Busy, busy weekend

As you might imagine, I spent a lot of time in my studio this weekend but am super happy with the progress that I made.

I did a bit of fabric folding just to see how the new shelves are going to work. After trying several different sizes of folds, I discovered that the 6 inch width worked best. But, I did use a smaller one (5-1/2) to fold the larger lengths. They just get way too wide when you start with the 6 inch ruler.

This process is pretty slow but I think that I will enjoy it once I have everything out to see!!’

The one problem that I have to solve is what to do with all of the pieces that are too small to fold this way but too big to toss into the scrap bin. For now I am just putting them aside and will think about it at the end.

I debated long and hard about what type of storage to use under the cutting table and finally opted for 4 drawer systems……

These hold all of my cut strips and leftover bits. I need one more small unit (like the one on the left) to finish the storage. I especially like that the units form a surface for the ruler rack to stand, making everything right at my fingertips. And, there is just enough space between the drawers to stand my light board!!

On the other side, I put a small shelf system that holds my cut scrap squares, and my bead and embroidery supplies. The basket will hold all of the scraps that need to be sorted and cut.

I built this IKEA drawer system with the idea of using it to store all of my thread…..

….. but it didn’t end up being the best solution for my Gutermann threads so those will stay as the are right now (in plastic cases on the left). The top works perfectly for a small ironing station.

However, I LOVE having these drawers close to my machine. The top drawer has all of my bits and pieces……

One has my quilting rulers…..

And one has all of the cone threads that had previously been hanging on the wall….

There are still several drawers that are empty, but I am sure that I will find a good use for them before long.

This is how my sewing station looks…..

This is my new ironing table.

The original ironing board belonged to my Grandmother and it is SO sturdy!!! I was mentioning to one of my friends that I was planning to build a new top for an ironing surface and she said “I have one that I don’t need anymore…..do you want it!!!”. It works wonderfully!!!

I am pleased with the flow of the work stations……

I am thinking that it will be super easy to move between ironing, cutting and sewing.

I have partially finished the design wall, but ran out of oomph so it will wait until a later date.

The list of things to finish up is HUGE and I know that it will be much later before I get it all together, but I am happy with this basic setup.

Now…..to work….the real kind and not the fun kind!!!


And then there was furniture…..

This afternoon Michael and I spent several hours building furniture for my enlarged studio.

First was the Standing Desk (cutting table)…..

It was super easy to put together!!!

Then the delivery from IKEA arrived…….

I know that it said multiple boxes but I only ordered THREE things!!!!

The first set of shelves took about an hour to put together…..

In fact, since it went so well, we decided to break out the second set of boxes…..

This set only took about 40 minutes to put together and, before we knew it, the fiber/cutting area of the room was set up and ready to go……

At the end of the day, this is where the room is, although I am thinking that I will move some things around…..

I REALLY want to spend every available minute working to get this set up, but I KNOW that I have to do some real work as well…..sigh!!

Oh well, it will be a good incentive to stay focused in my office!!!

Picking out furniture!!

The painter’s arrive on Monday morning and hopefully my expanded studio will be finished early next week. As the end has come closer, I really started thinking about how I wanted to arrange things and also make decisions about what furniture I wanted to add.

My first decision was about fabric storage. Previously my fabric has all been stored in plastic boxes which get HEAVY and, when I am working with many colors, REALLY messy. I knew that I wanted to have everything out on the shelves and easy to see (and get to)

After LOTS of searching online, and reading TONS of opinions, I have decided to go with Ikea Kallax shelves…..

…and have figured out that I have space for 2 sets of 5×5 shelves. From what I have read online, I can fold my fabrics to be 5 inches wide and get two columns of fabric into each cubicle.

Next was a way to store threads….. again I went to Ikea and decided on the Alex drawer system…..

I have some ideas about how to set the drawers up but will have to try it first before I tell you about it!!!

Finally, I wanted a new cutting table. Because I am taller, I really wanted something that could be 38 or 39 inches tall. Those are NOT easy to find. I had planned how to build one but knew that it was going to be difficult, time consuimg and fairly expensive to do!! My plan was for it to be 36″ x 60″. The first step was to buy a cutting mat that was the correct size……PROBLEM…..they don’t make them anymore!! I only found one online and it had horrible ratings!! I did find the Martelli mat and knew that it would be a good product, but it was only 30×60.

I took this as a sign that my cutting table should only be 30×60!!! When I started looking for cutting tables I ran across the idea of using a standing desk…..and magically, they are 30×60!!! I have ordered this one…..

It comes with very high ratings and, when I tried one in a local store, it seems to be very sturdy and steady. It can rise to over 40″ tall but can also be lowered if I ever want to work from my chair.

So now I wait…..and wait……and wait!!! Not really…… most of this should be in next week and I can finally get it all in place.

I can’t wait to get up there!!!

Saturday at the High (Part 2)…..

As I said in my last post, my daughter-in-law, Amber and I spent a fun Saturday in December visiting the High Museum in Atlanta. We had a great time wandering thru the special collections that were on display!!

The first gallery featured the works of Romare Bearden from his “Profile Series” These paintings begin with Bearden’s earliest memories as a boy in North Carolina in the 1910’s and concludes with his life as a young artist in Harlem in the early 1940’s.

Most of the art was mixed media and each included a short comment from Bearden’s life. This piece said…. “During certain times of the year I would get my last view of daylight as I entered the subway on my way home”…..

His colors were vibrant and exciting!!

As we left the exhibit hall, Amber drew my attention to a plaque about QUILTS!! How did I miss that one!! This is fairly long, but I like what he had to say…..

“For African American communities in the rural South, quilting was not only a practical domestic art but an opportunity to gather and socialize. Bearden wrote, “I feature the quilt because everyone had a beautiful quilt. And the ladies used to gather in the church and all help each other to sew their quilts.” Some scholars have associated Bearden’s own process of collage with the quilting traditions that had impressed him in his youth.

After reading this, we backtracked to find the piece entitled “Miss Mamie Singleton’s Quilt”.

He said of this quilt…..”She was famous for her quilts”, highlighting the status a skilled quilter could earn with her craft. The picture shows not Miss Mamie, but her quilt, laid out in a domestic interior. The picture is as much about the quilt as the home environment it was made for.”

As we continued thru the galleries, I was excited to see this piece by Frank Stella. It is part of his “Protractor Series”…….

….and reminded me of a sister piece that I saw back in the fall in the Kunst Museum in Basel Switzerland…..

One of these photos is blurry and the other is cut off……sigh!!!

This full wall piece (“Winter Landscape” by Alex Katz) was stunning……

One of my favorite pieces of the day was this folk art church scene……

It was created by Carleton Garrett and was called “Church Revival”. It was originally motorized and I would have loved to be able to see it in action!!

Amber and I are both drawn to shadows and immediately pulled out phones to take a photo of this piece (Latin Study by Al Taylor)…..

We also laughed at this piece…..

It is a gorgeous art piece with lights and metal and this picture does not do it credit. However, what we both noticed was the cord in the background. Surely there was a better way to plug it in!! It really detracted from the beauty.

Our final gallery was artwork by Virgil Abloh. I knew nothing about this person but Amber filled me in. He trained as a architect but moved into fashion design. He has brought his design ideas into many other disciplines and has made many people aware of his work thru the use of social media.

The exhibit entranced reminded us to clear our perceptions before we entered…..

I particularly liked this architectural drawing from one of his sketchbooks…..

…and this dress designed for Beyonce was amazing…..

…although I was interested that the edges were not finished…..

Amber quickly pointed out that this is another example of his “breaking the perceptions”.

We ended the morning with a late lunch at a local bistro….wonderful warm soup for a cold day!!!

Amber….I can’t wait to see where we go NEXT December!!!

Saturday at the High

In December of 2018, my daughter-in-law, Amber, invited me to go to the Atlanta High Museum to see the art of Yayoi Kusami. You can see the blog post HERE. Then, in December of 2019, she called and said that she had heard that there were quilts in the Permanent Collection and that we should go see them!! Gotta love have kids who are on the look out for quilts!!!!

The first thing that we saw wasn’t a quilt, but it sure looked like one….

There were four quilts in the permanent collection and each was interesting and unique!!

The first was a strip quilt made in the 1930’s by an African American artist in Texas. The information suggested that the strips were aligned in construction and appearance to “Kente Cloth” and that this quilt demonstrates a belief that evil travels in a straight line and must be disrupted by irregular patterns……

The second quilt was similar to a log cabin design and was made in the 1940’s by an Alabama quilter……

This quilt was a Courthouse Steps design, created in the late 1870’s in New England. It had an amazing array of fabrics…..

….the strips were TINY and the edging was amazing…..

The last quilt was made in the 1940’s in Tennessee and carried a definite Americana theme…….

I wish that I could let go and use stripes and polka dots in this way!!!!

On the way to the museum, we had to make a quick stop at my son’s office and I got to see the studio where he makes his musical magic. It was fun to see all of his instruments just waiting for the next recording session…..

There was much more to the museum, but I will save that for another post!!!!

Having a ripping good time…..

At the end of this past week, the builders were working on the drywall in the room and doing lots of sanding, etc so I didn’t really think that I should try to sew in the dust. I wanted to move my machine downstairs but couldn’t figure out where to sit so that my rolling chair wouldn’t ruin the wood floors.

Then…..I thought about setting it up in my office and just move my office chair over a bit and use the same chair mat. It was a bit cramped, but it worked…..

….and the biggest plus…..it is right there and ready whenever I have a few minutes to sew.

The first sewing that I did was on her arms, finally just deciding to do 1/4 inch echo quilting…..

Then I decided to tackle her face….the part that I have been dreading since the start of this project!! While I may be able to draw with fabric, I am NOT an artist where facial contours are concerned!! I spent one evening drawing on 20+ photos of her face, trying to get an idea of what quilting needed to happen…..

And then I quilted…..

…and it was YUCKY!!!

So I spent that evening carefully taking out every single stitch in her face!!! Fortunately, I was having a good day with my machine quilting so the stitches were pretty even.

Now I am stuck with what to do!! I cant decide if the problem is my line placement or the fact that the thread is too dark!!

I KNOW that her nose isn’t good, but I feel like the other lines are okay.

I may try printing her face onto fabric and do several tries before I work on the actual piece again.

And, if any of you have the artistic bent to tell me what I am doing wrong on her nose, PLEASE speak up!!!

Finally….my friend from India, talked to the girl’s grandmother and found out that her name is Mahek. It is an Urdu name and means perfume! How perfect is that!!!

Designing Fun

As I said in the last post, it was time to get serious about the corners of the Color Wheel quilt and there was no better time than a Sunday night, sitting with my Sweetie and watching “Lord of the Rings”…..

I started playing with lots of different design ideas…..

….and then came upon the idea of turning the 1st grey “border” into a big circle…..

Then it was back to the design sheets to figure out what to put into the circle. This is my final idea…..

….make the big circle in the medium grey, the next layer in the lighter grey and the final triangle in the light grey (as in the very middle). I am thinking to make the “spoke” circles in colors that match the squiggle.

My last thought is to put 1/4 of the color wheel in each of the corners to finish it off as it began.

I played with it in Powerpoint and got a reasonable picture of what I am thinking…..

The next step will be to draft it out full size and see if I can make all of the details work, but that probably can’t happen until after my studio is back to a semi-normal state!!!

I know that these plans may change MANY times before the actual quilt is finished but it sure was fun to start out with a few ideas and see those morph into something that I really like!!

Quilting in a real big empty….

Well, the construction started out going great guns, but then as projects often do, it came to a screeching halt as we wait for the Drywall guys to come in and close in the new wall.

But, today I had time to do some more work on the Henna Girl and I was not going to let a big open space deter me!!! I swept the area well and moved my machine table out of the corner and got everything set up……

I couldn’t figure out why it was so cold in the room, but Michael reminded me that there was an area that was open to the attic…..

……so a space heater was added to sort that out!!

I spent the next few hours happily quilting along and dreaming of when this room would be completely finished!!

I am pleased with my accomplishments for the afternoon, finishing the bottom portion of her shirt…..

…although when I cropped this photo, I realized that I have the top portion to do as well!!!

I was going to work on her arms, but didn’t have the right color of thread. Instead, I added some to her head scarf…..

Also, last night I finished all of the applique on the Color Wheel quilt so now it is time to get serious about figuring what to add to the corners. I took one of my photos of the finished portion, pulled it into Powerpont, and added the corners……

Now I have printed out a bunch of copies and hope to spend part of this evening playing with possible ways to finish the corners. Originally I didn’t have any ideas, but now have several in mind. Sometimes that makes it harder!!!

Now to get off of this computer and get to it!!