The Plan for Sharing My Fabric Arts Skills and Techniques

Practice piece for the upper left corner of the border of Pendragon

I am not sure I have adequately expressed what I am trying to do with my YouTube videos and accompanying downloadable workbooks.  I am hoping to pass along the skills and techniques I have learned and use in the making of my wall art quilts and possibly other sewing in an affordable way.  I am thinking about the advanced beginner, intermediate, and even advanced quilter or fabric artist when I am making these.  There are many many many such videos out there for the basic beginning quilter, but not so much for those who are ready for a little more.

Photo at AQS Fall Paducah 2017

I guess you know already that such videos and workbooks are not free to make.  There is a fair amount of technology and equipment involved–sewing machines, cameras, lighting equipment, tripods, computers, software, website maintenance fees, and then there are the fabrics, threads, paints, and other supplies required to test, practice and make the various pieces.  This does not include the hours at all.

For you, the YouTube videos are free.  The accompanying workbooks and patterns are either free downloadables, as in the first set on Wool Applique by Machine, or are or will be downloadable from my website shop normally for something under $10.  The one for my first tree project is just $5.  If you both buy the workbooks and view the videos, you have a full class.

Come fly with me

My blogs and videos will frequently have links to products I recommend and use myself that work with a particular project I present.  Not all, but some of those products are affiliated links, where I get a small percentage of the sale if someone purchases them using that link (not if they just look at them and go buy them somewhere else…I have gotten lots of clicks but no purchases from these links so far).  The cost for the products is not increased in any way from my affiliations.  It is from the affiliations and the workbooks that I hope to make a little money to fund the continuation of the YouTube videos and give me a little play money.  Eventually, if I get as many as 1000 subscribers and 4000 viewing hours within a 12 month period, I might be able to receive a little from YouTube, but it would not cost the viewer anything.  Of course, there are ads on the videos, which is something I have no control over, but that is how YouTube funds itself.  I have had people tell me they won’t watch my YouTube videos because there are ads. I also have found out that some people think that subscribing to a YouTube requires signing up and paying money or filling in a form.  Truly, they should have called it “Follow” because all it requires is clicking the red Subscribe button.  I have had others say I should provide kits, but I have no storage space, time, and money required to do kits.  It takes hours and hours.  I did kits for my classes I taught locally in the past, so I know.  But I do have good instructions with lists of what you need in my workbooks.

I’m not begging here, but want to let you know that if a maker decides they want to contribute to this process to keep these things going in some other way than subscribing to my channel, watching my videos, buying the workbooks or linked products, there is a Donate button on the lower right side of my blogs.

There’s so much to learn, for me as well (from one of my classes at G Street Fabrics)

I decided to give this all a good try until the end of this year.  I have a clear concept of how I am approaching the teaching films for at least the next year.  There are sets of things, like continuing working with wool fabric art by machine, learning how to make Landscape Elements (trees, rocks, mountains, water, and top it off with a larger piece using them all); Experimental Fabric Art (you can watch my video on that to get an idea of this); Heirloom Quilted Fabric Art (this is something I will explain at a later blog, but you can get the idea by seeing Out of Mom’s Workbasket quilt), and other sets. Periodically, I will show the making of a show quilt, but it will not be a class format.  So if you follow my videos, blogs, and download the workbooks over the course of several months, it is my hope you will learn or perfect a fairly sophisticated set of quilted artistic sewing and quilting skills and techniques and can go and have a lot of fun in your studio making your own.  I am trying to figure out how to open a way for you to share what you make some other way than Facebook, but haven’t gotten there yet.

Out of Mom’s Workbasket

Sew happy everyone!  Tell me in the comments what you think of this plan, provide me with some ideas for what you really really wish someone to teach online if you want, and come fly with me through the wonderful world of quilted fabric art.  But above all, have fun in your studio!

 

 

Applique and Thread Work…My Favorites

As a fabric artist the two things I enjoy doing the most are machine applique and thread work.  I just finished this small wall hanging:

              A Deciduous Tree in Full Bloom 18″ x 22″

It is a little imaginary in that I don’t know what kind of tree it really is other than it is kind of fruit tree like.  I made it up primarily to demonstrate textured padded applique for the trunk with wool batting and artist crayon highlights, and machine stitched broiderie perse  for the tree top.  I made it as part of my series on Landscape Quilt Elements and there is a downloadable workbook for just $5 with pattern and free videos on YouTube showing me making it, the first of which I just published today, the last day of May in 2021!  Isn’t it amazing how the time has flown lately?!

Sew what is next?  Well, I have the second half of this tree project video coming in a few weeks, and then I have several other things I am planning:  A similar sized project for evergreen trees scene that is mostly thread work and yarn couching, a few quick tip videos, and a whole cloth bird picture done with thread painting.  Somewhere along the way I am going to make a new show quilt, but I haven’t decided yet what that will be.

I might even slip in some clothes making somewhere, though I doubt I will film that.  I just want to make some of the nice things I have laying around with all the parts and patterns.

Sew happy everyone!  Please subscribe to my YouTube channel.  It doesn’t cost anything and you don’t have to answer any questions..it’s just a click on the subscribe button and it helps  me out. Have fun in your studio!

 

My Fabric Art and Video Making Merge to Fun

Sew I was realizing today as I worked in my studio that my fabric art and my video making are fairly well merged together finally and I have really begun to enjoy playing/working in my studio again.  It has definitely been a huge challenge.

I started back about September of last year, thinking I would just take some of the classes I used to teach and add a few more and turn them into videos to share on YouTube and make downloads to accompany them.  Simple, right?  I had no idea what I was about, how to really accomplish it, and the journey I was undertaking.  Using my single little GoPro camera I just made a video and edited it on my video editor that was designed for home videos. I had to learn to edit just for that.

After my family and I saw the video result I had loaded up on YouTube, we all realized it would not do.  It had many problems from lighting to scripting to quality of the filming.  Plus, the talent (me) needed to figure out a little better how to address the watcher.  So I took it down and my family swung in there and helped me get set up, figure out how to do the videos, and are still helping me produce better videos.  It was a period of frustration, especially when my computer failed just after we got started and it it took a couple of months before that was solved.  Now I have a wonderful setup as well as a good computer that is designed for this work (thanks to my family set of professional techies).  Grown kids are the greatest blessing!

It’s been a major change in my studio and the way I work and I’m still learning, but this past few weeks I had a lot of fun. I realized that fun has returned to my studio work, frustration has cooled down, and happiness is centered around fabric art again.

Sew new ideas are flooding in and  I have quite a few  directions I will be taking this newly merged activity based on what I have learned over the years.  And yes, I do still plan to make show quality and experimental quilts, perhaps, though, with some videoing along beside them.

One thing I have been adding to help fund this rather expensive activity and keep the YouTube video teaching free for my followers and friends, is to add some affiliations with companies so I can recommend products I use myself with links for you to use both here on my Blog and on my YouTube in the information box below the videos.  If people use them and purchase something at the time or shortly thereafter, I will get a small percentage from the purchase and it won’t cost them any more for the product and they won’t have to hunt for it.

I so far have only had people reference the links and not purchase enough for anyone to pay me anything (it has to add up to a bit before you get paid), but I hope this will improve as time goes on and my followers understand how it supports my little business to help keep things going.

So far I have an affiliation with Connecting Threads, Dick Blick art supplies, Accuquilt cutters, and yes, Amazon to cover the blank areas the others don’t.

Very recently I added Wonderfil Specialty Threads.  Now you all who know me know I love Superior Threads too, but the thread types I use and like from Wonderfil are not made by Superior Threads, so between the two of them I’ve got the many types I like to use covered.

I am planning on a number of YouTube classes and Quick Tip Videos that will involve extensive thread work using these specialty threads along side of the Superior I like too (even though they don’t have an affiliate program).  It will be fun…small wall art whole cloth quilts that feature things I love like trees, rocks, trains, birds, flowers, and architecture that are sized right for a small space on your home walls or even in an office or for use on pillows or tote bags, etc.  They should be fun…fun to make, fun to watch being made, fun to think about.

Sew happy everyone! Have fun in your studio and treasure your family and friends.  If you have something you want to have me present on my videos, please tell me in the comments.

 

 

Making a Few Quilted Studio Guides

Hi everyone!  As those of you who have followed me for a while will know I really think trying things out before using them on my primary project is essential for good outcomes.  I realize this takes a lot of time for busy fabric artists.  Sew one way I’m planning to cut down on the time for this and still have the advantage such testing offers in making decisions is to make something I’m calling “Studio Guides” for techniques and products I use fairly regularly.  Making the guides will take a little time, but once done I can eliminate some pretesting and use the studio guides to reference as I go.  They can also provide something to look at to keep on track in things like balancing quilting across the quilt.  I actually got the idea from watching a YouTube video by Linda Taylor.  Here’s the link to that video:  402 Linda Taylor and Sue McCarty

Sew it doesn’t matter how experienced you are, you still may find these helpful for future reference.  These are the ones I am thinking of doing:

  • Stippling Size Guide
  • Most Used Basic Fills Beyond Stipples
  • Paints and Crayon Types On Quilted Cotton
  • Paints and Crayon Types on Quilted Silk
  • Thread Weight Comparison Guide Using Decorative Stitching
  • Stitched Raw Edge Applique Stitches Library

I will probably video the making of at least some these in various quick tip videos and may not make them all.  This can be fun to do!  I will start with the Stippling Size Guide. Note that you will still have to make a small test of how your specific thread, tension, batting and fabrics work together before quilting your major project, but it will only take a minute or two and could be done in the edge of your project that will be cut off when binding, for instance.

Sew happy everyone!  Have fun in your studio!

 

 

A Show-and-Tell of My Experimental Quilting

knight detail from “Equipped to Stand”

My family helped me produce a new video I could never have done on my own for my YouTube channel that is a discussion and trunk show of my experimental quilting.  I think you might enjoy seeing it.  Here’s the link:  video

For years I have thought of much of my work as experimental fabric art, where I try to get certain looks in my quilts and sometimes had to develop a new technique or figure out how to apply a known technique to produce the look I wanted or just to see what something would look like.  It has been a bit of a wild ride over the years and so it seemed the thing to produce a show and tell for you all.

Thanks to my family for their help and encouragement both for the videos and the quilting. There are some fun things on the way.

Sew happy everyone!

 

Textured Appliques

                                                    Detail from The Wizards’ Duel

Textured appliques can be derived from using a combination of techniques.  Such appliques can add major interest, even take center stage, on an art quilt and I find them really fun to do and a little challenging to figure out what needs to be done.  The detail shown in the picture above started off as  white basic quilting cotton that I washed and steam pressed.  Then I traced the applique outlines on the fabric using my light table, painted with artists water soluble crayons, backed the applique itself with wool batting, quilted (I think of this as “prequilting”),  backed with fusible  web, cut out closely to the applique, fused it down.  Then I and edge stitched it to the top.  After the quilt top was completely ready, I sandwiched the quilt with a double bat of wool on top and 80/20 cotton/poly on the bottom and did some more stitching to improve the look of the appliques.  I was particularly trying to help show muscles and shapes on the dragon and so I added more paint highlights, this time with iridescent Shiva sticks.

Here’s a little closer picture of the dragon so you can see it better.

That’s just an example, but I have used a lot of other techniques to get textured appliques for my work.  I’ll probably do a video on this…maybe within my upcoming tree series.  They need a lot of texture.

Sew happy everyone!  Have fun in your studio.

Spring Fun Quilting Time Ahead

It’s such a beautiful early spring here in Ashburn, Virginia.  I have my studio on the top floor of my townhome and it includes two rooms plus a small section of my bedroom.  Both rooms face the back where there is a wooded area.  It’s lovely to have the windows.   I have been working with my foot doctor for about six months now on a foot problem I had and am finally able to take some short walks on these lovely days just as spring pops out.

I got a new small Sony ZV-1 camera designed especially for vloggers for my birthday.  It takes both videos with a fairly good microphone and snap shots. I used it for some of my last YouTube video I published about a week ago and it’s easy to use.

Sony ZV-1

So I am thinking of taking it out with me when I go walking and, now that I have had my vaccine, to explore a fabric store not far from here that has expanded and even taken on Berninas as a dealership.  We have a larger Joanne’s going in nearby too.  These are great developments for me.  For some time now, all the fabric stores were miles from here over very heavily trafficked roads. I love my dealership in Rockville, Maryland, but it is about 45 minutes to an hour plus from here over very difficult roads. Anyway, I am going to investigate the near one, though I intend to keep my dealership at the Rockville store for most Bernina things.  My friend Anita, however, who has a vintage 1230 is looking for one closer by.

So this past week I have been doing some design plans for new projects and having fun in my studio thinking about landscape quilts and my history of experimental quilting while planning new videos. I have some exciting ideas for my next steps.

Sew happy everyone!  I hope you can enjoy a beautiful spring in your area (or fall if you are down under) as it develops. Have fun in your studio!

 

It’s Spring…Finishing Up the Wool Project!

Here is the finished wool applique by machine prototype.

Hi everybody!  Spring is pushing up the flowers and the trees are leafing out.  The birds have donned their spring mating feathers and are laying eggs and having a spring party.  I have just finished the embellished wool applique by machine final video in which I sandwiched, quilted, and bound the prototype piece. I also added some hot fix pearls to the centers of some of the flowers because I had some left from another project and I thought it needed a little more something.

Here’s the video link:  Wool 3

Here is the downloadable pdf of free motion fills that you may want to use for practice either before you quilt your own wool applique piece or just for free motion practice. This is the only handout for this third video.  So before you quilt your piece, print this out, build yourself a practice sandwich, put on that audio book, and have some fun practicing stitching.

FMQ Basic fills

You will notice that in my video I used the red Bernina Gripper rings to help me in my quilting but I forgot to mention them there.  They really make a big difference in my control, and I don’t have to wear gloves. They are designed for sitdown longarms and sewing machines with a longer harp space.   They have to be purchased directly from a Bernina dealer.  I got mine on sale, but even so they are kind of expensive. You can also get a very similar product by Martelli that are slightly cheaper and you can buy the sizes seperately. They are worth the price, though. Lots of people saw the center front hole on the Martellis rings in a similar fashion to match the Bernina rings, but I don’t know if that is necessary. I have heard that Martelli makes the Bernina rings anyway, so they are almost the same except for the gap in the front and the color.

I would love for you to watch this video, and the others if you haven’t yet. If you made a wool sampler along with me, please send me a picture bettyjo@bjfabricartist.com and I can show them on my blog, if you don’t mind.  Or at least tell me you made one in the comments.

You can use these same techniques I showed on some of those absolutely beautiful commercial patterns intended for hand sewing of wool applique I have seen out there.  My hope is by the fall, I will have some patterns of my own available.  I might even do another video or two on wool applique using my own patterns, but not next.

Keeping the Experimental Quilting Process Going

I am so excited about all of this.  I am finally getting in the swing of working through the design and creative process of the projects in a similar fashion to my show quilting work, and just filming most of what I am doing so I can share it with you.  It has required a fair amount of adjustment to my studio and my thinking, but I believe I will be able to produce some really fun and professional-looking fabric art even while I film the process and I hope you will enjoy it too.

I am planning to do a little show and tell VLOG and talk about my experimental fabric art quilting.  I think you might enjoy it, and it will give you an idea of where I may be headed in the future.

Oh and don’t forget to get my son David’s latest book (if you have a Kindle reader, you can read it for free) and we would be most grateful if you  review it when you are done.

In Division Imperiled (The Law of Swords Book 3) by [David A. Tatum]

Sew happy everyone!  Have fun in your studios!

 

 

 

 

 

Computer and Looking Ahead in My Studio

Hooray!  I have my new computer and it is all set up.  It is lovely, fast, and has all it needs to serve me well for digital design, video editing, book writing, online demos and other computer draining activities.  I am soooo grateful to my family members who gave this to me and helped me get it in place and so forth.  Sew I’m off and running here in my wonderful studio.

In case you haven’t seen them I now have two videos of the three on Embellished Wool Applique by Machine, coupled with two blogs here that include free downloadables for accompanying handouts.  I also have my first quick tips video.  All of the videos can be found on the Betty Jo Tatum YouTube channel for free. Of course, I hope to make money from this endeavor eventually, but in a way that the videos remain free to you. Downloadable workbooks,  patterns, and so forth will be available for a modest amount from the new little store I have on my main website.  There’s nothing to buy there right now though but those will be published on the same subjects as new videos that are better with such downloadables.  These all will be uploaded at the same time so you can follow along the easy way.

Other things are also in the plans for that little store.  I will sell some of my quilts from there, and I am considering other things that can be downloaded.  If you haven’t looked yet, I recently upgraded my main website.  Go take a look at my gallery, if you’d like.

Now it takes some time to put together these things so I probably will need two or three weeks between each video, or even a month.  They will cover a variety of sewing and art quilting techniques that I have learned over the years and really want to share because I think some of you will find them fun and you may even want to try them yourselves.  So if you want to support this effort, I hope you subscribe to my YouTube channel and watch my videos.  It doesn’t cost you anything, you don’t give them any information, and it helps me.

Owl French Artist Painter

And now that I have my computer…all KINDS of things are running thro0ugh my head that might be accomplished.  After I complete the next wool applique video, I am thinking of making a video or a set of videos on landscape quilting elements in both stylized types and more natural looking art quilts.  There are lots of those to do, so I won’t bunch them all up together, but will spread them across the year with topics like trees, mountains and rocks, water, geologic strata, and so forth.  It should be really fun for us.  I have lots of other ideas and I think you will enjoy them as they come out.  They will all be presented in small projects or technique demonstrations, but I will likely draw up some digital patterns for larger pieces and maybe even paint some digital fabrics for backgrounds that I might place for sale on a print on demand fabric company if I can work that out so you can buy them to use.  What do you think?

If you have something in the way of art quilting techniques you wish you could find how tos for or would like to just see how I approach them, please let me know.  I’ll see what I can do about it.

Sew happy everyone!  Let’s have some fun in our studios.

 

Embellished Wool Applique with Video 2

Hi!  I have completed the second video in my 3 part series on Embellished Wool Applique by Machine and it can be found on my YouTube Channel here.  This part demonstrates the decorative stitch embellishment that is inspired by hand embroidery on the folk art applique pieces and how to make it work the best.

I prepared this second pdf handout to use with this part 2 video for you to download and print out.

Wool Video Handout Part 2

If you haven’t yet downloaded the pattern and part 1 video please go to my blog post here about video 1.  There you will find the handouts and the blog itself provides a supply list with links to the products.

So please enjoy this second part video and subscribe to my YouTube if you haven’t yet.  It will help me if you do and if you don’t know it is basically the same as “follow” on other sites. I hope you have fun just watching, but it would be really fun if you decided to make a little piece of your own or save this set of blogs, handouts, and videos for a future project.

I would really love to have your comments.  This is the first of some exciting planned video studies with accompanying handouts.  In the future, I will sell most of my handouts and potential patterns for a small amount from my new website’s store, but the videos will remain free.

I also have every hope of getting better and more relaxed in front of the camera as I present my techniques and projects.  It’s decidedly a new set of skills for me.

Also, if you have a question about something related to the project, please put it either in the comments on this blog or on my YouTube video comments section (you have to be logged in to Google/YouTube to be able to do that).  I will endeavor to answer them.

Thanks to everyone who has been so encouraging for me on this new adventure.

Sending virtual hugs and smiles your way.

Sew happy everyone!  Have fun in your studio.