Camp……………..

Blue Lake is an absolutely beautiful campus. So peaceful and serene–before 1000 kids are here!

This is my view from the Fiber Art Studio back porch….

Which I am more in love with every year. And today they cleared off a few more scrub trees and more of that is planned for the fall! Beautiful.

Some of the kids have the first part of their project ready to use.

And you know that I love to dye fabric………..

Tomorrow, real sewing and embroidery. It’s hard when you are a beginner, but these kids are troopers! They will get it!

 

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Creating fabric with…magic!

At least it seems magical to me to use water-soluble stabilizer for the creation of new and unique fabric. I gave a quick demo about it at quilt guild and was asked to write a blog with a few more details, so I’m gathering together a few of the blogs I’ve written about it. I’ll post this here and on the guild blog as well.

There are quite a few methods and variables, but the basics are simple…

lay down a base of stabilizer–I have used Solvy brand, in a heavy weight and a lighter weight and had success with both.

add threads, fabric bits, yarns, etc. over it

cover with another layer of stabilizer

pin, pin, pin and stitch over the top to hold it all together

aaaaand stitch, stitch, stitch

keep stitching….

wash away the stabilizer and use the fabric you have made!!!

Variations are infinite and I’ve gone into more detail on several projects on which I have worked. Here and here.

I had a great time making these large, funky flowers, using a flat background with a fusible interfacing base. The links to those how-to’s start with this one and continue here .

There are more variations and instructions while I was working on this project also.

I don’t have everything all neatly gathered in one place, since I don’t write blogs with the idea of a specific technique tutorial. I jump from project to project and write about what I’m doing as I’m doing it! The links posted here should give you a good idea of how this magic water soluble works. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I’m happy to share anything I’ve learned while playing this way.

Spinning around

Working on a little of this, a little of that.

My Wacky Quilters group met this week and we tried pulled string painting, on paper and on fabric. This will not be my technique of choice!

My first try, on paper, was about as expected…too much paint and kinda sloppy looking.

Until you get a feel for it, you can’t think it’s going to come out perfectly, but we helped each other sort things out.

I tried multiple pulls and multiple colors on top of some thick black and that wasn’t much better.

I went on to trying it on fabric. Several attempts…

This is not something that I like well enough to follow on the learning curve. I’m not going to devote any more time to it. But if something came up that I thought could benefit from this type of figure, I wouldn’t be afraid to play with it some more.

My luck is much better when I’m working with needle and thread! I always have some scraps and my embroidery threads in a corner of the living room and I stitch while we are ‘watching’ tv. I refreshed my pile of scraps the other day and decided that I would explore gingko leaves a bit again.

Little 8.5″ pieces, playing with color. Not sure that they will be finished in a hurry–or ever, actually. They are a great size to work up quickly and I believe they will lend themselves to some ‘what if’ experimenting with beads and/or paint. I thought I wanted the background to be seen through the stitching, but now…maybe not so much! I’ll probably stitch up a few more before I play any ‘what if’ games though. Very relaxing to simply sit and stitch and let life flow around me.

And look what I found! Brass stencils, like I used to use in one of my first jobs! Found enough letters to spell out

Gonna be some kind of wall art for my studio, not used as stencils. It just makes me smile!

Family dinner coming up to celebrate all our June birthdays and Hallmark Holidays. Looking forward to time spent with my loves…

Always something new

It doesn’t matter how often I work on finishing a project in a particular way, there is always something new to try.

I like to mount my small pieces on canvas and I most often simply glue the piece to the painted canvas. Couldn’t be easier. Sometimes I mount the piece on a background piece of fabric and stretch it around the canvas. That’s what I decided to do on the small piece I was working on.

And then I decided to try something new. I had read that some people use a fusible web to attach their pieces to the canvas, so I thought I’d try it. I ironed a line of fusible to the back of the canvas, right on the wood. One example I saw used fusible on the sides of the canvas as well, but I decided to start with this little strip and see how it went.

The rest of the process is usually to pull the fabric to the back and staple it down. The difference here is that I could pull the fabric to the back and iron it in place! I finished the corners with staples and I think I could leave it like this.

However, my motto is never trust the glue, so I’ll add the staples around the sides, too. This made the process much easier and faster though, so I think I’ll be using the fusible again.

Here’s how the piece ended up, with a close up of the beads.

On another project, I also used up every scrap I could to piece the back of the hockey quilt. This little scrap is all that is left of the darker blue hockey fabric.

The other chunk of lighter fabric that I had, I simply centered it for the back and built around it.

It’s ready to be quilted, but the urgency to get it done has abated now that I’ve actually used up that hockey fabric. As long as I get it done by the time hockey starts in the fall, I’ll be satisfied. Oh, and AJ was quite surprised. He said, “You never told me anything about a hockey quilt. Cool.”

I think I have to give up sewing for a day, though, and take care of some necessary chores in the yard and in the house. Boooooring, but must be done!

Wonder what will jump out at me for the next project…hmmmm!

Slow going.

Self discipline–I don’t have much of it. I was using up the stash, sticking to the idea that what went up on the design wall stayed there until a quilt was born. That just did not work with this batch of fabric.

It was a set that I picked up at a sample event and the featured fabric was the circle that was supposed to look like sun rays or a mariner’s compass. I have tried to make something of it before, as you can see, but didn’t get too far. I posted about this on FB and IG and someone commented on the “eyeball” fabric. Now that’s all I can see when I look at the group. And now that I think about it, why was I so insistent on keeping the group together, just because it came together in the same line? I’ve never done that much before–why start now? So this pile is folded up and back on the shelf until another time.

Time for FUN! Played a bit more with the new curves ruler. I was afraid that there was so much waste fabric that I couldn’t justify using it rather than a template.

There were instructions for cutting two concave pieces from a single square, along with a video and that helped a lot. This is the amount of waste, with two concave pieces from each square.

And the speed of cutting them quickly and precisely makes it worth while. The waste pieces are going to be headed for a new project, which I am starting to envision already!

So I got a few blocks put together and started throwing them up on the design wall. Very intense colors and not much value contrast, only color contrast. But I LOVE these fabrics and this is just how it’s gonna be!

After hoarding this line of fabric for years and not finding a pattern that I wanted to use, I previously used up a bunch of the blue. Of course now I’m going to be short on the blue to make this the size I’d like. BUT I’m using up the stash and however big it turns out to be is going to be the perfect size! Any extra fabric from this line will be on the back. Then this fabric that I have hoarded for years will be used, off the shelf and it will make me very happy!!

 

New games

As I said before, this week is shaping up to be very busy and sewing time is at a premium. I’m playing when I can and I have a new toy!

I succumbed to the allure of a new specialty ruler, the Classic Curves ruler by Sharon Mc Connell of Color Girl Quilts. I’ve been wanting to play with the Drunkard’s Path pattern again for a while, but wasn’t sure if I wanted traditional or improv. This decided it for me, along with the other possibilities she shows with the ruler. So, here’s my first try using it.

I’m also using some Sherrill Kahn fabrics that I have savored hoarded for years. I didn’t realize how much of that fabric I had until I grabbed it all off the shelf and unfolded it! Sheesh–yardage! I haven’t bought yardage in years…I’m a fat quarter buyer! This may end up as a very large quilt.

Hmmm….lots of waste fabric with the first few blocks. Each concave cut made from a single square leaves enough waste for a smaller convex piece.

That’s fine if you are planning on making two quilts and you want to buy twice as much fabric as needed! I hate waste and know that I will not make an entire quilt this way. On the instruction sheet is an alternate method of cutting the concave parts with less waste and I haven’t had time to try it yet. If I’m not happy with that, I will consider cutting this half of the pattern using a template. We shall see, when I have a bit more play time!

I also put together some basic step-outs for making a hanging sleeve. I have to do a demo for anyone at our next guild meeting who is unsure of how to do it. I thought it was a totally basic skill until I realized that many, many people never hang a quilt on a wall. They make them for beds, believe it or not!

I used a hunk of some of my oldest–should I say vintage?–fabric and every time a bit of that is gone, I smile! Happy to de-stash in any way I can!

Working out the method

Teaching anything involves a lot of planning…at least it does for me. And it’s waaaay different planning for unskilled middle school kids than for adult quilters! I know what I want to teach them and now I’m working on how to get it across to them.

I know from experience that some of them have never even held a needle and some are already garment sewing, so I have to deliver the basics while keeping the others from total boredom. I think the idea of ‘teaching assistants’ may work just fine.

This is how I think we’ll assemble the little pieces–after a bit of design time and the lesson about threading and using that needle!

Actually, the first picture is probably NOT how we’ll do it, but I’ll give them the option.

These pieces are glue basted down. It avoids getting stuck with pins but for kids, the glue can get globby and maybe not so secure. They will have the option but not the recommendation. However, this will also be an example that pieces in a series can be different sizes.

So here’s what I will recommend. A piece of batting (or other support fabric), larger than the finished piece will be. Then trace out the area of the finished piece so they know how much area to cover.

And remember that the marking goes on the back, so they can see it until the end! I thought about just marking the corners on the front, but then remembered that these are inexperienced kids!

After the design is laid out, with those pesky sharp pins, they will be basting. It’s really going to be the best way for them to proceed.

And rather than random stitch meditation type ideas, I am going to have them work in a series mind-set. I think I’m set with my plan!

I know I’m set with quite a few pieces ready to embroider and embellish, but I needed at least this many to work out my planning.

I need a few more in the light blue series and I want to get all of these completely finished off before I do any others. Then anything additional between now and camp will be a bonus.

Feeling good about this!!!!