Sunday, March 18, 2007

First Place for Fabric Portrait!

I was honored (and surprised!) to have won 1st Place in the Table Runner and Wall Hanging division of the judged quilt show at the 2007 Sewing Expo in Oshkosh, WI, March 16-17.

I won a basket chock-full of sewing notions!

As if that wasn't enough, I also won the new Viking Platinum sewing machine that Sew 'N Sew of Appleton donated for the event. They have also offered lessons to help me get acquainted with the new machine. Cool!

It's wonderful to have the validation that all the hours in the sewing room have been time well spent (not only for my mental well-being!)

Thread Calligraphy Class with Nancy K.

At this year's Sewing Expo, I was able to take the all-day hands-on Thread Calligraphy class with Nancy Kazlauckas. I bought her book last year, but never really took the time to sit down and DO it.

Here are some samples from that first day :

This is on fleece. The bright yellow (lower) is rayon embroidery thread. The gold (upper) is the Madeira metallic FS thread.

One thing I discovered was that the Madeira Metallic FS threads are wonderful! As Nancy says, they stitch on "like butter" with excellent coverage for the letters. They also add a classy and elegant sheen that almost looks like little beads are sparkling with the thread. Now I wish I had purchased more than just the one spool! Fortunately, I know where to get more!

This is a remarkably easy technique. And Nancy is a very down-to-earth person who happens to be a good teacher, too! The best part is that you don't need some kind of fancy embroidery machine to do thread calligraphy -- Just a sewing machine that can do a zig-zag stitch and drop feed dogs. Nancy K. recommends a free motion foot. My open-toed stippling foot was not happy about the wide zig-zag , or even a not so wide zig-zag. I had much better results (with my machine and set-up) once I switched to an open-toe zig-zag foot and dropped the presser foot pressure down to 0. I do need to get a closed-toe quilting foot ...

As for prospective projects with this technique, dog tombstones. For about 6 years, I've been meaning to make broken glass mosaic stepping stones for my dad to commemorate all his faithful dogs he's had over the years. I did get so far as to design the tops--I've never gotten around to pouring the QuickCrete cement to finish these projects. I think Nancy's Thread Calligraphy technique will help me to get the job done. Each "block" will contain the dog's name and their years. Becasue it's cloth, I should be able to easily "add on" block through the years as he continues to outlive his faithful companions.

Shiva Paintstiks are from Wisconsin

For over a year, now, I've been very interested in trying Shiva Paintstiks on fabric.

On Saturday, at a session with the Thread Calligraphy Lady, Nancy Katzulaukas, I discovered that Paintsticks are distributed right here in Wisconsin, only about 30 miles away from where I live! All this time, I've been thinking "How exotic, how expensive, how cool ..." I thought I would wait until the Cedar Canyon lady comes to present at Darting Needles Quilt Guild (Appleton) in June on using PaintStiks on fabric.

Well, I couldn't wait. Nancy K. offered a good deal on the PaintSticks with the Shelly Stokes book. So I bought the Irridescent set, along with gold and copper.

Even better : at the session, the local distributors, a Mr. and Mrs. Richeson, from Kimberly, WI, came and gave everyone in attendance the samplar pack of the metallic (gold, silver, and copper) PaintStiks. They seemed very interested to see how quilters and other people are using Shiva Paintstiks, since their original market had been oil painters.

You can buy PaintStiks directly from Richeson's :

Richeson Art

Richeson's Online Catalog entires for Shiva PaintStiks

Or get them from an increasing number of Quilt Shop and textile Artists.

Iris Folding

I recently attended the 6th Annual Sewing Expo at the Fox Valley Technical College here in Oshkosh, WI. One of the classes I attended was a 1-hour session with Fiber Artist Joellyn Quinn on Iris Folding. In less than one hour, attendees created the following 2 samples (Actual size is about 2-1/2 inches square) :

Log Cabin Sample in Fabric

Log Cabin Sample in Paper

It was remarkably fun and fast! And you can see the obvious ties to quilting ... The small size makes it perfect for a greeting cards or scrapbooking. I can see this having potential for postcards, too.

Here are a few more sites on Iris Folding :
Iris Folding Gallery at HGtv

Iris Folding Design Gallery

Tutorial on Iris Folding

Templates for Iris Folding

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Rail Fence Potholder

Thought I'd share this potholder made from some extra blocks leftover from another project. The green is just in time for St. Patrick's day ...

I made 6 of these to give as hostess gifts when we visit the relatives in France this Spring.

I used regular medium-loft poly batting. I know they always say use the Insul-brite, but I haven't been able to find it locally. I seriously doubt that the Amish ladies who make so many potholders in Lancaster County, PA, bother to use Insul-brite, either.