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,