-or-other, so I didn't want to commit whole pieces of fabric. I found the blue-green and purple pretty easily--those are colors I do drift towards on occasion. Red-orange was a little trickier mostly because it's hard to find something truly red-orange and not red or orange. I finally landed on one. But yellow? Wow. That was a toughy. I've discovered I don't actually have a lot of yellow in my stash. I had a few random yellow scraps but they were all a lot more shaded (and I use that word in its official artistic sense) than I wanted to go with the other colors. Finally, I dug into my fat quarters and there it was. The perfect yellow. 

And, in fact, a lovely combination altogether. Bright, admittedly, but just imagine it with a some white thrown in there to calm it down. I'm picturing festive appliqued flowers on a white background with the yellow as a border. Or cute little mini-stars pieced into that yellow as a background in a mini-quilt.
But, to be honest, that's an image that will never get made into reality. I've got too many other more pushy designs in my head demanding my attention. It was a fun project, though, finding those colors. And now I do have some new color combination possibilities in my head. Try it yourself sometime!

Slow Quilt Monday--I Think I Can

When my son was about going on 3 years old, we went through an entire summer of reading The Little Engine that Could every single night--sometimes two or three times a night. He had it memorized within the first couple of nights. Even though he couldn't read yet, he knew when we tried to speed things up on the umpteenth time through the story by skipping words here and there. He'd call us on it. "No, mommy, you missed a part!" (Sigh. Flip back a page, start again.)

At 21, he's now a very confident guy who thinks he can do pretty much anything he can set his mind to. Can I attribute my son's confidence to his early passion for Watty Piper's story of the little train engine that believed itself up the steep hill? Probably not entirely. But something in his little 30-month-old brain recognized that there was something to that story that he could relate to. Or that there was something to that story that he needed to remember for later life.

I've been reading a lot about creativity these last few weeks, and really, it all boils down to one salient point: If you think you can, you will. Yes, you may need to learn a new technique to be able to adequately execute that vision in your head. But there's nothing keeping you from learning that technique. Yes, you may have a few disastrous starts to a project before ending up with something at least closely approximating what's in your head. But who cares? It's only fabric. I've been reading about a number of great artists and novelists who were all angsty with fear every time they started out creating, and who were positive that what they were creating was just every sort of wrong through the whole process. But they kept thinking they could. And so they did.

What's the difference between me and the man or woman who created that gorgeous quilt I'm admiring in the show? Simply this: They thought they could. So they did.

This week, I think you should find a copy of The Little Engine that Could. Remember what it feels like to think you can.