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 rainbow polyesters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rainbow polyesters. Show all posts

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 ~


Thursday, July 11, 2013

taupe n feathered ~ and lots more on threadplay

good morning sweet peas ~

i hope you enjoy my shot of a new sweet pea shoot ... they are so pretty! 

first, a question asked of me in yesterday's post was why i use polyester and cotton together, in top and bobbin thread. my simple answer:  because it makes sense; aesthetically, practically, and economically for the type of quilting i do. really... there is {nowadays} no need to keep the thread content the same. especially once you understand tension and thread weight.

this is something i speak passionately about in the TNT {threads needles tension} classes i teach. for years, most of us in the quilt scene were taught we should not 'cross over' with polyester threads, kind of like a purist thing. well, this is part of how i judge that decision process. if i was making an heirloom quilt, and used all cotton fabrics, and felt that cotton threads would enhance the entirety and traditional feel of the overall piece, or it was going into a museum, to be handed down to generations... {never touched} or maybe something i wanted to be kept 'pristine' for authenticity ~ perhaps then i would keep my thread choices more 'pure' so to speak. 

the concept that was generally accepted "in the day" was that polyester thread would ruin a quilt top. not true. ANY thread will wear through fabric, and in many cases, both thread and fabric will wear given any kind of practical use or washing. i highly recommend bob purcell's explanation of this issue in his video, free for viewing on the superiorthreads.com site. he's definitely an expert and explains this far better than i!  and i for one, bought that video years ago, studied it, and still rely on his expertise, and really ~ that is why i quilt with the threads i use.

thank you for asking!!  so... do ya wanna dance... or i mean,  dance with the stars threads?  check out my post learning the thread tango... and i wrote another post about here.  wanna know more about bobbin play? check it out, here.  how about tension issues?  look here!

so on to today's quilt.  get ready for another shocker ~ here's another totally muted color! this commercial batik just seemed to say "i'm so pretty and elegant ~ quilt feathers into me!" so elegant feathers it was, yet simple lines. i kept all the 'outside' quilting surrounding the feathers in straight lines, but at right angles to each other so there was harmony, not only would the fabric be beautiful to see, but your eyes would be drawn to the soft, undulating feathers. i gave them a bit more accent by adding three outlining borders, in a contrasting color, but subtle thread that matched the inside swirl-spine line. i really also like that there is just one motif; a 'woven mat' look in the quilting pattern i used to surround the feathers, instead of multiple motifs.  there is just a sweet, restful peace about it.  

triple line outlining... i'm getting better at keeping the space between a little more consistent and neat... slowly and surely!
almost forgot to say ~ below photo is the back side.  isn't that beautiful fabric?  i love that it matches the front, too.  of course, it will be reversible as well.

the dark brown thread is king tut, 40 wt 100% cotton.  razzle dazzle bobbin play {the thick outlining  shiny metallic thread} in peach, which i also couched into the binding seam using my #39 bernina clear embroidery foot. accent and spine quilting thread was 40 wt 100% poly, superior rainbows, in a soft peach.  and i loved playing with these muted colors. 

thanks for hangin' out with me!! {more to come!}

enJoy your day!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Desert Blooms

Happy Saturday everyone!  Thank you for your get well/good wishes for my tooth issues; I really appreciate the kind thoughts. 

Similar to the Bryce Canyon piece I created earlier; this piece is using the same batik fabric for the background.   I am thinking to continue with one more; like a triptych with the remaining fabric.  I've seen some really cool pieces done by other artists, but I've never attempted to do so myself, so why not give it a try?

When I began, I thought this might be solely done via bobbin thread play. By the way, you can always see more on Bobbin Play posts & tutorials here and here and of course, there are more!  Just type in 'bobbin play' on the search box on the right-hand sidebar of the blog to see more posts about it.

Adding... layers and layers of different colors...

I like the contrast of the top thread, which is a variegated cotton with lime green and turquoise threads. This is definitely a personal choice, and can add alot of textural interest if you start playing with your top tension.  Much of my bobbin play has typically shown a significant tightening of the top tension.  I prefer to use a strong (40 wt) polyester thread.
I switched back and forth between a straight stitch, and a zig zag stitch, free motion style, for varying color impact, and texture detail.  I really do love the added depth a compact zig zag can bring to the piece.

Do you think the blooms are missing anything?  Well, I did.  So I veered away from 'just bobbin play' and added 'regular' free motion, beginning with a black thread...  this is 40 weight King Tut.
 Hmmm... does it give the flower any more impact? What do you think?  

And I made each flower's center black center in a slightly different look...
No angelina.  I think the thread is enough sparkle on it's own.
And I decided that I did want to add more color and quilting, using variegated polyesters (Rainbows 40 wt from Superior Threads).

And I thought I'd try some solid thread color, in a purple tone.  I'm not done... or am I? What do you think?

Anyway, It has been a year since I began this blog, and I was more than a bit intimidated by the whole 'how to' of the blog world.  I spent many, many hours trying to figure things out... and the good news?  It's been a fun ride!  And it reminds me that is what I try to teach to others.  The JOY is in the stepping stones, the process, the challenges.  There would be no satisfaction without the process!   

So, let's celebrate MY FIRST YEAR as a BLOGGER!

Anyone interested in winning a prize?  Don't know what it might be, but I'm thinking a small quilt... journal size, give or take. 

And as the Widow Hen says to the Rooster Foghorn Leghorn  (in the Bugs Bunny cartoon from my childhood--I love this line), "Widow Hen, I need yur love ta keep me warm."  (use your best southern accent here)  LOL!  Thank you for all your support over the past year; your encouragement, and comments; it really is so very much about community.

I hope you'll come back to read and see more.  Ya just never know... those comments already posted... may  start adding up as extra tickets to win!    

Love and Blessings to ALL.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"A Healing Heart for Sara"

My friend Sara lost her dear Mom, Josephine quite recently.  I did not personally know her Mom, but I know she made many beautiful quilts and other items for her children and grandchildren, and was a talented lady all the way around... very much like Sara.  I had been planning on making a collage quilt for Ms. Sara as part of my 'girlfriend series' and I had made this 'background' prior to Sara's Mom passing.  As I began to prepare to quilt this collage and add the fabric heart elements, God gave me these inspiration, as I thought and prayed about Sara and her Mom.  And these three words came to mind:   
Love.  Hope. Healing.
"A Healing Heart for Sara"

My glaze pens came in handy to draw those tiny little hearts and without having to cut tiny bits of fabric. I then turned to the green pen for a bit of a leaf shape. If you haven't tried them, they are very cool.  They dry shiny and somewhat dimensional.

I chose to outline the delicate little purple hearts in white thread (but not the leaves).  I really liked how they stand out.

A bit of metallic paint to highlight.  Some angelina fibers, free motioned to quilt them down.  Then some Superior Rainbow tri-lobal polyesters for more bright, interesting change of colors.

To finish off the quilt, I added a purple, white-dotted batik on three edges.  i thought it tied in with the white quilting thread, yet blending with the colors of the quilt just enough.  The bottom edge is finished with twisted yarns and metallic threads, then they were free motioned in a zig-zag to attach.  The quilt also has curvy edges. 
Sara, may you find comfort and peace in this time of grieving... and may God continue to hold you in the palm of his hand, and may you know the never-ending love and hope of Jesus as endless as the endearing and sacrificial love of your Mom for you.  In the precious name of Jesus.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pick-Up Stix Silk Glitz!

Can you say that title three times in a row?  Reminds me of the game "Pick-Up-Sticks" we played as children.  LOL.  Well, I've been cleaning out my studio a bit... found these leftover silk patches from a quilt I free motioned a year or so ago called:  "Silk Road" for The Bernina Silver Thimble showcasing their silk fabrics.  That quilt is shown below:

And... from those scrappy leftovers, I made just a small, very basic, VERY simple tablerunner on which I had fun using my #39 Bernina clear embroidery foot (from yesterday's blog --- you can visit it again here).
What makes a fabulous "stix" for great visual interest?!  Those big, bold beautiful prints, like Kaffe Fasset, Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner... or ... Phillip Jacobs!  Phil's fabric is the one I used here.  (We're not on a first name basis -- I just liked the way it sounded!)
I cut my "stix" 1.25" inches wide.  But I've seen some are cut 1.5" - whatever width you like, just pick one!  Fold the strip in half lengthwise, iron so there is a crease in  the middle.  Then take the outside long edges and press them to the center crease, wrong sides together.  Do this on both long edges.  Now you have your stix.  Hint:  Use STARCH!

I top stitched ALL the 'stix" first on each patchwork block.  Then go back and add the silver thread with the #39 foot.  Think ahead, if you want some of the "stix" to cross each other.  You do need to switch back and forth between top stitching and adding the silver thread... Then, trim all the raw edges & threads; square up. Then piece your blocks together.

That ol' "quilt as desired" phrase then comes to mind.  I kept it simple... no  heavy, or elaborate quilting here... just a pretty subtle variegated Rainbow polyester. The silk fabric and the "stix" are the stars of the show here!  And  'blee bleebalee - that's ALL folks!'  (Borrowed from Porky Pig and Bugs Bunny!)

Gotta have a wonderful backing... it could be reversible if the mood strikes you!

P.S.  I almost forgot to tell you.  Most all of this type of silk, which I believe is silk habotai dupioni!  (but don't hold me to it!) needs to be stabilized prior to cutting/piecing ... or the edges unravel like crazy and makes a mess of stringy clingys everywhere.  A black fused interfacing was used on these.

P.S. 2:  This project was born from a similar (more elaborate) project featured in the Quilting Arts Magazine "Quilt International" published last fall. (or was it "International Quilts?"  -- anyway.. it's close!  I'm blaming my confusion on the cold medicine!) EnJOY.

Monday, January 24, 2011

LACE Flowers

I call them "Lace Flowers" but perhaps someone has a better...more creative or original name?  I'd LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!!!!  (pretty please!?)  Hey... anyone out there???  Hmmm... well as I wait with  baited breath, let me tell you a bit about these little jewels of threadplay....

Quite simple to do... and make them as fun as you'd like with variegated and solid polyesters, rayons, or cotton threads.  Start with:
  • 90/14 topstitch needles, or a microtex needle
  • bobbin wound with the same thread as your top thread (I love the Bernina 830 with the JUMBO bobbin which holds 40% more thread... add that with the Bottom Line polyester thread, adding an additional 40% more on a bobbin... and you are REALLY SET UP NICELY!!!! Yahoo!
  • a free motion foot; for this technique, I love my #9 closed toe, smaller metal foot, as it allows me to get closer to the wooden hoop edges
  • wooden hoop 8" or 9" that will fit conveniently underneath your foot
  • tulle netting
  • pattern
  • water soluble sticky back stabilizer
  • water soluble clear film for topping
Here's my hand-drawn flower traced onto the sticky backed stabilizer (Aqua Mesh Plus with a sticky back)... (you could use Aqua Bond as well... whatever you choose; it's sandwiched with a layer of white tulle and the Aqua Film topping which was ever so slight sprayed with temporary adhesive to make it easier to hoop it all.  I also used a sharpie marker in black, but any color will work, just use a fine tip.

No you don't have to draw flowers... How about a hankerchief? Will post pictures of the one I made in another blog entry... or how about lace edging on a collar?  I've done some on jean jackets... but this would be great for dragonfly wings... and lots of other designs...
 Anyone have any other ideas?  And YES... this is the technique I use for "Jamie's Angel"  wings and lace edging on her dress... see that post here.

You can see here that I have loaded a black thread; my choice is KING TUT 40 weight in solid BLACK, with a bobbin-weight black polyester on the bobbin... I like the King Tut for it's heavier presence with outlining the flower.  My favorite foot... #9 closed toe, a smaller free motion foot makes it easy to work around a hoop. Drop your feed dogs, GO!  I trace around each line TWICE.... for extra boldness and presence...

Don't forget to llllllooooooowwwwwerrrrr your top tension!  Lower it at least 1-2 settings.

These are the threads I used to make the flower shown... all of them tri-lobal polyesters from Superior Threads --- "Rainbows" in variegated colors... Preetttttyyyyyyy!!!

Just go in circles... small, big, overlapping, and filling in until it pleases you!   Go slow to medium speed, or your threads may frazzzle... as well as you?! 

I like to trace a bunch of them in varying sizes on a large piece of stabilizer fabric and free motion them together, which also makes it easier to hoop them, and getting them all done at once, means you have less thread changes and you also don't waste as much material product...

IF you'd like my pattern.... comment and I'll send one to you!!!!

Just another shot... some of the black details get covered up by the surface colored threads... but no problem!  I will go over them again when I attach them to my quilting surface, to give the flower dimension, and to attach it in a "no see" way!  That post coming another day!

Here's a picture of another flower, which was done in blue variegated tri-lobal polyester threads...

There will be a white 'laced edging' I've added to the outside petals, which was done in a 40 weight white rayon (Sulky) thread, with white Bottom Line polyester thread on the bobbin!  Love it!

And here are a couple pics of the finished lace flowers, trimmed of excess tulle, after washing out all the stabilizer product...

I hope you'll tell me what you think...?  What other creative ideas does it prompt you to contemplate?!!  Hmmm?

I'd love to hear from you!

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