Sunday, January 16, 2022

Dazzling Diamonds (Behind the Scenes)

 A few ladies have sent me questions about the Dazzling Diamonds book over the past few months; so I was thinking this morning that maybe some more of you would like to "understand" the general idea behind the quilts in this book.

If you have followed me for a while, you know that my life is so full of "stuff to do" that I'm always looking for quicker ways to create blocks, etc. that give me the same (or sometimes better) results. That is what happened to me regarding the techniques in this book.

The first item which influenced it was a Water Soluble & Printable foundation sheet. This comes in a variety of brands...but the one I used for the book (and still think is the best) is sold by C&T called "Wash-Away Stitch Stabilizer".


When I bought this my intial thought was "wonder if I could design a block with seams included...print the design...then stitch". If so, there would be no need for templates, tracing, etc.". Now, the concept is not without challenges...like having to remove this product which means "wetting" the block. Normally, I don't like to wet my crazy quilt blocks.

But, my next thought was "What if I add a larger seam allowance; just in case the block shrinks when wet...and not include anything but the embroidery".

So, here's what I did...and you can do too.

First came the block design. I was tired of sewing hexagons...so thought that a diamond might be a fun shape to play with. I included the patchwork (note dashed lines) for the seams when piecing the block and included the sewing sequence (1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 1-4) along with the Block #1 in the quilt. 

Second was the inclusion of the BASE Embroidery on the seams. Since I was working with my Adobe Illustrator software; it was easy to create the seam ideas. You could to the same thing with graph paper and pencil of course.



I printed the entire design on to paper and cut it out along the dashed lines to create pattern pieces for sewing the block.




The next task was to put the block together and attach it to a muslin backing. I traced the outline and seam lines on to the muslin and used the "flip'n'sew" piecing method to assemble the block. Now, I was ready for the embroidery layer...so printed the design directly to the Water Soluble product next.


Oh, this is a good time to point out the double seam allowances in the design. The final block without seam allowance is the solid black line. The next line would be the cutting line at normal seam allowance, and the outer line would be the line to use if you wanted to trim before getting wet. Now, in reality...we can't really "control" the amount of shrinkage this precisely...but these lines serve as a good reminder that the extra seam allowance will be needed. Directions in the book recommend that you cut a plastic shape (diamond) that is the same size as the finished block (with seam allowance). This is used to lay on top of the embroidery phase (while the block is flat) so a future trim line can be marked on the block.



Here is the block with the BASE Embroidery stitched. I've trimmed away as much of the water soluble as possible just to reduce the amount of "gunk" that needed to wash away. It was off to the kitchen sink where I submerged the entire block (face down) into some warm water...and held it in place with a couple of coffee cups. After about ten minutes, I picked it back up and ran water through the block from the back to the front. It might not have mattered how I held the block; but my "logic" was that with the water soluble on the bottom it would just go down the drain better...rather than being washed off and on to the fabric if it was facing upwards.

When it all was washed away, I placed the block on a few paper towels, rolled it up and squeezed as much water out as possible. Then I ironed (on reverse side) until almost dry...added spray starch...and pressed until completely dry. 



The photo above shows the block AFTER the base embroidery has been completed...soaked in water to remove the water soluble...pressed/starched (on back). It lays nice and flat and was easy to place the plastic template shape on and trace around.

At this point, the block simply needs to be finished. So, the second layer of embroidery was stitched; silk ribbon embroidery stitched; and beads/sequins/etc. were added. Lastly I took my scissors and cut along the drawn line to get the finished block to the correct size and shape.



It's ready to take it's place in the quilt layout.


I hope that this helps you feel more comfortable in creating the wall-hanging size quilt in the Dazzling Diamonds book. 

BTW, I purposefully kept the block size small enough to print on a single sheet of paper; and included a direct link to the PDF file in the book so you don't have to "scan" each page. You can do that too...but I did try to make the file downloads as easy as possible. It's just easier when each block is full size to begin with. Plus the layout for the block includes the design for embroidery of every seam automatically...so no real "thinking" involved. You still have total freedom in choosing your embroidery threads, colors, types of beads, etc. so no quilt will look just like another if using the pattern.

I also created the quilt myself twice...in Spring colors (pastels) and in Autumn colors (mediums) so folks would get a good idea of now different colors might look.

Hope you that have the book will give the quilt a try! 

Of course, if you don't want to go the "water soluble" way...that's fine. The book designs can be used as a guide to trace or just inspire you if you want to "do your own thing". 


More Course Uploads...

 Well I did not meet my self-imposed deadline of the 15th...but did get close. Ha!


The Advance Courses and Special Courses are not uploaded and ready for folks to download those modules for free.


I have other special courses (hopefully) as they have not been taught for a while..so I have to "find the files" on the computer. Hopefully, they are here amongst the over 65,000 files...and not in the group that was lost forever in the hard-drive collapse last year. So, if I locate them...and upload...I'll let y'all know.


Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Welcome to Shawkl Designs, thank you for visiting my blog.

 


Lost Art...

Writing letters is rarely done by anyone these days...my self included. Email is just faster...but a nice note or a simple letter has now become a SPECIAL thing.

Just yesterday I got a sweet note from a student and friend in Kentucky that so brightened up my day (Thanks so much Carol!). It also got me thinking about a couple of other friends that really had a hard year these past few months...so I sat down and wrote them a short letter just to say that I missed seeing them and was thinking about them.

I designed some special stationary that I thought would brighten up their day...


The border was one of the new seam designs in the book I'm currently writing. With the inclusion of three more seams I had a little set of four designs...which I provided to my Patreon Followers for free.



 I like to do little designs, patterns, and such when I get the time for these special ladies whom I appreciate so very much! They are my cheerleaders through thick and thin...or at least that's the way them make me feel; their support just warms my heart...so blessed am I to have caring friends; even if most are cyber friends whom I'm not met yet. Perhaps one day...oh I so hope so!



Tuesday, January 4, 2022

2022 Course Downloads are LIVE now!

 I know...hard to believe since my deadline was the 15th...and it's only the 4th!!! But, the blog now has a new header and some new pages designed.

So, for Basic and Intermediate Classes...just click on those tabs at the top of the blog (under the header)...and you will go to a list of the individual classes. Each class is described...and the various task handouts are listed below it's heading. RIGHT CLICK each linked pdf document to save to your computer.

I've also launched the Facebook Group: Shawkl Classes so everyone has a place to upload photos of their work in progress and finished photos. Those of you having completed prior classes (or currently enrolled in an on-going class) can "please" jump over to the group and sign up. It is private so I'll need to "approve" all new membership requests...sorry, this is tedious and doesn't happen instantly...BUT is the only way to keep out those pesty spammers.

The site is for class participation...not a place to post about your church's bake sale or the latest yard sale find you obtained. Keep posts about class effort (past and present) and all will be fine. Otherwise, I'll delete the posts.

Here's a direct link to the Facebook Group: Shawkl Classes as a help:

Hugs to all...hope this is a great New Year of stitching possibilities!

Oh, also I've decided to upload the Advanced and Special Courses information...so am working to do those before the 15th now. Ha...we'll see if I can get these done early too! Just look for them to appear along the tool bar above once they are active links. HUGS!

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Classes for 2022

 I've thought long and hard about classes for this next year...and am going to make some pretty drastic changes.

My life is so crazy...and I'm sure you all know how that feels. So, I've decided to re-focus on some things and try to get back to some basics. What that means for classes is that I'm going to try a more "free-style" approach to the classes.

I'm putting you in the drivers seat! There will be no class registrations and no "time line" for any of the Basic and Intermediate courses in 2022.

You can download any course, any time...and work at your own speed. 

I'm going to upload all of the course content to Google Drive so I can provide pages here on the blog with download links...but my goal is to have everything done and running smoothly for the launch on 15 January!

Wish me luck!

I'll still be here to answer questions if you have them...but over the years; I've learned that the course content is really so detailed that very few folks actually have real questions about the content. Mostly, you seem to really just need inspiration to keep going.

So, for inspiration...I'll also be starting a new Shawkl Facebook Course Page that will be a private group so it can be monitored. Everyone joining can post whatever photos you would like (class related of course) and get plenty of feedback. We want positive and helpful posts...so all mean folks will be asked to move along...as that attitude helps no one. So, this is similiar to the registration I suppose; just you only have to do it one time rather than for every single course.

Hope you have a great Christmas and New Years...see you again on the 15th!

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Holiday Hiatus

 While we are on "holiday break" from new class registrations I've been working on some English Paper Piecing projects.


Here is the layout diagram for the finished center (still six more snowflakes to go). Undecided on the border portion still. But, I'm really enjoying working on this EPP project! Plan to do more in the future.



Thursday, February 25, 2021

Changes to Class Schedule...and to my Life!

Please note that I have changed the Course Calendar Schedule. Some additional dates have been added to existing courses; but dates for new courses have been bumped back a couple of months.


I need that extra time to get my life back on track since the kids have moved out. The embroidery and patchwork patterns are done for all 3 of the advanced courses; but the "stitching" is not finished so I'm progressing through the photo taking phase...then, I have to finish the writing; edit and organize the class. So, not going to get the first one done by mid March for sure. Therefore, adjustments are needed.


Presently, in the middle of re-arranging all of the furniture to give me some more sewing room. Hope to also get a spot to be able to shoot some short video segments. While that will take a while, it will need to be considered in the final placement of all of this "stuff". At present all of my lighting and tripods are just in a pile in the corner.

There is still a lot of organizational effort to be done...but I can finally actually sew on a table larger than a tv-tray. So, yeah for me! Plus I have a little ironing surface right next to that!

My crazy quilt world will be in the original sewing room...(above was the "old" bedroom). The supply cabinets are overflowing so have set up some temporary shelves to help with the organization.


Some areas in each room have been settled into about 80% okay...have some cabinets situated...and re-stocked. Have some organization in both sewing rooms, bedroom/study, and office.




And then...you walk on the other sides of these rooms to see the mess that still needs to be sorted, organized, and stored. 




All of this had a half-way organized home two years ago before the kids moved back home unexpectedly. Glad that they now have their own place situated (took way more time than we thought). If you were/are in the Quilt Guild with me...I've been saying "I live in a storage building" for months now. You might be able to imagine the 100% truth of that statement if you look at these photos and consider that up until two weeks ago...there was also: 2 twin beds, another recliner, 1 queen bed, 3 more grownups with their "stuff", and a newborn in this space as well!

Let me tell you...I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown...and then add COVID to that mix! It's truly a wonder I'm not crazier than I already naturally am! So, it's a huge breath of fresh air to me to even see some floor.


This is my entrance and galley kitchen...without boxes, baby swing/walker, and totes in the pathway. 

Anyhow, none of this constant activity, immense clutter, and "life drama" has been really conducive for me to be creative...to write...or even to sew since the machine had to rest on a tv-tray. I'm way behind on the things I wanted to get done...so rather than rush through finishing the Stumpwork Course and it be dis-organized, with little photos...and totally not what I'm envisioning...I'm moving it out a few more weeks. Which moves others back a few weeks too. Not too many....just enough to give me some time to finish the writing; stitch the models and get those photos shot. It will still take long days, but I'm renewed with more energy and drive to make it happen now.

Those of you coming to the Stitching Crazy Retreat in July know I have those projects on my list of things to get accomplished in this upcoming 90-days timeframe as well. So, that's my crazy life right now...hope your life is also getting back on track with the start of this New Year. (Also hope you live in a place larger than a small upstairs garage apartment like me...consider your blessings if you do.) Just saying...but, it is smack next door to my Mom and a 10 minute drive from my daughters new place...so am not complaining about the location...just need some "room stretchers".

Hugs!


Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving & a Freebie

 


I hope you are enjoying your day! Whether with family or alone, take a moment to be thankful this day. Here's a little pattern you might like working on this week...sending Hugs as well!


https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hbkUYdIvBOs2k3oSgLaZvbj3_Q5sB0AZ/view?usp=sharing