Monday, January 28, 2008

Joggles Mixed Media Class - Pattern Tissue Surface

I finished one of the projects from the first lesson of Sue B.'s Mixed Media class at Joggles.

This is the "Pattern Tissue Surface" made into a "Sewer's Notebook."

It is successive layers of Muslin +Misty Fuse + Torn Pattern Tissue + Misty Fuse + Tissue (again) + Glimmer Mist + walnut ink (for color)

I'm a true convert to Misty Fuse now. I used to always use Steam-a-Seam Lite 2. But even that can build up and get stiff with successive layers. Missty Fuse stays soft and supple even with multiple layers. I'll have to get some more ...

For the color, I watered down a little Terra Cotta walnut ink, and then a layer of Glimmer Mist Rose Tea to make it a little pinker.

The project was to turn our composed fabric into a notebook. The Pattern Tissue Paper Fabric was fused to a base of wool felt, then topped with a gold sparkley tulle with a few sequins trapped underneath. (I tried black tulle, but it just didn't make the piece SING. It's kind of hard to see it in the picture, but it makes a difference.

I just put in the signatures (the paper). That was not nearly as difficult as I thought it might be ... Poking the holes with an awl first was a smart idea.

As a Librarian (by day), bookbinding has long appealed to me. Although I've repaired many a book, this is the first one I've made from scratch. I'm really pleased with it!

The pattern tissue paper fabric is nicer than I expected. It looks old-timey and antique, but it has a soft, almost leathery feel. It's full of body, too, with the support of the wool felt base. I know that Sue B., the instructor is working on a journal-making class for next fall. I'm very interested in doing more of this!

Now to figure out how to post my results to the class ...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Packages Delivered Today!

Half the fun of starting a new class or project is gathering the supplies. Usually, I have some of what I need in my stash. The rest requires me to go shopping! I love the fact that I can get just about anything by ordering over the internet!

Here's most of the stuff for the Mixed Media Class at Joggles : DynaFlo paints, walnut inks, soy silk, Angelina film, Glimmer Mist .... I'm still missing a few things and may have to put in yet another order for the elusive Mulberry Bark. Now I'll be able to start the first projects!

January has become a time to plan out some of the projects I want to work on the rest of the year. Dying, fabric painting, mixed media ... I tend to buy a stock of supplies in January and work off of it the rest of the year ...

I've even started a spreadsheet to track my inventories. I hope this will keep me from buying duplicates of what I already have. This is a great help when I go to shows or shops. For example, I really don't need a 3rd spool of Sulky Blendables Cider--even though it looks so nice on the rack. I can check the list and find out--oh yeah, I've already got some. Finding it in the sewing room may be another story, however ...

I'm a librarian by day, so you'd think that the skills I've learned to organize books, journals and webstuff would translate ... I suppose someone has done it (Harriet Hargrave and other shop keepers), but I've concluded if I kept everything organized at home, I wouldn't have time to sew and create. A little chaos is good (at least that's my excuse).

This spreadsheet also helps me to keep track of where I bought what--in case I need to get more later. You can see I have tabs for Thread, Paints, Embellishments, Dyes, Soap Supplies, Tools (Rulers). It's easy enough to add more as my interests and supplies expand.

Sewing Expo 2008

Fox Valley Technical College announced their program for the 2008 Sewing Expo.
March 14-15, 2008 in Oshkosh, WI.

2 days of wonderful workshops and demonstrations for a very reasonable price!

It's always a hard choice to figure out what classes to attend--because you can't see everything on the schedule. This year, my mom and Aunt Rosita (and a few of their friends) are also planning to attend. So we'll be able to cover more ground and compare notes afterwards.

This year, Diane Gaudynski is on the schedule for a free-motion quilting workshop. I'm hoping I'll be able to take the 1-day class with this Master. I sent in my registration already ... ;-)

"Sweet Dreams are Made of This ..."

I discovered the most amazing pair of blogs that document the experiments in surface design by two artists :

Purple Missus

Textile Tales

I like to print the pages in color and look at their glittering, lustrous, wonderful rich textures the last thing before I go to sleep at night. That's what I want to dream about! Mm-mmmh!

This is my inspiration for the Mixed Media Class at Joggles. Plus lots of other ideas for things I'd like to try with layers.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Eye Candy

I just spent a pile of money at Joggles to get many of the supplies for Sue B's Mixed Media class (online). Should be fun and messy, too.

My heart has been leaping and lusting for some of the lovely collections of fibers Quilting Arts is selling in their online store under Fiber & Embellishments. Feast your eyes on these colors and textures!

Oliver Twist Silk Sensations Strata Packs :

I'm leaning towards Pebble and Spruce (above).

Then there are the Oliver Twist Experimental Packs :

Silver Birch

Then there are the Lamb's Tail Fibers :

I want to get some, but I can't quite decide which sets. They are all so lovely! What projects would these lovely pallettes inspire?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Snowflake Postcard

The Angelina Fibers really sparkle, but are notorious for not photographing well.
The technique was reverse applique.
I fused a sheet of Angelina.
Then I layered Timtex, Angelina, and the top blue fabric on which an outline of the snowflake shape had been traced.
Then I straight-stitched over the outline of the snowflake.
Then I carefully cut out the center of the snowflake in just the top blue fabric, careful not to disturb/destroy/cut the sparkly Angelina underneath.
Then I satin-stitched the edges of the snowflake and finished off the edges as usual for a post card.

What to know what else we were doing this weekend? Though we have plenty of snow outside, Oliver and I made Borax Crystal Snowflakes :

Here are the ingredients :
* Borax (in the laundry aisle at the grocery store)
* hot water
* pipe cleaners
* string

Instructions for growing a Borax Crystal Snowflake.

We got the above dramatic results! It's remarkably easy and cheap entertainment.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Progress on the Bonfire Block

I finally did the thread painting on the FIRE. This technique uses "flames" of sheers laid atop a base fabric. Then it's topped with netting or tulle. In this case I used black tulle. Even though it's sheer, it gives a smoky look to the flames.

It's interesting to see how different colors of tulle bring out different colors in what's underneath ... It would be worth experimenting with. I even purchased some gold tulle, but the black had already been placed. And when I tried to remove it to audition the gold, all my perfectly placed flames came with it. So I kept the black ...

For the thread painting, I "rolled-my-own" varigated embroidery thread. In this case, red, orange and yellow reflect the hot colors of fire. Once the tulle is stitched down, everything holds together nicely. It's a relatively hassle-free way to applique. I like to back these kinds of applique pieces with black fabric. When I cut it out, I leave a little of the black at the edges (1/8 inch, or so) This helps to set it off on the background.

I also chose the background fabrics. The next step is to applique the fire and wood onto the background with invisible thread.

These original pieces always take 3 times as long as I think they should. There's no picture on the pattern to follow. It just takes a while longer to get it from my head, to the fabric ... As Marilyn F. says, things have to simmer a while ...

Roll-Your-Own Varigated Thread

Even with the great variety of color combinations of varigated threads on the market today, oftentimes I still can't find just the right color combinations for the project at hand.

I bought this pack a few years ago, before realizing they were all pretty awkward color combinations (although, from this angle they don't look so bad ...) :

At Quilt Camp in November 2006, my mom and Aunt Rosita were in need of particular varigated color combinations. Since we were out in the wilderness, away from any shops, they "rolled their own." I tried it and it works pretty well ...

Plan A : Here I picked the 3 colors I wanted from my embroidery threads : red orange and yellow. In this case, I'm filling a bobbin with the 3 threads for a custom varigated thread :

It was a little tricky using the fat-wound bobbin as all the threads did not seem to wind evenly. I'm sure with some tension-taming tools that could be worked out ...

On to Plan B : After that, I tried to just thread the 2-3 colors I wanted and sewed with them directly through the needle (#14 top-stitch). They twisted together with a pleasing randomness, trading which color was on top.

In this example, you can see the threadpainting on the logs and the fire were all done with the above multi-thread techniques.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Notebook Cover - The Sweet Leaf Recipe

Ingredients :
1 legal pad or notebook sized 11-3/4 in x 8-1/2 in
Cardboard 11-3/4 in x 8-1/2 in (The back cardboard of an old notebook works well.)
Fabric - outer cut 13 x 20 inches
Fabric - inner cut 13 x 19 inches plus 4 x13 inches
Batting cut 13 x 20 inches
Pockets 2 9-1/2 in squares with interfacing, folded on the diagonal

Consider thread-painting/quilting / embellishing the batting and outer fabric layers together BEFORE laying out for the final quilt sandwich. The batting can act as stabilizer.

Take the 4x13 inch strip. Fold and press under 1 in along a long edge. This will be the turning welt behind the notebook.
The secret is in the layering the quilt sandwich!

Layer 1 : Batting
Layer 2 : Outer Fabric (Face up)
Layer 3 : Corner Pockets
Layer 4 : Inner fabric strip (Face down)
Layer 5 : Inner fabric 13 x 19 in (Face down)
Note : The edge layer 5 overlapping layer 4 should NOT be caught in the edge seam. This needs to remain open for turning. [See photo below.]

After layering, pin to hold all layers in place.
Sew 3/8-inch seam around the entire perimeter.
Clip corners.
Use the turning welt to turn the inside out.
Work the edges and press.
Insert the cardboard to add body to the front cover. The notebook will add support for the back cover.

Here's a diagram of the inside view :

Here's a photo of the turning welt (Remember this live behind the notebook, so it should not gap open or cause problems.) :

Other options :
Add closures.
Add a pocket or clip for a pen.

Let me know if you use this pattern. I'd be interested to know if it works for anyone else.

(More) Notebook Covers

I finally worked out a pattern for a notebook cover to my own liking. This entry is more about the experimenting on the way there ... If you want to see more about the actual pattern, click here.

The orange one is okay. I like the colors (and so did my husband who claimed it.) The batting is a little too thick. It's not quilted at all. The 'welt" for turning the outside in landed smack in the middle of the inside.

(This piece is actually square, even though it doesn't appear to be square in this photo.)

The purple and green one was an experiment in making my own fabric using the cut-off ends of fabric when squaring up for rotary cutting. The Wanda Hanson at Exuberant Color had the idea of laying these cast off strips out on a fusible batting, ironing them down, and stitching. Nice idea! The quilting made the batting not so puffy.

I got the turning idea from an Amish potholder purchased in Lancaster County, PA. No binding makes these quicker than a fancy edge finish. My satin stitching doesn't come out as nice as Sue Bleiweiss's work ... so I needed to come up with an alternative.

For the green and purple one, I moved the turning welt to be behind the notebook. That worked ok, but now I'm thinking about possibly making the turning welt run horizontally to make a wider pocket for the notebook cardboard ... Always thinking of ways to improve ...