The Making of “Out of Mom’s Workbasket”

Hi everyone.  I am happily anticipating the fall after this tough hot summer here in northern Virginia. We had a little taste of it this past week although they are predicting the next few days will be back to hot summer weather. In spite of that I have already begun my fall and winter sewing and quilting fun here in my studio.  I have clothes, wall art quilts, a special banner, and videos on my sewing docket for this.  I think I really have to get busy!

I have a quilt that will be shown in an in-person quilt show this week at the Pennsylvania International Quilt Extravaganza in Oak, PA, that runs from 9/16 Thursday through 9/19.   It is my memory quilt for my mother Out of Mom’s Workbasket.

Out of Mom’s Workbasket

I used five crocheted blocks that I found in her workbasket after she passed in 1998 and held on to them until I could figure out what to do with them and had time to do it.  I made this quilt last year during the lockdown and it was a wonderful activity for me during this time. Sweet memories of her floated around me as I worked on it.

I used multiple techniques for this quilt just as I have to make a lot of my wall art quilts.  Note that I am not much of a piecer, although I do piece parts of my quilts when necessary.  I do love machine applique, free motion stitching and quilting, and adding embellishments such as machine embroidery, paint, and beads or crystals to my quilts though.  This quilt has all of these techniques.

I machine embroidered this free standing lace star for the center of the quilt.

In the first place, the white fabric is crepe-back satin and the blue-gray fabrics are dupioni.  Well, yes, that’s true, but these fabrics are polyester!  They are dramatically cheaper than silk (or quilting cotton for that matter), and they wash without shrinkage or bleeding of color.  However, the dupioni, which seems lighter than silk dupioni, requires a fusible interfacing to back it.  I used Pellon SF101, a woven fusible lightweight interfacing that remains in the quilt and is very drapable even after fusing. I particularly like the way the dupioni looks and feels and I intend to use it again.  I love the way these fabrics quilt up especially.  I believe my mother, who was a fabulously talented seamstress, would love it.  I once saw her make a gorgeous prom gown for my cousin entirely out of a single color of crepe-back polyester satin with no additional embellishments.  It was styled so beautifully and I still remember it decades from then.  I know a lot of quilters think polyester is not to be used on quilts.  I have had them call such fabrics and polyester threads “plastic”, which is technically correct, but is definitely intended to be an insult to the fabric and threads. There is also a nice batting that can substitute for wool batting and can be easily washed.  I would, however, avoid using all these polyesters on a child’s quilt for a few reasons.  Cotton is necessary for kid’s quilts and nice for cuddle quilts in my personal opinion.  But this is an art piece, and I might also us it as a decorative throw from time to time.  Sew what do you think?

I added things she loved around the quilt..flowers, birds, sewing machine, Peter O’Dog (the scottie), stars, angel, pearls, and so forth.

So I finally figured out that the five 10 inch blocks could be placed in such a way that a beautiful star was formed while drawing on the geometric patterns in the crochet to make a pentagon surrounding the star with crosses pointed outward.

These are the five 10 inch squares of crocheted lace that I found in Mom’s workbasket. They inspired the quilt.

I worked for months to design the quilt from there.  Really, the hardest part when constructing it was to make the blue-gray pentagon that backs the crocheted blocks.  Getting each side and angle to match at just the right size onto a freezer paper pattern took me a full day.  I suspect if I were better at math and geometry it would not have been so difficult, but after four attempts, I finally got a pattern I could use, and then I appli-pieced it into the middle of the off white satin large block.

The central pentagon before the quilt top was constructed.

The second biggest challenge was figuring out how to mark the satin.  The satin is free motion quilted and the birds and leaves are painted in with multiple shades of Setacolor paints. But they required marking the leaves and birds and placements for the  various in-the-hoop patches and direct embroidery.  The big advantage of poly satin over silk satin is that it can be easily washed.  So markers could be washaway.  But here’s the problem…satin weave catches sharp pencil points, satin does not hold chalk marks very long, and wet markers run like crazy on the satin weave. Those facts eliminate nearly all the regular markers I use.  I wrote a blog on Markers for Satin linked here when I figured it out.

Fortunately, I discovered that Crayola had recently come out with washable gel pens.  Sew I tested them on the satin.  They marked a narrow line with a small amount of spreading, but still maintained a clear line.  The test marks of several colors washed away with a little Synthrapol with no problem except the orange, and even that washed away after a second wash.  So I made a pillow top to test all the markings,  paints, and work out some free motion quilting.

I think the most fun I had making this quilt was the machine embroidery pieces and the quilting.  I enjoyed the whole thing in its entirety and I love looking at it now. I don’t know why but it gave me a sense of making her a beautiful wedding dress.  Her wedding dress was nice, but a short pretty dress and she and Dad were married just before WWII and did not have a full wedding.  I think she would have liked this concept. I don’t have a wall big enough for it, so I drape it over the upstairs banister when it is here.  This week though, if you go to the PA Nat’l Quilt Extravaganza, you can see it in person.

Detail showing the angel with the horn. It has crystals and pearls on it.

Sew happy everyone!  Have fun in your studio.

 

 

Machine Applique Can Be Beautiful and Durable

Hi everybody.  The subject recently came up about how to sew stitched raw-edge applique so it can be washed and used without a fraying edge.  I have used these appliques for years now and have found that there are ways to minimize or even eliminate fraying regardless of the stitch I use for the edge.

Canterbury silk. All the appliques in the central block are silk and stitched with narrow matching lightweight thread using a blanket stitch.

First of all, one needs to consider the fabric.  If you are using a relatively loosely woven cotton, it probably would be best to turn the edge even if you are machine stitching it or use a satin stitch with a fray edge treatment, such as fray check if you machine stitch it down.  Most current day high quality quilting cottons, however, are tightly woven enough to withstand a raw-edge applique treatment if the stitching is properly set up and the washing is done on a gentle cycle or by hand.

Night on the Bayou. The big cyprus trees are turned edge, machine stitched and the remaining appliques are fused raw edge. All the applique stitching was machine blanket stitched.

I use a light fusible web to tack down my appliques that usually washes away.  I have also used a simple wash away glue stick and it works too with the right stitch settings.  So for blanket stitch:

  • Set the stitch narrow with a short length.  I use about 1.7 width by 1.5 length on my Bernina 880 plus for most quilting cotton.
  • I move the needle as far to the right as possible.
  • I use an open toed embroidery foot 20D
  • I engage the dual feed to make it really even, but if you don’t have such, stitch at a slow even speed
  • Run the edge of the applique up close to the inside right toe of the foot so that the straight stitch runs close to the edge of the applique in the background and the swing left to right stitch goes into the applique
  • Turn the applique as it curves so the swing left-right stitch points to the center of the circle or roundish shape
  • When turning at a sharp angle, stop as close to the end as possible, preferably with the needle to the right in the background.  Then turn, and begin the stitch pattern by hitting the restart pattern button if your machine has one. This makes a pretty point and seals the sharp shape of the applique down with thread. Don’t fret if you miss it a bit, just get it as close to this ideal as you can.
  • When quilting this type of applique you may wish to use a matching light weight thread or monopoly to blend into the background, or a heavier thread in a dark gray stitched close to the edge to make a shadow-like appearance. It all depends on how you want the end result, so do a test first.

If you do all of this, the result is usually a straight stitch running close to the cut edge of the applique on the background and the left-right stitches close enough together that they help to prevent fraying.  Use this stitch with matching thread when you want your edges to blend into the applique more. If you want the blanket stitch to stand out, see if your machine has a double blanket stitch.  The double blanket stitch is beautiful and pretty completely seals the edges but stands out.

If you are using wool felt appliques, you can use wider and longer blanket stitches and possibly a 12 weight wool thread for a very hand-appliqued look.  You are likely not to wash these items, but felt does not fray in any event.

If you decide you would rather use a satin stitched edge it requires careful even stitching and points and corners require care because this stitch can look fairly amateurish with wiggles and bumpy corners and poorly stitched points. I really prefer to do this by first digitizing it in my Bernina software and then stitch in-the-hoop appliques because it gives a much more professional finish than is easy to achieve otherwise.  However, I have been successful at stitching this with first a narrower satin stitch around the applique and follow that with a slightly wider stitch over the original stitch.  This gives a nicer smoother look.  Use this stitch when you want your edges to stand out.

Detail from Summer Melody, in which all the butterflies are appliqued with narrow satin stitch.

Then there is the time you actually want a little fraying to add to the character of the applique.  For this, I just use a straight stitch close to the edge of the applique in a matching thread.

Regardless of the applique you use, when you wash these quilts use gentle cycle or wash by hand and dry flat and they will last for many years.

Sew happy everyone!  Have fun in your studio and don’t fear the applique.

 

Preparing for a Fun Sewing and Quilting Season

Hi everyone.  I can see so well out of my left eye now after the cataract surgery last Monday that it is  amazing. I am probably going to go ahead and have the right eye done in a month or thereabout afterall.  Working on my fabric art this coming season is really going to be fun.  Unfortunately, I can also see that the house needs a real cleaning, which I really couldn’t see before.

Well, first things first…and that’s the preparation for the sewing, quilting, fabric painting, and both free motion and in-the-hoop embroidery.  I’ll be using all kinds of threads, because I enjoy that part of my fabric art so much.

Sew I have made a check list and am going through it and straightening my studio at the same time.  My studio is not in bad shape, because I have found the reorganization I did with my friend Anita’s help several years back has held up pretty well.  Basically, I just need to put things back where they belong and do a quick check to see what I may need to replace or give away.

Here’s my check list, making sure I have:

— A sufficient supply of sewing machine needles in the following sizes and types:

a:  Assorted Superior titanium top stitch needles
b:  Assorted  Schmetz Super Non-Stick needles
c:  A couple of packages of assorted Schmetz universal needles

— Yards of Pellon SF101 lightweight woven interfacing (I buy a bolt usually and back many of my quilting fabrics with this), and a generous supply of other weights and types of interfacing (especially since I use this for clothing too).

— Generous supply of the blackest quilting cotton, because I use a lot of black in my quilts.  I love how colors play against the black.

— A nice selection of stabilizers,  I particularly like OESD Ultra Clean and Tear

— A supply of blades for my rotary cutters

— Look critically at the rulers and cutting mats for knicks and cracks and toss and replace if needed

— How are my pins? (everyone has their own preferences here, so I am not adding a link)

— Check all the bobbins to make sure they aren’t warped or some such.  The B880 bobbins have a silver paint on them that can wear off and make the bobbin unreadable for the machine.  So I need to toss them when they get bad, but I generally do that along the way, and the more recent bobbins seem to last longer than the earlier ones.

— Test the threader on my machines to make sure they don’t need a replacement head or something, I just replaced the one on my Q20, and because this is a weak point in my Q20 I keep a spare on hand.

— Carefully clean my machines, oil if needed (don’t oil if not, because too much oil is as bad as too little).

— battings.  I like to have on hand: Thermore super thin polyester (good for quilted clothes). Hobbs 80/20 , Hobbs Tuscany wool, and Hobbs Poly down.  Since I seldom make bed-sized quilts, I buy a crib or throw size of those if available.  If I am going to make a larger quilt I will buy the batting then. This way I usually have available what I need.

I will shop my stash and buy the fabrics I need to make them work as needed, so all I do here is make sure they are in their right places and more or less folded somewhat neatly. I labeled all the drawers and shelves where I keep them.  Occasionally they sneak into the wrong drawer somehow.  I can’t figure out how.  LOL

I will do the same thing with my threads, because I have a large thread stash to go with my large fabric stash.  I love both Superior threads and Wonderfil specialty threads and I have a wide selection of colors, weights, and fiber content. So I make sure they aren’t tangled in a nest and are in the right drawers or on the right pegs behind the door (I don’t store them where they get sunlight).

And last of all I dust and wipe down the tables, cutting mats, and outer parts of the machines, and dust and vacuum the studio. I wipe down my Q20 Koala table with Sullivan’s silicone spray, being sure to cover the bobbin/bsr area with blue painters tape  (which I also may need to replace) so it doesn’t get into the works.  It is such a great thing to be able to have things all stocked and ready to go for future projects and this usually takes me only a few days.

Now!  Let the fun begin! First up is my 2 birds project, and then a couple of Holiday quilts, one will be a wool applique and embellishment by machine for Christmas and then something else for the Holiday season.

Sew happy everyone!  Get ready to have fun in your studio!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping a Good Eye On My Work

This coming Monday, August 23rd 2021, I will be having surgery for a cataract in my left eye.  I know it is often the case that people have both eyes done within weeks of each other, but my right eye is doing just fine at the moment.  I am having a hard time seeing my work lately and so I thought all I needed was a new pair of glasses so I went to my eye doctor and find myself here, preparing for this on Monday.  I am looking forward to the result.  I have had many people tell me what a great result they have had from such surgery and it does not seem to be a big major disruption in their lives.  Still, I would appreciate your prayers for a good result and a quick recovery and thankfulness that this is available to me at this time in my life plus that I have excellent doctors.  The lack of good vision has clearly slowed me down in my work. My eye doctor told me I would be happy.

Sew I think it would be fun to make something celebratory.  I am thinking it might be time to start a Christmas project, and I promised some of my followers that I would come up with another project for wool applique by machine with embellishment.  I am thinking of making a Christmas project, and have already begun working on the design. I still have a bunch of beautiful melton wools and it would be really fun to do one with lots of beautiful stitching with beautiful threads and hundreds of beads, crystals, buttons, and other embellishments…a real decorative piece to celebrate both my improved vision and the Lord’s birth.  Maybe I’ll do two–one in wool and one in cotton or silk!  LOL

In the meantime, progress is finally being made on the project I am calling “two birds” that will be presented with three videos and a detailed pattern.  The pattern is basically done, but it is being tested and the project is being filmed as I make it.  It’s more complex than my introductory projects on my YouTube channel, so I want to complete the work on the project before I publish any of the videos.

Sew me and my family advisory team have come up with some ideas for shorter videos to publish along the way that we think people will like.  These will be showing up periodically, and, before too long, the two birds project will get there.

Sew happy everyone!  Have fun in your studio and keep an eye out for my upcoming projects and videos.  God bless you all in this perilous time.

 

 

 

Don’t Fear Your Advanced Machine(s)

 

 

Once in a while I see a conversation on one of my groups focused around sitdown longarms or high-end sewing machines where there are advanced or sitdown longarm machine owners saying they have not really used them much since they bought them because they don’t really know how to use them confidently or are afraid they will break them.  Knowing as I do that these machines can add so much fun and ability to accomplish really fine products, these conversations make me a little sad and frustrated.

True, they do require learning, practice, and a determination to move forward and learn to use them.  But they can help accomplish amazing sewing and quilting projects.

It’s important to use them correctly though.  That is not as difficult as it may seem.  Even if there is not a dealer nearby or one who offers good classes, there are some very helpful books, youtube videos, zoom classes and blogs to help.

One thing I have found that makes things work more easily is to get the feet that do those special things, add the attachments that enlarge the use of the machines, buy a handful of rulers.templates, get a nice selection of needles and pay attention to what you are using, and then play and practice!  Test, test, test. Practice. Practice.  Practice.  Play, play, play. And then step forward and do a sewing or quilting project you really want to do.  If the results aren’t terrific, do another project and don’t be too self critical.  Give your machine a name and pet it.  The last thing to do is sell your machine or leave it sitting there getting all lonesome.

My Q20 sitdown longarm with some rulers…and a practice piece.

I love my Bernina Q20 sitdown longarm.  It is great not only for quilting, but also for free motion embroidery.  I have had it for five years now and have had almost no problems.  I do keep a notebook nearby to keep notes.

 

My Bernina 880 plus all ready to play

I also keep a notebook near my other sewing machines so I can write down things I learn along the way.  I always learn something in the process of making a new item.

Sew what can you make that won’t be distressing if it doesn’t come out quite right, but might be really fun if it does?  I have some suggestions:

Dog quilts, baby quilts for charity, wheelchair size quilts for charity, table toppers for your home, lap quilts for you and yours to cuddle under on tv night, simple tote bags with embroidery or applique, or just well made, zipped project bags, panel quilts with borders.

Aprons, simple skirts, easy tops not particularly fitted in style, some of those fun small projects you can find on sewing machine blogs, small zipped pouches for kids and travel, pajamas or nighties, robes for yourself and family

Decorative pillows using pre-made pillow forms, table cloths and napkins, kitted projects with instructions and all the pieces like from Kimberbell

THEN, you can move up to some more advanced decorative wall quilts, or a foot warmer quilt for your bed, make yourself a lovely outfit using a good pattern, put together your own kits and follow my patterns and video classes.

After that, you will be able to make anything!  Just take your time and assemble the parts, test all the parts, and fly with me.

Sew happy everyone!  Have fun in your studio!

 

Time to Use Some of My Fall and Winter Fabrics

Hi everyone!  So today I started thinking about fall.  I am probably a little late on this, but we had a cooler rainy day that seemed to be appropriate for fall thinking.  Then I got an email reminding me that the pattern sale for Butterick patterns was going to expire today.  It was a really good sale, and so I bought several of the new fall patterns that I had seen earlier that really appealed to me, plus, they came in my size!  I probably will have just a few adjustments, but maybe I can just lay out the patterns and mostly simply cut them out without having to redraft the patterns.

I have a nice stash of some silks, woolens and blends for fall and winter that I will try to use for these projects.  I prefer sewing clothes for fall and winter with these wonderful fabrics.

Here are two of them.  The first one is patterned for knits, and I have some black slack weight ponte knit that has been lounging in my stash for a while.  It’s not enough for both the slacks and the jacket, so I will probably get a different color fabric for the jacket, but I will search my clothing fabric stash first to see if maybe I have something that will serve.  I also got the coat and dress combo on the right, although I have pretty much given up wearing dresses.  This was such a lovely combination and I have fabric that would work well for this, so maybe I will make it even if it is a dress or at least I will make the coat and turn the dress into a top to wear with dressier slacks. They will look great, but perhaps not as great as on those models.

Then I got this really nice blouse pattern. I may not have the fabric for this, but I will check first. If it turns out as nice as I think, I will probably make several.

And I also got this tailored jacket for a project I am thinking of making with in-the-hoop embroidery using fabrics in my stash.  I will use this project for videos.  I have everything I need for this as I envision it.

 

Sew I am also working on some project designs for video projects and making progress.  Taping for some of these will begin next week, since I have finally finished the pattern for the first one.  Should I video the making of at least some of the clothes?  I’m wondering.  Tell me what you think.

Sew happy everyone!  Have fun in your studios!

 

A New Stitching Adventure

Birds at Play Detail from Pattern

Hi gentle readers,

I am almost ready to start making and filming a fun new wall quilt that focuses on stitching…both free motion and some with feed dogs up.  It also has a small amount of appliques behind some of the stitching and 9 pieces of fabrics to make a simple style quilt background to put all this stitching with some appliques and some paint onto.  The picture above is a single tile from a multi-tile downloadable pattern with instructions and supply list. This project was inspired by a page from a Dover Publications coloring book.

I got the missing fabrics this week and they are all washed and ready to go.  I am still working on the pattern, but the hard part is done so I will be publishing that for sale at a moderate price on my website store to go along with an undetermined number of free YouTube videos to take people through the project…fun to simply watch, and fun to make with me if you want.

I will be adding a page to this blog site with links to my recommended supplies that apply to ongoing projects.  Once it’s there you can just click on “Supply links” above and you can go shopping!

Sew I am excited about making this piece.  I will be testing some products I have not used before I make it and will tell you about them as I go.  This includes some new specialty threads from Wonderfil Threads I have only briefly used and Sulky’s Sticky-Fabri-Solvy printable self adhesive water soluble stabilizer. I think it could be a real blessing for limiting the amount of marking I have to do for this project and stabilizing the stitching.  I might do a 60 second shorts video on my test of all of this just so you can see it even if I decide not to use it for this particular project.  Would you like that?

I should be publishing the first parts of this project in a few weeks.  We’ll see though.  It takes a while to film the making of a complex project like this and get it edited.  In any event, I will let you know how it stands with my next blog post.  Let me know what you are working on.  Do you have any special requests for techniques to discuss? (Please comment here.  I love comments because it helps me know if people really view and like my blog efforts here and the comments stay with my blog if I look back on them a few months later for reference).

Sew happy everyone!  Have fun in your studio!

 

Working on New Projects and Patterns

I am working on a new, more advanced project for my YouTube channel in which I am also making a downloadable pattern that I hope people will enjoy either making it along with me or just watch for fun.  This is part of my experimental quilting series.

In the course of working on this design I have figured out how to get Bernina v8 design software to create a file that can be used in Electric Quilt 8.  So that means I now have a four-piece design software “suite” that consists of Bernina v8, Electric Quilt 8, Corel Draw (I have the full package, but Corel Draw Essential comes with Bernina V8), and Corel Painter where I can digitally paint a picture that can be printed onto fabric.  It’s a set of programs I have been using for years, and yet, I still feel I have much to learn.  If you didn’t know, several years ago I published a book on Bernina V8 where I provide some skill building projects. It’s still available.  Just click on the picture.

It takes time to put all this together, but the more I learn the faster get. Once I have the  pattern completed, I will make the quilt and film the making of it.  The pattern will be available for purchase on my website shop and people can work through the project following my videos.

So far, I have been watching carefully what has the most viewer interest and gets people to enjoy them.  I concluded that my approach of presenting simplified little quiltlets that are primarily intended to present techniques is ok, but it needs something more to catch people’s attention.

So using what I am learning along the way of this great video adventure, I have great hope of tailoring the site sew lots of quilters will find it fun.  I am planning on adding additional types of content…maybe visits to fabric stores, short videos answering viewers requests.  Can you think of other things you  would like to see?

Above all, I want people to become interested in making or collecting their own fabric art or at least watching it being made.

Sew if you want me to share some techniques, types of art quilting, or some discussion of products to use, please put them in the comments or send me an email at bettyjo@bjfabricartist.com.

Sew happy everyone!  Take some time to try something new and have fun in your studio!

Designing and Picking Supplies for Summer Projects

 

I spent the past couple of days designing new projects for this summer.  I haven’t finished them yet, but I have a clear concept and so it is time to start  hunting down all the supplies I need for them. I will make patterns with step-by-step instructions to be available in my website shop and, of course, videos so you can watch me make them.

Those of you who have followed my blogs for a while know I like to have at least two projects going at once to give me some variety of activities for mental and even physical changes across the days.  That helps me keep from getting too bogged down in things.  So I have three small projects I decided on, all of which are largely thread work and some have a little yarn couching and painting too.

One is a pleasant small scene of evergreen trees of various sizes showing some perspectives in distance and size of the trees, reminding me of a walk or drive through a pine forest.  Beth, my daughter-in-law likes to do pencil drawings that tend to capture her own hikes and camping experiences, and of birds, and flowers.   She did one that really shows a delightful perspective to it in evergreen trees with a path winding through.  In my mind, I can almost smell the sweet pine forest scent. It doesn’t quite work for what I have in mind but it certainly inspires me, and so I have been trying to capture a pattern of an evergreen forest that incorporates all the perspective, sizes, colors, and techniques I want to share. I am not quite there yet.  I have a couple of really lovely linen weaves (they are quilt weight cottons) that I will choose from for the background fabric.  This will include both free motion thread work and couching.  I am even considering making the forest floor using needle punch roving with my little Bernina 350 for which I have that attachment.  It’s so much fun and I haven’t used it nearly enough lately.  I bought it for travel but it has ended up being my workhorse for  several unusual attachments and precision piecing as well.

The second one is a somewhat complex piece featuring a couple of stylized birds from a  Dover coloring book of Paradise Island birds.  That will be all thread work with a little paint.  I was originally thinking that would be entirely a whole cloth quilt, but after working on the design, I decided it would benefit from a simple pieced setting that puts that scene in the focus area and has a simply pieced addition of fabric that can have some light in-the-hoop embroidery embellishment or be made from some lovely printed fabrics of the maker’s choice to set the whole thing off. I completed the design work for this little quilt and most of the pattern today, though I still have to write the workbook and a video script.  It is about 30″ x 40″ and I will be using a lot of beautiful specialty threads on it.  This should be fun, and doable for the advanced beginner or above…so stay tuned.

The third piece is a second Birds of Paradise stylized scene from the same book using thread work.  I will be making that into a pillow.  I found a really nice set of two pillow forms on Amazon recently, so decided to make them in different types of fabric art so I can use them in my home.  That may end up with a little paint too, but I will wait and see.

All three are small and light, and should be something really fun to work on when the weather gets too hot to go out or we are having a rainy day (I love rainy days…no thunder storms, just rain).  Just right for summer projects, don’t you think?

I do have some fun things in mind for fall and winter too, including a more complex pictorial appliqued wool wall hanging using the techniques I presented in my first three videos, and a scene for Halloween, among other things, but I’ll talk more about those later.

So just in case you want to know what I will be using and maybe make one or all three of these along with me, I decided to include a small list of some of the specialty threads and other supplies I like to use, since getting things shipped these days can take some time.  These links are affiliated links, so if you buy them from the links I provide it could help support my little micro business at no additional cost to you.  It is not exactly a list of what I plan on using, but I think it is a nice list of items that could be fun to add to your studio even if you don’t do my projects.  Of course you won’t be buying everything here, but I thought you might enjoy some of them if you don’t have them already.

Pillow forms (2 – 18 x 18)

Pellon SF101 Shape-Flex Cotton 20” x 10 yards

Sulky Temp Spray Adhesive

Setacolor fabric paint

Artists crayons

Light board with cutting mat

Hobbs Tuscany wool batting throw size

Quilter’s Dream 80/20 select loft batting throw

Crayola washable gel pens

Madeira Cotton Stable fusible

OESD Ultra Clean and Tear

A Sampling of Wonderfil Threads

Spageti Packs (12 wt cotton)

Splendor Pack (40 wt rayon)

Invisafil Pack (100 wt polyester)

Accent (12 weight rayon) Evergreen

Glamore (12 wt rayon with one strand metallic

Sew happy everyone!  Come fly with me through these fun summer projects, whether you just watch the progress or make them along with me.  But above all, have fun in your studio!

 

Preparing for Thread & Couching Projects

I am working on the designs for several free motion thread work and couching small quilts.  Essentially these are small whole cloth wall quilts done in multiple colors and styles of threads, cords, and yarns.  They are pictorial in design and include both free motion thread painting and quilting.  I will add some cord or yarn couching and might even add some decorative stitching with my Bernina 880 plus here and there.  It’s kind of exciting for me.

Scanned coloring book page before cleaning up and turning into a pattern. This is not one of the four.

Sew what are these planned pieces?  They include one scene of evergreen trees in the summer, one scene of trees at night with white winter stylized trees and a night sky both designed entirely by me, and four stylized tropical bird scenes based on scenes found in a Dover coloring book that will be colorful and, yes, challenging to stitch. I am  turning them into downloadable pdf patterns to print and tape together ready for tracing onto your fabric. Then I will stitch them out with some additions of quilting designs and embellishments.

I hand stitched this little crewel scene using wool threads years ago. My youngest son took it and had it framed in a museum quality acid free framing to protect it. I believe it is possible to replicate crewel stitching by machine to look nearly like hand stitching.

It’s an adventure!  And yes, there will be videos on YouTube and workbooks and patterns available on my website shop so you can sew along with me.  I am considering the possibility of creating background fabrics for tracing these bird scenes onto that could then be purchased at Spoonflower.  I am not sure this will work, but I will let you know if I am successful.

This is from another Dover coloring book, but I think it would make a wonderful piece of crewel work-like piece.  Maybe I will add this one to my thread-work projects.

Sew I hope very much a lot of you will join me in these projects that will be presented in July and August, and possibly September.  These small wall quilts make wonderful presents or home decor (either one or in groups).  I don’t have the final sizes or supply lists yet because I’m still working on them, but I’ll let you know.  Mostly I will be using threads from Wonderfil Threads and Superior Threads.  I love both brands and they work well together because Wonderfil has some wonderful specialty threads that Superior does not and I have a huge collection of Superior threads in “normal” weights I have collected over the past several years.

If you do one or more of my projects and send me pictures at www.bettyjo@bjfabricartist.com of your projects, I will share them here on my blogs if you would not mind.

I will let you know when the workbooks with patterns and supply lists are available in my shop for each project.  Right now, however, you can join me on the deciduous tree in full bloom quiltlet.  There is a workbook with pattern and the first of two videos already available. The second video will likely be available next weekend. This is a skill-builder project and I think you would enjoy making it.  If you do you would get to practice textured padded applique and broiderie perse by machine that are two great techniques for the fabric artists to have in their tool belts.

Sew happy everyone!  Have fun in your studio!