Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wednesday WOW – May 30

I had a busy day running to appointments – and to appointments that weren’t!  But that’s another story.  Besides, I did get some sewing time in.

P5300001Right now that’s just a pile of triangles.  But by the end of the day, it looked more like this . . . . .

P5300002 How cool is that?  It’s coming together nicely so far.  I’m starting to feel the excitement!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Smoky Sunday

You’ve probably guessed from the title – it was another day of burning fabric.  No ashes this time, but smoke?  Yes.

P5270002This time I used a Soldering Iron to burn through layers of chiffon.  The top layer has these silver dragonflies, so I tried to work with them in my designing.

P5270003Theoretically, it’s possible to burn through to different layers depending on how long you hold the iron to the fabric.  It takes a very light touch . . . which I do not have!  I did some free-motion stitching after I finished burning.

P5270005I have to say that this method doesn’t really excite me.  I used several layers and different colors, but I think the last two are all that really show.  I had a lot more fun setting the whole thing on fire last week!  Not so much this week.  Those funky exclamation points in the top picture are kind of cool, though.  They happened when I laid the tool at an angle rather than using just the tip.  I’ll have to keep that in mind for future projects.

Now to figure out how to get rid of the smell of burnt chiffon.  Yuk!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wednesday WOW – May 23

It’s sewing day at the quilt shop again.  I love visiting with the people there and seeing what everyone is working on.  So many ideas, so little time!!

P5190002I finished the disappearing nine-patch that has been my “sewing day” project for quite awhile.  Everyone agreed that it doesn’t need another border.  I have some of that dark blue which will be the binding and it should set off the piano keys just fine.  Jake (seen here looking official) gives his approval, too!

P5230001With that out of the way, I started on my next project.  It took all of the morning and some of the afternoon to get all the pieces cut out!  I wasn’t sure I would even get to the stitching part, but I did get a little done.  Next time there should be enough to show how the blocks are going to look.  I’m liking it so far.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sooty Sunday

If there is any way to make a mess of something, I will find it!  Although it’s usually when I’m wearing white.  Guess I lucked out today!

P5200003That mess up there is a by-product of today’s technique . . .

Edge Burning!

P5200001First I needed a quilted sandwich.  In fact, putting this together and quilting it took most of the afternoon!  Plus a bobbin refill!  Plus running out of top thread!  All that so I could . . .

P5200002 set it on fire!!!  Just call me Pyro Pete.  Wow, that stuff can really burn!  I totally get the reason for fire retardant sleepwear!  Fortunately, I had a couple shop towels and plenty of water on hand.

P5200005 And here is the finished piece.   Check out those cool edges!  I will probably appliqué it to a background.

P5200006Like this.  Maybe with some beads or metal accents.   I can think of several options.

Oh yeah, remember the silk cocoons and rods I mislaid?  Still haven’t found them, but I have the perfect trick to make them turn up . . . I will order more!  Yep, that oughta do it!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wednesday WOW – May 16

P5160002Amazingly, I managed to take a photo of the worktable without showing the huge mess!  Just out of camera range lies a pile of fabric scraps, paper, and threads.  A sure sign that I’ve been creating like mad!  It’s too early to tell how this is going to work, though.  Lots of tweaking to be done, but I think it’s going in the right direction.  So far, so good!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sublime Sunday

Today’s topic was supposed to be silk cocoons and carrier rods.  And a few weeks ago, I ordered some so they would be ready when we reached this technique.  I carefully put them in a safe place.  Can you see where this is going?  Yup!  I can’t find them!!!

So, rather than waste time looking, I decided to skip ahead.  Today, I made Fabric Beads!

P5130001There are a couple of ways to make fabric beads.  One way is to use glue and simply wrap different widths of fabric.

P5130002 That’s how I made the bead on the left.  I added beads and some glitter, so that was pretty simple.

The other way is to use different synthetics and plastic fibers and use a heat gun to fuse them together.  The other three beads above were made using that method.  I used chiffon, some angelina, some Tyvek, and some rayon thread.  The different fibers react differently to heat and you get some pretty cool shapes.

P5130004 Both of these are heated and fused.  The top one has a regular cotton fabric as the base and is tied with a combination of yarns.  The yarns melted at different rates and made a pretty cool “ornament” on the bead.  The other bead has some crinkled chiffon as the base and the ends did an interesting curl and twist.

P5130003This one is cotton fabric strips rolled up.  I laid a bead of glue around the middle there and rolled it in microbeads and glitter.  I like how the green fabric is starting to fray, too.  That could be another way to go when making fabric beads. 

Every once in awhile I will see an article on making beads – from fabric, yarns, smaller beads, etc.  Today’s play time really just touched the surface.  Fun stuff!

Now, if I could just find those silk rods!  They will turn up some day.  When they do, I’ll go back to that page in the book.  I promise!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wednesday WOW – May 9

This project is rapidly approaching finished.

P5090012I started on the outer border on this quilt today.  It’s a pieced border, so there is still some sewing to be done.  But it is getting there!

P5090003 And the big news is . . . the Kansas quilt is finished!  I took it in so we could hang it up and take photos.  I’m so pleased with the way this looks.  I got lots of compliments, too.  Always good for the ego!

I plan to put this into a couple of local quilt shows this summer.  Then I’m hoping I can send it to the AQS Show in Des Moines this fall. 

P5090004 Here is a close-up shot so you can see some of the quilting.  Lisa did an absolutely amazing job, didn’t she?  This will be the first quilt submitted to AQS for both of us.  Kind of nervous about that! 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sunday Shuffle

Today’s technique should have been quick and easy.  Um, not so much on the quick part.  Let me explain.

P5060001The subject is “plastic pockets.”  I tried three different methods for attaching small bits to fabric by using a plastic pocket to encase them.

P5060002The first one is a simple pocket to hold something that may be removed and returned . . . like a tag.  OK, so first I had to make a tag to put in there.  That was fun, although it took a lot longer to make the tag than to make its pocket!  I used Staz-On ink to stamp the flourish on the pocket for added interest.

P5060003For this pocket, I stitched three sides of the plastic down, then stuffed to goodies into it before stitching the fourth side.  That works pretty well, especially for a small pocket.

P5060004For this pocket, I stitched the plastic to a separate sheet of paper, filled it, and stitched it shut before stitching it down to the fabric.  There’s not as much give in this pocket, so the confetti has stayed bunched up in one spot.  I need to give that some thought!

On this last piece you can see evidence of the REAL problem with this technique.  You might expect the plastic to slip easily through the sewing machine, but it doesn’t.  Oh no – that would be too easy!  The plastic sticks to the presser foot and is impossible to sew.  The answer is to use a sheet of tissue to cover the plastic and the stitching will behave normally.

EXCEPT .  .  . now you have to pick all that tissue out from between the stitches.  That is not fun!!!  So much not fun, that I decided to leave it on this last pocket to provide extra “interest”!  Especially since the color matches.  I think that was an acceptable solution.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Back-tracking on Sunday

Since I piddled around most of Sunday, I did not have enough time to completely explore the craft foam and had to go back to it a day or two later.  Here is what I found.

P4290004Just for a quick review – these pieces of craft foam were heated by placing the foam under a sheet of parchment and holding a dry iron on it for about 20 seconds.  Then I quickly removed the parchment and pressed a stamp into the foam.  Once the pieces cooled off, I brushed acrylic paint across the surface.

P4300003 On these pieces I layered the foam between two pieces of fabric and stitched the flower shapes.  I then used a heat gun and blasted each piece.  The photo above showed before heating (left) and after (right).  The foam shrinks back from the edges and will start to curl.  I bent the petals up before it cooled to give some shaping.

P4300010The red flowers and leaves were done using the same technique.  Some pieces have more shape than others, but reheating allows you to fine tune your flowers, etc.

P4300009It occurred to me that I could use the heat gun for impressing stamps, so I tried that.  Personally, I prefer doing it this way.  I found I could be more precise in heating the foam and get the stamp into it quicker.  Plus, I can sit at my worktable instead of standing at the ironing board!

I brushed a little PearlEx powder on the white star above, and rubbed the surface of the blue star with oil pastel.

P4300007The white foam I was using is 3mm thick and it occurred to me that it might behave differently if it was thinner.  So I pulled out a sheet of 2mm foam – although it looks more like half the thickness of the white.  And what I learned was that the foam doesn’t just shrink to the stitching, but it continues to shrink so that the fabric begins to puff up!  Wow!

P4300008I tried to get a photo to show that puffiness, but it’s something you’d have to see for yourself.  You may be wondering why I started trying this out on the 3mm foam if I had some thinner stuff on hand.  Because my brain gets alternate Sundays off!  Don’t you hate it when that happens?

P5020024So, here is the completed page.  I used my sewing machine to stitch down the two square pieces and the leaves.  Then I attached the flowers and stars by stitching beads in their centers.  And, yes, the thinner foam was a LOT easier to stitch through.  Duh!

If you haven’t played with craft foam (also called fun foam), I encourage you to try it out.  Definitely go for the thin stuff, though!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wednesday WOW – May 2

I worked on a couple of things today.  For once, I feel like something was accomplished!


First, I finished up my experiments with craft foam from Sunday.  There will be a post coming up with more information.  These are some of the pieces being auditioned for layout.

P5020028Then I squared up my Kansas quilt and got it ready to put binding on.  It came home from the quilter last week and I’m totally amazed at the job she did.  The woman is a sorceress!

P5020029 That is the backing on the quilt.  It’s rather loud, but it’s a beautiful sunflower batik and actually looks pretty good.  Tomorrow I’ll get the binding on and then this quilt will be ready for it’s “official portrait”!  And since I don’t see where I ever told you about how this quilt came to be, I’d better get busy working on a post for that, too.

My, it sure feels nice to have a quilt completely done.