Filling the Art Quilter’s Toolbelt–a Friend’s New Book and DVD

Developing a toolbelt full of different techniques and the accompanying supplies has added a lot to my quilts especially in the past couple of years.  I have done this primarily over the Internet, Books, and from DVDs, as well as workshops at quilt shows.  This week I received a new book and DVD that provides an excellent clear overview of techniques needed to make wonderful landscape quilts.  Even as an experienced landscape quilter I found a host of new techniques and tips I have not yet tried.  If you are interested in making your own landscape quilts, I highly recommend Kathy McNeil’s new book Landscape Quilts with CD and the DVD Learning Landscapes.  It’s almost like having her come and give you a private workshop.

http://www.kathymcneilquilts.com/shop/dvd-workshops-for-quilters/

 

 

 

New Online Storefront All Set Up

I have finally gotten everything in place to start selling some of my fabric arts and downloadables.  In case you are considering doing something like this, here are the steps I have taken so far:

  1. Obtained my county and state licenses (I used Legal Zoom.com to do this).
  2. Set up my online store front through my website supplier (GoDaddy)
  3. Used one of the storefront themes available with the software and customized it myself.
  4. Added four of my show quilts and the categories for my downloadable products.  These will include embroidery designs for you to buy and use on your own embroidery machine; Prepared-for-applique downloadable images with instructions for how to use them; Free videos showing techniques and product reviews; and finally books I am currently writing on digitizing embroidery using Bernina v7, machine applique using different techniques for different types of applique, and surface design for fabric art.

So here it is…Ta-daaaaa…

storefront

 

Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to let you know when I have the downloadables and the books ready to go (I estimate a week or two for that to start happening).

Sew happy everyone!

Smaller Wall Art Quilts as a Valid Show Quilt

I usually make my show quilts sized to comfortably  fit the design I envision rather than stretching to make them really large.   I believe smaller quilt (not miniatures)  have become more acceptable as show quilts in recent years for most shows, as they should be.  I don’t normally work in quilts over 60 inches in either direction, and mostly my quilts end up fitting within the lower end of the small wall quilt sizes of most quilt shows. I believe this slightly disadvantages them because the bigger the quilt the more it seems to have impact, though that just makes me work all the harder on my smaller quilts.

Impact is one of the most important parts of getting the attention of a judge.  When they are looking at miniatures, they are expecting to see small, and miniatures are frequently impressive for how intricate they are in such a small space.

I was hoping to complete my most recent quilt Canterbury Knight by the entry deadline for American Quilter’s Society Grand Rapids, and then subsequently to enter it into the other AQS shows.  I almost made the deadline.  I probably would have if I had not discovered that it would not qualify for the show.  There is a gap of six inches between the smallest of their small wall quilt size and the miniature, and my quilt was only 27 inches wide, right in that gap.

So yesterday I said something about it on my Facebook, and got a response from AQS that lead to an email exchange with AQS’s quilt show coordinator Andrea Ray.  She contacted me and asked what my question was.  Here is the exchange:

From me to Andrea:

Hi Andrea,

Actually, I first asked through the website contact page, because I am wondering why there is a gap on sizing between your small wall quilt and your miniature quilt, so that anything between 30 and 24 inches wide or long is not enterable in an AQS show.  I just completed a 27 x37 inch quilt that took me about six months to make, and I must say was probably my biggest challenge yet in quilt making…but it is not enterable.

I have two points on this. The first is that my 27 x 37 inch quilt is 999 square inches and a 30 x 30 inch quilt is 900 square inches.  The second is that this is not a miniature quilt in the usual thoughts about miniatures, and such a size is wonderful for a small home or office wall.  I make wall quilts for people’s homes or offices.  It just seems right to include this size in a major show like the AQS shows.  Besides, I love to go up to Lancaster, in particular, and now you’ve opened one in Chattanooga where I grew up and in Syracuse, close to Ithaca NY where I have many friends.  I am sorry I can’t show my quilt in those locations in particular.

From Andrea to me:

Betty Jo,

Thank you for your feedback. You are not alone. We have heard this about the sizes before, which is why we included the Wall Quilts- Fiber Art category (Width 24” – 40” and Length 24” or more). This category is available in Paducah and Syracuse in 2015.

We are currently working on our rules for 2016 where the size question was brought up again. I hope to include this size range in Des Moines as well.

Thanks,

Andrea

I appreciate the very nice rapid response, but I urge AQS to consider adding this new smaller size category for all of their shows.  The final point about this is that some very talented quilters live in a small space and have a small sewing space where making a larger quilt is physically taxing or even next to impossible.  Opening this smaller size is not compromising in any way.

Such quilts should be beautifully created…good in design as well as construction techniques and fabulous quilting.  It would also help spread the joy of beautiful quilts for decoration of home and office.

Sew happy everyone!

Merry Merry Blessed Happy Christmas to All of You!

129

Thank you all my friends and family who take the time to read my mutterings on this blog.  Merry Christmas to you and to those of you who do not celebrate Christmas, have a blessed week. I am greatly looking forward to the new year and all our adventures together…quilts, books, family, music, love, faith, and joy…may they all be part of your life and mine.  We are going to the candles and carols service tonight at church at 7, and then come home and have the chicken and dumplings I have cooking away in my slow cooker.  Thank the Lord for slow cookers and sewing machines, and computers, and all the material blessings that make my life easier and more fun.  And thank Him especially for His coming to save me and mine and fill me with happiness and for my family and friends.  Merry Christmas to all and let the celebration begin!   Can I say it again?  Merry Christmas to all!

Merry-Christmas-to-all

Printing on Silk/Cotton Test Results

In preparation for some of my planned quilts using silk/cotton blend Radiance by Kaufman fabrics, I decided to try some printing on the fabric to see how it came out. I chose a picture from Dover Pictura Fantasy collection because it is rich with colors that could fade or bleed. Here is the picture as it appears on the screen:

Test:  Screen shot

Test: Screen shot

I ironed two layers of freezer paper onto the back of prepared for dye white radiance and using a rotary cutter and ruler, I cut the edges carefully to fit a letter size 8.5 x 11 inch sheet. I set up my printer as described in The Quilt Show episode 702 and taking into consideration some information that Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero provided on TQS–increasing the saturation, contrast, and darkening the picture a bit. Then I printed it in my Epson Workforce printer. Here is how it looked after printing and removal of the freezer paper:

After printing and before rinsing

After printing and before rinsing

Then I heat set it, rinsed it in cold water. squeezed it out, and ironed it dry (thereby adding to the heat setting). Since silk is easy to over-press and damage the look of the sheen, I pressed it from the back placing the right side on a fine piece of cotton on the ironing board. Here is how it looked after all of that:

post rinse and heat set

My eye cannot see a difference. My camera shows a very slight difference, but my camera skills may be responsible for some color differences, so take that into consideration. I believe this is a successful print test. I have not washed it with soap or hot water, but rinsing in cold is sufficient for my purposes, because that allows me to soak off glues and markings and properly block my quilts I might use this method for. More wash testing should be done before using it in a quilt that will be washed repeatedly.

I think it is necessary to use “prepared for dye” fabric, and back it stiffly and all over with freezer paper and set the ink intensity up to make this a success. Also be prepared for slight lightening of your printout on the first rinse. I did repeat rinse and had no additional lightening that I could see.

Sew happy everyone! Hope you find this of some use.

Working With Hot Fix Fibers (Angelina Fibers)

Stellar Nursery, inspired by NASA photos of "Mountains of Creation".  My first deep space quilt.

Stellar Nursery, inspired by NASA photos of “Mountains of Creation”. My first deep space quilt.

I have made two deep space quilts that used large “appliques” of Angelina Fibers…or holographic fibers that make a “fabric” when ironed together and their sister fibers that do not iron together.  I used these fibers to try to represent the exquisite colorful gas clouds pictured in NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer telescope photographs.  I also have used this product to represent foamy tops of waves on a stormy sea on other quilts.  I believe they would also make wonderful steam clouds from a steam locomotive, wings of butterflies, dragon flies, fairies, or angels.

Working with the fibers is not really difficult, but I have discovered some things that make them work better for my purposes.  First of all, one cannot simply place a pile of fibers down and iron them flat if they are to look right. It’s more like painting with your fingers.

You need the following tools:

  • sheets of either a teflon pressing cloth or a saved sheet of backing paper from fusible webbing (note the hot fix fibers only stick to themselves and the bottom of your iron…you can work directly on your ironing board, though I cover mine with backing paper).
  • an iron
  • a pointy something, like a chop stick or a bamboo cooking skewer or a sewing awl to move the fibers around.
  • a hard pressing surface works better than a well-padded ironing board
Set up ready to start

Set up ready to start

Working with very thin layers, I laid the fibers on a backing paper and arranged them as much like I wanted them as possible with such a lively set of fibers, and carefully placed the teflon sheet over the top.

Really thin layer

Really thin layer

Blues change color the most

Blues change color

Sometimes, sliding the pointy thing under the pressing sheet, I made a few adjustments.  I then  ironed over the sheet, drawing the iron across slowly but steadily and without stopping.  That is all it needs to turn it into a “fabric”.

Carefully cover with pressing sheet

Carefully cover with pressing sheet

Here are some of the other things I learned about it:

  • If you iron the fibers too long….and that may be just a few more seconds…it will darken.  This can be useful if you are making a dark nebula, for instance, like the Horse Head.
  • They tend to change colors a bit.  Blue fibers are the hardest to keep their colors.
  • Not all Angelina Fibers are hot fix, but if you are going to cover the fibers with a nylon veiling and sew down, you can use them if they are the color you need by sandwiching them between a very thin layer of the hot fix crystal colors.
  • Work like you are finger painting…round shapes, good for cloud puffiness, are best done in circular motions with your fingers, and carefully laying the pressing sheet over them and pressing. ‘
  • You can kind of comb the fibers with your fingers and the pointy thing if you need them to stretch out sort of straight.
  • The only way to get a hard edge is to make a flat sheet of the fabric and then cut it.  If you want a soft edge (in appearance), don’t cut it, but pull it straight out flat with your fingers until it  tears  off in order to fit into your desired shape.
  • Once the fiber is made into a fabric, this fabric cannot be pulled into any additional shape…there is absolutely no stretch.
  • Sometimes it is possible to remove a layer if you haven’t over-melted your fibers together and don’t like what you have done.

 

layer ready for horsehead

layer ready for horsehead

If you are working out a pattern of some sort, you need to realize you will not be able to mark it except perhaps with a soft chalk marker that will just go away while you are working with it.  I worked on black fabric and printed out a smaller picture of what I was trying to accomplish in color.  Laying it next to my work, I referenced it.  I did mark approximate sections within the nebula on my black fabric using a chalk for sizing purposes.

The resulting artwork should not be washed after completion, so you have to be aware of that during the entire time.  It is possible to block your quilt by laying it on the floor and spritzing it with a fine mist of water, but do not wash it in your washer.  Also, once quilted, don’t pull your quilt too forcefully to try to block it.  So I use a quilt sandwich somewhat larger than I need and square it up by cutting rather than blocking.  The blocking is so it lays nice and flat.

I also printed the horsehead full sized and cut it out like a pattern.  This enabled me to cut out the horsehead part of the nebula by holding it together with the fiber applique before applying it.

Horsehead cut out after making as close as possible with fiber "painting"

Horsehead cut out after making as close as possible with fiber “painting”

The background needs to be completed before you start adding the Angelina Fibers.  In the case of the Sky Horse, I painted some of it first, sandwiched the quilt, spray basting it together, then laid the appliques on the background and covered them with black nylon veiling.  Black veiling virtually disappears in this case.  Then I placed my pressing sheet over that and did a light ironing to join all the appliques together.  Once I did that, I pinned it together with safety pins and did the quilting.

Horsehead layer in place

Horsehead layer in place

I used both black 100 wt silk thread and Superior’s Glitter.   This thread looks almost like the Angelina Fibers and works well for special places, such as the horse’s head.  I heavily quilted it.  Once it is quilted together with the nylon veiling it is much less fragile and I found it went through the shipping to and from and the showing at the Houston show with no apparent damage at all.  Before it is quilted, though, it is kind of easy to crease it.

You can't mark this, so lay a picture beside your work.

You can’t mark this, so lay a picture beside your work.

When used as just a small accent on a quilt, you don’t necessarily need a veiling, but you do need a heavy amount of quilting.  I found that Superior’s Glitter works very well for this also, since it looks like the fiber, but it sews easily.

Tatum_SkyHorse_Full 2014

Sew there you go….that’s how I work with  Angelina Fibers.  It’s harder to describe than it is to do, sew give it a try.  I’d love you to let me know how you find working with it yourself and if you have any tips to add.

Sew happy everyone!

 

Metallic Threads on my Berninas

While in Houston, I bought some Wonderfil metallic threads.  It had some colors that were just a little bit different than those I find in Superior metallics, and a couple of my professional quilty friends have recommended it to me.  I just gave it a try and found that the tension settings are just about the same as for Superior threads for my machine.  I like the thread ok.  It has a nice sheen to it, and sews without breaking.  I still think I prefer Superior, but clearly this is a nice alternative.

Almost all the thread manufacturers recommend really lowering your upper tension when working with metallic threads.  Now this may work ok for most machines, but with my Bernina 830, I have found that the tension settings sometimes need to be even higher than for the standard 50 wt  that is the thread used for default tension settings for nearly all manufacturers.  This may be a surprise to you.

Here is a picture of the little stitch out I used to test the threads.  It has both Superior and Wonderfil metallics.

Top with mutlitple tests of tension settings look ok for all:

Right side, mutliple threads and tensions

Right side, mutliple threads and tensions all appear ok from the top

Bobbin side with 3.0 to 4.0 thread tensions…see how it pulls to the back.  The bobbin is threaded for normal tension.  Apologies for the slightly fuzzy, picture, but you can still see how bad the tension is.

Obvious poor tension

Obvious poor tension–bobbin side

 

It wasn’t until I went to 4.25 top tension that it began to look ok, but probably could go to 4.5 to make it work well enough.  I have used thread tensions as high as 4.75 on some metallics, especially when using them in the embroidery hoop.

 

Bobbin side at 4.25 top tension...see it still needs to be a little tighter on top

Bobbin side at 4.25 top tension (very close in picture)…see it still needs to be a little tighter on top

Sew what is the secret to sew with this high tension and not break the thread every few minutes?  Well, for me, besides using one of the better threads, I use a 90 embroidery/top stitch needle, a thread net, and set the speed down to middle or less, and sew a little slower than usual.  I also use the lubricant bar with the pink lubricant on my 830 LE, but if you don’t have this, I think it would work ok anyway.  I heard a rumor that Bernina discontinued this, but I have not checked it out yet.

On my Bernina 350, and my 1230, I have also found a tighter upper tension, bigger needle, thread net, and slow stitching helps to make the metallic threads work well, and if I sew relatively slowly, I have little problem with the threads breaking.

Sew happy everyone!

 

 

 

Progress and Plans

I’ve made a lot of progress on my little silk folk art Chaucer quilt, temporarily titled “Whan That Aprille”.  I have completed the central section, embroidered the text box, and assembled the top with the black border, which I also marked.  I am waiting on my order of additional black Radiance for the back and while I wait, I have been experimenting with threads and settings for the quilting.

I decided I really like the look of the antique gold metallic from Superior Threads.  Now I have discovered that my old Bernina 1230 “Betsy” has no problem with Superior metallics at all, and neither does my little B350 “E-Claire”, but my big old honking “Gibbs”, my Bernina 830 LE has some trouble with it.  It’s all related to the tensions of both the bobbin and the top.  It’s one of the best features of Gibbs, but also one of the most complex that it allows tremendous adjustment for both the bobbin and the top.  I really want to use the big machine to do my quilting so I can use the stitch regulator and the large table arrangement that makes quilting so easy.  I must have spent three full quilting days trying to figure out how to get the setup right and the gold thread to quilt without showing up as “tension problems” on the back that judges simply cannot abide.  But I finally got it, I think.  Here is the setup I have for the black borders that I plan to quilt in antique gold thread:

Silk-Cotton black Radiance for both the top and the back
90/14 Superior titanic top stitch needle
Superior 100 weight silk thread in the bobbin
Top tension 2.0
Bobbin thread for embroidery, but tension is loosened two clicks to the left (there is a special tool for this)
Bottom layer of batting is a thin polyester from Quilter’s Dream
Top layer of batting is Hobb’s wool.

Now yesterday I had no problem with this.  Both the top and the bottom looked absolutely even.  Today I had a few spin out loops on the back, but I think it is because I got overly confident and started sewing too fast.  So I slid the speed control to the left and slowed way down with no more problems.  My other two machines will not sew that fast.  It just needs time to make it right.  I have successfully quilted one of my five little practice mug rugs.  I plan on finishing up four of them and sharing them with some of my friends that I owe mug rugs to.  I will use them as practice painting samplers also, since I am planning on painting the border designs.

Sew what else have I been doing while waiting for the backing fabric?  I have been rejiggering my quilting plans for the rest of this year and beginning of next year.  I put them on my website (did you know I also have a website)?  I have also started updating my quilt show list I keep there, but I figure that will take me a few more weeks to complete.  I’ll let you know.  Anyway, here is my “current projects” list (actually it’s my current plans list, but I like the feel of “projects” as opposed to “plans”…seems more like I’m making lots of progress. 😉

 

  1. Whan That Aprille:  A folk art applique, embroidery and beading experiment.  I combined this with the illuminated manuscript project.  This is a silk and silk/cotton/Radiance quilt.  The main center section is complete, the black border is pieced on and marked, the text box is successfully embroidered and pieced in.  I am ready to make the sandwich and begin the quilting, but I decided I needed considerable experimenting, testing, and practice before I do this, and have put together five small mug-rug sized practice pieces for this purpose.  I estimate completion of this quilt by 1 August.
  2. **NEW** First Flight:  New blue print based whole cloth quilt based on Wright Brothers’ Line Drawings and an applique/embroidery rendition of a plane in the center.  Mostly designed, although not patterned out yet.
  3. Volcanic Fire with Flying Things:  Erupting volcano with dark mountain, smoky orange sky and fiery volcanic lava…in the near orange sky there will be a fight between phoenix and dragon in hopefully magnificent colors.  This was inspired in part by my recent storm-at-sea quilt “Waiting…” in which I placed a rocky lower border.  I enjoyed making that border and it made me think of volcanic rocks.  It was also inspired by my work on “Sky Horse” and I decided the phoenix or dragon should have a large component of Angelina Fibers and crystals as part of the applique.
  4. Peppered Ikebana:  This will draw from old Japanese Sashiko for the background, and will have a Japanese flower arrangement in the foreground.  I am planning on making this largely with Pepper Cory’s shot peppered cotton fabrics, both free motion machine quilting and Sashiko large stitch quilting, and a combination of applique and machine embroidery for the flower arrangement.  Remember, I have my fourth year flower arranging certificate in the Sogetsu School of Ikebana that I got in Japan and I want to use that in a series of flower-arrangements on quilts.
  5. Flower appliques and embroidery:  I am using Beth Tatum’s beautiful flower pictures to design both in-the-hoop appliques and embroideries and out of the hoop free motion embroideries as a joint quilt with her (my DIL).  Working on applique designs.
  6. Jazz On a Crystal Night:  A stylized nighttime city scene with musicians silhouetted in tall building windows and doors.  The music stream will be floating out of the windows and doors to the sky where it “explodes” into “fireworks”.  This quilt will have a lot of crystals. Set in the 1920s.
  7. Light in an Ancient Forest: Very dark forest with great old character and large wonderful trees.  Coming through the trees is a beam of sunlight that lands on the floor of the forest highlighting [something] in  full of color.  The something may be an ancient ruin of church with the light coming through the stained glass or a small patch of colorful flowers.  There may be a woodland creature or two peaking out from behind some of the trees.  🙂
  8. Perspective in Silk:  Second in series of perspectives in thread drawings…I will do this one on silk with colorful threadwork.  This may become the start of a series on American monuments or something else.
  9. Zephana’s (my mother) Gifts:  Using my mother’s unfinished hand-crocheted lace I found in her workbasket after her passing for embellishment and a key design component, this quilt is in her memory.  I will use a background of linen  and silk fabric.
  10. Dragon Dress for Competition: Black quilted silk sheath dress with flared skirt, will have appliqued trapunto dragon wrapped around the dress.  This is for competition and will include machine embroidery, hand embroidery, Angelina Fibers, crystals, beads and sequins.  I just have to figure out how to make the dragon wrap so it looks right.

Sew Happy everyone, and what are you working on or planning now?

 

 

Playing in My Studio: Combining Multiple Techniques

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

Waiting...

Waiting…

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

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

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

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

 

finished detail as shot 2

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

 

tatum-detail-waiting-AQS

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

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

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

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

The Storyteller…now touring with Hoffman Challenge 2013 show

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

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

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

 

From the Archives: “Waiting…” The Saga Continues

(5/22/2014)  Hi, as promised I am continuing to republish the blogs I wrote as I worked through the making of “Waiting…”  Several times I had put this aside for some months while I made other quilts.  These posts talk about my experiment with piecing, and continues on about my work on digitizing this applique/embroidery piece in Bernina v6 software.  In the end, I did not use it.  It was too large for the hoop and I wanted a more delicate stitch-down of the sales.  Instead I worked freehand directly on the quilt and used trapunto to puff out the sails.  Nevertheless, it is a pretty  nice clipper ship that fits in my jumbo hoop. 

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TITLE: Storm at Sea: Clipper ship applique and an idea
DATE: 2/16/2012 11:46:22 PM
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clipper_ship_larger

I’ve been learning more about how to use Bernina 6.0 design software and was able to clean up my original in-the-hoop clipper ship considerably.  I found how to remove overlap, and fixed a lot of other little things that make it look a lot better I think (you can scroll down and see the original from an earlier blog if you want).  Here’s a pic of how the design looks now (it’s just an image, not the real applique/embroidery piece).  The sails and ship are appliqued and everything else is embroidery.  The ship fabric, of course, is not what I will use, but it’s what they have in the selection and I haven’t scanned in anything else.  I will probably hand piece or digitally paint a special piece of fabric for the boat to use with the in-the-hoop design that will show the wooden sides of the boat properly oriented.  I find it so exciting that I can put this together in the hoop.  We’ll see what it looks like when I stitch it out.Anyway, I plan on using this on my storm at sea quilt.  This fits into a jumbo hoop for the Bernina 830.  We’ll see how it stitches out.  Idea:  Eventually, I hope to have a variety of items like this for download from my website for people who have Berninas.  I haven’t figured out if it can be done for other machines or not, nor do I know what, if anything, I have to do legally before I can share or sell my own designs I make in Bernina software.  But I’ll find out both of those things and take care of any obstacles before or if  I do that.  I have in mind making in-the-hoop applique/embroidery items such as Nativity figures, old tall ships of several varieties, women and men in historic poses and costumes, and other items for others to be able to download and use on their own quilts and wall hangings.  Some would be accompanied by digital pictures that could be printed on fabric and used in the appliques (like the faces of the people or the boat sides, for instance).  What do you think about this idea?

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TITLE: Traditional Block Inspiration: Storm at Sea, part 1
DATE: 8/27/2013 9:18:13 PM
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I have started a new art quilt to accompany my work on the Horsehead Nebula quilt because I like to have several quilts going at once, and this one requires piecing some traditional blocks.  I have several of these quilts in mind to make over the next year–Storm at Sea, Jacob’s Ladder, Bear Paw.  All will be pictorial quilts, but somewhere in the quilt there will be the traditional block that inspired the quilt.  Sew I’m starting with Storm at Sea.

Now I have talked about this quilt before way back early in my blogging, but I have finally really started it now.  It requires somewhere between 6 and 11 of the traditional block, which is fairly difficult.  But I have been able to figure out how to do it with paper piecing, which is something I have always found difficult.  Thanks to a video posted on The Quilt Show this month by Carol Doak, I think I have finally figured it out.  Anyway, here is my first Storm at Sea block:

block1_web

It’s square even though the picture doesn’t look like it.  It takes for-ev-er to make.  I got the foundation pattern from Electric Quilt 7.  I’ll show you more as I get more done.

Sew happy everyone.

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TITLE: Storm at Sea: One of these things is not like the other!
DATE: 9/24/2013 6:15:08 PM
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not_like_the_other_web

I have developed a keen appreciation for those of you who do a lot of piecing.  This has been one challenging project so far.  I finally have the wave constructed, though I must rip out one of the blocks, fix it, and put it back.  Can you spot the errant block and tell me what is wrong with it…hint…there is more than one thing?

Anyway, as you can see, I am making progress. Today I have been correcting a lot of little places where the points weren’t quite matching, and as soon as I fix the one block, I will have completed the wave for my storm at sea pictorial quilt.

Storm at Sea concept

Storm at Sea concept


Here is a picture to let you know how I am going to use this.  The ship is the wrong ship, and there is a lot more to the quilt, but thought you’d like to know how this is “the big wave” as I think of it.

Anyway, we are having one of those times when the weather is absolutely exquisite.  It’s clear, just the right temperature and altogether lovely.   Already it is well after noon and I haven’t had lunch yet.  Perhaps I will take a walk and then light late lunch on the deck.

I would love to hear your responses on the overall look and, of course, the identification of the mistakes.  Truly!

Sew happy!

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