Surprisingly Useful Studio Tools

Hi everyone.  This past few weeks have highlighted some really useful studio tools…some I made myself, and some I purchased sometime in my long sewing career.

As I noted on my last article, I discovered that a persistent thread-breaking problem was not, in fact, my machine, my needles, or my bobbin.  It was a burr that had developed on my 15 or so year old open toed embroidery foot that I had obtained two sewing machines ago.  I could hardly believe it was so old when I added it up.

My 20D foot…where the burr was and is no longer.

So today I took out my little Dremel tool that I keep around for special things, and sand-buffed the foot.  Then I tested it with multiple thread types and different stitches.  It did not break anything!  That foot sells for about $56 today.  Nice savings.  I had done the same thing to another foot last year that had developed a burr.  It was an even older one that the one I fixed today!  So the Dremel tool has more than paid for itself, and I have used it in other ways over the past decade.

Then there are two reference tools I made myself.  One is the decorative stitch library I have been building over the past six months.  I am working on a wool applique by machine project that uses some decorative stitches.  I have done multiple lines of different stitches in different threads and written the stitch number, any changes I made to the stitch settings, and so forth.  I now have about 10 large “pages” of these stitches.  I was actually surprised how much I consulted them as I was working through the stitch embellishments to the project.  It is very handy to see them stitched out! I am still working on this project and will somehow put them together when I finish.

Pages of my stitch library

The second reference tool I used today when I got to the background quilting of my project.  I am using a swirl and curl background, as I call it.  That consists of stippling and curls randomly used together, which makes a nice background fill for this project.  If you look on my YouTube channel, I have a short little video where I show the making of a stippling size reference piece.  This is particularly good when you need to try to keep the stippling the same size throughout the piece,  so I pulled it out and used it for this project.  So handy!  Here’s the link.

I think I should make more such reference aids, and I plan to.

Then there is my Clover ball-pointed awl that I used to hold the little wool applique and pointed pieces in place when they weren’t sticking so well while I stitched them down.  I use that a lot when I am appliqueing.

The problem with the Bernina foot made me think how much I enjoy using all the different Bernina feet and how much easier they make things or make things come out better.  I do love my Berninas and I have no affiliation with the company.  I am just a fan.  They are all three (B350, B880 plus, Q20 sitdown) wonderful machines (or is that sewing Droids?  You might click on that link and see what I mean).

Sew happy everyone!  Have fun in your studios and make sure your tools are organized and accessible.

 

A Tale of Broken Threads

Hi everyone

Earlier this week I was working on my new wool applique by machine project that I am filming into two or three videos for my YouTube Channel.  I already had some thread breakage earlier in the project,  but I thought it was a thread type or tension issue, since I was using a 100 weight silk thread, and when I lowered the top tension it stopped (but also made a change in my stitch pattern).

So I went along on my project with no further problems until I changed from my narrow blanket stitch to a decorative stitch that filled the whole stitch width of my 9 mm foot.  I started having thread breaking issues.  I was sure it was the thread itself, since I had moved from the very lightweight 100 wt threads I was using to stitch down the appliques to a 12 weight cotton for some decorative stitching.

some 12 weight decorative stitching

My threads started breaking after the first few stitches.  I cleaned, oiled, and rethreaded.  The thread broke by the third or fourth stitch.  I rethreaded again with the same result and I lowered the top tension.  So I changed threads, and the thread broke right away.  Oh my.  I was sure I was going to have to take Odette (my Bernina 880 plus) in for servicing, and that would be a big delay I really don’t need now.

But just before I was about to shut down the machine in disgust, a still small voice said “try a different foot”.  I remembered then that I had once before had a foot that I had used for decades develop a burr that broke threads.

Sew to my joy when I put on another foot that worked ok for what I was doing and tried it out, no breaking.  I tried it for some time and went on to finish the decorative stitching with the heavy threads I was doing.

Upon close examination of the culprit foot, I found that the right corner had a worn place that is very sharp.  This foot is 19 years old and one I use a great deal since it had fit both two older machines I traded in and my new Odette.  So now I have to either manage to fix the foot with some buffing, or replace it.  This will be much cheaper and easier and quicker than taking my machine to the machine vet for unknown repairs.

Anyway, the point is, it might be the foot if you have been having problems with breaking thread.  So check it out.

Sometimes sewing machine feet, after about 15 to 20 years of use (LOL)  or if it gets in the way if you hit a pin or bend a needle because you forgot to change some setting or some such, need attention.  The last foot I had this problem with was easily fixed with a little buffing with fine sand paper.  I had used it for more than 20 years!  When I am in my studio and having a lot of fun, it is hard for me to realize how old some of my tools have become…even those I bought myself “just a few years ago” (my thoughts).  Indeed, it’s hard to realize how long I have been sewing myself (somewhere around 70 years now since I was five).   If only if I can fix my own creakiness with a little light buffing.  He he he.

Sew happy everyone!  Have fun in your studio!

Updated Chart and Some Notes for Bernina Q20 (or Q16) Sitdown Longarms

Me at a Q20 at the Road to California in January 2020. I did buy the rings and love them, by the way.

Hi everyone. I became aware recently that there are quite a few quilters who use my chart I made years ago for my Bernina Q20 sitdown longarm (I have had mine now for over six years).  His name is Fritz, by the way.  We have a lovely time quilting and other free motion stitching together on a regular basis.  So I have double checked the information I have on this chart and added a few notes at the end.  I strongly suggest if you want to use this that you be sure to make adjustments for your own machine.  There are factors that can make things different from machine to machine…weather, minor factory setting differences, what table you use, and on and on.  But I think these settings are a pretty good place to start for you if you are a new owner of one of these fabulous machines.  It would be the same for a Q16 too, by the way.  Sew here it is.  Download it if you wish and provide comments for improvement here on the blog.  Share as you wish.

Q20 chart

By the way, currently I am working on a new wool applique project that makes a nice pillow top for about a 20 x 20 decorator pillow.  I am videoing this and will have a pattern too with both printed patterns and  svg files for the appliques those of you who have digital cutters.

After that, however, I am planning on some videoing for working at the Q20…ruler work, free motion, and setting up and maintaining your Q20 or Q16.  Like I said,  I have had mine for over six years and I love how it sews. It almost seems better now than when I first got it, but I am thinking I am probably better at using it now than when I first got it.  LOL

 

Sew happy everyone!  Have fun in your studio and try out a little free motion stitching or quilting this weekend.

Sometimes You’re Up, Sometimes You’re Down

Hi everybody.  If you tried to read any of my blogs in the past five days or so you would not have been able to.  I had a technical failure related to automatic updating of security certificates and programs.  Oh it was miserable.  I spent hours in discussion with the technical people for days!  We finally identified the problem and got it fixed just yesterday afternoon!  So I’m happy I can move forward again in this great adventure. I admit that I was a little concerned my blogs had been lost for good, but not so. Now I have a zip file of my entire blogs from the beginning through the last post.  This is a good thing, because I have been writing a book and using the information I put out in many of my blogs as part of it and I only just started pulling that together.

Storm at Sea…seems appropriate for this past week. LOL

In addition, I just decided to abandon the “Painting on Quilts” project because I had too many problems of one kind or another related to painting the  quilts and filming at the same time.  It just wasn’t meant to be, so I am picking my next projects and moving forward.  Today I am working out where I go from here.  I have a myriad of ideas and partially started projects, but not one is ready to video yet, so I will have to get to work!  LOL…and it will be fun, whichever direction I go I am sure and will involve thread and fabric!

Sew what can we learn from this?  Sometimes it is the thing to do to abandon a project.  Sometimes you have to plow through a problem until it is solved.  Starting a new project will be fun but I think also need some short things of interest to do and write about and video for you all while I work on the long things.

Sew happy everyone!  Have fun in your studio!

 

 

75!!! and still sewing!

I hand stitched this little crewel scene using wool threads years ago. It has a special meaning for me because I stitched it during my frequent visits with my mother in the months just before her death in 1998. My youngest son took it and had it framed in a museum quality acid free framing to protect it.

I am a very blessed woman.  On Thursday, the 3rd of March, 2022, I will be 75 years old, three quarters of a century!

Come fly with me

And yet I still happily enjoy my sons, daughter in law, and grandson who live close by.  Joyfully, I still have a clear mind with only an occasional “senior moment” and gratefully I have a fairly functioning body, though I often feel a little creaky as one might who is 75, find it a little challenging to manage the stairs in my townhome, and I can’t work quite as fast or nearly as long as I used to, but nevertheless I still mostly manage.

I have a wonderful, though somewhat crowded, studio with four machines that are so enjoyable to use with each its own function to play with and a good sound stash of fabrics and threads.  My family outfitted my studio with equipment of all kinds to help me make the videos I want to share with you all.

Sony ZV-1:  One of my two primary cameras that I use in filming my videos.  I love this little camera.

 

So bless the Lord, oh my soul!  Thanks to Him and thanks to my family and friends who have surrounded me with love and support to help me through this phase in my life.

I had hoped that my videos coupled with the accompanying patterns that can be purchased for such a small amount from my website would provide some profit to support my fabric art work, but alas, this has not happened so far.  Yet I will keep on in spite of that at least for a while because over my 70 years of sewing (yes!!!) I have learned so much that I want to share.  It seems remarkable that at my age I have garnered a clear understanding of some of the more technical aspects of using my advanced machines and the software that helps me on a daily basis.  I guess it comes from practice and a certain fascination as to what can be done with these wonderful tools. The first lesson I clearly remember from when I was around 5 is how important it is to keep one’s tools, especially the machines, clean and oiled properly.  She also taught me to get the best tools I could afford and learn them well.  Then she taught me how to sew.  We spent many great enjoyable hours together making our clothes and household items.  When my children were on the way, we made their entire wardrobes, receiving blankets, and crib items.

This sewing machine is like the one I remember Mom having when I started to sew.

I learned to quilt starting in 2003 when I moved close to my oldest son and his wife after my dearest love Marvin passed.  Beth (DIL) said she thought I would enjoy quilting, which she had herself found fun.  So I took up the challenge and never looked back.  I must admit though, that I went in a somewhat different direction that she may have expected, since I fell in love with pictorial art quilting.

Canterbury Silk. I consider this as kind of my “flagship” quilt for my current fabric art work.  It won three nice fat ribbons, one even at AQS Paducah! It hangs in my living room above my comfy chair most of the time.

I may have just a few more days, months, or years to live. Only God knows the answer to that, but I kind of expect that I have a lot of years left before me (many in my family ancestry have lived to their late 90s and early 100s).  I plan on keeping on with my sewing, quilting, writing, and videoing until I simply cannot do it any longer.

I have had, so far, an interesting life full of love, laughter, world travel, and even adventure.  Now I am content to stay home and play in my studio for the most part. Sew I am sending out love and thanks to all my readers and viewers, family, and friends.  May God bless you all.

Sew happy everyone!  Have fun in your studio!

 

 

Two Birds Project

If you have been sewing or quilting any length of time I know you have occasionally had a project that seemed to fight you every step of the way.  I have been dealing with such a project for the past several months and, through persistence and a little bit of acceptance of some of the results that aren’t quite what I originally had in mind, I am very close to finishing it. It is my two birds quilt project for my YouTube channel.

The techniques are not difficult, the design is good and problems in the pattern and instructions have been eliminated.  It was an experimental quilt project in many ways.  I had several  personal problematic challenges with a few little annoyances here and there that only occasionally happen with me or my projects and a few small machine and health events.

During the course of making this project, I redesigned parts of it several times; ruined the beginning with a mistake on my part and had to reorder fabric to restart it; discovered the way I had planned to accomplish some of the parts were not the best route and I had to correct them; my quilting machine got some fluff and thread caught in the thread path that I couldn’t get out on my own and I spent several hours on the phone working with my wonderful Bernina tech Lew who helped me fix it and basically we serviced my machine as we worked through the problem; I discovered I did not like the way all the thread colors worked though I loved the threads, so had to order new threads and work around the wait; had a part of the quilting I messed up and ripped out and requilted; and finally, abnormally struggled with getting the binding on for some reason (perhaps I was out of practice).  But each problem has been overcome and the quilt is lovely.

That is now all behind me, the videos are filmed except one small finishing up, and the quilt is lovely.  I still need to do the final wash to remove all the marks and refresh the fabric, and the videos are being edited into several segments by my excellent family member editor.

In the midst of all of this I had cataract surgery in both eyes and a few other things that delayed my work on the project.  But all in all, I am delighted with the results of the eye surgery and have dealt with the other delays and bumps in the road.

Sew in a few weeks now, the two birds videos will be published along with a workbook with the pattern and instructions in case someone wants to make one themselves.  And the cool thing is that I have been through the instructions, patterns, and making of the quilt and already made all the mistakes for you, so you won’t have to make them yourself.  LOL. Therefore, I am pretty sure if you decide to join me and make the quilt you will find it really fun and free of such challenges.

I talked over new ideas with my family last weekend and am very excited about upcoming projects for 2022 and look forward to sharing them with you all. I fully believe that I will be producing more frequent videos with some really fun projects and I hope you will join me or at the very least watch the videos and continue to read my blogs. I am thinking of adding some podcast blogs once in a while (all sound, no videos).

NEWS:  I have put several of my quilts on a really good sale to help pay for some upcoming expenses.  Go take a look here: https://bjfabricartist.com/shop

Sew happy everyone and have fun in your studios!

 

The Making of “Out of Mom’s Workbasket”

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

I have a quilt that will be shown in an in-person quilt show this week at the Pennsylvania International Quilt Extravaganza in Oak, PA, that runs from 9/16 Thursday through 9/19.   It is my memory quilt for my mother Out of Mom’s Workbasket9/17/2021 UPDATE:  This quilt won third place in Traditional Quilts category!!!   Hooray!!!

Out of Mom’s Workbasket

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The central pentagon before the quilt top was constructed.

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

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

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

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

Sew happy everyone!  Have fun in your studio.

 

 

Preparing for a Fun Sewing and Quilting Season

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— A supply of blades for my rotary cutters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working on New Projects and Patterns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Designing and Picking Supplies for Summer Projects

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pillow forms (2 – 18 x 18)

Pellon SF101 Shape-Flex Cotton 20” x 10 yards

Sulky Temp Spray Adhesive

Setacolor fabric paint

Artists crayons

Light board with cutting mat

Hobbs Tuscany wool batting throw size

Quilter’s Dream 80/20 select loft batting throw

Crayola washable gel pens

Madeira Cotton Stable fusible

OESD Ultra Clean and Tear

A Sampling of Wonderfil Threads

Spageti Packs (12 wt cotton)

Splendor Pack (40 wt rayon)

Invisafil Pack (100 wt polyester)

Accent (12 weight rayon) Evergreen

Glamore (12 wt rayon with one strand metallic

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