Aug 05 16

MEA Using Alternative Textiles

I haven’t posted in about a million years because I haven’t been making anything worthy of a post.  Except for prep work for classes and demos, this week was really the first sewing/quilting I’ve done in the last 2 1/2 months.  How sad is that?!  I’ll tell you, it’s pretty darn sad and I feel like a basic part of my soul has been sorely neglected.  Between deadlines, travel, and unexpected family illnesses, life has been kind of topsy-turvy for quite awhile now and I’m feeling a strong need to get things back into balance.  Fortunately, I’ve had a little time the past few days to spend in my sewing room and my creative spirit is feeling alive again.
I made a couple of blocks that I intended to use for 2 sides of a tote bag, but now I’m re-thinking how I will use them.  This shot shows both of them and they are MEA blocks that were made using “alternative textiles” for the applique shapes:
In this case, I used woven wools, wool felts, velvet, bamboo felt, and blended rayon/wool felt for the applique shapes; all of them are hand dyes.  All of these textiles add tremendous texture/depth to the finished piece but it’s very hard to capture that in a photo.  Because they are much thicker than traditional cottons, I’ve found that fusing them to fusible web serves no purpose.  (They are so thick that the mini irons really can’t heat the fusible sufficiently to melt it.)  Instead, I adhere them to the fabric using a glue stick pencil like one of these:
I try to outline just inside the perimeter with a line of glue, and then throw a few more glue “streaks” inside the shape.  In the photo below, the blue that you see inside the bird outline is what the glue looks like when it first goes on (it dries clear.)
(Don’t be distracted by the white soap lines.  Those are used for aligning the fabric block on the stabilizer and they are gone at the end of the project.)  Each bird is appliqued/embroidered in 1 hooping and you can start to get a little feeling for the 3-D texture in this next shot where there’s a little embroidery completed:
…and here’s a shot toward the end of the 2nd hooping where the 2nd bird is being worked on:
I ended up making the 2 blocks in different colors since you can only see one side of  a tote bag at once.  In this early closeup of the other block, you get a better sense of the texture in that the wing felt really plumps up nicely once the edge finishing is done:
Here’s a shot of that whole bird all decorated:
…and here’s a close up shot of the other colorway of bird:
Now I just need to decide how I’ll use these guys!
In other news, the PTD Ruler Work Starter packs are back in stock and you can find them by clicking here.  The Turrets 2 and Turrets 3 rulers are also back in stock and you can find them by clicking here.



  1. Wendy Dyhr Says:

    Hi Patsy,

    Received my Kissed by a Butterfly and version 2 suspension systems. Many thanks. Unfortunately I have been unable to play the CD. What am I doing wrong? Is there some magic trick to this? Sorry for being such a clubs. Love your birdies.

  2. Diane Evans Says:

    Love the wool texture, Patsy. Your experiments always come out SO wonderfully — lots of inspiration here!