Sunday, December 30, 2012

Serendipity Sunday–A Rose by Any Other Name

Shakespeare would have us believe that all roses are sweet . . . er, something like that.  After today’s experiments, I can say that not all roses are equal!


Things started out pretty well.  Making these pleats was pretty straightforward, although marking one-inch measurements into thirds was a little tricky!  With that secured, the next steps sound simple . . . open up the pleats, hold the center, and turn.


Well, not so simple, as it turns out!  The second attempt was slightly better, probably because I started over 3 or 4 times! 


Not exactly breath-taking, is it?  Well, I thought I’d finish up a block and see if I like it any better.


OK, I can see where this would have potential.  So, is this an interesting or attractive element?  Sure.  And the samples in the book are really beautiful, so we know it can be done!  Am I likely to use this in a project at some point?  Eh, not so much!  That “hold the center and twist” is waaaay too fiddly for me.  It takes longer to arrange the folds than all the folding and stitching before or after!  Then you need to hand stitch to maintain the twist – and if you’re me you get thread tangled in the folds and have to cut it all loose and start over! 

You might guess that I wasn’t having a lot of fun by this point! 

But next week I can go back to precise folds and detailed instructions.  Just my speed!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wednesday WOW–December 26

The last Wednesday of the year!  Hardly seems possible, does it? 


I was able to make just a little more progress on my purple profusion project.  These arcs are about half done.  At the rate I’ve been going lately, it will be another year before this piece gets finished!  Oh, I hope not!!!

On a slightly different note, look what Sarge brought home today . . .


How cute is this?  A chocolate covered maraschino cherry, with a “kiss” for the head and slivered almonds for ears, set on half an Oreo cookie.  Eyes and mouth are dots of candy/syrup.  To tell the truth, he brought two of these home, but the first one didn’t last long enough for a photo.  LOL!  (They are very yummy, by the way!)

I’ve been sort of between projects lately, but it’s time to think about what I want to do next.  So much fabric, so little time . . . .

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wednesday WOW–December 19

Is everyone ready for Christmas?  Yeah,  me neither!  But today I did some virtual cleaning up in my Electric Quilt files, and got sidetracked into a little play time.

magazine freebies

There was a discussion recently in one of the EQ groups about drafting magazine patterns into EQ.  Instead of saving the whole magazine, you can save space and get some practice using the software as well.  I have many, many free project sheets that I’ve collected over the years and this sounds like a good idea to me.  This first one is called Midnight Garden and it is from McCall’s Quick Quilts.


This one is from McCall’s Quilting (same company, different magazine) and is called Ocean.

jelly roll spin

This is Jelly Roll Spin.  The idea is to use all the fabrics in a jelly roll, but I think I like it with a limited color palette, too.


On the other hand, this one, called Charming, uses 1-1/2 inch squares of a whole lot of fabrics!  Wouldn’t this be a fun way to clean out the stash?

I can see more EQ time in my future.  Something to keep warm and occupied if we get the snow that’s been forecast.  Not that I plan to go outside for long periods, anyway!  Hello?  Winter!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Serendipity Sunday–Coming Up Roses

As promised, I have roses to show you today.  Well, fabric roses anyway.


This flower involves a lot of creasing and folding and tucking, so I started big!  This is a six-inch square and it measures about three-and-a-half when finished.  I think it is actually too big to get the impression of a rose.  So I started working with smaller squares.


This one is from a four-inch square.  I see now that the picture is blurry, but maybe you can tell that it is a bit more poufy and slightly better proportioned.


This one is from a three-inch square.  That’s getting pretty small for all those folds and tucks!  This one looks pretty lumpy, because the center was actually too big!  The center is from a separate square and it took me awhile to get the hang of folding that and tucking it inside.  Small stitches from the back are what hold the rose together and this one took a lot of stitches!


By the end of my play time I had decided that the perfect size is from a 3.5-inch square.  I was also getting better at inserting the center piece and holding it all together with just a few stitches.  The red fabric has less sizing in it and I think I like that softer look better.  Sounds like a good reason to pre-wash my fabric!


I can definitely imagine ways to use this little flower.  It takes a lot of practice and definitely patience, but now that I know I can do it, I’ll have to look closer at the projects in the book.  There’s bound to be an idea that appeals.

Next week is a different kind of rose.  It looks interesting, too.  We’ll have to see how that goes.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wednesday WOW–December 12

I’m in the middle of some Christmas quilting, but I can show you some close-ups


This is the back . . .


and here is the front.  I’m working on tying off all those starts and stops before moving on to some more continuous quilting.  Right now it looks like a hairy mess!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Serendipity Sunday–Flowers with a Difference

This week I’m starting a different book:


Rebecca Wat is an Origami artist and she has adapted some of that to fabric.  Each chapter in this book demonstrates how to fold a flower, and then gives a couple of patterns for quilts, wall hangings, or embellished garments.  The pictures are all yummy, too!



Up first is a star-flower.  I made a couple of these and you can see that it works best with a solid or near-solid fabric.  The sizing in the print made it somewhat resistant to creasing, so I “helped” it along with a couple of blind stitches.  The plain yellow, however, is au naturelle.



I also tried a couple of variations on the basic star fold.  Those were fun, so I decided to go on to the next chapter.


This is a flower with petals that open out and is the style shown on the book’s cover.  This one started out as a 6-inch square, but I also did some from 3 1/2 inch squares.


I had a couple of issues here.  Besides not being able to tell right-side from wrong-side, that is! 


The petal points are formed where the raw edge is folded in.  As you can see in the close-up, it can be difficult to keep those raw edges tucked out of sight.  This is a case where you want the extra sizing that I struggled with in the first flower.  I really like these little 2-inch flowers, though, so I would probably add some anti-fraying solution before folding.


Here’s a shot of all of today’s flowers.  You can see I tried them in a variety of sizes and layouts.  There are lots of fun things I could do with these. 

Next week . . . Roses!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wednesday WOW–December 5

Have you ever had one of those days?  You know what I mean . . . you are busy all day, but have nothing to show at the end.  Like you spent the day spinning wheels and going around in circles.  Well, today was one of those.

So, instead of showing you what is on my worktable, here is what the Design Wall is currently showing:


Not much, I know.  On the left is a wall hanging that was pinned over those cabinet doors.  But then I couldn’t get into the cabinet!  So, it’s folded back for now, until I can get back to work on it.

The red and white block in the center is for our Guild’s President’s quilt.  The purple on the right is some of what I stitched today . . . and tomorrow I will be un-stitching it!  Grrrr.


Here’s the little piece below the red and white block.  It’s a pieced hexie made up as an ornament.  Who says Christmas Trees have to be green!!?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Serendipity Sunday–The Last Flowers

An appropriate title for early December, don’t you think?  We may be having unusually warm weather, but the flowers have definitely packed up for the winter!

Last time I worked with the Kanzashi folding, I said I wanted to try some different fabrics.  So today I pulled a variety and cut squares.


There’s denim, a tricot scarf, felt, home dec canvas, and a linen (or linen-type).  Some of the felt was Kunin and some a cheap acrylic.  I started with a cooler setting on the iron and turned up the heat as I changed fabrics, so I started with the felt and ended with the denim.

An unexpected benefit of starting with felt (after all, that’s why I’m calling this Serendipity!) was that working with the other fabrics was much easier by comparison!




I made three sizes of petals in the felt, thinking perhaps I could make a poinsettia style flower, but the felt is so bulky that it wasn’t a practical option.  The middle size came out the best, although it took quite a bit of fiddling to get there!  In fact, the felt was a lot of work and took extra stitching to hold together.  It does pair up nicely with lighter weight fabrics, though.


The scarf fabric created a completely different style of petal.  It was possible to do the extra folds quite easily, but you can see that it doesn’t have a lot of shape.  It does make a nice flower, though, just in a different category.


The linen was my favorite for handling and folding.  It was easy to fold, staying in place without springing apart on me, and plumped up to make nice pleated petals.  It almost made me think I’m getting the hang of this Kanzashi stuff!  But, then there was the denim . . . . .


I had quite a time keeping these petals together and getting my little needle through the layers.  It might have been easier if I hadn’t chosen such a heavy weight denim!  I have to admit, though, this makes a very nice, crisp rounded petal!  I just need to look for a lighter weight if I do this again!


So, there’s today’s bouquet.  I think this is about all I want to do from this particular book.  For now, anyway.  I’ve learned the basic folding techniques, and have an idea of what fabrics are easiest to work with as well as what makes the prettiest flower – not necessarily the same thing!

Next week, I’ll pick another book.  It’s time to make different kinds of flowers, I think.  See you then.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wednesday WOW–November 28

It was a good day to spend at the sewing machine.  Started out cold, but warmed up pretty well for the end of November.  Still, not a day you would wish you were outdoors!

So, sewing is what I did.


This pile of scraps looked so pretty, I had to take a photo!  There’s bound to be some way to use these bits and bobs.  Perhaps another day.


For today, I worked on these quarter circle sections.  I got all 36 done and now I’m ready to move on the the next step.  This is only the beginning!  I’ll have to experiment with my camera and see if I can get it to show the colors better.  These purples are so much prettier in person!

To be continued, so come back next week!

Monday, November 26, 2012


So, you might have noticed there wasn’t a Sunday Serendipity post.  Yeah.  Here’s the deal.  For one thing, I COMPLETELY forgot about it being Thanksgiving weekend.  Not that it mattered a lot since these days, we are down to enjoying a quiet dinner just we two.

No, the main problem was that I made plans for a lovely day in the studio, folding fabric and listening to Bon Jovi.  Then Sarge happened!  It seems he was also making plans . . . and they did NOT include studio time for me!  Sigh.  But it was a lovely day and he fed me quite well, so I’m happy with how things worked out.  Except for missing you guys, that is. 

I’m pretty sure I can get back to Serendipity next week, so stop by then.

Sarge and I really need to communicate better, tho.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wednesday WOW–November 21

Today was a purple day.


I finished cutting fabric today and actually got started on stitching!  That little pile on the right represents a whole day’s work!  LOL!  Ah, but the cutting and stacking is the complicated part and that’s all done.  Now I can just move through the stacks and stitch to the paper.  Assuming I’ve cut and stacked correctly, that is!  Time will tell.

A few weeks ago, I was looking through my stash and wondering why there isn’t a lot of purple.  Purple is my favorite color, after all.  You’d think there would be lots.  Looking at this picture, however, it occurs to me that this is where all my purple stash is! 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Serendipity Sunday–Flowers Yet Again

I’m determined to get the hang of folding Kanzashi and I might have made some progress today.


I did some checking on the ‘net and some of the tutorials I found say to stitch the ends that are folded to the center.  So, I tried that and although it makes things more fiddly, it sure did seem to help.


Now, this is more like it!  The red petals are 2.5-inch and the white-on-white is 2.75-inch.  The white is a stiffer cotton and this rounded petal worked very nicely.


I wanted to try some different fabrics, like these kimono silks.  The pieces I have are very small, so this is made with 1.5-inch squares.  Oh my!  What a chore this was!  This fabric is prone to slipping and sliding, yet has a definite grain line that must be respected.  In the end, though, it makes a charming little flower, and I’m happy with the result.


I wonder how chiffon works.  One drawback to this particular fabric is that it has a very low melting point.  That means none of the folds could be pressed.  But the 3-inch size wasn’t too difficult.  I’m not sure what possessed me to try this at 1.5-inch!!  It was a struggle, believe me!  In the end, I poured out a little puddle of glue and dipped the blunt ends into it as I folded each petal.  I had to keep shaping them as the glue dried and then it was a bit on the stiff side to string then together.  But there it is . . . and likely to be the only one I ever make!  Especially since my typical glue process involves getting it all over myself and the work surface! 


And here are today’s flowers all together.  There are still some other fabrics I want to try . . . a different weight silk, some sateen, maybe a knit.  The book also has projects using denim and leather (or vinyl).  I think the denim is workable, but I’m not sure about leather.  We’ll have to see how brave I am next week!

One thing I know.  After working with those tiny pieces of chiffon, regular cotton is going to be a breeze!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wednesday WOW–November 14

Not much I can report about today.  I spent half of it on the phone – but that’s a different kind of story!


Once I got to the worktable, it was a mess!  I did a little work on a couple of projects, but it was one of those days when I can’t seem to focus on one thing!  A little preparation for quilt guild, a little clean-up for doll club, a little bit of applique, a little Electric Quilt.  I think you get the picture!

And speaking of getting the picture, let’s get a closer look at that computer screen:


I read on the EQ blog about exporting a picture of a quilt in each EQ project and naming it the same as the project (except for the extension, of course).  When you set the view to Large Icons, this allows you to browse through your projects and quickly find the one you want to work in.  It’s great!  I found projects I had forgotten I had!  Also some duplications I can go back in and clean out.  Why didn’t I try this sooner???

I think my next step is a bit of cleaning out – in the studio as well as EQ.  What you don’t see in the first picture is the towering stack of papers, fabrics, and patterns just off camera!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Serendipity Sunday–More Flowers

There was still one type of Kanzashi flower that I did not try last week, so I started with it today.


It’s a pleated petal, but without a pointed tip.  It was actually a bit harder to fold than the other two.


So, of course, that means I like this version the best!  I think it presents a nice crisp petal, but with enough softness – at least on this side – to look more natural.

I’m feeling more comfortable with the basic folds, however.  So I tried another pointed petal.


And I raided the button box for embellishing the centers. 


Also tried another sample of the rounded petals.  I have really struggled with this fold.  The corners that fold to the center just don’t stay put for me.  In this instance I resorted to gluing beads to keep the corners in place.  There has to be something I’m missing.  I will just have to keep trying.  Practice, practice, practice!


I’ve been gradually reducing the size of my flowers, too.  Started with 3.5 inches, then 3 inches, then 2.5 inches.  The book has a project using 1 inch squares.  It may take me awhile to work down to that!

Now I just need to figure out what to do with all these flowers!