More on One of the Quilts I’m Working On

June 28th, 2007

I’ve made some headway on my latest botanical quilt. This quilt is very stimulating to work on because the colors are so very rich and the fabric, (cotton sateen), is so very soft and pleasant to scrunch up as I’m working on the quilt. As silly as it sounds, these are the kinds of things that make the process of quilting so magical. Here are a few “in-progress” pictures:


Now that there’s some more quilting around the queen anne’s lace, it’s a bit more obvious that it kind of “puffs out.” (Can you tell that I am amazed by these types of textural properties?!). One thing that kind of amazes me with each quilt is how a REALLY large and heavy thread can kind of recede back so far in the quilting that it loses some of its punch. Here’s one that really lost its power:


You can hardly see that green vine! What is surprising to me is that it was stitched in a size 12 Artfabrik pearl cotton! I don’t think we’d notice it at all if I hadn’t gone back in and done hyperquilting with a bright green decorative thread afterward! Here’s another one BEFORE any surrounding quilting has been done:


With most of the quilting done around the embroidered blue fern outline, it REALLY puffs out now…this next picture is a good example of the different effect you achieve with free motion embroidery vs. free motion quilting:


Will post more as time allows…
P.S. The Paypal button works!

Web Store Update and Pretty Pictures

June 23rd, 2007


We upgraded our web store and the new store went live on the evening of June 1st. (Of course, I am just now getting around to posting about this! I guess this kind of mundane stuff just kind of leaves me cold). Anyway, this new store is improved in many ways but the biggest change is that it will now remember you and your info…those of you who have made serial purchases will remember that you’d have to re-enter all your data each time you’d make a purchase, but the new store will now remember you, once you have registered as a user. The store has worked great so far but we have one glitch that we hope to have worked out within the next few days. If you click the “pay by paypal” button, it will take you to a page that says this is forbiddden! Of course, this makes no sense so it is being fixed. It is possible to pay by credit card, so rest assured that the store is still functional!

Now, what does a picture of hand dyed fabric have to do with all this? Absolutely nothing! I just don’t feel right about posting without some stimulating pictures! This is cotton sateen that I dyed recently and I love how the colors came out. Here’s another beauty:


This stuff is incredibly soft to the touch and a real joy to quilt because it just feels so darn good to work with! It’s also pretty remarkable because it has a sheen to it, so once quilted, it throws off much more shadowing than regular cotton, and this gives your quilt even more depth. If you experiment with different sources of cotton sateen, you’ll see that they’re all just a bit different as far as how much sheen they have and how brilliantly they take up color. My favorite source for really brilliant color and great sheen is Hancock Fabrics. It’s very inexpensive-I think it’s something like $4.44/yard, (and that’s BEFORE your 40% off coupon!!!!), so you can’t beat the price! If you go and they’re out of the white, go ahead and buy the off-white because it takes the color just as brilliantly!

New Quilt I’m Working On

June 20th, 2007

Ok, I finally have some stuff that seems “Post-Worthy!” This is part of one of the quilts I’m working on now. If you’ve seen some of my previous posts, then you know I am a total nut for variations on the color RED:


This is a part of a quilt top-that’s the key here, it’s NOT in a quilt sandwich yet! What I did was to free motion embroider a large fern shape using heavy, size 12 pearl cotton hand dyed embroidery thread. I have a piece of polyester stabilizer underneath to avoid puckers. What you see above is me going back in and in-lining the design with flourescent orange thread. In this pic, only half the fern has this embellishment and the other half isn’t done yet. Once that is all done, I cut away the excess stabilizer and this is a pic of what the backside looks like:


Can you see part of the backside of a free motion embroidered queen anne’s lace at the fern’s side? Here is a better shot of that baby:


Now that I’ve got you interested, let me show you the front side of the queen anne’s lace:


Don’t know if you can see it yet, but that last pic is the quilt now in a sandwich, so the queen anne’s lace kind of puffs out a bit since I free motion quilted around it with invisible thread. Here’s a closeup of some of the free motion embroidery I did INSIDE that appliqued motif BEFORE it was in a quilt sandwich:


And here’s another queen anne’s lace on the quilt:


And here they are together:


I’ll post more when this baby is done! In the meantime, these colors have got my blood boiling!

This and That

June 16th, 2007

I have not posted in almost 2 weeks…this is the longest I’ve gone between posts in many, many months and I have no excuse. I have sewn more in the past week than in a long time, but I just haven’t felt that I had created anything that was “post-worthy.” Doesn’t this remind you of Elaine on “Seinfeld” when she was feeling there were no men in her life who were “sponge-worthy?!” Anyway, here are a few pics of some of what I’ve been up to:


This is a fabric card, I think it measured about 11 in x 9 1/2 in, that I made this morning. It went very quickly, just under 2 hours from start to finish. Here’s a close up of parts of it:


I have fallen hopelessly in love with that trilobal polyester variegated green thread that the background is quilted in. It’s made by YLI and I have gone through about 2/3 of that spool in just 4-5 months! Doing this card really made me appreciate batting. I am so struck by the flatness of this piece, the middle is Peltex and it really needs more texture than what I have done here.

I’ve also been doing some fabric dyeing. I had never dyed silk until last weekend and I thought I’d give it a try. I used 19 mummy silk charmuese, (19 “mummy?;” what the heck does that mean and who thought of this wacko unit of measurement?!) Anyway, as I understand it, mummy refers to the weight of the silk and I used 19 mummy because that was what Mrs. Mel recommended for a good fusing weight and she knows about this kind of stuff! I dyed the silk exactly the same way I dye my cotton fabric, using Procian MX dyes after soaking the fabric in a soda ash/water bath. Below are a few pics of dyed silk:


I don’t think the pictures reveal the greatest property of the silk and that’s the finish, which is highly reflective and shimmery. I can’t wait to try using some of this. Another dyed piece:


Other than this stuff, I have been working on about 7 other quilts, all in varying stages of completion. I am also working on the next DVD, which is all about vines and leaves and pretty fun stuff. I’ll post some more pictures once things are in a better state to share!

More Fun and Games With Trapunto

June 4th, 2007

Don’t you sometimes just need to do something that’s a “quickie-fix” to let your hands make something with fabric and thread? I sure do! Our quilt guild in Asheville is having a 25th anniversary celebration in August, so we’re making small, (25 in or less on a side) quilts to submit for auction to raise money for the guild. The catch: we have to use something silver, (ANYTHING SILVER) on the top of the quilt. I figured I would use this opportunity to play with a trapuntoed pansy. I don’t usually do challenges, but I figured I could make something to donate to the guild that would let me play around with a new idea all at the same time. The quilt below is what I made. The picture doesn’t show it well, but the most interesting part of the quilt is the raised and irregular texture created by the trapunto:


The piece begins with fusing the parts of the pansy together and then fusing the pansy to a background fabric. I highlighted the pansy, (in the lighter center parts as well as all around the outer edges of the 4 purple petals), with pastels. In this case, I used “Shadowbox Chalk Pastels” which I purchased in the scrapbooking/stamping section at AC Moore. I applied them dry and then added water for a “wash effect,” but you can apply them wet as well. In the picture below, you can tell that the pastels are very light compared to the finished quilt and that’s because I was very timid when I first applied them and went back later as I was quilting it and added more color. This is what’s fun about them-you can just keep adding more highlights and more layers of color!


Do you see the pins surrounding the pansy? Those pins hold a scrap of batting and this will make up my trapunto layer. My next move will be to add thread highlighting around the center of the pansy and also around the outer petals. You can use whatever thread colors you wish for these areas:


Next, I added more thread embellishment in the center. This is the one place I added that required silver. I never would have added it on my own, but I think it passes for OK because it’s hardly noticeable here:


I now cut away all my extra batting that falls outside the pansy and this is what the backside looks like:


Next, place the whole top into a quilt sandwich and stitch around all fused edges with a monofilament or invisible thread. This is when you REALLY start to appreciate the magic of trapunto because the pansy takes on many different layers. Next, using purple thread, I went back in and added more threadwork, which creates more depths of interest, into the petals. I’m not sure the picture shows this well:


Once I was done with the pansy itself, I started quilting the background area. This went very fast. First, I quilted the large leaves using a heavy hand dyed size 12 pearl cotton thread. This heavy thread makes these leaves more prominent:


Next, I quilted the rest of the background using a variegated trilobal polyester thread. Because it is of a lighter weight, this irregular swirl pattern kind of fades into the background:


This whole thing was very fast and very fun! I may just have to make it into a class to learn trapunto and coloring with pastels/colored pencils/crayons/whatever!