Artistic Applique

Applique is a big part of my work.  I use multiple styles within the raw edge and turned edge machine applique methods to help achieve the look I want.  I am currently writing a book about this and working up samples to go with the book.  This book will deal with how I decide which method and style I need.  I have as many as four or five styles of applique on some of my quilts.  I sometimes have joined machine applique with machine embroidery and come up with some interesting results.

In The Storyteller, my Hoffman Challenge quilt from 2013,  I embroidered the tree trunk off quilt on brown fabric, using my own digitized tree trunk, and cut it out with about an eighth of an inch turn under and appliqued it onto the quilt with turned edge machine applique. This gives the tree trunk almost a 3D appearance.

The tree was embroidered and then appliqued.

The tree was embroidered and then appliqued.

The sun and island are a combination of piecing and applique.  Sharon Schamber calls this piece-lique, and Carol Bryer Fallert calls it appli-piece.  Whichever you call it, it is a technique that is wonderful for certain looks that are difficult to achieve any other way.

turning the back over freezer paper and starching the turn- down.

turning the back over freezer paper and starching the turn- down.

gluing the sun into place ready for stitching.

gluing the sun into place ready for stitching.

Then there is the stitched raw-edge applique.  This can produce many different looks, depending on the stitch, thread, and stitch size one picks.

Stitching down a broiderie perse cutout from the Hoffman challenge fabric.

Stitching down a broiderie perse cutout from the Hoffman challenge fabric.

And here’s the quilt.  Some of you may have seen this quilt in person since it was shown throughout the year of Hoffman Challenge 2013.

The Storyteller

The Storyteller…this picture shows a little distortion from the camera lens, but I assure you it is nice and square and flat. This quilt is currently on sale in my shop for $1050.00. It is 38.5″ x 37.5, which is a nice size for a home or office wall.

I hope I can finish my book in just a few months, but realistically, it probably won’t be ready until mid 2016.

Sew happy everyone!  Try your hand on applique, however you do it.

A horse for applique and thread painting…and a request for feedback

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Hi everyone.  I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful and full of love and happiness.  For some time I have been working on an idea that I think may be something I could use for sale in my little shop.  In order to test this idea, I am providing a pdf file of a horse applique with instructions for printing it on fabric for use as an applique and the adding of thread work as a present for you.  If you would like to download this and try it for yourself without obligation, be my guest.

It would be great, however, if you would provide me with some feedback on your thoughts about this…how this worked for you and what kind of appliques you would like to see provided in this way, for instance…that would be greatly appreciated.  I am thinking of charging about $3 to 5 per pdf file, which includes the instructions, the schematic, the print file, and a pattern for the thread work as you will see in this pdf.  So here you are…what do you think?  Feedback please even if you don’t actually use it.

Instructions for Use of Downloadable Applique Images with thread objects

Sew happy everyone!

 

Completing the Woman and Child Applique Pattern

I love being able to share things with my friends.  It is fun, it is helpful…especially when they give me feedback…and it helps me keep things on track..  So I thought I would show you some of the various stages of my drawing and what I now think is the completed applique pattern drawing.  I would still like your feedback if you see something that really stands out that needs changing.

Here is the original one I used for the first quilt “Waiting…”

finished detail as shot 2

I thought I should change her for the new Waiting… quilt 2.  So I tried drawing several new women drawing.

Woman looking to sea_001 woman 2_002woman 3_004

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I decided to go back and recast the original one.

Wind blown woman 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After some feedback I realized the hair was not right and the clothes are not colored properly.  I also drew a little girl.  Here are some of the stages of that process:

girl's faceChild_007child

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woman and Child for Waiting..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So after some tweaking and moving and so forth, here is where it is now.  Keep in mind when looking at this that it is just a pattern.  The only thing printed will be the faces and hand.  The rest will be created from various textures of fabrics, thread work, highlighting and lowlighting from inks or paints, but I do work best when I have a pretty good idea of how it really will look when finished.  The woman’s dress, cloak, and hair are still not quite right, but that will be changed as I work through making the applique.

Woman-and-Child-Final

I am so looking forward to getting these put together now.  I will make several versions of both the woman and the child and see which ones look best, and, after talking it over with Beth, my DIL, I decided to print out multiple faces and hands on a single sheet of fabric and set up a practice sandwich with it so I can figure out the best quilting for those.  The faces are not large, but always the most difficult to quilt.

Sew there you are.  These appliques are so important to the overall quilt.  They aren’t easy, and they have taken a lot of time.  I need them, though, to make the quilt I see in my head.  I also have gotten together most, but not all, of the special pieces of fabrics I painted, pulled from my stash, and ordered for this.  I am only waiting on the velveteen for the girl’s and woman’s coats and hat and the furry yarns for the edges.  Time to sew!

Sew happy everyone!  Have a great week.  Please comment on my blogs.

Addendum:  After some feedback, I made the girl smaller, the woman’s chin less prominent and did a few other changes to the hair.  Here it is.

Woman and Child Final_001

Foundation Piecing: Precision for the Non-Piecer

I am trying to put together a large section of Storm-at-Sea blocks to become the large wave that merges into the pictorial part of the stormy ocean for my current quilt, the second in my “Waiting…” series.

As you probably know, I am NOT a piecer type quilter.   I do sometimes piece even for my show quilts, as I am right now, but it usually is not such an involved block.  This block has 65 pieces that make up the 7 inch block.  All the points and joins have to be precisely matched to be acceptable for a show quilt.  So I am foundation piecing this section, which I estimate needs to be six blocks wide by 4 blocks long to be large enough to cut the wave from.  I am certain I could not do this with the precision required if someone had not invented sew and flip paper piecing.  I have learned several things over the years that help me overcome my lack of the precision piecing gene as I work through this process. 😀

  • Setting up my sewing station and pre-cut pieces with care can save a lot of time.
My setup for foundation piecing

My setup for foundation piecing

  • Using a light weight, see-through foundation paper, such as Electric Quilt 7 Foundation printable paper, can make a difference in  how precise I can get the blocks.
  • Printing out a full-size picture of the quilt block and keeping it nearby can help you with the placement of the different fabrics.  Of course, after the first couple of blocks, you can use them as your reminder.
  • Having an iron station nearby can save time, especially since I have found actually ironing the seams very flat can make a difference in my precision.
Small ironing station with my travel iron is within reach as I sit down at my machine.

Small ironing station with my travel iron is within reach as I sit down at my machine.

  • Using a very good ruler and actually taking the time to cut the seams one quarter inch helps with the precision.  I figure every thing contributes to a precision pieced block…even the little things like the bulk of the seam.
  • Carefully holding the rotary cutter perpendicular to the cutting board and snug against the ruler makes a big difference in the precision, especially when cutting away the extra fabric in the final step that squares up each segment.
  • Cutting a good set of precut pieces that are somewhat bigger than you really need for each piece helps with the flip and sew upside-down-ness of foundation piecing and you can get in a rhythm and save a lot of time.
  • Using vision aids, such as the magnifier on my machine, helps with precision.
  • Glueing the first center piece of a segment down holds it in place.  I use Elmer’s washable stick glue for that.
  • Being willing to either throw away a segment and start over, or unsew a piece and resew it is essential for precision piecing.  No one is perfect…well, unless it is Sally Collins, Janet Stone, or Sherry Reynolds, or some such celebrity quilter…LOL
  • Music or audible books are essential while piecing.
  • Taking frequent five or ten minute breaks helps.

Here are the first two blocks I made so far.

first two blocks

I am well into the third.  The first one took me about 18 or 20 hours.  The second one took me about 4 1/2 hours.  If I recall, when I did this last time, I got to where I could make two blocks in a six-hour day by the time I was done.  So stick-to-it-tivity is a must if I hope to get this quilt section completed in a reasonable time.

Sew happy everyone!  Try a little foundation piecing if you, like me, are not a precision piecer but need some precision piecing done to realize your vision for your quilt.  Just bite the bullet and sit down and enjoy the music.

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.

Precision Broiderie Perse by Machine

Machine appliqueing with very narrow zig zag

Machine appliqueing with very narrow zig zag

My current quilt project includes a  broiderie perse Japanese flower arrangement (Ikebana).  I “painted” the flowers in Corel Painter 15 based on some Dover black and white drawings that I heavily edited. (See my post on painting the flowers).  Broiderie Perse flower arrangement appliques using printed flowers has been around since the 1700s.

I am using my technique for narrow stitching the raw edged appliques, and I thought I would just share with you how I set it up to be as precise as possible.

  • I set my zig zag stitch width to .9 (the blanket stitch would also work if it were set just as narrow and shortened).
  • I set my tension a little looser on top and thread my bobbin for embroidery.  This has to be done carefully and with a test to make sure that even though the top thread pulls to the back a little bit it doesn’t make the stitch come out unsecured.
  • I use my magnifying glass attachment
  • My needle is a 6.0/8 Microtex Superior Titanium
  • I use the 37D quarter inch foot for my Bernina 830 LE.  And yes, usually this foot is for straight stitching, but it will accept a zig zag width up to 1.1.  I like this narrow foot because it has an open toe, it holds the applique tight to the fabric while stitching, it has a mark at the back of the open toe that shows the precise center of the foot, and I can engage my machine’s dual feed mechanism, which helps the stitching to be more even.  If you don’t have this foot, I suggest your open toed embroidery foot instead.

 

37D foot in action

37D foot in action

  • I use a very thin thread–usually Kimono silk 100 weight or Bottom Line 60 weight–in a matching color to the edge of the applique.

I discovered if I use this setup and aim the edge of the applique right at that center-back mark on the foot, keeping the edge as close to centered in the foot as possible that it stitches precisely with the zig on the applique and the zag on the background fabric (doesn’t matter which side the fabric is on and which side the applique is on). Also, by doing this, I can tell exactly when I need to turn and how far.  There is a lot of turning in machine applique of flowers.

Stitching fairly slow to medium speed and trying to keep an even timing, produces the best most even stitch.

The result is very hard to see, but even under a magnifying glass it looks pretty.

I sometimes use monopoly using this very same setup only I use a universal Schmetz 7.0/10 needle for the monopoly.  I don’t know why, but it seems to keep it from misbehaving so much.  I don’t like working with monopoly because it is so lively and hard to see.  Still, sometimes it is the right thing to use, especially in something like this.

I printed off and cut out more flowers than I needed and arranged the flowers in place on the quilt, using Steam-a-Seam 2 so I could hand stick them down before I fused them in place.  I found I really could use a lot of the things I learned when I studied Ikebana even though the flowers were flat.

A side note: I have my fourth year certificate in Sogetsu Ikebana school that I obtained while living in Kanazawa, Japan.  My class was a group of three wonderful Japanese women and myself.  All three had lived in the United States and spoke English very well.  They taught me flower arranging, how to keep house in Japan, Japanese cultural items I needed to know, and a bit of Japanese.  I don’t think I could have managed life in Kanazawa without them.  There was much to learn.  This quilt is being made in their honor.

Sew happy everyone.  Try some broiderie perse precision applique by machine in your next quilt project.

 

Peppered Ikebana Quilt: Putting It All Together

OK all…I have made all the appliques (sort of) and am ready to put them onto the Sashiko background.  I must confess, the background came out so pretty I am sorry to cover some of it with the moon and Ikebana arrangement, but it is going to look fabulous….at least I think it will.  I embroidered the whole thing because I wasn’t sure exactly where I wanted the Ikebana arrangement, and the Ikebana arrangement ended up fighting with the background, so I am adding a larger moon than I originally intended.

flower 5 for applique_001

I worked it all out with paper cutouts and have just printed the flowers onto Electric Quilt Printable fabrics.  They came out vibrant and beautiful.  I still have to back the flower prints with fusible web and cut them out carefully.  I did finish the moon from Peppered Cotton and the Japanese Ikebana Vase from an interesting piece of what I believe to be hand dyed silk dupioni that I purchased some years ago from the old G Street Fabrics remnants table.

placement for the moon...the moon will cover all the blocks behind it.

placement for the moon…the moon will cover all the blocks behind it.

Sew I hope all my friends on Facebook that “liked” my picture of the background will still like the quilt when they see how much of the background is covered with the appliques.   Even though I kind of regret covering/removing those blocks, I think the result will be worth it.  What do you think?

And about another thing….Almost no one ever comments on my blog.  I would really love to hear from you.  Please feel free to comment.  I only remove the obvious spam that occasionally shows up.

Sew happy everyone!!!

 

Digitally Painting Flowers for Appliques

I have been making some progress on my Sashiko/Ikebana quilt. I got the blocks all embroidered with the Sashiko, cut and stithed together for the background, and I made the moon applique and turned the edge around a freezer paper template using starch, so it’s ready to applique. The next thing is making all the other appliques.

I looked through my stash and decided I did not want to use commercial fabrics for my broiderie perse appliqued flowers. I also found a wonderful set of line drawings on Dover Pictura, but they needed a lot of editing to make them work for outlines for my painted flowers.  So I thought I would tell you a little about how I approached that editing and painting. This is a very brief look..there is more to it, but the blog gets so long. Please ask questions if you want to know more.

I have found that a lot of line drawings you can find that are either copyright free or royalty free (that make them useable for my purposes) have lots of things that interfere either with digital painting or with digitizing for embroidery, but they are fairly easy to edit.  It does take time, though.  I use a combination of Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter 15 for this, but I could probably manage it in just one or the other.  I have found though that the combination gives me a very powerful setup, especially when I added Corel Draw and Bernina V7 to that mix. Then I can potentially use the same line drawing for fabric painting and for digitizing embroidery.  But for this project, you can probably do it all in most drawing packages.

First some of the drawings need to be a little simplified…removing dots, for instance, using the eraser tool.  So I start with Photoshop and edit the line drawings:

Preparing a line drawing

Then I make sure all the shapes have no “leaks” or gaps, using a narrow line drawing brush.

Editing a line drawing 1

Then I move it into Corel Painter 15 for the painting.  (Note, I save the outline as a .tif file and as a .jpg, and I use the .tif for the painting). I start by filling the shapes with color using the paintcan fill tool.  After I do that, I will add some highlights and lowlights using one of the digital air brush tools, and I might do some blending with the blending brush tools.  In some cases, I need to add some texture with some of the texture brushes,, as I did in the center of the blue flowers below.  I left the lines black because I think it looks good for fabric prints.  I will probably use the lines for stitching lines.

flower 4 for applique-a_003

 

But sometimes I just color the drawing with only minor editing.  In the drawing below, I filled all the lines in dark green (this requires care…just to touch inside the line so the lines go green and nothing else does).  I filled the leaves as much as possible (the spaces are very small) with the light green and then painted in the rest of colors using the scratch board brush.  I did not do any highlighting  or blending on the one below because the line drawing was so complex.

flower 5 for applique_001

Colors have to be more intense on the screen so they will print well on fabrics. If you try a paper print and it looks right, it’s probably too light. I can print an 11 x 17 inch fabric on my printer.  It will print larger, but I would have to prepare the printable fabric myself.  I get the 11 x 17 and 8.5 x 11 sheets from Electric Quilt.  After I print them with my ink jet printer, heat set, rinse, and iron dry it seems to be fairly permanent and washable.  So I print it and set it and then iron the fusible web on the back and carefully cut it out.  I do stitch the edge after ironing it in place.  Sometimes I use only a tiny straight stitch with 10o wt silk thread or with monopoly.  Sometimes the edge of the cut fabric shows a little white, and I use India ink markers to color the edges if needed.  This also needs to be heat set to make it washable.

It amazes me how far digital paint programs have come.  I especially love Corel Painter 15, but it really took me a lot of time before I began to really use the great features of this program.  I found some you tube videos by several of the digital painter experts that have helped me a lot.  One of the cool things about this is that I can resize the flowers, reverse print them, and print them all..then I have a lot of flowers without having to paint more.

Sew happy everyone! Try a little digital painting for fabrics.

 

Putting Aside a Bogged Down Project to Draft a New Sea Themed Quilt

tatum-detail-waiting-AQSI got bogged down on designing my deep forest quilt with woodland creatures. I won’t abandon it, but will put it aside for a while. So I have decided after some encouragement from my friends and family to make another waiting-at-seaside quilt as quilt 2 in the clipper ship/sea series.

I think the original Waiting… has been my most popular quilt as far as positive comments from people…not so much from judges. This time I am planning to pay particular attention to the details of the clipper ship and to the family member(s) waiting for their loved one to return from sea, and greatly narrow or eliminate the borders. If I can successfully digitally paint a nineteenth century woman and child looking out to sea in anticipation, I will use them. This will again be my own original artwork except for the clipper ship.

Here’s how I approach a new wall art quilt that I am making in cotton (the silk based quilt process is different:

  1. I get an idea and lightly draw up a design concept on paper or in Corel Painter 15
  2. I put it aside a day or two and start hunting for royalty free images for elements I am going to need a reference image for drawing…in this case the clipper ship.
  3. I paint the elements for fabric prints…in this case the family member(s) waiting at sea side and the detailed drawing of the clipper ship.
  4. I then put the idea together in Corel Painter 15 and save it as both a .rif and a jpg.
  5. I take it to Corel Draw and size it to full size.   Corel Draw will automatically separate the pattern into printable sized sheets…usually I use 11 x 17 inch paper for this.
  6. I print it out and tape it together, providing me a full-sized pattern to work from.
  7. I crop out the elements that need to be printed on fabrics…in this case the family member(s) waiting at sea side or just their faces and hands, depending…and take the full sized element back to Corel Painter 15 to reference for matching the .rif format size and finalize the digital painting in the correct sizes.  I intensify the saturation by 25 percent and save as .rif or tiff file, which have fewer printer problems than jpg, and print these parts on fabric.  I have been known to send it through the ink jet printer twice, lining it up carefully, with very good results, and thoroughly saturating the fabric with the inks.  I then iron it to heat set it, rinse it in really hot water a couple of times, wring it out with a towel, and iron it dry.  This removes excess ink and makes it reliably permanent.   If it makes it too light, I will print another piece after raising the saturation level another ten percent. Occasionally, I will touch it up with real fabric ink and heat set again.
  8. In this case, I will paint the sky with Setacolor fabric inks…so I get some prepared-for-dye fabric, which I lay flat and spray with water, and wash paint it with the watered down fabric inks.  I heat set and hot rinse and iron it dry like I do with the printed fabrics.
  9. I prewash all the other fabrics involved.  I spray starch and iron everything before I start to construct the top.
  10. I then set about putting it together, confident that all the fabrics are washable and I can lightly wash and block the finished quilt before I bind it.
  11. Note that I use Crayola washable markers on the washed and starched fabrics to mark the top as I go.  It has always always come out in the blocking process for all my cotton quilts even if I iron over it.

I love clipper ships, and I plan on doing careful applique, trapunto work on the sails, and detailed stitching for the ship’s rigging. I am on the hunt for just the right royalty free picture of a clipper ship to base my quilted ship on. Copyright is always an issue when I am using someone else’s artwork or photography even as an inspiration for part of my quilts. Fortunately, I have a lot of resources for clipper ships that are royalty free now. it’s a matter of finding the right one and then redrawing it as a pattern for me to use.

I see a whole long series of historic ships, storms at sea, and waiting at sea side drama in my future. I plan on addressing some of the issues highlighted by judges for Waiting… as I reach for a higher level of quilt making.

Meanwhile, I am making progress on embroidering the Sashiko on the Peppered Cotton for my Ikebana quilt, which is kind of an ode to my years of living in Kanazawa, Japan and studying Ikebana. The biggest challenge of this quilt will be the Ikebana applique arrangement. The background is going to be simple embroidered and printed fabric blocks based on a five inch grid. Some of the blocks are 10 x 10, some 10 x 5, and the rest 5 x 5 arranged after embroidery and cutting on my design board. And I’m still working on my books.

Sew happy everyone…Hoping you have some fun in your sewing space today.