Design-in-Progress: Applique Pattern

This pattern, Eggbert, came to me while I waited for students to filter in for conferences. Thirty seconds downtime doesn’t allow much room for my critical brain to inhibit the creative part and suddenly I had eggs drawn on the paper.

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This isn’t surprising. As a child I was prone to carrying an egg around. I love eggs. They have such strength and weight. They move internally. They are food. They are life. They come in many colors. They can be dyed and covered in hot wax, or hollowed, stuffed with confetti, and pasted over again for a spring burst.

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I thought this would be a great time to share the applique preview. After transferring the refined version over to paper, and then to wax paper, I started to think about fabric. I hunted around in the stash and, of course, found some of my favorite grey background fabric! Batiks are a great choice here, because the fabric is nicely woven and the patterns create playful movement. The final design isn’t completely ready to be revealed, but will be available on PDF soon!

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Eggbert is a great shape for those just beginning to applique and want to practice. I love these little eggs and I look forward to sharing the finished products soon.

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On Its Way: Applique

All scraps are being reused and the stash consists of the small, long, thin bits of fabric. Since I buy all the fabric the scraps all came together pretty well; purples, blues, orange, grey, greens, and pinks merged together in both of these pieces. Many things are on my mind when I work with color: eye-interest, ease of this interest, viewing the piece as fresh, and feeling like it presents something new to look at each time are important. Beautiful and interesting aren’t always the same, but I like to explore the space where two meet in a complicated way. Here is where endless possibilities of fabric keep me awake all night!

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Pattern: Set Fifteen

Aren’t borders lovely? These are my first couple of attempts at attaching borders, but the effect is incredible. The pieces instantly possess weight and feel grounded. Even though I ran out of green for Arcs the grey presented itself as a natural compliment. I doubled the size of the recommended borders for Lori Smith’s project. I like the finish, and am looking forward to quilting these pieces.

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Pattern: Arcs

The new sewing machine is on order and I am looking forward to hearing from the dealer. Thank you, Janome, for your sale in March.

T-Shirt Top with Applique

Two summers ago I took Alabama Chanin’s Studio Week. It was an amazing experience and helped me understand a lot about garment construction and the make up of fabric and a pattern. I’ve made a dress, circle skirt, and a pin cushion since that time. Ideally my entire wardrobe would be handmade Albama Chanin, and I’m working on that! Whenever I wear the baby-doll dress people stop to ask about it and are shocked to learn that I made it.

At the workshop I also cut out a long-sleeved t-shirt top in a dark blue cotton jersey. Like all items cut and set aside I planned on finishing this top a long time ago, but now I am grateful for the time. I hadn’t learned how to applique yet, and I really wanted to applique a panel of this top.

The other week I caught the flu like many others and was laid out in bed. Luckily this shirt was all handwork! I used blanket and straight stitches. The fabric is Alabama Chanin’s cotton. IMG_5417.jpgIMG_5399.jpgIMG_5409.jpg

The shirt is incredibly soft and form fitting. I love the sense of accomplishment I have each time I make a garment, especially a hand sewn one! Have you made any of Alabama Chanin’s garments?

 

Tiny Cards & Applique Arcs

Valentine’s Day is fun. This is a sweet time of year, and I love to send out cards. For previous Valentine’s Days I’ve sent out postcards, embroidered hearts, glitter cards (and those turned in to glitter bombs after being processed through the mail!), and now these old school grade school valentines I found about a year and a half ago when helping a relative move.

These sweet animal cards were perfect. Time has been a bit crunched the past two weeks, but I still wanted to send out cards.

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The other evening I sat down with some Winsor & Newton Designer Gouache in Gold and set to drawing. It’s been about eight months since I used a calligraphy pen and nib, so there were some rusty moments and valentines were limited, but I was able to ease up on the amount of pressure my fingers wanted to apply to the pen and the cards turned out cute. The sun came out just as I was taking pictures, and the gold really sparkles.

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How and why colors coming together are constantly on my mind. I want to tell a story with each piece I make, and it should not be a story that leaves one wondering why it was created. The story should be steady enough to enter and fresh enough to the eye each time that one keeps returning; I’m thinking a lot about it! After trying many other combinations, these two were my final contenders.

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Chain-piecing was one of my favorite skills I learned in beginner quilting. The product makes me want to hang garlands all around the house.

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A new sewing machine is close to being a part of my life, but I still love my little Janome. It is doing a great job sewing up those seams!

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I decided to nestle the clouds between the solid purple and blue Arcs to give this more of a sunrise feeling. Catching the sunrise everyday is one of the most amazing times of the day, and the sun pushes the pinks, purples, and dark reds against the blue sky. With this much print, I felt it was important to create a balance within the already chosen colors, and then find the most cohesive union between these rows. I’ve been contemplating a border the entire week and have yet to settle on any one idea.

Any tips on how you decide on borders?

Happy Valentine’s Day! What are you doing to mark the day?

Applique Today

This is my first time using one of Lori Smith’s applique patterns. The directions are simple and well numbered. I was introduced to her work through the applique class I’m taking at the LQS. It is a great pattern to learn many of the skills needed in applique…as I’m finding out! IMG_5265.jpg

The pattern encourages scrap usage and to date I haven’t used any new fabric. We used bias bars to make the stems and these helped make the stems bendy, easier to apply on. Glue was recommended to keep the stems in place, but since I am on the go and recently learned the joys of basting, I decided to baste the stems on. I’m saving most of my pennies, and glue feels like something I could run to pick up if I was screaming for it, but am glad not to buy right now!

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To make circles close to perfect (mine aren’t perfect!) we utilized Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Circles. The O-ring to hold all the circles is included, and I love that! Not only are my circles better than anticipated, but each one looks like a sweet little flower while awaiting application.

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I worked on Carolyn Friedlander’s Arcs all week. What I appreciate about this pattern is how dynamic the arcs are despite being a simple shape. I learned a lot about tucking under and securing corners.

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This is all scrap fabric I had from other projects. The raspberry fabric in the middle row almost had me cutting out new arcs, but I decided to roll with it. This project still has a lot more to be added, and the colors can be balanced. Thread color is going to be crucial.

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Other exciting things have been going on here too. I’ve been drawing a lot and am thinking about ordering some supplies to make printed fabric by hand. Any tips? Has any one worked on making fabric?

What are you working on?

Applique Away

After a week of figuring out some technology–hello, YouTube!–the computer is free for roaming. The snow has been beautiful. Everything is quiet and the cars move slowly along. The sunrise colors are delicate here. IMG_5120.jpg

Post Card Party Swap is a fantastic way to share small quilted pieces with other knitters and totally hits all my favorite categories: mail, pen-pals, quilting, and applique. The LQS offers classes with postcard ideas and this was a class I joined that used wool. It was my first time doing wool applique, and I love how textured and sturdy wool is to work with. When the snow began to fall, I decided to hand quilt circles as the background, enjoying it so much I worked on it until I finished.  Hand-stitching is calming, centering, and adds a beautiful finish to this little postcard!

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Practice makes for more experience and so out came the scrap bag and the rotary cutter, and I cut out six more hearts to applique. The squares are sevens inches by seven inches and the heart is a basic template. Since I’ll always have scraps about this size I plan on collecting at least one heart from each piece of fabric from here on out. When there are enough of appliqued I will make a quilt. Right now eleven appliqued hearts exist. IMG_5161.jpgIMG_5170.jpgIMG_5173.jpg

Savor Each Stitch arrived and it is a wonderfully written book with clear explanations. The first project is cut and ready to be basted. Basting, I’ve just learned after pinning ten hearts, is much easier to work with when doing needle-turn applique. What I particularly liked about basting is how smoothly the round edges turned under. It was a revelation to me, because the pinning seemed to cause distortion overall, but the basting kept all in place! Looking forward to moving ahead with this project. IMG_5154.jpg

Everyone is posting such lovely work! Thanks for stopping by and checking out the blog.

 

 

Appliqué Thursday

I’m in Appliqué class, it’s my first time trying it & I’m smitten! Appliqué, as I’ve just learned, has a great blend of preparation & ease of carrying. There’re lots of ideas coming to my mind (lion, fish, stars, mermaids), because I can appliqué anything I can draw! Doodling is great for releasing my mind & allowing new ideas to form without interruption, so now the doodles have a new home.

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At first I found the stitching & using my needle a little awkward. After the second heart, I was totally engrossed in the process of tucking in the fabric & not pulling too tight. What I enjoy about hand stitching is that it will never be perfect (for me), but there is a consistent rhythm that develops & I love that feeling.

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I admire many people working with appliqué & ordered Savor Each Stitch by Carolyn Friedlander (her work inspired me to start sewing regularly again).

Whose work do you like? What are you appliquéing on this snowy day? IMG_4986