About Me

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Great Falls, Montana, United States
I love creating art. I love the Creator! And through that love, I find a little slice of heaven on earth and I give Him all the glory! It's a great adventure and I'm excited to see what's around the bend! Come join me, won't you?
Showing posts with label beyond free motion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beyond free motion. Show all posts

Monday, May 5, 2014

count it all joy ~

morning glories ~

i love how this turned out, and i can't wait to make more! many of you know know how much i enjoy exploring the written and quilted letter ~ this project was no exception.  

a very plain turquoise, but absolutely drop-dead gorgeous hand dyed becomes the canvas for the quilting, with the words done in a golden yellow magnifico thread, red daisies, and purple ribbon accents and centers.  finished with my signature stitching style of binding finish, with metallic thread in golden yellow to bring out the major theme of the piece, couched into the binding with the bernina #39 foot.

i will tell you the real key to writing, quilting style:


and i've done it enough so that i share this tip, also.  you must know how to stitch the words and letters backwards, as well.

i go forward, and when each phrase/word is finished, i repeat going in a backwards direction.  that's it.

and it helps tremendously to do it ~ practice it ~ on paper until you are comfortable with the process.

and of course, it's very important that you are very comfortable with free motion by the time you progress to letters.  {in my opinion}.  at least ~ that's my story of how it progressed for me, personally.

 and a little change up in pattern, for the reverse side:
every stitch.  
{even the "unstitching"} 
is counting it all joy!

{that's the real joy}.  even when you fail, 
struggle, or muddle through... count it all joy!
in life, and in quilting.
james 1:2 "my brothers {and sisters}.. count it all joy when you fall into various trials... "
soli deo gloria.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

make life sweet ~ sweetwater placemats

hi everyone ~

i finally had time to delve into this charming yardage i've had on the back burner; it's "noteworthy" by sweetwater for moda fabrics.  and so i combined my love of writing and text onto the classic round placemat shape:
when i was teaching recently, at the local Quilt-A-Way quilt shop here in Great Falls, this book really caught my eye: "Sweetwater's Simple Home."  i've always liked their style, and i was tickled to come home with the book after a wonderful day of teaching there.

the threads i chose to put to the task at hand, are left to right: razzle dazzle {for couching}, magnifico {for quilting} and masterpiece {for bobbin thread} for both construction, quilting, and couching.
once the fabrics were layered with the batting, i loaded up the machine with the 40 wt pink-red magnifico thread {100% polyester} with white masterpiece {100% ELS cotton} in the bobbin.  i lowered my top tension from a 4.0 to a 2.5. i could have used matching red thread for the bobbin, but i chose not to because i wanted it to be subtle texture from the backside.  lowering the tension also helps that balance of colors from the top to the back, and keeps the threads more in the middle of the batting and fabric quilt sandwich .

 i also used my fave needle; the 90/14 titanium topstitch needle {all threads and needles by superiorthreads.com}
and i found this page in my new book to be inspiration for the quilting motif:
to start, i folded the circle in the center.  i used a pressing tool, like the one shown below but of course, your finger/nail works fine, too!
my reason for doing this is to have a crease to mark the center of the circle, so i could get a pleasing placement for the writing lines, and hopefully eliminate any slanted lines/stitching.
my favorite pen, the "frixion" pen, that writes like a pen, and erases magically with the touch of an iron:
i marked 3.5" from the top of the center line, to make my top line, and the same to go below the center line.  i just wanted three lines, fairly centered within the circle of fabric, and also, you can audition your writing if spacing is an issue you are concerned about.  and i am.  i don't mind a bit of a slant, or whimsical altered letter, but i did really want it to be pretty much centered, but also very "light and free-styling" {if that makes any sense!}
i quilted the words first, and then a random type of "scribble" and "sketchy" straight stitching around the perimeter. {i also altered the straight stitch to a longer length so the stitching would "show off" too.

as i've said before on the blog, my go-to starch is right here, and i use it at these stages of quilting, too:
{it helps to make my sewing life sweet!}

to make the straight lines stay flat and where they belonged, i engaged my handy-dandy dual feed on my bernina 830.  love it! {and looks like i need to clean up a few fuzzies, too!}
i also used my #37 patchwork foot, too, for the quilting around the perimeter, as it has a place for the dual feed to attach too {it's not just for your patchwork ya know!} but you could also attach a walking foot which would work just as good:
i'm going at a pretty good clip, making sure my lines cross, and around and around... i go!
i cut bias fabric for the binding, and attached it, using my patchwork foot.  

then, i couched on the razzle dazzle thread, right into the binding seam, using the Bernina #39 foot, which also stitches the binding down at the same time it adds the beautiful thread embellishment.  {see the foot, and #39 tutorial here}
and i decided to add a heart at the bottom, too, just for fun:
the back side:
make life sweet!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

twice quilted ~ and more favorite free motion books ~

hello ~

as i was making notes, prepping to teach free motion recently, i came across {more} of some really terrific resources {and more few thoughts} to share with you about free motion.

the first resource, from one of the best professional artists out there in 'quilt-land'  ~ is karen mctavish.  i added her book to my collection many years ago, and although it was published in 2005, it is still just so relevant today.  if you want to be a master quilter... this is one lady you can learn alot from.  ask your quilt store to order it for you... it is worth it ~ i promise!

this is mastering the art of mctavishing.

one of the tips i share when teaching, is simply this.  "do what you love."  and the photo below, showing her quilted jacket, is exactly what i did.  i picked a favorite fabric, and favorite threads, and made myself a jacket.  this was such a great way for me, to get to know my machine, not to mention, practice my free motion skills.  and even better ~  i had something to show for my effort that was fun to make, helped me feel like i was accomplishing something worthwhile, but also practical, beautiful, and fun to wear!

my second favorite resource, are the "twice quilted" titles.  last i knew, there were only two, and i love how glorianne cubbage goes about teaching simply delightful, and easy-to-do design images, just by thinking "twice" with two passes of the quilted needle!  it's really quite brilliant, and i love her teaching methods.  i had the privilege of learning under her tueledge, when i attended a bernina university event {2007}.  it was an amazing experience, and i loved every minute!!
and while we have all had our fill of snow and mittens this winter... they ARE quite charming aren't they?  {as a quilted motif that is!}
and if you want to get good and be a really great free motion quilter, you have to learn to troubleshoot, and the first step in that skill building exercise is getting to know your tension ~ inside and out.  and outside and in!  {there great tips here in these books!}
glorianne's designs come super-full-size, like 18" x 24" or so {i'm guessing}, so you can trace them on your quilt, just by placing them on your machine, if you want.

couldn't agree more {photo below}.  the best thing to improve quilting?  choose the right needle.  and more importantly?change it often!

great, clear instructions!  the writing of this book is well done.
and a shot of her book #2, "more twice-quilted designs."  {i found a you tube video here}

these are two "must-have" resources for me, that helped me in my journey and ongoing passion for beautiful free motion quilting!  although likely available at amazon, ask your local quilt store, and try to support our local "sweet spot quilt shops" whenever you can!  

and remember ~  there is truly nothing like practice, and experience to build your free motion skills {and knowledge}.


be blessed ~

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Flashback ~ Montana Treasure

My first 'art' quilt.
  A time to challenge myself. 
To do something 'entirely my own.'  Scary thought! I was fearful. Knew I needed to 'get beyond' ... of wondering whether I could do anything beyond just following a pattern.  Don't get me wrong... I love patterns!  I love books --- love the artsy styles and hard work of all the wonderful, talented people who do inspire us so we can make them our own, in whatever way appeals to us.
But I wanted to start from 'scratch'  --- to look at a piece of fabric as a blank canvas upon which I would embellish, quilt, and let it evolve... and see where the journey led.
I began by playing with a few leftover pieces of patchwork; some strips that were cut into triangles, that intrigued me when I started playing, and placing them on this piece of commercial batik fabric.  When I did, something surprising happened; they prompted me to think about mountains and more.  Unplanned inspiration.  And  "Montana" was born. 
So after that... it seemed I knew the inspiration, but what do next?  I wanted to do foiling.  But had not a clue as to how to achieve it on fabric.  This was before I discovered Jones Tones glue/foiling products.  The silver metal foil is real silver leaf (seen below).  Not meant for fabric!  But I didn't know that.  So I applied the glue.  It soaked in to the fabric, and the leafing wouldn't stick!  But I kept at it.  I re-applied the glue.  Eventually, it began to get tackier, and although the leaf material didn't stick as I had planned and intended, the unpredictable result was so much BETTER than I had anticipated!!  It cracked and pulled apart... an exciting result and revelation in my eyes.
Let me say at this point, I remember working on this piece every evening, for most of the summer months.  A couple hours every evening... which involved alot of thinking, more than the actual quilting-couching-sewing in many ways.
I knew I wanted to do some bobbin play.  And I decided I just needed to start 'blind.'  By that I mean I began stitching from the backside of this piece, with thick thread wound in my loosened bobbin, and did 'random placement' stitching, not allowing myself to have expectations, or to plan exact placement.  

And... much to my surprise, when I turned the quilt around, even though I found I was stressed out and intimidated by doing it that way, I found a big beautiful surprise of happiness in the unplanned threadplay. I liked it.  I liked it ~ ALOT! And that gave me the confidence, to keep going... to pursue and allow ~ to enjoy and be free.

Further!  And further... wondering each time I did something different... metallic threads, painstiks... if I had pushed it beyond 'exciting' and into the mentality of "I've ruined it now."  Not a fun thought - but real.  I think that's true for many of us. We're so afraid of 'ruining a good thing.'  And too often, that's a trap.
And I found when I kept going, turning it back and forth from front to back, playing with the empty spaces... that those were great surprises which revealed further inspiration!  And one thing led to another... like leftover bits of a silk flower ribbon (above picture, lower left in a green and purple/red flower ribbon).   Slowly, my inspiration became 'all things I love about Montana' as I thought about the landscapes of wheat fields, prairies, mountains, rivers, and treasure.  Gold and silver which is what helped give this state it's nickname "The Treasure State." This visualization helped me in my stitching and application of other embellishment factors.

The last thing I did was to top it off with beading; always the very last thing I do on a quilt.  It is all done by machine, (without a foot and just a bare needle) with the exception of the large turquoise one in the center, right of the photo below.  And a big red teardrop shaped button (in the very first photo above).  Then I knew I was done.  The space was filled.  I had a happy, satisfied, thump in my heart. Mission accomplished.

And before I knew it, I had a piece that was unexpectedly Big Sky.  Treasure State.  And inspired by all that I love about this state ~ and more.

Wide-open plains.  
Majestic Mountains.  
Roaring rivers. 

Go Beyond. 
Be free.
Forget expectations.  
Just Be. 

God is waaaaaaay bigger~than the Montana Sky!

Joining Studio JRU! 
and The Rusted Chain 

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