Sunday, August 06, 2017

Ailin Learns to Sew


My little niece Ailin is 10 years old.  This summer I am teaching her how to sew.  It's a great reason to pull out my Singer Featherweight to give it a workout.  A great and simple machine to learn on as it only does straight stitch -- and it does it very well.  It's not a fussy machine.

Ailin wanted to make a dress as her first project, but I convinced her that this little origami bag to hold her new sewing kit would be a better beginner project.  It's all straight lines, and gives her a chance to get used to the machine, the foot pedal, gives her a chance to develop hand-eye coordination, sewing speed, keeping the sewing line where you want it ...  remembering to back-stitch at the start and end of a line. 

Skills Ailin worked on with this project :
   *  Pinning edges together
   *  Not running over pins while sewing
   * Sewing in a straight line
   * Top stitching
   * Starting and stopping - securing the start and end of a line of sewing
   * Hand-eye coordination
   * Controlling the foot pedal and sewing speed
   * Ironing Fabric
   * Pressing Seams / Setting Seams
   * Sewing on a Button
   * Feeding ribbon through for a draw string

Since this won't be her regular machine, I did not make her learn to thread the machine, or fill a bobbin.  We've got to save something for next time!

She's a quick learner!  She picked out the coordinating fat quarters, learned about pressing / ironing fabric.

 Auntis Michele (me) with AIlin and her finished Origami Bag

I remember my first sewing project was a little orange sundress with a yellow jacket.  I spent most of my time picking out bad stitches because I was probably too young to really control and coordinate the foot pedal (under the table and out-of-site) with guiding the fabric along the sewing line with my hands.   That was in a 4-H class to begin with.



Later on Gramma Pickles and my mom helped me learn to sew ...  This is the only picture I have of sewing with my Gramma.  Wish I had more ...

Now it's my turn to teach the young ones.

It was a productive afternoon!

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Skye in Black and White

Skye (as in Scotland) in black and white.
This photo is from our most recent trip to The Misty Isle in July 2017. 
This treatment with SilverEffects emphasizes the ever-changing and dramatic skies of the land so aptly named for all that drama!  I was going for an Ansel Adams look ...  Not quite there ... but I'll keep it!

Unfortunately, I didn't save a copy and lost the original in the processing of this, or I'd show you the before shot.  Suffice it to say, there was a lot of beautiful green in the foreground.   The only thing missing is the "Hilan Coo!"

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Design Possibilities for a new iPhone Case


It seems my old iPhone case has done an admirable job of protecting my device.  By now, I can feel scratches in the case, and I think it's time for a new one ...

I'm entertaining the idea of having another one printed with one of my very own designs on it at SnapMade.com  They have an option where you can upload one of your own images to have printed to the smartphone case. 

What do you think of these as possibilities?
The image at the top is a Kaliedecam (app) kaleidoscope.   I LOVE how it turned out, but not sure I want to carry around so much yellow with  me on my iPhone.  As a personal statement, that's not quite me.  Too fiery, I guess.  I'm much cooler ...

Like this one:
 This one is another Kaliedecam kaliedescope of some of my watercolor textures.  Nice and simple.   I like this one, too, but not sure I want such a blue case.  I'm afraid it might get lost to easily amid all the clutter at my house and office.

 
One more Kaliedecam mandala, taken from one of my quilts.


I really love this one ...  but I'm not sure if it's appropriate for an iPhone case?  This was actually the first one I pulled into the template, but my husband said  no ... so I deleted it.  And then I worked it up again with a few changes (flipping the image to balance with the iPhone camera eye).  This one is still my favorite and could be a real possibility!

 Here's the larger shot of this image.  The camera placement is a little better here ...
This was a photo of a performer at the Bristol Ren Faire a few years ago.  I worked the image in PhotoShop and Topaz Impression to get the painterly look and feel.  I love how her hair came out!
 

This one is from one of my textures of a rusty lime kiln.  Looks understated, and simple, even dreary, but I love the texture on this one,  but it seems a little too camaflage-y.  I'm afraid it might get lost, too.

 This one is a distress stain texture.  Looks cook, but too dark for me to actually have it made up for my own use. 
 This texture was made with alcohol inks.  Looks pretty neat with the depth it brings, but brown is not really my color ...

This one is a closeup detail shot of the granite counter top in my kitchen.   I loved it when we got it, and I still love it, but again it might be too dark to serve as an iPhone case.  This looks really cool -- but not sure the image will scale up without getting pixel-ly upon printing. 

My current case has a white marble image with pink streaks running through it.  I was looking for something light and airy --- and that fit the bill.   It also doesn't hurt that the pink streaks act kind of like kryptonite to certain male members of my household.  

Decisions - Decisions.  What would you choose?  
Or would you tell me to scrap all of these and start over?

I'm going to sit with these before I make a final decision ...

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Details : Week 27 Let's Do 52

Details - Woven Cloth
I love-love-love this yarn!  It makes common weave look like fish scales.
It's a Lion Brand Homespun
Turquoise and browns.  Sand and surf.


I am participating in Denise Love's 2017 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Small and Large : Weeks 28 and 29 Let's Do 52

Prehistoric - What some Kid Left in the Park
Small and Large

This photo covers 2 prompts in one.  It's one of those little plastic dinosaurs -- small in scale but representing something much larger.  I can just imagine the colossal battles this kid played out with this T. Rex other dinos.   Imagination!

I thought this looked remarkably lifelike -- at least for a diorama.


I am participating in Denise Love's 2017 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Frozen by too Many Color Choices


I dug out my old Periodic Table of Colors - made in an online dye class several years ago.  My intention this 4th of July was to dye a few blank outfits. I have the color samples, and the dye recipes to repeat colors.  And still ...

I'm immobilized by so many color choices and options.  [I can't believe I'm saying this!]  And once I do pick the colors and combinations, will my dye be too old to create such bright colors anymore?  Will I be left with mud?  Do I even remember how to do it?  Ugh!  Do I just toss a coin and go with the color it lands on?  No -- I know I want purple -- but WHICH Purple?

I'll try this again another day.  I need to do the planning BEFORE the weekend comes when it's time to do the work of adding color to life!

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Joy : Week 24 Let's Do 52

This shot deserved it's own post.  Why not link it up with JOY?
I guess it also shows the uses of reflected light to bring out the colors.  This is much brighter and more vivid than the whole quilt pictures we took.  
I made a quilt for the birth of a close friend's first grandchild. This is the view of it inside the washing machine after it had gone through a cycle. This is how I want to remember this quilt. It is a JOY to welcome a child into the family. A joy to see my friend become a Grandmother; and a JOY to be able to make a quilt to welcome the child. It is a JOY to create ... and a JOY to recognize precious moments like this one.

I was also thinking about the other things that bring me Joy -- my dog (ALL my big black dogs), my family, creating ... making ...    Back in the day Figure / Ice Skating brought me a tremendous amount of JOY, too.  The joy of moving, of flying like the wind, of mastering the physical forces so you could defy gravity ...  But I wasn't sure how to get a photo of that.  It's much more about FEELING for me than watching, or knowing anyone up close whom I could photograph.

SO you'll have to settle for the joyous quilted visual above.  ;-)

And now a joyful musical accompaniment :



Tommy Shaw - Sing for the Day




Stevie Winwood's Higher Love

I am participating in Denise Love's 2017 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Managing Scraps


I just finished the Scrap Quilting class at Craftsy with Pepper Cory.  I have at least one of her books in my stash somewhere--I think it's on marking quilts.    It's so nice to listen to her tell stories, and share her wisdom.  She really enjoys what she does.  It's like she was right here with me -- an old friend at Quilt Camp giving me directions and pointers on how to do something.  In the class videos, she comes alive in a way that's not possible in a flat instructional quilting book. 


  

And I loved seeing her use her old Singer Featherweight whom she called Jessica.  I had to laugh -- I called one of my old cars, Jess!    I think I'll name my own Featherweight Pepper, or maybe even Cory in honor of this most comfortable teacher and friend.  It's important to have a good working relationship with your equipment.  What better way to get along, than to name it?

I didn't actually make any of the projects Pepper demonstrated in the class, since I'd made similar ones in my past quilting history.  So for me this was more entertainment to watch Pepper, and listen to her stories. 


String Quilt
I didn't actually use the old phone book pages that Pepper recommends for this project.  I remember seeing this method a while back and being intrigued by it enough to give it a try.  In this digital day and age, phone books are not so common as they used to be.   So I had to scrounge to find one (if you can believe that!).  And once I tried it -- Sure, it makes a good foundation, but I did not enjoy the ripping and the picking out the paper bits that got stuck in the seams.   The ripping process distorted the blocks.  For me, it worked much better to use blank muslin blocks as the foundation.

This string quilt was not so much scraps.  I'd purchased multiple sets of black and white 2-1/2 inch strip sets to have good variety to choose from.

From the leftovers, I made a Mondo Bag, sewn with my vintage Featherweight Singer Sewing Machine.

My goal was to learn to get a handle on my growing scrap bins after 15 years of quilting. I did a lot more fusible applique back in the day, and I told myself that I needed all those choices and colors and textures and sizes of scraps because I might need them some day ...   But it's getting to be too much now.  Time to use them!


Chinese Coins Quilt
I'd done a scrappy quilt after buying a set of 200 4-inch squares.  All the pieces were different, and it came out looking varied and beautiful.  But something was strange about it -- and I finally realized it didn't have the emotional power that a true scrap quilt has, where you can point to a scrap and know exactly where else you used it, and when you purchased it.  Or that it came from a piece of clothing from way back when ...  You can give its full pedigree.  That kind of quilt has the power to settle you down, and start a walk down nostalgia lane with all the memories it brings back.

Don't get me wrong : I adore this Chinese Coins Quilt as a whole.  But the individual parts -- the individual pieces -- don't have that emotional impact mentioned above. 




Wedding Ring Quilt
Last summer when I was working on Rosita's Wedding Ring Quilt for her grand-daughter's wedding, I was just mesmerized because I knew all those little scraps and pieces were leftover from Rosita's lifetime of quilting.  That quilt was full of her story / herstory.  Powerful stuff, when you know that.  I'm sure Kayleigh knows that, too!

Then of course, you have to use the new stuff, to MAKE it part of your story.  To give those scraps their history, to make them yours.


Composed Fabric
I'd been keeping scraps and cutoffs for making composed fabric, but I think I'm over that.  Many of these became Journals.  My sewing room was too full, and something needed to give -- something had to go.  So I gave a big garbage bag away to someone who will use it for stuffing in cat beds for the local animal shelter.   Reduce - Reuse - Recycle!

In Pepper's class, I was hoping to learn how to tame the leftovers from any given project, to be disciplined about cutting them up into strips or blocks  of varying sizes and just wait until you have enough to make something -- Like my friend Laura does.  I'll have to ask her for some lessons on that in October at Quilt Camp.  I know basically what she does -- and still I'm afraid to commit to cutting something down like that -- what if I really needed that larger piece later on?

I think I need to get a few books on the topic of managing scraps from the Public Library and see what is recommended.   And figure out what will work for me ...

Maybe I just need to figure out what kind of scrap quilts I like to make, and have that in mind as I'm cutting down and saving scraps.  For instance -- Am I shooting for another Chinese Coins Quilt, or something with 2-1/2 inch strips?  Or something with 1/2-square triangles to make scrappy stars?  I'll have to ask Laura what her standard sizes are ...

Monday, July 03, 2017

Welcome to the World Quilt for Baby Clara


My friend Vicki became a Gramma a few weeks ago with the birth of her first grandchild.  Of course that is an occasion that requires a new quilt to welcome the little one to the world!

It looks wonky in this picture because we have to tilt it to catch the light in the kitchen, and we can't photograph it straight on.  Believe me--It's square.  

If this looks familiar, it's made with the leftover fabric from the Arc en Ciel Quilt from a few year's ago. 


This is the back side.  I picked purple because Vicki likes purple -- not a baby color, but I wanted Baby Clara to be reminded of her Gramma Vickie when she sees this quiltie.


Here's a detail shot of the blocks and the quilting from the front.


And here's me, as the quilt-maker sending love and light to my old friend, embarking on this new role in life.  I have no doubts she'll be a wonderful Gramma!
[Vickie -- I'll try to get it in the mail this week ...]


I have this picture Vickie from 9 or 10 teaching Oliver to make homemade pasta noodles.


The Quilt Label says :
"Welcome to the World"
for Baby Clara
from Gramma Vicki Moen
Quilt by Michele Matucheski
June 30, 2017
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 


This is how it looked in the washing machine when it was done with the spin cycle.  
It just made me happy to see it on display at the bottom the washing machine.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

New Blocks for Mande's Star Quilt


My mom asked me to make a quilt for my sister who lives in Japan.  Although an accomplished and prolific quilter herself, my mom has developed some health issues that do not allow her to quilt much anymore.  Since I don't live close enough to help her out daily or even weekly, I said I would do this for her-- because it's something I can do where I am.

They wanted a little lime green thrown in, too.  So I'm making that the center of the star that will radiate out in oranges and blues ...

Sorry--The oranges in this pic with the lime green are not quite what I see in real life.  Real life colors is more like the orange and blue above... 

Orange and Blue are the main colors.   Although my mom and I both have enough blue in our stashes to make this quilt, neither of us had many oranges.  Good reason to go on a shopping spree collecting orange fat quarter sets.  ;-)

So far, I have 12 blocks made of the required 56.  I wanted to post my progress because it reminds me that I am making progress, and my mom (and Mande) can see how it's coming along, too.  Maybe Ailin will help me to sew some of the strip sets when they are here in August?

Each block is about 12-1/2 inches when cut.  Though I start with 2 18-inch squares of strip sets sewn in opposing color-ways.  Lay them down right sides together, then sew a 1/4 inch seam around the outer edge.  Once that's done, you carefully cut 2 lines corner to corner.  The resulting block is like what you see above.  You can make 4 blocks at a time with this method.  I can't seem to find the instructions at the moment, but I'll add a link to a demo when I locate one. 

This is essentially the same basic block as in Aidin's Corner of the Sky Quilt, only these will be set differently--without cornerstones and strapping in between.  It's a wonderfully versatile block-and essentially a souped up half-square triangle.

This is how I'm planning to lay it out for Mande's Star Quilt  (minus the red squares in the centers) :



At present, I have enough for the star in the middle, but no room to lay it out for you here. 
Only 36 blocks to go! Plus borders.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Pattern : Week 26 Let's Do 52


The Spiral Staircase inside The Lighthouse in Glasgow, Scotland.


I am participating in Denise Love's 2017 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Weaving a Peaceful Rhythm in Double Weave


I am so enjoying the process of weaving this Double Weave color gamp, that I decided it would be fun to make a video so you could see the motion, and the yarns changing with the sheds.

Once again, weaving becomes a mindful moving meditation for me. I am truly grateful to have this in my life for mental health and creative reasons.   ;-)



This video is shot from above, as I wove in a lavender color.

I am using the dark brown beads to keep track of how many rows in this set.  1 bead gets pushed over after completing the sequence below.  1 bead equals 2 rows (back and forth; top and bottom layers).  There are 12 beads, which tells me I've woven 24 rows when the sequence is completed.

The Treadles are tied up as follows :
      Treadle 1 : Shaft 1
      Treadle 2 : Shaft 2
      Treadle 3 : Shafts 1+2
      Treadle 4 : Shafts 3+4
      Treadle 5 : Shaft 3
      Treadle 6 : Shaft 4

The treadle pattern is as follows :
      Shot 1 : Treadle 1    Left to Right         (Top Layer)
      Shot 2 :  Treadle 2    Right to Left        (Top Layer)
      Shot 3 :  Treadles 3+5  Left to Right    (Bottom Layer)
      Shot 4 : Treadles 3+6  Right to Left     (Bottom Layer)




This video is shot from the side so you can see the different sheds opening to allow access to either the top of bottom layers of fabric.  This time I am weaving in a burgundy color yarn.

The weaving goes fast.  It doesn't take long to do 24 pics of any one color.



Peaking through to bottom layer
I can't really see how the bottom layer is progressing -- I only get small glimmers of the colors laying down together.

The fold side where the colors change.

Shafts 1+2 weave the top layer of cloth, while shafts 3+4 weave the bottom later with the fold on the right side.

I'm also getting pretty good at fixing broken warp strings.  Here are a few of the new strands hanging off the back beam and weighted to hold tension even with the rest of the warp. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Time : Week 19 Let's Do 52

LILAC TIME

I had several ideas for this prompt. 

Timeless Cinema
A few weeks ago, the local Time Cinema, an old movie theatre downtown, played one of my all-time favorite movies : Legend with Mia Sara, Tom Cruise and Tim Curry.  It came out when I was in high school in the 1980s.  It's a film that stands the test of time!  I was hoping to get a shot of the marquee with Legend listed, but by the time we came out, they'd already changed it for the next old movies they'd be showing.  I guess Casablanca is timeless, too.



RAVAGES OF TIME - to an old barn


I am participating in Denise Love's 2017 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Friday, June 16, 2017

2 Cathedral Window Table Toppers for France

 Cathedral Windows Table Topper for France - Hot Set

I needed a few more gifts to bring to France this summer when we visit CL's family there.

Cathedral Windows Table Topper for France - Cool Se


This is from a kit at Nancy's Notions.  You can get a complete kit (with fabrics, batting and backing), or just the pre-cut fast-fusible applique.  IMHO, it's totally worth buying the pre-cut applique.  It's very difficult and tedious to try to cut out that stained glass pattern by hand -- even harder to keep it all even and straight.

I may do some more stitching on it before we make the trip.  

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Weaving Again ... After All This Time


Finally!  The new 12-dent stainless steel reed came (Thanks to The Woolery who shipped it out the day after I ordered it.  Boo to Webs who promised much more than they could deliver -- I'd still be waiting for it in July, 3 months after the initial order.)

My husband cut off the excess (see the separate post on that process) part of the reed.  We installed the new reed, and Lynda helped me finish warping the Shetland wool color gamp.   2 strings run through each slit in the 12-dent reed.  Originally, I was going to use a 10-dent reed with 4 strings running through each slit in the reed, but Lynda and I concluded that would cause problems, as this wool likes to stick to itself, and we thought that it would be a good way to felt it right on the loom--bad idea.  So we opted for the 12-dent to give us a little more room to work with.

We set up the treadles optimally for doing double weave (according to Jennifer Moore); We got the tension all worked out, and threw the initial shots.  And ...   to my utter amazement and sheer delight ...  It worked!
 
 Left side of double weave, with top layer folded over to make bottom layer visible.

2 layers of fabric with a join on the right side.  I'll need to be careful with that join area so I don't wind up with a gap or a line :

The Fold.

PHOTO BEADS
I set up my bead system to help me remember where I am in the treadling sequence.  [This brilliant idea came from the 4-shaft Weaving FaceBook Group.]  Since I only have a 4-shaft loom, this is only going to be common weave.  If I had more shafts to work with (or a wider weaving space, it could have been in a twill or tweed or other fancy weave structure pattern.  In practice, this sequence is relatively easy to remember.  I haven't been using the beads with each throw.

I set up a 2nd string of darker beads to help me track what pic I'm on.  This project requires 24 pics of each color, amounting to 2 inches of fabric.   1 sequence of the treadling pattern equals 2 lines of weft, therefore I have only 12 beads instead of 24.  It doesn't take long to do 24 pics.


And I'm getting pretty good at fixing broken warp with the T-pin method.

Hurray!

It's easier to DO double weave,  than to explain it, so I may post a video of the process.  Stay tuned!

At long last, I'm weaving again!