Machine Problems, Good Response

Well gentle readers, my new Bernina 880 Plus sewed a few hours the first day, and the second day it was increasingly problematic (last Friday), and then I got the gears of death…removed the threads in the bobbin, and got them again, looked and found a little more thread, and got them again.  Finally, it would not sew at all.  😒

So today I took it in to my wonderful Bernina tech at the dealership.  He spent some time looking at it and said he would try to get Bernina to send me a new machine, but they definately will make it right.  It wouldn’t sew for him either and it even had some odd sensor notices.  He said the timing is already off, it has a little clink when the bobbin opens and closes.  So let us all hope Bernina sends me a new one. I believe they will. They are an honorable company.  But I know they will make it right.

So I am back to waiting for my new machine.  I will still call the new one Odette, since I only used this one a few hours.

Don’t worry, I have plenty to do.  Between my computer work, my Bernina 350, and my Bernina Q20, there is much on my plate that I can move forward on while I wait.

  1. I’m writing two books right now…one is skill-building projects for fabric embellishments, and the other is a more general book on making pictorial art quilts.
  2. I’m also working on a fall workshop on embellishment.  So it would be very good to finish my book in time for that class..time to be determined.
  3. I have completed the design for my Mom’s memorial quilt centering around her crocheted pieces, and much of that is free motion quilting, with a little bit of piecing.  The little B 350 is great for piecing, actually maybe better than the bigger machines.  And so I can move forward with making samples and testing a few ideas I have for completing the design.  I also have some in-the-hoop items I hope to complete for it, but they can be added late in the process.
  4. And I have a train quilt, a rock strata with dinasaur fossils quilt, a polyester satin and dupioni quilt, and a tree quilt all swimming around in my head that I have only touched a little of the design work for those.  So if I have a long wait, I can get these things designed, cut out, and even some techniques tested for them.

Sew when I finally do end up with a workable big 8 series machine, I will have a stack of projects ready to go…lots of sewing then.

Am I a little dismayed over this?  Of course I am, but I realize that even the best companies sometimes have problems with a product every now and then.  It’s how they respond to it that makes the difference.

Sew happy everyone!  Tell me what you are working on.  I love comments.

 

 

Catching Up

Workshop 1: Applique techniques sampler (covers multiple techniques)

I am finally beginning to feel a little less overwhelmed.  Working with my BFF Anita, we are making real progress on the Easter banner and I estimate completion sometime early next week.  We have the top or front, completed except for a little free motion embroidery of grasses at the base of the lilies and the cross.  Then we will square it up and complete it with a very thin batting (Thermore…almost is like a thicker interfacing) and a facing back with a knife edge stitched around it, and add a gold fringe at the shaped bottom.  I will also do a little light quilting to keep it together nicely.  We have bells to tie on the banner’s hanger with long colorful ribbons on each side of the banner…very joyful!

This is the project for Fabric Arts Workshop II: Quilting with feed dogs up.

Also, I got all the kits ready (except for a few missing parts that are arriving on Monday) for Quilted Arts Workshop 1: Applique Techniques.  I did an inventory of my solid fabrics and made an order for making up the kits for Workshops 2 through 4, and today I worked out the quilting designs for Workshop 4 sampler (Ruler Work for Sit down Quilting). 

Quilting Template Letter

I found out that all my classes are filled and some I even allowed an additional student…so they are more than filled.  I can’t let any more in now.  How exciting! 

Additionally, I got my first video out.  This is a video stumbling my way through digitizing a wreath design with a lace background on Bernina V8 software.  It was my learning video…I had to learn the software and get all the settings to work right.  I have more learning to do, but it is kind of exciting to get a start on instructional short videos I have wanted to do for several years now. 

So with all that accomplished, I am feeling a lot less overwhelmed.  But I still have a lot to do…get the quilt sandwiches marked and sandwiched for the three quilting workshops, and I really want to make that Bob Ross challenge quilt for the Cherrywood fabric challenge this year.  It’s due in the summer, and I have the fabric, have worked out the design, and am excited about it.  Besides it is only 20″ x 20″, so I think I can get it done.

I also want to make my youngest son a shirt to wear to his next sci-fi writing conference due about the same time as the Bob Ross challenge.  And FINALLY, then I will go back to the train quilt which I hope to complete in time for entering into the early 2020 shows that have deadlines late this year (and I’d like to do another too). 

Besides, I lost ten pounds the past couple of months (I lose really slowly and have much more to go).  So I am feeling happy.

Sew happy everyone!  Spring and Summer are also for quilting just not as much maybe.  So go make a little quilted art. 

Making a Coat and Other Things

Sew I have put on my inner Edna Mode and am tailoring myself an overcoat as my regular readers already know.  I used to do quite a bit of tailoring and know serious tailoring techniques, but it has been quite a few years since I’ve done this kind of work.  So I’m slow, and get distracted, and have to look things up in my old notes because they don’t really include these high-end techniques in most patterns of the day.  It’s worth it though.  The results provide good fit, hang beautifully, and last and last.

 

Messy work table with coat pieces

 

Today I just finished the outer shell of my overcoat and am moving on to the lining, which also includes the fur collar.  At least I was able to try it on and it seems to be fitting okay, though it is kind of hard to tell without the lining and all.  I know, I should have made a muslin fitting first, but I didn’t.  I did do extensive measuring and adjusting.  I really love this pattern, and I’m making it in almost the exact same fabrics shown on the cover.  Of course, I am a rather large woman, so it won’t look quite like this, and I changed the sleeves a little and shortened it to knee length because I didn’t have enough fabric for this version.  Still, it’s going to be quite nice I think.

Butterick B6604

The very nice wool fabric from my long-held stash is, nevertheless, quite loosely woven almost like a hand-woven piece, and requires fully finished edges despite the fact that the seams will be hidden within the lining.  I’m lining it in a beautiful red crepe back satin and I have a wonderful faux fur for the collar that I bought years ago at G Street Fabrics from their remainder table.  Even as a small piece like that it was expensive then, but I have had it long enough that I consider it free…LOL.  I might make this pattern in another color in a long length with these interesting sleeves next year if this one turns out well since I still have a fair amount of the most beautiful black faux fur for the collar.

I don’t know why I’ve been so distracted on this project, so I haven’t sewn steadily on it every day like I normally do in such a case.  Still, I am making progress.  My “deadline” I set for myself is Thanksgiving.

What has distracted me, you might ask.  Among other things I am working out a new workshop to teach at G Street Fabrics next spring  for sit-down quilting with rulers using Bernina’s basic sit down ruler set.  My problem with this is the rulers are really basic and limiting, but I have learned I can add lines to them with Sharpie markers and later remove them with alcoholic swabs…(thank you Bethanne Nemesh for that tip).  This opens up many new possibilities.  I want to do something other than a set of rectangles to fill in standard looking designs for the class project.  I haven’t yet come up with a quilting pattern design I want to make into the workshop project, but I will eventually.   Then I will have to make one or more samplers and write a handout to go with it.

In the process I have been developing some templates to print out and use as quilting design frameworks.  I have managed to get my printer to use the biggest paper it is supposed to use…13 x 19 inch paper…and make these framework templates to fit on two sheets.  They are 16″ x 16″ and should work well as a basis for a 20 x 20 inch sampler.

In every printer there is a small amount of distortion, and so keeping the number of sheets down is very helpful in something like this.  That’s why I don’t think printing it in standard letter size sheets that need to be taped together works as well.  After printing them out and taping them together I tape them to the table and put a piece of tracing paper over them to work out some designs, while making notes so I can remember what I did (Thank you Lisa Calle for introducing me to this technique).  It has taken a good amount of time so far since I have made several of these framework templates.  I was thinking of eventually having these frameworks made into stencils for people to use in a similar way, but I haven’t yet decided what to do about that.

Additionally, I am working hard on finishing my Ten Skill-Building Projects for Bernina v7 design software book.  I plan to also write another similar book for Bernina v8 software.   I’ve also been working on working out some aspects of how I will approach my next show quilt, and new ideas keep rolling in, so I make notes in hopes of capturing the concepts as they fly by.

All of this is why I haven’t yet finished my overcoat.  LOL.

Sew happy everyone!  May you all live in God’s safety and happiness in this troubled time.

 

Fabric Art Workshops…Some done, more to come

Today I completed teaching the second in a series of Fabric Art Workshops that cover my basic techniques for creating quilted fabric art.  So far I have addressed my multiple techniques for machine applique and today I covered quilting with feed dogs up.  This gives the new quilter a chance to get used to handling a small quilt and learn how much you can do with the feed dogs engages.  On October 27th I am going to finish the three part series with Organic free motion quilting.  This is not formal feathery quilting, but rather how to approach quilting in a way that adds texture and enhances the design…often of pictorial quilts and the like.

This series sets up a nicely finished piece, but it does not include several things I also use…ruler work and the real biggy, which is surface design and embellishment.  So while I was there they asked me to run this series again next spring, and I agreed.  We also talked about how I might cover the missing elements…ruler work as well as surface design & embellishment.  So I will be developing some new workshops to go with the first three.  IF, therefore, someone wants to have the techniques to make quilted fabric art (and even use the techniques for more traditional quilting), they will be started down that path. Once they learn the techniques they can fly, as Bob Ross once said.  I am also mulling around in the back of my mind the possibility ofoffering these to quilt shows close enough to drive to from here (Ashburn, Virginia) and other shops.

I may not do that other than a possible local business or two because I don’t want to get so busy with these that I don’t have time to spend a lot of time making new art in my studio, because I am, after-all, basically a studio artist.  It is my biggest joy.  I do find I like teaching also, though.  I just don’t want to have the art overwhelmed by the teaching.  It is fun, however, to think of providing this whole series of what may work out to be five or six classes.  I want to do what I can to keep this sport alive and growing.

Sew there is more to come.  I have also been encouraged to complete my book on Bernina V7 design software, even though v8 is already out, because there are still people using v7.  It is almost finished and might actually be ready for the editor in a matter of a couple of weaks.  We’ll see. And then I am well over half-way through my techniques for fabric arts book.  I think I need a super power…Zap!   This is finished…that is finished…hahahaha


Exciting times…I want to start a new show quilt.  Tee hee

Sew happy everyone!..Teach someone to sew or quilt…your next door neighbor, your best friend, your grandson, your granddaughter, your dog….lol.  I love having you along on this great adventure!

An Infinite Horizon

Creating art with fabric and thread, plus some surface design and embellishments provides us with an infinite horizon.  No matter where we are with our creative expression and techniques, we can always get better.  Design and creative possibilities are nearly limitless in today’s sewing and quilting world.  So much can be done with even the most basic equipment (as long as it is in good working order). It’s so exciting!

I think I must be a little bit crazy because I see inspiration everywhere.  Sometimes I have so many ideas in my mind about what to try next that I have a hard time focusing in on a project, and then just as I almost have figured out how I will do my next project, I see a new inspirational technique or design.  I have to rein myself in and focus…LOL.

I have also realized that I am basically a magpie. .  I love love love sparkly, shiny designs, but then I also am fascinating with what I can do to make interesting looks and near three dimensional art quilts (I think of it as 2 1/2 Dimension)  Recently I have been thinking about what I can do with Bernina v7 design software.  This software has so many interesting techniques that go so far beyond simple embroidery designs.  So I have been spending considerable time thinking about and working on designs that might end up being my next show quilt.   Oh look, there’s another neat idea!!!!

In the meantime, I am making an overcoat.  I got the outer fabric cut out, but still have the fur collar (from a gorgeous piece of black faux fur), the lining, and interfacing to go.  I also am continuing the making of my applique bed quilt for my own bed.  I have completed the large middle block and six of the twelve little blocks.

Life in my studio is fun, and I’m sew excited about this brand new sewing and quilting season.   If you are in the area, maybe we can work out a play date to sew together sometime this fall. What are you working on?

Don’t forget…I am teaching a workshop next Saturday at G Street Fabrics in Rockville on quilting with feed dogs up for fabric art.  In this class you will learn how you can do some very interesting quilting in place of or to work with free motion quilting.

Sew happy everyone!  Wishing you a wonderful fall and winter sewing season.

 

 

 

Machine Applique for Fabric Artists– Saturday Sept 22

Next Saturday, the 22nd of September, at G Street Fabrics sewing machine center, I will be presenting a six hour workshop from 11 am to 5 pm.  This workshop is the first of a 3 part Fabric Arts techniques that are designed to present all the techniques I use in creating my basic fabric art show quilts (minus surface design and embellishment).  The other two parts will be October 6th and October 20th.  It’s going to be fun.

Anyway,this first workshop presents multiple machine applique techniques for multiple uses, and discusses how to decide which of these techniques work best where.  To do this, I designed a simple fun little top piece and provide a complete kit so the student can start right away learning and not spend time in prep work.

I will also show some of my show quilts that used these techniques and give instructions and demos along the way.

Canterbury Knight

So I am all ready.  I have all the kits made, I have the video equipment for my demos, and I am excited.  Hope to see you there!  If you aren’t there, please send a little prayer and good thoughts for me that it will go really well for all of us and everyone will have fun.

Sew happy everyone!  Play with some applique and make something fun.

Fall Fabric Art Workshops

I am excited about my upcoming workshops I will be teaching at G Street Fabrics in Rockville this fall.  If you are in the area, please sign up and come.  I understand there are still a few spaces.  These three six hour workshops provide the basic techniques I use in building and quilting most of my wall art quilts.  There will only be eight students with each workshop, to give me time to be available for each student and answer questions.

September 22, 11am to 5pm.  Fabric Art Workshop 1: Applique Techniques to make a top ready for quilting.

Kits for the workshops are available for purchase that includes everything the students need for the projects that will enable everyone to complete or nearly complete each project.  For the applique workshop, the leaves, birds, and dog or cat are all precut with fusible on the back. The student gets to put it all together like he or she wants and different edge finishes are taught as well as how one might choose which finish is discussed.  Threads, needles, and other supplies are included as well as the handouts.

The two quilting classes also have kits of premarked sandwiches with everything one needs to plunge right in and start quilting.

October 6, 11 am to 5 pm:  This is the project for Fabric Arts Workshop II: Quilting with feed dogs up.  Kit has premarked sandwich, thread, a needle, and handouts.

The students will learn there are many interesting results that can be obtained with their feed dogs up.  Of course, a walking foot would always be helpful, but will not be required for this class.  It’s a small 20 x 20 sandwich.

 

October 20, 11am to 5pm, Fabric Arts Workshop III:  Free motion organic quilting.  The Kit for the free motion quilting project is a lightly marked sandwich, with a leaf applique ready to start the class.,  It also includes thread, a needle, and handouts.

Sew I don’t address how to square up and bind a quilt, but I do provide references as to where you can get that information.  There is another part of my work that is also not included and that is surface design and embellishment.  However, I started my art quilt career just using the techniques covered here, and learned how to bind off the internet.  I am considering how I might do a workshop in surface design and embellishment, but not sure I’ll do it yet.  I do provide a bit of information on how you can pull together a design for such projects in the course of the workshops.

Come join me.  There are 8 slots per class and some have already been filled, but if you hurry you might get in.  Contact G Street Fabrics  and ask for the Sewing machine department.

Meanwhile, I’ll go back to making kits…LOL

 

 

Surface Design, Texture, and Embellishment

I love adding surface design, texture, beads, artistic thread work, yarns, and other types of embellishments to my wall quilts.  I think these things, when well done, can take them to a different dimension turning what may be an already nice pictorial/art piece that would be acceptable for someone’s wall to a treasure of a piece that makes the viewer want to stand and look at it for a long time or makes them happy every time they pass by it.

“Well-done” in this case by no means implies perfect, symmetrical, or formal, but it does mean interesting, the right amount, beautiful, technically  good, or just plain fun.  Sew this is what I strive for, although I suspect I will still be trying to make these things work as I see them in my mind’s eye to the last day of my quilting/fabric art life (which I plan on doing for the rest of my life).  But that’s one of the many things that makes playing in my studio so much fun.  Here are a few examples of such work.

detail from one of my deep space quilts with Angelina Fibers and hot fix crystals over a lightly painted background.

 

I learned early on that I needed to draw some guide lines for the direction of the stitching or I’d get them to be blowing around in different directions. Since the water in this quilt is going to look very calm and reflective, it didn’t make since to have the Spanish moss blowing around much. Here you see some of my marks. Also note that I had to break the stitching on several clumps so it looked like the limb is further toward the back from the viewer.

I painted these borders to go along with the vintage panel in the middle.

Sew this week I bought a needle punch attachment for use on my little Bernina 350.  I particularly like the way this little machine, which I purchased to have a machine to carry along with me to classes and other events needing a machine, is rapidly becoming an essential in my studio too.  It will be my “embellisher” now and I also have found it makes wonderful bobbin work with specialty thicker threadsm and makes perfect piecing possible.  I am kind of excited about this.  I plan on making interesting bits on some of my pictorial quilts, like steam clouds coming out of a steam locomotive, tree barks, fluffly little animals, and other interesting textural areas.  I just got a package of wool roving in a variety of natural colors to try it out with.  I also think I will get some other things that work this way…ribbons, sheer fabric pieces, ????

Sew happy everyone!  Try a little embellishing if you haven’t yet and if you send me photos I will post them if you don’t mind.  Send to BettyJo@bjfabricartistcom

Happy New Year and Planning for a Great 2018

 

Happy New Year everyone!  I really want to thank those of you who read my blog for sticking with me this year.  I am planning on doing more how-tos, reviews, and showing progress on my quilts this year.  I am expecting and declaring that 2018 will be one of the best from start to finish for me, my family, and all my friends. 

I have a lot of fun planned for 2018 and I want to share the quilting/sewing part of it with my readers.  I’m putting this in a list format and we’ll talk more about these over the next few months.

Two Quilt Shows I’m planning to attend.  Will you be there?

  • Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival 22 Feb-27 Feb.  I’m hopeful of having my current quilt in this show.  I’m also hoping one of my friends will be accompanying me.
  • International Quilt Festival in Houston, Nov 7-11.  Again, I am working on a quilt for this show.  We’ll see if I make it on time.  But I also am planning on entering Pendragon in this show.

Classes/Workshops I’m Developing…Not sure where or even if these will happen, but I’ll let you know along the way:

  • Basic free motion quilting for the new sit-down quilter
  • (Intermediate) Organic Free Motion and Other Quilting
  • A Demo-Lecture on Surface Design and Embellishment for Fabric Art
  • Machine Applique…Multiple Methods and When to Use Each One
  • Make a Quilted Bag

Books already started I hope to finish:

  • Quilting for Fabric Art
  • Machine Applique…Multiple Methods and When to Use Each One
  • Surface Design and Embellishment for Fabric Art

And most importantly quilts I am making or hope to make in 2018:

  • The one for MAQF (it’s a secret until after the judging, then I will blog about it)
  • Bayou quilt based on Joel Christopher Paynes artwork I bought the right for one quilt
  • A fourth, and possibly fifth, deep space quilt.  I hope to get the fourth one made for MQX East to celebrate its space theme
  • I have a bunch more show quilts, so we will see what I manage to make beyond the three above.
  • Several utility quilts, including one for my own bed and periodically make up a fast charity quilt.
  • I have dropped two sizes in 2017, still have a long ways to go, but I need to make a few nice new clothing items for me.

Sew Happy in the New Year Everyone!  May your dreams be met, your life be full of love, and your year fun and simply lovely!

By the way, I need some funds to help me keep my dreams for 2018 going, so I am hoping to sell several of my quilts this year to finance my attending the Houston show and keep me in stitches (LOL) and make room in my house for more.  You can see which ones on my website gallery…just scroll over the quilt and you can see the price and size.  Contact me if you are interested in one and maybe we can work something out that suits your budget.  I’ve instituted a lay away plan for the quilts.