Updating

I always kind of feel like September brings a new year.  This has been a year full of updates and maintenance both for my home and for my software.  This year I had to replace my hot water heater, have some rotting trim and all the grouting outside replaced and the whole house pressure washed, the decks and fence pressure washed and sealed, and the trim repainted.  There have been a lot of smaller items, and yesterday I just got an old builder’s grade toilet replaced in one of my small bathrooms for a nice new one.  I still have to replace the weatherstripping around my front door, but that should be all for the house for a while, I hope.

The amazing thing is how well this restored my decks (I have two).  I was thinking before all of this that I might need to replace it, but it looks fantastic, almost like new.  I have enjoyed getting out there every day the weather permitted since the deck was restored.  Sometimes my grandson has gone out there and done some reading also.  He started to school yesterday, but he still comes here after school.  This is good.

In anticipation of my fall sewing and quilting now that school has started, I first updated my website, adding a little store to sell my quilts, books, and other items from.  Additionally, I have been updating my software.  I started by installing Windows 10 and made sure it works with everything, and then I took advantage of a really good deal on the new Corel Painter 16 software update.  This adds quite a few interesting new brushes and other things, plus it allows me to use all those Dover brush stamps that I have for Photoshop in Painter now.  I like that a lot.  Painter is the main design software I use so it is important to take advantage of these major advances.

All this updating made me realize that I was at an excellent spot in my sewing and quilting plans to update the firmware on my Bernina 830 LE, which I did.  Everything is working well so far (knock on wood).

So the other day I did a little exploration of some of the decorative stitches on my 830.  Most of the ones I tried are new, but not all of them.  Here are some pictures of the test samples:

stitch sampler stitch sampler 2Aren’t they fun?   I think I’ll have to do something special with some of them.  What do you suggest?

Stitch number 713, which was there all along, is the stitch I should have used when I was trying to get a Sashiko like stitch for my border on Kanazawa Memories.  I still think it would have stretched, and I would have finished it like I did, but I’ll know next time.  These little samplers are going in my notebook.

All of this updating, plus a very expensive dental/oral surgery thing, are the reasons you won’t see me at a quilt show for a while.  I’m not sure just how long, but I am content.  I have all these wonderful design programs and machines to play with at home with a fully stocked stash of fabrics, threads, paints and beads.  It will be fun to see what I can do with all of that.

Sew happy everyone!!!  Updating can be a good thing, though it may be a little stressful from time to time.  You might be surprised at how well things work and find some new treats as you get them finished.  Cheers.

 

 

 

Working with Peppered Cottons

I just made a quilt using the beautiful Peppered Cotton  These cottons, designed by Pepper Cory, are beautifully colored and have a wonderful soft hand.  They would make marvelous bed quilts that use simple blocks, and I suspect they would be perfect for hand quilting.

I, however, chose to make a piece of wall art with precision machine embroidery using this soft, loose weave cotton because it had the perfect appearance for what I wanted to do.  While the blocks are simple in shape, they have detailed machine emnroidery, and the quilt itself presented some real challenges.

Here’s the quilt:

Kanazawa Memories, Completed August 2015

Kanazawa Memories, Completed August 2015

And a detail view:

Kanazawa Memories detail shot

Kanazawa Memories detail shot

 

When I first saw this fabric I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it.  It reminded me of antique fabrics used mostly by peasants centuries ago in Japan especially in firemen’s and fishermen’s coats, which were layered together and often repaired using Sashiko stitching.  While the peasants would probably have had blue or off white fabrics, these have wonderful colors with a warm feel.

Pepper Cory, who is a friend of mine, told me about The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook (you can find this in the little box of “My Favorite Products” on my sidebar if you don’t have your ad blocker turned on) and it helped me with figuring things out for this quilt  In the end, however, I used commercially available embroidery designs from OESD:  Sashiko 1.

I thought when I started the quilt that, although it was mainly a project for me to work on improving some techniques, that I may end up showing this quilt and ultimately selling it, so I asked OESD if I could use this design set for such a purpose, and was assured that was acceptable.  (It is so important to get such permissions before one spends hours and money on making a quilt you may show or sell, even if you are going to donate it for an auction at church).

But in order to get good machine embroidery results using such a nice soft cotton that is so loosely woven, one needs to back it with a very good stiff stabilizer.  I used tear away Madeira Cotton Stable (you can find it through that little box of my favorite products on the sidebar also), which is temporarily fusible.  I was going to tear it out, but by the time I got it all embroidered and the whole thing pieced together, I liked the way it had softened up just while working with it and the way it helped me with the piecing. So I ended up leaving it in. It is an all cotton stabilizer and I find it softens a lot from working it and when washed..  I could have backed it with a light weight fusible interfacing and used a wash away stabilizer that would have probably done the same thing.   I do love this stabilizer, and have found I can pretty easily tear it out when I want to, but it stays in place until torn.  I use it for a lot of my embroidery.

So, thinking I would probably wash the quilt when I was finished, I prewashed all the Peppered Cottons in cold water AFTER I serged the cut edges of the fabric before I cut it.  Such a loose weave really needs to have the edges serged before washing or you could lose a large bit of raveling.  If you don’t have a serger, you should stay stitch the edges prior to washing.  Indeed, this is a good way to approach any loosely woven fabric.  I serge the edges of silk dupioni just to store it in my stash because it ravels so badly.  I think that Peppered Cotton is not quite as bad, but when machine washed it would be bad.   This step saves lots of headaches.

The other thing I did for piecing this fabric was to use half inch seams instead of quarter inch.  In spite of the fact that this was initially a mistake in my cutting of the blocks, I found it much more stable overall that way.  Although when I did the moon, I did only a narrow turned edge…maybe even less than a quarter of an inch…but it was around a piece of freezer paper and I used a lot of spray on starch that I sprayed into the top of my starch can and painted on with a stiff little brush, then ironed the edge around the moon pattern.  I then glued the moon to the background and stitched around it with a short applique stitch using monopoly.  This worked really well and looks great.

After that I cut out the background behind it, I appliqued the Japanese flower arrangement onto the top.  I got the flowers by painting them digitally using Corel Painter and printed them on Electric Quilt fabric (Find them in “My Favorite Products” box)

I added an extra layer of wool batting just under the moon because I wanted the flowers to have a slight trapunto appearance.   Then I sandwiched with wool batting overall and a pretty quilting cotton print for the back, giving it all a lot of stability.

Everything went really well for the quilting of the central theme and the background using monopoly over the embroidered background and closely color matched 100 wt silk for the moon.  I did use a heavier weight 40 wt cotton to quilt the little creatures around in the moon.

Then I got to the borders.  I failed to back the borders or the binding with anything except the wool batting and backing.  It stretched during the quilting and binding.  You can read about my struggle with that in this post if you want.

To wrap up, when using Peppered Cotton, or any soft, loosely woven cotton you need to:

  1.  serge the edges of your yard goods before you prewash them.
  2. prewash the fabric in cold water with like colors.
  3. iron with some spray starch on the wrong side
  4. back with a stiff stabilizer for any machine embroidery
  5. back with fusible light weight interfacing for accurate piecing results and to reduce stretching when quilting.
  6. a cold water soak and blocking after completion is important to make the quilt square and flat. (You can steam it flat and square if you just don’t want to wash it and it’s a wall hanging).
  7. enjoy the quilt…it feels soft and cuddly and has a dynamic lovely look.

In the end, I am really happy with this little quilt and have decided to try to show it before I offer it for sale, mainly so some of my friends who live elsewhere can see it.  I don’t  think it will win any ribbons, but I think it might get into the shows, and that makes it really fun.

Sew happy everyone.  Try making a nice cuddly bed quilt with some Peppered Cottons, and, if you dare, make some blocks or a wall quilt that requires some precision.   Or you could make a fisherman’s coat to wear on cold wet days out on the sea.  Cheers.

Working With Different Fabric Types

I have almost finished my Ikebana/Sashiko quilt, and had some difficulties toward the end that were my own fault, but which reminded me that over the years I have learned a great deal about fabric properties and how to work with them to get results I want. Sometimes, I don’t succeed, but almost always it is because I skipped a step or substituted another technique to try it out.

In this case, I failed to back the border with the same fusible interfacing I backed the blocks with in the central section.  I thought I could get away with this because I was using a temporary spray adhesive attaching it to the batting.  It didn’t work.  The border stretched, the stitching looked horrible, and it wasn’t the machine’s fault.  I ended up cutting the border down to only 3/8″ wide plus the part to be covered by the binding.  Even the binding became very challenging at that point to get it on straight and true.  But I have succeeded, I think, although I still have to stitch down the back of the binding by hand.  If I had fused the interfacing to the border fabric, it might have had a very different outcome.  In the end, however, I think I like the narrow edge of green fabric better than the wider border would have been, even if I had succeeded in what I was trying to do.

This made me think to share this little chart I worked out for my own use that I think you may find interesting.  I leave it to you to determine brands and content of the stabilizers and interfacing.

Fabric chart

What do you think about this?  I’d love to hear from you.

Sew happy everyone.

Ikebana for a Quilt

As some of you already know I am currently making a quilt that has a Japanese Sashiko emboridered background with a Japanese Ikebana foreground.  I am machine embroidering Sashiko blocks of various sizes for an irregular layout based on a five inch grid.  I am almost finished with the embroidery, but I discovered I needed a little more gray to make it have the look I am after.  I am inspired by antique Japanese fishermen’s and firemen’s coats for the background, and that part of the quilt is coming along nicely.

Sew…now I have to come up with the foreground appliques.  This will be somewhat like actually building an Ikebana arrangement with real flowers, but I will be using fabric flowers.  I found slumbering in my stash a wonderful piece of hand-dyed silk dupioni, very slubbed and with rusty and brown colors that looks a lot like an ancient Japanese ceramic for the vase.

The actual arrangement needs to be done on the quilt top much as I would do in a vase with real flowers.  Sew I found a lot of flower fabrics that I could use for my embroiderie perse flower arrangement, but I may not use them.  I am also drawing from photographs or changing and coloring in some vector flower designs in my Corel Painter 15 from Dover Pictura which I might print on fabric and use for my appliques.  Here is a sunflower that started out as a black and white line drawing from Dover.  It needed a lot of editing before I started the coloring.  If I use it, I will do some substantial thread work after applique to bring it alive.  I might separate the flower from the stem and leaves so I can print them larger.

Sunflower ready to print.

Sunflower ready to print.

One of the arrangements I did way back when I lived in Japan that won a ribbon in a contest in Kanazawa, used two giant sunflowers, some greenery and some broom straw, which, when held properly, can be bent into swoops and swirls that hold their shape.  If I use that as the basis of my Ikebana arrangement, I will couch on some thick decorative threads and cording to replicate the broom straw.

It’s great fun. When I get to the flower arrangement, I’ll take some pictures and share with you some basics on Ikebana. I hope to complete this quilt by the end of July.

Sew happy everyone!  Try your hand at some broiderie perse.  I found this very interesting article talking about it.  http://www.womenfolk.com/quilting_history/broderieperse.htm  Mine will not be using chintz, but it’s still the same concept, although I will be using machine applique with a very narrow edge stitching.

 

A Greeting in Fabric from the Heart

As I work through writing and building the projects for my Bernina v7 Skill-Builder book, I am delighted with how much is there to use.  Some of my projects are fairly simple in design because I want to concentrate on the techniques and design elements available in the software.  Yesterday I worked through a project to develop a little fabric greeting card…or it could be a mug rug…about 5 inchs by 5 inches.  It discusses using the art canvas Basic Vector Shapes, turn the heart shape into Advanced Applique, using Pattern Run to fancy it up, and working out the quilting in the hoop.  Here is the resulting design, ready to be stitched out:

5" x 5" fabric greeting card or mug rug

5″ x 5″ fabric greeting card or mug rug

It is my hope that by the time someone works through all ten projects that they will be able to develop almost anything they want with it.  I did set aside my hope to include making lace in the book, because I am thinking of writing a second book if this one is successful for more advanced projects. And in case you are wondering, I have no connection with Bernina other than I love their products. This software goes well beyond Bernina, and I thought this might be helpful to those of you who use it or want to use it. I had quite a struggle to learn it myself, so I thought I might be able to save you some time and frustration.

Sew Happy everyone!

A Whimsical Cat Applique

Hi there.  I just digitized this cat applique for my Bernina v7 software book.  I am going to stitch it out later, when I go through the book to test everything.  I really love Dover Pictura, which has the following statement on their website:

“Whether you’re a crafter, craftsman, artist or designer you’ll find something that will excite your eye and inspire your work. Best of all, all of our image collections are royalty (and worry) free. Use them however you’d like as often as you wish.”

Wow!  “However you’d like”!!!!!  Imagine the possibilities! 😀 😀 So I am using their designs for most of the art basis of my Bernina v7 instructions.  Anyway, here’s the art from their American Folk Art Designs collection next to my applique design in Bernina v7 ready to stitch out where I left out some of the details:

Drawing Beside the Applique

Drawing Beside the Applique

For some appliques, I am not real crazy about the thick satin stitch around the edge, or even the alternate blanket stitch.  So I’m going to do a project in the book showing how you can change that.  Can you tell, I’m having fun?  I hope you are.

Sew happy everyone!

Inch by Inch: Updated Tools and Canterbury Knight

Inch by inch I am getting closer to my goals for “Betty Jo’s Fabric Arts”, which is my new name for my coming micro-business.  Up until now, it has been a hobby, but I need to make enough money to keep on, and I want to be able to share things I have learned and my journey with my friends.  It will just be a micro business.  I am not going to take in quilting, for instance.  I may do more workshops and lectures, but I’m not going to get into the big circuit that requires a lot of travel.  I want to work here in my studio for the most part with an occasional visit elsewhere.  I plan on selling the how-to books I’m currently writing, a few quilts, some downloadable videos, in-the-hoop embroidery (software), and some print-on-your-own fabric digitally painted appliques…just enough to keep on buying supplies and equipment with maybe a little on the side for fun.

I updated my Bernina embroidery software to v7 this week.  It’s pretty fancy, and it does seem to have a lot of new tools.  It also has a completely different interface and it will take a while to find all the old tools and figure out how to use the new ones, but I think it is going to be a big improvement overall.  I’m going to take advantage of my dealer’s class on the software on the 31st.

Digitizing has become an important part of my quilting artwork.  Nearly every quilt now has at least one thing on it that I drew myself and then digitized myself and embroidered in my Bernina Embroidery module.   I have also been developing a flower quilt using my daughter in law’s wonderful photographs for in-the-hoop applique.  I felt I needed to update from v6.  V6 is a powerful program, but there are some things I believe v7 has that will help me a lot.

For a long time I have recorded my quilting progress with a little Nikon Coolpix pocket camera that I bought about ten years ago.  Most of the photos I share here were taken with that.  Last week, the motor that drives the lens died.  I bought a Nikon Coolpix s9700 to replace it.  It’s very like the old dead camera except that it’s a little bigger (but still fits in a pocket), the zoom is much more extensive in both directions, the macro can be much closer so I can really show stitches, the controls are much more extensive, so I can use manual aperture and other manual or auto settings.  It has several scene settings, like my old one did, so I can get a quick picture, but they are more extensive.  And it has the cutest little pop up flash.  My old camera could do a little video, but this one can do a really nice video…up to 29 minutes long.  I tried it out successfully, setting it up on a tripod and demonstrating how to cut out a fabric square just for practice.  I will be doing a lot more practice over the next few weeks.  Once I get handy at this, and figure out how, I will share some videos with you, and eventually, will make some downloadable videos for sale from my website.

Between all the nice technology, machines, cameras, and computer software I have assembled over the past three years since I retired, and the additional video and audio equipment my son Ken gave me, I should be able to realize my plan of  writing books and making videos to share my techniques and some patterns, embroidery software, and downloadable printable fabric designs from my website by the middle of the year.  Inch by inch I’m getting there.

Canterbury Knight Rides Forward:  I have just completed getting the big central block properly set into the seamless border.  Let me tell you, this was a HUGE struggle.  The fabric of the central block is 100% silk charmeuse…hand dyed…and the appliques are silk/cotton Radiance.  It is slippery, drapey, soft, and decidedly hard to control.  The challenge was to get the central block into the seamless black piece of black radiance in a perfect rectangle and perfectly aligned with the straight of grain of the black radiance.  It has taken me a full week, but I just accomplished this.  It probably would not have been so long if I had done two things…not gotten it in upside down in the first place, 🙂  and used more stabilizer from the beginning.  I ended up stabilizing BOTH the border AND the block.  I used Madeira Cotton Soft tearaway, which I love.  Contrary to its name, it is stiff.  It tears away easily, but stays together until you are ready for it to come away.  I have also found that the little bits that get left in soften when washed.  Perhaps that’s why they call it “Soft”.

I also used my fairly new laser square, designed for builders and carpenters, to make the rectangle as perfect as soft drapy, slippery silk can be.  I marked my central block cutting line with it with a thin chalk line and then cut it out with my rotary cutter.  I then marked the stabilizer along both the cutting and the seam lines for the border.  Here’s a picture of that (ignore the stuff in the background.).  See the red laser line and the level on the laser?  When it is level, it makes a perfect 90 degree angle and marks it for as far out as the table goes.

Using my laser square

Using my laser square

Sew happy everyone!  Learn how to do a new technique or practice one you know!  Inch by inch we can learn the techniques and gather the tools to realize our dreams.  It does not have to be done all at once.

Canterbury Knight: How to Make a Horse’s Tail

Stitching the appliques

Stitching the appliques

After stitching down the appliques, I did some free motion embroidery to make the tail, but it looked like a ghost tail, both because it did not have enough contrast from the background fabric and because it did not have enough stitching.  If I did any more it would have pulled the fabric too much.

The ghost tail

The ghost tail

So I decided to layer a new tail over the existing one by stitching one on black bridal veiling.  I layered two layers of washaway clear stabilizer, on which I had drawn the outline of the tail I needed to make, and covered it with the veiling.  Then I put this in my springform embroidery hoop, set up my machine for free motion stitching,

the setup

the setup

stitching independent tail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and stitched a new tail using two different Superior Rainbow threads.

two rainbows

two rainbows

And then I trimmed the veiling applique, soaked off the stabilizer and appliqued the new tail over the old one, using a few more free motion lines similar to those on the tail.  I had to remove only a few stitches from the original ghost tail that did not add to the shape and were outside the appliqued veil tail.  Voila!  A new tail any appliqued horse could be proud of!  😀

Horse with newly groomed tail

Horse with newly groomed tail

In the process, my little faithful Nikon Coolpix 600 pocket camera that I have used for at least a decade now died.  The motor that runs the lens focus appears to be the culprit.  It would cost me almost as much to repair it as to replace it, if it even could be repaired.  I have carried that little light pocket camera almost everywhere I went since I retired.  I use it to keep records of my work, and to make the photographs for this blog. The picture above of the rainbow threads is the last picture it ever took. (Insert “Farewell to my little camera” aria here–those of you who are opera buffs will understand this reference).  So I have to use my lovely big Nikon D200 camera that is kind fo heavy, and definitely not a pocket camera, until I replace it.  Thank the Lord I have a camera though.

Additionally, I have joined the fun with Ricky Tim’s 52 week photography class.  It is decidedly going to be a challenge for me, and my goal is to come out at the end with some fun photographs, but mostly to really learn to use my camera for artistic purposes.

Sew happy everyone!  Teach someone to sew or quilt or take a picture.  God bless you all!

 

 

“Hand Sewing” by Machine

It is my belief that almost every look that hand sewing provides can be duplicated in a reasonable facsimile by machine. No, I haven’t lost my mind. At least, I don’t think I have. 🙂

I hope those of you who are hand quilters and embroiderers are not offended. I truly greatly admire the beauty of beautiful handwork. But I have some arthritis in my hands and in dealing with that I have developed a fascination for making my machine provide equally as beautiful stitching and in some cases take it far enough to make the viewer wonder if–or even be convinced that–they are viewing hand sewing.

I also love some of the looks that only a machine can make, but this is not what I’m talking about in this post.

I just think it is fun and challenging to see what I can do with the concept of “hand sewing” by machine. Recently I have been working on the design of a quilt that uses Sashiko for the background and in the foreground is an appliqued Japanese flower arrangement. After thinking about it for a while, I decided to do all the Sashiko by machine.

Now I have some in the hoop Sashiko designs that are lovely, and I will probably use some of these in this quilt. I have done some stitch-outs of these and they look best with 40 wt embroidery thread such as Superior’s Magnifico or Isacord embroidery threads.

But I want to try some bobbin work using the heavier weight perle cottons that hand Sashiko stitchers would use in order to see if I can make it look even more like the hand work. I will let you know if this works and present some photographs of some of my experiments with this…perhaps in a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, I am also trying out some turned edge machine stitched appliques using 100 wt matching silks and monopoly and various stitches to see which looks the most like needle turned-edge applique by hand. Lots of other sewists have done work on this and some are really good at it. I just want to play around with it and see if I can get it really good.

My machine also has cross stitch on it and I haven’t played around with it very much yet, but I think I will try that also. In addition, I have learned to do some digitizing with my in-the-hoop embroidery using Bernina v6 software that looks very close to hand stitching. I just bought v7 upgrade as a Christmas present to myself and am waiting for it to come in.

I think this is really fun. I hope to share a lot of the results and ways to accomplish them with you in a couple of books I am already working on and plan to complete in 2015 and some bits here on my blog.

Sew happy everyone. Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas all!

Playing in My Studio: Combining Multiple Techniques

I really love taking the different techniques I have managed to gather over the decades and apply them to make an art quilt, a decorated vest, or a beautiful bag. Since my retirement a couple of years ago I have spent a lot of my time learning and perfecting new and old techniques with the goal of being able to call on anything to produce the look I want. In my quilt “Waiting…”, for instance, I used drawing, paper piecing, regular piecing, applique, trapunto, fabric painting, digital art printed fabrics, thread painting, free motion quilting, and embellishment.

Waiting...

Waiting…

So whether you are a traditional, contemporary, art, or modern quilter, I encourage you to gather your techniques and tools and put them all together to realize your own masterpieces. It’s really fun to not be limited by not knowing how to do some technique and you can end up with some delightful items while you learn. While it’s always nice to have a face-to-face class with an expert, one of the nice things today is there are many sources for learning these techniques online, sometimes with accompanying books.

First of all, If you haven’t already, I suggest you spend the modest amount of money to buy a membership on The Quilt Show and watch the shows, the classes, and the videos that accompany the BOM (Block of the Month) even if you are not making the BOMS. This has been a big resource for me in improving my quilt making, learning about who are the major quilters in the world today, and being inspired when I get discouraged.

Secondly, I discovered that Nancy Zieman has many of her Sewing With Nancy available free to watch on Wisconsin Public Television online website, many of which relate to quilting, but in fact, most any kind of sewing relates to quilting.  Also, you can purchase her dvds with accompanying books from Nancy’s Notions.

Sharon Schamber has dvds available now on some of her techniques from her daughter’s website that she used to have on a downloadable website. I subscribed to that website that is now defunct, and downloaded and watched everything available, even the long arm ones. I fortunately still have them.  Some of the videos seem a little primitive in format, but her techniques are wonderful. I particularly recommend The Quilt Fairy, which shows a painting method that has stood me in good stead for many places on my show quilts.  Now that brings up another point.  Fabric painting has different styles and materials just like applique or piecing, and each one has its place and learning as many of them as you can is helpful.  On “Waiting…” I used Sharon Schamber’s method presented in The Quilt Fairy to put the lowlights and highlights in the woman’s dress and cape.  I used my own computerized digital painting to paint her face and hands and printed them on fabric and appliqued them.  I used watered down Setacolor fabric paints to wash paint the sky fabric as demonstrated by Mickey Lawler show number 1305 on The Quilt Show.  Her hair is thread painted, which is another key technique especially useful for art quilts.  While I developed my own technique for this, it closely matches that shown by Nancy Prince on show number 1004 on TQS.

 

finished detail as shot 2

Wind-tossed woman showing the high and lowlights on her clothing, her digitally painted face and hands, her thread painted hair, and a little embellishment.

 

tatum-detail-waiting-AQS

The clipper ship has wool batting between the sails and the quilt. Together with the dual bats (one 80/20 and one wool) I used in the quilt itself, this provided a wind look behind the sails.

If you are going to be at AQS Charlotte in July, my quilt “Waiting…” will be in the show and you can go see it for yourself.  It may not place.  I have had it in two shows so far and it did not.  One judge at Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival thought my borders were too large.  Another judge at HMQS really didn’t like it.  She didn’t like my color choices, my overall design impact, and my quilting.  But hey, to each his own, right?  I would make it in the same colors today even after that critique, and I happen to like what I call “organic” quilting for a story landscape quilt like this.  The winners for that show are magnificent quilts, I will say.  Nevertheless, I am honored to have my quilt show in the big shows even without a ribbon.

I want to show you one other quilt, because it has a heavy dose of in-the-hoop machine embroidery, which isn’t used in Waiting…,  that I digitized myself and also motifs I used from my Bernina software that I enlarged and painted after it was quilted.

The Storyteller...now touring with Hoffman Challenge 2013 show

The Storyteller…now touring with Hoffman Challenge 2013 show

The phoenix and dragon in front of the sun is the story she is writing.  The word on her tablet is “Betty” in Japanese Katakana.  I drew and painted her on my computer myself, printed her on fabric and appliqued her down.  After that I added some highlights with real paint.  Then I drew and digitized the tree trunk myself from scratch.  It was a bear to stitch.  I stitched it out twice on a piece of brown fabric.  It required two hoopings on my jumbo hoop on my Bernina 830 LE, and then I turned the edge of the brown fabric behind the stitching and appliqued it to the quilt.  Even though the tree trunk was tough to do, I like it so much I am planning on using this kind of tree trunk in a deep dark forest quilt that I am planning, which will have a beam of light making it through the trees to a color-filled spot on the forest (perhaps the ruin of a beautiful little church with the light shining through the stained glass window to the floor of the forest where flowers are blooming.  It’s been in my head for a long time now.

I am telling you all of this because I am thinking of writing a book about some or all of these techniques.  I am working on a book proposal now, but I can’t share much about this with you because of the publisher rules, who understandably does not want things published before the book gets published.  I have temporarily put aside the Bernina book because I understand that many of my frustrations have been dealt with in the latest v7 software upgrade, but I need to obtain this product before I can see for sure.

Sew happy everyone!  And pull those techniques together–even hand quilting and embroidery–to realize your dream quilts.