Tag Archives: quilting

Thread Art Project Done!

And, she’s done!

I thought there was a gigantic possibility that I was going to mess it all up once I tried to color her in, but I think it went ok.

So, what to do with her. I could cut her out, bind her, and hang her on the wall. Or, I could make her part of a tote bag. Decisions decisions. I have a minute (my clients always refer to time as “like a minute” – how long did you wait for the detective to come in? Lke a minute (2 days). How long were you in the store? Like a minute (a half hour) to think about it because I had to order textile medium to seal the color. So, while I wait for the finishing magic to arrive, I’ll think on it. I’m leaning towards turning her into a decorative pillow – round, with piping. I’ve never made piping, or applied it, so that could be an adventure.

And, for my next project, I’m thinking Frida Kahlo, since my doll was a big fail. I’m thinking that I’ll stitch her, but then, instead of stitching the flowers, I may do some ribbon embroidery -I think that might be pretty cool. We’ll see.  Maybe I’ll do her as a doll.  I have a few minutes to think on it.

In the meantime, here’s a gratiutous pic of Olive – look at that face!!!

Craftsy on Steroids – Binge or Bust

In the beginning of October, Craftsy ran a $10/all you can watch for the month of October promotion.  I didn’t get an email about it, and I didn’t see an ad for it, but someone posted about it in the Crafty Gemini Facebook group, and I ran, tripping to jump on that Craftsy train.  I’m thinking that it wasn’t very highly publicized because it’s some kind of a test or experiment for a subscription model business plan a la Netflix.  And, I would be all over that deal if it was every month.  Because Brave Girls – the ultimate Netflix of art/craft videos – no way, Craftsy – hell yeah!

So, I strapped in for the month of October, got out my knitting needles – because if you’re going to watch crafting, you might was well do crafting – came up with a game plan, and went to watching.  My plan, oddly, was essentially to watch all of the classes I wouldn’t actually pay for.  You’d think I’d start with my wish list – but, my wish list are classes that I’d pretty much agree to pay for as stand alones.  So rather than start there, I went for things I was interested in, but wouldn’t have thought to take. So, I started with knitting.

Never pay for a knitting class?  But you’re a knitter, you say, puzzled.  But, the things is, as far as techniques go, if I need to learn something to start or finish a project, I’m an experienced enough knitter that I can watch a youtube video, and pretty much figure it out.  I certainly don’t need to take any of the beginner knitter classes, or project classes like my first hat or socks or sweaters.  So, I narrowed it down to classes that couldn’t be learned on youtube, design classes.  For a run down of the knitting classes I took, and what I thought of them, pop back in on Wednesday when I chit chat about knitting.

Today, I’m going to focus on the class I took when I had exhausted my knitting options.  After knitting, I moved on to sewing.  I didn’t start with sewing for two reasons – one, I’m not sure what happens to these classes at the end of the month, and two,  when I take sewing or quilting classes, I pretty much do the projects with the instructor and that’s not so good for binge watching.  Here’s what I mean about the uncertainty of these classes – Craftsy classes are normal lifetime access.  The $10 deal was all you can watch in October.  In theory, I could have started the first lesson of every single class on the site, and added them to my library.  And, that surely couldn’t have been what they meant with the $10 deal (of course, if i had read the deal all the way through before I clicked on the Buy button, I’d know the answer to this question – I was just too excited!).  I’m assuming that whatever I “bought” in October is going to expire at the end of the month.  So, for that reason, I’m watching the entire class (unless it’s simply not what I thought it was going to be) all the way through before I start another class.  So, watching a project class all the way through to the end, then watching another one, etc., I may not be able to go back and watch them when I’m actually sewing the project.

So, again, the first class I clicked on was a class that I wasn’t sure I’d actually end up making a project, something I had an interest in because it’s interesting, and something I probably wouldn’t have even thought to buy – Thread Art with Lola Jenkins.

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Can  I just say this – SO  MUCH   FUN!  First, Lola is a character, and she’s really very encouraging with her repeated emphasis on there being no mistakes.  She starts off the class with a brief introduction of herself, in which she shares that after suffering through some of her own health problems, she then lost her husband.  To cope, she bought a sewing machine, and taught herself how to make her own brand of thread art.  See, here’s the way I like how art and healing can be incorporated in an online medium – her art saved her – she shared that with us, and then taught us her techniques.  That’s it.  No faux unlicensed therapy, no you are enough, no martyrdom – just get to work, and maybe you’ll feel better like me.  Or maybe you’ll just make something you love.

Once the life advice was dispensed, Lola moved on to teaching her seven step process to creating thread art pieces.  She made it look so easy, that at the end of the class, I stopped watching Craftsy, and started actually crafting.  In the class, Lola works through The Girl with the Pearl Earring.  Someone in the forum posted a Modigliani, and asked what Lola thought, and she said, perfect.  So, since I’m more inspired by Modigliani, I went with that –

Unfortunately, I don’t have any light, semi-solids in my stash.  I either have solids, or patterns, not so much with the batiks or the motled solids.  But, I did find this fat quarter in one of my mystery boxes, and while yellow isn’t my favorite color, I think it’s ok for this project.  There are some mistakes – oh well, it makes it less Modigliani, and a little more me. That’s ok. After stitching out the girl in the hat, it was time to fill in the background.

For the border, I went with one of three background fillers that are discussed in the class, the Lola’s wiggle – basically, hatching with wiggles. Perfect for those of us who don’t sew so straight.

Then, for the background, I went with my own version of pebbles – meaning, I did my best, but it’s a little messy. But, I still think it looks ok.  Tonight, during the Eagles/Giants game, I’ll move on to the next step – adding colored pencil.

Anyone looking to take this class to learn free motion quilting, you’ll get the flavor of it, but it’s not a full blown class on free motion stitching – she really doesn’t talk about how to set up your machine for free motion work, or how to move your fabric, or how to keep your stitches even, and that’s ok.  She’s self-taught, and free motion is one of those things you really learn by practicing.  I did binge watch one of Leah Day’s free motion classes – and of course, she’s an excellent source for free motion technique.  So, I’m not sure how I would have done with this stitching had I not watched Leah’s class first, but I still think that Lola makes everything look so easy, that anyone could get started.  And, as you can see from the number of projects posted on the class platform, a lot of people were inspired to try what was  probably a new medium for them.

So, I highly recommend this class !  Even if my project doesn’t work out so good in the end, I enjoyed watching Lola create, and I had fun making my own thread art – at least up to this point.  We’ll see how coloring and football goes tonight!

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Call Me Crazy Quilter

As you may remember, I’ve been working on this Rebecca Rinquist sampler:
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Pretty, right? The buttonhole stitch is finally sticking!

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And, I’ve added the chain stitch, and the detached chain stitch/lazy daisy to my repetoire.

Great!

Now what?

Well, I am always a sucker for a sale, so when Crafty’s put all of it’s classes on sale last week (and it’s still going on – I’m not a Craftsy affiliate, just a fan – and the sale goes through midnight tonight), I decided to check this one out –

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This class seems like it would be a crazy choice for me.  Crazy quilts are not my aesthetic at all.  While I do love all things vintagey in theory, that love translates practically into modern design with a dash of nostalgia.  For instance, I have no problem pairing the modern furniture in my living room with antique picture frames, nostalgic memorablia, and retro cameras.  But, I’m not a lacey, beady, ribbony kind of girl.

On the other hand, what doesn’t quite fit with my aesthetic, completely runs paralell to what I’m doing craftwise.  I love quilting, and especially foundation pieicing, and I’m really enjoing my hand sewing/embroidery.  Crazy quilting combines these things, along with other textiles I’ve used in the past – like beads and charm embelishments, and the process of creating, designing and stitching a crazy quilt appeals to me.

So that begs the question – is it worthwhile to pursue something that appeals to my process side, but not at all to my product side?  For me, the answer is yes, for once I master the process, I can turn it into my own product.  While for now, I am making a wall hanging (or maybe a pillow) as a I follow along with the class, I have ideas about making journal covers – and I think this crazy quilt look will work for me in that medium.  Who wouldn’t want  a beautifully quilted and embelished journal cover – a pretty place to store memories, thoughts and dreams?  Hopefully, everyone will want one  -because if this works out, everyone’s getting them for the holidays!

In any event, I started the class, and I was really inspired.  Again, by the process.  I’m not all that inspired to have a crazy quilt on my wall, but eh, maybe it’ll be a gift.  I have taken many many Craftsy classes – yes, I am a craft class addict.  Some are better than others.   This class, with Allie Allers, has to be one of the best.  Much like Sarah Fielke’s class, Big Tehcniques from Small Scraps, which is also awesome and also covers a gazillion skills related to applique, this class covers so many techniques and skills it will make your head spin.  Not only does Allie cover four different techniques for piecing a crazy block,  she also teaches I think fourteen basic embroidery stitches, and how to combine them.  And, just when I thought class was over, she moved into beaded embroidery, and then ribbon embroidery.  Done?  Not yet, there’s still a whole lesson in finishing and displaying your quilt.  Piecing, embroidery, beaded embroidery, ribbon embroidery and finishing, all in one class.  I have to say, by the end of the class, I was exhausted.  And, then, I watched it again.  I took advantage of Crafty’s 30 second repeat button, and stitched along with Allie – not only while I pieced my blocks, but while I learned the embroidery stitches.  And, today at lunch, I’m going to pick up some beading supplies, so I can rewatch those sections, and stitch along with her.

And speaking of picking up supplies, since crazy quilting has never been on my radar before, all I had in my fabric stash was quilting cotton.  Well, I had to do something about that.  I found this store on Etsy, AnnDanCes and bought her listing for Fancy Scraps.    Buying fabric like this is a crapshoot.  Generally, the photo is generic – a representation of what you’re going to get.  So, you just have to cross your fingers, read some reviews of the seller, and hope for the best.  And, my – was I pleased!  The shipping was super fast – I ordered the box on Wednesday, and it arrived, from Texas, on Saturday.  And, when I opened it, I was literally gleeful – I think I even clapped my hands and exclaimed – goody!

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I dumped the box out on my table, and sorted the fancy scraps into color piles. Not a crazy quilt thing to do, I guess, but a Wendy thing to do, and I made the first two blocks from the class.

This one is flip and sew foundation piecing:

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And this one is the same method, but the pieces are curved –

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Very proud of myself!!

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And these two blocks are perfect examples of how jam packed this class is – I learned how to flip and sew (which unlike paper piecing, involves tracing your pattern onto muslin, and using the diagram as a guide, rather than sewing on the backside of paper), stablizing these fancy fabrics, how to care for these fabrics so you don’t crush them, and curved piecing. If I had just stopped at these two blocks, I would have gotten my $19.99 worth. But, the next two blocks take things even further. The third block is freezer paper applique, and the last block is improvisational piecing. I’m telling you, each block could be a stand alone class.

Anyway, after piecing my two blocks, I did have to try some stitching. I set up a sampler, and practiced some stitches – herringbone, stem stitch, chain stitch, lazy daisy flowers, and using a no fear attitude, I started stitching on the first block:

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And the totally fun thing about crazy quilting – I really have no idea what I’m going to do next.  Each block is unique.  If there are any crazy quilting “rules,” I don’t know what they are – so the only thing limiting me is how fast I can learn my stitches.   And, to help with that, and for additional inspiration,  Allie Aller’s book, Crazy Quilting, is included as a free download with the class.  Crazy right!  The hardback version of the book on Amazon is more than the class itself – bargain!!!

So, if you have any interest in this fun project, check out the class – you’ll definitely get your money’s worth, no question.  And, I’ll be back later in the week with how my blocks are progressing.

You may have noticed there is no Knitting on the Porch today.  I took the weekend off for Mother’s Day, so I’ll be back with a video blog next Monday.

Hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day!

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Blogger’s Quilt Festival

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Twice a year, Amy at Amy’s Creative Side, hosts a Blogger’s Quilt Festival.  The first time I participated, there weren’t categories – you could just link up your quilt, and on your post, tell your quilt’s story.  Now, there are categories, and voting, and unfortunately, there’s no category called, Beginner’s Disaster.  So, while my quilt certainly isn’t in league with 99% of the quilts entered, I’m participating anyway, because the quilt blogging community is awesome.  I don’t think I’ve ever gone to a quilt blog that didn’t ooze with enthusiasm.  And, quilter’s are so eager to share their enthusiasm – so many online quilting bees, swaps, and tutorials – every blog has a tutorial tab.  It’s awesome.  And, hopefully, as my skill improves, I’ll be able to share the things I’ve learned too.  Right now, all I could share is mastering the seam ripper.
So, without further adieu, my finished Piano Keys Quilt –
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I never photographed the quilt, hanging up, in it’s full glory. And, since I gifted it, I can’t do it now. Oh well.

I started this quilt back in 2011. Knitty D and I picked the same pattern, but she, smart girl, picked the smaller size, and she, after basting, did what she knew – straight line quilting. Me, nah. I had one baby quilt under my belt at this point, and I was ready for free motion quilting. Not that I knew how to drop my feed dogs. Not that I knew how to get the darning foot on the machine. Not that I had any quilting gloves. Nevermind all that, I figured – I was just going to go for it, and figure it out as I went along.

So, I went to Knitty D’s and we had a basting party.

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Looks good, doesn’t it? But, the disaster, like a virus, had already taken hold. I decided to spray baste, and I didn’t use very many pins.

Mistake.

When I took it home to quilt, I watched my youtube videos about setting up my machine for free motion quilting. I said to myself, got it, easy peasy.

Wrong.

So wrong.

It was really hard – I was pushing, and pulling the quilt through the machine. It was like a prize fight. And then, I took a look at the back of the quilt. Horrors! The spray baste had come apart, and the quilt had folded back on itself. I had sewn so many overlapping circles and twists and things that were supposed to be stippling, there was no way I was ever going to be able to rip it out. Well, at least that’s what I thought at the time. Thinking back now, I probably could have, with a little patience. But, patience is not one of my strong points. So, I decided to just cut the border off.

And, in a scissor frenzy, my Piano Keys border was gone, and I was just left with a center with a raggedy edge.

I was depressed. I put it away.

For two years.

And then finally, I pulled it out again. I straightened up the edge, and just decided to finish it.

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Luckily, the return of my Piano Keys mojo corresponded with my mom’s birthday. I would have preferred to give her something closer to perfect, but I did work hard on it, even if my efforts were often counterproductive. And, the fabric, in another happy coincidence, was in her colors.  So, I finished it up, bound it, and wrapped it.

And her she is, totally stunned at my talent!

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She really was pleased as punch. And, she didn’t care it didn’t have a border. Nor did she care that the back of the quilt showed all of my boo boos, where the bobbin got jammed up, or my tension was screwed up, or I quilted in the same place 100 times and made a big brown blob.

She just loved it because it was from me. And I made it.

And that’s what quilting with love is all about, right?

Thanks for stopping by!

Country Mouse v. City Mouse

So, in my last post, I pointed out the obvious – I had once again failed to complete a 30 day project. I failed at 30 days of Faces, 30 days of index cards, 30 days of lists, 30 days of whatever. I did succeed at 30 days of not blogging. Frankly, 2 weeks into the listing thing, and I just thought it was stupid. The truth is, I’d rather be doing the things on my list rather than making the list. And so, for the past month of failing at blogging, I’ve been crafting up a storm – sewing, quilting, knitting, keeping up with Project Life – all of these things are a success – so I’m not too upset I failed at listing the projects before I started the projects.

Most of my projects start with a google search – I’m interested in x, I follow a link, then follow another link, and then all of a sudden, I end up interested in Y – a place I never expected to be in the first place. For instance, I was interested in making an Amy Butler Weekender Bag. I read many a blog that convinced me that the Weekender is not only above my pay grade skill wise, but above my pay grade pay wise – that darn thing is super expensive to make. So, I started looking for simpler, cheaper alternatives. That lead me to Sew Sweetness, and her Purse Palooza. But not only does Sew Sweetness host the Purse Palooza, she hosts the City Sampler Sew-Along. What is this? I thought, and started clicking through those links. I ended up buying the Tula Pink City Sampler  book, and I’ve got it in my queue of things to start. And, while I was looking at blogs who were doing the City Sampler QAL, low and behold, these same blogs had quilted along to the Farmer’s Wife Quilt-a-long.

I then started looking at Farmer’s Wife Quilts, the Flickr group, and eventually the Yahoo group. I bought the Farmer’s Wife Quilt Book a few years ago when I was taking my quilting class at the now defunct Spool, and I was thinking about jumping on the Farmer’s Wife QAL bandwagon.  I was fascinated by all of the little blocks, and how they came together like a puzzle. But, then I read the book – and I was just appalled. In 1922, Farmer’s Wife Magazine asked their readers if they had a daughter, would they want their daughter to marry a farmer. The answers inspired blocks, the blocks make up the quilt. Ok, I know it’s 1922, but the answers were so myopic, and the limited nature of the dreams they had for their daughters was disheartening. By 1920, I had hoped that the famer’s wife wouldn’t still want to keep her down on the farm, not after she’d seen Paris – but the truth is, that’s just a song, and they hadn’t seen Paris, and the only world was the farm, and the people they knew – which to me was so exclusionary – certainly not welcoming or openminded to people of color or, like me, who was reading the book, of a different religion. So, the text of the book turned me off, and also, this is probably just me, but some of the blocks look like swatikas. Now, I know that the symbol itself has ancient origins, and was traditionally viewed as a symbol of good luck. I’m not faulting anyone, or judging anyone for it being in a quilt, or a fair isle design, or anything – it’s been a crafting motif forever.  But to me, I just don’t want to look at it. And, if a block resembles one, I don’t want it in my quilt. And the blocks in this book, they’re not swastikas, they just resemble them, and that’s the first thing I see when I look at them.  That’s just me – not anyone else who’s made this quilt – just the way this symbol imprints on my brain, and that’s it.  No judgments – just not for me.

So, why am I back to the Farmer’s Wife? Again, it’s the blocks . . . and, as I followed links, and looked at blocks – it’s the paper piecing, or foundation piecing – when you sew your fabric onto the back of a pattern (the paper, the foundation), and eventually remove the paper to reveal a perfectly pieced block, with perfect points and seams. Voila!  It’s awesome.  It may just be my most favorite quilting technique I’ve learned in my internetting journey.  And the best thing – no cutting!  You can just use your scraps – as long as the scrap is big enough to cover the block in the template, plus a quarter inch seam.

So, do I want to make an entire Farmer’s Wife Quilt? Maybe, I don’t know. I love the blocks, but I still have a hard time reconciling the theme. On the other hand, I do feel kinder towards the Farmer’s Wife than when I bought the book several years ago. It was 1922 after all, and it is a slice of Americana history. And, I feel there’s balance – because I definitely want to make a City Sampler, and it’s nice to work from both ends – traditional v. modern, farm v. city. I like that dichotomy.

Boy, I really am over thinking all of this, aren’t I?

Again, maybe – if quilts are about storytelling, my story is not down on the farm. But, recognizing that, I guess, is part of the story. And, I am grateful for the food that’s on my table every night, and certainly, in this economy, the farmer’s plight couldn’t be more relevant.

Enough babbling – let’s look at what I’ve done – because if nothing else, the Farmer’s Wife Quilt is excellent practice – and I don’t have enough fabric, even scraps, to make it at this point.

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What’s that owl doing in there! I’ll get to that in a sec.

The three traditional blocks are from the Farmer’s Wife – the Attic Window (Block 1), Autumn Tints (Block 2), and the Bat’s Wing (Block 5). You may ask what happened to Blocks 3 and 4. 3 is Joannie’s basket, and requires some applique – one technique at a time – I’ll pick that up later if I end up doing a whole quilt.  Block 4 was one of the windmilly ones that looks like a swastika, so I skipped it. And block 4 is totally NOT a swastika – again, it just reminds me of one – it’s just a basketweave. Block 4 is probably one of the ones I could get over, and throw it in – but since I was just practicing I moved on to 5, I liked it better anyway.

Now, what about that owl.  Well, of course I went looking for paper piecing tutorials.  And, the best one I found was on Bubblestitch Quilting’s blog , although the tutorial is by Connecting Threads.  Anyway, while on her site, I found my way to her craftsy patterns, fell in love with the Owl, and with three Farmer’s Wife blocks under my belt, I felt confident enough to go for it (even though my Autumn Tints block is a wreck – that’s certainly nothing more than a practice piece):

 

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How cute is this owl! Now, you can see from my photo, I screwed up a little – I didn’t realize the pattern already had a quarter inch seam allowance built into it, and when I cut my head out, I added one – oopsy – but I don’t realy care – I’ll make another one. I don’t think I’m going to do a whole quilt or wall hanging with them – I think I’m just going to add a 2.5 inch strips around the block, and stick it in an embroidery hoop to hang on the wall.

And what about my City Sampler? I have the fabric – Denysce Schmidt’s Florence, with a stack of solids, put together by Pink Chalk Fabrics.

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But, as much as I’d like to start working on it – I started a quilt for my niece for Hanukkah – and since Hanukkah is just about a month away, it’s the priority sew at the moment.  I had a really hard time picking fabric because I wanted something easy peasy, so I wanted a precut – because cutting is the biggest struggle for me.  She requested hot pink, lavender, and zebra print.  Sheesh.  So, I found Summersville Spring (I linked to Red Pepper Quilts instead of a store because she has the fabrics all laid out) which has a print that sort of resembles an animal print at least and has the requisite colors.  I’m making Jenny Doan’s Alternate Square layer cake quilt (from her Craftsy class, Quilting Quickly 1) – one layer cake is cut into four patches, the other, half square triangles, and then the blocks alternate – the diagrams are on the back of the Moda fabric label when you get your layer cake.

 

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But, once that’s done, and I can’t imagine its going to take too long – I’ll be off to the City. Or maybe the Farm. Or maybe a different farm, Jane’s Farm – I found the Dear Jane quilt on my linky travels, too.

But that would just be too crazy.

Right.

Anyway, I’m linking up with Freshly Pieced, which I also found in my linky travels. 

 WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

 

And if you’ve stopped by from WIP Wednesday, thanks so much for popping in!