Sunday, January 16, 2011

2011 Art Journal Quilt Challenge

I found they are having an Art Journal Quilt Challenge this year over at the Three Creative Studios site. They are using Flicker: Three Creative Studios Journal Quilt 2011 to update photos of each mini quilt. I went ahead and signed up as a member there.

It has been a long time since I posted anything here at my Art Quilt blog. I ended up putting away the things I had prepped to do for this blog and haven't looked at them since. But recently I've been thinking about it more. I decided I could try to accomplish two mini art quilts each month. I will dig out the things I had prepped before and see about updating my ideas to work on this type of tactile fabric art again. At this point I'll leave what is here at this blog in tact, but may decide to update this blog as I move further along with this as a project.

I've been looking at organizing my time differently so I can be more consistent in accomplishing things I have on my mind. They are all good things, but I want to focus more on some specific things and work from lists for a change. I have fallen into the bad habit of just going from day to day working on things that come to me . . . more on a whim than a plan. I had been thinking about my process in December and wanted to make some changes to be more direct, planned and organized with my time. Here it is already mid January and I have not done very well to implement those ideas. Hmmm . . . no matter, I'll start anew.

My plan is to create and post two mini art journal quilts here on my blog, then link to the Three Creative Studios site. I had cut some materials, long ago when I started this site, to use as a base for my mini quilts. I'll have to see what size I made those. I think they were for 8" mini quilts. When I saw the announcement for the 2011 Journal Quilt Challenge I was thinking 12" size mini quilts. That will be something I need to think about. I want all mine for this year to be the same size and orientation. Square would be best for me.

Okay, off to go un-earth my supplies and re-prep them for easy access. More about this later when I have some new info.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Snowmen For All Seasons Progress

October Snowman
It has been awhile since I posted anything here on this blog. Just thought I'd update my progress on stitching out these embroidery designs. Here is the October snowman.

November SnowmanAs you will recall, these are from the Anita Goodesign line of embroidery designs. They are from the 'Snowmen For All Seasons' collection. This one is the November Snowman.

December SnowmanHere's Mr. December. He was 'lost' among my stuff for the longest time. Funny thing, I knew I had sewn him out, so skipped on ahead to the others. Later, I 'found' him stuck between some sheets of stabilizer I had pre-cut.

January SnowmanThe January Snowman holds his snowshovel while enjoying his visit with this little bird on his hat. If I were to sew this one again, I would make the bird another color, or change the background fabric to something else besides white. I think the bird gets a bit camouflaged being so close in color.

February SnowmanFebruary is filled with hearts and romance for Valentine's Day.

March SnowmanI used a gold metallic thread here. There were a few issues with the metallic. I switched to a different needle a couple times to prevent thread breakage. I ended up doing most of the metallic gold with a larger eyed top stitch needle. There are a lot of layers the thread needs to sew through. Metallic is subject to so much abrasion with the applique layers as well as some areas of multiple thread layers.

April SnowmanI am absolutely in LOVE with this snowman! I think the big wide smile and body language portray such joy at the rainfall depicted in this design. Love the little rubber duckie, too!

May SnowmanMay is all about Mother's Day so here we find Momma with her little ones.

June SnowmanAnd who doesn't enjoy the abundance of summer flowers in June. I went with some pale green in a few areas of this design to represent early plant growth with a paler color of green. I might change that to a slightly different light green if I were to re-do this one. But it's not too bad, so I think I'll go ahead and use this block anyway even though I'm not entirely pleased with the thread colors I chose.

I am still considering how I will put all these embroidery blocks together when all twelve months are stitched out. Three more months to go. I want to use them all together in a large embroidered quilt. It will probably have patchwork sections or strips of fabric between the blocks to fill in the background. The idea hasn't jelled in my mind yet, so I'm not exactly sure which way I'll go with it. The mystery will be unveiled sometime . . . stay tuned for another post about this.

Another Type of Embroidered Leaf

I went to the Anita Goodesign Embroidery Event hosted by a local sewing store in Bismarck last fall. This is one of the designs we worked on. Each participant who came got to take home a CD of designs to sew at home. This leaf design was one of those on the CD. One of the things I like about this is the candlewick-type stitches that run diagonally on the design. It would be a good design to embroider through the layers of the quilt to do the actual quilting that holds it all together. They showed it on placemats that were very attractive to look at.

I started this post so long ago when the event took place, but have yet to use this design. I was considering it for another project with leaves. But . . . I need to pace myself. I have so many projects started that need to be finished before I get going on another one.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Snowmen for All Seasons & Scissors Mishap

Along with the other projects I have going, I decided to start on some new machine embroideries. I recently finished embroidering all 56 of the Anita Goodesign leaves for my Autumn Leaf quilt. Now I needed a new project to start on so I can keep my machines running. Got to keep them working to make them worth keeping around. Can't just have them sitting there idle after investing so much into getting them in the first place. You've got to love the hum of a fine-tuned piece of machinery! LOL! So I started on the new project - Anita Goodesign's Snowmen for All Seasons. Here you see the October and November snowmen made up as the larger version appliques. The designs come in two applique sizes and one fully embroidered version. I thought, "Hey, let's go big this time!" I'm planning on putting them all together as a scrappy quilt once all the months are completed. It should be a cute quilt.

Just for kicks, here's a photo of the machine I stitched these up with. It's my Pfaff Creative Vision. It has been running well since I took it in to have some attention from the dealership - a little tweaking and the newest update. There's a slight squeak as the carriage moves the embroidery frame back and forth (somewhat annoying) but otherwise is running great. Nice to have the machines humming along while I sew on something else or am busy cutting fabric.

As I spin my chair around to the right I have my Husqvarna Viking Designer 1 set up to do a second embroidery or regular sewing depending upon my mood and needs at the time. Sometimes I get them both embroidering away and spend most of my time changing out threads when a color change comes up. Other times when I want a more relaxed pace I'll sit there piecing my quilt squares or sewing on another project. This has been one of my favorite machines to sew and embroider with for the past 8-9 years. I still am pretty attached to it even though I have the newer Pfaff. It's a good workhorse - very dependable over the years. I love that it can sew through anything and do a good job every time.

I had been visiting Susan's blog some time ago when she posed the question, "How do you use up left over yarns after knitting or crocheting?" I commented that they can be used to add texture and interest when couched down on an art quilt or other sewing project. Then I mentioned that I would do some playing around with some scraps to show what I meant. I went on to invite those who wanted to, to come check out my couching progress on my blog. Unfortunately I did not have time make time to get this done in the time-span I said I would. Today I took some time to dig out the samples and take photos of some couching I did once for a class I taught some years ago. These are photos of that sampler project we made for that class. This one is loosely based on a plaid effect with criss-crossing lines of stitches.

Here's a closer look at the couching of the yarns and ribbons. Couching just means stitching down the yarn and ribbon either with a stitch that is small in order to be hidden next to or underneath so the yarn or ribbon is the predominant feature. Or stitched with decorative stitches (by hand or machine - obviously I'm a machine type of gal) to showcase the stitches along with the yarn or ribbon. When you add on, or build up, the area next to or near the yarn/ribbon with decorative stitches we called that 'stitch stacking' or 'stitch building'. Stitch Stacking is a technique I learned while working at J&R Vacuum and Sewing. I'm not sure when of where it originated from, but the Pfaff Educators taught it and it was often used by Jenny Haskins who has utilized 'stitch stacking' for years in her machine stitched and embroidered quilts. Jenny spent years promoting Pfaff products for VSM and headed up their organization in Australia. I had the pleasure of meeting Jenny and her son, Simon, several times at Pfaff Conventions over the years. We also hosted her at seminars at the J&R Sewing dealership where I used to work several times before she quit making so many personal appearances. She's quite a lively gal. And she has so much experience to share in the sewing and embroidery field. Now she has trained representatives doing most of the traveling for her and teaching her techniques. One of these educators, Margaret Moorehead, is a former Pfaff Educator now doing Jenny Schools and Training Seminars. She is also a wonderful person with a tremendous amount of sewing and embroidery knowledge to share.

Here's another small sampler quiltlet I made for use in that couching techniques class. The stitches were from my Designer 1, but any stitches you might have on your machine can be used for stitch stacking. It's fun to have lots and lots of stitches to select from. But even if you don't have a machine with very many stitches you can still use the ones you have. You'll be able to get different looks from your stitches either building up several next to one another - touching or overlapping one another - or by embellishing with different colors of threads, yarns and ribbons.

Here again, is a closer look at the previous little art quilt. I like the flowing lines of the curved lines as they mirror each other on either side of the central axis line. I tend to go for the curving organic lines rather than straight, evenly spaced geometric lines.

While stitching up my second Snowmen for All Seasons November block my little double curved embroidery scissors literally broke into two pieces while I was cutting with them. I was a bit taken aback - totally unexpected. I never had this happen to me before. It's not like I was abusing the scissors either! You can see what's left of the tiny little screw that was holding the two halves together. It was the screw that actually broke in half. The other half is still stuck inside the scissor. If I could find a way to get that to back out I might be able to find a tiny replacement screw. It's pretty little. I took it back to the dealership since I know they have some small screws, but it wasn't able to be fixed. I might try taking it to a jeweler. In the meantime I went ahead and bought another double curved scissors.

I like having this type of little scissors next to each of my sewing/embroidery machines to snip threads and get into those tiny little places. These are a nice, sharp scissors even cutting all the way to the tip. Not every scissor can actually do that. This afternoon I got to thinking that I must have some more little scissors tucked into my sewing accessory trays or in some drawers. I felt I just had to have more on hand somewhere. So I got to looking around my Sewing Studio and uncovered all these little scissors. I guess I wouldn't have had to buy a new pair of scissors the other day - I've got plenty. It helps to be organized. It alieviates the purchasing of duplicate tools and accessories. On the bright side though, now I know I'm prepared for every tiny scissor emergency need that arises. LOL!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

More Dog Blocks Fused

Pugsley blockI did some work on my Dazzling Dogs quilt blocks last Monday when I went to sew with my friend. I've been slow to get them posted, but here they are. I only got to two of them what with selecting fabrics, fusing the fusible web, cutting and positioning the pieces to form the image - plus all the talking and visiting we had to do!

These blocks are all made from scrap fabrics from my stash. I particularly like the combinations in these two blocks. This one is named Pugsley. He's got a friendly little butterfly fluttering near his right ear.

Ted blockThis one is named Ted. His little propellor spins atop a multi-colored golden hat. What a bunch of characters these fun dogs make. It's going to be fun seeing them with more detail. I've got three more blocks to go with fusing, then it's on to the stitching to add details.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stitching Details

The name of this little guy i T.C.I spent the day sewing with a friend on Monday. I worked on some stitching and detail work for a couple of appliques. Here's a photo of T.C. one of the little Dazzling Dogs for a quilt I've been working on. I meant to do more than just plain satin stitching. I didn't add the extra detail on the collar until the very last when I realized I forgot to jazz it up with other decorative stitches. I guess we got to talking too much. I was a bit distracted since my friend's grand-daughter was there visiting. She was sewing with us, too. It made for a lively, albeit disjointed, kind of day with a youngster in on the activities.

T.C. gets some details stitched.Here is a close-up of the block. I finished up another applique project that I'm keeping mum about for now. Then I went on to finish only this one other block. Considering the extra activities and distractions taking place with an active third-grader participating in sewing (and bouncing around), I'd say it was a productive day.

I plan on adding some bling with heat-set crystals on the glasses of these dogs as well as adding buttons to the shirts and collars, plus any other extras I can think of to embellish these blocks for added interest and humor. I like the way it is coming together so far. I'll keep working away on the blocks a bit at a time until they are finished. The dogs are so cute with their funky glasses and quirky outfits.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lazy Sunday

I've been enjoying my lazy Sunday. All I can say is my internal clock must be messed up because I have been staying up late (with insomnia) and getting up late (what with the staying up late) the last few days. Don't know what's up with that. But it's okay since it's the weekend I'm just taking it easy and going with the flow of things. Tomorrow is different. I'm planning on setting my alarm clock to get up on time. I've got my regular Sew With a Friend Monday coming up tomorrow. That's always a fun day to get together, chat and sew in the morning. Then we do lunch. Then more sewing, chatting and fun in the afternoon. It makes for a great day.

I've got five more blocks to go with my Dazzling Dogs quilt. That's on the agenda for tomorrow. I might even work on a few more blocks tonight. I think I'll be doing some of the blanket stitching and detail top-stitching on the blocks tomorrow. I still need to decide on color choices for the sashing strips then get those cut and pieced.

Stitch An Art Quilt banner update image.Hey how do you like the new banner? I thought it was time for a change. This one coincides with the quilt I'm working on now so it is much more appropriate. I like to keep updating those banners from time-to-time to keep things fresh. It's so much more fun to see something new once in awhile. This banner is from my Garcia block. I photoshopped the eyes in place since I don't have the stitching and buttons sewn on it yet. I'm still pretty new to using photoshop. This turned out good for use as a banner.