Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Snippet

Today’s technique is so much fun!  In fact, I plan to do some more of this and try a few variations.  The technique is “Thread Painting.”

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I’ve done some of this before . . . it’s basically free motion stitching.  I did this one last year as part of the fiber book page swap.  I used the thread to create shadows and highlights on appliqued pieces.

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Today, I stitched on a printed fabric and enhanced portions of the print.

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I placed some black felt behind the fabric so these elements will stand out when I place them on a background.  I even like the way it looks on the back!

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I cut out the elements – flowers and insects – and trimmed close to the stitching.  For the antennae, I plan to stitch them after attaching to the background, but I’m leaving the printed ones on for now.  So I don’t forget, ya know?

I need to stitch at least one more flower, but I’ve run out of black felt!  I’ll have to do some digging around in the stash cabinet.  I’m pretty sure I have another dark color – maybe even another piece of black! 

So this little project is on hold while I dive into the cabinet.  If you don’t hear from me by Wednesday, send help.  LOL!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sunday Redux

So, I’ve been working – off and on – on completing some of the pieces from my Sunday experiments.  Would you like to see?

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I cut apart the piece from last Sunday that I stitched using my sewing machine’s pre-programmed designs.  The fabric is somewhat more green than it looks in these photos and I used a “peacock” blue to frame the smaller squares.

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I did some silk ribbon roses in one of the grid patterns.  I recently learned a different way to stitch the roses and this gave me a chance to practice, practice, practice.

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Still working with programmed stitches, the book suggested adding stitch to enhance a patterned fabric.  I did a little bit of free-motion embroidery first and then used circles and leaves to make this piece.  (Please forgive the poor quality photo.  The sunlight emphasized every wrinkle and bump!)

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You can see some of the stitching a tiny bit better here.   The grape clusters use that dotted stitch you can see over on the left side.  I would stitch four or five dots, then turn the fabric and stitch a few more.  Voila . . . grapes!

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I also did some hand quilting along the lines of the fabric print.  This is the back and you can see what I mean.  Although my hand quilting doesn’t look terrible, it sure is making my machine quilting look a lot better!  LOL!

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This one is from further back.  The grid that was giving me so much trouble in sashiko stitching is coming along.  I’m now working on horizontal lines and should finish shortly – if my thread holds out!

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And for those who wanted to see jeans patched using this stitching, here you go!  Sarge agreed to allowing an experiment on an old pair of jeans since he would only wear them around the house.  The man continually surprises me.  Of course, he hasn’t actually worn them yet!  At this rate that patch will last forever!  Good thing because I have to tell you – two layers of denim (in some places three!) is not easy stitching!  LOL!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wednesday WOW – October 26

Today, my worktable is a small disaster!  I seem to be in the middle of a dozen projects at once.

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There’s a little journaling and a little quilting, and some silk ribbon embroidery.  Sheesh!  I think it’s about time for some clean-up.

But first, here is a closer look at that journal:

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Remember last week I was cutting stencils?  The texture on these two pages (which are not finished, by the way) is from the cut out pieces stuck down and painted over.

You can see them a bit easier in this close-up:

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And this is what the cabinet looks like now!  Not very professional looking, but it has a nice homespun, hand made look and that’s OK with me.  Plus, it is a lot easier to read than those sticky notes were!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Schematic

Today I played with programmable stitches on my sewing machine.

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I divided a piece of fabric into four sections and did a little bit of a different collection of stitches in each.  There are so many stitches on my Bernina that the hardest part was limiting myself to these four sections!

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I made a couple of grids and stitched some single motifs in one of them.  I plan to do some hand work in the other grid.

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Then I tried different weights of thread and different stitches.

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There are some interesting stitches available . . . some of which I wonder what I could ever use them for!  Oh – I know!  A sampler like – well – like this one!  LOL!

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But I did discover a few stitches that I know will come in handy.  I’m not sure if you can see, but that line about in the center above has two different weights of thread.  The thread broke half way through and I decided to try a different one.  It makes for a good way to compare the threads.

This was one of the easier projects in this book, but it has given me quite a bit to think about.   At first glance you might think these stitches are fairly conventional, but I am beginning to see how I can use them in a not so conventional way to create something unique.  I have started on another piece so I can try some of my ideas.  Hopefully there will be more to show you soon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wednesday WOW – October 19

An appointment smack in the middle of the day meant there wasn’t time to get into a huge project.  But I have LOTS of small projects to work on!

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Or, rather, a big project that can be broken up into little pieces.  And today’s piece was to cut stencils.

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I’ve finally decided to do something about those blue sticky notes!  Aren’t they elegant?  But there are enough drawers there I really need labels.  I can never remember which one has the buttons!

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So, labels there will be!  Today I got four done . . . only eight more to go!  Yikes!

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I think that sometimes the orts from a project are just as much fun!  There must be some way I can use these!  Like I need another project.  LOL!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Slacker Sunday

Yep, that’s what happened.  I dillied and dallied on Sunday until I ran out of time!  So, you are getting my Sunday post on Monday!

But, just because I did not post on Sunday, doesn’t mean I did not work the next chapter!  And the chapter was about “riceing.”   Um, not food . . . embroidery.  Although apparently it gets its name from resembling pieces of rice.

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This stitch is good for filling in backgrounds and it’s super easy to do.  The picture above is random riceing and consist of simple short stitches done – well – at random!

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Then there is linear riceing which is, of course, linear.  Really hard to remember.  LOL!

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Linear riceing looks pretty good in a grid, too. 

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And here is the finished piece.  You may remember the black square from my adventures with discharge dyeing.  It looks a bit better now!

So.  Not a wasted Sunday after all!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wednesday WOW – October 12

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I had trouble staying with one project today.  I can see at least three project in this picture – and there were others as the day wore on.  I couldn’t seem to settle down.  Struggling with allergies didn’t help, either!

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One thing I DID manage to finish today, was washing and drying these two quilts.   They will be ready to go to quilt guild and on to the local charity. 

I think I will go and take an antihistamine now.  It will probably put me to sleep, but anything is better than all this sniffling and sneezing!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sashiko on Sunday

Today I explored a special type of embroidery called “Sashiko.”  It is usually associated with Japan, although many Asian cultures include this or something similar in their crafts.

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It is simply a running stitch, but often follows complex designs.  Historically, Sashiko was used to create tougher (layered) fabric or to patch old fabric so that clothing would last longer.  Only when fabrics became cheaper, did the craft evolve into a decorative art.

I used a quilting stencil to mark my fabric – a navy blue aida from my stash.  White thread on blue fabric is what I associate with Sashiko, although it is the stitching that defines it, not the colors.

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Making even stitches takes a lot of practice and I have a ways to go.  But it’s not too bad, huh?  The thread is a perle cotton number 5, which is probably larger than traditional Sashiko thread.

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I have some nice Caron Watercolors thread that is a finer size, so I tried it on a piece of linen.  I love the way the thread glides through.  I had high hopes for this piece, but then I ran afoul of marking!  I was trying to copy a design from the Purl Bee’s tutorial on Sashiko.  I think you can see that it did not go well!!!  I’m not sure what to do with it now.  I think I will finish the vertical lines and see if I can wash out all the others (I marked with chalk, so it shouldn’t be a problem), then we’ll see what comes to mind.

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But it was an interesting afternoon and I have some ideas for using this stitch.   Maybe I’ll use Sashiko the next time Sarge needs the knees of his jeans patched. . . . or not!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wednesday WOW – October 5

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I decided that it is beyond time to finish this quilt!  It feels like I have been quilting on this for years!  Well, okay – it’s been four months, give or take.  I showed you the completed top here, but that was almost a year ago.  Yep!  It’s really time to finish this quilt!!!!

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Today, I finished quilting the center and then quilted the borders, using a circle as guide for a free motion motif.  As a quilting motif it is pretty rough – I don’t follow lines very well under the best of circumstances! – but I think it will do.  Now I am stitching the binding.  After a good wash, this quilt will go to the quilt guild’s charity project.

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When showing What’s On the Worktable, I thought you should also see What’s Under the Worktable!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday Shift

I’m shifting gears this week as the book moves into a new Section.

Just as a reminder, I have been using Sundays to work my way through this book:

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The first section of Fabric Embellishing: The basics & beyond has been dedicated to “Foundations.”  Over the past fifteen weeks (!) I have been experimenting with techniques that can either stand alone or serve as a background – or foundation layer – for further embellishing.

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I have several “pages” in a finished state

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. . . and I have several pieces that are waiting to become part of something else.  I’ve really had a lot of fun tweaking fabric, using paints, printing, discharging, and etching – as well as fold, spindle, and mutilate! 

Now, I’m moving into the section called “Soft Embellishments” and the first technique is Embroidery.

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I had to laugh as I was working on this today, remembering my days as a Girl Scout with the other girls sitting around in a circle, struggling to master our needles as we worked toward a badge.  One girl accidently stitched her piece to her skirt!  I remember feeling relief that it was not me!!  That was many years ago and I have gained skill handling a needle over those years.  Although there wasn’t anything new to learn in this week’s lesson, I enjoyed relaxing with an art that I love.

What better way to spend a beautiful fall afternoon?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Bunting or Pennants?

Or perhaps they are flags?  Whatever they are called, I was recently in a swap with the Stargaze Tomers.  The five I received were soooo wonderful.

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I got Sarge to hang them up from the ceiling beam in my studio and I absolutely love looking at them!

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This one was made by Lucille J. from Canada

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This is from Kathy K. in Michigan

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Rhonda S. sent this one from Australia.

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This is by Cynthia M. in New Zealand

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and this lovely is from Barbara R. of Florida.

Here is what I sent to each of them:

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We had an opportunity to request a specific color, and I asked for purple!  The others just wanted bright colors, so I made a rainbow collage as the backgrounds and then appliqu├ęd and beaded. 

What fun it has been to have goodies coming in the mail.  Oh.  And that title?  An acquaintance asked if I was doing any swaps lately and I said “We are doing pennants.”  She looked very puzzled, and I realized she thought I had said “penance.”  I’m sure she was wondering just what kind of group I had gotten in with!!  So I’ve taken to calling them “bunting” just to be safe!

I wonder what other swaps I can get into?