Monday, December 31, 2007

Painted Faces for Beginners by Bonnie McCaffrey

This was my Christmas present from my DH. Cool! Purchase your own here.

Now I can work on a new skill for portrait quilts! Now to find the time and space to practice!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Notebook Covers

The smaller one is a la Gill K. from Conversations in Cloth. 5-1/2 x 8 in pad. She gave everyone a little kit to make one at our Christmas Party a few weeks ago. This one flips up.

This one is the Padfolio pattern from Sue Bleiweiss at Fibre & Stitch. It covers an 8-1/2 x 11 inch legal pad. I didn't do any thread-painting or embellishing as I was testing the basic pattern.

I needed a new notebook system for drafts of my blog post articles. The notebooks go with me everywhere, and I can write a draft when an idea presents itself. It's harder to schedule computer time at my house between a computer programmer husband and a gaming boy, so the notebooks house my ideas until I can get them posted.

I bought a few notebooks last summer when all the school supplies were on sale. But these notebooks seem to be so poorly constructed that they fall apart with minimal use. I can't imagine any of the students are putting up with this. I don't want a spiral notebook because I rip out the pages and recycle them after the post has been published. I don't like all the little bits of confetti that fall when pages are torn out of spiral-bound notebooks.

This solution provides a cloth cover for a plain old sturdy legal pad (or smaller). I can rip out pages and not worry about it falling apart. The design is tried and true.

I'm working on a similar design that would not require the satin stitching. This method uses a lot of thread. Stay tuned ....

Ties that Bind

An old silk tie found at the thrift store is transformed into a little case (or purse) suitable for a small digital camera or a cell phone. It's a really simple project, and I love the recycling/transformation aspect.

The instructions from Sulky are here.

Envelope Purse

At Quilt Camp in November, Bobbi was making several of these nifty little 3-pocket purses. I don't know where she got the pattern or the idea. But it's simple enough to relay here :

1) Start with an 18-inch square quilt sandwich. (2 fat quarters work well)
2) Quilt as desired.
3) Bind it.
4) Fold in half along the diagonal.
5) Mark a perpendicular line at 6 and 12 inches across the long diagonal side. Sew up this perpendicular to about 7-1/4 inches. You don't want to go to the very top, or the top envelope flap won't fold freely (ask me how I know this).

6) You should have a triangle with 2 seams. Turn the side chambers inside out.
7) Hand stitch the cross-over pieces that make the side pockets.
8) Add closures as desired. Add a strap, and you're done!

My husband liked this design so much, he asked me to make a quilted bag for his new laptop in this style. I just have to figure out how big a square I need to start with ...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Embossed Velvet Snowflake Postcard

Post card is on the left (blue). The foam stamp is on the right (purple).

A few months ago, Conversations in Cloth worked on making our own stamps. The method I seemed to like the best was using the sticky-backed foam. It's easy to cut with scissors and is flexible. My own stash of foam does not contain the sticky-backed variety, so today I experimented with a couple different glues (I do NOT recommend Elmer's School Glue for this appliation).

The snowflake stamp was stuck down with Gem Tack (That's what I had on hand.) I had a little too much and it oozed out as I pressed the piece in place. I suspect it would work better to "paint" a thin layer of the glue onto the top foam. Then press it in place without the gobs oozing out the sides.

Here are the basic steps for making the above postcard :
Make the foam stamp

Lay stamp face up on ironing board.
Lay velvet face down over the satmp.
Spritz the back of the velvet with water.
Iron the back of the velvet.

The object is to make the nap of the velvet lay down where the stamp comes in contact with it. That's how you get the two tone, shimmery effect.

It's remarkably simple!

Finish the postcard in the usual way.

The velvet is from a bag of rags J. bought for me probably more than 10 years ago at Gromiko's Junk Shop. I made 4 Christmas stockings out of the remnants and have been saving the rest for just such a project as this!

After Christmas, I found out that my Unca Ray liked this velvet snowflake so much, he hung this postcard on his Christmas Tree. Aunt Rosita said that was the first Christmas card that's ever been hung on the tree! That is an honor!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Crazy Quilt Post Card

Inspired (again) by Vicky Welch at Field Trips in Fiber, I worked out this fabric post card. Instead of sewing the pieces together as traditionally done, the scraps were arranged and fused to Timtex. Fancy stitches hold it all together. I may have to set up the Designer I for many more options in stitches. It's still on the floor of my sewing room where I put it when I got back from Quilt Camp in November. (Heresy, I know!)

This was my first attempt at anything like crazy quilting. I'm pleased with the way the colors came together. ;-) However, the choice of threads should show more contrast to be more visible ... Could use more embellishments, too.

And that's why the fabric postcard is such a great practice area!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Bon Fire (in Progress)

Here's another one of my C-in-C challenge pieces. A bonfire--remember it's a work in progress. This is my own original pattern worked in fusible applique.

About a year ago, I took the Elements in Fabric class at Quilt University with Linda Schmidt. My pieces were disappointing, so I never posted them here. However, some of the techniques I learned there are used above. The best technique was to use sheer fabrics to create a sense of depth and dancing flames.

This currently has pins holding everything together under a layer of black tulle. I still have to stitch it all down and put it on it's final background. My husband likes the yellow pinheads, so I'll eventually add some beads to keep that effect ... Stay tuned!

Here's an inspiration photo :

The house was 50 degrees this morning. Brrrr! and 19 degrees on the porch. Time to build a fire!

Northern Lights (in progress)

People have been asking me what I'm currently working on, so I thought I'd give you a sneak peak at The Northern Lights wall hanging.

This was originally supposed to be the centerpiece of a larger quilt, but it kept growing, and growing. It took on a life of it's own. I decided to make it a wall-hanging unto itself, and start over for the centerpiece.

The turtle at the top is from an indigo adire dyed fabric that I picked up in Nigeria in 1993. The menfolk tend to use tin stencils to push starch through to the blank fabric before it's dipped into the indigo dye vats. The starch resists the dye (the lighter areas) of the turtle. I bought the turtle fabric for my friend Diane, and made a vest for her back then. I still have pieces left, and thought the at the turtle looked like one of those time-elapsed photographs of a starry sky, revolving around the north star ... I couldn't resist adding it here.

I've been experimenting with different ways to make the pine trees. I may put up a tutorial in coming weeks on that topic ...

The northern lights fabric is a shiny satin that didn't photograph very well. I still have to finish working on the trees in the foreground. Then comes the thread-painting, quilting and finishing. Not to mention figuring out how to build some kind of a frame so it hangs properly.

For Conversations-in-Cloth this month, we're supposed to present "significant progress on a personal challenge piece." This is one of my challenges.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Quilting Events at Oshkosh Public Library

Last week, The Oshkosh Public Library sponsored a program for quilters, quilt enthusiasts and readers alike.

Jennifer Chiaverini is the author of The Elm Creek Quilt series. She read a chapter from the new book, and showed a few of her own quilts (yes, she quilts!). Then she signed books.

Lakeside Quilt Guild (our local guild) did a quilt show under the dome (I had 2 pieces on display : Oliver and Sandy's Promise--not pictured here). Apple Blossom Books sold books. The quilts looked very nice in that classic old building!

Quilts Under the Dome. Sorry the lighting is so poor. It doesn't do these quilts or the building justice.

It was a very well-attended program (despite the Packer game). I am especially pleased to see our public library offering adult programming like this and tying in community resources like the local quilt guild and Apple Blossom Books. It does a lot to BUILD community!

Skin Tones (Revisited)

Some of you may be wondering what I decided to do since dying skin tones with Fabric Dying 101 recipes didn't work out as planned ...

I realized that I actually did have some usable, workable, and acceptable skin tones already in my stash :
These are from The Quilter's Pallette Class with Marjie McWilliams at Quilt University. I can't share the recipes here, but if you like what you see, I encourage you to take Marjie's classes. She's a wonderful teacher who gently encourages the students to think for themselves. And best of all, the classes are online, so you don't have to schlep anything --just go down to your work space and check in on the computer from time to time.

This set is from a pack of fat quarters sold by Keepsake Quilting, Bali Blender Browns.

It's too early to show the progress on the next portrait quilt because I don't have anything more than a pattern at this point, but stay tuned!