Art Quiltlet: 9/52

selvedge quiltlet at amyhoodarts.com

This week’s quiltlet was created with a pile of trimmed selvedge edges from a recent project, which I haven’t shared here yet (but will soon). It occurred to me that this is a nice way to remember projects that get sent away, as this one will be. Of course, I have scraps of the fabric I used, too, but I like these overlapped and sewn down here as well.

I also like the back. I think I’ll be doing more white stitching on white fabric.

selvedge quiltlet, back, at amyhoodarts.com

Short post! Simple quiltlet.

February Reading List

liquid watercolors at amyhoodarts.com

Liquid watercolors, ready to go to class Thursday afternoon.

So far the first week of March feels an awful lot like February, but at least there’s sunlight shining through those jars of liquid watercolors, right? It’s taking more effort than usual this year to combat the seasonal blues. February contained lots of sewing, which is not a bad way to cope. There was also reading. As always, books marked with an asterisk were especially enjoyed, but if a book’s on the list, I liked it well enough to finish it, which isn’t always the case.

My Year of Running Dangerously, Tom Foreman
The Watsons Go To Birmingham–1963, Christopher Paul Curtis *
The Girl From the Garden, Parnaz Foroutan *
Did You Ever Have a Family, Bill Clegg*
Happily Ever After, Jen Meyers
The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer *
My Name is Lucy Barton, Elizabeth Strout *
Seventh Heaven, Alice Hoffman *

Art Quiltlet: 8/52

Circles art quiltlet at amyhoodarts.com

I’m calling this “Circles” but I feel I could have called it Kitchen Sink, because I threw a lot in there. I started by printing some white dish cloth fabric with bubble wrap painted with black and red acrylic paint. Then I cut circles out of some plaid-ish Japanese cotton.

Circles art quiltlet in progress at amyhoodarts.com

I sandwiched my quilt layers before stitching on the circles, then changed to white thread for some free motion quilting practice. It’s kind of a meandering trail because I kept losing track of myself a bit, but the stitching is even, so I’m calling that a win. Then I sewed on some plastic netting, I believe from a box of clementines, that had been used for printing at some point and had mostly black paint on it. So some printing, applique, free motion stitching, and collage. It was fun to make. I’ve only made eight of these so far, but I seem to be moving back and forth between more planned ideas and just plain playing around. That’s a good mix for a creativity practice.

Short post today because I’m off to teach the first meeting of an after-school art enrichment class at my daughter’s elementary school. After getting dinner prep out of the way first thing this morning, I spent the rest of the day playing with my sewing machine and painting another sample for class, and soon I get to make art with some kids. Can’t complain–Thursday is pretty good.

Art Quiltlet: 7/52

This has been a jumbled-up week, with one scheduled and one unscheduled day off school, rescheduled appointments, and general unexpected upheaval. February is traditionally the hardest time of the year for me mentally, and we didn’t move far enough south for me to escape that. I’m struggling this year, but I’m gritting my teeth (literally; my jaw aches all the time) and holding out for spring. Meanwhile, I’ve spent all of my sewing time this week working on a quilt, so I decided Friday morning would be art quiltlet time.

"Grow Tall" art quiltlet at amyhoodarts.com

A little reminder…

I actually began this on Monday, when I printed one of my stamps onto linen. I used Speedball fabric block printing ink, which I really like (I like the smell too, so much), but it does take time to dry thoroughly. I decided to print some of my blocks and stamps to use in free motion practice. I’d really like to get good at free motion stitching, and it’s one of those skills that just takes practice, practice, practice. My bobbin tension is a wee bit off here, but I do see improvement.

free motion practice at amyhoodarts.com

practice, practice, practice

My sewing machine instruction book, by the way, says that presser foot should be locked in the up position for free motion quilting, but my machine hates that. The bobbin wheel jammed every time. So I’m leaving it down, because if the machine is happy, I’m happier. The machine and I, we are learning free motion stitching together.

I stitched ribbon over the raw edges. This isn’t a true binding–I didn’t miter the corners or anything fancy, just left raw edges and used a separate strip of ribbon for each side. I like that I have no rules for these quiltlets other than size and that they’re quilt sandwiches. I can do whatever the heck I want. I can leave raw edges. I can use something else to cover them. I can stick paper or plastic on these quilts. I’m self-taught (with the help of books and the internet) on just about everything, and I have no internal voice scolding, You can’t do that! That’s not done! I don’t know what’s not done. It’s very freeing.

And here’s a picture of the back, because I enjoy those behind-the-scenes looks and maybe you do, too.

"Grow Tall" art quiltlet, back, amyhoodarts.com

It’s not perfect. That’s okay! Practice practice practice, and spring is coming, thank goodness. Every year, it shows up.

Art Quiltlet: 6/52

Art Quiltlet, amyhoodarts.com

This week’s, called “There Are Layers,” is inspired by Valentine’s Day. All those perfect hearts, right? Don’t know about you, but mine is 42 years old and a bit battered and bruised, with tender bits protected by harder bits. This heart has four layers, sewn onto a scrap of denim. The bottom layer is a typical sweet Valentine’s fabric with hearts. The next one up is muslin with black acrylic paint sponged onto it. That one has a tear in it so the word “love” could show through. On top of that is some red netting from an onion bag, and finally some white tulle. I’ve been meaning to get some paint and non-fabric into these quiltlets so this is a start. Plus, you know, fun.

I kept the same bobbin in when I switched from red thread to black–here’s a picture of the back, because I think that peek behind the scenes is interesting.

art quiltlet, back, amyhoodarts.com

This one, you’d really need to hold in your hands to see the details, I think. I’m sort of surprised this is only the sixth one. January and February really do last forever, don’t they? Each week I wonder if I’ll have a hard time coming up with an idea but forcing your brain to be creative really does make it think more creatively. Love how that works. (Probably I’ve just cursed myself to have no ideas next week. We’ll see.)

Art Quiltlet: 5/52

Art quiltlet, amyhoodarts.com

This one is inspired by Matisse and his cutouts. My kids and I really studied Matisse while putting together Issue Five of Art Together, and I enjoy him so much. (You can sample a free excerpt of Issue Five, Drawing With Scissors, for ideas on exploring his cut-outs with kids.) One of the waiting rooms in which I spend time has a print of one of the cut-outs, and I decided to try a small one.

Unlike Matisse, I didn’t just take scissors and begin cutting; I drew my shape on paper and traced it onto fusible adhesive. I tried out a few pairings of complementary colors before settling on this one, and I matched thread to fabric so that the focus is on the shape with no distractions from contrasting thread. I decided to bind it for a finished look. I was undecided on quilting within the orange section and ended up leaving it. I’m still undecided.

I’m having so much fun with this little project. It’s good to have an assignment: every week, something must be done on a 6″ x 8″ “canvas.” And I’m enjoying using this medium of cloth and thread and seeing what I can do with it. It’s exciting.

Sewn: Music Box Jumper

oliver + s music box jumper at amyhoodarts.com

At the end of the summer, Oliver + S had a sale, so I sat at my laptop with my daughter and had her pick out a couple of patterns. She chose two, and said she’d like me to make this one, the Music Box Jumper, first. While it’s rated lowest in difficulty by Oliver + S, I disagree. It was going to be a skill-building pattern for me, and I’ve been sewing for more than seven years now. So when the pattern arrived, it sat. I ordered fabric for it (Lizzy House Chasing Butterflies in Forget Me Not), and still, it sat. I sewed many, many other things, organized my fabric a few weeks ago, and decided it couldn’t sit any longer.

I had not done a yoke with facing before this.

amyhoodarts.com

Yoke with facing, check.

I hadn’t done pleats, at least, not carefully measured box pleats and such. I’ve gathered skirts to a shirt to make a dress, but that’s not quite the same.

pleats. amyhoodarts.com

Pleats, check.

I have sewn French seams before, and I used them on the skirt of this dress, because after hiding everything in that yoke and facing, why leave any raw edges in the skirt? I had not, however, made buttonholes on my machine. I practiced, a lot. For days. The dress was in a holding pattern until the kids went back to school after a week of snow days and I could fully concentrate on those darn buttonholes. Red Panda (who gets lonely in my son’s room while he’s at school) lent his support.

button. amyhoodarts.com

Buttonholes with buttons, check. G chose the butterfly buttons. She chose well.

A view of the back of the dress, with six, count ’em six, buttonholes and buttons.

Music Box Jumper, back. amyhoodarts.com

And another closer view of some of the buttons because BUTTONHOLES.

buttonholes again. amyhoodarts.com

My daughter, at this point, mistakenly believes it’s just the normal thing, to have most of your clothes made by your mother, out of fabric and patterns you chose. Having her is a handy excuse, I guess. Look at the skills I’m gaining by sewing for her!

January Reading List

snowman at amyhoodarts.com

My daughter’s snowman.

My number of books read this month went down, by design. I wanted to be more balanced between consuming and producing; less reading, more making. My making list for January is pretty good, and I still read, so it’s working out so far. Asterisks denote books I particularly enjoyed, although if I finished a book, I enjoy it enough. (I gave up on one 100 pages in recently–it’s almost 400 pages long–because I just couldn’t take it anymore. It needed a better edit. It felt so self-indulgent on the author’s part, like he killed no darlings.)

This Must Be the Place, Kate Raccula (an accidental re-read)
The Sandcastle Girls, Chris Bohjalian *
Summerlong, Dean Bakopoulos
Shocking Paris: Soutine, Chagall, and the Outsiders of Montparnasse, Stanley Meisler *
Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay
In the Unlikely Event, Judy Blume *
The Art Forger, B. A. Shapiro (for February book club)

Art Quiltlet: 4/52

We survived the not-a-blizzard just fine. We never had blizzard conditions here and we only got about 18″ of snow, and yes, “only,” because I lived in New England last winter so it really didn’t seem like that much. Luckily we didn’t lose power. Just in case, we picked up some terra cotta planters to try this. We didn’t need them but we still want to see if it works. Unlike in New England, a huge amount of snow has already melted. Also unlike in New England, my kids have been out of school all week. The learned helplessness in the face of snow down here is incredibly frustrating.

But! On to this week’s quiltlet, whipped up fairly quickly Thursday night. I’ve been head-down in learning new things while sewing a dress for my daughter (post upcoming, as soon as I work up courage for the buttonholes) but meanwhile in the back of my head I was thinking about what to do this week. The Rolling Stones song “She’s Like a Rainbow” was running through my head because it was on in the car, so that was my inspiration.

She's Like a Rainbow art quiltlet, amyhoodarts.com

I layered white on the top and bottom with flannel in between (my very lightweight “batting”), then sewed strips of colors down. I traced my own drawing onto organza, layered it on top, and stitched. This stitching isn’t loose like with the flower a couple weeks ago. I used a walking foot, which is why the curves aren’t always graceful. But I wanted a more controlled line, too, and my free-motion quilting needs practice. Plus, organza! Slippery stuff. Then I cropped and trimmed and finished the edges.

I like the back view too.

She's Like a Rainbow, back view, amyhoodarts.com

I’m jotting the date and a bit about the week on each of these. I’m confused because an entire region of the country just shuts down for a week!

Spate of Sewing

Besides my weekly quiltlets, I’ve been sewing other items as well. Before Christmas I ordered a bunch of knit fabric to make some things for my daughter. I began with brightly colored leggings.

oliver + s leggings at amyhoodarts.com

I use the pattern that comes with the Oliver + S Playtime Tunic + Dress collection. G usually wears leggings and a dress or skirt, and she loves bright colors. It’s fun to make her leggings. I got a bit sidelined by the holidays, but then I began again with a tee shirt and leggings out of aqua polka dots.

oliver + s tee and leggings at amyhoodarts.com

The tee pattern is also Oliver + S, from the Family Pack. The skirt she’s wearing isn’t handsewn, it’s purchased. She decided to go for a monochrome look here. We bought a couple of yards of the same fabric in pink; she asked for a tee and skirt from that.

tee + skirt at amyhoodarts.com

I’d like to see her pair the pink skirt with the blue tee and leggings, but she’s in charge of what she wears, so. She wore this set with the multi-color polka dot leggings in the first photo and it looked adorable. The tee is the Oliver + S pattern again, and the skirt is just a basic skirt with an elastic casing.

Finally, I bought some Cloud9 knit fabric on sale at Joann with a coupon to make a wearable muslin of Seamwork’s Mesa pattern for me.

Mesa at amyhoodarts.com

This is a size small, lengthened five inches because I wanted it to work as a dress. I’d like to make another version out of one of the Charley Harper Maritime Knits, and I think the next version will be lengthened by only three inches, extra-small neckline, small torso, and medium hips. Because while this one is definitely wearable, I’d like it a bit smaller along the neckline and a bit looser around the hips.

I still have two yards each of green and purple knit to make more leggings, tees, and/or skirts for G (I forget exactly what she “ordered”). And I’m sure there’s enough leftovers of various knits for me to make myself a long-sleeved shirt (maybe?). I reorganized my fabric earlier this week or maybe last week (days ran together; I had a sick child at home) and rediscovered a few yards of Tammis Keefe cats that I think should be a Dress No. 1. I’m also working on a sampler quilt in Lizzy House Natural History, but that needs its own post. In other words, I’m whipping through bobbins like they’re snacks over here.

In non-sewing news, we’re under a blizzard watch, which is hugely annoying as former, more northern home is only expecting 2-6″. Snow doesn’t make me anxious, but not knowing what to expect as far as power outages and infrastructure in a brand-new place that doesn’t seem to handle snow well does make me anxious. We had a two-hour school delay this week due to a dusting that didn’t even completely cover the pavement, so I don’t have much faith these folks know what to do with two feet of snow beyond flail in panic. Which is fine, you know, as long as we’re not freezing without heat in a rented house where it makes no sense for us to buy a generator. If the power goes out, I can’t sew, but I can knit until my fingers freeze. So we’ll wait and see.