Posts Tagged ‘Superior Threads’

Deconstructing and Redesigning

Photograph by Stephen DeVol, Sedona, AZ

For over 13 years this piece has been known privately as “Ode to the Fire Goddess Pele” as a result of my time in Hawaii. It’s official title is Gaia 2: Beginnings. Our biggest problem has been that it was meant to hang on it’s own, but we were unable to figure out a simple – and not intrusive – hanging system. So for the last year, since we have been showing our work in Vermont, we’ve talked about mounting the piece – somehow. Here’s the story of the creation of the original piece.

That led to me deciding to completely redo the piece – ev.er.y.thing. It took two weeks of night time by the television to get all the machine quilting pulled out. In the 13 years since this was finished my machine quilting skills are SO much better. I will say that my original tension was so bad that in many places all I had to do was pull a thread and I had many many inches come right out.

My new plan is to requilt it, change the edging, mount it on a large piece of black fabric, quilt the black fabric, and then add a sleeve. I need to have all this accomplished by May, as I plan to enter it into the “Abstraction” show in Saranac Lake this summer.

Right now I have 12 strips still with serged edges. I found a FABULOUS piece of red and gold fabric in my stash, and (hoping I have enough) I will put the binding on over the serged edges. It looks really good so far.

A close-up of the original weaving with the serged edges.

A close-up of the back with all the hand-stitching to hold all the pieces tight and together (oy, did that take a while….)

Before and after – original stitching, and after the frog stitch….

More before and after….

The beginning of new free motion quilting….

A look at the new binding and how it will work with the weavings.

This piece will also have a new name: Revolution. More on that as I get further along in the quilt.

Art in 2016 – Part 6 in Review – More Small Works

There were a lot of other small items completed – some UFO’s and some brand new. The small piece at the left (24 0nches square) was an OLD top from many years ago – part of a pattern kit for customers using marbled fabrics. The quilt top had some serious rolls of fabric where the iron (and the user…) had pressed wrong. So I to0k out all the stitches, fixed it, made the sandwich, and then requilted it with my practiced free motion skills. A lot of new patterns from Lori Kennedy’s The Inbox Jaunt – she has amazing tutorials.

Then there were pieces where I looked through pieces of marbled fabric we had saved and waited for one to speak to me. A lot of them did in the course of the year. “Sonoran Desert” was one of those. this was done on white denim, and it was a pattern I’ve not quilted before – but it spoke to me of the saguaros of the Sonoran Desert.

Didn’t like this binding – too sloppy to control, so did a regular fabric binding. It hung in our library show and now has a new home with a woman who lived in Tucson for a number of years. Added a few semi-precious pieces of turquoise, agates and lava.

A friend keeps us supplied with all sorts of remnants of cottons, polys and silks. We used a couple to see if they would marble – and they did – spectacularly. One of them went immediately to our son in Seattle – he loved the dark colors – said they were “sexy.” The one he received was “Sliver of Moonlight.” First pic is of the plain marbled fabric, second is seeing the stitching. Unfortunely no final pic of it mounted.

This one is same fabric – black poly-silk, and is called “Whispers in the Moonlight.”

The finished piece is mounted on a canvas frame covered in black linen, and it “floats” about the frame.

There are more pieces, but I need to move on to new projects…..more on an upcoming sale we are having – next blog post!

 

 

 

 

 

 

hitting 1000 b logposts……

Art in 2016 – Part 4 Review – Classes and Shows…and a Book!

This was a big year for showing our work – many more options and acceptances than most of our time in Arizona. We taught a beginning marbling class at BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake, NY, and in the process of chatting, we became part of their arts curriculum grant project. I’m really looking forward to this activity; I miss the days of working with The Kennedy Center to bring integrated arts into the classrooms in the Chittenden East School District in Vermont.A lot of great memories from the conferences, and then great memories from arts work within the district (need to do a blog post and reflect on the work we did….)

A couple of pictures from our Saranac Lake class, followed by an individual machine quilting class I did for a fellow artist who wanted to expand her techniques. Mary Hill is a mixed media artist, with vibrant work.

We spent Vermont Open Studios sharing space with Mary over Memorial Day Weekend. LOTSSof great discussions on marketing!!

It was a challenge to plan for what could take Mary’s already wonderful art to the next level.

Mary Hill’s “experimenting as a result of our machine quilting class:

Plus, since May I have been working on an interactive teaching manual for the ebook Interactive Edge of the Sea. This takes all I have worked on in curriculum in 40 years of teaching and brings it together for teachers, with a modern update on using all forms of new assessment and social media within the classroom. My hope is that this manual becomes a template for other disciplines, as there are a lot of useful interactive teaching techniques – and everything is correlated to current educational standards. A labor of love with my second mom, Betty Hupp. Here’s the cover:

A snippet of the lesson plan section….

We are just about done with final edits, and after the first of the year it heads off to coding. I have a lot of links to check to be sure they all work!

Bunches of shows…..here are pictures of our small pieces at Sweet Grass Gallery in Williston, VT for the month of November.

There’s still more…..stay tuned!

Art in 2016 – Part 3 Review – A Few Other Commissions

I was very involved this year in helping others create some wonderful fiber art. First up was a baby quilt for a teacher at a former school of mine. The teachers all created blocks based on children’s books, and then along with the baby quilt, gave the books to the new mom. It came out so cute!

Children’s Book Baby Quilt

You can see the machine quilting – “leaves” for the pages of books – the leave of a book……a lot of fun to quilt. Next time….stabilize the pieces before they are sewn into blocks….

How many books can you identify?

LOVE Patricia Pallaco!

Two more baby quilts scheduled for the new year….prolific bunch at Camels Hump Middle School!

A good friend made a “science fiction” quilt for her son – a gamer, doctoral student, and avid reader. It was SO MUCH fun helping in the process, from using spray basting, to zigzagging quotes, to creating the dragon (a “must-have in this quilt). It hangs from a curtain rod that is very “Lord of the Rings” in design. I was responsible for the machine quilting of dozens of galaxies within the quilt. The dragon has a lot of marbled fabric within it, and it works so well! Kathy did an amazing job. Teeth, flame, wings, and horns all crafted from marbled fabrics. Hubby Dave did the design for the pattern, Kathy did the contruction with vinyl and a few other fabrics.

The last heavy sewing/quilting happened when my friend Kathy wanted to recreate a marbled wall hanging of ours that one of her daughters loved. Sure…..to find she wanted it reversible…and a few other changes….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The story of the original piece is here.

I don’t have any finished pics at this point – just an in-progress. Oh, did I forget to mention she wanted one for each daughter? Different colors for reversible? Different quilting patterns? It really was a lot of fun, and it challenged me to revisit a reversible binding….but I made Kathy do all the hand-stitching……

A close-up of in-progress……

Can’t wait for pictures of both the blues and the greens!

The year started with this commission: The Arroyo –

Starting stitching

Embellinging

On the wall at Frog Hollow Gallery

…and we’re not done for the year!!

Art in 2016 – Part 2 Review – Small Works

A lot of smaller work was started, finished, and revised this year – part of the need to create more pieces, and part to experiment with new ideas. We also tried more framing (pretty successful) and mounting on canvas (very successful, and not that all expensive). The biggest issue seemed to be people didn’t know what to do with small wall hangings or table-toppers. By framing them we are leading our customers to see the piece on a wall, looking like artwork. This is also working well for galleries and stores with small spaces.

The “Chocolate Box” piece on the left was done some 18 years ago as part of a challenge on the QuiltArt list to create an 8 x 8 piece with the theme of “brown.” I pulled all kinds of browns from my stash, including some marbled fabrics, and then I zigzagged them together with the idea of creating a “Whitman’s Sampler.” I have always thought it looked very cute. I rediscovered it this summer, adding batting and backing, variegated thread in a more prominent zigzag, put on a binding, and mounted it on fabric. Lots of good feedback on the piece.

Another piece that saw framing was a small piece of marbled poly-satin that a friend (Suzan Drury of Saltwater Systems) added glitter to at least 10 years ago. Loved it, but it didn’t translate into something someone would want to buy – so on a whim I added batting and backing and then quilted it – thus “Pond 3” – a favorite topic. I learned to do sand dollars as part of a tutorial from Lori Kennedy (theinboxjaunt.com), so you will see clam shells, sea urchins, and sand dollars throughout the small piece. It looks quite striking. One thing I learned in the framing process was to move to lighter-colored frames to keep a piece from feeling constrained.

this year saw the debut of a new series – “Leftovers.” The idea for this came about when we would clean the marbling tray after a session. There were wonderful designs of leftover paint as we emptied the carrageenan. We started saving some small pieces to capture to designs – all of which are very organic and “earth strata.” Two pieces made their debut at Phoenix Books in Essex as part of a rotating display of work by the Essex Art League. There are LOTS more to come – all of which need me to stare at a piece for a while to determine how it wants to be stitched. They are all simply framed and look almost like photographs.

 

Leftovers 1: Sunrise

Before stitching on From Above:

Ultrasuede marbles wonderfully. Over the past couple of years we have been doing yards of this for Bead My Love to sell at the various bead and gem shows. We get to keep a few pieces for ourselves, and this year I finally attacked quilting one – with some interesting lessons….the fabric feels like suede, but it doesn’t translate to a puffiness when quilting (note to self: use extra batting for the next piece). Also, the various colors didn’t show well, which is why I went with Superior Threads New Brytes yellow – a thicker thread. this is a 12 x 12 piece of ultrasuede. Introducing “Partly Sunny, Chance of Storms.”

Partly Sunny, Chance of Storms

One more piece – we also started marbling flowers and leaves from the silk flower sections of the craft stores – another way to use up left-over paint in the marbling tray. Here’s “Autumn,” a collage of some marbled silk leaves. Covered canvas, 8 x 10 inches.

More next time as I continue to review the year. Comments welcome!

Playing Catch-Up…..

HalloweenFinishA piece I started about 15 years ago and finally finished this summer – will be adding loops to the back to hang on our door for Halloween.  I still have plenty more to work on, and slowly,over the winter during knee recovery I plan to work on them – plus lots of new ones.

Speaking of new ones, in organizing Bridge yesterday (some 7000 photos and a lot of saved duplicates, I think I can make sense of some of the new process pictures. This first piece, Chocolate Box, was done YEARS ago, as part of an 8 x 8 challenge from the old QuiltArt list. I think the theme was “brown,” but who knows? Originally I just sewed pieces with a zigzag stitch – and then I realized I needed stabilizer on the back – like I said, a long time ago. This summer I came across it, added backing, re-quilted it in a variegated thread, and added a border. Still love the piece!

Chocolate Box

Chocolate Box

This piece was done for us years ago as part of a challenge to use marbled fabric in a traditional pattern. I made a sandwich, added waves to the bottom of each boat, and quilted semi-circles around the sails to represent the sun. If you made this for us, please let me know so I can credit you.

This next was also part of a challenge, and I use it as a sampler for using free motion quilting on a traditional block. One of the sections is plain, the others have a variety of patterns, some following the the pattern, and some walking around. I love how the marbled fabric quilts up.

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Pinwheel

I like to use my backs to show errors- and then in the blank area I added details about threads and needles.

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   So I continue with cleaning and organizing, and hubby is busy marbling every fabric we seem to have in the house. He’s having a ball!

UFOs No Longer – Thoughts on Cheater Cloth Quilts

GeckoBorder5ColorYup, two more pieces around for forever…..both needed complete revisions, as my skills have grown quite considerably. The first is a “cheater” cloth, very Southwest, which is why I bought it. Originally it had been quilted in the ditch, and while I loved the co.ors, the piece really didn’t speak to me……so I took it all apart.

And in the process I discovered a ,lot of stuff – pros and cons – about cheater cloth.

One, they are great for practicing free motion quilting. You can get right to the designs without having to worry about putting the whole thing together. I re-sandwiched the top and then studied it for quite a while for ideas.

Two, they can really tax your ability to work with fmq designs. In some of the smaller blocks, I used the same basic quilting motif and changed it up a bit in other blocks of the same design. Great way to practice!

Three, the store doesn’t always do a great job of cutting the panels. On closer examination, you can see where some borders show and some don’t. I really had to work the binding carefully so the piece would look even all around. Plus, the fraying from new usage, poor quality fabric, and age didn’t help at all.

Four, nice decisions about which type of thread to use. I stayed with Superior Art Studios and Rainbows – because I like the sparkle. I did use cotton King Tut because I wanted to experiment with thread painting for shadows, and I didn’t want it really obvious.

Five, I need to get a better photography set-up in our new place…….

Six, discovered I could cover a few binding mistakes with some markers….liking that!

So…..

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View from the top – couldn’t adjust light like I wanted (really missing the garage set-up at this point). Look at the binding – see what I mean about borders?

Cheater2

Another view – the backgrounds of the actual pots are left unquilted….I was tempted, but I keep remembering Tim Gunn and “edit.” I didn’t want to detract from the “shading” I did on the pots…I was really happy with how that turned out.

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Seven – straight-line outlining isn’t as easy with a free-motion foot…but it is great practice….

Cheater7

 

Traditional Sampler Quilting Tutorial

About two years ago I asked for some volunteers to make traditional blocks using marbled fabrics, as I wanted to show what can be done with traditional quilts besides the art quilts I do. Now that I am improving my machine quilting skills, I turned one of the blocks into a new teaching sample for both quilting marbled fabrics as well as using marbled fabric in traditional quilts. First up is the back of the block – a list of all the threads and needle sizes used, as well as any (and all) tension issues, so they could be discussed (and I wouldn’t forget what I used where).

Back of traditional block

Back of traditional block

I quartered the block, and one section was left completely unquilted – because that is also an option. Here’s the front of the block:

Marbled quilting sample block

Marbled quilting sample block

Far left – unquilted. The yellow pieces have three different designs. I’m partial to the one with pebbles quilted throughout the piece. I used Bottom Line in the bottom, size 80 Superior needle, and Bottom line in the top.

Each marbled piece is done in a different free-form design. Lower center uses a Superior Thread Brytes, heavier, so I used a #90 Superior needle. Upper right used Bottom Line on the top and followed most of the curves in the pattern. Right marbled fabric used a variegated Superior Rainbows thread and only did a few of the wide curves. Different looks in all three. One of my favorite stitches is just following basic curves, and you can see that in this quilt:

Free motion quilting

Free motion quilting

For the white – BIG lesson was don’t use a distinct variegated thread unless your fmq stitches are VERY even. Spent three hours taking it all out. The white was patterned with circles and small crosses. For the bottom right I used yellow Bottom Line in the top for a hint of color and gridded the triangle,  using the fabric pattern as a guide. Upper left, also with white Bottom Line, I followed the circles in the white fabric pattern.  Right triangle I followed both patterns, also white Bottom Line, and found it too busy.

After the New Year, I want to experiment with more like this. Let me know if you have done something like this to determine different quilting ideas.

Thoroughly Modern Gracie-Mae

My last finished project before packing the studio for the big move to Vermont. I made a modern quilt – it didn’t start out that way. I was going to do a log cabin, but then I decided I just wanted to sew half-square triangles using the paper triangles. After about 150 triangles, I realized there was no way I wanted to sew three times as many more for the whole quilt. So I made the center panel. (Needless to say, I have lots left over for another project….)

DSCN0750

All of the colors were chosen as to whether they would play nice with the blue fleece I’d bought in November for the backing – this color is my great-niece’s favorite – forgetting the fact that I’ve never used fleece for a backing…..

Back2

Then I started playing around with borders to the center design, trying to get it into lap-quilt size. I had plenty of triangles left, so did borders with just a few on each end – I’ve seen something like that in a lot of the modern quilts I’ve looked at. At this point things became pretty freeing – I knew I wanted lots of space for free-motion quilting, and Maria from Quilter’s Market helped me pick out another fabric – she has an amazing eye.

The worst part of the whole quilt was sewing together all those triangles, lumpy intersections, and trying to quilt over them. But I LOVED how it came out. I was having serious rippling problems because of the stretch of the fleece, and Maria suggested using 505 to spray and corral it into place for the rest of the quilting – wonderful, with only a few ripples and they are not really noticeable. I ran out of my Silk Kimono blue I was using, which I loved….and if I hadn’t had several rippit sessions, I might have had enough to finish the quilt. But I had to go to the Big Local Fabric Store and once again I realized HOW MUCH I LOVE Superior Threads – the stuff I bought kept shredding constantly. I used Magnifico in the bobbin and LOVED it.

So here are some shots of the free-motion on the front:

Front1

Front2

Front3

Front4

And finally, the completed lap quilt for my great-niece Gracie-Mae on turning 13. (Seven more lap quilts for the other great-nieces and nephews over the next 10 years as they turn 13…….)

MainFrontGracie

Or if you prefer this orientation….

MainFrontGracie2

I can now understand the freedom of modern quilts. I have a lot more ideas on how to use the marbled fabrics in some new smaller wall hangings, but that will need to wait until I set up my new studio in Vermont – maybe by July!

The Latest Finish…..Best to Date!

Waffle3

This is the “before.” Nice and flat, virtually no texture. I remember when I went to Road to California a couple of years, I noticed everything was machine-quilted within an inch of itself. Both hubby and I thought, just because you can doesn’t mean you should fill it up with machine quilting.

That was before I started with the 2012 free motion quilting challenge with SewCalGal and got hooked…..I’m talking seriously hooked. Now it’s not about the quilt top for me, it’s about the quilting. There are seven different quilted motifs in this quilt, and I LOVE IT! It is so much more interesting than if I had just done quilting in the ditch and stippling. Yes, at least 10 hours of fmq in the quilt, and a lot of bobbin thread, but did I say I LOVE IT?

So here are some of the “after” pictures. For some reason the blue wave fabric looks to be black and white, and it isn’t. I used Superior Silk Kimono thread in the triangle backgrounds, the outside black border, and the final border. Magnifico by Superior for the bubbled in the corner triangles, Rainbows by Superior in the border of blue waves, and Bottom Line by Superior in the bobbin and in the black backgrounds of the stars. I guess you could say I really like Superior Threads….

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I LOVE THIS! I used the color adjustments in Photoshop to try and bring back the blues – this is pretty true to the actual colors. The maroon strips in the center are done in a cathedral square pattern. I gridded all the light blue triangles for the texture – I was only going to do the center panel but I fell in love with the effect. The bottom light blue triangles are done with a MAgnifico blue thread in bubbles – I was aiming for a stars at night over the ocean effect.SusanQuilt3

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The ironic thing here in this picture is the bottom right corner is the one I picked out all the thread on – what I call the “war-zone” corner. The blue stars themselves have bubbles quilted into the with a Rainbows blue.SusanQuilt10

The wave fabric here has one of Leah Day’s fillers in it called Ocean Currents. I happened to be on her blog one day and said yup, that’s the one.

SusanQuilt11

This quilt is for my yoga instructor, and so in one corner I did a free-motion “third eye” chakra symbol.

Now for the back….WHICH I LOVE LOVE LOVE – the texture is amazing!!

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Note to self – time for some smaller quilts……….

Thoughts for a Friday…..

Ack…..where did the week go? For the first time in three weeks, my list has sat unopened on the table. This started last Saturday night, I think as a result of staring at the computer for my first Tophatter auction, and consequently really wrenching my neck. Two chiropractic visits later on Monday, life was better, but it wasn’t until Wednesday after yoga that I really started to feel better. Three days of no work on my deadlines for fiber pieces, and I was beginning to panic.

Yet at the same time, I wasn’t worried about everything else on my full-page list, because there was really only one deadline that had to be made. And thanks to a lot of concentration on Wednesday afternoon and all day yesterday, my depression piece, “Misfiring Synapses,” is ready for photography and submission.

Am I pleased? Yes. It pretty much came out as I was picturing it in my mind. It has good depth, lots of layers, and definitely tells a story.  Here’s a close-up, with no full reveal until I know something about acceptance or not. I took a leap of faith with my entry to Visions. This one, however, is HUGE for me – very unlike anything I’ve done yet, and the whole process was very different. And…I’m looking to play with the “big girls” now, so we shall see what happens.

Lots of layers, lots of decisions as to thread. If you look at the center of the close-up, the red thread looks like it just breaks off – the idea of a misfired synapse in the brain. This is actually a Rainbow thread from Superior Threads. It has red, black, and purple, which works perfectly for this center neuron. I stayed with red unpolished satin for the rings, wanting the interior inflammation of the brain as we struggle with depression. The red fabrics are slightly different shades, with different patterns and quilting within them. I cut and layered each piece, finishing each edge with serging – again with a Superior Thread, this time a King Tut, as I didn’t want a shiny effect. I gotta tell ya, I never really paid much attention before to the effect thread would have on a fiber piece. The multi-toned gray was to look at the outer layer of the brain, with all its folds and ripples.

This probably should have been next Wednesday’s entry, for my work-in-progress, but it’s on my mind today as I think about photography and submission.

I have a couple of other self-imposed deadlines. I was going to enter another show, but I’ve decided to wait and see about these two current pieces making the rounds. One, I want to know where I stand, and two, entering shows is expensive, especially with shipping. So I will continue with the next mandala, and then that piece will be finished and in “the wings,” so to speak, if something else later summer looks good. Two, I want to do some simpler sewing/designing for myself, especially practicing the free motion quilting lessons. Two weekends ago I took apart one of the first quilts I actually finished and machine-quilted so that I can practice this month’s patterns. I don’t have to worry about hubby missing his quilt right now because it’s in the low 100s for temps already – and it’s not even summer in the desert.

I’m reading Dune by Frank Herbert. Never read it, and I am enjoying it. Then I have two Robin Hobbs to read, plus an ebook and a tutoring book to work on. My scheduling still seems overall to be working, as I am making progress on the many projects I have (not accounting for the lost days this week).

And…we’re in the midst of a local election in Tucson to replace Gabrielle Giffords’ seat, since she resigned. It’s ugly and annoying, with misleading adds on both sides. I’ve read about the “Fair Tax,” and I think in it’s purest form, it’s a good idea. But that’s not what is being presented by the Democrats. And the Republican challenger is trying to back away furiously from everything he said in 2010 in that nasty election. I’m at the point where protecting Social Security and Medicare are crucial to me. Saying you’ll protect them after you’ve called them “the biggest ponzi scheme in history” really makes me nervous.

Even on line it’s getting hard to get unbiased, well-researched and reported news. I keep looking back at various points in our history and wonder about the directions we are moving. A someone who is a baby boomer, who loves history and reads about it all the time, has been a union member for protection (and walked a picket line), and has a sense of service to this nation, I am appalled by what is happening in this country. We are Americans, and as such, we should be a leader in all things – health, welfare of our citizens, concern for the planet, and true proponents of the Bill of Rights for all. We should be better than water boarding, regardless of the claims of national security. We should be better than cutting education. We need to look at our programs systemically. If there’s medicare fraud, then go after the ones defrauding the system. Don’t do away, willy nilly, with the program.

So….my thoughts for the day…..from sewing to politics. Quite the rambling mind……

Have a great weekend!

Why Superior Really Is “No Ka Oi”

How do I love thee, Dr. Bob? Let me count the ways…..with apologies to Elizabeth Barret Browning.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee Superior Thread in all the many colors

My soul can reach, when sitting at the Machine

As I contemplate the line of stitching.

I love thee to the level of sewing’s

Most needy time, by sun or Ott light.

I love thee freely as we strive for Kaizen.

I love thee purely as they judge the stitches.

I love thee with a passion put to use

As I strive to meet a juried deadline.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

As I ripped and swore and rethreaded.

Smiles, joy – all my projects – and, if it be,

I shall love thee even better seam after seam.


So why the ode? I was working on a fabric bowl yesterday with some “free thread” given to me at a sewing expo a while back. Now I talk about Superior Thread regularly on this blog. Ever since my School of Threadology in April 2010, so many of my problems and frustrations with needle and thread have gone away. I love sewing and quilting now. Everything always works.

Except yesterday, when I was working with this new thread. Why? Because the multi-colors would work with this particular fabric. Well, that was a mistake. First of all, these were “sample” spools, so I wasn’t really sure just how much thread would be on this spool…and of course, I ran out about four inches from the end of the project…which I wouldn’t have done had the thread not kept breaking every six inches or so.

Grrrr. Then, I could actually watch the thread fray as it passed through the eye of the needle. And…it felt like rough twine.

So while I have solved my tension and breakage problems, and even gone back to using my Sulky threads, when it comes to doing anything for a gallery or a juried show or an heirloom project, Superior Threads will be the only ones for me.

Dr. Bob, Mother Superior, Ricci, and all the folks at Superior Threads are some of the best people in the world to do business with. Their philosophy of “kaizen,” or continuous improvement, shows every single day, in them and in every one of their products. In case you didn’t know, “no ka oi” is Hawaiian for “the best.”

 

Work in Progress – Creating Rhythm

I’ve been practicing a lot of techniques with free motion quilting. With marbled fabrics, it’s almost like your pattern is decided for you – and I love being able to work with that. I discovered a few new things with this piece of green silk. I knew I wanted to see if I could accent the movement that already existed with the marbled pattern, and I wanted to accent the water effect in the piece.

Here’s the piece without anything done to it. I decided to flip the design, so the wave effect would be more prominent. Then it was a case of deciding threads. There are some very light areas in the pattern that I wanted to emphasize, so I figured a lighter thread. I pulled four threads (Superior, of course) and started with the lightest one – and I thought it was jarring – too bright.

I ended up going with a Rainbow multi-colored green thread that I think worked very well. I used that in the very light areas, and then I turned to a dark green silk for the background. The thought here was to heavily quilt the darker background to make the lighter areas come forward even more. So here’s the piece…

I do think the wave motion is more prominent. This was also a departure for me, in that normally I have quilted this pattern a great deal, but this time I didn’t do every single swirl. I think you get more drawn into the pattern that way.

I am contemplating some beads, but that’s just in the thinking stage at this point. I am open to suggestions, so please leave me a comment with what else I could do with the piece. The biggest success in this piece is a definite improvement in the machine quilting – the stitches are far more consistent, so that’s a great goal for me.

Leave me some comments – what would you do with this piece if it were yours……

What next?

So I sent the jpgs off to the museum for this show. This was a strange entry and experience. In the past when I have entered this show, my entry is usually done way ahead of time, and the CD is in the mail early. This time I went right to the deadline, and I’m still not sure about the piece. In the past, I usually had a piece I’d started two or three years ago, let a year go by, added some more, let another year go by, and then inspiration hit and I finished the piece and felt “wow.”

This year I spent a solid week working on this, changing the theme, flipping the orientation, and really loving the quilting. Several  months ago the art group suggested changing the border from a maroon corduroy to a blue that would pull out the blue of the marbling. Well, the blue reads as a gray, and I’m not sure it works well. But my corners are mitered beautifully – and I had to redo them a couple of times, since it’s been a number of years since I did mitered corners.

I just have to wait to see if it’s accepted. The close-ups should do it, as the quilting is some of the best I have ever done, and it really adds to the piece. It is photographed well, with light from the side to accent the textures in the piece.

We shall see.....

That said, the question now becomes “what next?” I didn’t think it would be a problem, as I have two other quilt tops ready to go for quilting, and I really want to play with the new threads. But it seems to be a more global question for me. Not just what’s next for the next piece, but what’s next in building the business? How can I have items to sell up on line, as suggested in building the blogs for business? How do I set up the subscription list? How do I keep up with writing each night? And how do I keep up with improving my skills and creating art I am happy with? I need to take some time to just think about this, but when I try that, I get incredibly overwhelmed with what has to happen to build everything. There are so many things to do, and I really  don’t know where to begin.

So rather than think about things, I sat outside tonight for the first time all season and just read. I’ll look at the goals tomorrow and see that I am another month closer to my deadline of adding $500 a month to the business and wonder how I’ll do it. Take it a day at a time….start the new quilting tomorrow on the Desert Heat piece and just see what happens.

PS – I love the Bottom Line thread – I want more to use for the backs of the quilts. But for Desert Heat, I am using a Bryte green on the back, which is a green dyed piece, and Bryte yellow and orange on the front to accent the heat. Just need to get a marker to mark my circles and then I’m ready to go – I even hand-basted this, which I rarely do.

5 Things I’ve Learned About Thread Play

The magic of creating thread fabric

One of the things we got to do at our conference was look at samples of thread work, particularly creating “fabric” from just threads of all kinds. Heather, fondly known as Mother Superior, had two spectacular vests created just from threads. Cindy taught us how to use Dissolve to make a sandwich of threads and then stitch over them and run water over the Dissolve, which would do just that. She made it look so easy.

Well, mine wasn’t nearly as gorgeous as this top piece – part of one of Heather’s vests. Mine is about three inches square, with loose threads all over, and barely staying together. But I did learn a great deal:

1. Don’t do your first piece with nothing but shiny threads. Those shiny threads are incredibly slippery and ease out all over the place.

2. Don’t try to be so structured when you stitch on top of the Dissolve to hold everything together. I tend to be so linear sometimes, that when I was done, the grid holding everything together was way too noticeable.

3. Refer to your references when choosing your thread, bobbin, and tension. My lessons were not lost on me when I pulled out my reference sheet from Cindy’s class to check what to use in my bobbin (Bottom Line) with Glitter in the top, and to be sure to set my bobbin tension at a one to start.

4. Check the needle size. I can remember the very first time I worked with some metallics (not Superior’s) – I had no idea a) the thread had to come off the spool a certain way, and b) I had to use a larger needle. I do now, and it was flawless.

5. I need to let my inner artist loose. Try something with lots of different threads on top of the Dissolve – like trying some bobbin work – which I’ve only done twice, and I do plan on doing lots more.

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