Posts Tagged ‘Work in progress Wednesday’

Organizing for Marketing

This image is from my time with adult coloring books last year – trying out colors, experimenting. I love symmetry, but then I also like something a little unusual….which is where I am right now as I approach a new project. I really need to develop  more sources for passive income. I’m taking a free class right now from Convertkit on Product Creation – great ideas, and after two weeks of reading the information (a daily lesson), I decided to start at the beginning and develop a series of products that are useful to others. Hence, Organizing for Marketing.

The title is going through some revisions – still not catchy enough for me. But I already have all this content – in an iBook that isn’t selling  – and yes, I really haven’t done much to market it in the three years it’s been available (or is it four? Funny how time stretches out when you’re not teaching….).

So this is my first brainstorming at trying to make sense of what I want in this ebook product. I am very good at marketing and creating and organizing, so it makes sense to focus right there. When I reviewed the book last night, there is enough information to make it into three or four smaller ebooks and develop a continuous stream of ideas and techniques for people.

The first key is targeting my market. I work in fiber and textiles – pretty much a niche market when looking at the art world, although we are slowly making progress into mainstream. Thus I want to focus this on those of us who do art that is generally out of the mainstream. What can we do to get our work looked at, sold, appreciated?

Here’s my accountability checklist for this coming week, ending Tuesday, May 16, with my initial thoughts:

  • Determine revised structure of the ebook. I need to break up the information in the original book into smaller segments for action, and increase the information included in each of the segments.
  • Determine my ideal customer for this book. Who is my audience…artists without a lot of money to spend on marketing, artists with unique products, artists who have issues getting organized and accomplishing tasks.
  • Write two additional blogs this week – what questions do you want answered in a marketing book for those of us working in a niche market, and how would this be different from all the other marketing books out there? I need to make sure I start getting feedback from folks to help direct my work.
  • Evaluate ebook publishing sources and ease of use. CreateSpace seems mostly for print; research it more fully. Kindle seems easy and quick to do. IBooks seems too limiting, although I do have experience with that platform.
  • Plan for a “bonus” for people who buy this ebook. Already thinking about many of the blog posts I’ve already done in my Top Ten series. I think these could be manipulated into a bonus, once links are checked, and focus determined. Happened to just think about expanding ideas for Top Ten for other Bonus offerings.
  • Keep playing with title ideas. Suggestions certainly welcome! Organize, marketing, niche products…….
  • Determine launch date for the ebook – probably beginning of August.

Feel free to give me ideas and help keep me accountable to this project! You can be in the book with your website and product for helping out.

ORIGINAL BOOK

Ready, set, go – give me feedback!

The Latest Finish…..Best to Date!

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This is the “before.” Nice and flat, virtually no texture. I remember when I went to Road to California a couple of years, I noticed everything was machine-quilted within an inch of itself. Both hubby and I thought, just because you can doesn’t mean you should fill it up with machine quilting.

That was before I started with the 2012 free motion quilting challenge with SewCalGal and got hooked…..I’m talking seriously hooked. Now it’s not about the quilt top for me, it’s about the quilting. There are seven different quilted motifs in this quilt, and I LOVE IT! It is so much more interesting than if I had just done quilting in the ditch and stippling. Yes, at least 10 hours of fmq in the quilt, and a lot of bobbin thread, but did I say I LOVE IT?

So here are some of the “after” pictures. For some reason the blue wave fabric looks to be black and white, and it isn’t. I used Superior Silk Kimono thread in the triangle backgrounds, the outside black border, and the final border. Magnifico by Superior for the bubbled in the corner triangles, Rainbows by Superior in the border of blue waves, and Bottom Line by Superior in the bobbin and in the black backgrounds of the stars. I guess you could say I really like Superior Threads….

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I LOVE THIS! I used the color adjustments in Photoshop to try and bring back the blues – this is pretty true to the actual colors. The maroon strips in the center are done in a cathedral square pattern. I gridded all the light blue triangles for the texture – I was only going to do the center panel but I fell in love with the effect. The bottom light blue triangles are done with a MAgnifico blue thread in bubbles – I was aiming for a stars at night over the ocean effect.SusanQuilt3

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The ironic thing here in this picture is the bottom right corner is the one I picked out all the thread on – what I call the “war-zone” corner. The blue stars themselves have bubbles quilted into the with a Rainbows blue.SusanQuilt10

The wave fabric here has one of Leah Day’s fillers in it called Ocean Currents. I happened to be on her blog one day and said yup, that’s the one.

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This quilt is for my yoga instructor, and so in one corner I did a free-motion “third eye” chakra symbol.

Now for the back….WHICH I LOVE LOVE LOVE – the texture is amazing!!

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Note to self – time for some smaller quilts……….

Works in Progress….or Works That are Finished….

Yes, I am finishing things, some of which I can’t show yet, but I do have an “oldie but goodie” from the far past, from at least 25 years ago…….this is an afghan I made of a teacher colleague for her first child. She sent me a picture a few weeks ago, and I can picture exactly where I was in Phoenix making this little bear. The bear has now been passed on to a grand-child, so it’s good to know Bear won’t be lonely. I didn’t have a picture of this, as it was WAY before I started documenting my work. So thanks, Ann, for sending him along to me!

Also completed and never photographed (and needs to go under “early quilts” on the website) is my purple quilt – a really original title. This quilt happened in several stages. First, I did the basic blocks as part of a different quilt I was trying to design. There were 9 blocks, 5 of one design and 4 of another. Probably five years after originally making the blocks, I sashed them and then added a very geometric print for a border. This was the first time I actually started mixing some prints with the marbled fabrics. I did some beading, but I probably need to go back and re-do because I certainly didn’t do the beading well. What I particularly like is the secondary design in the blocks, where the marbled fabric actually looks like it is swirling.

Another completed project – the dresser scarf for hubby, based on what I’m learning in the Craftsy class with Cindy Needham. I may decide to take the serged edging off and replace it with binding to eliminate the curl on the edges. But it has been a great practice piece. Now I need to finish mine…….

I love how the cathedral window quilting works with the hand-dyed fabric.

This next is a work in progress, a type of self-portrait, but my own distinct version of it. Think of “marbled end pages of a book.” More to come the end of January……

This is a snapshot of a quilt completed for a customer, where the quilter did this A.MA.ZING. quilting. I can only hope to aspire to this level of free motion quilting….from Green Fairy Quilting. You have to check out the blog and see all the close-ups……drooling…….

Wednesday Work in Progress

Lots of work redoing the website – looking at old pictures, seeing how far we have come, and it’s been quite the journey. I tend to get obsessive on these things, and I am now trying to rein myself in….not every piece we’ve ever done has to be on the site, but I want a good representation. This site has served as an online portfolio, and it’s been great. Now I want to expand into other information, as well as attempt to rev up the sales portion on the site. Many thanks to web guru Suzan of Saltwater Systems – nothing short of amazing!

We’ve added more fabric samples so people get a better idea of what can happen with marbling. You can see that here. We could add so many more from our pile of “Never Sell These,” but this gives a good idea.

Also, I’ve added small pieces we’ve worked on to the Small Works page. I do like working in a 12-inch-square format, and I want to do more of that when some of the bigger projects are finished.

My Nature series has really grown, and as I look at all the pieces together, I can see how I am really drawn to quilting the traditional stone pattern. I want to do more with the bouquet and nonpareil patterns, and I have the perfect piece of red cotton that has started calling me. In the meantime, I’m practicing my machine quilting on some smaller quilts. My Christmas quilt is almost redone – I succeeded in accenting the stars. I need to sew the binding, so hopefully a reveal in another couple of days.

It’s great to be so busy….we have a major order we are marbling in the next few days, and it’s a secret at this point….but it’s for a magazine feature…………….

Work in Progress Wednesday….The UFO’s

I have been working on a guest blog post on using marbled fabrics in quilts, and it occurred to me to look at some of the more traditional quilts I have done to inspire people. Well, turns out most of them are UFOs…….so here’s a look at what I still need to quilt – now that I have some really good free motion skills. I’m really inspired to start working on these….after the patterns are finished…..

Needs to be taken apart so I can determine why there is the fold there…..The fabrics worked so well!

Known as my origami quilt…..complete with pins…..

One of the first quilts I really started to expand my thinking….(forgive the thumb…).

Gotta think about how to quilt this one……going to definitely quilt the marbled blocks.

And…..here’s part of my October FMQ challenge – LOVE LOVE LOVE how this is turning out! I have a few more things I would like to do to this piece, so maybe it will be finished by next week Wednesday. It’s a combination of a lot of ideas.

I have some really cool ideas for using the trapunto technique on marbled fabric…going to be the next piece.

Work in Progress Wednesday

I have been working, even though I haven’t posted anything lately. I’m trying to finish some patterns and start the last of the seasons hangings – Summer. “Spring” turned out so much better than I anticipated. When I first started the log cabin blocks, I wasn’t sure they would really look like spring, and if there would be enough contrast within the blocks. I think it turned out wonderfully well.

I so hope I can get “Summer” to be as vibrant.

And now…a few new pieces just out of the marbling tray…..

Back to work!

Work in Progress Wednesday – Learning Lots!!

Well, this has been a week of learning experiences, including running the machine needle through the tip of my finger. I’m somewhat frazzled deciding on a project, since I don’t have any looming deadlines. I do, however, have a list of projects that need doing, so I picked one from that list and then added another.

First, from the UFO list. Several years ago (going on three?) I took a class with a friend on a Judy Niemeyer pattern, Stepping Stones. You can see the pattern here. Originally it was going to be a king-sized bed quilt, but I was still teaching, so that got put on hold. When I reorganized the studio (twice), the blocks made it into the UFO pile, and when I made my list in May of projects, I listed these. But….I listed them as a potential table runner, figuring that way they would be done, and I could actually use the table runner, as we have a new dining room set (new to us – we’re babysitting it for a friend). I would also have enough for 6 placemats, too.

Well, there were loads of problems. Could I find the black fabric I was using for connector strips (three searches)? Could I do all the matching, since it had been about 3 years? How would I quilt it? What would I use for backing? I got the four completed blocks into one runner, and then I spent the next three hours taking out all the paper….note to self: you still need to vacuum. The blue I thought to use for backing was a stretchy polyester that wasn’t long enough, so plan B was leftover dark blue from another quilt back. Then I had to buy batting.

Finally everything is together and ready for quilting…..and I had no idea what to do for the quilting. Didn’t seem like feathers would work. Didn’t want to do a stitch-in-the-ditch. Tried some outlining, but I didn’t like it. Then I thought about the overall loopy pattern from the May challenge, but ended up picking all that out. I realized I would need to go with monopoly thread, so the stitching wasn’t obvious. And I was playing around with tension, including two more ripping sessions.

I tried doing some partial circles on each block, so it would look like rippled water. And then I discovered the settings on my machine were set for the decorative stitch I used in the black borders. Seems like I still had the setting on one of the decorative stitches, and I was trying to free motion and there was a lot of drag. I also discovered that I could use a variation of a zigzag stitch and still have the feed dogs up. Turns out I liked the ripple effect, and that’s what I went with for the rest of the runner. Here’s a pic:

Here’s the finished table runner, which is absolutely perfect on the table. It will work with any of the leaves when we put them in.

Then I was feeling somewhat at loose ends. I had been watching The Quilt Show and following the color lessons from Michelle Jackson. I decided to do the first color study, and again I learned a huge amount. The first lesson was really interesting, especially since I have a lot of trouble choosing and working with color. This was to take  a monochromatic color and determine dark, medium, and light. I chose greens, because I have a lot in the stash. I discovered that when I’m choosing, I really need to analyze tones and hues. I also need to be sure there is definite contrast. The first study I did was the one where you had a light, medium, and dark, with not a huge amount of contrast. I did not have enough contrast within those three colors.

I also was working with fusing for like the second time ever, and my pattern pieces were not always meeting up. I spent a lot of time trying to make this piece look like something – going back to linear me and not being able to just work without it having to be “something.”

I finally got all the pieces ironed down, and I felt I was moderately successful. Mostly because I learned a great deal about choosing the colors. I was still trying to figure out what to do with the piece. Yes, it’s just an exercise, but the linear part of me needs it to be “something.” Ideally I want to be able to work with light, medium, and dark marbled fabric, but I can see I have a long way to go.

Again, I couldn’t figure out what to do with quilting it. I tried out one decorative stitch and didn’t like it. I reverted back to the satin stitch I was doing two table runners ago. All of a sudden I began to like the piece more. It began to look more “painterly,” and pretty abstract in a pleasing way. I ended up binding in, and the piece would work as a nice little runner or table mat for a vase. It’s going up in my Etsy store.

Who knows where I’m headed next? There are 6 placemats to finish…..

Work in Progress Wednesday – Out of the Marbling Tray

One of the fun things for me in marbling is trying to see what else we can come up with as we marble fabric. This has led over the years to marlbing silk flowers and ribbon, as we didn’t want to waste the accumulated paint on the sides of the tray. But what to do with the paint and size left in the tray after the actual marbling is over?

We have taken pieces of cotton and laid them directly on the left-over bath as we are getting ready to empty it. The results have been really interesting – very organic, lots of striations. Here’s what happened today.

This first is the shot of the marbling tray after we finished our last piece of cotton. You can see the paint left, some on the surface, but most on the bottom of the tray.

Nothing really interesting at this point. So I started to scrap the bottom paint down towards the end that we will bail from.

Now it’s starting to get a little more interesting.

More scraping.

Definite possibilities here!

Now we’re ready to lay a few pieces of treated fabric, just to see what comes up……and this is what we ended up with –

I see lots of possibilities.

And now it’s time to complete another table runner for my second mom. You can read about the first 3 here. I’m renewing my hate affair with 1990s white polyester…..here’s some of the new blocks. I don’t have the coverage for the satin stitch with this particular thread….I think it might be a little too thin. And each keeps buckling, regardless of how many times I stop, lift the presser foot, and turn to keep from bumps.

This is the last of these five for this next table runner. This will probably take about two hours.

Love how the green glows in these next two.

This time around I’m quilting each square separately and then piecing them together – will (should) be much easier to manipulate all of it under the machine. I’m hoping to have this completely finished by Sunday so I can move on to the June challenge for the Free Motion Challenge. Got lots of ideas for that one!!

Work in Progress Wednesday – FMQ!!

So for this month’s Free Motion Quilting Challenge, I set myself the task of remaking hubby’s lap quilt. I made this quilt about 16 years ago, when I was just getting into some serious learning to quilt. Oh my, have I learned a lot since then! Three hours of taking out all the stitches…think back to just how old that invisible thread was…..and how bad really cheap batting was (which was all I could afford at the time….). Yup, I was pretty appalled at what I had. Here’s the original – very square, emphasis on the squares. All stitch-in-the-ditch.

I used the pattern from this month – Leah Day’s wavy stipple, which I really liked. I was using a variegated thread, but then I decided it was too obvious, so I changed to a blue that blended in with the fabric. Much happier.

I’m really partial to what is happening with the backs with free motion. Here’s a couple of shots of the back.

What’s becoming obvious is how 16 years ago I used to “iron” as opposed to “press.” had a lot of squaring off to do…..

I really like what’s happening on the back.

And now for the front…..for the first time I actually marked some of the quilt top. I wanted something in the purple/blue blocks to offset the square-ness, so I marked all the curves.

I am very pleased with more curves showing in this quilt.

I did some pebbles in the first small blue border, which I like. I was going to quilt the leaves from January in the outside border, but I didn’t like it. One of the things I found at Road 2 California was that it seemed like a lot of quilting was done just because the quilter could do it. I opted to leave the border as it was.

I ended up cutting off about 1.5 inches all around to square up the quilt, so I had extra binding, which was good…..but oh my, how I had bulky binding…..Now I just have hand stitching for S&B tonight with friends. And then it gets put away till next winter, when it’s finally cool enough for lap quilts. I have enjoyed taking apart old quilts so that I can practice on them. Let’s see what Cindy Needham brings us in June!

Work in Progress Wednesday…..a Bump in the Road

….well, probably not a real bump, more like a slight detour in the development of this new piece. I am trying to represent depression as something that is hidden in the brain. I have a great center piece that looks like dendrites. I want to build around it in reds for the angst that comes with depression, and I was running into some issues with how to quilt the third piece. So I looked at the rest of the fabric pieces I had to see if anything looked like it would work better. Found a piece that will be fabulous, and it’s going to take a lot of quilting to make this piece really happen.

As I’m auditioning threads, hubby comes in for his opinion, and as I’m trying to explain what I want to attempt, he brings up some legitimate questions on construction. While this is an art quilt, it still needs to hang like a quilt in a gallery setting, so I have to keep that in mind. I’ve had issues when trying to construct “unusual” fiber pieces in the hanging, so I have learned to keep that more in mind.

We’re drawing back and forth on the ideas, and it finally occurs to me that I need to do a mock-up to see if this design is really going to work. If I can get it together, it should be pretty amazing. So that’s the task ahead of me tomorrow morning after marbling. It’ll set back the actual quilting a day or so, but next week looks pretty darn clear for work…..

With that in mind, it has been a productive week. I finished my commission for my yoga instructor. Did some minor beading to represent the little bits of water we have in the desert, hence the name “Desert Stream.” This is a smaller version, with a number of changes, from “The Shallows” piece. I’m quite partial to how the lichen looks in this piece….a lot of use of the reverse button on the sewing machine! My yoga lady LOVES it.

 

Along with this has been my auction piece for SAQA. It’s along the lines of the depression piece, but a whole lot more positive. It’s called “Hotwired.” It’s simple in execution, but I think pretty effective.

"Hotwired" 12 x 12 inches for the SAQA auction

Because there’s not enough deadline sin my life right now, I decided to take apart one of my first quilts to requilt for the May Free motion challenge. I love the pattern, and I think it would look good on this pretty masculine quilt for hubby. Boy, you can tell how old it is (15 years?) by the really lousy batting I used – what was CHEAP at the time. I’ll post pictures as it get finished. This is it with the binding already gone, and I am starting to take out the really awful straight-line quilting in the ditch…with invisible thread, no less, back when I didn’t really have a clue. Should look considerably better when finished.

NOw fort he other piece in progress, my piece on depression. I spent some time today actually trying a pattern from some old white fabric, pinning it up on the wall. It was an interesting process, as I usually just try things as I go along. This time I just wasn’t sure that was going to work, as there were a lot of issues I wanted addressed in this piece. Here’s the finished pattern – and now I have pattern pieces to use – a bonus I never considered.

 

 If I’d thought about it, it would have been in different colors……but I really like the shape – very organic, very like a brain. Here’s a reject piece of fabric, now available for another piece.

 It just wasn’t playing nicely with the other fabrics. Here’s one of the reds with the thread to remind you of the colors of a PET scan. The problem with this piece is going to be the photography – the red is showing pink, the black is showing red….not quite sure what I’m going to do, so I need to get it finished with time to spare for the final shots.

THis is a little better, but you can’t really make out the sheen of the thread.

So it’s been a busy week, and hopefully it will continue!

Work in Progress Wednesday

Busy week! The commission piece (the triptych that wasn’t) is done, awaiting beading. As I was on the floor at yoga last Friday, I was looking at a very skinny part of the wall and thought, this would be perfect for a long piece. On Thursday night I had started the stitching on the lichen, and I absolutely loved the way they worked out, and I no longer wanted to cut the piece into three. This skinny wall section will be perfect. So over the weekend I steamed and blocked the piece, got the binding on and hand-stitched down. Love it! Took it to yoga on Monday to show her, and she is thrilled. The only thing needed at this point is some blue beads along the “stream” to add an additional color and bring the piece together. Formal pictures next week when the beading is done.

Also completed are two new fiber bowls for my gift baskets of marbled fabrics, set to go up in the Etsy store. We’re doing pictures later today so I can get the stuff up in the store. Wrapping clothesline with fabric is the absolutely perfect activity for watching television at night.

And…I am finally starting another major piece that has been brewing for a couple of months. I’ve had the backing since October, and the marbled fabric was done in September. I finally got the batting two weeks ago, and today I made the sandwich, chose thread, and started the quilting. It’s sort of a whole cloth, but not really. There’s no piecing at this point until this center medallion is done, and then I’ll just kind of see what happens. This seems to be the way I work….intuitively, guessing along the way, trial and error. Most of the time it works.

Here’s the first focus fabric….very “brain-looking,” and I’m approaching it as though these were dendrites in the brain. Doing a thread check –

– going for the one on the top, as I like the black section in the thread…looks like the nerve endings are skipping, which is the look I want. The lower thread will be in the bobbin.

I started the stitching, and then I took everything out – not happy with tension, and I wanted to analyze the pattern yet again.

This picture, when I saw it through the view screen of the camera, made me somewhat upset. I couldn’t see the discrimination of the black and the blue through my own eyes. I am having to look at it through a photo, so I know where I want to stitch. THis is the first time that I am aware of my eyes not being true to what I am seeing and want to do. Doesn’t make me happy…..

 

So I took my own advice from the Monday Marketing post to just get in there and do the work…I did, and I have a lot to show for it, with more to come.

 

Work in Progress Wednesday

I’ve been sewing a LOT on the commission that needs to be done before I can move on to a couple of other projects. I am finding that setting specific number of times for sewing each day, as well as assigning specific times, is helping me make progress. Hopefully next Wednesday you’ll see the finished commission.

In other work, we’re experimenting with Margot Bianca, a batik artist we met at La Conner. Here’s her Etsy store. We traded a batik for a marbled fabric. Margot will batik on top of cotton that has already been marbled. We are going to marble on top of a piece that is already had wax. Here’s initial results. This first is the original batik and the marbled batik (we just did a small piece). I personally like the effect, and I think we could do some interesting combinations together.

Here’s a close-up of the piece after marbling.

And…since I haven’t been working on Photoshop lately, I just had to play around with a couple of filters – there are a lot of possibilities for art cards…..here’s an inversion.

Here’s a half-tone:

This one is poster edges.

And now for the emboss:

The other batik experiment is with a piece of linen that just has wax on it. I’m still working on ironing out all the wax……For this piece I think the marbling pattern needed to be more complex than just a basic stone, but again, I think there are possibilities.

Now waiting for batting and backing is the very beginning of my “depression” piece….which has a general idea, and it will speak to me as we go along.

This is an unpolished black satin.

Hopefully I will have a bunch o’ stuff next week!

 

Work in Progress Wednesday

Busy week! I’ve been dutifully getting a list made each day, and I am being pretty successful at accomplishing everything. The biggest news….I FINALLY have all the names entered to be able to start the newsletter. Next week it should arrive in your mailboxes….a mere 16 months after the last one. I’ma workin’ on it……

Here’s a couple of pictures of what’s been happening this week. We are waiting on about 10 years of pima cotton to get started on our next big order, as well as a large order of paints. Meantime, hubby is planning to marble some small test pieces for a couple of projects. First up, a piece of linen that has wax on it. We met a wonderful batik artist up at StashFest in La Conner, Margot Bianca. You can check her Etsy store here. We spent a lot of time talking, and we’re going to marble a piece of linen, and then Margot will dye it, and she is going to batik a piece of already-marbled cotton. Should be a lot of fun to experiment. We’ll show results as they happen.

The studio is ready for marbling. We can dry in the garage, but sometimes for pretreating, it’s just easier, especially if there are mostly small pieces, to set up the drying racks in the studio. We sure do know how to maximize space!

And we do recycle, as you can see from the OJ bottles – they are perfect for keeping carrageenan as the bubbles disappear and then get stored in the refrigerator. We always cover up the rugs, even though we are obsessively neat, because the one time we don’t, paint will spatter…..

I am currently finishing a piece for my yoga instructor, as we are bartering: art for yoga lessons. You may recognize the piece….this is the “remains” of my “Shallows” piece, and it is in the process of becoming a triptych. More on that as it gets finished, hopefully by next week.

Still lots of shading, binding, lots of beads so that we have a small stream running through the three pieces. And of course, my lichen……

I’m also trying to start the pattern for the seasons wall hangings. I’ve got the ideas, and potentially the right fabric. Here’s spring….

…and here’s summer…..

I may actually combine the two…it will depend on how it works out.

There’s lots more on the list, including a new book I am starting on tutoring. I need to schedule significant writing time, along with all the sewing. So far, so productive!

Work in Progress Wednesday

Oh my goodness, life is busy! We returned on Monday from StashFest, a benefit for the La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum, with lots of new momentum and ideas for the business. I’ll be addressing some of the marketing issues and challenges in a later post. For right now, there are lots of new things in the works, as well as some current projects to finish.

We have two commissioned orders awaiting us. One has gone in the mail today to England, and the other is awaiting fabric and paint to arrive. On my walk this morning, I set myself the task to come up with what my “spring” and “summer” designs would look like for my seasons quilts. The marbled fabric is all ready to go, and I now have two specific designs in mind. This was a little trickier than fall and winter, because I still wanted to keep the log cabin basis for the new quilts. I’m hoping by the end of May to have the two new quilts finished and the pattern pretty much ready to go. Then I can consider the marketing for the kits.

I have a commissioned piece – a three-part triptych – that will pay for my yoga lessons, so I want to get that completed by this weekend. I have several small quilts that I am going to take apart and requilt, based on what I am learning with this year’s free motion quilting challenge. April’s lesson, about creating your own stencil, will solve my problem about wanting to do snowflakes for an old holiday quilt. I’m looking forward to trying this. The three quilts that I have requilted were all big hits at StashFest, as they were god examples of how marbled fabric can be used in traditional blocks. And I had LOADS of great feedback on how wonderful my quilting was. Yay me!

Now that I have installed Quilt Album software, I need to start putting in my quilts, especially since as I am traveling more, I can create an album to show at any time. This ties in to the portfolio we took with us to StashFest. We were able to show the article about us and the actual process through pictures, examples of Bernina garments that used our fabric, and other interesting patterns we had. The portfolio needs some updating….need to get that on the to-do list.

I really want to get to the DVD on quilting various marbling patterns. I need to perhaps start with just a couple of tutorials, and then let that determine where I go from there. As my quilting skills increase and improve, it will be interesting to see how that transfers to the marbled fabric.

Mainly I want to do a lot of sewing, designing, and quilting. So many ideas in my head! Hopefully next week there will be actual pictures to show……

Work-in-Progress Wednesday

I have been practicing machine quilting along the with FMQ challenge hosted by SewCalGal, with a guest machine quilter each month. Practice is definitely the key, and I can see lots of improvement. But even more important to me is my ability to go beyond the linear. For so long I would need to do something exactly as it was, and master it just that way. Evidently over this last decade I have become a LOT more free with trying something and expanding on it. And one of the great things about the FMQ project is how gracious everyone is with their sharing – I am seeing SO MANY different ways of seeing this one design!

I’ve finished my first practice sandwich for this month, but it won’t be my last! I am still practicing the basic stippling from Leah Day’s Free Motion Quilting Project – interesting that it is easier for me with the leaf pattern than one of the most basic free motion quilting patterns. So here goes:

This is the whole fat quarter. Some space still left, but as you can see I tried a whole bunch of things. I am planning on choosing another fat from the stash to make a couple of placements and practice the leaf some more. Within this fat quarter I did a number of things. This was my very first “pedal to the fabric” attempt at the leaves.

This is some of my practice with Leah’s basic u-shape and variations. As I said, lots still left to practice with this pattern. You can see my variation at the bottom, and you can also see where I obsessively took out stitches SEVERAL times because I couldn’t get the tension correct……

One person on line began to make her shapes a little more narrow, and to my ind they looked like chili peppers…..so I had to try and see what I could do. I cna definitely see this as a border design.

More practice, trying to add the little swirl. I can do it if the leaves/hearts are large enough, especially to one side. I also tried going left to right and then back again, as Leah had suggestions, as well as upside down. At the very bottom I decided to add some grape bunches and see what happened.

More practice, with lots more to come! WHat a treat to have the time – and the online lessons and encouragement – to get better at this!! Thanks Leah, Frances, and SewCalGal!!

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