Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Embroidery JOY

 My latest little design is a crayola project with embroidery. Designed it to be quick...but that is back to the drawing board. 

My local quilt guild is "Joy Quilters"...so thinking this might end up as a pocket on a tote bag perhaps?

Now, I just have to hunt through the stash for enough and the correct color of fabric for the bag itself. Wanta take bets on whether or now I have to go fabric shopping? Ha!

Wool SEW Quilt Blocks


Isn't this a pretty pattern? I thought so, and signed up for the "most expensive quilt every made" as each month was almost $40 for block pattern, shipping, fabric bits and pieces. Notice how it says "IN WOOL" at the top?

Working on the blocks over the past few months...and just now getting them finished.

So, not have all blocks finished and open up the last month's package (backing fabric and border fabric)...and THOSE THREAD BLOCKS are not wool but cotton! Am totally disappointed and honestly, feeling a little bit ripped off. But, I like the blocks...and will finish the quilt differently than their pattern. Will also make the cotton spool blocks into a smaller wall hanging. But, WILL NOT EVER purchase or sign up for a block of the month from these folks again. There, I have put my intentions in writing...and am sticking to my plan!

Fig Strawberry Jam

 Last week, my SIL and I went to pick figs...lady offered them and said "bush is loaded down". Well, it was...with mostly green ones. So disappointed. We got a good Cool Whip bowl full.

There is a lot of "empty" in that pot! But, still was enough for 3 small jars full.

One for me, one for Mom, and one for SIL!

Friday, August 5, 2022

Beautiful Kentucky and Sweetest Friends

 My bestie Sharon drove up from south Alabama to go with me to a teaching gig in Elizabethtown Kentucky last week.

Love this photo...now doesn't she look like one fun gal? She is so sweet!

We had a great time on Wednesday night at the lecture/trunk-show with the entire quilt guild. No photos...but we totally enjoyed the visit. Then, on Friday/Saturday a few ladies joined me for some personal instruction.

Their 2nd VP (Vonnie) had everything organized wonderfully..and everyone had a great time. They even got through most of the embellishment phase. Well done ladies!

Thanks Vonnie for sending me the photos too...as I was too busy with teaching to remember to even take a single shot!

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Blackberries and Bird Nests

Hard to see...but there is a wee nest with mama bird in this photos. Saw her through the window of my doctor's office...of all places!


Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Kentucky Bound...almost!

 Well, shortly anyway...have a group visit the end of July. Presently, am working on some kits...and a sample of the class project. Here's the overall design in color:

We've agreed to change the initial heart shape to the more simplified square...just because it would be easier to manage for all skill levels. Here is the layout of the base layer of fiber embroidery (without the silk ribbon elements or any beads/sequins/buttons).

The SHAPE seam in the center (hexagons) is the last to stitch...and is flexible enough to pick/choose elements to use when filling the space. You will notice that it differs in the "real life" example...because I had sewn the block of silk fabrics before altering the size slightly in the final pattern. Rather than re-sew a new block...am just going with the original layout as the adjustments were pretty minor.

Here is the block of Dupioni Silk fabrics with the completed first layer of embellishment...fiber embroidery.

I'm resting from it...and trying to decide if I want to continue with the other layers (ribbon and beads) now...or keep it like this for the class so everyone can more easily see the thread work. 

Also working on kits for the class...have spent a good portion of Memorial Day weekend punching 1/16" holes in class templates. I like to have a little kit ready...and then larger sets of template available for sale if folks decide that they like the techniques/procedures and want to continue on their own. (Of course, they could also jump into the free classes as those are ALL uploaded here to the blog...but I plan on talking to that subject during the class while in Kentucky).

There are still small needle cases to create for the class; and print out the instructions sheets. But all that will be done before packing next month. All is on track!
So, next up is the design/creation of a sample book for a class in Mississippi next Spring. It is due as an example for the Guild before September...so, working as fast as I can.

Still handling Quilt Guild business as the president of the local guild; family events; working full-time; and designing a fourth templet set. ALWAYS busy!

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Thank You Janet!

 Heard from my dear friend (although we've never met) in Colorado today...and there will be more templates in my Etsy shop soon (hope within a couple of weeks)...and she has more in stock at the warehouse now. Woot, woot! 

Both STITCH template sets (reg & mini) and the SHAPE template set will be arriving at my door! Doing the happy dance!

So, wanted to share the news!

We also have a Fourth Set "in the works" so hoping to have those available for Christmas this year.

On another note...

Am still working full time...but will be "hopefully" moving to part time by the end of the month...which is great because I've missed my sewing room!

Hugs to all!

Friday, April 22, 2022

Goodbye to Patreon

 Today, I've deleted my Patreon account. For some time now it's been a struggle to manage new content while trying to keep up with this new job (way too many hours)...my family responsibilities...and my community responsibilities.

there has been little time for me to enjoy my own stitching...much less trying to develop ideas to share with my bloggers and on Patreon. I've been feeling like I've let so many people down...and so decided that although I totally adore each of my blog viewers and my super adore my Patreon supporters...if just isn't fair of me to keep that site active when I have no time to really contribute content right now.

So, I am saying goodbye to that endeavor. But, NEVER goodbye to the loyal friends that helped me keep going in spirit and with their contributions. You have my never-ending gratitude...you'll never know how much you mean to me and how much you helped me during a dark time.


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!