Friday, December 28, 2012

Sewing On Air Art Quilting Technique. . .

On Wednesday, we held our monthly art quilt workshop.  This month's technique was "Sewing On Air" by Nancy Green as featured in the October/November 2012 issue of "Quilting Arts Magazine."
Following along with the instructions, this is my quilt base.  I fused fabric to fabric using Mistyfuse, and layering front and back right sides together with fusible batting.  I then used the no binding technique I described here.  Once layered and with the fabric turned inside out, the piece was quilted.
The circles were left unquilted as my sewing on air will be done within one of the circles.
The center of the circle was cut out.
The circle is then heavily zigzag stitched.  Heavily means going around the circle four times with a free-motion zigzag stitch (my favorite :). 
The fun begins as the needle is placed to the back of the circle and straight-stitched across its diameter at a medium speed.  Once across, the fabric was turned 180 degrees and gone across again.  I did this three times, always with free-motion stitching.  The three lines of sewing were then zigzagged over with my machine set at 2.5 width.  And, whalaa, there is a strong cord-like thread line running through my circle.
This was an easy technique, much more so than I realized it would be.  If you would like to try this technique, let me give you a few hints that were learned in the workshop.  First, the magazine technique does not require a stabilizer for the stitching.  However, I used fusible web,  fusible batting, lots of quilting, and heavy stitching around the perimeter of the circle which all acted as a stabilizer for the stitching across the diameter of the hole.  I also noticed that the smaller size of my hole seemed to matter in being able to keep its shape compared to larger holes done by others.

If you do give this a try, please let me know of any tips or hints you find to be helpful.

Until next time,

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cat Bites are Dangerous!

I know.  This is a quilt site.  Why am I talking about cat bites?  My experience of this weekend makes me want to share and warn others.  Here's my story.
This is my cat, Gracie, and this weekend she bit me.  Now I've had cats most of my life but have never been bitten (I mean hard) by one.  Gracie's form of communication is biting rather than scratching and I'm respectful of what she tells me.  But this time, as we were playing, she switched gears and attacked me ferociously.  Her teeth went deep into my hand.  I was taken by surprise and it hurt more than I can say.  I rinsed the punctures with cold water and put antibiotic gel on it and thought that was the end of it.  Boy, was I wrong.

By the next day, my hand was swelling, and red.  The pain increased as the day went on.  I decided to do some internet surfing on the subject and was surprised by what I found.  Did you know cat bites are infectious 80% of the time?  And that if the infection progresses, it damages the tissue around the bite and you may have to have surgery?  Needless to say I was shocked!!!  
This is a photo of my hand 24 hours AFTER I began taking antibiotics.  The swelling has gone down, the redness has decreased, and the pain is minimal.  I didn't take a photo at its worst but you can still see swelling.  That little red dot on the lower portion of my hand is the little puncture mark that started this mess.  I'm afraid to think of what may have happened if I hadn't done a little research and moved into action right away.  So take this post as informative and a warning.  If a cat bites you, don't take it lightly.  Find out the steps necessary to keep you healthy.

Until next time,

Friday, December 7, 2012

Bringing You Up to Speed. . .

 Since last I wrote, I've been busy, busy, busy with many happenings and changes.  In my attempt to bring you up to speed,  I will begin where I last left off:  on my way to Texas.

My trip to Texas began with a speaking and teaching gig in Beaumont at the Golden Triangle Quilt Guild.  It was my first opportunity to speak and teach on a national level and I was excited.  The guild members were welcoming and friendly.  Two classes were taught.  Here are student photos of my Henhouse Whimsies Rooster.
The next day I taught my Shapes II abstract quilt and its technique.
The most exciting thing to happen was my seeing this surprising creature on a sightseeing journey.
I then headed to Houston to attend Quilt Market.  It was my first market and fun being a buyer for my new quilt shop.  The one advantage to attending Market is the opportunity to view the International Quilt Show without the crowds that would be coming in the next week.  Many beautiful and inspirational quilts were viewed and photos taken.  I include only one quilt here, one that I felt was quite innovative, made with pipe cleaners.
I head home with a full moon in the sky, a perfect ending to a perfect journey.
I will continue to catch you up on happenings in my life in my next blog so stay tuned.

Until next time,

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Handmade Gifts are So Special. . .

I know I'm a quilter and this is a quilting blog but I just had to share this non-quilting gift.
My quilting friend (who also paints) gifted me this whimsically adorable wall hanging for my upcoming birthday.  Being a quilter, I'm so appreciative of  handmade gifts.  Knowing that my friend is a painter and that she is sharing this gift of hers with me makes this present all the more special.
The ribbons and hanger make it all the more heartwarming.  Thank you, Friend.

Until next time,

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Finishes - Tote Begun and Finished. . .

Friday is once again upon me.  My weeks fly by with all the hats I am currently wearing:  quilt shop owner, art quilter, pattern publisher, teacher, pillow maker (my main income source).  Additionally, I leave next week for Texas where I am the key speaker and teacher for a guild.  It is my first national engagement and I am very excited and a bit apprehensive.  Of course, I am no way completely prepared and working hard to get there.  I did, however, take time out to make myself a new tote to take along (my old one was shredding :(  
The pattern is a diaper bag in a Leisure Arts book that was adjusted somewhat to fit my travel needs.  To my credit I began and completed it in one day.  Something I'm generally not great at, especially when it's more garment sewing-like rather than quilting.
 My goal was to showcase this floral fabric made into pockets that has been in my stash for some time.
Here is the interior with a few pockets.  Lots of stripes and plaids for one tote.  I love structured fabrics and don't get the chance to use them as often as I might like.  It's nice to feel accomplished in my finishing of this tote and to look forward to a new item to take on my travels.

Happy Friday,

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Finishes - Satin Stitched Edge Applique. . .

The satin stitching on my Winged Whimsies samples is complete.  The fabrics and colors came together well and the result is colorful and bright.
I'm not sure which panel is my favorite.  The butterfly,
or the ladybug,
or maybe the dragonfly.  I like how they each stand well on their own.  Each bug was stitched with a zigzag stitch set between 3.5 or 4.0 for width and 0.75 for length.  There are a few places where I used a 2.5 for smaller areas where the larger width would overtake the applique fabric.
I wanted to discuss a bit about my technique for making a satin stitched applique.  Each applique piece is backed with fusible interfacing.  Fusible interfacing is generally used in garment making.  The fusible interfacing is a stabilizer for the tight zigzag stitching to keep the pieces lying flat.  I also put a tear-away stabilizer on the backside of the applique panel to stabilize it as seen here.
I DO NOT use fusible web for this technique.  Notice when looking at the completed dragonfly how the lower stitched layers DO NOT show to the top.  Looking on the backside above, you can see the various stitching layers.  If I had used fusible web, each layer of stitching would, in fact, show through.
One additional note about the tear-away stabilizer.  I used Swedish tracing paper for this project.  When done, notice that I made sure to tear most of the paper away (I didn't worry about the tiny pieces).  If you block your projects as I do, either with steam or fully wetting, this tear-away can shrink and wrinkle your project.

Happy Friday,

Monday, October 1, 2012

Satin-Stitching Applique Edges Begins. . .

I began appliqueing the Winged Whimsies panels today.  For this technique of satin-stitching the edges, the stitching begins on the pieces that sit behind/under other pieces.  In this case, the leaves are stitched first.
Due to using a 28 wt. thread for stitching and various layers of fabric, I am using a 80/12 Microtex Sharp needle.  The majority of the stitching is done with a zigzag stitch set at a width of 4.5 and a length of 0.75.  
As the stitching gets closer to the leaf point, I reduce the width in increments from 4.5 to 3.0.  I have mentioned previously that I use the free-motion zigzag often as it's my favorite stitch to do.  I decided to use the traditional zigzag stitch with my feed dogs up for this project to maintain a consistent stitch.  The stitch is as I had expected although stitching is much slower than with a free-motion stitch.  I'll have to practice my free-motion zigzag a bit more to gain the stitch consistency I like for a project like this and yet be able to keep the speed. :)

Until next time,

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Winged Whimsies - Another Applique Project Begun. . .

As long as I was in the mood to do an applique project, I decided to do another shop sample at the same time, Winged Whimsies, another of my patterns.  This also will be a kit.
Here is the dragonfly panel,
and here is the ladybug panel.  There is also a butterfly panel but I seem to have missed taking a photo of it.  I'm stitching tonight so will show some of the results tomorrow.

Until next time,

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Water Whimsies Follow Along Continues. . .

I'm finally getting back to working on my Water Whimsies shop sample.  It feels good to work on an applique project.  I haven't taken the time to do one for some time.
Here is the frog panel,
and the fish panel,
and finally, the water bird panel.  I like where it's going.  It certainly is bright, and pink.  I've liked the border fabric for some time and am happy for the chance to use it here.
All of the panels are put together and ready to be appliqued.  Each of the applique pieces have fusible interfacing on the backside to stabilize them as I satin stitch the pieces in place.
On the backside of each panel, I have placed a tear-away stabilizer.  This will stabilize the background as well.  I like my work to stay flat, no matter how much I stitch.  Stitching will now add the detail and create texture.

Until next time,