There’s Nothing Like a Bit of Scrap Bag Diving!

May 24th, 2015

I keep a large bag of small scraps., principally offcuts from projects. ¬†When I’m clearing up after finishing something, anything worth keeping goes into the large clear plastic bag on the floor beside my sewing table. ¬†The bag being clear helps, just a little, when I’m looking for something in particular, as I was this morning. ¬†I needed more earthy colours to add more shapes to the current Bungle Bungles piece I’m working on, you may remember.

earthy colours

Relatively speaking, piecing like this uses as much fabric in seams as shows on the front. ¬†When I’m doing pieced work, I use a large variety of different fabrics in small amounts; and nothing is cut out in advance, its all cut freehand and sewn seam by seam in the technique known as ‘improvisational piecing’. The Ebb&Flow quilts in particular are assembled in this way with a lot of scrap bag diving along the way –

SCRAP BAG  Ebbs and Flows



Needing more of some fabrics including some of those little one-offs that add spice, I took a deep breath and began scrap bag diving – well, turned it all out on my table, and started sorting though, selecting things I can use, and putting most of it back into the bag.

SCRAP BAG archeology

SCRAP BAG  save all yellows

I carefully save all offcuts of every yellow, partly because although I rarely buy any yellow fabric, a touch of a yellow value here and there in every piece of art, whatever the medium, is vital, literally giving life to the work. The more valuable the fabric/colour, the smaller amount I am prepared to save…. and the smallest piece of a strong almost acid yellow I came across this morning was barely 3cm x 1cm!

SCRAP BAG  save yellow

This piece of yellow with airbrushed red and blue is gradually running out Рso its very precious. I have about  3cm x 4cm left of a fat 1/4 bought years ago from Deb Lunn in Denver.


SCRAP BAG good grief

This morning I realised scrap ¬†bag diving is rather like archeology, digging down though the past – and like archeology, it throws up some puzzles, of which this is one! ¬†I don’t remember putting it together, but these are definitely my fabrics, and all sewn together by me, for sure – but¬†why? ¬†I certainly don’t remember anything in which this sequence appeared. ¬†It’s a nice yellow in that striped print, though….


SCRAP BAG elegant snippets

I really don’t remember the work these offcuts came from – they were trimmed off after the gold stitching along each place the cream meets the print…. quite elegant, really, and I may do something more in these gentle neutrals soon. With gold stitching/quilting.




SCRAP BAG extra units CynthiaSCRAP BAG raided block

I often work in repeat units – and always make a few extra to get the best possible result when juggling them at the assembly stage. From ‘Cynthia’s Quilt’ top, and ‘New Directions’ below, come these ‘spares’ which have useful sized pieces – and the raiding has already begun on the lower ‘block’. ¬†The fabric in that block terminating in the triangle/arrow head is destined for salvaging for use in the next set of strip assemblies I need to put together; I only ever had a small amount of it and I’m down to last few square centimetres…


SCRAP BAG one glove

And finally, much to my delight, virtually at the bottom of the heap, I found one of the pressure gloves I’ve been missing for a while, since last spring really….so then I had to tip it all out again and go through more carefully to find the other. ¬† And sure enough, it was there. ¬†The weather’s getting cool again, and some days now my hands are feeling a bit in need of pressure on the arthritic joints – so this find was timely and welcome!.

Bungle Bungles Series WIP

May 17th, 2015

BB5 audition 1

Though some shapes need shuffling around, chiefly on account of size or proximity to another with the exact same sequence of strips, this is moving along and the background decision has been to go with the shiny black.

Of course, the ¬†three horizontal strips will be joined once all the piecing is done, but as this is a big job and I won’t be showing anything on this work for a while now. ¬†Actually my usual thing is once a work is finished, I don’t show the full view until it has been exhibited somewhere.

Bungle Bungles Series Continues

May 16th, 2015

In a previous post I referred to another work in the series and tea dyed some b/w fabric to tone down the white for inclusion in what I envisage will be a larger work.  So fabric strips had to be  assembled first before being cut to the karst topography shapes that characterise this Bungle Bungles landscape Рfreehand all the way, of course.

strip assemblies blog

I can continue with the black background, but I’m also considering a black with fine gold spots on it. ¬†After pinning some shapes up on each fabric to compare, I still couldn’t decide, so I photographed them –

background comparisons blog

and am now heading out the door to lunch, hoping that when I walk into my room later today the answer will be clear.

Toning Down White With Tea

May 6th, 2015

BungleBungles tea dyed blog

The tea staining worked as expected, bringing more change to the dot than the linear Jimmy Pike pattern, and I will use some of these two fabrics in piecing sets of strips for the next, larger work – as in the first in the series, you might remember ¬†–

Kimblerley slice blog

Some of these shapes might go well between sheer layers – ¬†that’s another thought that just came – samples can be so inspiring.


Bungle Bungles Series

May 5th, 2015

What I read about the structure of what’s inside these intriguing landforms took my attention. ¬†So, I thought another in this series would feature the layered limestone and conglomerates using fine pieced strips in beige-cream/off white tones, surrounded by a solid band of brown to signify the outer and inner colours determined by the structure. ¬†This outer colour is due to the tiny spaces in the stone being colonised by cyanobacteria which give earthy browns and golds to the outer few millimetres, and this deepens when the rocks have been rained upon. ¬†Inside the rock remains white and nearly white/cream tones.

The time consuming work was the piecing. so when I’d done enough, I set the shapes I’d cut into the solid colours, darker to go to the front/nearest the viewer so to speak, thinking some sense of depth might result, and in a primitive way I think that’s been successful. ¬†You’d think I’d have been able to work out that the black and white spotted fabric for the background just is not IT, though –

Bungle Bungles 4 blogbut, having just written that I am having second thoughts…..

  • I am not sure now if I will finish this off and quilt it etc, and it might remain a sample or study for something larger.
  • Then again, I could¬†take the shapes out and re-set them in black – and might sometime when I’ve thought more about it.
  • I’m not sure about more cream piecing – but then again,
  • I could do cream cut-out shapes with machine stitched bands on them signifying the layered structure….

However – and here’s the reminder I periodically give about the value of making samples and small studies: this leads ¬†the creative mind onward,¬†¬†and I now have in mind something, perhaps two pieces, of much larger work. ¬†After all, the BungleBungles are massive …. so with this in mind, there’s a considerable piecing I feel I will need to do now. ¬†So some of this b/w dots plus some b/w print of work by a prominent Aboriginal artist designer, printmaker and painter, the late Jimmy Pike¬† have gone into a strong bath of black tea to tone down the white:

BungleBungles tea dyed blog

Many of Jimmy Pike’s beautiful linear patterns were reproduced on commercially available fabric and used in clothing principally I think under the Desert Designs label – having been away from Aus for so long I’m not sure what’s now available now, though.