Monday, November 22, 2010

3 New Journals

I think I like this one so much, I'm going to make it my new Sweet Leaf Notebook. All those little bits trapped in the cover are scraps from my past projects. This is part of my creative history--not to mention the ultimate in recycling!

This one is a quarter-size notebook, made from the same composed sheet of fabric :

This is the whole notebook cover spread open.

Here's another quarter-size journal :

Here's the whole journal cover spread out full :

I'll be selling these journals (and many more) at the FVUUF Arts & Craft Sale on December 4 in Appleton, WI. If anyone out there in blog-land is interested in purchasing a journal, feel free to contact me for prices. We can work out a PayPal arrangement. I just don't have time to keep up an etsy site, so this will have to do.

Creative Cue : Sharp

The sharp points on a mariner's compass block.

Other ideas : sharp eagle eyes, sharp eagle talons, sharp fish hook

See other Creative Cues for Sharp.

Creative Cue : Eye

This the eye from the Bubble Boy portrait.

I have to share the following close encounters, too:

Earlier this summer, I contacted Donna Schaffer, the artist who painted this scene, and purchased a giclee print of "Humpback Whale Looking at You." I love it! She and her family have vacationed where they could actually swim with whales. She takes pictures, then goes home and paints them. She has another one (which I also purchased) :

Reflection of a Humpback Pectoral Fin by Donna Schaffer.
I even bothered to get these two prints professionally framed. It was expensive, but worth it in my world.

See other Creative Cues for Eye.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Thread Painting Workshop With Karla Spinks

In October, Conversations-in-Cloth arranged to sponsor a class with local thread-painting (aka free-motion embroidery) expert Karla Spinks. Read/See more about the workshops.

My little Blue Bird, free-motion embroidery.
Here he is mostly cut free from the stabilizers and is ready to be appliqued to a background. Maybe that will be a art quilt / journal quilt in 2011?

"Look, Ma! No hands!" Well--not quite. But I will say this little bird is completely free-hand. Although I have an embroidery unit on my sewing machine, I never learned to use it, although my Aunt Rosita is the Queen of computer-driven embroidery.

Karla had us start out by thread-painting some flower fabric. Once we had that mastered, we could move on to something more challenging. Most of us chose birds.

Karla asked us to bring in samples of our own work, and I realized that I already had quite a few examples of free-motion embroidery.

Here are some samples from my thread painting present and past :


Gramma Pickles

Little Gardener :



Day at the Lake II

Oliver (aka Bubble Boy)

My advice : It just takes time and practice. A few weeks ago, I heard something on the radio about talent and success. The conclusion was that talent only takes you so far. Most things take practice, time and effort.

Theresa says that when she's teaching, she tells her students they can call her after the class, but not to whine. They have to put in 4 hours of practicing until they really start to get the hang of it. People in the class were amazed that my little bluebird came out so well, but I told them I just have more hours of practice at this already. They'll get there, too! This is not something that happens overnight (unless you do have a computerized embroidery unit).

Here are some other tips I picked up from the class :
Karla says :
* Heavy foot and slow hands. If your stitches are not nice, speed up.
* You don't need locking stitches to start because you go over and over and over and over it.
* Hollis rips more than she sews. She doesn't ever cross threads.
What needles to use?
Hollis Chatelain uses a size 90 needle, but they leave bigger holes. When I first started doing free-motion embroidery, I had a lot of problems with breaking the embroidery threads and other issues that seemed to be solved by using a 90 needle. Now looking back, I was probably not threading my machine right through the tension discs (It takes a while to learn the ins and outs of a new machine.) In my experience, the size 90 needle does leave bigger holes initially, but the fabric eventually relaxes and closes in around the threads. Karla says that Bob at Superior Threads recommends a size 80 needle, so that's what I used for the workshop. And it's true--smaller holes.

The members of CinC, with a few guests. We were at Julie's Sewing Center in Appleton, WI.

Back Row : Connie, Karla Spinks (Teacher), Lois, JoAnne, Pat
Middle Row : Brenda, Betty, Lynda
Front Row : Michele (me), Theresa
In October, CinC sponsored a 2-day workshop on Thread Painting with Karla Spinks.

Threadpainting on the Horses

I finished thread-painting the horses today. I want to finish this wall-hanging for my dad in time for Christmas. For about 15 years, now he's had 2 retired horses to take care of. He had to put down the 36-year old horse, as she developed some health problems that would make living through the coming winter outside very difficult. The other retired horse went to a farm to live with some other horses. She seems to have settled in already. Since he won't have any horses at Christmas, I'll give him these horses that he doesn't have to feed or water. Don't worry--It will still be a surprise. My Dad hardly ever turns the computer on these days. He doesn't read my blogs.

Here are some detail shots :

The rail fence is completely covered with thread.

Here are some (not all) of the threads I used in this piece.

Here's the backside which shows better the outlines of the thread-painting.

On to adding the borders and quilting it all!

Order from Chaos : Composed Fabric : Or What to with Scraps

What do you do with all those threads, trimmings from squaring up blocks, snippets, yarns, foil candy wrappers, and bits of fabric too small to keep? Composed Fabric!

Lay out a piece of fabric for a base. It doesn't matter what it looks like as it will get covered up. Lay on a piece of fusible which will help hold things together later. Then start sprinkling on your snippets,, trimmings, loose threads, candy wrappers, yarns, etc. Go to town with this! When you have everything more-or-less where you want it, top it off with a piece of tulle. Try different colors for different effects. Here, I went with black because it tends to look invisible. Fuse it all together. I still pin it in places just to keep things from spilling out the sides. Then stitch it all together with your favorite free-motion stitch. Voila!

Here's the back side. Someone gave me this really hideous fabric a while back. It was perfect as a base for this composed fabric, because the print gets completely covered up with the snippets.

Here are some close-ups of different areas of the piece :

Do you see the Quaker Oats guy in this one? [What can I say? Nellie always hides Elvis in her work someplace. For me, it seems to be the Quaker Oats guy!]

These are destined to become journal covers in the coming weeks. ;-)

Another Day on the Tin Lizzie : Blue Picnic Quilt

Last Saturday, I rented time on the Tin Lizzie at It's Sew Rite. I was able to quilt up the Blue Picnic Quilt in about 2-1/2 hours. It's a full-size quilt as for a double bed. I had a panto in mind, but decided that my good ol' Bubbles pattern would work just as well. It went surprisingly fast -- this pattern just flows over the quilt top, without all those starts and stops.

My husband even stopped in to see the operation, so now he knows what I'm talking about when I say long-arm. He also has a better idea of how much space it takes up, and that it's better NOT in our house.

Here's the back side where the bubbles are more evident. I used Hobbs 80/20 cotton/poly batting.

I'll put up a full photo when I get the binding on, which could be several months from now. The batting will crinkle up and look nice and antiqued after I wash it, too. Stay tuned!