Arcs + Free Motion Quilting

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The Free-Motion quilting bug caught me! Carolyn Friedlander’s awesome pattern Arcs  waited patiently to be quilted and with the new Janome now here I was more than happy to start quilting. The sun came out strong yesterday, perfect to sit down and sew by.

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Speed and stitch length are two of the things I am thinking about while quilting. It takes strong hands and arms to move the layers quickly under the needle. Sometimes I have a gap, but others I don’t move enough and the stitches are tiny. I am staying present! If my mind wands the needle wiggles! Quilting gloves may be helpful in this department by making sure for a more steady grip. Have you tried quilting gloves?

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The design translated prettily from the front to the back. My husband said it looks like an ancient calendar, and it certainly does! The scale was an easy and the most fun shape for me to make, with a swoop-away-and-back towards me. The thread is gold Aurifil, and didn’t break at all. For the background fabric I used Sarah Watts’ Honeymoon. Earlier I mentioned the front of the piece felt like a sunrise to me and this background fabric felt like night and how light time feels around those hours.

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The trees are blooming. Awhile ago I noticed this tree was shaped like a heart from growing around the powerlines and thought it would be magnificent in Spring. Here it is! The blooms aren’t in entirely, but this is a sneak peak.

What is blooming near you? Have a great weekend!

 

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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 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

 

Greeting Card Tutorial: Upcycling Scraps & Notecards

I needed a card yesterday. The store’s cards were okay & nice, but lacked a personal touch. After assessing materials in house, I decided to use 5″ x 7″ lined notecards & scraps from the just finished half-squre triangle quilt to make a greeting card.

Materials: 

  • Scissors
  • Hand-sewing needle
  • Thread
  • Pins
  • 5″ x 7″ Lined Notecard
  • Fabric scraps
  • Sewing Machine
  • Imagination!

 

Step One: Grab fabric scraps & see what ideas come to mind. What shapes do you like? Cut those shapes out of the fabric!

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Step Two: Pin shapes on a piece of fabric & thread a hand-sewing needle. IMG_4812.jpgIMG_4813.jpg

Step Three: Sew the shape on to the fabric. I used a straight stitch here. IMG_4817IMG_4819

Step Four: Place fabric on the notecard & decide how the card should be folded. I creased the card hamburger style. IMG_4823.jpg

Step Five: Adjust stitch length & sew fabric on to the card. IMG_4827IMG_4826

Step Six: Enjoy & make more! IMG_4838.jpgIMG_4839.jpg

Thanks for reading & hope you enjoy making some cards!