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.
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.
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!
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 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
First of all, I am celebrating today, because my youngest son David just released his latest novel (click on the book to find it)! Congratulations to him.
Setting up for free motion quilting or thread play
While my communiques (blogs, vlogs, and YouTube videos) are intended for everyone who wants to play, regardless of their machines, sometimes I also address some quick specifics for working on Berninas. Please don’t stop reading when you come across those if you are not a Bernina owner, because you might find some of what I say interesting anyway.
I have three Berninas: a Bernina Q20 sitdown longarm, a Bernina 880 Plus, and a Bernina 350. I also have a simple older BabyLock serger. I am truly grateful to have this collection of machines I obtained over the years through trade ups, gifts, and so forth. This is a wonderful set of machines for me to play with here in my studio. It’s like playing inside my own wonderland with favorite toys. But it does require practice, sometimes research, testing tools and techniques, and (gasp!) reading my manuals to get the most from this stable of machines. So I want to share what I have learned from this.
Setting Up For Free Motion
The setup for free motion on these machines is relatively simple.
If you don’t have a Bernina Stitch Regulator (BSR attachment) or want to work without it, simply put on a darning or quilting foot like foot #73, #24, #29 or #9. Drop your feed dogs.
If you have a Bernina stitch regulator attachment that works on your machine, attach it and set it for your chosen BSR mode. BSR1 runs smoothly and constantly, idling with a little stitching, which is great for smooth free motion quilting and free motion embroidery. The idling allows you to stitch several stitches at the corner of a sharp turn in addition, which makes a nice turn. BSR2 stops when you stop and starts when you start, so you may prefer this setting. I find with this attachment I have to use a slightly shorter stitch length and not sew too fast for best results.
One of the interesting things you can do with this BSR attachment, is free motion zig zag with stitch regulation, which can’t be done on a sitdown longarm with a stitch regulator. This can provide some unique thread play opportunities and looks.
For most domestic machines you probably won’t need to make any adjustment in tension from the default for normal threads. For specialty threads, however, you may need to lower or raise the top tension to accommodate specialty thread weights and types. It’s a good idea to do a test using similar fabrics and write down your changes before working on your project piece.
When doing free motion it helps a lot to have a slick supporting surface, so I use a silicone mat, such as a Supreme Slider. I tape mine down with that indispensable studio tool blue painters tape because I have ruined more than one mat by stitching it to the back of my project. I have repaired them a bit with clear packing tape if they aren’t too badly torn. Yes, I know the stickiness returns if you rinse the back, but you have to remember to do that periodically and also the heavier and larger your quilt the more likely it is to dis-attach from the table and get caught in the stitching.
A queen sized Supreme Slider taped down with blue painters tape at my old Bernina 830 LE (I traded it for my 880 Plus last year). This works well and is easy to remove when you need to.
Setting Up the Q20 and the Q16 sitdown longarms
These machines are built for free motion quilting and free motion thread work and truly you can dive right in just as they are. But there are a few things that are helpful to know to make your free motion stitching work better. Note that I have had my Q20 now for nearly five years and I love it.
Free motion is always better when the supporting base is slick and the fabric can slide easily. There are some very large silicone mats available for these machines, where you cut the square carefully around the BSR/Bobbin square area (whatever do you call that?!!!).
Some people like using these extra large silicone mats with their sitdowns, I don’t have one. I spray the table before each project with Sullivan’s silicone spray, and wipe it fully dry with a soft cloth or paper towel. But before I spray it, I cover the BSR/Bobbin area under the needle and the vent area at the back of the machine with blue painter’s tape to prevent the spray from going down into the machine works. Alternatively, you can spray into the cloth and wipe the table but I think you get a little less silicone on the table that way (not scientific, just an opinion). From personal experience I know the spray works very well.
These machines have two BSRs built in which provide excellent stitch regulation.
BSR1 constantly runs and has a speed setting to make it cruise along easily at the pace you like. I use it for most of my free motion quilting and all of my free motion embroidery. I like to start off with a relatively slow “idle” speed of 250 to 300 and will raise that if I need to. The machine will run very fast if you want it to.
BSR2 stops when you stop and starts when you start. I use this mostly for ruler work.
BSR3 is a basting stitch with multiple stitch lengths to choose from. I use it a lot for larger quilts. I will spray baste the sandwich and then do some large segments of thread basting. This is especially good for your masterpiece or show quilting that will take a long time just to keep everything in good placement.
Then there is manual setting that does not engage the BSR, of course, but it does have a speed control on it so you can set it at a comfortable pace for you. I like this for micro-quilting, but I don’t use it for much else. It is smooth running and quieter and makes it easy to do those tiny bubbles for instance, but I still prefer the BSRs for most of my quilting. It’s a personal preference. Some people prefer this mode for everything, but if you are new to the machine, I urge you to try the BSRs first. They are wonderful.
I often get the question about what thread will the Berninas use. All my Berninas will work well with almost any good quality thread. I just have to be sure I have the right needle, tensions, stitch length, and the speeds set up right for that.
Keeping notes on how you set things up is always helpful, but these machines have four savable programs for various thread settings, which is really nice. Once you set it all up like you like it, you can save it and even tell it what thread and needle it is for in the naming of the programs.
I like to use the kickstart feature, which allows me to free motion stitch/quilt with a very steady power feed. This helps me relax while stitching and eliminates most stitch skips and the like, without my foot on the pedal. This is because the pedal is basically on/off and if you don’t keep your foot fully down it might skip a stitch, though not usually.
For using the kickstart, get your BSR mode chosen and make sure you are all set up, then kick the pedal at the heel and the machine will sew until you press the pedal at the front to stop it. I love it. You don’t have to concentrate on anything other then where you place your stitching once you get used to it. Here’s a youtube with cute fluffy slippers on using it:
And last, but not least be sure to set your bobbin tension to match your thread in the bobbin. I use mostly Superior Bottom Line in my bobbin…even mostly their prewound M sized bobbins, which are Bottom Line…and set my tension to 180 using the Towa Guage that comes with the machine. The Bernina default setting is 220, but I find you really need to adjust per thread size. If you somehow didn’t get one, be sure your dealer gives you one. It’s not like a domestic…it’s a real longarm.
Sew happy everyone! Have fun in your studio. I hope you found this helpful. I will be posting my next video probably this weekend. Cheers.
My youngest son David, the author who shares my home with me and helps me in so many ways, will release a brand new book within a few days. It’s the third book in his Law of Swords fantasy series. I have read it and it’s terrific. Truly, I think each book he writes is better than the last one and this one is no exception.
I am so proud and excited about this because David had to overcome a series of major difficulties (starting with a computer crash that somehow took both his regular data and all his backups in one event that included years of research, databases, and even bunches of writing. Even the very skilled professional data recoverers were unable to get the data back. He now has a new and better computer setup with all kinds of backups so it is unlikely to happen again. This and a handful of other obstacles has delayed his books for several years beyond the expected.
Now, though, he is rapidly producing what I am sure are wonderful writings right and left. There is this book, as well as a requested short story for an anthology are written and nearly out the door, and he is diligently working hard on the second book in his sci-fi space series too with plans of completing that one by the end of the year. Please wish him well on these endeavors. He is now a full time author without a secondary job so success is imperative. I’ll let you know when the new one is actually available for purchase.
With a great deal of assistance from my oldest son Ken, the second in my video series about embellished wool applique by machine, is likely to be published early next week (there will be a blog for that one with a second downloadable handout).
I ask you please to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you haven’t already. This is a great help to me with YouTube. I need a minimum of 1000 subscribers and lots and lots of views before I can sign up for the small monetary return to support this work. If you don’t know, “subscribe” is like “follow” on other sites and doesn’t sign you up for anything more than letting you know the videos are there. You have to be logged on to Google or YouTube to subscribe and then to make a comment there or ask a question.
Ken is doing the video editing at least until I get my new computer (which has been delayed “because of Covid”). I hope it gets shipped within a day or so, but in the meantime Ken is editing and publishing my videos for me. He is so professional at this. I will have to try really hard to match that level when I finally get my computer and take back a lot of this work. The third video will probably be out about two weeks later. It is my plan to publish a video about once every two or three weeks for now.
In case you are wondering, all on my own I “film” the parts where I am at the machine and you only see my hands, and Ken helps with the part where you see my face. Ken has, in fact, set it up so I can eventually do that part of the filming too, but I really like having his directing and filming with his fancy camera. He does, however, have a job and a family. LOL But he came to my rescue with microphones and brackets and lights and instructions and editing.
My Idea for the Next Project
Ok. The wool applique set will be done soon, so what am I going to do next? Well, I have a long list of techniques and projects that I am considering on presenting in 2021. Only a few are wool based. The videos on my YouTube site are and will be continuously free. However, I am planning on offering downloadable workbooks and sometimes patterns to go with them for a reasonably low price (on my new website shop) that you can purchase to use with the videos. This will hopefully help underpin the video work, which so far has required considerable investment.
Sew I have given it a lot of thought and decided the next subject will be “Trees”. This will be really fun, but I leave it to you to wonder…what will BJ do with trees? Later…I’ll tell you later.
Sew happy everyone! Have fun in your studio and try making/learning something new that makes you stretch every now and then.
This sewing machine is like the one I remember Mom having when I started to sew.
For me, sewing and quilting is and has been for most of my life far more than a hobby.
My earliest memories of sewing are from when my family lived in Paducah, Kentucky (interesting considering Paducah’s position in the quilt world today!). My Dad was working with Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) on their power plant there. I clearly remember sitting beside my mother at her pretty black Singer sewing machine when I was very young. She was telling me how important it was to clean and oil your machine and keep a good fresh needle in it. That was my first lesson that I never forgot. She was a true expert “seamstress” and we shared the love of sewing throughout her life.
Mom and me in May 1967. We are both wearing clothes we made.
We made most of our own clothes together for as long as I lived at home. With her guidance, I made some of my more complex clothing like tailored wool suits, overcoats, and stylish clothing of all types. She made my prom dresses and accompanying gorgeous wraps and I made the bags.
We never did quilt together. I don’t know if she ever quilted. She made some lovely stuffed dolls and stuffed toys..not just rag dolls, sails for the sailboat, tents, in addition to the gorgeous clothes at couture level. I still have the Victorian doll that she made and I dressed so long ago. The jacket and skirt satin fabric is sun faded, but I love it. I miss her.
Throughout my life, it has been a key skill for me to be able to sew. It enabled me to make not only my own work clothes when I went out to work, but my husband’s too. I made Marvin suits and a gorgeous Harris Tweed jacket he loved. I even made him a tuxedo from tropical wool with silk satin lapels using a stylish Bill Blass pattern from Vogue that required substantial resizing (he was a big tall guy). It turned out well and he wore that for years especially when he sang. He got many compliments on it. I, of course, made things for my boys too…clothes, overcoats, backpacks, pup tents, bedroom curtains, and so forth.
Until I went out to work and got so busy I had little time to sew, I never had to wear anything that wasn’t stylish and well fitted when I went out because I could make what I wanted and alter what I bought to fit right. Even then, I was able to make things fit better. It is my hope to keep on sewing to the end of my life, Mostly, however, that will probably be making quilted fabric art with the occasional clothing item.
I still do a small amount of clothes sewing, but I work from home now as a fabric artist, and don’t sing with semi-professional choral groups anymore or even often go to concerts. So my work uniform is jeans and a simple shirt or sweater. I have a closet full of nice clothes that are timeless in style and I mostly manage to keep well maintained so they fit me. I have been slowly loosing weight so I do need to do some altering now. I made myself a new overcoat from my stash last year with a faux fur collar. It’s wonderful. I also made my youngest son a rather nice faux leather jacket.
Making quilted art seemed a natural progression for me towards the end of my government career and I decided to retire a little earlier than I might have otherwise to be a full time fabric artist. I started quilting about a year after Marvin died at my sweet daughter-in-law’s suggestion. It helped me cope a lot and still does.
I have occasionally made a cuddle quilt, but creating quilted art for the wall or the occasional piece of wearable art, is really exciting for me. I took multiple art classes in both high school and college, and have taken private art lessons in addition, practiced on my own, and have my fourth year certificate in Japanese Ikebana I obtained in Japan. Ikebana is also an art form that inspires some of my wall quilts.
I particularly love to see how far I can push the sewing boundaries working with the power of my machines, the great advances in threads, notions, and fabrics, and even working with leather or fur (mostly faux unless it is recycled), cork, fibers, trims, and beads.
Why am I telling you all this? Because I have launched my YouTube video channel and am also writing workbooks and patterns to go along with them. I want you to know that what I am teaching is based on a solid background of study and experience and hope you will join me in many of the projects I will be presenting.
Fabric art is a great way to decorate your home or cheer up your office–wherever it is–celebrate the seasons or family landmark events, help you deal with the more difficult times of life, and fill you with joy and peace. You can express things through fabric art…praise, thanksgiving, love…This is true even if you get a little frustrated over problems you will encounter and sometimes have to walk away, or throw the project in the back of your storage area for a “time out.”
The fact is, though, that figuring out how to overcome problems you encounter in your projects can help you keep a sharp mind and give you a real satisfaction when done. Experimenting with new techniques, materials, and designs adds to the whole enjoyment.
Sew happy everyone! Have fun in your studios. Subscribe to my YouTube channel so you will know when a new video arrives.
Wool sampler prototype piece part one. Embellishment will be presented in part two and quilting and finishing in part three.
Wool applique and embellishment is a great tool in a fabric artist’s quiver. There’s nothing else that provides the rich, warm, depth that real wool fiber does. It can make all the difference in achieving the artistic look you want. In my artist’s eye it compares to working with thick oil paints while cotton or silk is like watercolors. Both are beautiful but achieve totally different looks. Both require different techniques to get the best results.
So using a small project in wool applique I am finally launching my first video set in my YouTube channel. Here is the link to the new video. I have plans for multiple videos on my channel this year, and have just revamped my studio to include the things I need for producing them. So I would love you to subscribe to my channel and enjoy my videos just as a matter of interest or especially to join me in working through the projects you like. See the handout and pattern pdfs on my Aids and Links page here on this site for you to download and print out. Then go to my YouTube video here.
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Here is a list of the supplies with links that I will be using in this first project to which I have added links to help you in your shopping for the supplies:
1 yard of background fabric. I am using all wool Melton, which I had in my stash. Since the price of wool has skyrocketed since I filled my stash with it, I suggest using a melton wool blend for this, which is less expensive and still has a lot of the same characteristics and depth of beauty. Here’s another link at B. Black tailoring supplies, which is a fabulous store that has things that are difficult to find elsewhere. A solid color quilting fabric would also work but will not provide the same deep sense of richness.
There is another option. Use wool clothing that is no longer worn, or that you find in a thrift store, or use pure wool fabrics you have stashed under your bed in those storage boxes you put your clothing fabrics in. You may have had it for a decade and still haven’t made that garment you bought it for, like me. Cut the clothing so you get the largest pieces from them and wash your wool in hot water with some detergent in your washing machine and dry it in your dryer. This provides some amount of felting and cleans the fabric. It is also possible to dye this. It requires all three elements…hot water, agitation, and detergent, to make it do a bit of felting the fibers together. It does need to be pure wool for this to work well. The resulting fabric is also easy to dye in your washer.
One package of lightweight woven fusible interfacing sufficient to cover the yard of background fabric, such as Pellon SF101 Shapeflex
One pack of precut melton wool felt pieces in a variety of colors for flower heads and a pack of a variety of green pieces for stems and leaves. You will probably have enough felt pieces for a couple of small wall hangings or other wool applique projects. Be sure to save all the leftovers for small applique uses elsewhere. Please don’t use craft felt not made with any wool. The comparison is like using paper to fabric. You can use wool blend felt, but pure wool really makes a big difference in how this looks.
Aurifil 12 weight wool blend thread (small spool collection) or (large spool collection..the best value by the yard) or three or four colors of the large spools. If you prefer to use a 12 weight cotton as a slightly cheaper alternative I recommend Sulky 12 weight cotton, for this project, it will still look beautiful, just different and not quite as close to hand done that the wool thread will provide. I have even successfully used 40 weight all poly embroidery threads, and I sometimes have mixed them across a project in order to get particular looks or colors. The wool adds a depth of beauty and is probably what most hand stitchers would use. You should do some testing to see how they look.
universal 80/12 needles if you choose to use monopoly thread for your appliques. I found the Schmetz super non stick needles really helps with dealing with the fluff from wool combined with the fusible web.
1 piece of backing fabric about 25 x 25 inches (for the back of this small quilt) This is a good thing to pull from your existing stash.
Small piece of lower loft batting about 25 x 25 inches. I am using 80/20. This is a good place to use leftover batting from a larger quilt project.
And whenever I use fusibles, I like to have on hand this effective iron cleaning kit good for multiple cleanings that I have successfully used for years: Rowenta Iron cleaning kit
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While you can print the pattern out and use it to cut out your appliques, I did cut all my appliques using my Accuquilt Go! machine, which I really like for such projects. I have had mine for some years, collecting dies a bit at a time, and use it a lot for circles, rectangles, strips, bindings and borders and projects such as this. In my opinion, it is well worth the investment required. I can cut out a simple snuggle lap or crib quilt of squares and a border (prestarched) with a few fun appliques to snazz it up (backed with steam-a-seam 2) in ten minutes (after the fabric is pressed with starch) and make the quilt top all in the same day. Everything is nice and accurate too, very unlike it looks if I do my own cutting. Hahaha.
I used the following three dies for this project and it only took a few minutes for all the shapes I needed with some leftovers:
Go Circle (1 1/2″ to 2 1/2″) it’s so hard to hand cut good circles. These are beautiful. If you can only get one dye set for this project, this might be it.
I love quilted fabric art pieces, in case you haven’t figured that out yet, They can be as artistic as any great painting and can warm the home and office with their beauty. The texture can approach three dimensional with different finishes and dents and poufs, and they make you want to go and touch them. There are so many directions they can take.
I also love using the power of my great machines and my computer to work well beyond my own talents and abilities even as my hands age and can do less. There is much there to take advantage of for creating and enjoying and the additions continue. I even recently bought a new Bernina foot and my dealer kindly mailed it to me.
Learning the techniques, and taking advantage of the various attachments and feet is an important and interesting part of this.
Understanding how the machines respond to fabrics, threads, and quilt sandwiches is a key aspect to getting the maximum advantages out of the machines.
Trying not to get too frustrated when things don’t go well, but instead working through various steps to see what can be done to solve problems is equally important, and perhaps the hardest thing to do.
Learning how to better use various helpful software also adds to how far one can go.
These are the goals for me to continue to reach for this year even after all these years of sewing and quilting using these great tools. I have concluded there is always more to learn. And then I also want to get better adding surface design in the form of in-the-hoop embroidery, paints, beads, and crystals to move even further just adds to the enjoyment. I feel almost like I am just beyond a beginner in this aspect.
Sew even though it is unclear where we will land in our quilting/sewing world after The Great Upheaval, my own name for the pandemic and actions taken, there will always be much to do and learn. This makes me excited even as I still hang out safely in my studio. Truth be told, even after we all get through this thing and I can go out more, I will be spending the majority of my time in my studio because I love these activities. Yes, I will have my friends in finally and go see them, and I will go to brick and mortar fabric stores that may be left, and will delight as I see the rebirth of the industry across the nation. I hope to go back to shows eventually. I think we still have some months before this happens.
So I will be making some smaller projects in 2021 but still plan on doing them to quilt show quality even if they never go to a show. It is the standard that I don’t want to leave. I will, of course, also make some cuddle quilts and a few clothes this year.
This Week’s Featured Quilt
Kanazawa Memories, Completed August 2015 Sashiko designs stitched with 12 weight Sulky cotton on Peppered Cotton. I digitally painted the individual flower appliques and printed them on cotton, and then arranged them in a close approximation of arranging Ikebana with real flowers. The vase is made from some hand dyed silk I had on hand. I then appliqued them with Monopoly. This is the perfect example of what I was just talking about. I did take a hand Sashiko class from the great Pepper Cory and I loved it, but I have a very hard time hand stitching Sashiko now. But here I used digitized Sashiko, some of which I digitized myself, and picked threads and fabrics close to what I knew were very Japanese in nature. Decades ago, I lived in Kanazawa for three years and had some wonderful helpful friends. This quilt was created while thinking about this time in my life. You can see a better image of this on my website gallery. I am still waiting my coming new computer after the great computer crash a week ago, so I must use what is available here on my laptop. Here’s the link to the gallery page where you can find this.
Sew happy everyone! Join me in advancing our understanding of what we can do with the machines we have. Cheers everyone.