This has been a busy and interesting month so far, and the end of the month promises to be just as unique. First of all, I want to tell you about the background fabric piece pictured above. I spent some time (more than a forty hour week) painting this design I wanted to use for a background, to which I will be adding a lot of objects, including trees, rocks, train trestle, train, steam clouds as appliques. But I painted it digitally in Corel Painter and sent it off to be printed full size by Fabrics on Demand, which has a wide selection of fabrics and does a good job. I’ve used them before.
So after about a week I got word that they had printed the fabric and shipped it. I waited, waited, decided I would have to contact them because it had been weeks and no fabric. In the meantime, we had a snow week, with an 11 inch snow followed by very cold weather. Then we had a thaw. Just as I was about to contact the company, my son brought in a wet package that he had found on the side of the front porch under a bush. Yes it was my fabric. It had apparently been blown off the porch under the bush and covered in snow and ice. We might not have found it until even later if the cold weather had continued.
The fabric was in a plastic envelope and carefully packed, but it was totally soaked. I washed it in the washing machine, thinking that I normally would have hand washed it with Synthrapol detergent, since it was a custom printed piece. So I wasn’t sure how it would come out. But it is totally beautiful. The colors are strong and lovely and the piece is clearly not going to bleed or shrink now as I use it in my quilt. My friend Anita was amazed at the piece. She is an artist herself but is new to the fabric art world. I could tell she is excited to consider that she might be able to turn her art into a piece of fabric. She would have to take a good picture or scan of her art since she doesn’t work digitally in order to get it into fabric in this way, but that works too.
Okay readers, I have been working full-time for several weeks now just to update my Ten Skill-Building Projects for Bernina V7 to a new book for Bernina V8, and I have finished the basic manuscript, sent it to my Beta readers, and designed the cover. I am looking to have this out by the end of February. So if you have either V7 or V8, I think you will find working through the projects of these books will provide you with a solid understanding or improvement in your use the software to go forward and make some wonderful in-the-hoop embroidery designs. You can make what you want for your projects. These books are designed so if you work through the book the later projects build on what you learn in the earlier projects. Additionally, you will end up with some fun small items…mug rugs, a color wheel, a needle book, and a bunch of nice designs to use in other ways.
I’m very happy to be more or less finished with this Bernina software books project. I have more or less been working on this for several years now. It’s not that the projects are that hard, it was the difficulty of figuring out what should be presented and in what order to help fabric artist that still has the program in the box or has only used it a little because it was a little confusing, or that may not know how much is really there. It is an amazing software…almost magical. It has tools to help you get where you need to be, but it does not do a good job of telling you what tools are there. The reference manual is well presented, but you may not know what you don’t know and you don’t know where to look. The books are not exhaustive in covering all the tools, but they are enough to give you a real feel for what you can do with the software.
Just as I neared the finish of the first book for V7, Bernina came out with the updated V8, so I put it aside. But my dear friend Mei-Ling Huang, who is also my Bernina dealer, encouraged me to go ahead and put out the V7 book, because there are a lot of sewists out there still using that software. And then she pushed me a little to also write the updated V8 version. I truly don’t think these books would be finished without her encouragement.
Sew now that I have completed these two projects and have gotten my fabrics for the next several show quilts and workshop samplers and kits, I have to straighten up this studio! It’s a mess!
I’m so excited about the work I have in store for the future. I made a list of things and put a date I wanted to get them done by, just so I can figure what I need to work on next and next and next. Let’s get to quilting and embroidering!
I also am thinking about what book I should write next. I have found that self-publishing through Amazon KDP is not too difficult for me to manage. I want to get what I know out for people to use. I have learned a great deal in the past sixty plus years of sewing and art work. Maybe the next one will focus on surface design and embellishment. I have won several prizes at major shows based on my work in this field. But I have to get to quilting first. Just need…to….quilt!
Sew happy everyone! There’s a fabulous bunch of tools and supplies out there to make some wonderful fabric art. Teach someone to sew or quilt or try something new yourself!