Posted in quilting

Fun with Free Motion Quilting

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.

Many thanks to Christina Cameli for her class on bluprint.com. https://shop.mybluprint.com/quilting/classes/free-motion-quilting-essentials/40670

Posted in hand embroidery, quilting

Mojo Mini Quilt no 2

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.

I used a couple of my painted fabrics. The red-orange planet is from a printed fabric.

It was very satisfying to make this mini. Thank you to Cindy Anderson for motivating me to get started. You can see Cindy’s art quilts here. https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/2331528/posts/2396379576

Posted in colorwork, sewing

The Wing of a Butterfly

It’s seems as if the butterflies are everywhere this month. I have enjoyed watching swallowtails moving through the back yard on light breezes. So today’s fiber object is inspired by a butterfly wing, specifically, a Monarch butterfly. It is also a chance for me to try out a new tool I recently acquired.

This set is produced by Honeysew. The large tape maker is by Clover. I purchased both through Amazon. They can make yards and yards of bias tape from any woven fabric, with the use of a hot iron. For this project I chose 1/2 inch tape maker.

The first step is to cut 1 inch strips of fabric on the bias, and seam them together with a very narrow seam allowance. After trimming the seam allowances, the fabric is fed through the wide end of the maker and pressed as it appears out of the narrow end.

It took a little practice, but I quickly got the hang of it.

Now that I have my tape, I will need fabric………..

Including two of my painted fabrics.

And a plan. Here is a quick sketch of an abstract wing.

I made a photocopy of the sketch, cut out the major areas into pieces, and pinned and cut the fabric. Next I stuck the shapes onto my background fabric with a glue stick.

Starting at the top, I sewed the bias tape around the outside edge. When sewing down bias tape, it is important to sew the inside (convex) edge of your design first, being careful not to stretch the tape. Next, press the fabric and tape, smoothing out the outside (concave) edge. Then, stretching it as needed, stitch down the outside. I continued sewing the bias tape until all raw edges were covered. I also sewed a few bits of tape onto other major design lines. Here is the piece at the end of this step.

To emulate the lower edge of the Monarch wing, I cut a piece of dark gray fabric, drew the white spots across it, and then trimmed holes where each spot was. To make the spots white, I inserted a piece of white fabric behind the gray, gluing it in place with glue stick and fusible webbing. Here is the back side of this piece.

This was then stitched across the bottom edge of the piece and top stitched with a decorative stitch.

Finally, I used zig-zag stitch to add the small veins found throughout the wing.

Now that it’s done, I’m not quite sure how to use this particular piece. But I’m confident that the bias tape maker will come in handy for many a future appliqued design. How about stitching up a stained glass window?

Posted in drawing, hand embroidery, painting, sewing

Welcome to Summer, Farewell to Gloria

It’s my desire to note each season as it arrives with a fiber project that celebrates the specialness of the season. When I learned of the passing of Gloria Vanderbilt, I decided to include a small tribute to her in today’s celebration of summer.

I remember Gloria Vanderbilt best from her television adverts, promoting her line of jeans. She promised to make jeans designed to fit women’s curves. That promise was fulfilled – those jeans did fit us! She branded her product by signing her name on the hip pocket. Soon, all the designers were catering to women’s shape and placing their logos on the pockets.

So, thank you, Gloria. You made us feel good about our bodies, at a time in our lives when we needed a boost to our self image.

Today’s fiber object shows a woman contemplating the sun while lying on a beach. In tribute to Ms. Vanderbilt, my lady is dressed in a pair of cut-off jeans. Here is the sketch I made with the design’s basic elements.

I toyed with the idea of inserting the Gloria Vanderbilt logo somewhere in the design, but ultimately decided not to. Here is the finished object.

Hello Summer, Goodbye Gloria

I’m happy with all the elements of this piece. First of all, my ability to draw is getting better. It only took me two tries to sketch this slightly stylized female body. I am also getting better control of the fabric paint while using the wash technique. And finally, both my hand and machine embroidery are improved.

Posted in painting, sewing

Inspired by O’Keefe part 2

Moonflower

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.

Posted in Uncategorized

Prayer Flag no. 1

Blue Prayer Flag

In the traditional prayer flag arrangement, the flags are laid out in a specific order from left to right. Five colors represent the five elements The first is blue. It represents the sky and space. My blue prayer is in gratitude for the orbs of the sky: the sun and the moon. This piece is made with applique on dyed muslin, machine embroidered, stenciled and marked.

Posted in Uncategorized

First day of Spring

While we were away from home, spring fully arrived. Once the daffodils open up, it’s time to think about gardening. I love spring, and I love planting. To me, it’s about beginnings. The garden offers many inspirations for working with fiber. Heck, nearly all fibrous things that I know of started out as plants!

For today’s project, I wanted to draw from the imagery of the old-timey seed packet. Here is a fairly simple example that might have been sold 70 or 80 years ago:

I really like the slightly ornate lines drawn around the edges of the packet. I’ll be turning again to the Bernina to come up with my version.

First I made a basic drawing of the center image,

traced the parts, and cut the tracing into pattern pieces. These were pinned onto red and green fabric and cut out. The backdrop is a piece of cotton bed sheet. The pieces were attached to the backdrop with fusible webbing.

That took a lot longer than I expected!

Next I used satin stitch to outline the tomato parts and secure the rough edges of the fabric. I added the label (Burts Seeds.) To render the filigreed edging of the original image, I used an embroidery stitch which resembles ivy.

All Done! A little fabric pen jazzed up the leaves.

Perhaps tomorrow I will plant some seeds from a real packet.