Last week I wrote about painting heavy weight DMC thread with fabric paint. Just now, I finished embroidering my quilt with the thread. Before I do a “reveal” of the finished quilt (it isn’t quite sewn together yet) I want to show how I used the thread.
Essentially, I created little scenes that tell a story of looking up at the Gateway Arch.
I had no real difficulty embroidering with the threads. They do not appear to be bleeding color at all. I wish I could say the same for the quilt fabric, some of the paint rubbed off on my quilting gloves.
The important thing right now is that the End Is In Sight! A little assembly and sewing on the binding and it will be done.
I hadn’t planning on ditch-stitching the Arches quilt. But I have been a bit stuck – uncertain about how to proceed and wary of my skills (or lack thereof) to quilt free motion. Hence, I partook of another tutorial. This one, taught by Susan Cleveland on blueprint.com, promised to teach me some alternatives to free motion quilting.
But first, here are a few views of the panel that I have already quilted.
This block pleases me. I was able to free motion quilt around the color waves in the background which imitate the sky and river. Using the walking foot I quilted the arch itself around the perimeter and also along the color breaks. I then stitched two lines up the side, which give a sense of the way the stainless steel panels are attached.
I quilted around the arch in the top two blocks the same way. In the background to the right of the arch, I chose to echo the arch shape. On the left side I stitched free motion in big swirls. These did not turn out well. I guess I will rip it out, but that kinda scares me.
Susan recommended that I stitch in the ditch between the squares. This is said to stabilize the piece. I am having a problem with fabric stretching out of shape. The ditch stitching and the basting of the panel edges should solve this issue. Once this step is done, decorative stitching can be applied. Some techniques I plan to try include top-stitching with big thread and hand embroidering areas of the quilt.
Now I need to decide which thread to use for the top-stitching and which designs to embroider. (sigh.) The completion date for this project is rather uncertain.
After spending time perusing other quilt blogs to find out how other quilters deal with this situation, I found part of the solution in the form of quilted buckets. This lesson comes to us from Christina Cameli and Bluprint.com.
So yesterday I started on my first of three fabric buckets that (I hope) will contain my fabric-waiting-to-be-used. This project is also an opportunity for me to practice free motion quilting while adding color and style to my studio. Her are my fabric choices for the first bucket.
I’m quilting dimensional triangles for this bucket. Here is the first step done.
The next few hours were spent happily quilting. Eventually the first basket was finished.
I have to admit that I sewed up the wrong sides of the baskets, so my basket is actually two inches longer than the one in the lesson. This turned out to be fortunate. The revised dimension held lots of fabric and fit nicely into the allotted space on my shelves.
I used the Kon-Marie method of folding the fabric and filled the bucket with the folded fabric pieces inserted on edge. It was amazing to see how much fabric this little bucket holds. Each fabric piece remains clearly visible and easy to grab.
So my plan now is to make three more buckets to use in storing 1 yard and fat quarter size pieces, and to make some smaller baskets for the various colors of scraps.
I highly recommend Christina Cameli’s class. She is delightful instructor. Each of her projects can be made in an afternoon and would make wonderful gifts.
To those of you who are still following my blog, thank you! November has arrived and I am back on track with fiber and a plan to make some holiday gifts. This is the first year that I have had plenty of time. It’s gratifying to apply some of the skills I have developed since beginning Daily Fiber! Today I am going to share with you a sweet gift for all the creative types on your giving list. I learned to make this little journal cover in a class at Bluprint.com taught by Christina Cameli. Her craft is quilting, and she excels at working her stitch magic in free motion.
Materials are cheap and readily available: fabric, quilt batting, some foldover elastic and a paper bound journal that you can get at craft, big box, or office supply stores.
Here are the strips I will be using today:
After cutting out all the pieces, the first step is to stitch together enough strips to cover the journal. In this case, I needed a piece that was 9 1/4 in. tall by 13 in. wide. Make it a little bigger than required. Then put together a quilt sandwich with batting and backing (muslin will do.) Using the free-motion technique you like (or one you want to practice) quilt away! I chose to use my walking foot this time.
Pick a lining fabric to go with your theme. It will need to be about eight inches wider than the cover and the same height.
Cut to dimension and sew the lining to the cover, right sides together, per the class instructions. The wrap over elastic will be sewn to the back panel with right side down. Trim the corners, turn the piece right side out and press. After you checked that the journal fits inside, top stitch the cover very, very close to the edge. (Be careful to keep the elastic free of top stitching, or it will be too tight.) You’re done.
And here is my finished gift.
Really fun. I’ll be making more of these , and plan to try out some interesting free-motion designs.
Yesterday my Bernina and I spent some quality time together. I used my Autumnal Equinox square to practice free-motion quilting techniques.
One of the things that gave me more confidence is the discovery of the 1/2 speed button on the Bernina. So far, I have mastered wiggles, loops, lazy eights, dot-to-dot and circles. I still can’t do meander.
I had fun drawing with thread on my reverse applique picture. Oh, also a few birds and a squirrel were added by hand embroidery.
Today I am writing my 100th post on Daily Fiber blog. I am pleased that this milestone arrives at the same time as another mini-achievement: the completion of my oakleaf hydrangea block series. After some consideration I determined that the final block count will be nine, as you see pinned to my wall boards in the photo above.
Decisions still need to be made on how to finish. After consulting with a few friends, I have settled on the arrangement of blocks and the decision to use a dark border around each block as if it were an individual painting. Also, I will add a border around the whole quilt – width and color yet to be determined.
Here are some close-ups of the groups;
As you can see, only the first block is quilted so far. I will finish the quilting after assembling each row.
Hand-painted cotton fabric , hand embroidered with a flannel background. Each block is 10 by 12, including flannel border.
For this panel, I chose to machine stitch the background and hand stitch the leaf outline. This treatment seems to draw more focus to the leaf. Color washed with Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow, hand-painted with Jacquard Textile paint. Free motion quilting on a flannel backing.
So far my quilt-making efforts have been limited and tentative. I have a pretty good grasp of applique technique, and can put together a log cabin block. Now it is time to move on to new skills. To celebrate my decision, I have acquired a few more items.
For the past three days, I have been viewing lessons on BluPrint.com and checking out U-Tube videos. Now I am ready to try an exercise in free-motion quilting. The lesson, “Free Motion Quilting Essentials,” was presented by Christina Cameli on BluPrint. First I selected some fabrics to piece together into a practice block.
Here is the block assembled.
Before I continued on to the quilting, I squared the block using my new Omnigrid ruler. Then I made the traditional quilt sandwich of backing, batting and top. I used a muslin top for the first practice stitches.
It took a little effort to get my Bernina working correctly. I had to clean out the lint, change needles and try a couple of different threads. Here are my first efforts:
Pretty wobbly. I discovered that I got better results by working from right to left instead of left to right. This may be due to my left-handedness. Whatever the reason, it was a relief to find a method that gave improved results.
The block shows a little more mastery of technique. I do believe that I will need several hours of practice before I am comfortable with free-motion quilting.
Ah, Freedom! Something we long for when pressed with daily obligations. Something we were promised by our founding fathers, along with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But when is freedom not really that great? I’ve discovered in life that a complete lack of restrictions often leads to mental paralysis. If I have unlimited choices, how do I decide what to do? Which way to go?
Okay, enough philosophy. We’re talking free motion quilting today. In this technique, the machine is set up so that all motion is created by the operator. Forward, backward, sidewise, whatever. Even though I have done almost no quilting before, given an opportunity to quilt, I choose the free motion type.
So my experiment today starts with a piece of fabric which was a previous experiment in color:
This was colored by layers of stamping. The dots were created with bubble wrap. The shell motif was printed with a stamp I made. Lines were added with fabric pens. Today I want to quilt on it. My plan is to sew curvy lines around the groups of motifs, then add a center dot in each group of shells. Finally, I will stitch down the ivy stem.
The first step is to make a sandwich, which includes a muslin base, fiber batting middle and the pattern fabric on top. The sandwich is basted with safety pins.
Next is to set up the machine. Sorry, no photo of this. The steps are to attach a little circular embroidery foot and lower the feed dogs. For those who don’t sew, feed dogs are the two serrated plates underneath that move the fabric through the machine. Now I’m getting a little nervous. Better do some practicing:
Taking a deep breath, here I go.
This isn’t a totally bad result. I liked making the little spirals, and they turned out good. The lessons I learned are
I should have chosen a fabric with no pattern on it for my first attempt.
A thread color with higher contrast to the background would have been a better choice.
It’s important to let up on the foot control when you slow or stop moving the fabric with your hands.
With greater freedom comes greater responsibility.