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.
Before I say farewell to my study of the oakleaf hydrangea plant, I want to share the little study I made of the blooms. Above is a reference photo for the plant. The “flowers” open pure white, changing over times into shades of rose, rust and green. I say flowers in quotes, because the part of plant that most people identify as a flower – it has petals, after all – is really a bract, or sterile flower. The real flowers are in the tight little buds that you see at the top of the panicle. Here is a specimen, much dried up, that I took from my hydrangea.
Interestingly, there are some bracts with four petals and some with five. I did a drawing in colored pencil before I started making the fiber object, which depicts the rusty pink color of late summer.
My first thought was to make corner blocks for my quilt with images of the flower panicles. But after I had assembled the quilt and laid out the border, I decided corner blocks would not improve the quilt at all and might even detract from the focus. By then I had already started a sample block.
It is a sweet little object, just 4 by 4 inches. Made with hand painted cotton, block printed and embroidered. Perhaps I can use it in another project.
As I knotted off the last thread of the binding’s slip stitch, I drew my quilt around me and snuggled down into its folds. It is wrong to be in love with one’s own work?
This little lap quilt turned out very much the way I had hoped it would. The dark sashing focuses one’ eye on the beautiful leaves, as if each was a boxed jewel. I loved quilting in free-motion over under and around the leaf shapes.
The batik fabric of the border matches many colors in the blocks. And the botanical pattern on it suggests the sort of wooded area where one might find an oakleaf hydrangea shrub in the wild.
“Oakleaf Hydrangea Study” Hand painted cotton, cotton flannel, and commercial printed fabric; hand embroidered and machine quilted free motion style.
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.
Yesterday, during my daily browse of WordPress blogs, I came across Cindy Anderson’s post announcing her one-woman quilt show featuring her art quilts. These are exquisite little works – no wonder she was invited to display them. After viewing her blog I became energized to make another mojo mini in the same style as the one I made last month. But the inspiration for this quilt actually originated in last Wednesday’s yoga session.
The instructor ran a playlist of music that started with a mantra. After five minutes, those words lodged in my brain and wouldn’t let go. Arriving home later, I quickly wrote down the mantra as a potential inspiration for a fiber object.
So yesterday, when the energy took hold, I reached for the mantra, grabbed scraps of fabric with colors like those in my mind’s eye during yoga practice, and scribbled a quick sketch of interlocking arches.
The structure of this mini will be built up with raw edge appliques and it will also rest on a gray background. But to make things more interesting for me, I decided to start with a paper pieced object.
Okay, I’ve never done paper piecing before. But I’ve watched it! Thankfully, I only made two or three mistakes as I cut and sewed this little section. I had to rip out AND also re-cut a scrap that I had trimmed incorrectly. Here is the finished applique.
After mulling over the top half of the design, I sewed an arch from thin strips of fabric. Here is it.
And that is essentially the design of this mini quilt. After glue basting and stitching down the two appliques, I wrote the mantra on the white arch.
…..machine quilted the strips and hand embroidered the background.
In March my daughter gave me three garments that were in need of a remake. I have already dealt with the silk blouse and the brown cardigan. The third was a blue wool baby sweater which got machine washed in hot water by mistake. The consequence was that it thoroughly felted and shrank down to the size of a doll’s coat.
I had been mulling over what I can make from a felted sweater. No ideas came forth. Then I shifted my thinking and considered what could be done with the felt itself? Remembering a conversation that I had with my grandson, about the poor performance of hand-knitted mittens in wet snow, I hit upon the idea of felt mittens. Melting snow will rarely, if ever, penetrate a heavy felt garment. Could I make mittens for the baby with this felt?
To start with, I cut off the sleeves. They looked vaguely mitten-like.
Using a crewel needle and sock yarn, I blanket-stitched around the lower edges of the sleeves. Then I picked up and knit into the blanket stitches and joined for knitting in the round. I knitted the cuff downward in rounds. After a few rounds, I started 2×2 ribbing for about an inch. Then I decreased, knitting another five rounds and bound off loosely.
The process for the thumb was similar, except I had to slice a one-inch gash in the heavy felt. About eight rounds of knitting later, I decreased with k2tog, pulled the yarn through the remaining loops and fastened off.
Here comes the fun part. I cut down the top edge, making the total length of the mitten 5 inches. The upper edge was closed with running stitch and then sewn with blanket stitch all around. Using pink and red yarn, I embroidered a heart on the back of the mitten.
Right hand mitten is done. I do hope that this will be a workable mitten. Now to make the left hand mitten to match.
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.
Yesterday and today I resumed work on the oakleaf hydrangea fabric paintings. Above you see the reference photo for the first leaf I am painting. I chose to do two experiments. Here are the two paintings after the first round of painting. The color wash – resist steps were complete and the paintings left to dry. In these photos, the water resist medium has not been washed out yet.
And here are the two paintings, washed, dried and with final details added, using Jacquard Textile paint inTurquoise and Goldenrod, so palette was quite limited.
It was a learning experience, trying to paint on dry fabric with thicker paints. I discovered how to add depth to the background by dry brushing. And I learned that my skill in painting delicate lines needs work. After the pieces dried, I pressed them and continued on to the stitching phase. I chose to work with the purple piece first, hand quilting with embroidery floss. Instead of backing with regular batting, I used cotton flannel, since it would be easier to push the needle through.
I carefully stitched over the major leaf veins, and then made two borders around the leaf margin. After finishing the leaf, I just improvised the background, using two shades of purple and two stitches – feather and chain.
So far, undecided about how to stitch down the edges. The choices are blind stitch or use a decorative blanket stitch. Does anyone have a recommendation?
This project is inspired after viewing a class by Suzie Williams, on BluPrint.com. The gist of the lesson is to improvise a mini quilt which illustrates one of various design principles. These quilts are sized to be framed as wall art. I chose to base my design on the concept of Rhythm. Here is my sketch (just a few swooping lines, really minimal) and my chosen fabrics.
I had recently purchased the black printed fabric, which is just a scrap in the picture. I like the idea of repeating bars of the circle shapes on a background of orange.
The design is cut up, so that it can be pinned to the fabric and fabric cut out. I am using a gray background fabric. Each element is appliqued to the background, using glue as baste. I had never basted fabric with white glue before, but it seems to work just fine. Here is the design at the beginning of the layout stage.
After a few adjustments to the design, and more than one re-cut of the shapes, I finally have all the pieces in place, glued down, pin basted and ready for sewing.
I started by zig-zagging along the raw edges, to minimize fraying. Next I stitched some swoops of machine quilting in black and orange. Finally, I finished up with hand embroidery. It was fun choosing floss and stitches to accentuate the circles.
Here is the finished mini quilt, ready for framing or binding.
Here is the final result of my O’Keefe inspired fiber object. I have to say, it only partially matches my vision for the piece. Something happened between the sketch, the painting and the embroidery. Take a look:
Here is my original sketch for a moonflower. I was very happy with this effort:
Here is the flower after roughing in the design with fabric paint.
Even though I am not experienced in painting, I was fairly happy with this result. So I guess the only part of the effort that disappointed me was the embroidery.
Dear friends, what do you think? Do you have any recommendations for me that could improve my final result? I am eager to learn.