You’ve Got to Try this!

September 21st, 2008

Have you seen this book?

It’s called “Quilts of a Different Color,” by Irena Bluhm. This book is a lot of fun; her technique involves free motion quilting a design, and then going back in and coloring inside the lines! The quilts in her book are quite beautiful and most of the quilting is quite formal and symmetric. I’ve seen a number of other quilters use her technique, and they have always followed that same formal and symmetric tone. So…I wondered how this would all pan out if you began with a more freefrom and whimsical design, and here is a sandwich of one that I played with:

Isn’t that fun? I have to tell you it went pretty quickly as well. I didn’t follow her directions to the letter…I am always trying to cut corners and save myself time. I began with a light violet cotton sateen fabric and spray basted a quilt sandwich using warm & white batting. I first stitched my baseline pansy loop-d-loop design in purple thread:

No reason why you couldn’t stop quilting right there and just color this in as is; I just like to hyperquilt and use more than 1 thread. Next, I went back in with gold thread for the hyperquilting, and I like the “ribbon-like” effect this introduces to the loop-d-loop connecting line:

Now doesn’t that just jazz things up a bit? Next, you add color. I used FabriMarkers by DriMark:

Now, here’s a closeup of the colored design BEFORE it went through the wash:

Irena recommends coating your colored areas with textile medium; I did not do that on this sample. Instead, I waited 24 hours to make sure it was totally dry, then I heat set it with my iron. I threw it in the wash and washed it with Tide Laundry soap, and this is what came out:

No bleeding of color but the purple has definitely lightened into a violet. Here’s another sandwich I played with, and it was hyperquilted (in a different way), AFTER the coloring was added. Notice that for this one, I started with a light blue cotton sateen:

(Notice that the entire sandwich never got hyperquilted; I got distracted!) And here’s that sandwich after it went through the same wash:

And here’s one more sample for you…this one was done on 100% cotton fabric and I used Prismacolor colored pencils to add color, then hyperquilted it. I then covered all my colored areas with textile medium to protect them. Notice the coloring is much more subtle here:

That one still hasn’t made it into the wash because I forgot to throw it in, but in theory, that textile medium should give better protection to the coloring…we’ll see!

One more thing…if you like reading blogs, I’ve got one for you to check out. It’s a melding of posts from tons of blogs, so you can read a lot in one sitting. It’s called, and take some time to scroll backwards; there are some wonderful, very detailed tutorials in there! (check out the one on pincushions-they’re cute!)

Fabric Give Away and 2007 Journal Quilt Returns Home

September 14th, 2008

I received my 2007 journal quilt back this week, and this was the first time I have submitted/received a quilt to/from Quilts, Inc. All I can say is “Wow!” I have never dealt with an organization who took such great care of my quilt; frankly, better care than I take with my own quilts! This quilt came back completely flat, carefully wrapped in tissue paper and then plastic and then in a waterproof cover. Contrast this with a 90 in x 90 in quilt that was shipped back to me from a revered quilt magazine in a box that measured 12 in x 12 in…talk about a bad wrinkle problem and disregard for a quilt! If any of you ever deal with Quilts, Inc, know that they are VERY respectful of your work! I cannot say enough nice things about them right now!

I never did post a picture of my journal quilt, so here it is:

For me, this was mainly an exercise in restraint. I really love how it feels, physically and mentally, when I free motion quilt, so I tend to overdue it…ok, I can quilt a quilt to death! But, I didn’t do that here. I was trying to create a sense of a current flowing through this design, so I stuck with stitching the irregular swirl selectively only through the dark blue areas. The large ginkgo leaves are made of silk charmeuse. The edges are burned and the colors were highlighted a bit with colored pencils and then washed with a light water wash to blend them a bit. Then they were free motion embroidered and once this was in a final quilt sandwich, I stitched around them with invisible thread:

The smaller ginkgo leaves were stamped on with fabric paint, then free motion embroidered with a light polyester interfacing behind them. Once it was in the final quilt sandwich, I stitched around the edges of them with invisible thread. You can kind of see how they protrude out a bit in this picture:

And now it’s time for the fabric giveaway drawing…first, thank you SO MUCH to everyone who posted a comment or sent me an email! These were some of the loveliest notes and comments and it sure makes me feel like there is a good reason to keep posting! It also makes me wish I could give a yard of hand dyed fabric to everyone! (Don’t get too worked up and excited, because I can’t!) But, I think I’ll do more giveaways in the future, so if you’re not the winner, there should be some other opportunities down the road! And now, drum roll, please…..And the winner is:

DOT! Hope you have fun with the fabric!!

More Leaves, Fabric Dyeing and Fabric Give Away!!

September 6th, 2008

The nights are cooling off and that means fall is just around the corner and that means my annual infatuation with leaves will soon gear up to full swing ! I was able to get a bit more work done on my current leaf quilt. Remember that giant dandelion leaf I posted about earlier? Well, I finished the free motion embroidery within the leaf block and here’s a halfway through shot as it was still on the machine bed. I think it shows how much interest a little thread work can add to a quilt:

The light green inner leaf is done in just a micro stipple design. I had intended to do something edgey because that leaf has so much pointy stuff on it, but the light green pieces of fabric were so tiny that all I could get in there was a micro stipple. The outer dark green section is the angular swirl and I really like it there because it goes with those edgy spikes on the leaf!

Here’s another large leaf block I’ve been working on for the same quilt. Here’s the giant oak leaf after it had been fused:

(I know I use those oak leaves a lot but their shapes are so darn interesting!) Now here is a shot after the inside and outside edges have been embroidered with a satin stitch:

In general, I am not wild about the satin stitch and usually like raw edge applique, but sometimes I really like the effect that an outline in a different color can have, and that’s what I was going for here. It seems to almost electrify that edge. (This strategy is also very useful if you get your applique done and realize you don’t have enough contrast between your leaf and the background fabric…in fact, this was how I used this technique the first time because I needed to use the color of a thick satin stitch to salvage a poor fabric color choice!) Next up is a close up of the embroidery within the oak leaf. That is the irregular swirl (I think it works here because it is a curvaceous design and that oak leaf has such great curves) and it is stitched in LAVA thread by Superior threads. This was my first experience with LAVA and it went great! Don’t you just love how Superior Threads actually TELLS you the correct needle type and size to use with all their threads?!! They are one hot thread company!

These are both just in a block stage, so once the other blocks are done and the top is pieced and basted into a quilt sandwich, I’ll stitch just outside the edges of all the satin stitching and this will make those leaves protrude OUTWARD, making them more important. If I were to have waited and done all this stitching when it was in a quilt sandwich, these leaves would have receded into the quilt, and they would be less important.

I also got to dye some fabric last week…about 20 yards of cotton sateen in blues, greens and purples, and several yards of silk charmeuse:

and many fat half yards of Egyptian cotton:

Overall, I was very happy with my colors except for my turquoise. I used many different blues but the turquoise largely washed out-I think this jar of dye is just plain way too old so I pitched it. BUT…I am happy to give away the piece of hand dyed cotton sateen below. It’s about 40 in x 44 in and this stuff makes a great background fabric for applique and when you quilt it, it throws off incredible shadows that really highlight your quilting. I am hoping it will find a new home with some other quilter who will do something really fun with it! So, anyone who comments on my blog or sends an email with “fabric give away” in the subject line by 1 am on Sunday 9/14/08 will be eligible for the drawing and I’ll post next Sunday who the winner is! Don’t forget to leave your name and email address!