Day 4 with my machine being in the shop. Yesterday I cut up a bunch of my free-motion quilting practice sandwiches into cage mats for the local animal shelter. Sometimes I make a large sandwich, either when I haven’t quilted for awhile and need a lot of practice or a design isn’t coming easily. Here is #52. When there’s enough room, I add a doodle when I sign the cage mats, which I call Ugly Snugglies. They’re ugly but they can give a little cushion to the bottom of the wire cages in the animal shelter. I was practicing a border design for my redwork quilt and writing for a cosmetic bag for a friend, the one with my free-motion wienie dog. The writing was too large so I left it off.
A couple years ago, I decided to practice meandering on a large sandwich because I just didn’t seem to be able to do this with ease. Now I can do it with ease but why would I? It looks like a mattress cover and there are so many other designs to try. It can still be useful for a utility quilt (something you’ll throw on the ground for a picnic) or a donation quilt when you need to finish something in a hurry for a good cause. After you master meandering, try making the design really small (usually referred to as stippling)–it can make a trapunto shape pop up quite well.
After cutting up some squares and rectangles, I rounded the corners and used one of my zigzag stitches around the edge. This stitch has a straight stitch to the left of the zigzag–makes a sturdy edging. Here are some designs I have practiced for quilts during the last three years.
Sometimes I also zigzag some small pieces together to make one mat.
Here I was trying all kinds of motifs for my self portrait.
The layered flower, wandering clover and leaf border/frame designs were all used in Waiting for Spring. I also practiced using a twin needle but my needle broke rather quickly so I gave it up.
I used all-over feathers for an entire quilt (String Theory 1).
Ideas for Christmas quilts.
More Christmas designs.
Lately I’ve been using unloved fabrics for the backing on my quilt sandwiches.
I ended up with 20 cage mats in various sizes so I’ll donate them next time I’m up that way.
It’s another nice day here and I have a fresh battery in my camera so I think I’ll hit the nature trail for awhile. I put on over 10,000 steps yesterday, which really surprised me. A lot more fun than 45-minutes on the treadmill. I hope you’re beginning to enjoy some fall weather where you are. Maybe I’ll have a message to pick up my machine when I get back! Hope so. Otherwise I’m going to have to start cleaning cupboards… I have a new polish a friend recommended. I’ll let you know how it works (unless I actually get back to my quilting)!
Day One: Machine acting up with 7-1/2 presents left on border of Christmas table runner #1 and both outside borders on #2. Start cleaning house; find out vacuum and floor steamer still work.
Day Two: Take machine to shop; finish cleaning house, including bathrooms. Clean deck window; search for suction cups; no luck.
Day Three: Find suction cups; hang bird sun catcher brought back from Colorado by daughter. Maketh me happy.
Think about doing some Itajime (folded/clamped resist shibori) with pre-reduced indigo. Nah.
Trim up my free-motion practice sandwiches; tomorrow I can zigzag the edges and then donate them as Ugly Snugglies (cage mats) for the local animal shelter. (Stay tuned for Day Four.) Go to DMV with daughter; stop by Bentonville Convention Center and photograph Bentonville Square, a prize-winning slice quilt made by the Van Go-Go Girls, appraised for $3000.00. FOR SALE.
Stop by grocery store for dinner. No word on machine yet. Stop by Birdsong Garden and Landscaping to get picture of blue gnome I’ve been watching from highway. Find more chainsaw art. These guys have personality and attitude. Proprietor is away getting new flowers. Will go back for ornamental cabbage and a look inside.
Stop by the gallery, drop off packing for shipping pottery; check to see if trail is open yet; it’s not. Take pictures of haunted house instead.
Decide to go for walk on trail with camera. Go up on mountain bike trail; safely maneuver steep climb up and down. Take a tumble when I step off to get the last trumpet vine–basically just sat down in gravel. The step was twice as deep as I anticipated. Rewarded by both herons.
Last of the Trumpet Vine
Maybe my machine will be ready tomorrow. If not, I’ll have to find something else to do. It’s finally cooler out so maybe it will be Tanyard Nature Trail for me.
I have finished my Too Precious to Cut (But We Will) Challenge for the Modern Quilt Guild of NWA. This was a challenge put out by Paula Mariedaughter, one of our members. I was in a panic last week thinking that it was due for our September meeting (next week), but it’s actually not due till October. Ah well, it’s finished. Go here to see what else this creative quilter is up to. She’s always putting a new spin on quilt design and makes the best labels.
I faced this quilt using Susan Brubaker Knapp’s tutorial. Check it out along with her other free tutorials.
The only thing I do differently is Step 4. I don’t like to pivot at corners, so I sew to the end, and then cross the seam at the corner. I also use these little clips instead of heavy pinning–you don’t want the facing to show on the front and this helps.
I had a little trouble with the quilting. After doing all the straight-line quilting in the center, I went to free-motion quilt the lily fabric and ripped out this lily twice. Then I quilted this spot with regular stitching, which required a lot of pivoting, cleaned and oiled the machine AGAIN, changed the needle AGAIN, and free-motioned the remainder with no problem. Gremlins, I’m tellin’ ya.
I also finished my placemats. See my previous post for the Round Placemat Tutorial. And why does spell check always want “placemat” to be two words? Not doin’ it.
Well, it’s back to my studio. I am putting everything away so I can get back to finishing up the rest of my Christmas UFOs. And here is one of my favorite Paula Mariedaughter quilts from a local Q.U.I.L.T. Guild of NWA show in 2013–those wonky flowers and the colors just make me happy. Till next time, do what makes you happy for at least part of the day!
I joined the Art Abandonment Facebook group sometime ago. In case you’re not familiar with this movement, the idea is to make small pieces of art and leave them for others to find. We always hope that the finders will let us know what they’ve done with their found art–hung it on the wall, the fridge, given it away. This does not happen often but we are all encouraged when someone lets us know that they were having a horrible day and finding a little joy in a baggie gave them hope or made them smile. I finally decided what to do and started making art cards, 5×7, suitable for framing or putting on an easel. I got a little carried away because I wasn’t sure how I wanted to quilt my placemats or the final piece for the Too Precious to Cut (But We Will) challenge. The placemats are finished now and as soon as I finish the table mat, I’ll post and give you links for the placemat tutorial and previous posts.
I have abandoner’s regret for my first piece (mostly scraps from the Cotton + Steel baggie) and I hope it made someone’s day. I left it at the Love Lock Bridge on the Lake Bella Vista trail and by the time I walked around the lake and back, it was gone. The bridge now has 13 locks (it only had six in June). It is still too hot here in the afternoons but soon I’ll be able to get back to walking on all the local trails.
I have been using up orphan blocks and random scraps for the most part. This is a series using samples of broderie perse, fabric scraps and my hand-crocheted rick rack trim. I abandoned the first one this week at a local community center.
I’m going to send this one to my niece as it reminds me of her.
Rouge Carmin is French for Carmine Red, the color of one of my Prismacolor pencils which matched the pink fabric.
Here is Where the Antelope Play — more Cotton + Steel. Most people would have thrown the antelope scraps away but I sewed them together and added beaded eyes.
And lastly, more Cotton + Steel (the baggie that will not die).
I made a birthday card for my sister-in-law. I had made her a wallhanging sometime ago and there were three 2-inch squares of the cherry fabric left so I went with that, drew a flower similar to that on the fabric and added beads.
I also made a landscape for another sister-in-law’s birthday and paper pieced a card for my other sister-in-law’s birthday.
I have been sketching out ideas for more cards but I have enough for abandoning and for little gifts for now. Even so, I need to make special cards for my sisters, daughter and a friend. In the meantime, it’s insomnia week due to the full moon. This is the Nut Full Moon (Cherokee designation). Nuf said.
…or can you really find yourself if you don’t even know your name?
Now my cousin knew my name alright but she called me Cindy Lou in the South you got to have two names one just ain’t enough honey and you got to address people proper with endearments like darlin’ sugah sweet pea words that drip slip slide outta your mouth like the buttah that runs down your chin from granny mommy’s made from memory biscuits tweren’t no Bisquick in her cupboard.
Well I was born Candace Leigh but it didn’t matter none because when my folks the one a Southern Baptist from Florida Cracker and the other a New England Episcopalian High Church Ma’am converted things started to change as in you must have the name of a proper saint in order to baptize this child and so it came to pass that they baptized me at the age of three Mary after the Blessed Virgin in the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Ghost it was Ghost back then.
Now she was a righteous woman and all sure enough and one should be proud to have such a namesake and I woulda been but I was Candy all my life all the way through the third grade anyway until the nuns saw Mary on the Baptismal certificate and that was all she wrote and that’s why you’ll find Mary at class reunions cause it’s a lot easier than explaining who the hell Candy is. the end.
Present day. So I’ve been trying to reinvent myself so I can rename this blog and I’ve been having a little trouble but my excuse is that I’ve had an identity crisis since I was nine. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. This week has been crazy, and it’s not over yet, but I’ll be back next week with my usual quilting shenanigans. Can you believe that Labor Day has already come and gone? It’s more than half-past summer, folks, and another cool weekend is predicted here. All I can say is, yee-haw.
So I’ve mentioned easy-threading needles before (see my drawing below). I would give you a link to that post, but I’m not sure which one it is. Le sigh. Regardless, I thought that perhaps after buying five different packages of needles, I would be able to guide you toward the best ones. I can’t. I tried out 38 needles. Some had needles that would not thread because there was no opening in the top, causing the thread to break. I can still use the needles if I can actually thread them manually. Here’s a little rundown on defective needles and thread breakage.
Thread: I started with Star thread but it broke most of the time so then I used YLI 40wt, Bottom Line 60wt, and Sulky 30wt.
Clover (Japan), shredding, broke the thread 3X out of 15.
Dritz (Czech Republic), shredding, broke the thread 2X out of 18, would not thread 6X/18.
John James (not sure where mfd, inspected in England), two defective needles, less shredding, broke the thread 6X/18. While these were the easiest to thread, the thread kept popping out through the top eye while I was actually hand sewing a project.
Sewology (China), less shredding, thread broke 4X/18. There were no defective needles in this pack, but there were at least three in my last pack and the needles that were working before, no long thread from the top.
Singer (China), the worst for shredding. These needles have only one eye and one needle was broken at that eye, thread broke 10X/18. Freeing the Dial-A-Needle Case from the packaging required scissors and the needles wouldn’t come out because there was tape over the hole, which was not immediately apparent. Aarrgghh.
Conclusion: I have enough easy-threading needles to last me awhile and I’ll keep searching for a better needle. If you know of a high-quality product, please point me in the right direction. Ineedlelittlelove. (Sorry)
Coming soon: Art Abandonment, Automatons, Tidying, Small Projects.
I took the Divide and Conquer (Creative Quilting for Any Space) class by Lori Kennedy on Craftsy last week. In addition to Flower Power, an all-over free-motion quilting design, I learned some other motifs that you can use in small spaces, borders, or to make a whole-cloth piece.
First I made a thread sampler using some decorative stitches and Lori’s spool motif. I drew the first one with disappearing ink and then did the others without drawing. I marked one thread with an L for being Linty and one as being very Linty as there was lint on my practice piece as I was quilting and not just in the bobbin area when I was finished. I had trouble with the turquoise thread at the end of the day–I just needed to clean the bobbin area and then it sewed correctly.
Here is the Square Flower and my variation of the Sun motif. Note that you can use partial motifs in a triangle shape.
Here are a set of motifs: sun, dashes and dots, sailboat, and waves. I could use a little more practice on those waves. Two ways to practice a new motif: Keep drawing it on paper or use a white board before stitching with thread.
A leaf design with border motifs (paperclip and rickrack).
The first row shows Lori’s design and I did a variation on the leaf veins after that.
One of the grid work designs involved ribbons and bows but I skipped it as I didn’t think I would use it and instead went on to the medallion motif of Nora Rose with Orange Peel background.
P.S. I have only finished the first five lessons of this class (there are three more lessons). I will come back to this class in future, which is the beauty of Craftsy. You can continue a class at any time and even repeat it as you wish.
This class is still on sale ($24.99) if you’re interested. Note the date of this post was 8/28/2016, so check for class availability.
Another class I can recommend is Leah Day’s Free-Motion Quilting Sampler. She takes you through making a large sampler quilt and also teaches you how to make and quilt separate blocks (quilt as you go) and then put them together.
Want more free tutorials and videos for free-motion quilting designs? Go to Lori Kennedy’s and Leah Day’s websites. They’re both on Pinterest as well. Till next time–
My improv piece is finished. Last chapter, I removed the sequined ball because I just didn’t like it. It will land somewhere else eventually–nothing goes to waste.
I found some bits of green crochet thread I had hand dyed at some point and made a small medallion and beaded it with single seed beads.
Next I added some encrusted beading–my standby of loading three beads at a time close together, knotting after every three groups.
I also took the last piece of useable lily fabric and hand appliqued that in a blank space.
Now to finish the edges–I saw this no-binding binding somewhere but couldn’t find it again so did this from memory. I used a 1-inch strip of fabric the length of each side. Stitch it on with 1/4-inch seam allowance, flip it and stay stitch it in place. I meant for the back side of the fabric to show but put right sides together on the second side. Just a reminder–that you pay for two sides of fabric so you can use either side as you see fit.
Press under 1/4-inch and bring the entire flap to the back; blind hem stitch.
For the bottom edge, I added about 1/2-inch to each end so that I could fold it in and cover up the raw edges on the sides. Note that I trimmed the corner–this gets a little bulky. Blind hem as before.
I still have not decided how I will hang this piece, which is approximately 8.25×8-inches so I decided to make a casing at the top for a dowel or branch or something. I cut this strip at 1-1/2 inches and turned under the short edges so that it was slightly shorter than the top width. Blind stitch the long edge, leaving the short edges open.
Here is the finished piece: Whisper of Lilies.
Give improv piecing a try and then try some different embellishments. When you have a small project, you’re not investing a lot of material or time. If you ruin it, cut it up and make some art pins and abandon them on your favorite walking trail. Check out this Facebook Page:
Someone in town is painting rocks that say “Bella Vista Rocks.” I saw one at the hospital parking lot the other day and left it for someone else to find and enjoy! Why? Because I think the article about this project suggested that the rocks were meant for visitors. I belong to the above group but still haven’t decided what to make and abandon. It’s on my bucket list. My bucket overfloweth.
P.S. I tend to think in cartoons and this was going through my mind yesterday. I’m going to use it as a free-motion quilting exercise and see if it turns into something. One never knows, does one? Have a great weekend.
As promised I’ll take you through the embellishments I have added to my small improv pieced quilt.
I will take you through making a wool ball but so far, I’m not very good at this so search the internet for tutorials. I used two types of wool roving. The first does not felt well for me and the second works better. Note the yellow roving has longer fibers – pull the fibers rather than cutting them.
The green roving is more wooly.
The only other thing you need is hot, soapy water. Basically, you form a loose ball, wet it, gently roll it between your palms until a ball forms and then start applying pressure until the ball becomes dense. My ball looks like brains instead of a smooth ball so I will tell you how I fixed it, somewhat.
Anchor the ball to a pincushion. The barbed needle is really sharp and you don’t want to jab your hand with it.
First I worked the barbed needle into the crevices so that the ball would not fall apart. Then I added some dry roving to make it look smoother. After loosely working roving into the ball, I then used a tool which has five barbed needles.
This helped but I didn’t really like it so I added sequins. I will go back and glue the pins in–otherwise they might work their way out. I think I forgot to mention this little piece of cheesecloth I added yesterday. When I dye fabrics, I add a piece of cheesecloth to the container at the end and get a matching pastel.
Moving on, I added some beading in four different places. First, I stacked three beads on top of each other. Bring the needle up through three beads, skip the top bead and go back down through the bottom two beads.
Next, I beaded the little starter/ender using bugle beads with seed beads on either end. You can bead with bugle beads alone but they tend to be sharp on the ends so adding a seed bead to each end helps protect the thread. I made a knot on the reverse after each 3-bead unit.
Next I added a small bead with a seed bead. I like to add odd or one of a kind beads from my stash to my projects.
Lastly, I added some beaded fringe. I took some of the same yarn I had couched down previously, tied a small piece to the middle of a longer piece and tied some large beads on. I attached this unit by sewing through the yarn knot and adding another bead. I generally use Superior Bottom Line thread for beading. Make a rather large knot and when you bury it, tug on it to make sure it is anchored before you start beading. Additionally, I take a few stitches before I start adding beads. Be sure to knot your thread after every three beads if you are adding a lot of beads. That way, if your thread breaks, you’ll only lose three beads and not a whole afternoon’s work.
These are just some larger, rather ugly beads that worked well for this project.
Next, I made a fabric bead–one of my favorite embellishments. Here is yesterday’s fabric bead, dupioni scraps and copper metallic floss.
I learned this technique in Fabric Embellishing, The basics and beyond by Ruth Chandler, Liz Kettle, Heather Thomas and Lauren Vlcek. Look for this book at your library or here:
You need three fabric scraps, decorative thread, a glue stick and a dowel (1/4-inch).
Fabric 1: 2 x 6 inches
Fabric 2: 1 x 5 inches
Fabric 3: 1/4 x 4 inches
Wrap fabric 1 around the dowel once and put a pin in the fabric.
Glue all of the fabric above the pin on the wrong side. Roll the fabric evenly around the dowel and make sure you have enough glue to secure the ending edge of the fabric. Move the fabric down the dowel just to make sure you haven’t glued it in place.
Glue the entire piece of Fabric 2 on the wrong side, center it and wrap it evenly around. (Sorry I forgot to take pictures–and my hands were full of glue.)
Glue the entire piece of fabric 3 on the wrong side (I used a scrap piece of ribbon here); glue and wrap. (In the first ribbon, I cut Fabric 3 1/2-inch wide).
Now wrap thread around the center and place the bead and dowel in a container to dry overnight. I used organza ribbon instead of thread for this bead. Remove the bead from the dowel and glue to your project. You can wrap wire around your bead, bead it, add micro-beads to the edges or let the edges fray. Make larger or smaller beads by cutting smaller fabrics and using a smaller dowel or a straw.
My project is almost done. I feel like I need to add some hand embroidery and then finish the edges and think of a decorative way to hang it. Now I’m going to spend the rest of the day cleaning my studio because it is one big mess. May all your messes be happy! Till next time–