Archive for the ‘SewCalGal’ Category

52 Sparks – Week 6 – On Top of the World

I am behind, part of what’s making me so nuts lately. But I do so want to stay up with some of my projects for this year. So far I’m really not doing badly, and I know I need to give myself a break and stop being so hard on myself. So….Week 6: When You’re On Top of the World….

I feel giddy, I giggle, I smile, I talk a lot, and my mind goes crazy with ideas. I’ve often commented “It doesn’t take much to make me happy.” I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not! I’m thinking it’s a good thing – I like the feeling, and I want it to happen more often.

I often get this feeling when I complete a project. I just finished a commission as part of a house-warming, and about half-way through I started grinning from ear to ear. I LOVED the piece!! And then, yesterday, I bought a new sewing machine – with 90 decorative stitches…..I’m still grinning, and I can’t wait till Thursday when life is a little simpler to play with it and make my stitch  sampler. I’m still giggling at the prospect.

Nature also makes me feel on top of the world, and not necessarily when I’m on a mountaintop. A favorite spot just south of the Seven Pools on Maui, the lakefront on Champlain, the Pali on Oahu, cactus in bloom during a wet spring in Saguaro National Park……get me outside and I can feel on top of the world.

So here’s my free motion quilting piece for my friend Ali. There are SO many things I love about this piece – the colors worked even better than I thought, and I love how the blues kind of shine. The tension on the back for the most part worked really well. I used Bottom Line in the bobbin, Silk Kimono for the ribbon, Art Studio for some of the blue background, and King Tut for the overall design. The thread colors were great. The ribbon around the center celtic piece was the new FMQ challenge for this first part of the year from SewCalGal, and brought to us by Libby Lehman. I love how the ribbon is created. I’m not happy with how mine turned out – it needed to be larger, and I discovered that I really didn’t need a pattern – next time I will freehand the ribbon and not make the stitching as dense. I was even thrilled with the blocking, squaring off, and binding. Overall – on top of the world……

close-up of the “ribbon” work

Work in Progress

I definitely have work in progress…I just never manage to get it up on a Wednesday….so here goes anyway. I finished my table topper for my bed stand, and I was really pleased with how it turned out. I used ideas from the October and November FMQ challenges. First time I used a stencil when I wasn’t hand quilting, and I tried all kinds of techniques, including a not-really-successful trapunto, but I’m learning. Both table toppers are bound in the same purple, even though the designs are totally different on both of them.

This is hubby’s topper.

From Last month:

I was very pleased at how it worked out. My first experiment with water-soluble thread was somewhat successful. But the amount of free motion I managed to do really surprised me. We still have two dresser scarves from the same set of fat quarters. I have an idea for hubby’s using some of the techniques I’ve seen in Diane Gaudynski’s book, but that will have to wait till after the holidays. I am still working on the last table runner for my second mom, due next week in time for Thanksgiving, so that’s the next priority.

However, I had to take some sewing time strictly for myself. I took this ten-plus-year-old quilt apart late summer, and I finally am getting to redoing it for the holidays, plus turning it into a new tutorial for quilting marbled fabric, this time the nonpareil pattern, a very traditional marbled design. It was just quilted in the ditch and looked really blah…..

Now I have some photos of quilting the marbled fabric in the center of each of the stars. I really want them to pop out.

I’ve just started quilting the center of the star.

I’ve got the centers of the stars done now, and I am doing micro-stippling in all the green. Going pretty fast, which bodes well for getting the tutorial completed! Hopefully more time tomorrow….

Work in Progress Wednesday….The UFO’s

I have been working on a guest blog post on using marbled fabrics in quilts, and it occurred to me to look at some of the more traditional quilts I have done to inspire people. Well, turns out most of them are UFOs…….so here’s a look at what I still need to quilt – now that I have some really good free motion skills. I’m really inspired to start working on these….after the patterns are finished…..

Needs to be taken apart so I can determine why there is the fold there…..The fabrics worked so well!

Known as my origami quilt…..complete with pins…..

One of the first quilts I really started to expand my thinking….(forgive the thumb…).

Gotta think about how to quilt this one……going to definitely quilt the marbled blocks.

And…..here’s part of my October FMQ challenge – LOVE LOVE LOVE how this is turning out! I have a few more things I would like to do to this piece, so maybe it will be finished by next week Wednesday. It’s a combination of a lot of ideas.

I have some really cool ideas for using the trapunto technique on marbled fabric…going to be the next piece.

A UFO Finally Finished!

About three years ago (I date time from where I remember living while making this piece) I started what I called my “forest quilt,” as a result of Stripper’s Club, at my local quilt shop. The quilt looked masculine, so I figured it would be good for hubby. I got the top done in about a month of working on it school nights…and then it sat, because I just didn’t know how to quilt it. Didn’t want to do stitch-in-the-ditch,” and I just couldn’t imagine stippling the whole thing.

This past January I started the Free Motion Quilting Challenge with SewCalGal. I have learned SO much! From the very first pattern of leaves, my skills have grown by leaps and bounds. When I made my list of unfinished projects, this was on it. When I finished the last table runner for my second mom, I decided to work on this, because now I had a bunch of ideas for what to do in a quilt with a lot of straight lines and ninety-degree angles.

Before I actually started the quilting, I read Karen McTavish’s book of McTavishing, which I got for my birthday. I really liked what she said about adding texture to the quilt by using threads that are thin and blend in with the background. So….Bottom Line by Superior Thread in the bottom, and a light and dark Bottom Line for the top. I decided on a rosette (a variation of a feather) for each of the centers, and partial rosettes for the partial blocks. Along the way of quilting this large quilt, I got very used to moving it through and around the machine. One of the best lessons in free motion came early on, with the advice to learn how to do your pattern sideways and upside down. The only place I had to wrestle and turn the quilt was with the straight lines in each block.

Frances Moore leaves, Angela Waters swirls, Diane Gaudynski feathers/rosettes, and about 15 hours later the quilting was done.

The back looks amazing, if I say so myself. And….my border is to die for! Love the feathers, done with a Rainbow thread also from Superior. The quilt overall was a lot of fun to do, as I had a lot of variety within the quilting designs. The safety pins worked for basting, and I think I only had two tucks in the whole backing. I used a thin batting, and I’m so glad, because the quilt is actually pretty heave. It’s hanging on the wall right now, because since it’s still 90-plus degrees, I’m still weeks away from needing it to stay warm.

Here it is. For no blocking, it hangs pretty straight.

You can see the texture from this angle. I was looking at it the morning after we photographed it in the dining room, and with the natural light coming from the right, I could see the quilting. Lesson learned for the photography in the future.

Close-up of one of the edges. You can see the partial rosette.

The border – all the way around – and it really didn’t take that long. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the border!! NEVER thought I would be able to do feathers!

On the bed – another look at texture.

The back….

…and the back again…..

Learned so much! Thanks SewCalGal for this amazing year of challenges!

Free Motion Quilting – a New Design

Oh my, have I learned some new stuff! The Free Motion Quilting challenge, hosted by SewCalGal, had a bonus tutorial by Susan Brubaker Knapp that piqued my interest. Basically you can create your own quilting design from your pictures. Well, I kinda figured you could, but once I read through this, I knew exactly how to do it. Bingo! I had loads of pictures that I would be able to use. I was having trouble with the drawing of the pattern for the August challenge; I planned to use that design on one of our bed stand runners. Now I had a new idea.

Concurrently, I am working on my Quilt University class, Inspired to Design, with Elizabeth Barton. I was looking at one of the photos I had morphed into a new design and suddenly realized I had a free motion quilting pattern right in front of me. Here’s the original picture:

Here’s the design element I developed a little further:

I added more pads to the design, made my pattern, and traced parts of it to the cotton. I realized, after my arms started to ache from tracing, that this was very free-flowing, so I really didn’t need to trace any more. I went with a brighter green for the outlines of the pads. Sometime in July I watched The Quilt Show episode on Stupendous Stitches, and after that I took a serious look at the other stitches on my Bernina workhorse 1008. Not many to work with, but I had one that I thought would work to give the idea of a ragged edge to the lily pad. Then I used a variegated green to do the stitching in each pad. I used a monofilament to create water waves on the rest of the background. Here it is:

Lessons Learned:

The background fabric actually worked pretty well, as did the thread colors. I wouldn’t stack the lily pads as much the next time. The most important lesson for me was going back and studying the original photo and realizing I could do much more with the interior lines. I became much more aware of that element in the original picture. I also did my binding a little differently, since I managed to cut it a half inch too thin. I used one of the stitches of a wave on the machine and made it very small. I tacked the binding down by maching, and you can’t really tell unless you’re looking at it close up.

And speaking of close-ups, here is one of the pads:

For the purposes of the table runner and the learning, I’m done. Next time I would use more color within the pads, spread the pads out more, and probably add stems. Overall, I love it! Thank you, Susan and SewCalGal!!

New Work and Progress….

I have been participating in the Free Motion Challenge this year sponsored by SewCalGal, and it has done wonders for my quilting skills. Each month a different machine quilting instructor, and I now have a variety of patterns to use. Part of my goal for this second year of retirement is to complete some of the unfinished projects over the last few years. Now I feel like I have way more tools than just stippling. I am working on a quilt from Stripper’s Club of three years ago at my LQS (Quilter’s Market), and it is looking amazing. I anticipate being done by the end of the weekend, as the quilting really doesn’t take that long. I just need to take breaks every half hour or so since my neck and shoulders are tightening.

In spite of feeling pretty lethargic  over the last two months, I finished a small green color study, the June and July free motion lessons, completed the samples and wrote the pattern (which is now being tested by my new pattern testers), started work on my forest quilt, and completed a small piece called Desertscapes.

Desertscapes started as seven separate pieces that I knew would go together, but I wasn’t sure just how that would work. I just started with some free motion to accent the idea of geodes, as well as desert landscape. I loved the use of microstippling to mimic sand.

Here’s the finished piece, which already has a home. It looks so much better – and straighter – on the wall! Loved the way the marbled ribbon brought everything together.

Free Motion Quilting for July

So I told myself I had to complete a couple of table runners for a pattern I am working on before I let myself get involved in the July Free Motion challenge. In one respect that was a good decision, because I got to see what other folks were doing, and it gave me some ideas. I really studied the swirl pattern from Angela Waters, and I think I started to get it, but as I think about it after the fact, there are a few things I would do differently. I noticed a couple of things: my stitch length is way more consistent, and I am getting better at moving back and forth across the quilt sandwich by doing the patterns upside down.

This is progress for me, because normally I read about something, try it out, and then feel satisfied. That’s how I’ve always been, even though I know about muscle memory. This time I made myself stay with the one pattern, and it truly made a difference in completing the piece. Much more comfortable with the pattern, with the hum-purr (thanks, Cindy!) of the machine, and my stitch length.

That said, I used a cotton lame on the top, a cotton on the back, Bottom Line in the bobbin, and an Art Studio light purple from Superior Threads for the top. My batting was some left-over Quilter’s Dream, low loft. I found the absolutely perfect binding in my stash. This will be a great table topper for some of my plants.

It looks so much better in person! The colors are truer – and it’s really shiny!

Top Ten Tuesday – New Art Blogs

It’s been a while since I’ve written about some of my daily go-to blogs. I’ve discovered a lot of new ones over the last year, both art-related and not, so here’s an update of blogs you don’t want to miss.

365 Project – aside from the fact that there are amazing photographs each week, the site has you start your own daily photo journal.

365 Project homepage

 

Waiting, by John

Elizabeth Barton writes a blog with tips, inspirations, art work, and wonderful pondering thoughts on your own art. If I could choose a mentor for a few months, it would be Elizabeth.

The Art Biz Blog is essential. Alyson Stanfield gives you spectacular advice for managing and promoting your art business. Start reading her if you aren’t already.

I love Larkin Van Horn. Not only does she create amazing work, but she likes using our fabrics! I had a chance to reconnect with her this past March at StashFest for the La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum.

I follow the C&T Publishing blog for two reasons: I like to see what’s new….and they do giveaways, and one time I actually won! If you’re in the business, you need to keep up with trends,

Dale Anne Potter got me started last year on positivity and the Law of Attraction. She is a great artist, and she has been helping others achieve their dreams.

Vicki Welsh does some of the most amazing hand-dyes, with color gradations to dye for (pun intended)!

Generation Q Magazine just made it into print, after a year of online articles and features. Lots of potentially great stuff here!

Insights from SewCalGal is my go-to site this year for machine quilting. My skills have improved tremendously, I did a tutorial for Darlene, and there are great giveaways – fantastic site!!

And last, but certainly not least, the Textile and Fiber Art List, a group of over 300 artists from 30 countries. Amazing eye candy! Take a trip through blogs and Etsy stores for artists in everything “textile and fiber” you can imagine! A wealth of awesome information.

Top Ten Tuesday

Another interesting week – and the blogs are getting ahead of me – but I keep finding so many interesting ones! What did you find this week?

An interesting look at how we use fonts, especially in the fiber area, from SewCalGal.

A look at urban exploration, with an interview from the 365 Project, called “Capturing Decay.” There’s something really beautiful in decay.

FortyThreePhotography.co.uk

Here’s a really lovely story about passing on our skills and love to a new generation.

From Letters of Note comes an interesting exchange of two lawyers concerning trying to collect a debt. There’s a whole new meaning to “Middle East…..”

From The Creativity Blog comes AWE: Arts from Waste Experience – a very clever idea for sustainability. Really good article, with some great ideas.

This next from The Best Article Every Day is weird in a cool way – just study it for a few…….

Once you’ve finished with that, then get the tissues from this posting from The Best Article – a beautiful story in three pictures.

Timely, from the 365 Project: Tips for photographing sunrises, in preparation for the solstice.

From JPG Magazine comes a selection of “grin” photos. Fun stuff here!

The Man at McDonalds by Phonesvanh Siharat

I finally, Jaws turns 37. I remember seeing the movie and flying back to my teaching job on Maui. I didn’t spend a lot of time in the ocean that year. And then, at Cape Hatteras one year, we are actually swimming with sand sharks. I hate sharks. Love learning about them, but hate them.

Find good stuff this week!

Monday Marketing – Oh My!

Wow, what a crazy couple of weeks it’s been – and that’s a good kind of crazy! A bunch of marketing items came together over this last month, and the marbling tray has been busy creating customized fabrics.

First, the tutorial and giveaway for SewCalGal’s Fun Friday Giveaway broke on May 18, and we are still seeing comments, newsletter sign-ups, and orders from the tutorial. In case you missed the post, you can see it here. If you want it direct to your box with all the pictures and links, please leave a comment on the post and I’ll get it emailed to you. One of the participants in the Free Motion Challenge, Jenny Lyon, sent her finished piece of marbled fabric. It is absolutely amazing! Jenny has given this such a lovely rich feel. You can read her blog post about the quilting here.

I am now a weekly correspondent for the blog Handmadeology, and last week’s post was the beginning of a series of marketing for niche markets. You can read it here. This looks like it will be a lot of fun and be of some use to those folks who have very specialized markets. Already a lot of good comments on the post.

I’ve started selling on Tophatter. I know, there are a bunch of places I’m trying to be on line, and it is obvious to me I have to determine which ones work best for me and concentrate efforts on those. So Zazzle is going to be out, and potentially Cafe Press. But I’m selling on Tophatter – just trying to get listed in decent auctions and not having to be on Standby all the time. But if I stay with it, I should be in good position for the holiday buying season. There is SO MUCH jewelry in the auctions. It would seem to make sense to list the fabric in “supplies,” but what is already there is pretty much supplies for jewelry. Well, the site is still relatively new, so we’ll see how it works.

I’ve made my second month of getting a newsletter out. It was a major loose end for all of the first quarter, but now I seem to be on a roll. There was a bit of a learning curve using Mail Chimp, but I think I’ve got the hang of it now. You can sign up to get the newsletter “Out of the Marbling Tray” in the upper right hand corner of the blog.

The Facebook page is having more activity, thanks to the tutorial, and I am making regular comments on it. It is so much fun to connect people with the joy and beauty of marbled fabrics.

And…a couple of deadlines have passed, and now I am looking at my list of projects for the year, determining which one to do next. After 100 dollars in entry fees, and two rejections since March, I’m not sure the entry circuit is going to be for me. I had decided to try again, since my work has really improved, but still no luck. One more show to hear from by mid month. We’ll see……Going to be a busy month, and the lists are working out well. Plus, time for some fun!

All Kinds of Good Stuff

A great big welcome to all the folks coming here from SewCalGal’s tutorial and Fun Friday Giveaway! I enjoyed doing the tutorial on quilting marbled fabric, especially thanks to SewCalGal’s sponsoring the Free Motion challenge this year. Hopefully you’ll leave comments about what you might do with the marbled fabric. What I want to announce today is a new part of the website and blog, for those of use who use – or have used marbled fabrics – in your quilting and assorted sewing projects.

When we first started our website (back in 1997….and a few changes along the way as we learned a whole lot!), we had part of the site to show off people’s projects who used the fabric in their quilts. We’d like to start that again. If you check here, you will see some of the very early quilts I did that used marbled fabrics. When I first started using the fabrics, after we began to learn in 1992, I pretty much put everything with black. I was rather afraid of color at that point. One cyber friend who paid us a visit back in 2002 said, “Let me take a fat quarter and see what I can do with it,” and a week later she came back with a completely quilted piece of fabric. Oh my, it was gorgeous.

That’s what started me actually quilting the fabric. It took a while to get the speed and rhythm down for the free motion and the stippling, but it made such an impression on the appearance of the fabric. At the time we were just making fabric and selling it, not really paying attention to the actual quilting of it. Along the way, several artists bought some and began to incorporate it into their quilts. Kathy Nida used some in one of her first quilts that got accepted into a show, in 1999. To this day I love looking very carefully through her work to see remnants of fabrics she’s purchased from us.

A Study in Flesh by Kathy Nida

We’re on a mission to have people use marbling in their artwork. Send us a picture of how you use the fabric, whether you actually quilt the fabric or just use it in a more traditional manner. We’ll get you up with credit on both a blog page, as well as the web gallery.

Good lick with the giveaway – the fabrics are really quite pretty – and I want to see what you do. Plus….I’m doing a newsletter within the next week, so be sure to sign up to receive the monthly missive, and we always give away some fabric each month. Use the box on the upper right. Check out Ebay and Etsy as other sources for marbled fabrics, and you can always order direct from us.

Happy quilting!

Top Ten Tuesday

Wow, I am so far behind in reading blogs….and I know I will no sooner get caught up then it will be time to leave for our trip. Ah, well, I’ve installed Google Reader on the iPad so I can follow along on the trip – I just haven’t quite figured out how to copy and paste URLs…..So how am I approaching this surplus of back blogs? I started with all the blogs with two or less entries. Got caught up on those and found some great eye candy. Next up will be purging the political blogs that have 50 entries or so….all they will do is make me irritated………

Anyway, from the 365 Project, more stunning photography – this site is always a delight! I love this pic:

Early Morning Fog by marlboromaam

A clever take on technology not working…this time at a TED talk. Be sure to follow the link for the story behind the story.

And if you liked that, here’s “Gotta Share – The Musical,” again breaking out at a conference.

From Sarah Ann Smith  and Art and Quilting in Camden comes a FABULOUS resource of EYE CANDY….NGA Images – thousands of images from the National Gallery of Art. And Sarah is right – MAJOR timesuck here!! And along with that comes The Art Project powered by Google….even more from the best museums in the world! Oh my! Here’s just a snippet of a screen shot….

…and you can set up your own collections…..Impressionists, here I come!

From Alyson Stanfield and the Art Biz Blog, comes some help on dealing with the new Timeline feature on Facebook – an opportunity for artists. “Tell the story of your art career on Facebook.”

I have missed not following Cool Hunting each day – they always have really interesting things. Here’s Metamorphabets.

Viktor Koen takes pictures of renaissance rapiers in museum corridors. He hordes images of salmon steaks, microscopes, beheaded dolls and nautilus shells. From the thousands of archived shots, the Greek typographical artist composes unique alphabets from layers of objects.” Doesn’t that sound so cool?

And this last image led me to another blog, one that is political, but with a great message: You Don’t Make Peace with Your Friends from the Daily Beast. I encourage you, regardless of your political leanings, to look beyond to the message of peace.

Also by Emily Hauser, and closer to home: What is White Privilege? Let there be an arrest in the Trayvon martin murder.

Need some help designing a badge for your blog? SewCalGal – the amazing woman hosting the year-long free motion quilting challenge – has great instructions up on her blog. I’m headed to them when I’m back from Seattle.

And finally, from The Best Article Every Day comes 58 OMG Facts.

Have a great week!

Top Ten Tuesday

Ya, I know I’m late….if you read Monday’s post, you’ll know why…..at least the kitchen is completely moved and we are eating over in the new place….now if we only had some furniture….but a week from today we will be ALL DONE!

Don’t miss out! The quilting world’s own version of the Oscars:

Head over to SewCalGal for all the details.

Nominations are now being accepted for candidates, for the 2012 Golden Quilter Awards, that have made a difference in the world of quilting, for the following categories:

  1. Best Quilt Designer
  2. Best Quilt Teacher/Instructor
  3. Best Quilt book Author
  4. Best Quilt Store (physical)
  5. Best Quilt Store (online)
  6. Best Longarm Quilter
  7. Most Innovative Product (physical)
  8. Most Innovative Product (software)
  9. Most influential person in the world of quilting to-date, aka “Lifetime Achievement”
  10. Best Quilt book publisher

Joen Wolfrom on deeper shades of color. Joen’s been doing a pretty amazing series of posts on color.

Student essays – a chance to vote on the best 6-word essays. My favorite: All 30 students raised their hands.

A very cool set of paper cuts, from Quilt Rat. I first fell in love with paper cuts on my trip to China in 1978. Quite the art. I love what she has done with the music symbols.

How to Fold and Store Quilts….on the bias! Now I know how to keep the fold out of the center…..From Ann Fahl. Really great article.

So it’s only a Top Five Tuesday – not the same kind of ring to it, but great stuff, none-the-less. It’s just been too busy….I don’t anticipate posting much until after the move – there are SO MANY things to do to get ready for the Seattle trip, and I need to get stuff ordered….only four weeks!

Top Ten Tuesday

 

There’s a lot of great pictures and all on line for this week, but I just stumbled on this video that is a MUST SEE for women. It’s an important statement about women in our society. Knowledge is power. “Misrepresentation.”

 

From Cool Hunting, a really interesting photography contest: repurpose a pattern.

Great stuff on JPG Magazine – voting on one of their contests – lots of movement to these pictures.

Mathias Roller

 The 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2012 – from The Best Article Every Day

Here’s a really interesting post from Laura Bray – really unusual – about make “play food” for the kids to use in their “play” kitchens. I loved the pasta, and this ravioli is genius!

thought-provoking from The Creativity Post: The Responsibility of the Audience. thoughts from you?

Also from the Creativity Post: Mozart, Newton and You? Again, very thought-provoking. I love this comment:

“Creativity is essential to particle physics, cosmology, and to mathematics, and to other fields of science, just as it is to its more widely acknowledged beneficiaries — the arts and humanities. Science epitomizes the extra richness that can enhance creative endeavors that take place in constrained settings. The inspiration and imagination involved are easily overlooked amid the logical rules. However, math and technology were themselves discovered and formulated by people who were thinking creatively about how to synthesize ideas — and by those who accidentally came upon an interesting result and had the creative alertness to recognize its value.”  Your comments? For example, were Gates’ opportunities more important than his drive and talent?

From the 365 Project – this week’s top ten:

Microwires by peter/zip

Now this is weird…..Bent Objects by Terry Border, from The Best Article Every Day….

And from SewCal Gal comes a virtual tour of Hoffman Fabrics – really interesting if you’re any kind of a fabric-oholic….really interesting to see the process for producing all those yummy fabrics.

That’s it for this week – let me know what you find that’s unusual on line this coming week!

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