No, friends, this is not a publication by a religious group. This is an exercise in making a reference guide for your own sewing machine.
Yesterday I took a few hours to document all the stitches that are programmed into my Bernina 1080 Special. I would have done this sooner but for my own impatience to get on with my making.
Basically, you just make a column of stitches, move to the next button and repeat until you have a sample of each stitch. In addition, I changed length and width as I stitched along, making notes in permanent marker along the way.
It wasn’t as boring as I had imagined, mostly because I listened to podcasts while I stitched.
Even though my Bernina only has 28 different stitches, I worked my way through several bobbins of thread. The payout of this exercise is getting to play with different combinations of the stitches that I discovered. My favorite setting is the mirror-image button. This allows me to highlight nice sections of my fiber objects with mirrored embroidery stitches.
I also learned how to couch cord, ribbons and yarn.
If you haven’t made a stitch bible for your sewing machine, I suggest that you give it a go. It may spark in you some creative ideas for future fiber play.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Perhaps tomorrow I will plant some seeds from a real packet.