Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday WOW – November 30

If today is November 30, then December must start tomorrow!  Christmas is fast approaching, but am I working on Christmas projects?  Of course not!


I’m working on a doll – er, sort of.  I can hear you thinking, “ that looks like . . . “


Yep!  It’s an octopus!  I can’t tell you how much fun I had stuffing those eight octopus arms!  LOL!  I’ve been wanting to do something a little different, and this pattern spoke to me.  It should be interesting to see how it evolves.  It could go Christmasy, but I’m thinking not.


About the only thing I have that could be Christmas are these leftover blocks from the Comfort and Joy quilt.  I may do something with them . . . eventually.  Right now, they are just decoration.

What do you do with orphan blocks?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stick-y Sunday

Or maybe the title should be “Stabbed Sunday” because today I used a sharp implement, and I always manage to puncture myself when I’m around sharp things!


Today’s technique is needle felting.  That photo is not really fuzzy . . . the subject was fuzzy!


OK, does this look better?  This is about half way in my afternoon with wool and a felting needle.  Felting needles have barbed, triangle shaped tips and you use them to stab into wool roving so that the fibers attach to a surface and/or to each other.  They are very sharp!


I’ve used felting needles to attach or style doll’s hair and earlier this year, my doll club had a felting session where I made this pseudo-pug.  But today was my first serious attempt at felting onto another piece of fabric.


After I completed the flower, I made a couple of wool beads.


And, yes, I stabbed myself.  Several times.  But I didn’t draw blood!  At least not today and that makes it a good day!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

It’s All About the Y

If you have done much quilting at all, you have run across something called a Y-seam.  Basically it is a point where three seams come together, forming a 3-pronged line. . . kinda like a “Y”


There are tricks to stitch this junction so that it is smooth and even and it isn’t really complicated.  But I guess there’s no other way to say it . . . I HATE Y-seams!

In the past, I have found many methods and techniques that I struggled with and did not particularly enjoy doing.  But, by sticking to it and practicing, I can usually conquer said method or technique so that it’s not so bad.  Sometimes I’ve even learned to enjoy what I previously avoided.

Not with Y-seams.

And guess what?  This little beauty has TWELVE of them!


What was I thinking???  Um, I guess I wasn’t.  At least not about Y-seams.  I was so focused on getting all those spikes to lay right and match up all the points in the lone star – I didn’t think about how it would all go together.

But, go together it did and I’m really tickled – er, pink!  I can’t stop looking at it.  It is so worth all the work.

All except the Y-seams.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wednesday WOW – November 23


Kind of a lazy day, but I did get a postcard made.  Here are some of the fabrics I selected for it.


And those are some of the others.  The theme is “hands” – thus the hand pieces you see there.  I did some fusing and some stitching and it is almost finished.  No mail service tomorrow, so it won’t get mailed until Friday.  Once it has arrived at its destination, I’ll show you the end product.  I have a few postcards to show you from the past couple of months.

And tomorrow is Turkey Day in the US!  The holidays are upon us, people.  What have you got planned?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Soggy Sunday


The soggy part, however, is at the end of this week’s technique.  So, let’s back up a little bit.

The technique is Thread Lace.  The book breaks the methods into two types:  grid and lace.  I did both today.


I cut a piece of water-soluble stabilizer (BadgeMaster in this sample) just a bit larger than my hoop.  I dropped the feed dogs and used a Supreme Slider to cover the surface, then began stitching a grid. 


Then I drew some hearts and stitched around the perimeter and through the insides.   Instead of a grid, though, I experimented with circles and other shapes.


Then, I went for something more complicated!  I found a heart-shaped wreath pattern in one of my embroidery books.  Using the general shape and feel, I sketched leaves and berries and used several different colors of thread.  This piece took much longer to stitch than the other two, but it is also much heavier as well as detailed.  Because of that, I used two layers of the soluble stabilizer.

Then I slipped them all into a basin of water and let them soak for awhile.  If I were doing this again, I don’t think I would put all four sheets in at the same time.  That water got pretty sloppy!


I spread the pieces onto a clean towel to dry overnight.  If I got all the stabilizer out, they should be nice and soft and flexible.  If they are too sticky/stiff after drying, I can soak them again.


Looking at the two smaller hearts, they are pretty successful.  The one on the right was especially good at holding its shape.


This one did not fare as well.  It came out of the water all curled up and you can just barely see a few heart shapes inside.  I stitched each internal shape twice.  Apparently that is not enough!


The leaves turned out almost perfect, though.  I’m quite pleased with this one so far.  Because there is so much thread in this, it held its shape much better than any of the hearts, yet there is still enough showing through the leaves to suggest the lacy quality.

I will be adding these to backgrounds or using them as inserts or something.  I’ll let you see what I do with them, so do come back.  And come see what’s in store for next Sunday!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wednesday WOW – November 16

It was a very busy day, but I got quite a bit accomplished.


The lone star units are all stitched and paired.  Almost all the points match!!  I was amazed!


Then I got all four side pieces stitched.  Not without a struggle, though.  My trusty seam ripper got a workout today.  LOL!  Too many distractions, I guess.


Next are the corner units.  Those three pieces are not stitched yet.  I took a look at the ‘Y’ seam and decided late afternoon is the worst time to tackle it! 


It’s amazing that this whole project is essentially these three segments – four of each.  At this point I can ignore the fact that it took five days to get here. 

So, that’s what my worktable/design wall looks like today.  Between this, roofers, cable repairman, and dog duty, it was really quite a day.  I’m heading for my easy chair!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What I Did on My Vacation

Well, maybe “vacation” is not the right word.  After all, I did not leave home, except during the day.  I went to a 3-day quilting class conducted by my local quilt shop.

They are certified to teach and sell Judy Niemeyer patterns and that was what they did!  These quilts are made using foundation paper piecing and they look very complex.  Frankly, I had my doubts about being able to make one of the six patterns we had to choose from.


See what I mean?  (I snagged this picture from the shop’s web site.  Hopefully they won’t mind!)


I chose the design called “Summer Solstice” and here you see the beginnings of the lone star that is the center of the quilt.


This is what mine looked like at the end of the third day.  Just imagine there are four corners on the outer edge, and eight sets of spiky blocks.


Yesterday, I finished sewing all the lone star elements and now I am ready to start sewing sections together.  It has been exhausting!!


Here’s a candid shot of our group getting settled in.  We haven’t started making a mess, yet!  There were thirteen of us, but I don’t think it was an unlucky thirteen!  It was great to have other stitchers to share the misery and celebrations as we learned a different method. 

I want to say publicly that Mary, Connie, and Mark did a great job of setting up this session.  We were fed very well for three days and got complimentary massages, some wine on Saturday night, and a lot of laughs.  Oh yeah . . . and we sewed, too!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wednesday WOW – November 9

This week has been a little of this and a little of that – and today followed the pattern.


But I had to spend a fair amount of time cleaning this mess first.  You see, there was a missing Zig pen, small scissors, and the supply list for my weekend class.  It felt like one of those hidden object games!  Of course, only the scissors were in this pile (the other items turned up elsewhere), but I also unearthed a shopping list and new pattern I forgot about getting!  I really need to clean up a little more often.  LOL!


These are the fabric I will be using this weekend.  Can’t wait.  It looks like it will be a very busy three days and a lot of fun!  I’m even packed already!

Then I spent the rest of the day working in one of my journals.


I’m currently working through the holiday series of Grow With Love from last December.  I’d like to actually get into the holiday spirit before January this year.  LOL!


So, I’ve had fun cutting out little holiday pictures – elves and snowmen, ornaments and greenery, nutcrackers and wrapped packages.  In case you think it’s too early to start that kind of thing, we had snow this morning!  OK, so it has all melted now, but still . . . .

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sinuous Sunday

Before I show you this week’s “technique du jour”, here is the finished thread-painting from last Sunday.


I had some orphan pieces from several quilts that I used for the background and I stitched several leaf shapes to go with the flowers.  Some of the green is really darker than the photo shows – sunshine isn’t always kind to the colors!

And now . . . . . Machine Couching.


Oh my, that was a lot of fun!  I experimented with several kinds of yarn and trim, and I tried several of my sewing machine attachments as well. 


I have a couple that are designed specifically for attaching novelty threads, but oddly enough I found the most useful foot was my rolled hem foot!  I was surprised!


For those who are interested in the what and wherefore:

Starting in lower right hand corner --

  1. straight stitch using a heavy rayon thread (no label!)
  2. decorative stitch (tulips) using the same rayon thread
  3. straight stitch anchoring two knitting yarns which crossed every 4 or 5 stitches.  Yarns are “Sitar” from Nashua, and “High Sierra Stripe” from I Love This Yarn!
  4. Repeat of row 1
  5. “Sitar” zigzagged with the rayon thread from 1
  6. a novelty yarn couched with zigzag stitch.  It’s left over from an old knitting project and there’s no label.  Sorry.
  7. Number 6 yarn doubled and twisted in the hemstitch foot
  8. Wire, 26 gauge
  9. Same
  10. “Razzle Dazzle” thread stitched using a blind stitch, then a silver elastic cord laid along using same stitch mirrored
  11. “Julia” from Universal Yarn
  12. Same.  It’s variegated so you see different colors
  13. upholstery gimp trim
  14. “Monaco” from Sensations
  15. “Sitar” stitched using the free motion couching foot
  16. flower trim, stitched with 5 or 6 zigzags on the narrow parts
  17. ribbon braid using the free motion couching foot
  18. the heart - “Papier” from Universal Yarn

Also, rows 1 through 14 were stitched using my circular attachment.  You didn’t think I could make nice arcs on my own, did you?!

Well, that was certainly interesting!  I tried several other yarns that did NOT work very well, but I certainly have a feel for what can be done with couched fibers.  There’s certainly lots of potential there.

Next weekend I am going to be at a quilt retreat, so there will not be a Sunday technique, but come back the following Sunday to see what is next.  I’ve peeked ahead and it will really be a fun one!

But now, I have to go clean up the mess I made with all those yarns and threads!  Aaargh!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wednesday WOW – November 2

Old Man Winter is making himself visible today.  Just the right kind of weather to stay in and sew!!


Just a sampling of the blocks I worked on today.  This project is an on-again-off-again project that I work on between bigger jobs.  I got quite a few blocks done today, but there are way too many left to do!  It’s great for clearing my mind before starting something major. 

I haven’t decided just what that major something is, yet, though!   Maybe I’ll be getting more of these blocks done after all!