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 masterpiece. Show all posts
Showing posts with label masterpiece. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

ponderosa pine ~ quilted

hi there ~  it's more feathers!

this time a new hand-dyed fabric in my studio, dyed by vicki welsh ~ she calls it the "woodlands" gradient.  and i called it 'mine!' {at least for the time being!} lol  

i used this quilting opportunity try a different type of meandering feather, quilting continuous 'branches' and hopefully... achieving a kind of 'flowing out' from one feather spine to another. 

definitely a work in progress, but a fun challenge for quilting...

accented with a dark green razzle dazzle by superior threads.  this spool is #254, named "irish eyes."  i love the emphasis this thread gives the feathers.

i put a warm golden brown thread of magnifico for the original feather shape, and then added a bright green for the hyper quilting, and deeper, 'forest green' for the outside motif quilting:




a pretty batik backing that will be a nice change if someone wanted to flip it over.  and... everything in my etsy shop is 20% until december 1st, with the code GIVINGTHANKS {all in caps}.  

And I pray we all do {forever and ever amen!}

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

'wild flowers' ~ hand painted ~ quilted ~ done!

hey there, and happy shining day to you ~

and a shining day it always is to finish a project... this one is not really a 'ufo' but definitely one i had hoped to have finished earlier this summer.  {didn't happen!}  sometimes that's how it goes, and i'm glad to call it finished.  looking at it now, i think it could have benefited from some extra details, but ... i wasn't sure what... and decided it was better to finish, than let it languish!

i began by painting a plain piece of white cotton fabric, using  the beautiful silks acrylic glaze paints by luminarte on white cotton fabric.  i added some angelina fibers on some of the flower centers, and petals.  and then ~ time to quilt free motion style! 
over the course of time, i've been asked frequently, being a bernina girl, "do i use the 'BSR'?" {which is the bernina stitch regulator}. my answer: "i do not."

why? well, because as the famous stockbroker commercial said {or at least alluded to} in it's ads: "because i learned {and earned my skills!} the old-fashioned way!"  let me explain. i do like the BSR ~ but i do not love it. it came along a little too late for me, and i had to learn without BSR all those years ago, and so that is what i am really comfortable at, and have honed my skills using and doing.

i love to teach the BSR techniques, and it's strengths.  but i  teach it as an enhancement to traditional free motion skills.  this specialty foot ~ a computerized, 'perfect stitch length' free motion foot, can be particularly 'freeing' for those who are new to free motion, and especially those who felt frustrated, and just could not master traditional skills of free motion.

there are tons of details and information, hints and tips i share when i teach it, but what it always boils down to is simply this:  time!  it just takes time to master anything!  and i believe that we spend time {on many things} when we are motivated to master a technique, or for that matter ~ anything in life!
and we are drawn to what we love!  that is why i teach, and say these very things:

~ start with fabric or colors, you love
~ start with a pattern or project you love
~ start with threads you love
~ expect to learn troubleshooting {needles, tension, thread weights}
~ expect to {lovingly} spend hours upon hours,  perfecting your skill, enhancing your knowledge, and finally, 
~ treat it as a great adventure! 
i often hear "i wish i could be as good as you." 

ahhh ~ but you can...  please~please... {i beg you!} do not rob yourself of the joy of learning, by letting the thief of your joy ~ 'comparison' ~ butt in on your thoughts and steal it!!

it takes time.  practice. practice. practice.  you know this ~ deep down in your heart.  and know i've spent thousands of {mostly} happy hours free motion quilting.

and not everything i do, am i pleased with.  in saying that, i realize too, that the bonus was in actually doing it - not necessarily in the final results.  we tend to base our expectations on what the final project looks like, rather than what was gained while we were doing it...




the backing {a commercial batik}




after all ~ it's the pursuit of excellence, not perfection.
{i repeat ~ not perfection!}
you can do anything ~ you want to!
~ soli deo gloria ~
enJOY!
xo
blessings,
leslie


 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Midnight Autumn ~ Winner

hello and a super snowy autumn day it is here in montana ~

so i'm calling this runner "autumn's midnight" which reminds me of those shorter days and nights of autumn into winter...  

i chose the following threads, as seen below, to begin the quilting on this piece of hand dyed fabric by vicki. and i began with my newest thread-fave, 40 wt magnifico {by superior threads}, in a bright pink for the initial pass of feathers, a bright lime green for the hyper quilting. 

so why lime green?  well, partly because it's just unexpected.  and partly because the leaves paling on trees in the past weeks have so intrigued me; in that faded and varied green-soon-to-be-brown-n-gone shade.  the green does look like it glows in the dark, {but that's just the lamp!} but really why ~  because i was just curious! i wanted to see how those two opposite colors {basically green and red} on the color wheel would "mix" when they come together into the spine area.  because they become to the eye, an altogether intriguing color story...
and as those two threads meld... the color changes, and it becomes a bit more complex; a richer, more visually interesting green, tones down the pink a bit, and 'appears' to be almost a golden tone, as it blends together.  {perfect!}

this is one of my favorite parts of stitching feathers!  and a fascinating effect.  i then began echo quilting the perimeter with two passes of the gorgeous red-purple in magnifico, and then a third pass with the hot pink, and finally the thick, royal blue razzle dazzle {from superior threads}, in bobbin play, echoing the feathers from the wrong side of the quilt.  it's so pretty, and it's one of my favorite techniques as a quilter.  it too, also adds depth and dimension, blending, but adding light, to the deep colors of the fabric; as it accents and highlights, rather than overpower. 

for the outside quilting motifs, i chose a magnifico thread in a periwinkle purple. i felt it had just the right luminosity to bring all the color elements together.  it also helps tone down the pink, yet complements it too. i love how it's brightness is visually pleasing, helping the dark-purpley colors of the fabric to pop, but lets the fabric shine with it's depth of colors in the forest green and teal blue-greens in this piece.




i was asked by one reader "how long does something like this take me?" usually, it's anywhere from 6-8 hours, start to finish; sometimes longer; sometimes shorter.  of course,  quilting takes the majority of the time, but it's more than that.  it's auditioning threads, thinking about the color focus, the varied colors of the fabric, and how i can change, enhance, or create a different feel just by changing up thread colors or texture elements. it's much the same process  for choosing backing fabrics, binding, couching, too.

i list my quilts for sale based on time & labor, and cost of supplies, but also it includes a proportion of my time shopping for those goods, to ironing, cutting, stitching.  but it doesn't end there, either.  i photograph, edit, and then list them for sale in my etsy shop. this requires writing descriptions, uploading photos, and when there is a sale, it's processing time; emailing the customer, printing care instructions, invoices, and packaging a quilt for mailing, as well as commission fees from both etsy and various financial organizations.  the price you see in my etsy shop reflects all of these things, but more importantly, the complexity as well as the originality of a piece.

 
 because many of you said "holiday" table in your comments... i chose a holiday-feel backing fabric.  this is a christmas batik fabric {that i have loved for many years!} and decided to bust into it and use some of it {that i have been hoarding - saving} for just such a special occasion.  it's berry red/purple, and teal and forest greens with highlights gold metallic stars and flecks in it.  one could easily flip over the runner and use both sides.
 i went with random.org for choosing a winner this time {as my favorite random generator-man was taking a nap!}... and it's commenter #1!  that would be... "barb" of mountain quiltworks ~ my idaho neighbor!  congrats, barb! 
 this one is 8" wide x 40" long.  now this is the deal, barb.  you get to choose which one you would like... either this one, or the one from the post announcing the giveaway {it's called bluegrass at midnight}.
 
all you's guys!  {she said with an enthusiastic new yorker accent} ... i read all your comments; loved them! i giggled, laughed, and smiled!  i was so honored to read your sense of humor, enthusiasm, support, and sweet friendship.  thank you!  {you bless my socks off!}

the wind is settling in on us from the northwest, {time to get the warm woolie socks on!}... as we say hello to snow and cold.... and likely say goodbye to the last of our perfectly beautiful autumn.

bless you ~ and soli deo gloria!  saddle up!  we're off on a great adventure together!
linky tuesday party with one of my favorite blogs

"Freemotion by the River
love and more ~
leslie

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

big sky autumn ~ a tablerunner

hello out there!

oh my.  this. runner.  it's my very, very {current} new favorite!

i swear ~ i {almost} swoon every time i look at all the tremendous depth of color in this hand-dyed piece of fabric by chris daly.  chris. your fabrics make me do a happy waltz! 

i'm not bragging. 

i'm just loving it.
my. oh. my. oh my!

and ~ i have to tell ya.  the right needle is a real factor in the joy i have in the time i spend quilting.  and i take my quilt time seriously!  i quote from  superior threads: "Titanium-coated needles have been available for longarm and industrial machines for many years but these are the first titanium-coated Topstitch style needles made for home machines. Superior Threads (USA) and Organ Needle Company (Japan) have applied the latest technology of titanium-coated needles to the Topstitch style for home machines.  Because these titanium-coated needles have an ultra thin coat of titanium nitride, they will stay sharper longer and outlast any current Topstitch needle on the market.
"Why topstitch?  The Topstitch needle is the most common needle type used and recommended by professionals and educators.  We recommend the Topstitch for piecing, quilting, embroidery, appliqué, and construction. These needles are available in four sizes to accommodate all thread types, including metallic threads.  The Topstitch needle has a larger eye and deeper groove.  It is often referred as the MAGIC NEEDLE.  It really does make a difference in your sewing experience."

why yes.  yes, it does!  {and although the pic is 80/12... i used a size 90/14 needle with the 40 wt magnifico thread~always!}
i began with a rich, warm, golden magnifico thread for my initial pass of feather quilting.  i then turned to the turquoise colored thread in magnifico for the swirl quilting motif on the outside of the feathers. 

and when it came time to add hyper quilting, to echo the feather motif inside the original feather design, i used turquoise again.  in my view, this ties it all together, giving the entire piece continuity. 

with so much color in the fabric, i felt i needed to keep the thread colors, and quilting motifs, simple and harmonious.  there are only two colors thread here.  but... it looks like so much more, doesn't it? 

interesting though. notice the colors do appear to change slightly, at least in our eye's perception, as it moves up and down the colors of this quilted runner.





and while you're at it... choose a great thread.  this is magnifico, {once again}.  if i'm going to spend all this {fun} with intricate design motifs, and complementing this drop-dead gorgeous hand dyed fabric... isn't it worth it to use great quality products?  i sure do think so.

and i think they are magnificently showcased in this beautiful runner.

please know ~ i'm not looking for compliments. 

i'm just sayin' ~ use the good stuff!

...and make your 'stuff' look good!!!
i'm so pleased with how this turned out...   and delighted to offer this "big sky autumn" tablerunner for sale in my etsy shop.  and hey!  i'm having a sale on everything in the shop with coupon code: FALLSAVINGS20 for 20%. good until the end of october!  {yay!}.

your comments are so welcome!  i have sure enjoyed everyone's comments on the giveaway post immensely; so fun!!  and have you commented on that post yet to have a chance for a $25 gift certificate from superio threads?!  you do NOT want to miss out!
 
because of prior spam issues, i have enabled comment moderation on the blog, so it may be a while before you see the comment appear, that is ~ until i approve it.
soli deo gloria!  and have a glorious day!
xo
leslie

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

it's a hoot ~ baby blanket tutorial

hi there everyone ~

here's my tutorial for applying a scalloped edge treatment on a simply made flannel baby blanket.  it's fun to make, it's practical, and a beautiful gift!

just one caveat.  this tutorial is based on bernina feet, using a bernina machine.  that's just the way it is... cuz that's what i do.  it's what i have, what i teach, and what i know best! however! i am positive many other sewing machines have this same capacity in feet, and technique.  after all, it's a basic stitch and sewing function, using a hemstitch. 

begin with two fabrics, 1.25 yards each, of high-quality flannel fabric. if you'd like, pre-wash.  then trim, and square-up all your edges, removing the selvedge edges {for sure}!
 i forgot to show the trimming, but just pretend i did {cuz i really did!} so be sure to trim those selvedges.  just got a little ahead of myself snapping pics... lol~!  use a plate to round off those corners the easy way...

and use the rotary cutter for one fell swoop around that curve the easy way, and a smooth look!

this technique is best accomplished with rounded corners.  if you like squared-off ones... i can't help you with that as i've not done it, and perhaps it would be a bit more difficult... but probably totally doable with more patience! {enough said!}

it's the "flirty birdies"  by northcott fabrics, just in case you wanted to know.

i just used my #37 bernina patchwork foot to sew up the seams {right sides together}.  this happens to be the 37D, meaning dual feed, which is a feature on the bernina, which is helpful on the flannel fabric.  i didn't use a 1/4" seam, but instead, and because this is flannel, i sewed a 3/8" seam, using the seam guide on my stitching plate. some may prefer 1/2,"  but you can use any foot, like a basic #1 foot, too. 

as to thread: i had isacord polyester on hand, and already loaded, so i just kept that on the top, and kept  the 100% cotton {masterpiece}  in my bobbin, as well, because my machine was set up that way.  either way, you can match cotton for cotton, or poly for poly, but they both play well together. {note to self: there is an error in the wording in the pic below and it should say 'patchwork foot" instead of 'patchwork needle!'  {oops!}
leave at least a 12" opening, for easy turning. gently turn the fabric back so that the right sides are facing out.
take time to carefully press... but no need to overpress! 

then, choose a cord, yarn, or thick hand-stitching type of thread to make the scalloped edge. 

if you guessed the lime green... you are correct!  and just for kicks and giggles... pictured below are the 'quick notes' from my handbook when i'm teaching this technique at mastery class for bernina.  it's as easy as 1...2... 3...4...and five!
1. choose stitch #3.
2. select needle position to the left {your machine may select it already}, or adjust as desired.
3. set stitch width to 3.0 mm {or as desired}
4. set stitch length to 3.0 mm  {or as desired}
5. attach bernina foot #10 or 10C whichever you have}. {click the link above to see a 54 second video about this foot on the bernina website}

lay the cord {in this case it's yarn}, and place it at the bottom edge of your opening of the two fabrics - the one you left open for turning.
now lay the cord/yarn next to the blade, and next to the fabric, just like in the picture below. don't squish them together, just let them lay next to each other:
are you ready?!  it's gonna be soooo sweet!
take your time... make sure the needle is stitching a straight stitch on the blanket edge {on the left}... and swinging to the right, where it catches the yarn/cord too... you may need to slightly increase your top tension... depending on how it's stitching on your machine. 

now, as i've completely sewn around the perimeter of the blanket, i'm approaching the opening gap once again. stop, {use that needle down} and tuck both ends of the yarn into the opening.  then, continue to stitch, closing the gap in the fabric. at the very end, stop, and then switch to a straight stitch, adusting the length so it's a smaller stitch {making sure the needle is also in the left position, matching the stitching from the #3 mode} and make a knot by stitching in place several times, or use your knotting function if you have one on your machine. or just backstitch ever so slightly. easy peasy!

now for the  beautiful finishing touch.  begin with the good stuff.  {are we talking dessert or thread... uhm... i think i got sidetracked for few seconds!} thread. definitely thread. that would be magnifico!  it's a 40 wt 100% poly thread ~ sturdy, beautiful, and it packs a punch of gorgeous color, {way more than isacord}, and it's so easy~easy to use!  use a topstitch needle ... 90/14!  i prefer superior threads topstitch needles as they are titanium coated, and last five times as long as a normal topstitch needle, staying sharp. {it's just good great economics!}
 tip time! one of my favorite tips to share for topstitching is sew simple:  lengthen that stitch out!  it looks professional,  shows off that gorgeous thread, and your beautiful stitch too.  every bernina has a triple stitch, and i daresay other machines as well...  {this is stitch #6 on my bernina 830}
 bammo!  ain't it just so cool, and sooo beautiful!?
 a pretty backside to this flirty birdy fabric! i love the contrast of the two different greens, too.
 and another tip... use the best spray starch there is.  i buy it by the gallon, and it seems spendy when you have to shell out $ for a gallon, but it's truly much more economical.  and like most all things... you get what you pay for. i love pressing my fabrics with just a little bit of this product.  again, it's just a professional finish:
 i know... i've said it's pretty already... but just one more close-up of this scalloped edge!
 and... that's a wrap!

i hope you enjoyed the tutorial! 

even better, i hope you will make several of these darling flannel blankets.  they're such great gifts, and of course, you can make them in any size; smaller ones are great as burping cloths, and some for gramma and grandpa to have on hand, too! 

soli deo gloria!
xo
leslie

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