I tried desperately to incorporate it into the structure but it seemed so out of place. It was as if it was meant to be a stand-alone art piece from the very beginning. In order to keep the progress on Bits & Pieces moving forward I pulled it from the stack of blocks and set it aside. My intention was to revisit it at a later date. The opportunity for my orphaned block to become a work of art finally happened. The story of its evolution is shared below.
AP # 33: Bits & Pieces
The Third One
Fuzzy, AP # 62
This mini quilt was a very simple piece to create. Making up it’s layers is a denim colored shot cotton; a scrap of blue; an off-center leftover segment of a hand-dyed batik; and an ever so tiny smidge of orange shot cotton. All four layers were fused together with Misty Fuse.
When you look at the photo above you will notice that most of the fabric scraps have fringed edges. I enjoy adding this feature whenever the opportunity arises. Here’s a couple other art pieces with the same technique.
The center most smidge of orange shot cotton gave me the inspiration. The fuzzy edge is actually the selvedge. With my love of fringe I simply couldn’t pass up on making it a design feature. To replicate the fuzziness on the other fabrics I strategically removed threads until I achieved a pleasing look.
I am a super organized person. Spreadsheets are one of my favorite methods to manage my information. I even have a spreadsheet that keeps track of my many art pieces. All of my art quilts are given a name and a number. For some the process is quick and easy while others take a lot more thought.
Naming this art quilt was super easy. The fuzzy edge of the selvedge provided the inspiration. Since so many of the fabrics were fringed to match the orange shot cotton I thought it seemed only natural to call my art piece Fuzzy.
Behind my mini art piece is a layer of Warm & Natural batting and a neutral colored cotton print. I quilted all the layers together using a King Tut variegated thread. The stitch pattern is a very simple grouping of straight-lines applied with my conventional sewing machine. I kept the stitching simplistic because I didn’t want the quilting to out-shine the rest of my piece.
I wrapped the raw edges of my quilt with a facing made from the denim colored shot cotton. To facilitate hanging my piece I added a small hanging sleeve. A label identifying my art quilt was added as well. Fuzzy measures 8 7/8” long x 4 3/4” wide.
I am very fond of this mini work of art. The colors, the fringe as well as the quilting will make it a wonderful addition to my portfolio. I can’t wait to find a home for it on my walls.
Thank You so much for sharing your time! I always look forward to these visits. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to add them to my post.
The goal to convert leftover art piece scraps into new works of art continues with this post. Previously I shared a goal I had of turning four leftover fabric fragments into new works of art. Three of them were leftover scraps from my Bits & Pieces, AP # 33. The first segment was turned into Windows, AP # 60. You will find the story of that quilt here. The second bit of fabric scraps is the subject of today’s post.
The Second One
The second art piece to emerge from the scrap bin is Windows At Night, AP # 61.
I’ve named it Windows At Night for two reasons. The first is because the staggered pieces of hand-dyed batik remind me of the windows one might see in a high-rise office building. The second reason is because of the dark blue fabric surrounding the hand-dyed batik scraps. This darker blue made the windows appear more prominent. Their prominence reminded me of how light emitted from windows is much more evident at night.
Surrounding the dark blue fabric is a border of hand-dyed cotton from Dye Candy. Dye Candy is created by Chris Daly, owner of Woodland Ridge Retreat.
The entire piece was quilted on my conventional sewing machine using a variegated coordinating thread and a straight-line stitch motif. On the inside of the quilt sandwich is a layer of Warm & Natural batting. The back is covered with a blue floral fabric. I’ve also added a hanging sleeve and a label identifying my work. Windows At Night measures 11” long x 10” wide.
I think Art Piece # 61: Windows At Night makes a wonderful new addition to my collection. Next time I will reveal the third rebirth in this series.
Thank You for sharing these moments with me! I always look forward to our visits. If you have any questions or comments you would like to share please feel free to add them to my post.
The first art piece to emerge from the scrap bin was this one.
I’ve named it Windows because the staggered pieces of hand-dyed batik remind me of the windows one might see in a high-rise office building.
Surrounding the batik scraps is a bright gold shot cotton. The border immediately adjacent is blue. This blue cotton was selected to match the printing in the batik.
Windows measures 21 1/8″ long x 10 3/8″ wide.
The hand-dyed batik rectangles along with the gold shot cotton were quilted with a straight-line pattern using a coordinating thread.
In the outer border I also used a matching thread to stitch a straight line motif for it’s quilting.
All of the quilting was done on my conventional sewing machine.
The Quilt Sandwich
Used inside the quilt sandwich was a fusible black batting. On the back of my art piece is a black cotton fabric. The raw edges have been protected by a black facing. Of course I’ve also attached a hanging sleeve and a label identifying my piece.
I think Art Piece # 60: Windows turned a group of discarded batik scraps into a striking new specimen. I’m very proud of this new member.
Next time I will reveal the second rebirth in this series.
Thank You for visiting! If you have any questions or comments please feel free to add them to my post. I always look forward to reading your responses.
During the process of recycling the Courthouse Stepscastoffs I came across 4 other gems just waiting for my attention. Three of them were started during my lengthy journey creating the Bits & Pieces, AP #33.
Finding just the right place to incorporate the tidbits into Bits & Pieces proved to be too challenging. Rather than forcing their presence I tossed them aside.
Where Did They Come From?
None of the three leftovers were in my orphaned quilt block basket. Instead they had apparently been swept away, with other random bits of fabric, and placed in my buckets of scraps. Who knows what I was thinking when I did that? The mind is a scary thing! 🙃
My research to find fabric additions for the Court House Steps blocks unearthed their presence. Being in a very adventurous mood I decided to convert them into finished art. Once I completed the 16 Court House Steps art pieces I turned my attention to those three mini segments.
Now let’s fast forward several months. All three of the tiny fragments have been turned into new works of art and are ready for their debut. I will share the first one in my next post.
Thank You for stopping by today! I’m so glad that we had the time to visit! I look forward to spending time with you again!
From a bag of scraps to a finished item this project has had quite a ride. The top, all by itself, is gorgeous. I just love the soft feel of the fabrics as my fingers lightly stroke their surface. The visual impact of the colors is equally as pleasing. Their varied hues entertain my eyes with an explosive pallet of color.
With three of my senses already engaged, how could this quilt get any better? The answer just has to be quilting! Being the creator of the quilt means I am in-tune with every fiber and every inch of its surface. This connection gives me an advantage when it comes to finishing it. From day one my mind was day dreaming about how I would quilt it. For Bits and Pieces it seemed only natural to compliment its design with straight-lines and geometric shapes.
Lets take a look at my Bits and Pieces to see how it turned out.
I think you will, agree after seeing the above photo, that this is a warm and earthy art piece.
There are so many of my favorite colors represented in the above photo. The bright orange and gold the calming blue and lively green. All of them work together to create a grouping that will continuously draw your eye from one area to another.
This photo was taken just slightly east of the previous one. The black and white floral fabric is another of my favorites. I like how the author used only two colors to create this striking, organically flowing design. My love for the fabric can be evidenced by its repetitious placement throughout my piece.
Many of the blocks within Bits and Pieces morphed drastically from their original versions. The two blocks on the right are great examples. Unfortunately since I failed to document their journey I can’t prove it to you. You will just have to believe me.
The area captured in this photo can be found north of the previous snapshots. In the bottom left corner is my reformulated log cabin block. I spoke about the block in more than one of my previous posts. Finding a design that the block and I could agree with was a lengthy process. I’m so glad I didn’t give up on it. This final version is spectacular.
The other blocks in this photo went through their own versions of reincarnation. They too are far more interesting now than their original versions.
I love all of the blocks in Bits and Pieces…but if I had to choose a favorite or two, I would nominate these two for that honor. I just adore the bright orange alongside the cooling mist of the blue in the adjacent block. The blue adds pizzazz with it’s bursting white images. Strutting through it’s center is a section of my original strip-pieced fabric.
The orange block, with it’s unevenly pieced borders, sports an interestingly pieced center section. Smack-dab in the center of the block is another section of my strip-pieced fabric.
The back of a quilt is not typically something that would draw our focus. From a longarm quilters perspective it’s often the best place to observe our work. With this quilt the solid color allows the abstract stitching to take center stage; there are no patterned fabrics to distract from the design. I’m quite pleased with the reflection I see in my stitching. From this photo can you see that my quilting was just as earthy as the fabrics I aimed to accentuate.
I had so much fun photographing this quilt. The fabrics are just so rich and inviting. I know I went way overboard with the quantity of photos that I took. Because I kept my shutter rolling it was so hard narrowing down the number of photos to share. I know that I have only scratched the surface of the possible angles I could have taken. Thankfully, I’m so very proud to have Bits and Pieces hanging in my entryway where I can see it everyday. Anytime I want to get a closeup all I have to do is pause and allow my eyes to take in the beauty of my Bits and Pieces.
A Slow Rendition
Well, there you have it; the finale of my story about Bits and Pieces. It has taken quite a while to get us to this point. Well-thought-out art develops slowly and so too should the telling of its story. There is no need to hurry along. Hasty renditions loose sight of the many important details and as a result the reader looses touch with the impact the author desires to portray.
I have been so enriched by the journey Bits and Pieces and I have taken. My exposure to the world of improv art has been enriched through this adventure. Having successfully created another art piece, the experience has fanned the flames that fuel my desire to continue on this path. I hope one day to share my enthusiasm for this piece with the owner of Handloom Batiks. She is ultimately the spark that is responsible for the birth of Bits and Pieces. Without her fabrics my piece would not be as rich in texture and interest.
Woohoo! What a Ride!:)
Your Participation Means A Lot
I hope you have enjoyed following along! I love sharing my time with you and receiving your comments. Thank You for being a faithful follower!
For those that just joined in or those that would like to relive my quilt’s journey I have provided links below to the posts that have woven this story. Please enjoy!
I’m in my studio, no music on, sitting in my comfy rolling chair thinking about my Bits and Pieces. I’ve been working on this thing for days now and yet there is something about it that doesn’t sit right. Just when I think things are going great and I see the finish line ahead, the train goes off the track. This train hasn’t just gone off the track, no this train has returned to the station. sigh Yup, that’s right! I’m back at the drawing board. This is how my quilt looked the last time we were together.
I really thought I had something going here. I had already sewn many of the blocks together into sections but there was something about it that didn’t feel right. Most of the fabrics I used came from the same company, Handloom Batiks, while the others were retrieved from my fabric stash. The solids were obviously from my stash as well as the red fabric in the bottom right corner, the orange woven fabric with the red floral pattern and the golden fabric with the red scribbles. I was pretty much resigned to leave the solid colors in place. Removing them from the mix would be a huge undertaking and I definitely was not up to that challenge. The print fabrics, though, were definitely doable. So, believe it or not my mission today was to eradicate those from my quilt.
Time to Take it Apart
One by one I took the sections down from my design wall and began disassembling it. I removed all of the stitching that held the various blocks together. Now that doesn’t mean I took absolutely everything apart. Heavens, I think I would have to have my head examined if I did that. 🙂 Just the stitching between the blocks was removed. Not all of the seams were carefully taken apart with a seam ripper either. I did take a shortcut or two with my rotary cutter. snicker The amount of fabric I lost by using the rotary method was so minimal but way faster. The less time I could spend on destruction the better. My gears were itching to turn the corner and get back to positive progress.
Once all the blocks were separated and stacked into a pile it was time to rethink my direction. Now that I had eliminated the use of outside fabrics, other than solids, I needed to find a way to be resourceful. The amount of fabrics included in the scrap bag was, for obvious reasons, limited so there was no room for wastefulness. I have been reading Sherri Lynn Wood’s book The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. On page 67 she talks about “Making Do.” Let me quote her words:
More often that not, contemporary quilt makers collect a lot of fabric. On the surface, this may seem like a design advantage, but in actuality, this abundance of choice can become overwhelming. On the flip side, when you are forced to innovate with what you have and you do not have a lot, your improvisational skills are honed. One way to create the aesthetic opportunity to make do, even if your fabric stash is hefty, is to purposely limit your fabric amounts on the tight side at the outset of a project.
Note: the emphasis added to selected words in the quote is of my doing.
What’s the Big Deal?
I am so totally guilty of “collecting a lot of fabric.” I always thought the quilter that died with the largest fabric stash won! Just kidding! 🙂 My huge inventory can be overwhelming. With so many choices it’s often hard to eliminate options. It’s like trying to eliminate someone from a team or a group. Even though the dirty deed needs to be done it is hard because you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I can just see you rolling your 👀. You are thinking, “What’s the big deal?” Fabric is an inanimate object. It is incapable of emotion. I know, I know. sigh! But in my little head it does. 🙂
Anyway, getting back to the quote, not only had I made the decision, at the onset, to try and use all of the fabrics in the scrap bag, but I had also now added the challenge to make do or limit my fabric options. This meant I had to get creative. There were obvious holes that needed plugging in my design and my scrap inventory was drastically low. So, get creative I did. Here’s a photo of my quilt in its current state.
You may notice quite a few differences. This is what changed:
The print fabrics that were not included in the scrap bag have, for the most part, been eliminated.
Some of the blocks have been redesigned. Especially the one in the top left corner.
Twelve blocks are brand new.
99.9% of the new blocks were created with fabric from the scrap bag and added solids.
The block arrangement is different.
I must admit I had fun creating the additional segments. I was bound and determined to use as many of the tiny scraps as possible so I drew upon my knowledge of quilting to even make a paper pieced block.
There were times when I got really nervous about not having enough fabric. This happened at the very end. My inventory was so low. All I really had left were itty-bitty scraps and of course my solids. Just when I thought I was going to have to resort to the solids I happened to pull out my rolling cart. There in the top bin was a fairly good sized piece of useable fabric. Oh how I breathed a sigh of relief! My discovery meant I would be able to fill in all the gaps and finally call my piece finished.
To coin an American phrase, “The Goose is Cooked.” If you are not familiar with this idiom let me put it another way, “It is FINISHED.” Hip Hip Hooray! Yippie! 🙂 Does that help?
Throughout all of these six posts I have yet to explain the origin of the name. Though, you haven’t asked either!!! What gives with that? Aren’t you curious? 🙂 Don’t think I haven’t been dieing to tell you. I have but I thought I would wait until the end. So, this is where it came from.
When I purchased my small bag of fabric scraps there was a ribbon tied around the top of the bag cinching it tightly closed. Attached to that ribbon was this tiny piece of paper. As you can tell from the photo the words “Bits and Pieces” were written in ink. This little tag gave me the inspiration to call my newest art piece Bits and Pieces. Kind of corny I know. But hey, nobody ever said names had to come from a magical place.
Gotta Do It!
I’ve had a great time sharing the creative journey I took to birth Bits and Piece, AQ # 33. Along the way there were some highs and some lows but in the end I was triumphant. I managed to almost accomplish my goal of limiting my fabrics. I’m pretty proud of my “gotta do it” determination. My improvisational brain is going to take a bit of a breather for a while. I think I’ve worn myself out. 🙂
Let me pose the often heard phrase, “So what do you think?” Is it a keeper or not?
Thank you for sharing this time with me! I look forward to our frequent visits. Who knows where my art-filled adventure will take us next?
Oh, I almost forgot! You are probably wanting to read the first five posts in this journey. Let me share them with you.
Who knew that I would still be working on AQ # 33: Bits and Pieces after five days? As I have said before this is a very l o n g, s l o w process. At times it almost seems painful. But to coin a famous phrase, “Rome wasn’t built in a day!”
For those that just joined me let me provide links to the other four posts.
At the end of day four this is how my art piece looked. Day five presented itself a bit differently. I still did more, “What if,” manipulation but I focused most of my time on actually stitching the blocks together into sections.
Shown above is another version of my block arrangement. If you compare the two photos you can see that most of the rearranging took place in the bottom half of the art piece. The changes were pretty subtle.
By the time I got to this stage I had begun stitching blocks together. This too takes some thought. Obviously the blocks are all different sizes. Their variety of measurements makes it interesting to fit them together. It is kind of like assembling a puzzle. The only difference is that I don’t have a box cover to refer to. I have to make it all up as I go.
By the time I had reached this point my piece had been stitched together into two separate segments. The one on the left takes in the majority of the individual blocks. The one on the right has not yet been attached because it is a different size. I also still have to figure out how to attach the gold block with the thin center strip.
The made-fabric to the left of the gold block and the gold, flashy fabric below are being auditioned as possible candidates. I also have another possible add-in below the right section. (Does that all sound like mumbo jumbo?) I hope I haven’t lost you?
Lots of Progress
Today was a day filled with loads of progress. By the time my piece had reached this stage I was exhausted. I needed to take a break to ponder my next step so day five ended here.
From Trash to Treasure
Hard to believe this all started from one bag of scraps!
Isn’t it amazing how someone else’s trash can become another person’s treasure!
This brings to a close another day in the life of Bits and Pieces. Stay tuned for another adventure.
Thank you for showing your support by visiting my blog. Your interest is the jewel that makes my journey meaningful! See you next time!
I bet you wonder how long it will be before this piece is finished! Well, who knows? I’d like to say today but that’s not going to happen. The wheels of progress turn slowly and the wheels in this house are currently on stand-by.
As the title suggests this is part four. Links to the other three posts can be found here:
This is how my work in progress looked when we parted company last time.
Prior to today I had been using my cutting board as my staging place for my blocks as well as my work area. I got tired of trying to do both on the same surface so I moved them all to my design board/storage area for quilt backs, etc.
This vertical surface works way better. It makes it easier to move the blocks around, to photograph them and to see them. Of course you have to mentally block out the fabric that is directly behind my blocks. It’s a quilt back waiting to be used. I store them draped over my design board because it makes a wonderful place to store them without adding wrinkles.
If you compare this photo with the one directly above you will notice that I have done a bit of rearranging and added in some additional possible fillers. This layout was by no means the final version. As I worked throughout the day my piece morphed at least six more times.
By the time I was ready to call it a day my art quilt looked very different. Take a look.
None of the blocks have been stitched to one another yet. I’m still in the process of moving them around and selecting my filler fabrics. This step happens very slowly so there’s not that much to report. I could bore you with photos of all the different versions but I was afraid I would have a mutiny on my hands. There is no way of telling what will transpire tomorrow. Who knows? I may just end up starting over. One can never tell!
This is all I have to report for today. Hopefully tomorrow will be more exciting. Thank you for staying with me on this journey to create yet another art piece. I hope to see you back next time. Have a G R E A T D A Y ! 🙂
We last talked about this art piece in my post called Bits and Pieces, AQ # 33 Part Two. By the end of the day I had finished stitching together a grouping of fabric strips. Even though I was eager to continue, family activities took precedence. I’m back in my studio and ready to work on my project again. Let’s not waste anymore time!
One of Many
These stitched together fabric strips were the starting point for today.
The above block is an example of one of the units I made. In this photo (besides the shadow of my camera, 🙂 ) you can see the center red, green and black unit. The unit is temporarily resting on a background of green fabric. The strips extending beyond the sides were waiting to be removed. The green background was eventually cut into strips and added to all four sides of the main block.
In this photo you can see that I kept going and going and going. I was on quite a roll when I paused to take this picture. I can’t tell you how pleased I was with my progress.
Using some of the scraps and a few added solid colors I created a Log Cabin block.
I wasn’t particularly fond of the outcome so I decided to slice it up, spin some of the pieces around and stitch them back together. You will also note that I have added in some solid colors. Gasp! I know the solid colors were not included in my recently purchased bag of scraps. Even though my mantra was to use all of the scraps in this piece I never said I wouldn’t add others to the mix. 🙂 A girls gotta to do what she has to make a spectacular work of art.
My faux Log Cabin block still wasn’t quite up to par so I sliced it again and asked myself, “What if.” What if I added this jazzy gold fabric in a couple of places. Hmmm! I kind of liked that but I wanted to make sure it was repeated in at least three areas. Time to do a little more adjusting.
In this photo you will notice several things. First of all in the bottom right corner you will see my finished faux Log Cabin block. You will also notice that I have been very busy making more units or blocks. This is one of the most enjoyable aspects of creating improv art.
Take a closer look at the photo and you can see there are hints of the original strip fabric in many of the blocks above.
By the end of the day this is what my conglomerate looked like. The difference between this photo and the one above are the fabrics I am auditioning as potential additions. These would be used as fillers for some of the gaps. I’m not sure if they will stay but at least for now they add a nice touch.
Let’s Call It A Day!
Even though I wanted to keep going I was exhausted by this point. After all this work it was time to call it a day. There’s always tomorrow!
Thanks so much for reading my post! I’m so glad we got to spend the time together. See you next time! 🙂