Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Freezer Paper resist

Something I have been wanting to try is using Freezer Paper as a resist. I remembered seeing it done on The Quilting Arts blog. I started by cutting some snowflakes just like we did as kids except I used freezer paper. I pressed the paper (glossy side down) with a dry iron onto the right side of my pre-washed fabric to get it to "stick" and then applied paint.
Uh Oh.....I had thinned the paint with water quite a bit and when I looked at the reverse side of the fabric it was totally saturated with colour. I thought that this was probably a big mistake but decided to leave the snowflakes in place and wait until it dried completely.
To my surprise the "resist" still worked. When I lifted off the paper shapes there was indeed the image I was hoping for.
Not wanting to waste those perfectly good snowflakes I decided to see if the freezer paper would "stick" a second time.
I placed them on a dark background, pressed them in place and then simply stitched all over the paper.
I added free motion stitched snowflakes to one and little silver foil snowflakes to the other, trimmed them up and finished them as postcards to drop in the "mailbox" for the postcard exchange at our next guild meeting.

Midnight Snowflakes & No Shoveling Required
I'll be looking forward to more "playtime" to explore the possibilities using freezer paper and paints, dyes, crayons, markers...........anything messy really.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Time to Surf

If you like to spend time on the Internet looking at all things quilt related, you will definitely want to check out this new website Another blogger directed me to this one and I just thought it was too good not to share. Lots of excellent information under the "articles" link and look at all those quilting blogs, now if only I could sew and surf at the same time. ENJOY!

Friday, November 21, 2008


I have made several really cool discoveries this week, some of which are being applied to projects I am working on for juried shows that I plan to enter in the spring so I can't share just yet.....ah but I will .............I promise!
There is one I can share with you though.
Have you seen a product called "sew slip"? This is a thin sheet with a small round hole in it made as an aid for free motion machine quilting. The idea is that you lay this on the bed of your sewing machine, the opening is placed where the needle goes up and down and the sheet, being static "sticks" to your machine. This is supposed to reduce the "drag" on your quilt and help it glide more easily. These sheets retail for around $25 - $29.
I was skeptical about how well these sheets would work so a friend loaned me hers to try. The quilt did indeed appear to move a little more smoothly with this sheet in place.
Now the question of the day was........Could I make one of these myself?.......................Oh Yes I can and you can too!
All you need is some inexpensive clear vinyl, I used a 6 gauge. Just ask for 6 gauge clear vinyl at your local fabric store, they'll know what you are looking for. ( 8 gauge may also work but I think the 12 gauge might be too thick and therefore not as pliable )
Make yourself a pattern, a basic rectangle 18" x 12". On one end, mark a small circle 6" in from top, bottom and side.
Lay your pattern on top of the vinyl and cut it out. Carefully cut out the "hole" and you are done.
Place the vinyl on your sewing machine bed so that the hole is situated in the proper place to allow for ease of sewing. Now, I have to tell you that on one of my machines it problem, but on the other the vinyl could still "shift", so if this happens to you, don't worry. I took a slightly moistened paper towel and wiped my machine bed with it, then, put the vinyl back in place. It worked perfectly. I stitched for several minutes with out any shifting at all.
Since every machine is different you can now customize your own sew slip to suit your needs & you are absolutely sure that you will not be leaving behind any sort of tacky residue on your machine.
If you try it and you love it, let me know :-)

Some of my favourites

My Quilting Arts magazine arrived today......I can rarely find them on the store shelves so I finally decided to subscribe and my first issue arrived just minutes ago. I am excited because there is always something inspiring in this publication. So as soon as I finish this post , I will curl up with a fresh cup of coffee and dive into the pages.

I thought I'd show you some of the products I use most. When I hand quilt, nothing beats this leather thimble. I've tried other leather ones but did not like them and I have tried many of the metal ones with no success at all. (Can't seem to keep a metal one on my finger) The thimble-its are a great help in keeping your fingers from getting sore when "feeling" for the needle point under the quilt.
The Teflon sheet comes in handy for a great number of things, it is see through to aid in proper placement when working with fused applique. I also have a Teflon cover for my iron, which keeps it clean and I never have to worry about glues transferring where I don't want them.
This summer at the Goderich Quilt show I purchased a Sketch and Wash pencil made by Generals, I love this pencil for marking on fabric, it goes on smoothly, having to use almost no pressure and it DOES wash out. These pencils can be found at art supply stores.
For marking on dark fabric, this fine tipped white ink marker by Clover is terrific. The ink becomes more visible as it dries and stays visible until you take an iron to it at which time it totally disappears.
Those quilting gloves are by Fon's and Porter and I like them so well I have several pair. They are one of the few I have found that actually fit me properly.
The scissors are a pair of Gingher applique scissors that I have had for approximately 12 years. They have seen a lot of use, have never been sharpened and still work as good as the day I got them.
See those needles? Those are what I use when basting a quilt. They are easy to thread, very strong and the extra length makes the basting process a breeze.
The variegated threads in the photo are Sulky Blendables. These are my favourite threads to use for lots of detailed quilting. They really enhance the look of your design.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


You may have noticed that most of my work is not from patterns, magazines or books, although I do occasionally adapt a pattern, I prefer to do my own thing.

I don’t really know what I am doing………maybe, for me that is a good thing because since I don’t know the rules, I do not restrict myself to playing by them. I get an idea and just try it out to see what may come of it.

I feel incredibly fortunate to have time in which I can play, to discover new and interesting things while completely enjoying the creative process.

Although I have always had the encouragement of family and friends, I’d quite often wonder if they were just being kind.

While helping out at our guild’s Harvest of Quilts show, I had been approached by several people expressing an interest in my work. I was simply amazed at the wonderful comments I received.........I actually have fans! How exciting is that?

I had entered a few pieces into the show and was thrilled to learn that once the ballots were counted, my work had earned 3 Viewer’s Choice awards. What an honour as there is a tremendous amount of talent among our guild members and it was evident at the show.

In the wall hanging category, my piece titled Earthbound was chosen as the 1st place winner.

In the miniature category, Glen Etive was voted as the 1st place winner

with Viking’s Bane earning 2nd place.

I hope to continue to play,share my discoveries and maybe even inspire.

Check out those one of a kind ribbons....Very cool!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Needle felting

While shopping at our guild's Harvest of Quilts show, I purchased some needle felting tools.

This past weekend, I finally had a chance to play and see what I might do with them. I had received a quick demonstration of how to use these tools at the time of purchase. Wool felting machines are now widely available but I like the fact that these tools are so portable.
Basically, you lay the roving (shredded wool) in a shape you like and then "stab" at it with the needle to get it to mesh with the fabric which is laid across that thing that resembles a scrub brush.
The colours the roving is available in are simply fabulous. I am quite sure that is what attracted me to them.
I decided that needle felting could possibly add more dimension to my work.

I began by making a cone flower............yes, that is supposed to be a cone flower!

I was not entirely impressed but I was sure it could be "enhanced" ( well I hoped)
A bit of thread painting was added and it began to take on a much more pleasing shape.

Here is a look at the back, as you can see I added a fair bit of thread.
But what to do with this?...............well of course, make a postcard.

I combined a few scraps, laid the angled cut cone flower piece on top and practiced my free motion quilting. Now I am all set for our next postcard exchange.

hmm..... How many days till spring?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hands on Christmas

This year, as member of my quilt guild's executive I will be required to teach/demonstrate a Christmas craft at our December meeting. It would need to be something that can be done quickly, mostly by hand and require only a few supplies.
Oh No , this was going to be a challenge. Wanting to come up with something a little different, I decided that since Christmas is for kids why not play like children.
I got out my crayons and got to work. I first sketched an image I was pleased with and traced it onto off white pre-washed cotton fabric. Then I began colouring just like we did way back when.
I did try to stay within the lines.
Once it was coloured I added a few quick strokes here and there using a fine tipped pigma pen to add a bit of detail.
I then used a dry iron to "set" the crayon (although if you really try some colour can be rubbed off )
The next step was to create a quilt sandwich to make this piece ready for a little hand quilting. A variegated cotton thread was used to outline all of the holly leaves and stems.
The hand quilting will likely have to be finished at another time and most certainly the machine quilting. I machine quilted a very small stipple in the center and then just had fun doing this sort of bubble looking stitching. It kind of resembles snow don't you think?
I did add a few beads but this could be left fairly simple and used as a table topper center or go wild and junk it up with beads, baubles and ribbons for a small wall hanging. Here is what the reverse side looks like.
I guess we'll see how many members are actually interested in doing this, either way I 'm good, I mean come on now, would I really have to "teach" the use of crayons?
I hope to be able to post pictures when we work on this project so you will need to check back to view the results.
I will be conducting a machine quilting workshop in do I get myself into these things? so I thought that members who wish to finish up the machine quilting part could bring this piece and use it for practice. There will be sign up sheets at the next guild meeting for both the Hands on Christmas project as well as the machine quilting workshop.
More on the machine quilting workshop later.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

More Postcards

This past week's brief blast of the season to come inspired "Winter Trees". This is the time of year when we can have bare trees and pockets with lots of snow while other areas remain green and lush. With this one I used coloured pencils to draw a scene, added a little thread painting & free motion quilting.
The "snow" is actually a bit of white cotton batting. Who says the batting has to be in the middle?

This next one I'll show in it's stages. First I made an interesting background with 2 prints and a curved seam. Then I cut out some shapes and fused them in place.
I backed this with a layer of stabilizer.

With a light variegated cotton thread, I began stitching, lots and lots of stitching. I continued until I had all of the elements covered with thread.
I then switched to a deep blue rayon thread and added yet more stitching

At this point I added the stiffener ( or batting ) and began to outline every thing with some free motion stitches, quilting was added on the stems and veins, a few curly Q's and it was finished.
See how the use of thread can bring about such a dramatic change to the look of your fabric.

What shall I call this one? How about "Thread Leaf".
Copyright Jill Buckley